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02-25-2016, 01:11 AM   #1
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Loss and Gain, Primes vs Zooms

Afternoon everyone. I am currently looking for some advice on what to do with my horrible case of GAS. I have found myself in an interesting situation where I've acquired a multitude of high quality zoom lenses, and I've begun to wonder what I'd have to gain by swapping some of them for primes. Currently, I have in my arsenal:


Pentax DA* 16-50mm f2.8 (SDM failed, motor replaced by CRKennedy under warranty)
Sigma 18-35mm f1.8
Pentax A 35-105mm f3.5
Pentax DA* 50-135mm f2.8 (malfunctioning AF, considering SDM replacement by CRKennedy)
Pentax DA* 60-250mm f4
Pentax D-FA* 70-200mm f2.8 (pre-ordered 11 months ago, hopefully in my hands soon )
Tokina AF 70-210mm f4.5 (took a tumble down a rocky slope, bent filter ring, optics and AF unaffected)
Pentax FA* 80-200mm f2.8 (currently on route to DCShooter for CLA and refinishing )


Obviously I've quite a bit of overlap, so any ideas on how to diversify my collection in order to gain new capability?

02-25-2016, 01:30 AM   #2
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You have quite a very good, enviable collection.

I'm a collector too, but unlike you, I've started with primes. They're beautiful, tiny, and they have their own unique, different characters or flavors.

Now, I'm starting a collection of zooms. As a "newbie" photographer, I find the zoom much more convenient, and under duress or pressure to produce shots, I'd go for the zoom, especially when you can't move around, say, in a stage play, but nailing a shot with a prime seems more fulfilling. There's something about primes-- but hey, maybe that's the reason I'm a Pentaxian, for these lovely primes.

But to answer your question, if I were in your shoes, maybe I'd start with the FA Limiteds, and move from there.
02-25-2016, 03:57 AM   #3
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I have both zooms and primes, and see the difference principally in terms of weight and 'objective'.

Although the * lenses perform (almost?) as well as primes they are heavy.

If I want a small, light weight, kit for just randomly walking around then I take my primes plus a K-S1, and 'zoom' with my feet or just live with the compromise if I still can't get the right framing . I use an OpTech bag like this OP/TECH USA Accessory Pack to carry the primes, and a Kata Grip-10DL on my belt to carry the camera body.

If it's more of a planned photo session I take my K5II and the zooms for their added versatility and convenience. I use a fishing trolley like this one Shakespeare Seat Box Trolley to carry my kit in a Lowepro shoulder bag.

For me I make a clear functional distinction between when to use primes vs. zooms

Last edited by JohnX; 02-25-2016 at 06:22 AM.
02-25-2016, 04:57 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Joshua A Quote
Obviously I've quite a bit of overlap, so any ideas on how to diversify my collection in order to gain new capability?
What new capability do you need? What type of picture are you trying to take that your current equipment can't produce? Without knowing what you are trying to achieve, all you are going to get is a bunch of random posts on prime lenses.

I only shoot zooms [and not as high quality as yours] and they meet my needs 100%. It depends on what you shoot and what you are trying to achieve.

Tim

02-25-2016, 07:47 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by joshua a Quote
i am currently looking for some advice on what to do with my horrible case of gas.
gas ???

EDIT: Hmmm... The PF software changed both your uppercase "GAS" and my uppercase "GAS" into lowercase.
02-25-2016, 02:42 PM - 1 Like   #6
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Go for a 31mm lens and free yourself from the weight of zooms and explore creating images with a fixed focal length, I see you have a couple already. Composing with a prime is different, and may initiate a diverse collection of images, (go out with only the prime) or way of viewing the world
02-25-2016, 07:55 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Joshua A Quote
I've begun to wonder what I'd have to gain by swapping some of them for primes.
That is an impressive quiver of zooms you have there. At some point, you might want to thin a few out, but finding various primes as replacements is sort of hard for me to wrap my mind around. My suggestion would be to keep the zooms you use and augment those with primes that have particular strengths and/or rendering that you like. FWIW, my active kit for the K-3 at present has two zooms (Sigma 17-70 C and an old Tamron 70-150) and one or more of the following primes (the actual collection of lenses in the bag is rather fluid):
  • Rokinon 8/3.5 Fisheye (rarely, for when I really want a fisheye)
  • MC Zenitar 16/2.8 Fisheye (often, for use as a general purpose ultrawide)
  • Pentax-FA 35/2 (always in bag)
  • Pentax-M 50/1.7 -or-
    Pentax DA 50/1.8 (rarely) -or
    Helios 44M 58/2 (often) -or-
    some other fast 50 (I have a few)
  • Pentax-FA 77/1.8 Limited (often)
  • Sigma 50/2.8 EX DG Macro (if flowers or other small stuff is anticipated)
Most of the rest of my lenses sit sadly on the shelf


Steve
02-26-2016, 04:41 AM   #8
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If you mainly do outdoor stuff in good lighting conditions (sports???) you are just fine with what you got. I assume you do not do studio work. And may not go hiking off the beaten track that often.

If you get a fast fifty or a limited you might feel trapped at first without the ability to zoom. After a week or two you might get it. Or then you are just a zoom person. Nothing wrong with that BTW.

Seb, a prime person.

02-26-2016, 09:56 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Joshua A Quote
Afternoon everyone. I am currently looking for some advice on what to do with my horrible case of GAS. I have found myself in an interesting situation where I've acquired a multitude of high quality zoom lenses, and I've begun to wonder what I'd have to gain by swapping some of them for primes. Currently, I have in my arsenal:


Pentax DA* 16-50mm f2.8 (SDM failed, motor replaced by CRKennedy under warranty)
Sigma 18-35mm f1.8
Pentax A 35-105mm f3.5
Pentax DA* 50-135mm f2.8 (malfunctioning AF, considering SDM replacement by CRKennedy)
Pentax DA* 60-250mm f4
Pentax D-FA* 70-200mm f2.8 (pre-ordered 11 months ago, hopefully in my hands soon )
Tokina AF 70-210mm f4.5 (took a tumble down a rocky slope, bent filter ring, optics and AF unaffected)
Pentax FA* 80-200mm f2.8 (currently on route to DCShooter for CLA and refinishing )


Obviously I've quite a bit of overlap, so any ideas on how to diversify my collection in order to gain new capability?
what body are you putting the glass on?

alice springs, as in australia?
02-26-2016, 10:16 AM   #10
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With all those zooms, check the focal lengths you use most, and buy a few prices to cover those focal lengths.

QuoteQuote:
Pentax DA* 16-50mm f2.8 (SDM failed, motor replaced by CRKennedy under warranty)
Sigma 18-35mm f1.8
Pentax A 35-105mm f3.5
Pentax DA* 50-135mm f2.8 (malfunctioning AF, considering SDM replacement by CRKennedy)
Pentax DA* 60-250mm f4
Pentax D-FA* 70-200mm f2.8 (pre-ordered 11 months ago, hopefully in my hands soon )
Tokina AF 70-210mm f4.5 (took a tumble down a rocky slope, bent filter ring, optics and AF unaffected)
Pentax FA* 80-200mm f2.8 (currently on route to DCShooter for CLA and refinishing )
Pentax D-FA* 70-200mm f2.8 (pre-ordered 11 months ago, hopefully in my hands soon )
Tokina AF 70-210mm f4.5 (took a tumble down a rocky slope, bent filter ring, optics and AF unaffected)
Pentax FA* 80-200mm f2.8 (currently on route to DCShooter for CLA and refinishing )
Pentax DA* 60-250mm f4


Sell two ( or even 3) of these, get a DA* 200, and a 100 macro.

Pentax DA* 16-50mm f2.8 (SDM failed, motor replaced by CRKennedy under warranty)
Sigma 18-35mm f1.8


To replace these you'd need a 15 ltd, a 21 ltd, a 35 and a 50. And you'd lose speed form 18-35, do you really want to do that? That's a situation where I'd sell the DA*16-50 and add all those primes.

Pentax A 35-105mm f3.5
Pentax DA* 50-135mm f2.8 (malfunctioning AF, considering SDM replacement by CRKennedy)

I'd sell them both, unless you really like the 50-135. But the 70-200 Range lenses make them redundant. The only thing I'd consider as a replacement would be maybe the 77 ltd.

I'd probably advise adding the 16-85 as a walk around lens. With say the 16-85 and 60-250 or 70-200, that covers your range in zooms. Adding a 15, 21, 35, 50, 77, 100 and 200, covers your range in primes.

There's a lot of factors that influence a decision like this , the most important being what lenses actually make you happy using them. So this is the like "emotionless totally analytical" solution. But that can be a very poor solution, if you don't actually like the lenses.
02-26-2016, 03:42 PM   #11
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Are you going FF?
The DFA*70-200 takes care of the long end. Pick your fav of the 16-50 and 18-35 and sell the rest, or go FF and get the 24-70 instead.
Otherwise the primes that would give you the most would probably be the 15ltd for extra width and flare resistance, a 43/55/77 that gives you a faster aperture in those focal lenths, and a macro lens if that interest you.
02-27-2016, 02:53 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by atupdate Quote
What new capability do you need? What type of picture are you trying to take that your current equipment can't produce? Without knowing what you are trying to achieve, all you are going to get is a bunch of random posts on prime lenses.
Ahh, in hindsight, this seems to be something that has been repeated on the forum a multitude of times, and I can't believe that I forgot to include my shooting envelop in the post.
Previously I was an avid amateur photographer specialising in low light and landscape photography, though currently I am beginning to take on more paid work as time goes on, and I hope to keep the snowball rolling and to gain enough momentum to eventually be a full time photographer. Roughly 4 months ago I took part in my first wedding as a second shooter, only having access to DA*60-250 F4 on the telephoto side of things. Fortunately with experience taking photos in low light conditions for my personally photography, I knew that the relatively slow aperture wasn't going to cut it indoors.

Fortunately I do own the DFA 100mm Macro, which on my second body allowed me to cover focal lengths from 16-100mm utilizing the 16-50mm on a K-3ii and the 100mm on the K-5. This practically covered me for the entire wedding, and though I did enjoy the low weight of the system, I do wish I had the ability to zoom to 200mm in order to get some more tightness with my framing of the bride and groom.

This leads me to my current conundrum. In a rush of GAS, I purchased both a FA* 80-200mm f2.8 and a DA* 50-135mm f2.8. On top of this, my order on the D-FA* 70-200mm f2.8, which supposed to be delivered in April of last year, is still on. So whilst I love the feeling of owning every ' * ' telezoom lens ever release by Pentax, it is a little overkill. If I were to summarise the use of each lens, it'd be as follows:

DA* 50-135mm f2.8: Currently sees little use as the SDM in the lens was DOA. Nonetheless, I have taken the lens out for a few casual shoots, and the photos are definitely something special. Unfortunately with a K-1 on the way, this lens will have to go, as it is both a crop lens and not particularly interesting compared to the other three lenses.

DA* 60-250mm f4: This lens replaces my original Tokina ATX-Pro 80-200mm f2.8 which had to be sold in order to pay for my return flight to Australia. I find that the autofocus on this lens is a little lazy, though incredibly accurate. Funnily enough, I find the lens pairs incredibly well with the Pentax DA 1.4x Teleconverter, the AF on this lens with the teleconverter is absolutely insane. On top of this, the optics on this lens are absolutely first rate, with no good reason to stop down other than for DOF. As the lens seems to work very well with the 1.4x teleconverter, it practically lives on my lens, practically turning it into a 90-350mm f5.6

D-FA* 70-200mm f2.8: I would expect this lens to be of excellent optical and AF quality, and to simply replace the FA* for professional use.

FA* 80-200mm f2.8: Now this is a lens I simply love. Everything on this lens works as I expected, and the bokeh is without equal, it really is as smooth as butter. Although I had reservations about the screwdrive the lens utilizing, it honestly doesn't bother me, and though not everyone cup of tea, the Power Zoom feature is actually really useful. If I am to be perfectly honest, this lens was really purchased on a whim based on the legend it has conjured. And fortunately, it really does live up to its reputation. Whatever Mr Jun does when designing these lenses, it just works. In addition to this, I am incredibly interested in what DCShooter will make of this lens, and await its return with a new cosmetic appearance.


As you can see, getting rid of the DA* 50-135 will be an easy chose, but I don't know what to do with the other three. Optimally, I see my kit being looking like this:

Lenses on the K1:
D-FA 15-30mm f2.8
D-FA* 70-200mm 2.8
D-FA 100mm Macro 2.8

Lenses on the K3ii:
18-35mm Art (27-50mm f2.5(or 1.8 for the AF sensor, I don't care for your opinion on the equivalence matter)
DA* 60-250mm f4 + 1.4 Teleconverter (125-525mm f8 (or 5.6, for the AF sensor)
D-FA 100mm Macro + 1.4 Teleconverter (210mm f5.6 1.4:1 Macro (or 4, for the AF sensor)

Any Opinions? With this set of lenses, I am covered from 15mm to 525mm with arguably high quality lenses. This allows me to sell off a minimum of 3 lenses (16-50mm, 50-135mm, 70-210mm). Personally I don't know if I can let either the 35-105mm or the 80-200mm go for sentimental reasons, but we're all flawed, aren't we?

---------- Post added 02-27-16 at 07:33 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by robjmitchell Quote
Are you going FF?The DFA*70-200 takes care of the long end. Pick your fav of the 16-50 and 18-35 and sell the rest, or go FF and get the 24-70 instead. Otherwise the primes that would give you the most would probably be the 15ltd for extra width and flare resistance, a 43/55/77 that gives you a faster aperture in those focal lenths, and a macro lens if that interest you.
For anyone asking if I'm going FF, the answer is partially. The only real reason I'm interested in the FF is for the larger viewfinder. On top of this, I don't think that the difference between the Sigma 18-35mm 1.8 and the Pentax 24-70mm f2.8 will be that different, even though the K-1 will have 50% more resolution. I simply don't think that the Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 is of higher optical quality than the Sigma 18-35 f1.8 across the frame. Whereas the 18-35 is virtually sharp edge to edge open wide, the 24-70mm is only sharp centrally unless stopped down. I would expect the Pentax to be similar in that regard. I'm not going to dig any numbers up about it, but honestly I don't really trust DXO.

---------- Post added 02-27-16 at 07:46 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Pentax D-FA* 70-200mm f2.8 (pre-ordered 11 months ago, hopefully in my hands soon )Tokina AF 70-210mm f4.5 (took a tumble down a rocky slope, bent filter ring, optics and AF unaffected)Pentax FA* 80-200mm f2.8 (currently on route to DCShooter for CLA and refinishing )Pentax DA* 60-250mm f4 Sell two ( or even 3) of these, get a DA* 200, and a 100 macro. Pentax DA* 16-50mm f2.8 (SDM failed, motor replaced by CRKennedy under warranty)Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 To replace these you'd need a 15 ltd, a 21 ltd, a 35 and a 50. And you'd lose speed form 18-35, do you really want to do that? That's a situation where I'd sell the DA*16-50 and add all those primes. Pentax A 35-105mm f3.5Pentax DA* 50-135mm f2.8 (malfunctioning AF, considering SDM replacement by CRKennedy) I'd sell them both, unless you really like the 50-135. But the 70-200 Range lenses make them redundant. The only thing I'd consider as a replacement would be maybe the 77 ltd. I'd probably advise adding the 16-85 as a walk around lens. With say the 16-85 and 60-250 or 70-200, that covers your range in zooms. Adding a 15, 21, 35, 50, 77, 100 and 200, covers your range in primes. There's a lot of factors that influence a decision like this , the most important being what lenses actually make you happy using them. So this is the like "emotionless totally analytical" solution. But that can be a very poor solution, if you don't actually like the lenses.

So in regards to adding a walk around zoom to my kit, if I ever need to lighten my load, I generally just slap the 18-55mm WR kit lens on the camera and be done with it, though I honestly rarely mind the weight of even the 18-35mm. The Peak Design Slide I own has a lot to do with that, and even attached to a 80-200mm f2.8, makes carrying the weight a lot more tolerable.


In regards to adding a 77mm Limited and a 100mm Macro to my arsenal, I probably should've mentioned that I already own the Macro. On the topic of the 77mm, I have unfortunately never been able to handle one in person, even whilst in Adelaide and Sydney camera stores. Is it really as compact as it looks? And from every review I can find, the optics seem to be highest in class (disregarding the 85mm Otus). Would you agree. As to adding a 200mm f2.8, I honestly don't believe that it'd be that useful, not having any additional features (ala the FA* 200mm Macro) and awkwardly falling between being to short to really be a powerful telephoto and not wide enough to be used inside. Of course, YMMV, as would mine. An I am open to having my opinion changed, so feel free to educate me on the matter .

---------- Post added 02-27-16 at 07:49 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by osv Quote
what body are you putting the glass on? alice springs, as in australia?
Hahaha, yes Alice Springs, Australia. Now that's surprising, you know of Alice Springs. That's a very unusual titbit of information to know if you don't live in Australia. Care to elaborate? I know we get plenty of people coming from the states through Pine Gap, so if you've served here, that'd make sense to me.

---------- Post added 02-27-16 at 07:52 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by bassek Quote
If you mainly do outdoor stuff in good lighting conditions (sports???) you are just fine with what you got. I assume you do not do studio work. And may not go hiking off the beaten track that often. If you get a fast fifty or a limited you might feel trapped at first without the ability to zoom. After a week or two you might get it. Or then you are just a zoom person. Nothing wrong with that BTW. Seb, a prime person.
Funnily, going on multiday hikes in summer seems to be something of an oddity, and one in which I partake in often. Honestly I don't mind carrying a few extra kilos (K-3ii, 18-35, 60-250) whilst hiking, though if the temperature does rise above 32C, we normally do quit while we're ahead. I've got a M50 f2 if that counts as a fast fifty. I've used it on occasion, but find it's a bit long for my tastes.

---------- Post added 02-27-16 at 07:57 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
That is an impressive quiver of zooms you have there. At some point, you might want to thin a few out, but finding various primes as replacements is sort of hard for me to wrap my mind around. My suggestion would be to keep the zooms you use and augment those with primes that have particular strengths and/or rendering that you like. FWIW, my active kit for the K-3 at present has two zooms (Sigma 17-70 C and an old Tamron 70-150) and one or more of the following primes (the actual collection of lenses in the bag is rather fluid):
I promise my purchasing of all these lenses had been rather accidental. When it comes to rendering, I find it to be hard to quantify what I want in a lens. I was thinking a Helios 85mm f1.8 would be interesting to play with, and possibly even a FA 28mm Soft.

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Most of the rest of my lenses sit sadly on the shelf
This is one thing I am terrified of happening. I know my fellow Pentaxians are often chasing there tails trying to find some of the higher quality zoom lenses, and it'd be blasphemous for me to keep them behind glass when there is always someone out there who could put them to better use.

---------- Post added 02-27-16 at 07:59 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by JohnX Quote
For me I make a clear functional distinction between when to use primes vs. zooms
Whilst practicing and performing personal work, I agree that it is important to figure out what quality/weight ratio makes life easier, for professional work, I have to go with whatever will get me the absolutely highest quality photos, so maybe having two (small?) sets of lenses, one for pro use and one for personal use, would make sense.

---------- Post added 02-27-16 at 08:00 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by drypenn Quote
But to answer your question, if I were in your shoes, maybe I'd start with the FA Limiteds, and move from there.
Don't tempt me, for I am weak to the melody of GAS.
02-27-2016, 04:18 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Joshua A Quote
DA* 50-135mm f2.8: Currently sees little use as the SDM in the lens was DOA. Nonetheless, I have taken the lens out for a few casual shoots,
QuoteOriginally posted by Joshua A Quote
As you can see, getting rid of the DA* 50-135 will be an easy
Have you converted the 50-135 to screw drive? If so how does it perform, speed/sharpness?
02-27-2016, 07:18 AM   #14
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When I started on my LGA adventure, I had a simple rule. Primes needed to fit a purpose and be significantly faster than my zooms.

Consider, my base kit for my DSLRs is the following

Sigma APO 10-20/4-5.6EX DC, Tameron X-RAY Di 28-75/2.8, sigma APO 70-200/2.8 EX and a gap filler of the Pentax FAJ 18-35/4-5.

Except the 10-20 all were full frame lenses.

My primes, all MF (because when I use them I am on my time not rushing to fit my hobby into another activity where I am not in control of the activities etc...) are typically F2.0 or faster below 100mm

I began by k mount primes but started also collecting the odd M42 to fill the gaps, until I eventually had both a K mount and M42 mount set of lenses, K mount from 8mm through 400mm, and M42 from 16-300mm all primes with the shortest lens in each range a fisheye.

For me, primes are specific use lenses, either low light or artistic, hence my decision to go for fast primes, many of the M42 lenses are also presets with round at all aperture irises that also give different rendering of the out of focus range.

But the logic was to not have duplicates of many lenses. (I still do, because some lenses are so cheap I puck them it just to play a little)

When I look at the OPs list yes he has way too much overlap. He needs to sell off about 60 % of the lenses keeping only a few.

I would start with making a kit to cover the focal length ranges with perhaps a maximum of 3 lenses, pick the best for that coverage, after really trying all of them seriously , and sell off the rest.
02-27-2016, 08:09 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Joshua A Quote
Don't tempt me, for I am weak to the melody of GAS.
OK, I'm still hoping someone will explain the term "GAS" to me -- I'm always shopping around for a new addiction, and it sounds like it might be some variant of LBA (?).

QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
When I started on my LGA adventure,
OK, OK, now what is "LGA" ???
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