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05-19-2016, 11:36 PM - 1 Like   #1
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K-1 starting lenses

Hi All,

It's been recommend that I pick your brains here. I'm planning a K-1 purchase, but being new to the pentax ecosystem I need to choose some lenses to start off with.

First things first, about me. I do a little bit of everything. I'm a hobbiest so i'm not going to spend huge amounts of money on a single lens. I tend to focus more on portraits (humans and animals). The fuzzy ones take a little more ambushing/timing. I currently use a Nikon D40x (APS-C, 1.5x crop for those who don't know nikon). In my DX lens line up I've gravitated to primes. I started with the 2 kit lenses (18-55, 55-200) and have since added a 35mm and a 105mm. My most used of those is the 35mm prime, which would ~52mm on FF. I do (once a year) visit a local comic con. That's the 55-200 zoom get's it's most use.

I'm undecided if I want to go all primes or a mixture of primes and zooms. My total budget for lenses is $2,000. That's not a hard and fast number but I don't want to exceed it by too much.

Here are possible combinations that I'm considering.

Combo 1:
  • 31mm ltd/43mm ltd/sigma 35mm art (1 of these)
  • Sigma 85mm
~$1,900 +tax

Combo 2:
  • D-FA 24-70mm
  • 85-105mm prime (sigma 85/sigma 105/tamron 90/D-FA 105, again just 1 of these)
~$2,100 +tax

Combo 3:
  • 31mm ltd/43mm ltd/sigma 35mm art (1 of these)
  • Tamron 70-200mm
~$1,700 +tax

Honorable mention:

During my hunt through the lens review database, I saw reviews for the Cosina 55mm f/1.2. It's completely a irrational infatuation but that bokeh... Actually, one of the lenses that was on my short list if I stayed with Nikon was the Nikkor 105mm DC. It produces this wicked creamy bokeh (at the sacrifice of some sharpness) and the cosina reminds me of that.

If you guys/gals have any other suggestions/recommendations, I'm all ears.

Some example of my work.

This is my dog. She's the subject of many of my photographs.


This is my gf's cat. She goes on walks. which really means just down the block and back. Also a subject of many pictures, albiet more ellusive.


05-19-2016, 11:57 PM   #2
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Can you work with manual focus? If so, I'd recommend going for the DA 28-105mm as your walkaround lens (it really is quite good, believe it or not) and the Samyang 35mm F1.4 and 85mm F1.4 primes. All for less than the combos you've listed (<$1200) You might even have some money to spare for the 70-200mm, or the Cosina, or the 105mm!

Another lens that's worth getting (IMO) is the DA 50mm. Not designed for full frame, but it works fine and is under $100, with AF.

Adam
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05-20-2016, 12:50 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Creamy bokeh with Pentax FA-100mm 2.8 (around $200 on ebay)
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05-20-2016, 01:53 AM   #4
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If you like portaiture and creamy bokeh you realy should look at the Fa 77 limited. Here at the forum it recently won a popularity contest for best ever pentax lens. Check out the fa limited club in the lens club section. The pentax 43ltd and 100macro also seem to be shining on the k1.

05-20-2016, 02:16 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by serothis Quote
If you guys/gals have any other suggestions/recommendations, I'm all ears.
You have an excellent list of suggested lenses to start with. Your budget is very reasonable too.

Based on your shooting requirements/style, if I had to choose one lens, it would be the 24-70 f2.8 (Combo two minus the prime). The lens is pretty hefty in size but serious quality glass.

FYI, my current collection of lenses includes the 31, 43, 77, DFA 100 and F50 macro and the Tamron 70-200 along with some old M42 and K-mount manual lenses . They are all five star lenses IMHO. On My K3 my most used lenses were the 43 and the 70-200.

I did own the Sigma 85 f1.4 in my Canon days. It is a spectacular lens which the Pentax 77 matches in image quality albeit a little slower (but much more compact).

If you wanted to go compact and very light, 43 and 77 or Sigma 85 (Combo one) would be my recommendation. If you end up doing more wide work, add the 15-30 and later on the 70-200 for longer reach.

I have contemplated letting my 31, 43 and 77 go in favor of the 24-70 as I recommended above. If I started from scratch and had not seen or used the Three Amigos, the 24-70 would have done the job for me (I had the Canon mount Tamron 24-70 and it was excellent and my most used lens). However, once you own the Three Amigos, it is hard to let them go. Zooms are so good these days and so much more practical but the compactness and extra speed of say the Three Amigos cannot be ignored either.

I feel for you. You have a list of all star lenses to choose from. You cannot go wrong with any of your listed choices. I would suggest that for starters, get the lens(es) that you would absolutely use the most.

Good luck and welcome to Pentax.
05-20-2016, 02:23 AM   #6
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K-1 + FA43: https://flic.kr/s/aHskzgd36p
K-1 + FA77: https://flic.kr/s/aHskzbYpu9
K-1 + DFA100: https://flic.kr/s/aHskzgdiPZ

As you can probably guess from the number of photos in each album, I'm using the FA43 more than any other lens. Personally, I'd advise the DFA 28-105 (mainly to get a weather sealed lens), the FA43, and the FA77. According to B&H, that would come in at about $1800. Those FA limited lens are some of the best things about pentax!
05-20-2016, 02:59 AM - 1 Like   #7
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If you want to cover more bases with the funds you have perhaps consider the following:
Tamron 28-75 f2.8 - about $300 used
Pentax DA50 f1.8 - about $125 new
Pentax DA35 f2.4 - about $130 new, or better, FA35 f2.0 - about $350 used but worth every penny - great smooth bokeh, wonderful color
Samyang/ Rokinon 14mm f2.8 (manual focus) - about $300 new - if you like architecture and landscapes
DFA28-105 WR - weather resistant lens and very sharp - great walk around range - $500
Tamron 70-200 f2.8 - about $700 new, 500 used
If you don't like wide angle as much and would rather have a super sharp macro lens, consider the DFA100 WR at $400 new. Really really nice lens and super sharp with amazing color and bokeh.

It kind of pains me that you'd be starting out without a Limited lens, which are jewels in the Pentax crown, but budgets are budgets. Maybe not right away, but you'd want to save up for one later. The DFA100 is pretty darn close to a limited build and image quality though so you'd get a sense of what Pentax lenses are about.

Also, a equivalent focal range to your 50-200 would be a 70-300 type lens. I haven't gotten around to testing the Tamron I have on the K-1 yet so I can't vouch for it's quality. On aps-c it was sharp but suffered from chromatic aberration like no other (easy enough to fix in lightroom). Another option would be to get the Pentax 55-300 - it's a dx lens, but apparently is somewhat useable in fx mode. Just use it in crop mode (16 mp) on the k1 if you prefer and it will give you a better range than your Nikon 50-200. And if you go this route, perhaps you won't need the 70-200 which is a larger heavier lens anyway...

Last edited by mike.hiran; 05-20-2016 at 03:10 AM.
05-20-2016, 04:03 AM   #8
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The 28~105mm is MUCH MORE than a "kit" or "bargain" lens. At modest apertures (f5.6~f11) the central IQ is really good. I have been pleasantly surprised. I've no personal experience with the 15~30mm, but everyone who has posted an image taken with one and commented on it has been impressed, pleased, and enthusiastically recommended the lens.

05-20-2016, 04:07 AM   #9
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I'm personaly quite astonished with the quality of the DFA 24-70. But it's a very heavy and bulky lens. I guess there is nothing wrong with starting out with the kit zoom and then later deciding what else to buy.
But considering your current use and habits, I'd recomment combo 3 with FA43.
05-20-2016, 04:16 AM   #10
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Good looking cat.

Sigma 15-30. Great starting wide angle for the K-1
05-20-2016, 04:41 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Can you work with manual focus? If so, I'd recommend going for the DA 28-105mm as your walkaround lens (it really is quite good, believe it or not) and the Samyang 35mm F1.4 and 85mm F1.4 primes. All for less than the combos you've listed (<$1200) You might even have some money to spare for the 70-200mm, or the Cosina, or the 105mm!

Another lens that's worth getting (IMO) is the DA 50mm. Not designed for full frame, but it works fine and is under $100, with AF.
I tried DA 50 f1.8 on K-1 - it covers FF (negligible vingneting at extreme corners)
05-20-2016, 05:18 AM   #12
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Welcome.

QuoteOriginally posted by serothis Quote
I started with the 2 kit lenses (18-55, 55-200) and have since added a 35mm and a 105mm. My most used of those is the 35mm prime, which would ~52mm on FF.
My advice to anyone switching is to consider what you had in the other system and what best matches it in Pentax, bearing in mind that with a shift to full-frame you will be looking at those lenses which give equivalent field of view. Fortunately the Nikon and Pentax crop factors are, if not identical, as close as makes no practical difference. So that makes comparisons easy.

Your Nikon setup translates to 28-300 full frame field of view in zooms, with a 50 and a 150mm prime, roughly speaking. It's been a long time since Pentax made a 150mm prime (manual focus film era), but the FA 135mm f/2.8 is occasionally seen secondhand, and according to the lens roadmap we may or may not be getting a new one next year depending on exactly what "short tele" turns out to mean (some say 85mm because that's what they want, others 135mm for the same reason).

IF you're happy for that 100mm to be a true 100mm and not the 150-ish FOV you had on your Nikon crop camera, the 100 WR Macro (which I own) is good... but it tends to hunt a lot if you miss focus, and it can be noisy. When it gets results, though... excellent (and one user has reported that the K-1's AF system handles this lens a lot better than its predecessors did, so this may have become a non-problem).

Pentax has the 50-ish mm zone covered with the DA50 f/1.8 (not full frame design, but seems to work OK as stated above, and is very cheap for the high quality images it gives), the FA 50mm f/1.4 (film-era but still in production), and the DA* 55mm f/1.4 (more expensive but weather sealed, although some users have reported incomplete full-frame coverage, so watch out).

If I wasn't swimming in primes of various lengths and antiquities up to my eyeballs, all of which I am happy using, I'd be considering the 28-105 as my out-the-door lens when I eventually get the K-1. Unless you go for the older F or FA zooms, some of which are very good (albeit not weather resistant), getting that 28 or rather 24 to 200mm span will cost you A LOT of money. There's reportedly been a patent filed for a 100-300mm lens which would pick up where the 28-105 leaves off, but that's going to be constant aperture (f/4) and likely also big and expensive.

Food for thought. Make of it what you will.
05-20-2016, 08:00 AM   #13
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Combo 3, toss in the 28-105 for a WR walkaround.
05-20-2016, 08:31 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Can you work with manual focus? If so, I'd recommend going for the DA 28-105mm as your walkaround lens (it really is quite good, believe it or not) and the Samyang 35mm F1.4 and 85mm F1.4 primes. All for less than the combos you've listed (<$1200) You might even have some money to spare for the 70-200mm, or the Cosina, or the 105mm!

Another lens that's worth getting (IMO) is the DA 50mm. Not designed for full frame, but it works fine and is under $100, with AF.
I don't normally manual focus. The D40x isn't really that conducive to manual focusing. I never switched out the focus screen. Live view was still new-ish feature at the time that was reserved for the higher tier models. And it doesn't any fancy features like focus peaking. So manual focusing has been a lot of guess and check. Not something I did regularly. I know the cosina I listed is a manual focus lens. What I plan to do is stick to AF for now and practice manual focusing on those. Then when i'm confident in my abilities i'll commit to a manual focus only lens.

QuoteOriginally posted by robthebloke Quote
K-1 + FA43: https://flic.kr/s/aHskzgd36p
K-1 + FA77: https://flic.kr/s/aHskzbYpu9
K-1 + DFA100: https://flic.kr/s/aHskzgdiPZ

As you can probably guess from the number of photos in each album, I'm using the FA43 more than any other lens. Personally, I'd advise the DFA 28-105 (mainly to get a weather sealed lens), the FA43, and the FA77. According to B&H, that would come in at about $1800. Those FA limited lens are some of the best things about pentax!
Wow. Thanks for these. You're making my decision that much harder to make.

QuoteOriginally posted by cmohr Quote
Good looking cat.

Sigma 15-30. Great starting wide angle for the K-1
Don't let her cuteness fool you. She likes to bite exposed toes at 4am.

QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
Welcome.



My advice to anyone switching is to consider what you had in the other system and what best matches it in Pentax, bearing in mind that with a shift to full-frame you will be looking at those lenses which give equivalent field of view. Fortunately the Nikon and Pentax crop factors are, if not identical, as close as makes no practical difference. So that makes comparisons easy.

Your Nikon setup translates to 28-300 full frame field of view in zooms, with a 50 and a 150mm prime, roughly speaking. It's been a long time since Pentax made a 150mm prime (manual focus film era), but the FA 135mm f/2.8 is occasionally seen secondhand, and according to the lens roadmap we may or may not be getting a new one next year depending on exactly what "short tele" turns out to mean (some say 85mm because that's what they want, others 135mm for the same reason).

IF you're happy for that 100mm to be a true 100mm and not the 150-ish FOV you had on your Nikon crop camera, the 100 WR Macro (which I own) is good... but it tends to hunt a lot if you miss focus, and it can be noisy. When it gets results, though... excellent (and one user has reported that the K-1's AF system handles this lens a lot better than its predecessors did, so this may have become a non-problem).

Pentax has the 50-ish mm zone covered with the DA50 f/1.8 (not full frame design, but seems to work OK as stated above, and is very cheap for the high quality images it gives), the FA 50mm f/1.4 (film-era but still in production), and the DA* 55mm f/1.4 (more expensive but weather sealed, although some users have reported incomplete full-frame coverage, so watch out).

If I wasn't swimming in primes of various lengths and antiquities up to my eyeballs, all of which I am happy using, I'd be considering the 28-105 as my out-the-door lens when I eventually get the K-1. Unless you go for the older F or FA zooms, some of which are very good (albeit not weather resistant), getting that 28 or rather 24 to 200mm span will cost you A LOT of money. There's reportedly been a patent filed for a 100-300mm lens which would pick up where the 28-105 leaves off, but that's going to be constant aperture (f/4) and likely also big and expensive.

Food for thought. Make of it what you will.
I don't really need to replace all my lenses. I found that I never really used (or liked) the 18-55. It was slow and soft. It was kind of the motivation to get the 35mm prime, which I love. The switch was very much night and day. The 105 was the Sigma 105 (non OS) macro. I preferred that over the 55-200 when I had the room to position myself. But If I didn't know if I had the room, or new I wouldn't, I would go with the zoom.

I'm leaning toward the DFA100 for now and I'll wait and see what the 100-300 offers when it materializes.

As for the Sigma 85, with rumors like https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/16-pentax-news-rumors/321561-sigma-85mm-f...continued.html. I think I'll wait and see what happens. Maybe an "art" version will come out (fingers crossed it comes in the k-mount) or the regular version will go down in price.

If people had to choose between the 24-70 vs the FA43 what would you choose. Both seem to be excellent lenses. weight isn't really a huge issue for me.

---------- Post added 05-20-16 at 08:34 AM ----------

Btw, thanks for all the respones. My life hasn't been made any easier but that's a good thing...well in this case
05-20-2016, 08:42 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by serothis Quote
If people had to choose between the 24-70 vs the FA43 what would you choose.
I have neither of these lenses, but if offered the choice with money no object, I would reach for the FA43 immediately.

Disclosure: I favour primes, I favour small packages over large, and all else being equal I tend to favour manual film body compatibility where it's on offer. These may not be your priorities.
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