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12-06-2009, 02:34 AM   #1
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Pentax lenses to complement a DA 16-45mm

Hi,
I'll be travelling to Japan soon and plan to use the opportunity to buy a couple of Pentax lenses. I'm thinking of buying a couple of primes, but I'm not sure whether I really need more than the 43 Limited.

These are my current lenses;

Pentax SMC DA 16-45 (AF)
Promaster LD 70-300 f4-5.6 (AF)
Sigma 28-80 f3.5-5.6 Macro (AF)
ProOptic 500mm f6.3 mirror (Manual)
Makinon 28mm f2.8 (K mount Manual)
Chinon 50mm f1.9 (K mount Manual)

The Sigma came with my Pentax MZ5 but is a much better lens than the newer Sigma which came with the K200 (anyone want a really cheap lens? .

So the only decent glass is the Pentax, although the ProOptic mirror is reasonably sharp when I manage to get it in focus (I'll have to replace the focussing screen of the K200 with a split image screen). It's certainly sharper than the Promaster but of course it's not AF and frankly it's painful to use on the K200 because of the positioning of the green button.

What Pentax lenses would you get to complement this collection?

I think I'd get the most use out of a focal length of around 50mm for general use. I don't think I'm ever likely to do enough portraiture to justify the 77 limited, and I'm not sure that I could justify the price of the 31 limited (even though I can afford it). It would be nice to have a sharp macro lens, although I have never done a huge amount of macro photography. For photographing birds, I don't know if there's any Pentax lens (or even third party) which would be very good for the purpose without spending a huge amount of money.

I'm only planning to take the two zooms with me to Japan, so I'm wondering what primes might complement that pair. Let me know what you think!

Rob


Last edited by RobG; 12-06-2009 at 08:13 PM. Reason: Updated lens specs
12-06-2009, 03:10 AM   #2
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I value my K45-125 a worthy compagnion for my 16-45.
But it is to havy to use as a traveling-lens and hard to find (and use for some).
The 50-200 is not tack sharp but produces pleasant pictures and is light and compact.
The most versetile prime for general purposes aswel as close-up might be the DA35.
When dim-light-situations occur the FA35/2.0 would be more usefull.
An A50/1.7 is a much cheaper option than the 35's mentioned but could also
be part of the team aswel as the 35mm.
12-06-2009, 03:38 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by freewheeler Quote
The most versetile prime for general purposes aswel as close-up might be the DA35. An A50/1.7 is a much cheaper option than the 35's mentioned but could also be part of the team aswel as the 35mm.
Interesting suggestions! I've read the reviews elsewhere on this site and they both sound like good lenses at a reasonable price - if they are procurable.
Thanks!

Rob

PS The zooms sound interesting as well, but I'm more keen to get a couple of useful really good primes. Years ago I wanted to cover wide to telephoto with 2-3 zooms, but I'm now understanding the benefits of primes.

Last edited by RobG; 12-06-2009 at 03:40 AM. Reason: additional info
12-06-2009, 05:30 AM   #4
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You probably have all you need for the trip to Japan with the 16-45, Chinon 50 and the 70-300 lenses. If macro is an additional capability you wish to exploit, I'd second the DA 35 or you may consider the DFA 50 macro or one of the MF offerings available on the marketplace or elsewhere.

As for primes, all of the FA and DA limiteds are fine examples to think about...

12-06-2009, 11:32 AM   #5
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Since the DA 16-45 stops at 45mm, it gives you a great excuse to look at ~50mm primes to add on to the long end. There are nice lenses at every price point and functionality, from the Pentax-M 50mm f2.0 through the DA* 55mm f1.4, and plenty of third-party options like you already have. From the lenses I already have, I might choose the F50/1.7, A50/1.4, the K55/1.8, a Sigma 50mm f2.8 macro with KA mount, or the Cosina 55mm f1.2. The 55mm choices give you a little better coverage if the gap between zooms (45 to 70mm) bothers you.
12-06-2009, 03:47 PM   #6
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It sounds to me like you already have all the lenses you'll need.

However, the DA 35mm f/2.8 macro Limited would be my first recommendation... but be aware that this lens - by its very nature, not a design flaw - is not the fastest-focusing prime you'll find. But almost all who have used it claim it has that magic pixie dust that makes its images very special.

If you're willing to consider the 50-200... then here's another option: the DA 18-250 (or its Tamron counterpart). f/3.5-6.3. This is a great vacation lens - and not much bigger and heavier than the 16-45. Yes, it's a bit slow at the long end - but you'd probably be shooting in that range while outdoors. Best of all, you'd could get away with a single lens for your trip. Or perhaps with a single, fast prime (the FA 50 f/2 or FA 50 f/1.4?) to go with the 18-250.
12-06-2009, 04:06 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobG Quote
I think I'd get the most use out of a focal length of around 50mm for general use. I don't think I'm ever likely to do enough portraiture to justify the 77 limited, and I'm not sure that I could justify the price of the 31 limited (even though I can afford it). It would be nice to have a sharp macro lens, although I have never done a huge amount of macro photography.
Justify the FA77. It is useful for a lot more than portraits. If you have to shoot shows, sports, etc. its focal length comes in very handy. And with a simple adapter I use it for macro as well. Carry one lens to do double duty.

ant on pink petals



I also love the FA43 but find the focal length is less useful. Perfect for portraits but that is about all.
12-06-2009, 08:26 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
You probably have all you need for the trip to Japan with the 16-45, Chinon 50 and the 70-300 lenses. If macro is an additional capability you wish to exploit, I'd second the DA 35 or you may consider the DFA 50 macro or one of the MF offerings available on the marketplace or elsewhere.
Thanks Ash. With the K200D and the mirror lens, I find the process of taking a photo painful. First I frame it, focus it, then hit the green button to get the exposure. This is hard to do quickly, so it would be good to have an AF prime of around 30-50mm. I need to do some research to find out whether using a manual K-mount or T-mount lens is easier with the K7 and consider whether to upgrade.

I haven't actually tried the Chinon lens on the K200 yet! It's still sitting on the old film camera.

12-07-2009, 10:16 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobG Quote
Thanks Ash. With the K200D and the mirror lens, I find the process of taking a photo painful. First I frame it, focus it, then hit the green button to get the exposure. This is hard to do quickly
Mirror lenses take longer to focus than most AF lenses, because the focus throw is usually long, most are also very stiff to combat creep, plus the viewfinder is dim and contrast low. I wouldn't gauge the experience of MF by using a mirror lens.

Also, you shouldn't need to hit the green button very often. First, with a mirror lens, you don't need it at all - just shoot in Av mode if you plan on simply trust the AE system. That works because a mirror lens is always "wide open", which is the only way Av mode works with manual exposure lenses. But even for other manual exposure lenses where you do need to use M mode and hit the Green button, there is no need to use it on every shot - only when the light changes. And really, with a little experience, you can often just eyeball it. Like increase exposure a stop and a half (say) when shooting a subject in the shadow versus in full sun. Hit the Green button once to get started, spend a few seconds scanning around while holding the DOF preview to see how different parts of a scene differ in terms of overall light levels, make a mental note of what shutter speeds you need where, then leave the Green button alone.

Anyhow, with practice, you should find the process starts to feel much more natural.

QuoteQuote:
I need to do some research to find out whether using a manual K-mount or T-mount lens is easier with the K7 and consider whether to upgrade.
Same exact process on all Pentax cameras, except some cameras use a different button instead of the Green button to perform that function.
12-14-2009, 05:37 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Mirror lenses take longer to focus than most AF lenses, because the focus throw is usually long, most are also very stiff to combat creep, plus the viewfinder is dim and contrast low. I wouldn't gauge the experience of MF by using a mirror lens.
I used manual focus lenses for a long time before I ever got an AF lens. My first SLR camera was a Chinon CE4s which had a split image focussing screen. It made focussing in low light conditions much easier.

QuoteQuote:
Also, you shouldn't need to hit the green button very often.
It depends on what you're photographing. I'm using the mirror lens to photograph birds. They tend to move around a lot, so the exposure changes a lot.

QuoteQuote:
First, with a mirror lens, you don't need it at all - just shoot in Av mode if you plan on simply trust the AE system. That works because a mirror lens is always "wide open", which is the only way Av mode works with manual exposure lenses.
I'll give this a try. I haven't used the lens in Av mode because I assumed that I'd have to tell the camera that the lens was f6.3 somehow.

QuoteQuote:
Same exact process on all Pentax cameras, except some cameras use a different button instead of the Green button to perform that function.
Except that on the K7, the green button in just near the thumb, a much more useable location. On the K200 it's on the top of the body which is a royal pain.

Thanks for the suggestions.

Rob
12-14-2009, 12:09 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobG Quote
My first SLR camera was a Chinon CE4s which had a split image focussing screen. It made focussing in low light conditions much easier.
True enough. But you probably won't find any split iamge screen that work well at f/8 or even f/6.3.

QuoteQuote:
It depends on what you're photographing. I'm using the mirror lens to photograph birds. They tend to move around a lot, so the exposure changes a lot.
Not as much as you might think. They aren't changing their color, and they are basically either in sun or in shadow. So you should be basically be just flitting back and forth between two different shutter speeds. Of course, if you trust the camera's metering, you'll often get wildly different answers because it's altering exposure based on mostly irrelevant details like how light or dark the background is, but I think most people tend to vastly overestimate just how much exposure change is actually necessary.

QuoteQuote:
Except that on the K7, the green button in just near the thumb, a much more useable location. On the K200 it's on the top of the body which is a royal pain.
Hmm, that puts it right below my index finger. And my thumb is normally busy - it mans the "OK" button, which I use to temporarily cancel AF, so I prefer to not have to double it up. So I can't imagine a more convenient place for the green button, personally, but I guess it comes down to how you hold and use the camera.
12-17-2009, 06:03 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
True enough. But you probably won't find any split iamge screen that work well at f/8 or even f/6.3.
I'll have to put the mirror lens on the old camera and try it.

QuoteQuote:
Hmm, that puts it right below my index finger. And my thumb is normally busy - it means the "OK" button, which I use to temporarily cancel AF, so I prefer to not have to double it up. So I can't imagine a more convenient place for the green button, personally, but I guess it comes down to how you hold and use the camera.
I disagree - my index finger is comfortably on the shutter release. The green button is about 1cm further back on the body, and a really awkward angle when holding the camera. You have to half depress the shutter release, then hit the green button, manually focus, frame the subject and all the while pray that the bird doesn't move in the considerable amount of time all that takes. If the green button was in front of the shutter release, it would be comfortable and ergonomic. In my case, cancelling AF doesn't happen since it's a manual lens.
12-17-2009, 09:57 AM   #13
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Like I said, it's all personal. I use my third finger for the shutter, and love the easy combination of Green button and shutter release. Although I also find it not very important, since I hit the shutter *way* more often than the the Green button in manual mode, and I essentially never need to do this very quickly - I almost always meter long before I take my shot. Whereas the OK button that I use to cancel AF - when I need that, I usually need it *fast*. Yes, I'm talking about AF lenses, but I like my shooting process to be as close to the same either way.

I'm confused abut the process you describe, though. Why are you half pressing the shutter before metering with a manual lens? That doesn't serve any useful purpose I can think of, except to tie up your finger needlessly. The normal sequence of events would go hit green button to meter - often *long* before the exposure - then focus, then shoot. I'm not sure why you're listing half press or framing as a separate step. Maybe you're referring to using the AF confirmation as part of the process? Still, I don't see why you'd meter *after* the half-press. Or maybe you mean the half press that can sometime be necessary to wake up the meter? Again, I think this ceases to seem like an awnward thing if you don't insist on goign through that process just vefore every shot. It really is not necessary, and shooting becomes greatly simplified once you stop doing that.
12-17-2009, 01:59 PM   #14
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when it comes to extensive travel, an ultra wide and a 50mm will do for most of the trip.
12-18-2009, 03:21 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by roentarre Quote
when it comes to extensive travel, an ultra wide and a 50mm will do for most of the trip.
What would you choose as an "ultrawide" lens?

Rob
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