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10-23-2008, 04:53 PM   #1
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Fa 35/2 - da 40/2.8 - fa 43/1.9

I started a quest of getting a prime. $400 Max price tag (new or used).

I want a decent low light performer for indoor events that occur both during the day and at night with limited lighting. Indoor gyms, plays, birthday parties, etc...

FA 35/2 is getting harder to find, but still can be for $300 or less. Great reviews, cheaper plastic build, okay speed.

DA 40/2.8 can be found also for under $300. Excellent across the entire board of specs, but is it too slow at F/2.8??? This would be my first choice out of the 3, but the 2.8 has me really concerned I won't be happy with the low light performance.

FA 43/1.9 has many posts about it's "greatness". Although it has the fastest rating at F/1.9 the 65mm equivalant has me concerned about group portrait shots as it gets closer to a short tele.

I have ruled out Sigma's 30/1.4. Although it really meets my needs by specs, $400 on it seems too much for a "chance" of a good copy and soft corners, vignetting, etc...

I have a K10D & 2 lens kit, but really only have been using my Tamron 18-250. My Brother-In-Law's wedding really struck home that my Tammy isn't fast enough in a church like setting during the day.

Any help? My main issue is getting a fast enough lens that isn't too long.


Last edited by mwcfire; 10-23-2008 at 05:14 PM.
10-23-2008, 05:25 PM   #2
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FA35/2 would be my recommendation, and is what I chose when faced with a similar decision over a year ago. I would make the same choice again today.

The 40/2.8 and 43/1.9 may well be "better" lenses overall, but for me:

- f/2.8 is just not fast enough for a normal-ish prime
- 43mm is not a versatile for my usage, and the Ltd is more expensive
10-23-2008, 05:49 PM   #3
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Fa35

I currently have both the FA35 and DA40 ...

If it helps you at all, my leaning towards selling the DA40 because it really doesn't do anything my FA35 can't do, except its smaller.

I can't decide which produces the nicest shots, but I feel like the FA35 is sharper.

Paul
10-23-2008, 05:55 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by mwcfire Quote
DA 40/2.8 can be found also for under $300. Excellent across the entire board of specs, but is it too slow at F/2.8??? This would be my first choice out of the 3, but the 2.8 has me really concerned I won't be happy with the low light performance.
I had the same concern. My experience since getting the lens early this year is that it almost always *is* fast enough. This is especially true since upgrading from the DS (no SR) to the the K200D. 1/20" is a perfectly safe shutter speed with the DA40, and most interiors are lit well enough to allow this at ISO 400. Sometimes ISO 800 is required, and really, it is extremely rare that there isn't enough light to shoot to get 1/20"at f/2.8 with ISO 1600.

Here's one at f/2.8 where I got to 1/20" using ISO 560:


Here's one at f/2.8 where it would have taken ISO 1600 to get 1/20". But since my subject was still life, I didn't mind shooting 1/15", so I actually did this at ISO 1100:


10-23-2008, 06:05 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
1/20" is a perfectly safe shutter speed with the DA40
not when you are dealing w/ people
10-23-2008, 06:25 PM   #6
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I've had a bad case of the LBA lately and I ended up with all three of these lenses plus the FA 50 F1.4. I'm just going to comment about their color differences. My FA 35 has a greenish/yellowish cast. The FA 43 is a little too warm. I like the color of the DA 40 the best. But in the end I've decided I don't need them all. I'm kind of inclined to keep the FA 35 F2 and the FA 43 F1.9 for now. If you decide to buy the DA 40 send me pm. It's in mint condition and I'll give you a deal that you'll be happy with.
10-23-2008, 06:41 PM   #7
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although the FA43 is the fastest amongst your group of three, it performs the worst wide open of all the three lenses you've listed. sharp center, but pretty blah in the corners. even at f2.8, the DA40 is better. the FA43 does have some interesting rendering that other people extol, i've noticed it here and there but not conclusively, but i think it is the most contrasty (gives the most 3d-ish look) of the 3 FA Limiteds.

the FA35 is quite the sharp lens. the only negative is it's sometimes harsh bokeh, but if you don't really look hard for it (the differences are quite subtle). i've sold off an FA35 because i really disliked the build but i know most people aren't as picky. once you go limiteds, hard to go back.

for your situation, i'd go for the FA35
10-23-2008, 06:49 PM   #8
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Original Poster
Thank you so much for the input everyone. I appreciate the replies and opinions!

10-23-2008, 06:57 PM   #9
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The question that comes to mind is one of FOV and distance to subject. If you are confident that the 40/2.8 is short enough for interior shots, then it might be a good option. As for the issue of f/2 vs. f/2.8...Think of it as 1/45s vs. 1/30s.

Edit: The difference between f/2 and f/2.8 is really 1/60s vs. 1/30s (one full stop/twice the light).

With the 30/2:

What you gain:
  • 1 stop faster lens
  • More usable manual focus
  • A little better optical performance
  • FF compatible
  • Backward compatible to Pentax film cameras
  • A tendency to some CA

What you lose:
  • Excellent "Limited" construction
  • Compact pancake form factor
  • $40 extra dollars

With the 40/2.8

What you gain:
  • Quick-shift manual focus
  • Mostly metal construction
  • Compact pancake form
  • $40 dollars in your wallet
  • Significant vignette

What you lose:
  • 1 stop lens speed
  • Some sharpness
  • FF and film camera compatibility
  • Usable manual focus control

Now...The big question that comes to my mind is why the FA 50/1.4 is not on the short list. Come to think about it, if f/2.8 is acceptable, how about the Tamron 17-50/2.8? It can be had for about $400.

Steve

(Very happy owner of the FA 35/2...)

Last edited by stevebrot; 10-23-2008 at 07:23 PM. Reason: Corrected f/stop difference
10-23-2008, 06:57 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by deejjjaaaa Quote
not when you are dealing w/ people
Exactly. Too slow a speed for people shots.
I've owned all these lenses and the FA50. I only sold them for funding reasons and am slowly looking hard at which ones I want back again.

I have gotten another FA50 1.4 That was the first priority.
The second lens was a Sigma 28mm f1.8.
The next and last will be the 43mm Limited.

The 43mm is a great lens and I liked it over the 40mm by far. Even wide open this is a lens you can work with and stop it down to just f2 and the IQ is fine.

The 35mm f2 is a fine lens but between the 2 the 43mm is the winner.

But don't base you purchase on speed. Any of these lenses wide open have such a limited DOF that you may not be happy with the resulting images. The left eye could be in focus when the right eye is soft. Or the eyes are sharp and the nose is soft etc. You need to stop down a little for a portrait. If it's that dark, you need to either crank up the ISO and learn to shoot clean images that way or get a flash.

As for length, a slightly longer lens is my preference for portrait work. I like having some distance from my subjects so that they relax more. I've shot portraits on APS-c with a 105mm and a 135mm (equal to a 160mm and 200mm in FOV). If you are shooting group shots more than individual portraits, then you need a DA*16-50mm. You need a wide lens for group shots unless you have a ton of space to work in.
10-23-2008, 07:09 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
As for the issue of f/2 vs. f/2.8...Think of it as 1/45s vs. 1/30s.
f/2.0 is actually a whole stop faster than f/2.8, i.e. 1/60s vs. 1/30s.
10-23-2008, 07:21 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by RBellavance Quote
f/2.0 is actually a whole stop faster than f/2.8, i.e. 1/60s vs. 1/30s.
Right you are. I will edit my entry...

Steve
10-23-2008, 09:07 PM   #13
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to the OP,

If you're lookin' for a good all-round walk around lens for your kit, have you considered the 17-70 Pentax or Sigma? They both go down to f/2.8 IIRC (please verify), take some very crisp pictures, are in your price range, and are considerably more versatile than a prime. The Pentax lens is also SDM so it will be quick & silent.

As for the primes you listed, I like the 35mm f/2 for it's sharpness, but the 40mm produces some beautiful colors, bit soft for my taste, but I'm very picky.
10-23-2008, 09:20 PM   #14
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The Pentax 17-70 is F4 if i remember correctly..
10-23-2008, 10:50 PM   #15
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The Pentax 35mm f2.0 lives on as the Schneider D-Xenogon.

Still full-frame, far as I can tell.
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