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12-20-2019, 03:52 AM - 2 Likes   #1
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Five Favourite Lenses

Lee Haze has just released an interesting video listing his 15 favourite lenses for his Pentax cameras (I believe he currently uses a K-70). He also asked viewers to list their favourite five, with the reasons for their choices.


This is what I wrote in response:

1: FA 77 mm f1.8 Limited. If one does portraiture this lens is hard to beat. Like all the limited lenses it's an absolute jewel, and has beautiful rendering, as well as being sharper than a portrait lens ought to be

2: DA* 60-250 mm f4. This is a very versatile lens and works on my K-1 with some heavy vignetting in the corners but can, I understand be modified to work on full frame without this. I have had this lens some years now and unlike my DA* 300 and 16-50 lenses, has not suffered from failure of the autofocus motors.

3: DFA Macro 100 mm f2.8. This is my go-to macro lens. I also have the DFA 50 mm f2.8, a Pentax-A 50 mm f2.8 and the DA 35 mm f2.8 Macro Limited, and these are all very sharp lenses, but the 100 mm focal length is my favourite. For macro work, I normally use manual focus so hunting is not an issue. This lens is so good it really ought to be denominated a Limited.

4: DFA f3.5-5.6 28-105 mm ED DC WR. Quite a mouthful, but it's quite a lens too. This is my only new Pentax full-frame zoom lens, but I haven't found the need to buy any of the others. Like you, Lee, I prefer primes, but this zoom is light, sharp and focuses very closely. It belies the belief that kit lenses are no good.

5: FA 31 mm f1.8 Limited. This is a must have lens for APS-C and full frame Pentaxes. Though designed in the film era, it is still excellent. It may be beaten on sharpness (just) by the Sigma 35 mm Art, but its rendering is absolutely lovely. It is expensive, but it is worth every penny, in my opinion.


That's my list for now, but if Pentax ever do issue the long promised 24 mm (or even better, a 20 mm), that will become an instant favourite. In the meantime, I have recently acquired a Pentax-A 20 mm f2.8, but I have yet to use that in earnest. Honorable mentions go to the DA 16-85 mm f3.5-5.6, the FA 43 mm f1.9 Limited, and to a couple of Sigmas: the DC 8-16 mm f4.5 to 5.6 and the DC 17-70mm f2.8-4.


Apologies if similar threads have appeared in the past, but with the (slow) issue of new lenses, I thought it might be time to revisit this subject. What are your five favourite lenses (they don't have to be Pentax), and why? My definition of favourite would imply the most used lens. My own interests are mainly portraiture and flower photography, with some travel and landscape thrown in, which naturally colours my choice of lenses.

12-20-2019, 04:18 AM - 4 Likes   #2
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I only own 6 lenses, and one has been modified for some experimenting, so I guess my favourite 5 lenses are the only other lenses I own!
12-20-2019, 06:02 AM   #3
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:)

Still the same endless discussions "If I had only one lens ... ", "two lenses for everyday use", "my best three amigos", "4 lenses I will never sell" ...
12-20-2019, 06:20 AM - 1 Like   #4
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The five that are with me at the time... Lol

12-20-2019, 06:46 AM - 2 Likes   #5
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At this time I would say:

Sigma 180mm macro -- love this for around the house and garden -- sharp with great bokeh
Leitax converted Zeiss 135mm f2 -- same reasons as the Sigma
Pentax dfa 15-30 -- more of a love/hate -- am enjoying it more than I expected and really like learning to better use the wide side but absolutely hate the weight and bulk of it
Lensbaby 56mm and 85mm velvet -- really like both -- just fun lenses that have a ton of uses for garden; family portraits etc. Both sharper stopped down than people give them credit for if you want to move from effect to natural.
Pentax dfa 70-200 -- another love/hate. Incredibly sharp; really nice bokeh; love the colors; hate the weight and size so it often gets left behind
12-20-2019, 07:07 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by travelswsage Quote
At this time I would say:

Sigma 180mm macro -- love this for around the house and garden -- sharp with great bokeh
Leitax converted Zeiss 135mm f2 -- same reasons as the Sigma
Pentax dfa 15-30 -- more of a love/hate -- am enjoying it more than I expected and really like learning to better use the wide side but absolutely hate the weight and bulk of it
Lensbaby 56mm and 85mm velvet -- really like both -- just fun lenses that have a ton of uses for garden; family portraits etc. Both sharper stopped down than people give them credit for if you want to move from effect to natural.
Pentax dfa 70-200 -- another love/hate. Incredibly sharp; really nice bokeh; love the colors; hate the weight and size so it often gets left behind
Thank you. I don't have the 15-30 or 70-200, so it's interesting to see your take on them. I am tempted by the Lensbaby 85mm, and I suppose I ought to get one as they are being discontinued in K mount. I have the Sigma 180 mm f3.5 Macro, but in Nikon mount. It is very sharp with a good working distance, but it is heavy.
12-20-2019, 07:16 AM   #7
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My 4 favorite lenses are the ones in my sig. still looking for my 5th.

---------- Post added 12-20-19 at 07:19 AM ----------

By the way.... how many lenses do you have to own to have 15 favorites?
12-20-2019, 07:27 AM - 1 Like   #8
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HI Cynog Ap Brychan - the sigma 180 is ok weightwise -- if you are finding it a little on the heavy side and are considering the 15-30 or 70-200 I would definitely try to find a store where you could pick them up and feel them, attach them to your camera to see if you like the weight and heft. I find them both, but especially the 70-200 to be significantly heavier than the sigma. For me the 70-200 is tripod only.

12-20-2019, 07:52 AM - 2 Likes   #9
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My 5 favorite lenses by length:
S-M-C 17mm fisheye takumar - With a lot of light so you can stop it down so it gets sharp it produces nice images and once you figure out how to use the distortion is is fun to play with
SMC A 50mm f/1.2 - This lens made me fall in love with 50s again even on crop sensors with how it renders texture even though I didn't like any of my other 50s on crop sensors. Even wide open it is fun with the softness and in hard lighting conditions the glowyness so why not own those aspects is such situations. When stopped down it has a rendering similar to the 77ltd.
SMC 77mm ltd - got it because initially I didn't have anything between 55 and 135 and figured why not get it instead of an 85mm. Again I like how it renders texture but the colors are also really nice and does give that nice subject/background separation for that 3D effect.
Sigma 300mm f/4 APO Macro - I used this lens for a long time as my goto deep sky object (DSO) astrophotography. It is sharp and has very low distortion plus doesn't fringe or halo. Add in that it is close focusing so it give a 1:3 macro and I still like it for flower closeups. I will often have it on my camera while walking through the forest.
SMC A* 400mm F/2.8 - If you have a need for a long lens at this length and the huge slab of glass in front will do more good than harm you can't go wrong. Here is a shot I took with this lens at its worst wide open and still coming down in temperature in the most punishing type of photography that shows all of a lenses defects. Waiting for it to come to temperature and stopping down 2/3 of a stop and it is perfect. For chasing DSOs it is ideal for the big ones. Things like Andromeda will fill the frame and you can get nice framings of others as well.
12-20-2019, 08:02 AM - 1 Like   #10
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1) DA 70mm f2.4 / The most beautiful bokeh you can imagine
2) FA 31mm f1.8 / It gives you a kinda 3D effect, that makes your pictures pop
3) Sigma 10-20mm f3.5-4 / You can capture almost everything in the scene
4) DA 40mm f2.8 xs/ Great power in a compact size
5) Sigma 17-70mm f2.8-4 / All around workhorse
12-20-2019, 09:26 AM - 1 Like   #11
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Now that I'm at a keyboard, here's what I like best about my four favorites:
- Boxer: My workhorse. Willing, loyal, and reliable. Always ready to go to work and rise to a challenge. Undaunted by adverse conditions. My go-to when I don't know what to expect.
- Runner: Willing to teach me to "see outside the box" whenever I am patient enough to watch and learn. And I have much to learn.
- Geezer: Full of wisdom and understanding. Renders pictures of near objects, especially people, with a special kind of insight. Rewards effort and despises slapdash snapshooting.
- Peeper: Sharp and discerning. Opens up a new world that often is overlooked. Has never let me down.
12-20-2019, 10:09 AM - 2 Likes   #12
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D FA 150-450, DA 18-135, DA 55-300 PLM.

I own too many other lenses to even contemplate narrowing it down to 5...
12-20-2019, 11:38 AM - 1 Like   #13
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In no particular order:
DA* 55mm f1.4. Takes lovely pictures of people. The autofocus needs warming up, and there’s some CA wide open, and the hood seems unnecessarily large, as is the minimum focus distance, and I’m very happy to work around all these things.
Sigma 18-35mm f1.8. Sharp, focuses close, fast enough to use indoors. It’s heavy, and it took me a week to calibrate the autofocus with the Sigma hockey-puck gizmo, and I wouldn’t mind if it was WR, but it takes crisp images.
DA* 300mm f4. Colours and rendering are lovely. Plays well with the 1.4x TC. I’m still learning to get the best out of it but when it works it takes some of my favourite photos.
DFA 100mm macro WR. Could be sharper at f2.8-f4, but very good past that. Light and small so easy to take just-in-case. Feels lovely to use and opens up new worlds.
21mm Limited. I have the SMC version. Difficult to choose between this and the 70mm, I usually take both as my lightweight kit. Versatile in a streety/landscapey/interiorsy way and blue skies just sing with this little jewel.
12-20-2019, 11:47 AM   #14
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This is a tough one, but I will have a go at it. In no particular order:
  • Rokinon 85mm f/1.4 (because bokeh)
  • Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 (crazy wide, nothing else like it)
  • SMC Pentax 200mm f/2.5 (because bokeh)
  • SMC Pentax A 400mm f/5.6 (for when I want to reach out)
  • SMC Pentax M 28mm f/2.8 (great for street photography)
12-20-2019, 11:50 AM - 3 Likes   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sir Nameless Quote
By the way.... how many lenses do you have to own to have 15 favorites?
I currently have over 30 K mount lenses. I imagine some people on this forum have many more.
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