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11-27-2009, 10:12 PM   #1
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Spacing out my fast lens setup

I'm starting to really like very fast lenses as they really get the look i'm going for. I find myself shooting between F1.4 to F2.8 (and usually not higher) much of the time.

I have a few lenses, but the ones I use the most at the moment are:

Sigma 30mm f1.4
Pentax DA*55 F1.4

Both of which I love and both which serve their purposes.

I'm thinking of supplementing this current setup with a fast wide lens and a fast tele. I'm thinking: Rokinon 85mm f1.4 (price is good, quality decent) or maybe FA77 Ltd, and Pentax DA 14mm F2.8

I am thinking of taking this potential setup for event/wedding/gathering shots, as well as artistic shots for fun. I find myself loving primes and I barely touch my zooms. The bokeh of F2 and below is awesome!

i realize I'm mixing lens manufacturers, but it seems difficult to find the lenses i want for a decent price all for one company. I am open to any suggestions!


Last edited by dugrant153; 11-27-2009 at 11:51 PM.
11-28-2009, 01:55 AM   #2
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My current lens fast prime setup is the Sigma 30mm f1.4, the FA 50mm f1.4, and the FA 77mm 1.8.

Since picking up the FA77, I find I've been using my DA*50-135 less frequently. Technically, the DA* may just be a better lens. The FA77 suffers from lateral CAs, which under certain conditions manifest themselves as green halos on the bokeh. Also the FA77 fringes rather badly when dealing with high-contrast areas, such as chrome or glass under harsh lighting. But, for all its flaws, the FA77 has a certain "magic" when it comes to capturing light. It's hard to describe what I mean, so I'll just show a picture instead:



At the wide end, the DA14 is unfortunately your only real option. The DA15 is overall a better lens, and a cheaper one at that, but the bokeh is a little bit busy comparatively. Keep in mind, though, that at such a wide angle the depth of field is going to be fairly wide regardless of aperture. As for mixing manufacturers, I wouldn't worry about trying to stay committed to a single company. Just buy whatever product that best suits your needs.
11-28-2009, 10:24 AM   #3
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my set-up is the same as Kirivon's...Sigma 30 for wide, FA50 for normal, and FA77 for tele. I also throw in the Sigma 70 for macro usage, and if the scene will have significant purple fringe (FA77's culprit). All these lenses have top notch bokeh in my eyes. I usually shoot between f/2 - f/4 as well...so we are all on the same page.

I don't shoot ultra wide often, but decided to go with the DA10-17. It focuses crazy close, is very fishy on the wide end, and near rectilinear on the long end (I don't shoot in between the two focal lengths myself...one or the other). Truely a wonderful lens.

As for mixing manufacturers....have at it. As long as you get the results you want for a price you are good with then that's the way to go.

c[_]
11-28-2009, 11:16 AM   #4
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Don't overlook any of the 1.2's. If you visit the "1.2 thread" you will see that there really is a difference between the 1.2's and the 55/1.4 (well, I believe the comparison was to the 50/1.4) and they were discussing just shooting wide open.

I will add my vote for a 77ltd as your tele. The Siggy 30mm is a keeper. If you can go to f2 then for your wide end I would look at the SMC Pentax 28mm F2...

Me, after just trading away my 35ltd for a 43ltd I am having to decide what my New Years present to myself will be, a Cosina 58/1.2 (or the A 50/1.2) or another 35ltd...I am thinking 58/1.2...because, well, I never have played with anything close.

11-28-2009, 03:45 PM   #5
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thank for all the replies so far.

As I already have the DA*55 (and can't really get my money back by selling it), probably will keep. Also, it's been a really great lens for me so don't think I'd want to sell it. In fact, it has become the lens that I am basing my other selections of lenses around!

Agree that the Sigma 30mm is definitely a keeper. If I didn't have this, I'd be aiming for the FA31mm as the focal length is really nice (30/31mm) on APS-Crop.

I do like the 85mm Rokinon image quality but there's just something about the build quality that makes me kind of nervous. I think I will save up for the FA77 Ltd due to the rendering, and its still far enough from the DA*55 that it will be unique enough to use.

On the wide end, I definitely need something wider than the DA21 Ltd. I love the DA21 but it's not wide enough from 30mm (nor fast enough) to really make a statement in my lineup I think. DA15 at F4 is a bit slow (and pricey) so thinking DA14 F2.8.

So, if I stick with this, my lens lineup would be...

Pentax DA 14 F2.8 [not purchased]
Sigma 30 F1.4
Pentax DA*55 F1.4
Pentax FA 77 F1.8 [not purchased]
Pentax DA35 Macro Ltd - for macro work, like wedding rings during a wedding...
11-28-2009, 03:56 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by dugrant153 Quote
thank for all the replies so far.

As I already have the DA*55 (and can't really get my money back by selling it), probably will keep. Also, it's been a really great lens for me so don't think I'd want to sell it. In fact, it has become the lens that I am basing my other selections of lenses around!

Agree that the Sigma 30mm is definitely a keeper. If I didn't have this, I'd be aiming for the FA31mm as the focal length is really nice (30/31mm) on APS-Crop.

I do like the 85mm Rokinon image quality but there's just something about the build quality that makes me kind of nervous. I think I will save up for the FA77 Ltd due to the rendering, and its still far enough from the DA*55 that it will be unique enough to use.

On the wide end, I definitely need something wider than the DA21 Ltd. I love the DA21 but it's not wide enough from 30mm (nor fast enough) to really make a statement in my lineup I think. DA15 at F4 is a bit slow (and pricey) so thinking DA14 F2.8.

So, if I stick with this, my lens lineup would be...

Pentax DA 14 F2.8 [not purchased]
Sigma 30 F1.4
Pentax DA*55 F1.4
Pentax FA 77 F1.8 [not purchased]
Pentax DA35 Macro Ltd - for macro work, like wedding rings during a wedding...

what are you afraid of? you have a warranty replacement for it.it's not like the DA* zooms that have a consistent SDM failure record and slow repair process, not to mention that you have to pay for additional costs. I think it's unfair just because it's not a Pentax. I mean it's like saying I'd rather have a Pentax failing me rather than a different manufacturer. you are such a fanboy even in product failure!
11-28-2009, 04:49 PM   #7
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haha. yes, I am a bit of a fanboy nothing like taking pictures with my DA40 and seeing people wonder why i'm taking pictures with no lens on! Good times!!

I've had a Sigma Macro catastrophically fail on me, and before I purchased the DA*16-50, the various versions I tried would not focus correctly or were too soft to my liking. I guess I like to try out lenses before I purchase them too. With the Rokinon, I'd have to pay shipping to send it back and forth unless I get lucky. The sticky aperture problem could mess up a few shots on a wedding... and while I know all lenses are prone to failure, this seems to be an issue that comes up with this lens.

Plus, I think the 77mm is starting to grow on me! Something about its rendition... hmm...

On another note, maybe a cheap zoom to cover the very wide angle would do the trick for that end. Maybe the 16-45 F4 or 18-55 v.II WR. Reading reviews, the DA14mm seems to be quite soft at F2.8 (and it's also not a very cheap lens either). Ah, lens decisions gotta love pentax.

Last edited by dugrant153; 11-28-2009 at 05:02 PM.
11-28-2009, 05:52 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by ll_coffee_lP Quote
I don't shoot ultra wide often, but decided to go with the DA10-17. It focuses crazy close, is very fishy on the wide end, and near rectilinear on the long end (I don't shoot in between the two focal lengths myself...one or the other). Truely a wonderful lens.
We must be tuned in on the same frequency or something; I picked up the 10-17 for my UWA needs and I've been seriously impressed with its versatility. At the time of purchasing I didn't know the lens barrel was metal, so the solid build came as quite the pleasant surprise. You can force some shallow DoF with its close focusing, and though photozone knocked its bokeh as slightly busy, I don't find it that objectionable.

Full Wide @ 10mm

Full Tele @ 17mm
Only real downside to the lens is the fact that it fringes worse than my old Canon Digital Elph, which is quite the accomplishment!



11-28-2009, 06:19 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by dugrant153 Quote
On another note, maybe a cheap zoom to cover the very wide angle would do the trick for that end. Maybe the 16-45 F4 or 18-55 v.II WR. Reading reviews, the DA14mm seems to be quite soft at F2.8 (and it's also not a very cheap lens either). Ah, lens decisions gotta love pentax.
I wouldn't necessarily discount the 16-45 F4 as a "cheap zoom." I've been wanting to replace the 16-45 for a while, only because it's my oldest purchase and it lacks the "sexy" factor of more expensive glass. However, it's a working horse lens. It doesn't look like anything special, but it's actually fairly solid.

The reason I can't replace it is that there's nothing out there good enough to justify the price of a new lens. The 16-45 and 16-50 are more or less matched in terms of sharpness, and for me the improved micro contrast of the DA* isn't enough to make up for some of its quirks. The DA15 and DA21 both cost more than the 16-45 by themselves, and both have inferior sharpness. The Tamron 17-50 2.8 is an excellent lens, but has horribly nervous bokeh.

However, the DA21 might be a little redundant with the DA16-45, so in this case the DA15 probably makes the most sense in your lineup. It's can be had for 150 cheaper than the DA14, and it's sharper at F4. The reason I figured you would want to go with the DA14 is that your post made bokeh and narrow DoF your number one priority, and in that regard the DA14 is better when compared to other lenses in that focal length. There is also the DA 12-24, which is an excellent lens and would present less of an overlap with your current setup.
11-28-2009, 11:20 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by dugrant153 Quote
haha. yes, I am a bit of a fanboy nothing like taking pictures with my DA40 and seeing people wonder why i'm taking pictures with no lens on! Good times!!
I've had a Sigma Macro catastrophically fail on me, and before I purchased the DA*16-50, the various versions I tried would not focus correctly or were too soft to my liking. I guess I like to try out lenses before I purchase them too. With the Rokinon, I'd have to pay shipping to send it back and forth unless I get lucky. The sticky aperture problem could mess up a few shots on a wedding... and while I know all lenses are prone to failure, this seems to be an issue that comes up with this lens.
Plus, I think the 77mm is starting to grow on me! Something about its rendition... hmm...
On another note, maybe a cheap zoom to cover the very wide angle would do the trick for that end. Maybe the 16-45 F4 or 18-55 v.II WR. Reading reviews, the DA14mm seems to be quite soft at F2.8 (and it's also not a very cheap lens either). Ah, lens decisions gotta love pentax.

I don't think it's a real issue at all or just a case of random isolated defect unlike the DA*s which is really not just an isolated case. 77 is great if you have the budget. though the 85 Rokinon is within my budget and completely happy on what I'm expecting from the lens. although I can't shoot much nowadays due to the weather.
11-29-2009, 07:14 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kirivon Quote
We must be tuned in on the same frequency or something; I picked up the 10-17 for my UWA needs and I've been seriously impressed with its versatility. At the time of purchasing I didn't know the lens barrel was metal, so the solid build came as quite the pleasant surprise. You can force some shallow DoF with its close focusing, and though photozone knocked its bokeh as slightly busy, I don't find it that objectionable.
Only real downside to the lens is the fact that it fringes worse than my old Canon Digital Elph, which is quite the accomplishment!
]
The build quality of the DA10-17 was quite a nice surprise to me also. It's got a very nice weight to it, and I like the bokeh also, but as you said...pf is very present (common though with a FE lens).

I must say, you have great taste in lenses

c[_]
11-29-2009, 09:23 PM   #12
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QuoteQuote:
However, the DA21 might be a little redundant with the DA16-45, so in this case the DA15 probably makes the most sense in your lineup. It's can be had for 150 cheaper than the DA14, and it's sharper at F4. The reason I figured you would want to go with the DA14 is that your post made bokeh and narrow DoF your number one priority, and in that regard the DA14 is better when compared to other lenses in that focal length. There is also the DA 12-24, which is an excellent lens and would present less of an overlap with your current setup.
DA14 is within range, and you're right... I do consider bokeh and narrow(er) DOF a priority for shooting. However, at the wide angle, it'd probably be more for a specialty use and, for that matter, will probably not be used all that often either. not sure i can justify the price of that (or the DA15) based on my expected use.

I've been reading some other threads on this... interweb... lol... and it seems the 77mm's duty is for portraits, which is a duplicate of what my DA*55 was meant to do. In which case, I'm now thinking to pass on the 77mm and go with something longer?

The 10-17 FE has always intrigued me, but I can't really see myself using it all that much! I think the distortion for me would be really cool for a while, then maybe drive me nuts. I would definitely need to borrow it for a while and let it grow one me. But I love the idea!!

Right now, I find the 30mm (46mm FF equivalent) usually 'wide' enough for general application and certain wide shots and my DA*55mm (83mm FF equivalent) to be fine for portrait shots. But even with these, I find that I like to have just a 'bit more wide' or 'a longer reach' than these two.

Options so far (wide):
DA 12-24
DA 10-17 FE
DA 14
DA 15 Ltd
DA 16-45
DA 18-55 vII WR

Options on tele end:
FA 77 Ltd
Rokinon 85mm Ltd OR FA*85 Ltd if I can find one decent priced

hmm... maybe a 135mm prime with an A ring?
11-29-2009, 10:10 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by dugrant153 Quote
maybe a 135mm prime with an A ring?
The latter's a fun thing on crop.
11-29-2009, 11:39 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by dugrant153 Quote
DA14 is within range, and you're right... I do consider bokeh and narrow(er) DOF a priority for shooting. However, at the wide angle, it'd probably be more for a specialty use and, for that matter, will probably not be used all that often either. not sure i can justify the price of that (or the DA15) based on my expected use.

I've been reading some other threads on this... interweb... lol... and it seems the 77mm's duty is for portraits, which is a duplicate of what my DA*55 was meant to do. In which case, I'm now thinking to pass on the 77mm and go with something longer?

The 10-17 FE has always intrigued me, but I can't really see myself using it all that much! I think the distortion for me would be really cool for a while, then maybe drive me nuts. I would definitely need to borrow it for a while and let it grow one me. But I love the idea!!
If you don't plan on shooting wide that often I'd probably suggest the 16-45 or 10-17. The 12-24, DA14, and DA15 are all kind of pricey for a use sometimes lens sort of lens. Also, I'm not sure how much improved the mark2 kit lenses are, but my 16-45 was noticeably sharper than the 18-55 it replaced. The kit lens does have pretty good colors, though. Nevertheless, prodigital's ebay store has the 16-45 for $309 BIN, and the 10-17 for $439. Stack that with MS cashback, and both lenses are fairly cheap for what you get. The 16-45 has prime-like sharpness wide open @ 16mm, smooth bokeh, and great colors. The 10-17 is surprisingly rectilinear at the tele end, and the fishyness at wider angles can be managed to a degree with framing. Nevertheless, I find the FE's distortion less disturbing than rectilinear shots at 10mm, and it's pretty useful for interior shots.



Although it's true the FA77 was made with portraits in mind, it was designed for FF, whereas the DA*55 was designed for APS-C (it has an equivalent FoV of 84mm on FF). I tend to like 50mm for waist-level crops, and the 77mm for shoulder level crops. If you still want something longer, how about the Tamron 90mm f2.8 macro? Even with the smaller max aperture, the bokeh is still pretty excellent, plus you pick up close focusing. As for legacy 135mm glass, I'm not sure if it's really worth it when you have the already excellent DA*50-135. Typically older glass didn't have as big an emphasis on controlling CAs, plus you lose autofocus. I have a 135 f3.5 myself that I never use, because I find the contrast somewhat flat compared to the DA*.

Finally, have you ever been to PhotoHito? If you haven't, it's a Japanese photo sharing site for camera enthusiasts, and as such almost all the pictures posted to that site are with dSLRs. It's really useful for lens purchasing decisions since a big emphasis of the site is being able to search photos by camera and lens used. The links are all in English if you hover over them, so it's fairly easy to navigate the site even if you can't read Japanese. Here's a quick breakdown just in case, though.

The navigation menu, from left to right, is as follows:
ホーム - Home
カメラ - Camera
レンズ - Lens
カテゴリー - Category
マップ - Map
ランキング - Ranking
コンテスト - Contest

If looking at third part lens manufacturers, the system used to take the picture will be listed in parenthesis next to the lens name.
ペンタクス - Pentax
ニコン - Nikon
キヤノン - Canon
12-01-2009, 10:35 PM   #15
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you might also want to consider getting a Sigma 70/2.8

here's the OOF background rendition of the Sigma !!!

product shots of my "K" duo !
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