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07-24-2017, 04:36 PM - 1 Like   #1
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K1 Lens Choice: 43mm? 28-120? Some other normal lens?

I'm making a leap of faith here, trading off my beloved Fuji X system to buy into a K1. The Fuji was just about a perfect travel camera, and back when my wife hated her job we traveled a lot. Now, we don't travel so much, and I'm looking for a camera for more deliberate work, instead of something to throw in a bag and carry around for 14 hours. So the folks on GetDPI convinced me a modern full-frame made more sense than a decade old Hasselblad, and *poof* - here I am. I'm hoping the system is up to 40" prints from a single exposure when I do everything right - the X topped out at around 30" when I did a photomerge...

Anyway, I've found a K1, 100mm macro, 31mm, 77mm, and a 50/1.8 to get started. That should do just about everything in the short term while I work on learning the kit and re-acquainting myself with the SLR world. I'm still thinking about the optimal normal lens though, and I am seeing mixed messages in past discussions and in the occasional photo that looks off.

So I'm asking the experts for help.

My favorite normal lens ever was the Konica M-Hexanon 50mm F2 (for the Hexar RF system), which none of y'all have probably ever used. 50mm Summicrons draw pretty nicely, but I'm not necessarily looking for a Leica knock-off - I like buttery bokeh, but something like the Hasselblad 80mm Planar would create images that were just terribly striking, even if the bokeh was a little off on occasion.

What I don't want is something that takes out of focus highlights and creates terribly distracting designs with them, like some Nikon lenses I won't name have been known to do. Well-drawn subject, smooth transitions, and backgrounds that are (ideally) pleasing or (at least) not distracting. With the added requirement that my best images might get printed BIG, so focus/sharpness might really matter sometimes.

So maybe the 43mm? Or is there a 50 (even a Sigma) that does this better? Or is the 28-120mm zoom just that good? I don't particularly like zooms, but it would certainly be convenient at times as a walk-around lens...

What say the experts? If the answer was not "buy them all," which one would you commit to if you knew you were going to have to stick with it for a few years?

07-24-2017, 06:09 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Derek Zeanah Quote
Or is there a 50 (even a Sigma) that does this better?
Welcome to the forums Derek.

I won't claim to be an expert, but will give you an option to consider. I'm a big fan of Zeiss lenses, and one of our members makes me look quite tame. He's been busy converting the Zeiss ZF lenses to K mount and has recently undertaken adaptions of the new Zeiss Milvus lenses. The last post on this page: Carl Zeiss T* ZK mounts (Distagon, Planar, Makro-Planar) - Page 56 - PentaxForums.com shows some images captured with the Milvus 50/1.4 It looks to be an improvement on the earlier Zeiss 50/1.4 so you won't need to have concerns about the resolution achievable when printing big. Another option might be the pending release D-FA 50/1.4 from Pentax. It could be good, and will be weather sealed and AF so if you're okay with being patient that might be the lens for you.

Whatever you end up with I hope to see some of your work posted around these here part.

Tas
07-24-2017, 06:17 PM   #3
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Welcome!

I'm not much of a zoom person either, and having said that the 43 is one of my favorite lenses having used it on film and digital. As far as print size is concerned, I've got a 36" print from the 43 on the K10D and it is stunning. On the K1 you should have no trouble at 40".
07-24-2017, 06:21 PM   #4
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If your looking for a high quality 50mm (and if you don't mind waiting in Pentax time) Pentax is releasing a new D FA 50mm f/1.4 full frame lens (when? Who knows)

07-24-2017, 07:23 PM   #5
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The 43 is my favorite AF normal on the k-1. The 28-105 has a really nice rendering, is sharp enough and very light. The two together would be a fantastic travel combo, but I don't think you can go wrong with either.
Here's a couple sample photos-
The 28-105 has very smooth bokeh:


Here's a shot from the 43 with a busy background.


If I had to pick one and commit..... jeez that's hard. The zoom is so versatile and very good. But I would probably go with the 43, it's just such a pleasure to use with the K-1.

Last edited by ChatMechant; 07-24-2017 at 07:28 PM.
07-24-2017, 07:24 PM   #6
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As a walk-around zoom, the DFA 28-105 is amazingly good. It's a great "foundation" on the K1, to which you can add selected primes to suit your preferences.
07-24-2017, 07:29 PM   #7
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The DA* 55/1.4 is supposed to have very good bokeh, and be compatible with full-frame. IIRC, some have reported vignetting at wider apertures, and that removing or replacing the hood helps.
07-24-2017, 08:57 PM   #8
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Another vote for DFA 28-105, it's a great walk-around lens. I myself am waiting for the new DFA 50 1.4, for now using DA 50 1.8 (plastic fantastic) and few older manual ones (Pentax A 50 1.4 and helios 58 2), both I like very much, but I don't know if they are up to a high standard you're looking for (others can probably chime in on that). I'm also quite new to pentax system, switched from Olympus with their mft system, quite happy here with my k-1)

07-24-2017, 10:07 PM - 2 Likes   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cthulhugan Quote
The DA* 55/1.4 is supposed to have very good bokeh, and be compatible with full-frame. IIRC, some have reported vignetting at wider apertures, and that removing or replacing the hood helps.
I think we need to put this vignetting thing to rest. Photozone's historical tests of the DA*55 have it vignetting less than the FA50 and the FA31.

I think it's a great lens, WR, nine curved aperture blades, silent but slow focusing, a Jun Hirakawa design - one of his last for Pentax. Here it is on the K-1, with a softbox camera right.


Last edited by clackers; 07-24-2017 at 10:38 PM.
07-24-2017, 10:26 PM - 2 Likes   #10
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Another vote for the DA*55. These are all on the K-1 with the hood *on*

Slightly rotated here for a level horizon - so a tiny crop.



I had at least as much to drink is the subject



Probably a bit of rotation here too, so the absolute corners may be cropped



It even works for hand held selfies



Wide open in very low light



You still need a FA43 to complete the set though

QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
I think we need to put this vignetting thing to rest. Photozone's historical tests of the DA*55 have it vignetting less than the FA50 and the FA31.

I think it's a great lens, WR, nine curved aperture blades, silent but slow focusing, a Jun Hirakawa design. Here it is on the K-1, with a softbox camera right.
Looking objectively, there's quite significant vignetting in that shot. Subjectively, who cares?

Last edited by Sandy Hancock; 07-24-2017 at 10:52 PM.
07-24-2017, 10:50 PM   #11
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For the low prices it commands these days, I'd also try out the F50/1.7 if I were you. Great lens.
07-25-2017, 03:13 AM   #12
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The 43mm has a very pleasant angle of view on an FF body; it is indeed a true normal lens for the 35mm system. The 43 Limited is fantastic lens. Its weakness is corner performance wide open. The rest is magic......
07-25-2017, 04:33 AM   #13
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Thanks, guys. Everything you're showing me looks marvelous, so I'm impressed with the number of options available:
  • People love the 43mm and it draws well
  • The 28-120 is a solid performer
  • The DA 55mm has some vignetting sometimes, but not a distracting amount

But the renditions of that Milvus lens have my mouth watering. Does the AF work once it's converted to Pentax mount, or is it manual focus only? AF would be nice in most situations. Of course, then I need to be able to justify that sort of cost for a simple normal lens, but still...

---------- Post added 07-25-17 at 04:39 AM ----------

Never mind - it looks like the Zeiss are MF only. Still, they look compelling. Lloyd Chambers: ZEISS Milvus 50mm f/1.4 and 85mm f/1.4 Anchor a Gorgeous New Lens Line - LENSPIRE - The new ZEISS photography platform

As compelling as a 28-120 and a 43mm with some money left over? That's a tough question. I'm not sure I can justify that lens right now.
07-25-2017, 04:51 AM   #14
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I'm late to the party, but here goes.

QuoteOriginally posted by Derek Zeanah Quote
I'm hoping the system is up to 40" prints from a single exposure when I do everything right - the X topped out at around 30" when I did a photomerge...
Pixel shift will help tremendously for this. I believe you've selected a good camera for your needs.

QuoteOriginally posted by Derek Zeanah Quote
Anyway, I've found a K1, 100mm macro, 31mm, 77mm, and a 50/1.8 to get started.
For some people, instead of "to get started" that kit would be the holy grail You'll be well set!

QuoteOriginally posted by Derek Zeanah Quote
What I don't want is something that takes out of focus highlights and creates terribly distracting designs with them, like some Nikon lenses I won't name have been known to do. Well-drawn subject, smooth transitions, and backgrounds that are (ideally) pleasing or (at least) not distracting.
You have come to the right place (and have the right lenses for this). The 31 and 77 are particularly well known for this. The 100 macro (is it a recent version? FA or DFA?) also. Your 50 will not be in the same league as the others but good ni its own right.

QuoteOriginally posted by Derek Zeanah Quote
So maybe the 43mm? Or is there a 50 (even a Sigma) that does this better?
The 43 will deliver great results also. The FA50 would be a good choice too,it's known for great bokeh. Stay away from the F50 F1.7, even though I love it its bokeh is busier. There's a DFA 50 coming this year, expect it to be amazing for this, but the character of the FA Limited is difficult to beat. The DA40 is also very good, and even though it's not officially a FF lens it does work.

QuoteOriginally posted by Derek Zeanah Quote
Or is the 28-120mm zoom just that good?
The 28-105 is pretty good, but not in the same league as what you own already. The DFA 24-70 might get close, although it's not "as good" regarding bokeh. It has other perks, like WR, AF speed, etc. The main drawback with the lenses you have is that even though they are stellar optically (or, should I say, "artistically") they do not pack the most recent technologies.
07-25-2017, 07:50 AM   #15
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I would look hard at the DA*55 as mentioned and/or the DA40XS.
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