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04-05-2019, 01:55 PM   #1
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Favourite Lens(es)

Over the last couple of years I have accumulated quite a few (SWMBO considers it far too many!) prime lenses. Many are 50mm but there are lots of others. During a recent spell of boredom I have been playing with them and experimenting to compare the differences between the lenses of the same or similar lengths. I realised today that I tend to reach for the same lens irrespective of its' suitability for any given subject, or indeed whether or not it is any better in IQ terms than its close rivals. I have to make a conscious decision NOT to use this particular lens, as another one would be clearly more appropriate.
In my case my favourite lens is the K 50mm f4 Macro which sees a lot of use on my K3. I do not know why it is my favourite. I like to think its a combination of the build quality, IQ, focal length and the way it exaggerates certain colours, but I am not convinced. Objectively it really is no better than many of my other 50mm's, and a darn sight slower!
Back when I first started to get keen on photography I used to take pictures of places mostly, so I would not be without a 35mm (on 35mm film). As I have grown older and moved to a different part of the country I have grown away from this FL to prefer 40-45mm FF equivalent field of view for places, and now want something on the region of 70-85mm FF equivalent for pictures of things, which I now take more and more of.
Anyway I thought it would be interesting, and hopefully fun, to hear from fellow PF members what their favourite lens is and why they consider it to be so.

04-05-2019, 02:07 PM   #2
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One of my favorite Pentax lenses is the Pentax HD FA* 50mm f1.4. It's stupid sharp wide open up to the corners. Only negatives about this beast are its size, weight, and price. Otherwise, it's a fantastic FF prime lens.

My runner up would be the Pentax D FA* 70-200. The same negatives apply; it's ridiculously heavy and large. Add that to a K1-II wearing a grip and it becomes a full fledged monster. But, it's sharp wide open over the entire frame with relatively quick focus speeds.
04-05-2019, 02:29 PM - 1 Like   #3
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My best lens is the DFA* 50/1.4 - without a doubt. The DFA* 70-200/2.8 and DA* 300/4.0 are also magnificent optics.

But my favourite is still the FA 77/1.8 Limited - there's magic in that little jewel.

There are several others which I absolutely love though. Most of them (perhaps unsurprisingly) also have "Limited" in their name.
04-05-2019, 02:32 PM   #4
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DA70 by a hair over the 40.

04-05-2019, 03:06 PM   #5
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Day to day, I'd say my three favorite are the FA77, DA15 and K28/3.5. One or more of these three are always in my bag.
Over the past year or so, however, the nod goes to the SMCA 50/2.8 Macro, as the preferred lens for photographing
my mineral collection. It is the sharpest of all my macro lenses, tested against the Vivitar Series 1 90/2.5 and
Sigma 70/2.8 EX DG Macro among others.
04-05-2019, 03:16 PM   #6
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Moved to Pentax SLR Lens Discussion forum
04-05-2019, 03:44 PM   #7
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Well this ones harder to answer than you might think as my favourite has changed over time (due to change from APS-C to FF and new lens purchases - and just time!).

Right now my favourite lens would probably be the FA 77 1.8 Limited, closely followed by the FA31. Its small enough to always be in my bag and despite some fringing, always has a nice rendering.

That said for a long time my favourite was the FA 35 f2. Still like that focal length on FF but I have just got a FA 43 and the focal length (and rendering) are ticking all my boxes - so we will see.

Prior to FF my favourite on APS-C, was the DA70 (closely followed by FA35).
04-05-2019, 03:52 PM - 1 Like   #8
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From back in the film era I always reached for a 24mm, in the wilderness of the digital crop era I never had the same attachment to the lens, after the K1 appeared I am happily back in love with my FA* 24mm f2, the world is back as it should be.

04-05-2019, 03:53 PM   #9
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I have so many favourite lenses that it's difficult to pick a favourite

If we're talking Pentax-branded lenses, then I'd have to go with my HD DA21/3.2. It's just a lovely lens, and for a guy like me who shoots APS-C and rarely ventures below 28mm (something of a rarity, it would seem), it frequently and easily pulls me out of that zone into wider territory (even though 21mm on APS-C isn't all that wide).

If we include other brands, then I'd go with my Sigma 30/1.4 Art. It seems to divide folks, but I love it. It's like a modern interpretation of a vintage lens in terms of rendering... sharp in the centre, yet imperfect and characterful. Fussy regarding AF when not using the centre AF point, apparently, but that doesn't affect me much.

There's a bunch of other K-mount and M42 lenses I consider "favourites", plus others for different systems that aren't compatible with K-mount...
04-05-2019, 05:01 PM   #10
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I keep going back to older A series manual focus 20mm, 24mm, 50mm (1.7), and 85mm. Current fav is the 24mm, a dinky little thing!
04-05-2019, 05:23 PM   #11
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Few weeks ago i've bought, for my K-1, a new FA 43 Ltd completing the trio: 31-43-77.
I love each of them: 31 for landscape & architecture, 43 for interiors or little group of person, 77 for portraits , nature.
At the same this categories are not rigid.

There is an impoderable aesthetic dimension in theirs colour rendition, smooth tonalities transitions and tridimensional effect that reminds in some way the particular taste of certain german analog rangefinders shots...
[ I even think, without any exaggeration, it would be fair to say the reverse ! 😊 ].

The three Pentax SMC FA Limiteds really are magic, not simply a perfect travel-kit or well-manufactured lenses: they are my favourite lenses !

Best regards


Last edited by Ben-G; 05-16-2019 at 01:24 AM.
04-05-2019, 05:25 PM   #12
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The DA15 is the prime lens I find most consistently useful. Basically, if you are trying to shoot a scene inside a house that isn't enormous and you want the entire scene in the shot, it's what you need. It's great for capturing my kids interactions indoors, it's fun to play with in the city and the crazy flare resistance means it can be a fun toy for starbursts. Also, it's really small so it's not intimidating when you are shooting kids. IE they tend not to notice it and say "Daaaaaad stop taking pictures!"

The DA 35 I just got recently so I'm still getting used to it but it's SO sharp and contrasty, it makes any shot seem special. Also, I own all the green-rim DA Limiteds now except for the 21mm, and it's the one that provides the most tactile pleasure. The focusing ring is just perfect and so is the hood.

My nostalgic choice is the DA 16-45mm F4. I bought it along with my K100D over twelve years ago, it's been to the Grand Canyon, Portugal and Ireland and it's always there for me. Very reliable, consistent lens I rarely have to think about. One of these days Pentax will remake the 16-50 2.8 into something that doesn't fall apart when you sneeze and I'll have to really think about it.
04-05-2019, 06:34 PM   #13
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My favorite lens is the legendary SMC Pentax F* 300mm f/4.5 ED IF.

I purchased it new back in 1988 and was absolutely stunned by how good the image quality was. It's the lens I use most often (by a wide margin), the best lens that I own, and the most expensive lens that I own.
04-05-2019, 07:24 PM   #14
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Favorite - or, most used?

My most used lenses are the DA 18-135mm on the K-3 and the D FA 28-105mm on the K-1. They tend to live there, so that when I grab a camera, I probably have a lens on it that will work for a lot of scenarios.

However, my favorite lens is probably the SMC Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro - very sharp and good for Ebay product photos.
04-05-2019, 09:36 PM   #15
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In terms of primes, FA77, most used absolute favourite.
Followed by F-50 1.4.

Recently got myself the FA*85.
I am sure these three will be my most used favourite primes.
(Got a few other primes but hardly use them).
(Used them all on K-1)

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