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03-20-2009, 01:03 AM   #1
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A trip out west.. Time to go prime

Hey guys i'm headed back out to Tibet with the missus in a few months before i head back to Australia and am definitely in need of another lens.. well, it could be more want than need actually.

I have the DA 18-250 and as most of you will/should know the bokeh leaves much to be desired and is mostly unacceptable in low light situations, otherwise its not such a terrible lens.

I do apologise, as i have started a thread in relation to this matter some time ago, but my trip to Hong Kong fell through and circumstances have changed for me financially and i have a different idea on lens choice after a bit of research. The lens will be for what the 18-250 cannot cover such as low light, super sharp images, great bokeh on portrait shots and possibly macro. But macro is not a must, as the 18-250 can somewhat close focus.

From the cheapest to most expensive this is what i have been thinking about. The pricing is going from this HK site (except for the Tak):
Pentax - Cameras & Lenses - Tin Cheung Camera Company

Super-Takumar 55mm/1.8 or 50mm/1.4
From what i have read, i would really, really love to have the Super-Tak 55mm regardless.. but it seems to be a little too expensive on Chinese auction sites and is manual focus.

FA 50mm/1.4

FA 35mm/2.0

DA 40mm/2.8 Ltd.

FA 43mm/1.9 Ltd.

FA 50mm/2.8 Macro

As i have said, Hong Kong is not too far away and i will be heading there to buy the lens, unless, i find it cheaper on a Chinese auction site. I know the 43 limited is probably the pick of the bunch but i fear it could break the budget and the missus may not be all that happy with me spending that money on a lens at this point in time.. i know, i know i'm under the thumb

At the moment, the DA 40mm looks good, (well who's to argue.. it looks friggin cool!), but is 2.8 going to cut it in low light? I'm not all that familiar with aperture values and how fast it is in relation to my 18-250/3.5-6.3, as it is the only lens i have/owned.

Any advice greatly appreciated. And if any lenses, (Pentax or 3rd party), are left out please feel free to comment on any other worthy candidates. Cheers in advance.

Carl

03-20-2009, 01:27 AM   #2
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from the selection you posted:
DA40 stunning lens, great bokeh, very portable, great IQ, BUT not good in your case as f2,8 is not the fastest.
50/1.4 great low light, and great bokeh, but tad too long for normal use

that leaves you with gold middle road which is FA35 in this case. By all reports an excellent lens, with good bokeh, good FOV and decen speed.
BR
03-20-2009, 02:14 AM   #3
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Ok, thanks axl. Have you by any chance used this lens in low light circumstances? The DA40 that is..
03-20-2009, 02:34 AM   #4
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I did try, but it's difficult, you'll have to bump ISO to get decent shutterspeed, that's if you're shooting (moving) people or so, for static indoors it's fine. At the end of the day, I resorted to using F50/1.7 and purchased 31/1.8 mainly because 40 couldn't always deliver, I really wish it was f2 lens. It would have been 10+ out of 10. Now it's "just" 9.75...

03-20-2009, 03:20 AM   #5
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I would second axl's recommandation for the FA 35/2. You'll find it to be a very versatile lens, sharp and contrasty, fast AF and more or less a standard lens, in terms of field of view. I have one and will keep it, though I recently added the 31mm. The 35 is alsovery small and lightweight, which is an added bonus for travelling.

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03-20-2009, 04:27 AM   #6
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third vote for the FA 35/2, it's the most versatile of the bunch, and price/performance ratio is very good.
03-20-2009, 04:48 AM   #7
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I had pretty much the same requirments, but at that time the DA35 macro was not available. I chose the FA43. It is unquestionably sharper, much more contrasty, nicer bokeh and fast. 50/1.4 would be nice, but I wanted as wide as possible.

Some shots I posted recently. Exif is in the reply, YOU MAY NEED TO DO FOCUS CORRECTION. BUT, IT MAY BE MY CAMERA.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/54412-frogs-more-frogs-fa-43-a.html
03-20-2009, 05:26 AM   #8
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It is simply a choice between Da 40mm f2.8 ltd and Fa 43mm f1.9 ltd. After all, pentax has an edge in its prime lens line up.

I would stick to one of these two limited for sure.


Pentax fa 43mm ltd images

03-20-2009, 07:02 AM   #9
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+1 for the 35mm/2.0. Having the 40mm, I find that 2.8 isn't as fast as I would like, and honestly I think that 40mm or higher is a bit too long for a general purpose lens on a DSLR. The 50 has good speed but is crippled by the autofocus, which hunts much more than the 35 in my experience.

Also, the 35 is ludicrously sharp right from 2.0, and even moreso at 4.0. This is nice because it means even if you are shooting for maximum sharpness you are still at a relatively fast aperture.
03-20-2009, 07:05 AM   #10
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Thanks all for your opinion. The FA 35/2 surely seems like a crowd pleaser at the moment and i think a little wider would not go astray at all. If i had the money i'd most likely shell out for the DA 35/2.8 Macro, but then i probably don't.

pcarfan,
I did see a couple of those frog photos before, but cropped. Well the detail on those images are absolutely stunning and are possibly going to get me out of pocket! Image no. 2 is especially impressive.

roentarre,
I havn't too much experience with prime lenses, or lenses at all for that matter as i have only been breathing DSLR since May last year, but i have not been deterred in the slightest by the brand changing threads active of late. I have a alot of faith in Pentax glass and i don't doubt one of the lenses you mentioned or the FA 35/2 will not let me down.

Now its narrowed down to three lenses.. i guess its just what i can find for a decent price.

Last edited by fractal; 03-20-2009 at 07:10 AM.
03-20-2009, 07:34 AM   #11
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Since the FA31 isn't on your list I would say the 40 ltd is your best bet.
03-20-2009, 10:09 AM   #12
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No question that the FA35 is a stop faster than the DA40, and this can occasionally matter. But that doesn't make the DA40 *useless* in low light; far from it, really. If you don't mind ISO 800 or 1600, then there are very few situations where it won't give you a usable shot. And on the flip side, keep in mind that DOF is much shallower at f/2 than at f/2.8. It's hard enough to get more than one person in focus at a time with f/2.8; with f/2, it's more a question of which *part* of a single person you want in focus.

The difference in FOV between 35mm and 40mm is pretty small, but I prefer 40mm when I'm more concerned with the people in a place than the place itself. And if I'm primarily concerned about the place, 35mm still isn't wide enough. I'm currently using an M28/2.98 and the DA40 in tandem; for not that much more money, I think a K24/2.8 would also be a good choice (assuming you don't just go for a DA21). On the other hand, even the 18-250 is arguably "fast enough" for location shots at short focal lengths. Also, I do have a cheap MF 50/1.7 that I can use if it's *really* dark, but in light that bad, pictures seldom look good anyhow, and again, DOF is so shallow that you pretty much have to accept that and go for "creative/artsy" shots rather than expecting "snapshots" to come out looking particularly great. Realistically, the DA40 + popup flash is a better snapshot combo if it's too dark for f/2.8 (and I say that as someone who really dislikes using flash).

Oh, to put some numbers on things, since you indicated you were a little unsure how that worked: in a "typical" room lit only by lamps, f/2.8 and ISO 1600 might result in a shutter speed of anywhere from 1/20" to 1/60". I typically expect to shoot 1/30" and adjust as necessary in PP (I shoot RAW so there is usualy quite a bit of headroom). An f/2 lens would give you a shutter speed exactly twice as fast as f/2.8, or would allow you to use an ISO exactly half as high if you prefer that over speeding up the shutter. In any case, we're not talking about action-stopping shutter speeds either way (not that you'd be likely to get an actively moving subject in focus at f/2), but just enough to stop camera shake and freeze the ordinary motion of subjects who aren't really actively moving around.

I've posted this image often as an example of DA40 candid in low light; hopefully not *everyone* has seen it:


K200D, DA40, f/2.8, 1/30", ISO 1100

Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 03-22-2009 at 07:54 AM.
03-20-2009, 04:43 PM   #13
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Hi Marc,
I thought you'd post here. I do not fundamentaly disagree with you but...
as I said before, DA40 is an outstanding lens, for the price it can't be matched by pretty much anything for the IQ and speed of AF. However not everybody is ready to accept high ISO noise. I agree that f2.8 is very narrow when you're close to your subject, but at the same time if you are reluctant to go above ISO800 it's hard to photograph non static subjects in low light. The image you posted is looking good, but again, the subject doesn't seem to be moving all that much... As a general walkaround go everywhere lens, DA40 is fabulous, but as mainly indoor lens, I still think FA35, FA31 or FA43 would do better...
BR
03-22-2009, 08:02 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
However not everybody is ready to accept high ISO noise.
True. You often have to make a choice between high ISO and shallow DOF. I'm OK with high ISO, others may feel differently. Of course, it isn't *just* that - there are also concerns of price, size, focal length, quick shift, etc. I'm not here to convince anyone that that my choice is unquestionably the best choice for everyone; just trying to provide a little perspective on the use of the DA40 on practice.

QuoteQuote:
The image you posted is looking good, but again, the subject doesn't seem to be moving all that much...
Well, they are staying approximately the same distance from me, of course. But they are playing with a toy and are thus relatively animated. I sat next to them for several minutes waiting for moments of relative stillness, and took a couple of blurry shots along the way too.
03-22-2009, 01:47 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
.... just trying to provide a little perspective on the use of the DA40 on practice.
I understand, I'm doing just the same, you know how it goes, many people, many opinions...


QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Well, they are staying approximately the same distance from me, of course. But they are playing with a toy and are thus relatively animated. I sat next to them for several minutes waiting for moments of relative stillness, and took a couple of blurry shots along the way too.
here you said it yoursef, one don't often/always have several minutes to wait for your subject to becume relatively still, and that's when faster lenses come to play...
Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to put your opinion down here or something, I have a lot of respect for DA40 myself, I just still think that in regards to OP's needs it wouldn't be the pick of the bunch he offered...
BR
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