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03-31-2015, 06:01 PM   #1
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If you could have one cheap prime lens...


I am starting a DSLR course in July and as I currently do not own a DSLR, I have been saving up for the Pentax K-3. I jumped on the mirrorless bandwagon with the Pentax K-01 (now on eBay) and the Fuji X-E1, but was told that I needed a DSLR for the course. Due to the difficulties of finding a decent job as an awkward, introverted teenager with no experience, I have been earning a few bucks here and there delivering junk mail. The exercise has been great. The pay... not so much.

I currently own the DA 50mm 1.8 and some heavy old Vivitar zooms filled with fungus that could only ever serve as emergency projectiles should someone break into my house.

If you could only have one lens, auto or manual focus, and that lens had to cost under $400 and be wider than 50mm, what would it be?

Thanking you in anticipation,


03-31-2015, 06:29 PM   #2
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With having the 50 I would suggest a 28 A lens which should be less than 100. I got the M version free. For auto focus the 35 2.4 is the one.
03-31-2015, 06:32 PM   #3
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Fungus can spread from one lens to the next to it would be wise to get rid of those lenses.
03-31-2015, 06:46 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by redrockcoulee Quote
With having the 50 I would suggest a 28 A lens which should be less than 100. I got the M version free. For auto focus the 35 2.4 is the one.
Good advice, $400 is a big budget for a manual prime, you could even score an A 24 if you could find one, or maybe even an A 20. I have neither but would love to have either. Maybe even a used DA 21, another I lust after.

03-31-2015, 06:48 PM   #5
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I'd go for a used DA 21 limited as well. It is one of my favorite lenses. Great focal length and the size and build are incredible...can't go wrong with it.
03-31-2015, 06:56 PM   #6
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SMC-"A" 24mm......wins every time for me.
BTW....welcome to the forum !
03-31-2015, 07:00 PM   #7
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i have the DA 35mm 2.4 and it is incredibly sharp for the price you can not beat it. I bought mine from Adorama for $90 used. Another lens to consider would be the Sigma 30 1.4. You can pick up a used non hsm one for less than $300. That lens is hard to beat for low light and narrower FOV. As for manual lens well with Pentax you just have an extremely large selection any K mount lens going back to 1975 will fit right up. With an adapter you can use M42 lens that will take you back over 50 years. But if I had to pick a lens I would probably go with the Sigma.
03-31-2015, 07:10 PM   #8

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Either a 28mm or a 35mm. Take your pick.

03-31-2015, 07:46 PM - 2 Likes   #9
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For 400 dollars you could get a DA 35 2.4 plus a manual 28 2.8 and a 50 1.4! And still have some money left...
03-31-2015, 08:01 PM   #10
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If it could be a zoom I'd go the 18-135, if a prime based on what you have the DA21 ltd.
03-31-2015, 09:25 PM   #11
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You should be able to find the Sigma 30/1.4 used well under 400. I love mine.
03-31-2015, 09:27 PM   #12
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I wonder why people mention zooms if the title clearly states 'prime'

To answer the question: it depends on your interests (or what you're looking for).

If I would start now with Pentax, DA35/2.4 would be the first lens on the shopping list. Useful focal length for a lot of things.
But your needs / interests might be different and require something wider, longer or ...
03-31-2015, 09:33 PM   #13
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Based on what you've said, I'd say get yourself any one of the multitude of good 28mm lenses that are readily available
for less than $100, even less than $50. Simply see what's on offer, check the lens database here for reviews, and buy
a likely winner. Then take the remaining $300-$350 you have left over and put it towards the K-3 you're saving for.
Plenty of time later to acquire expensive glass.
03-31-2015, 10:08 PM   #14
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Hi Callum. Welcome to the forum.

The DA 35 f2.4 is an obvious choice as a cheap sharp prime, but as a partner for the DA 50, I'd suggest something wider, e.g. 21, 24, 28. The DA 15 will be out of your budget but if you plan to get one eventually (or a good ultrawide zoom like the DA 12-24) you might look for a 24 or 28 now. It's a very handy focal length. The A series are beautifully built and a joy to use; A-28s are quite cheap too. Save the balance of your budget to put towards a good ultrawide or the K-3. (If you can wait til the end of the year the K-3 will be a lot more affordable.)
04-01-2015, 12:20 AM   #15
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Any M-series prime, they are more affordable than the A- or K-series primes. Wider than 28 are always expensive, maybe 3rd party sigmas, tokinas or tamrons are found under 100 bucks. Or any of the M42 lenses...


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