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06-17-2009, 11:17 AM   #1
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Canon equivalents

It's time to upgrade the old Canon 350D. Waiting for Canon to release a body like the K-7 (a small semi-pro body with IS and large viewfinder for under $1500) is like waiting for a dog to meow. I don't see another Rebel as an upgrade, and the XXD line is too big. The K-7 announcement has gotten me excited about Pentax and it's beautiful lenses. I plan to make the switch in late July.

I shoot only primes, so coming over to Pentax will be an upgrade in both body and lenses (I can't afford L's, but limiteds are within reach). My current collection includes:

24mm 2.8
35mm 2
50mm 1.4
100mm 2

For people who have shot both systems, how do the pancakes (21, 40, 70) compare to the above lenses (besides being around a stop slower)? I'd like to maintain similar optical quality (the photozone results can't be compared between systems). Some of my shots with the above lenses can be found here:

Europe - a set on Flickr
May Jam - a set on Flickr

I appreciate any comments.

Adam

06-17-2009, 11:23 AM   #2
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I'm not familiar with Canon's prime lenses but keep in mind that Limiteds are Pentax finest lenses. I very much doubt they'd leave anything wanting for the Canon non-L primes.
06-17-2009, 11:35 AM   #3
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Well, the only thing wanting would be speed, but I'm willing to give up a stop for the size. Cameralabs did a video review of the 40/70 and the editor mentioned that handling the pancakes can be awkward because there's nothing to grab (the part of the barrel that you would normally support moves with AF). Do pancakes require 2 hands on the body? That seems a bit uncomfortable.
06-17-2009, 12:09 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Photong Quote
Well, the only thing wanting would be speed, but I'm willing to give up a stop for the size.
Don't discount the FA Limited (31/1.8, 43/1.9, and 77/1.8). While not "pancake", they are not bulky at all.

06-17-2009, 12:20 PM   #5
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I think my biggest problem with going Pentax will be controlling LBA. I'm a sucker for primes. I'm thinking of starting off with the pancakes because I can actually afford them (well, I need to sell my guitar and bicycle first). Does anyone find the 40 too long as a normal? The 31 would make a perfect normal if it weren't so expensive. If they'd only release the DA 30.
06-17-2009, 12:25 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Photong Quote
I think my biggest problem with going Pentax will be controlling LBA. I'm a sucker for primes. I'm thinking of starting off with the pancakes because I can actually afford them (well, I need to sell my guitar and bicycle first). Does anyone find the 40 too long as a normal? The 31 would make a perfect normal if it weren't so expensive. If they'd only release the DA 30.
take a look at the FA 35/2 and the DA limited 35/2.8 macro .... the 35/2 is an excellent lens from f2
06-17-2009, 12:26 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Photong Quote
I think my biggest problem with going Pentax will be controlling LBA. I'm a sucker for primes. I'm thinking of starting off with the pancakes because I can actually afford them (well, I need to sell my guitar and bicycle first). Does anyone find the 40 too long as a normal? The 31 would make a perfect normal if it weren't so expensive. If they'd only release the DA 30.
I really love the DA 35mm Macro as a normal, personally, but the 40 is fine too.
06-17-2009, 12:28 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Photong Quote
I think my biggest problem with going Pentax will be controlling LBA. I'm a sucker for primes. I'm thinking of starting off with the pancakes because I can actually afford them (well, I need to sell my guitar and bicycle first). Does anyone find the 40 too long as a normal? The 31 would make a perfect normal if it weren't so expensive. If they'd only release the DA 30.
The FA35/2 is a very nice normal, although it's not as nicely built as the Limited. But it's quite sharp across the frame right from f/2.

06-17-2009, 12:29 PM   #9
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I was really interested in the DA 35 until I read the photozone review. Does anyone find its bokeh to be "nervous"?
06-17-2009, 01:21 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Photong Quote
I think my biggest problem with going Pentax will be controlling LBA. I'm a sucker for primes. I'm thinking of starting off with the pancakes because I can actually afford them (well, I need to sell my guitar and bicycle first). Does anyone find the 40 too long as a normal? The 31 would make a perfect normal if it weren't so expensive.
Depends on how you define "normal". In this context, I'd interpret it as, "a prime lens of a focal length you can use for many different general purposes". And for me, 40mm actually fits that very well. It's possible something as wide as 35mm would work too. But while I love my (manual) M28/2.8 for certain purposes, it is definitely quite bit wider than I'd want as a "normal" lens, and I have to imagine I'd feel the same about 30mm or 31mm.

The best test I know for this is to use a general purpose zoom for a while, then sort your photos by focal length and see what patterns emerge. For me, the spikes at 28 and 40 are unmistakable. YMMV.
06-17-2009, 02:05 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Photong Quote
I was really interested in the DA 35 until I read the photozone review. Does anyone find its bokeh to be "nervous"?
Not as nervous as your Canon 35mm F2. http://www.photozone.de/images/8Reviews/lenses/canon_35_2_50d/bokeh.jpg
"The major weakness of the lens cannot be found in the more formal performance characteristics: the bokeh (the quality of the out-of-focus blur). In critical situations it is clearly sub-standard which is disappointing for a large aperture lens."


If you want a 35mm with nice bokeh, have a look at the Pentax FA 35mm F2. The FA 35 mm 2.0 and FA 50mm 1.4 are easily comparable to the Canon equivalents you have now.

Last edited by audiobomber; 06-17-2009 at 02:39 PM.
06-17-2009, 03:00 PM   #12
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I am in a very similar situation, however, I maintain currently both a Pentax and a Canon system.
This is becoming rather cumbersome and I have to make my mind one way or the other soon.
I have experience with the 40/2.8, 16-45/4 and 50-200/4-5.6 for Pentax (K100D).
I have experience with the 28/1.8, 50/1.4, 100/2, 17-55/2.8, Tokina 11-16/2.8 -- all for Canon (XSi/450D).

These are my observations, in no particular order as anybody's priorities are different.
  • Speed
    The Limiteds are no low-light lenses and for me this is a bigger deal than I initially thought. If I have to use a flash, then I'd rather use any of the excellent Pentax f/4 zooms as they are quite compact, and the bulk comes from the flash(es).
    Falling back to FA* Limiteds is not feasible for me for a number of reasons (the 31/1.8 is expensive, all other have "weird" focal lengths in crop terms, there is no wide angle one, etc.).
    Handling of the DA 40 is indeed a bit awkward as it is very small, and it is a bit too long for use indoors.
    I really wish they made a DA 35/1.8 Limited (not Macro) instead of both the 40 and the 35 Limiteds.
    As many others, I was also looking forward to the 30/1.x, but that disappeared from the roadmap.
  • Autofocus
    Limiteds are screw-drive only, and focus more slowly and less precisely than the Canon USM primes.
    The newer Rebel bodies have also a center AF censor which is additionally sensitive and even more precise with lenses 2.8 and faster -- this made difference for me when shooting low light concerts and other performing arts.
  • Noise
    Screw-drive noise might become bothersome sometimes, mostly on the zooms, it was no problem with the DA 40.
    Canon USMs, as you know, are very quiet.
  • Optical quality
    The single best feature of the DA Limiteds is that they are equally good at all aperture settings and one does not need to "mentally adjust" to achieve optimal results.
    In contrast, the Canon 28/1.8 and to some extent the 50/14 are a mixed bag.
  • Stabilization
    In-body Pentax SR helps, but can't compensate for DA Limited's low speed for my type of shooting.
    If one shoots anything over 135mm (200mm equiv) then the Pentax viewfinder becomes very "jittery" unlike Canon's IS which stabilizes the viewfinder -- a must for sports and wildlife.
    Hence, I sure wish Pentax would stop introducing overlapping longer telephotos as the market for those is very small.
    And instead make a fast normal and/or wide prime (Limited) and a 2.8 ultra-wide DA* zoom (cf. Tokina 11-16mm).
  • Price
    I think both systems are fairly priced.
  • Misc
    Canon does not have any EF-S primes ATM besides the 60/2.8 Macro.
    The build of the DA limiteds is exceptional, the Canon one is "merely" very good and this is reflected in the respective prices.
    The new DA* 55/1.4 might be mandatory for both portraits and low-light short tele.

After all this, if you still insist on switching to a Pentax Limiteds-only line-up, I would advise you to definitely get the 21/3.2 and the 70/2.4, and/or optionally the 55/1.4.
Get one or more AF360-FGZ flashes (which serve both as master and slave) and use them in P-TTL or manually on or off the body utilizing the built-in wireless (IR) master mode of the K-7 pop-up flash.

QuoteOriginally posted by Photong Quote
It's time to upgrade the old Canon 350D. The K-7 announcement has gotten me excited about Pentax and it's beautiful lenses. I plan to make the switch in late July.
[...]
I appreciate any comments.
Adam
06-17-2009, 03:02 PM   #13
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Hi Adam and welcome to the forums
The DA limited "pancakes" and the FA limiteds are all excellent lenses, If you want a sample of what the FA limiteds can do check here:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/59538-fa-limited-club.html
I also need to mention, that unlike Canon, ALL of the old Pentax lenses will fit the K-7 even the screwmounts, tho with those you need an inexpensive adapter. But they all fit and they all work as they were designed. Obviously manual focus lenses will still be manual focus, and those without automatic aperture will still require you to set aperture, but they all fit and "work as intended". I will be frank and say that there are not many choices in pentax mount longer than 300mm, except for zooms. But pentax is known for the quality of it's primes, and if you are willing to manually focus and set aperture there are a bunch of them that are moderately priced (well according to Canon glass anyway). The beauty of having in body IS is that even a 30-40 yr old lens is automatically an IS enabled lens as soon as you mount it on the camera and give the camera the focal length.

NaCl( Pentax...LBA you can actually afford! {compared to top shelf Canon glass anyway} )H2O
06-17-2009, 10:22 PM   #14
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eos to pentax

Howdy there. I just switched, so I don't have extensive expiernce with my pentax limiteds yet, but initially, I'd have to say the IQ is about equal and the reduced bulk from the lenses is a welcome relief. I had the 350d a 50 1.4(most used) a 24L and I had used and gotten rid of the 24 2.8 and the 35 f2... my 24 2.8 didn't resolve well at long distances for some reason, but up close it was super sharp.... still from just a few test shots with the 21mm ltd, i'd say that the 21 has better contrast and I like the overall look more. the 35 f2, I'm not sure why, but I never really liked it.
oops, I don't want to go back and edit, so I have the 21mm and the 43mm limiteds. I like the 43mm focal length a lot... though I do miss the 1.4.
please note that the 24L was... is my favorite lens... but I never took it anywhere random because of its size and cost... I feel more comfortable with the limiteds...
I'm going to san diego this weekend, so I'll try and get back to you on how the limiteds do=)

uh, sorry this post is so everywhere, but I'm not going to proof and rewrite it like this is a composition class.


as for the pancakes being to small to use, if you have the hoods on, you can easilly put a couple of fingers on those.... I have a km which i think it TOO small, but holding is find (pushing the buttons is frustrating) but if you get a k7, .roughly the same size as the k100d I had for a spell, there should be no problem with ergonomics.

I want
14mm 2.8
24mm* f2
50mm 1.4
85mm*
for a speed kit and

21mm
43mm
70mm
for a travel small kit.

NaCL, I don't think that pentax's backward compatability is all that much of an advantage over canon, considering that most mounts can be adapted to the eos mount quite effectively.

good luck photong.
06-18-2009, 12:42 AM   #15
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Go for the 21/43/70 combo, then you can always expand later to 15/21/31/43/55/70/100/200/300
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