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View Poll Results: Which prime is THE must-have?
31mm FA Limited 1.8 3746.25%
35mm FA 2.0 1620.00%
35mm DA Limited MACRO 2.8 1721.25%
40mm DA Limited 2.8 Pancake 1012.50%
Voters: 80. You may not vote on this poll

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08-19-2008, 02:02 PM   #16
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I've been thinking about this, and what is normal, really? I see two ways to look at it. Field-of-view, or magnification.

I think in most DSLR talk, people talk about crop factor and equivalent image to a full 35mm frame. So about 33mm lens for our 1.5 crop sensors will give you an equivalent field of view to a 50mm lens on a 35mm camera.

Going the other way, correct me if I'm wrong, but 50mm still gives you the same magnification on crop sensor cameras. And 50's fairly close to the same magnification as Mark I eyeballs. So although a cropped sensor DSLR captures a smaller portion of the image, 50mm is still normal in this sense.

So do you value equivalent field of view to full frame 50mm, or do you value "seeing as your eyes see?"

My choice is the DA35LTD, but I made this choice before I started thinking about this. Oh, and I'm going to end up with a DA40 for the portability, and probably a 50mm of some sort, to have a normal lens.

08-19-2008, 03:14 PM   #17
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QuoteQuote:
So do you value equivalent field of view to full frame 50mm, or do you value "seeing as your eyes see?"
Well, I think convention so far has been to regard a lens based on field of view, if only because magnification doesn't impact the composition of a photograph as noticeably. Not to say it isn't important, but you generally expect that if you have a 20mm equivalent lens you'll be able to get most of a room in the viewfinder, or a 300mm will let you see your kid up close on the football field.

In my case, the fast 50 just doesn't cut it if I want to take a picture of more than a corner of a building, or get more than 2 people in a picture. It works beautifully for portraits, but doesn't provide much context.
08-19-2008, 03:26 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
I don't think so. Since "normal" is generally defined as 50 mm, the ideal normal length for 1.5 crop would be 33 mm.
The perfect normal on film is 43mm which is why Pentax, and Pentax alone, bucked the trend of too-tele lenses and produced glass in this exact focal length. On APS-C normal is 28mm. Certainly one should give some latitude around that point, but I find that 24mm is a distinctly different view than 28mm and the FA31 being closer to a 32mm in actual testing is pushing the limits the other way. There is no doubt that 40mm is way off and 50mm is in another galaxy on the DSRLs.

To merge threads a moment: The only thing wrong with the DA35 Limited is that it's not 28mm.
08-19-2008, 04:11 PM   #19
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My vote goes for the DA35--for one thing I have one and like it a lot.

Why you should get it:
1. It's a lot cheaper than the 31.
2. With the crop factor, it's equivalent to 50mm on a film camera--good for walk-around.
3. While it's not the lightest weight lens on the list, it's definitely lighter than the 31.
4. It's versatile in that it can do both close-up/macro and longer distances well.

HTH,
Heather

08-19-2008, 04:19 PM   #20
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or to throw a spanner in the works,get the FA 20-35mm :-).
08-19-2008, 04:36 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by timk Quote
or to throw a spanner in the works,get the FA 20-35mm :-).
Where can I find this 20-35 prime you speak of?
08-19-2008, 04:41 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by pingflood Quote
Where can I find this 20-35 prime you speak of?
Ah a mystical shop staffed by unicorns.
08-19-2008, 05:01 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
To merge threads a moment: The only thing wrong with the DA35 Limited is that it's not 28mm.
Sorry, but it has *two* things wrong then: it's not 28mm, and it's not f/2.0 (or faster)

Mind you, if Pentax was to design a new fast prime, I'd want it to be 24mm f/2.0 (or faster). I.e. a "standard wide" equivalent, like 35mm was on 135 film.

08-19-2008, 05:05 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by pingflood Quote
Where can I find this 20-35 prime you speak of?
You laugh, but did you know Pentax once had a protoype Flexi 35mm 1:2.8 "adjustable prime" that could be set anywhere from 32 to 39mm ? Ref: M 32-39/2.8 Flexi
08-19-2008, 05:08 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by pingflood Quote
Where can I find this 20-35 prime you speak of?
I've actually found a couple of them for sale used...
KEH Camera: Pentax Auto Focus - Zoom Lenses - 20-35 F4 SMC FA AL (58) WITH CAPS 35MM SLR AUTO FOCUS ZOOM SUPER WIDE ANGLE LENS

Some more info on it...
FA 20-35/4 AL
Pentax Lens Review Database - 20-35mm F4 AL

HTH,
Heather
08-19-2008, 05:33 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by RBellavance Quote
Sorry, but it has *two* things wrong then: it's not 28mm, and it's not f/2.0 (or faster)

Mind you, if Pentax was to design a new fast prime, I'd want it to be 24mm f/2.0 (or faster). I.e. a "standard wide" equivalent, like 35mm was on 135 film.
Faster is better no doubt, but I miss this less the shorter the focal length. Often it costs double to get another stop, so there is a good economic reason not to push the envelope. Besides, the DA35 is sharp at f/2.8 whereas other lenses might need to be stopped down to be usable.

But yeah, I need as much light as possible, if only to see what I'm shooting.
08-20-2008, 03:35 AM   #27
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I have, and love, the 40. It's a perfect normal as far as I'm concerned. Yes, the "diagonal measure of the format=normal" camp will properly point out that, granting the premise, 28mm is true normal. Heck, they may even be right. But we're all (or most of us) used to a 50mm being normal and so we're all used to a slightly long normal, and the 40mm does a great job at providing that. It's just as easy, I've found, to use it for "wide" compositions as a classic 50 was, is what I'm saying.

That said, I lust after that DA35.

Can't go wrong with those two. I have no experience with the others.

Will
08-20-2008, 04:04 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by timk Quote
or to throw a spanner in the works,get the FA 20-35mm :-).
I have this lens and I have to say it gives such punchy colours, even better than my DA 21mm f/3.2 Ltd.

Can I throw in another lens into the equation: the FA 28mm f/2.8.
With the crop factor it gives the FOV of 42mm, which is close to the original 40mm pancake on 35mm film and close to the "true normal" of 35mm. Not so common but a nice lens all the same.
08-20-2008, 05:06 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by wiyum Quote
I have, and love, the 40. It's a perfect normal as far as I'm concerned. Yes, the "diagonal measure of the format=normal" camp will properly point out that, granting the premise, 28mm is true normal. Heck, they may even be right.
That sounds like a little jab and fair enough! I should point out though that my liking for smaller focal lengths does not stem from the mathematics -- that is only a justification after the fact. I like the 28mm range because it feels right, seeming to capture a natural field of view without any distortions and "strains".

When I shoot at 16mm for landscapes I like the extra width provided, for the different feeling it conveys to the eye/brain. It definitely wraps more space into the frame. Beyond that, images get too unnatural and "tricksy" for me... except for those cases where tricksy is artistically useful. But that's a minority of cases -- I get rather tired of seeing ultra-distorted images where that's the main reason for the impact.

On the other side of normal I have the FA43, which renders incredible images. But I rarely use it, because I have to find an excuse to want to shoot at that length. It is not natural at all. The FA77 is another kettle of fish. It is so far from normal it serves its own purposes.

In the past couple of weeks have been shooting a lot of 28mm and also some with the new DA35. Some 28mm images are now appearing in the thread Vivitar 28mm As FA31 Replacement? Compare this to the pictures in First Shots With DA35 Limited. Here you'll find macro and pseudo-macro shots which don't really use the field of view in the same way. That's because each time I lifted my neck to the horizon I was not as comfortable with what the DA35 was showing me.

Nothing to do with the quality of the lens. All to do with field of view.
08-20-2008, 06:19 AM   #30
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