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10-09-2009, 07:44 AM   #61
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QuoteOriginally posted by Spock Quote
Trying to get a fast 'normal' lens today requires scouring the second-hand market and having to make do with manual focus.

What a shame Pentax doesn't better serve this market sector.
Three suggestions:
  1. Pentax FA 35 f/2
  2. Sigma 28 f/1.8 EX DG Macro
  3. Sigma 30 f/1.4 EX DC

The Pentax FA 35 f/2 has apparently been discontinued and I can't find it at B&H or Adorama, but I know when I bought it (within the last couple of years) it wasn't very expensive. The Sigma 28 f/1.8 is selling today (October 9, 2009) for $380 at Amazon. It's one of my favorite lenses. I have not used the Sigma 30 but it's gotten pretty good reviews and it's very fast (f/1.4) and I don't think it's too expensive, either.

I agree that one of the very best things that Pentax could do for its position in the marketplace would be to continue to produce a full range of the best primes possible. But really, we have a pretty good range of primes available now:

14
15
18 Zeiss
20 (f/1.8 from Sigma, + a slower Voigtlander)
21 Pentax & Zeiss
24
28
30 f/1.4 from Sigma
31
35
40
44
50
55
70 Pentax & Sigma
77
85
90 Tamron
100
105 Sigma
135
180 (Sigma?)
200
300

I've thrown a couple Tamron and Sigma lenses in there. These are just the focal lengths I can think of off the top of my head. I'm sure that I've overlooked several as I am very far from an expert on this subject. I'm just too lazy to spend an hour figuring out what I'm overlooking. I think there are some VERY wide fish-eye lenses available if that's your thing.

Will

10-09-2009, 09:33 AM   #62
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The all praised 35/2 costs 420$ new, if it's in the shop at all. Is that an adequate price?
Last time i called few internet shop listing Sigma 28/1.8, none could actually deliver one, never seen it in the only shop carrying pentax stuff in here.

Sigma 30/1.4.. come on. My k100d and k200d was barely able to move that piece of glass with the AF system they implemented to replace HSM. Still it is priced the same as HSM versions. Maybe kx0d's can handle it better.. well then it should be sold as supporting only Hi-end bodies.

24(Sigma) is far from 50mm prime quality, size wise. 31mm.. well thats Hi end expensive, thus does not fit a regular, normal prime role.. 40 is narrow and slow, Hi end aswell.
10-09-2009, 11:28 AM   #63
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QuoteOriginally posted by ytterbium Quote
The all praised 35/2 costs 420$ new, if it's in the shop at all. Is that an adequate price?
I could not find the 35 f/2 for sale at Amazon, B&H or Adorama when I checked earlier today. And apparently it's not just out of stock, it's discontinued. If I wanted it, I'd check KEH.com.


QuoteQuote:
Last time i called few internet shop listing Sigma 28/1.8, none could actually deliver one, never seen it in the only shop carrying pentax stuff in here.
The Sigma 28 is available at all the online vendors I mentioned above, and also from Sigma4Less.com, which usually charges less than the others and is a reputable dealer.

Will
10-09-2009, 03:04 PM   #64
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
The Sigma lenses are no substitute for Pentax quality. They are ugly, heavy, plasticky and have poor performance outside the center unless you stop them down so much that the advantage in maximum aperture is lost. I have never met a Sigma lens I liked as much as a similar Pentax offering. Some of this is no doubt subjective and depends on use.
I mainly agree, but they cost less, so I might still get one and use until Pentax comes out with something.

10-09-2009, 03:11 PM   #65
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QuoteOriginally posted by Spock Quote
Because I just bought a A28/2!
Well, that is a good excuse!
10-09-2009, 07:13 PM   #66
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
I could not find the 35 f/2 for sale at Amazon, B&H or Adorama when I checked earlier today. And apparently it's not just out of stock, it's discontinued. If I wanted it, I'd check KEH.com.
There are a few Pentax M & A series 35/2 manual focus lenses on KEH but as far as I can tell no one is selling a 28/2 anywhere in the world at the moment.
10-09-2009, 08:22 PM   #67
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QuoteOriginally posted by Douglas_of_Sweden Quote
I mainly agree, but they cost less, so I might still get one and use until Pentax comes out with something.
Well, yes, costing less is a big advantage to Sigma! I definitely use less than perfect lenses myself when they can be obtained reasonably, just so long as I can work around their limitations.
10-09-2009, 09:21 PM   #68
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
The Sigma lenses are no substitute for Pentax quality. They are ugly, heavy, plasticky and have poor performance outside the center unless you stop them down so much that the advantage in maximum aperture is lost.
How on earth is the FA50/1.4 or an A50/1.7 less plasticky then a Sigma EX lens? That just doesn't make sense.

Also with most Pentax lenses the aperture shows nasty jaggies close to being wide open. On my Sigma 28/1.8 the nine blades always form a nice circle.

I don't think the 28/1.8 has bad corner performance on APS-C. No need to stop it down. And I personally don't mind that philosophy. I like that the 30/1.4 has crazy centre sharpness and don't care that the corners aren't as good. I'm more puzzled by the Pentax philosophy to allow lots of PF in even their top lenses.

Yes, there are some nice Pentax lenses but there is no such thing as a general Pentax superiority.

QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
Nevertheless, the existence of third party lenses does not mean that Pentax do not have a hole in their line-up. That is plain enough.
It seems you didn't get my point. You may see a hole in their line up. For Pentax it may not be a hole since they may not be able to sell such an offering well enough to justify the development.

10-10-2009, 04:15 AM   #69
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
How on earth is the FA50/1.4 or an A50/1.7 less plasticky then a Sigma EX lens? That just doesn't make sense.
I agree with you and am not comparing with those lenses, which are too plasticky for me as well. I prefer something more solid and with a better manual focus feel. So instead I have the FA43 and smc 50/1.2.

QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Also with most Pentax lenses the aperture shows nasty jaggies close to being wide open. On my Sigma 28/1.8 the nine blades always form a nice circle.
I have never found this to be a problem. I am interested in how many shots this property has ruined for you.

QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
I like that the 30/1.4 has crazy centre sharpness and don't care that the corners aren't as good.
I don't want to place my subject in the centre of the frame all the time, as that is often poor composition. So this would bug me a lot.

QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
I'm more puzzled by the Pentax philosophy to allow lots of PF in even their top lenses.
As this is the only defect of, say, my FA77, I am happy to accept it. No lens I have yet used is perfect. PF is easy to work around, or simply does not show up, in most scenarios.

QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
You may see a hole in their line up. For Pentax it may not be a hole since they may not be able to sell such an offering well enough to justify the development.
It is still a hole. A line-up needs to be complete so a system can be judged as an entirety. Pentax suffers in the eyes of pros by not having a full lens line-up or a full accessory line-up. Canon makes many lenses they will never turn a profit on for exactly this reason.

Besides, I can hardly see how a standard lens with the same old optical formula that has worked well in the past would be an enormous development cost. It may need to be tweaked for digital, but Pentax have good experience in this.
10-10-2009, 07:23 AM   #70
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
I don't think the [Sigma] 28/1.8 has bad corner performance on APS-C. No need to stop it down. And I personally don't mind that philosophy. I like that the 30/1.4 has crazy centre sharpness and don't care that the corners aren't as good. I'm more puzzled by the Pentax philosophy to allow lots of PF in even their top lenses.

Yes, there are some nice Pentax lenses but there is no such thing as a general Pentax superiority.
I don't know enough to say whether Pentax is or is not generally "superior." But I do know enough to say that Sigma's lenses are better than they're often said to be. I'm not sure where or when Sigma got this bad rep, but in my experience, the half dozen Sigma lenses I've owned are generally about as good as the dozen or so Pentax lenses I've owned. The only general observations I can make are (1) that the Sigma lenses seem to be bigger and heavier and (2) that the Sigma lenses are generally a bit less expensive.

I've said it here many times: I'm not a lens connoisseur. I do look carefully at my photos, though. I think the Sigma 10-20 (original), the 17-70 and the 28 f/1.8, are three of my very best lenses - right up there with any of the dozen or more Pentax lenses I've owned. The image quality of the 28 f/1.8 is, I think, as good as that of my Pentax 40. I love 'em both.

Will
10-10-2009, 08:57 AM   #71
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QuoteOriginally posted by Spock Quote
There are a few Pentax M & A series 35/2 manual focus lenses on KEH but as far as I can tell no one is selling a 28/2 anywhere in the world at the moment.
That could be, but keeping checking KEH. They seem to have the 28/2 listed more often than not - it's not actually all that rare.
10-10-2009, 10:50 PM   #72
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
the 28/2 ... - it's not actually all that rare.
True, I've noticed a few M versions come up for sale from time to time. I don't recall an A-version coming up anywhere until recently (the one I bought) - but to be fair I haven't been looking for all that long and I always intended to buy the first good A28/2 I saw.

The only affordable fast 'normal' (genuine Pentax) lenses I considered were the A35/2 and A28/2 - I chose the 28 as I thought the wider field of view would make it more useful for indoor shots. (I did not consider the FA version as I dislike its plastic construction and bland appearance).

I still maintain that if there was a DA28/2 available now - I'd have stretched my budget out to get it.
10-13-2009, 11:53 AM   #73
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Having aquired the Sigma 30/1,4 a week ago, these observations:
– It's very soft on the edges wide open and still after some stopping down. It actually seems the focusing plane is not flat. It bends towards the camera at the edges. And at 1,4 things have to be in focus to be sharp.
– That also makes it unsuitable for for example urban night scenery photography, which otherwise might be a natural task.
– The K7 and the K20 are not really capable of the critical focusing this lens needs. The miss rate is appalling. Without the possibility to focus in Live View (which is always more precise, even AF) you will sometimes never get it right.
– It seems impossible to do the AF microadjustment so that it works (on K-7 and K20D) in from close distances to infinity. One will always be off mark (this applies to some other 3rd party lenses as well).
– The far left and far right focusing points don't work at all. Period.
– On the bright side, the center area is reasonably sharp when correctly focused.
– The wide focusing ring turns while focusing and one of your fingers is likely to touch it somewhere.
– This focal length doesn't by itself add any interesting feature to your shots. It's all up to the photographer.
10-13-2009, 03:25 PM   #74
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
I have never found this to be a problem.
I think it is completely unnecessary and I prefer a company to care about such details. The effect didn't ruin a shot for me yet (I very rarely shoot in that aperture range) but I've seen shots posted on the forum where you can see the jaggies in OOF highlights.

QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
I don't want to place my subject in the centre of the frame all the time, as that is often poor composition.
True, but I often crop afterwards so that the former centre becomes off-centre. That gives you a very sharp off-centre subject. Can be useful in action scenes when you want to make sure the subject is within the frame and hence use the centre AF point to aim at it.


QuoteOriginally posted by Kameraten Quote
The K7 and the K20 are not really capable of the critical focusing this lens needs.
Hmmh, my K100D does well with the FA 50/1.4. The K20D/K-7 should not have a problem once properly calibrated.

QuoteOriginally posted by Kameraten Quote
It seems impossible to do the AF microadjustment so that it works (on K-7 and K20D) in from close distances to infinity. One will always be off mark (this applies to some other 3rd party lenses as well).
That is normal. It applies to all very fast lenses, third party or not.

QuoteOriginally posted by Kameraten Quote
This focal length doesn't by itself add any interesting feature to your shots. It's all up to the photographer.
That's the very point of this particular focal length.
10-13-2009, 11:16 PM   #75
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kameraten Quote
It seems impossible to do the AF microadjustment so that it works (on K-7 and K20D) from close distances to infinity. One will always be off mark (this applies to some other 3rd party lenses as well).
QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
That is normal. It applies to all very fast lenses, third party or not.
It may be normal for Pentax but it sure never was for my KM/ Sony cameras. And didn't you say your K100D does well with the FA 50/1.4? Since I see this also with the Tamron 17-50 but not for example the DA 17-70 I think it's more likely to be a the result of some mismatch between lens and body.
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