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03-21-2009, 04:25 AM   #1
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Help me spend my money, which would be the best group of primes?

I am looking to invest around 1000$ in lenses. I am looking mainly for a decent grouping that can decently handle portraits, minimal macro work, and scenery shots. I am currently working with a k2000 with plans to upgrade to a k20 in the very near future; I just want to invest in some glass first. I have the standard zoom type lenses, but am ready to upgrade to some quality lenses. After hours of research I've narrowed it down to the below list, and after a couple more hours I've researched to find what I feel is the best three lenses to represent the best overall versatile set of the group. Please tell me if I am on track or not before I drop this coin. I understand everyone has their own opinions on which lens is best, ect, but I just want to make sure from people that own these lenses I am not setting myself up for any overlap or spending my money unwisely. Thanks!!

List:
Fa 31mm
Fa 35mm
Fa 43mm
Fa 50mm 1.4f
Fa 50mm 1.7f
Da 21mm
Da 35mm
Da 40mm

Out of the list I have chosen:
Fa 43mm
Fa 50mm 1.4f
Da 35mm

03-21-2009, 04:32 AM   #2
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First I don't know where you are but there are price increases coming in many countries and you should act fast if you can.

The 3 you have chosen sre very good lenses and will suit your needs well. But the focal ranges are close to each other and I wonder if you really need the 43mm? It's a wonderful lens but a similar FOV to the 50mm. You might want to consider the DA21mm for landscape and scenery shooting.
03-21-2009, 04:43 AM   #3
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I have the FA 50mm and love it, but I have to say that it is a little long for indoor work. I also have the DA 35mm. Now, that is an awesome lens. Super-sharp from f2.8 and amazing close-focus capability. I have pretty much decided that my next prime will be the DA 40mm as a walk-around lens. The real question is what fits your needs and what you want to do. If you are looking for a macro lens, you may do better getting a manual focus, longer lens.



(DA 35 mm)
03-21-2009, 06:16 AM   #4
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From what many others say, you could go with either the DA 40 or FA 50/1.4 (if you need the extra couple of stops)

Then for landscape, there are a few options, with the DA 21 and perhaps DA 15 ltd leading the pack (but don't know how wide you would want).

Macro that doubles as a sharp wide-to-normal lens? DA 35 sounds like the winner there.
Have fun shopping!

03-21-2009, 06:23 AM   #5
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I realized I didnít have my location on, so I was sure to add it. I barely have any posts, but I am the type to listen more than I speak, sorry if I am too noobish. I donít really need any of the lenses or have my heart set of them. I have read that the 43 excels in portraits and also saw pcarfan's frog shots and they were amazing. That is why I chose that lens. Due to focal length similarities, I eliminated the Da40 and Fa50 1.7f. I chose the Fa50 1.4f due to its low light abilities which I feel I will be using and also for portraits. I chose the Da35 due to its excellent ratings, beautiful colors, and adaptability. Choosing the Da35 eliminated the Fa31 and Fa35.

My macro work will be minimal and nothing crazy. That is what drew me to the Da35, it is very versatile. I could use it for light macro and some everyday type shots. Would I be better off spending more money and switching the Fa43 with a Fa31? I am not sure I would use the Da21mm enough to get my money out of it.
03-21-2009, 06:56 AM   #6
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I don't disagree with that reasoning. You might want to consider 4 lenses then. Since you are in the USA, you may not feel the upward price pressure as soon as many of us.
So I'd get the DA21, DA35 and FA43mm first. Then add an FA50mm when you can. That gives you a wider lens for landscapes, an 'normal length lens that does macros and a solid portrait length lens that's fairly fast. Then add the 50 for the length and speed when you're ready.

IMO a nearly perfect kit. Of course prepare to save for a 77mm. After you use the 43mm, you'll want one.
03-21-2009, 07:13 AM   #7
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Get the 43mm and 77mm FA Limiteds, and then either the 21mm or 35mm DA Limited.
03-21-2009, 07:16 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by flydelsolsi Quote
I am currently working with a k2000 with plans to upgrade to a k20 in the very near future; I just want to invest in some glass first.
Wise move. There are operational advantages to the K20D and some features that might be useful, but any of the other bodies will take shots as good... with the right lenses.

QuoteOriginally posted by flydelsolsi Quote
I am looking mainly for a decent grouping that can decently handle portraits, minimal macro work, and scenery shots.
Despite these different requirements you have chosen lenses that only cover from 35 to 50mm, which is not a very wide range. I also note that you have selected only autofocus Pentax lenses. Would you consider other brands or manual focus lenses? This opens up a whole other range of possibilities, some of which might be less expensive.

The DA35 is an excellent lens and good for flower macros and the like. However if you prefer insects or anything that might react to your presence, you might want a longer focal length so you have more working room. In any case, it might double as a landscape lens but there are reasons I don't like it for that. First, it is impossible to manual focus from 2 feet to infinity -- it's a tiny shift of the focus ring. Second, it is not wide enough for my preference.

For landscapes I prefer a manual focus 28mm and have had good luck with the Vivitar lenses, as an extensive thread here illustrates. More often, however, I use the DA16-45mm, which is a truly excellent lens and a bargain. I note you do not include any zooms, but consider this as an upgrade to the kit lens.

Back to macro again, you may want to get the FA100/2.8 instead of the DA35. This will give you the working distance and a distinctly different focal length, useful also for portraits where you want to grab only the face. I have never used this lens because I have the Vivitar Series 1 105/2.5. But it's manual focus and you have to find it used.

If you are not that much into macro then skip a dedicated lens for now (use a reversed lens, extender or other technique) and instead get the FA77/1.8 as a great portrait lens.

This would leave either the FA 43/1.9 or the FA 50/1.4 as your "normal", also useful for full-length portraits. The former is more expensive and slower, but has a magical rendering quality I love.

All in all, as a Pentax auto-focus solution I would recommend:

DA 16-45/4 $240
FA 43/1.9 $370
FA 77/1.8 $510

Prices are taken from this forum's marketplace. Total is $120 over your budget, but you would be making no compromises with this glass.

03-21-2009, 07:51 AM   #9
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Seems you are missing DA70 and FA77 on your list
03-21-2009, 08:23 AM   #10
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It looks like my fears are correct. Perhaps I should up my budget a bit and look at 5 perhaps. I do not need only pentax branded autofocus lenses, I was just focusing on them as a starting point and then branching out from there. I know their are many other options, I just wanted to use them as a foundation for my collection and building out. The Fa77 was originally on my list, but somehow I missed it when I typed up my notes. I appreciate your time everyone for responding to me. I guess I should more or less just work on an order to purchase them in.

Looks like I should be looking at in this order:

Fa 43mm
Fa 77mm
Fa 50mm 1.4f
(k20?)
Da 35mm
Da 21mm

Which would run me about $1750... Which I could do pretty much at one shot, but then that would put me behind for getting a k20. Decisions decisions.

Last edited by flydelsolsi; 03-21-2009 at 08:24 AM. Reason: Did not complete thought
03-21-2009, 09:16 AM   #11
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Have you checked what focal lengths you use the most with your zoom lenses?
I would start by just buying one or two primes, and then expand as the need arises.
03-21-2009, 10:05 AM   #12
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I agree with Eric. It would be really useful to look at the Exif of your current photos with your kit lens. If you find you always use it at certain focal lengths, that would tell you a lot about what you need. It really helps to get one or two lenses at a time and then shoot with them a lot and then after you get used to them, add some more.

The other thing to consider, would be if rather than getting a low light 50, if you should consider an external flash. The AF 360 is about the same price...
03-21-2009, 10:20 AM   #13
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I'd be very tempted to start with the three main DA Limited primes (21, 40 and 70) and go from there. Long term, I'm still fascinated by the FA Limiteds plus the DA35. They do have overlapping focal lengths but from what I've seen images shot with them have a different look and feel.

Truth be told, I'm tempted at times to sell all of my older Pentax primes and buy the three FA Limiteds.
03-21-2009, 11:58 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by flydelsolsi Quote
Da 40mm

Out of the list I have chosen:
Fa 43mm
Fa 50mm 1.4f
Da 35mm

I have these four lenses, and the 40mm stays on my *isT DL permanently, with scant use. My K20D sees more use of the DA 35mm Ltd than the FA 43mm Ltd, and the FA 50mm f1.4 sees the least use.

If I were to sincerely recommend one of those three you have shortlisted only, it would be the 35mm f2.8 Macro Ltd. Use the remaining funds to get the 77mm f1.8 Ltd for portraiture. Stop at this point and assess your needs for any gaps that may need to be filled in, based on your comment that you have "standard zoom type lenses", though you didn't elaborate as to which ones you have specifically.

Maybe for the wide end prime get the upcoming DA 15mm f4 Ltd, but grouping the focal lengths too closely will result in a situation like mine (yes I erred) where you have 35mm, 40mm, 43mm, 50mm, and 16-45mm zoom. I use the zoom mostly followed by the 35mm, then the 43mm. The other two count as being hardly ever used.

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03-22-2009, 02:38 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by flydelsolsi Quote
I am looking to invest around 1000$ in lenses. I am looking mainly for a decent grouping that can decently handle portraits, minimal macro work, and scenery shots. I am currently working with a k2000 with plans to upgrade to a k20 in the very near future; I just want to invest in some glass first. I have the standard zoom type lenses, but am ready to upgrade to some quality lenses. After hours of research I've narrowed it down to the below list, and after a couple more hours I've researched to find what I feel is the best three lenses to represent the best overall versatile set of the group. Please tell me if I am on track or not before I drop this coin. I understand everyone has their own opinions on which lens is best, ect, but I just want to make sure from people that own these lenses I am not setting myself up for any overlap or spending my money unwisely. Thanks!!

List:
Fa 31mm
Fa 35mm
Fa 43mm
Fa 50mm 1.4f
Fa 50mm 1.7f
Da 21mm
Da 35mm
Da 40mm

Out of the list I have chosen:
Fa 43mm
Fa 50mm 1.4f
Da 35mm
I would suggest the three following:

Da 21 mm Ltd
Da 35mm Ltd
FA 50 1.4

That is if I were to have only three choices for primes.
Ben
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