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03-14-2017, 05:21 AM   #1
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Suggestions for a new Prime Zoom

Hi All,

Iím looking to add a prime zoom lens to the arsenal for my K-30 & wanted to get some insight from the experts before I make any purchases. I don't want to spend a massive amount of money (sub £400 unless itís absolutely worth it) & am looking for something around 100mm to 135mm. What is the preferred lens for what I am after? I read good things about the Samyang 135mm F2.0, but when I checked on their website it doesn't look like it comes with a Pentax mount.

The main purpose of the lens will be mountain photography, both with & without a tripod. Hence a low F stop is a must.

Any thoughts / suggestions would be welcome.

Thanks,
Ducky

03-14-2017, 05:29 AM   #2
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A prime and a zoom are two different things. A prime is mostly used to mean a lens with a fixed focal length, whereas a zoom has variable focal length. From your description I gather you are looking for a prime tele lens.

I personally have had a few prime lenses in this range (esp in the 135mm focal length), though I cannot presume being able to offer an exhaustive overview. I can confirm the Samyang 135/2 is excellent. I have it and use it frequently on my K-3II. It is my current preference in this focal length (just before the 135mm end of Pentax's own excellent DA*50-135/2.8). And yes, it is available in Pentax K-mount. I used a few older second hand manual focus Pentax 135mm lenses before (the best being the Pentax SMC 135/2.5), but the Samyang betters them all.

I believe most lenses in the 100mm range are macro lenses, at least most lenses I'm aware of for Pentax. Although these have their merits, they may or may not perform as well at "normal" focusing distance and at wider apertures. Generally macro lenses are optimized first for short focusing distance and considerably stopped down aperture, both of which are typical of macro photography. Normal usage comes in a second place only, so it may not be optimal in some.

I would go for the Samyang if you don't mind the manual focus.

hth, Wim

Last edited by Ishpuini; 03-14-2017 at 08:04 AM.
03-14-2017, 05:41 AM   #3
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Thanks for your reply & for correcting my terminology. Yes it is a prime telephoto that I am after. Unfortunately I would definitely require auto focus. Apologies for not mentioning that earlier. I didn't realize that the Samyang lens was a manual focus. Any other options after taking that in to account?
03-14-2017, 05:42 AM   #4
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I think the term you're looking for is telephoto. Something strong @ around 100mm isn't tough if you want macro. If not macro, it's not as easy to get without spending a lot like on an 85mm. You might find an FA135 used for a reasonable price, but you're going to wait a while for that, I think. If you want manual lenses, there are plenty of 135ish lenses from the film era, many of which are quite good. You'll want a hood and need to practice your exposures, but they're readily available.

03-14-2017, 05:49 AM   #5
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I will translate what I think you are saying...

>>> You want a Prime Telephoto lens. <<<

As you know, a zoom lens is any lens that can change focal lengths and therefore "zooming" in or out. This is where the slang for ZOOM lens comes from. In some circles, (mostly video people) a Zoom is any lens that is "Telephoto". This is why some people call a telephoto lens a "zoom" lens.

You have a lot of options in the prime and telephoto range.

Here is the Samyang you were looking for.

As a Pentax Fan.. I have to draw your attention some awesome options you have.

SMC FA-135mm 2.8
SMC F-135mm 2.8
SMC A-135mm 2.8
SMC M-135mm 2.8

Macro Primes
SMC FA-100mm Macro 2.8
SMC F-100mm Macro 2.8
03-14-2017, 05:56 AM   #6
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Thank you for all your replies. Yes it is a telephoto prime that I am after. Apologies for the confusion. One important point that I didn't mention is that autofocus is a definite requirement for me so I don't think the Samyang lensí are an option.

Just thought I would also point out that the lens would be used for mountain & climbing photography.
03-14-2017, 06:04 AM - 1 Like   #7
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The FA135/2.8 has great image quality, super fast AF, a nifty built-in hood, and is tiny. I can not think of a better autofocus telephoto prime to take to the hills.

Can someone remind me why I sold mine?
03-14-2017, 06:17 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
The FA135/2.8 has great image quality, super fast AF, a nifty built-in hood, and is tiny. I can not think of a better autofocus telephoto prime to take to the hills.

Can someone remind me why I sold mine?
Probably because you bought a FA*-85mm

03-14-2017, 06:55 AM   #9
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It's not as long, but the DA 70mm might be worth considering. The pancakes are really nice for this kind of work. Plus, you can get used copies readily for around $300.
03-14-2017, 07:02 AM   #10
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I use the DFA 100mm macro wr as a general telephoto lens probably at least half of the time I use that lens. I know the theory about what is optimized and for what, but I like it a lot as a general telephoto. It's a focal length that for me works really well for concert closeups and some indoor sports. You could probably find a previous F or FA version for less money, I believe they're optically identical. And having a macro lens may expand the kinds of pictures you can take in the mountains. Also the DA 70 is lovely.
03-14-2017, 08:11 AM   #11
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Are you not considering zoom lenses because of size? Price wise - Tamron 70-200 2.8 is an excellent value, and is optically great. Probably cheaper than most higher end prime telephotos) It is pretty big though
03-14-2017, 08:24 AM   #12
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I would not exactly describe the FA 135/2.8 as "tiny", unless compared with the current monsters in other platforms and their huge front elements. I don't think I've even seen any F 135/2.8's around worth speaking of. Right now it's the most modern 135mm Pentax AF lens in town, and IIRC it has all the program-line/MTF goodies that the digital bodies need to work their best magic (don't know about distortion correction; I think you have to wait for DA-class lenses for that). I have one and I love it, but of course I would not trust it out in the open if there was even the tiniest hint of rain.

I have not used the 100/2.8 Macro for concert work, as when I reach for a telephoto for that I feel I need the extra 35mm reach, and I don't want the racking all the way to minimum that happens if it misses focus with the K-5 (YMMV; I know what I need in my particular venues).

But its WR counts in its favour, as does the macro capability if you find some particularly pretty flower or fascinating insect on your travels, and at one point it was the ONLY lens I had that I could take out into the wet with my K-5 (which is why I bought the 18-135). It is pricey new, but a lot of users count it unofficially as an honorary Limited lens because of its quality. The hood is massively long, but reverses nicely onto the barrel (though it completely covers the focusing ring in this position) and intrinsically provides a lot of protection to the front element, especially at non-macro focusing distances.

(Be aware, of course, that if you ever move to the K-1 you will immediately lose a good deal of that tele effect - but from everything I've read, the focus performance of the D-FA MARKEDLY improves. If you were to shoot it on crop, you would get the field of view back & effectively have almost as many megapixels as with your K-30, but with a much higher density of focus points and significantly improved shake reduction as well as better AF control.)
03-14-2017, 08:49 AM - 1 Like   #13
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Seems like the Pentax 100/2.8 Macro would be ideal. There's also the Tamron 90/2.8 Macro, which is slightly wider but can often be found for less money than the Pentax.

The negative of shooting landscapes and long distance with a macro lens is the AF is usually slower than with a non-macro lens. The positive aspects are macro lenses are very sharp edge-to-edge, and you don't need to switch lenses to shoot a distance landscape and then a close-up of that interesting insect that just crawled on your foot.
03-14-2017, 11:26 AM   #14
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One more. One of the biggest surprises for me on the DaF 100mmF2.8 was bokeh. Truly creamy... Aside from the sharpness of the subject, the out of focus aspects of this lens are top notch..
03-14-2017, 11:42 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
Seems like the Pentax 100/2.8 Macro would be ideal. There's also the Tamron 90/2.8 Macro, which is slightly wider but can often be found for less money than the Pentax.

The negative of shooting landscapes and long distance with a macro lens is the AF is usually slower than with a non-macro lens. The positive aspects are macro lenses are very sharp edge-to-edge, and you don't need to switch lenses to shoot a distance landscape and then a close-up of that interesting insect that just crawled on your foot.
If I'm taking a single lens with me that's the one more often than not. In fact if I could own just one lens that would be it. The best shots I've ever captured to date have almost all been with the D FA100WR as it's amazingly adaptable to lots of shooting situations. Can't imagine ever parting with mine.
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