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07-27-2015, 07:47 AM   #1
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Best lens for $200

Hey everybody. I've been looking at some new lenses lately mostly on the wider side around 40mm and 21mm and on the higher side I was looking at an 85mm prime but I didn't know if their was any vintage glass that was a lower mm than 28 (have one) that's fairly sharp and nice to use. Basically just looking for a good wide angle lens for $200 or a nice portrait lens for under $200.

Thanks

07-27-2015, 08:02 AM   #2
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The DA 35/f2.4 (plastic fantastic) would get my vote, the XS 40mm f2.8 is a really good lens for that budget as well
07-27-2015, 08:03 AM   #3
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Usually we recommend lenses like DA 35mm and DA 50mm, both of which cost under $200 and are fully automatic, with great optics. Thing is, the further you go from the "normal" focal length, the more expensive lenses get.

Regarding portrait lenses, you can find things like Helios 44 (many variants of this lens, some m42 mount, some even k-mount), which are decent FoV for photography, sharp in the image centre, and have interesting bokeh. The newer versions tend to be sharper than the older ones. Jupiter 9 is not bad, according to reviews. Or you can try finding a Samyang 85mm f1.4, manual focus, but brand new and top notch optics (Samyang is also sold as Rokinon, Bower, Vivitar, Walimex, and others). A vintage 85mm lens would be good, too, but those are usually not very cheap.

Wide angles.. well, the problem is that 24mm was considered ultra wide in the film era, with few lenses going to 20mm or wider. While there are some great vintage 24mm lenses, there are also some poor ones. And none of them are generally as fast and flare resistant as modern 24mm lenses. Ultra wide angles benefited a lot from the computer-aided lens designs and modern lens coatings. You can look for a Tamron 17-50mm f2.8, and you get fairly wide angle with good aperture, and a nice zoom range. Or one of those Sigma 10-20mm. But it will be difficult to find anything wider than 24mm under $200. Samyang also makes some good ultra wides (8mm fisheye, 10mm, 14mm, 16mm, 24mm), but I doubt you can find them for under $200 (though, they are worth every cent). Maybe something like those "Sigma super wide", they are popular and 24mm.
07-27-2015, 08:09 AM   #4
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The Sigma Super Wide II is a good lens and just wide angle on APS-C

Sigma 24mm F2.8 AF Super Wide II Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database

There is one on eBay for $85 BiN...

07-27-2015, 08:43 AM   #5
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Wide angle is the one side of the Pentax system where there just aren't that many options. Other systems are much better served in that regard. I don't understand why Pentax can't have relatively fast (f2.8 or better) 28mm and 35mm equivalent (something like a 18mm f2.8 and a 23mm f2.4 would do nicely). Instead, we have to rely on the DA 21mm f3.2 (which is a compromise between the two focal lengths), or zooms such as the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8. Which might actually be the answer to your question, as used copies can be found now in the low to mid 200s. Just make sure you get one from a place that has a return policy, as these Tamrons are known to have focus issues, so if you get a bad copy, you need to be able to return it.

The DA 21mm (older SMC version) can also be found for under 300 dollars these days and can be your lens if you can swing it.

Otherwise, boriscleto's find of an AF Sigma 24mm 2.8 for 85 dollars might just be your ticket (and would leave you with enough money to get the Pentax DA 50 1.8 which is selling for under 110 dollars on Amazon). It's a well regarded lens when it comes to sharpness, it just doesn't have the advantages of Pentax coatings (bad performance under direct light, colors not as good as Pentax).
07-27-2015, 08:49 AM   #6
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DA 35/2.4 is currently at B&H for $122.70. Excellent lens and amazing value.

I have a Jupiter-9 85/2, and mine is a good copy, decently sharp wide-open and very sharp by f/2.8. There's reportedly a number of bad copies out there, though.

If you already have a 28mm, even though 24mm is noticeably wider I don't know if its wider enough to be a great value. Like Na Horuk suggests, a used Tamron 17-50 would be a good value, although over $200. You might be able to buy the well-regarded Pentax DA 16-45 f/4 for ~ $200.
07-27-2015, 08:52 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChristianRock Quote
Wide angle is the one side of the Pentax system where there just aren't that many options. Other systems are much better served in that regard. I don't understand why Pentax can't have relatively fast (f2.8 or better) 28mm and 35mm equivalent (something like a 18mm f2.8 and a 23mm f2.4 would do nicely). Instead, we have to rely on the DA 21mm f3.2 (which is a compromise between the two focal lengths), or zooms such as the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8. Which might actually be the answer to your question, as used copies can be found now in the low to mid 200s. Just make sure you get one from a place that has a return policy, as these Tamrons are known to have focus issues, so if you get a bad copy, you need to be able to return it.

The DA 21mm (older SMC version) can also be found for under 300 dollars these days and can be your lens if you can swing it.

Otherwise, boriscleto's find of an AF Sigma 24mm 2.8 for 85 dollars might just be your ticket (and would leave you with enough money to get the Pentax DA 50 1.8 which is selling for under 110 dollars on Amazon). It's a well regarded lens when it comes to sharpness, it just doesn't have the advantages of Pentax coatings (bad performance under direct light, colors not as good as Pentax).
That combo of the DA50 sounds good with the sigma. I have the SMC M 50 1.7 so I'm solid in the 50mm department but I could probably swing the money for the DA35 and the sigma. Or even a helios would be nice. Thank you guys for the info. I'll post back when I order my little combo.

---------- Post added 07-27-15 at 08:55 AM ----------

The Jupiter 9 sounds good too because I'm lacking in that 85mm range and my Takumar Bayonet 135mm is sometimes just a little far reaching for my taste although it does have fairly good optics.
07-27-2015, 09:56 AM   #8
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Various 50mm options all fit the budget. The wide end is hard.

Another way to go is to find a zoom like the DA 17-70 which fits both needs. I have recently acquired this lens for my dad and it was able to go head to head against my SMC DA 15 and my HD DA 70. I did not pixel peep but the images were hard to distinguish other than by prior knowledge and in the case of the wide shots by the difference is field of view. The lens is a little more than your budget most of the time and has SDM only focusing and is not a prime so that may not be helpful.

07-27-2015, 10:28 AM   #9
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For portrait: 50mm DA F1.8, or Tamron 90mm F2.8 (used, probably older version, but still autofocus).
For wide: Rokinon 14mm F2.8 or 16-45mm DA in this price range.
07-27-2015, 10:34 AM - 1 Like   #10
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For wide angle zoom under $200 - Pentax 16-45mm used is my suggestion. Its under $200 ob eBay currently and its a good value. If and when you want to go wider, Sigma 10-20 F3.5 is a nice lens.
For a 35mm, you cant beat price and value of Pentax SMCP-DA 35mm f/2.4 AL Wide Angle AF Lens #2198.
Also the Pentax F-50mm F1.7 is a real winner and a very low price point.
07-27-2015, 10:34 AM   #11
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Normal : Super Takumar 50mm f1.4 8 element version
Wide : Tokina RMC 17mm f3.5
07-27-2015, 11:44 AM   #12
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The best bang for the buck ($45 or so) is the Pentax M 50mm f/1.7. For the full $200, look for a used Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8. The Tamron doesn't .have the best build, but is a huge step-up from the kit lenses, lightweight, and generally very sharp. The Samyamg (Bower, Rokinon, etc.) 85mm f/1.4 is a decent portrait lens that is found used at good prices.

Last edited by quant2325; 07-27-2015 at 11:49 AM.
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