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12-25-2009, 02:38 PM   #1
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Need a FAST + SHARP prime for K-x

I'm looking for a fast and sharp prime for low light portrait/everyday shooting.

This prime will stay on my K-x 99% of the time since I've learned I'm a prime lover after using one on my old Nikon D40. Prime + option of bounce flash =

The two I am looking at right now are the 43mm Limited and 50mm FA 1.4

On my current 35mm 1.8 I find myself closing the aperture to about 2.2 - 2.5 unless I need it fully open since the DOF is so small to get a portrait with two people (mom/baby) without one way out of focus and also my nikon prime wide open is quite soft (like all primes) -- Therefore....there may be no different in the 50mm being faster unless one is sharper than other at 2.2 or so.

I also think I will enjoy the 40-50mm range since I find myself needing to be a bit closer with the 35mm (up-close and personnel)

Am I on the right track? (without breaking the bank with the 31 Limited....also too wide)

12-25-2009, 02:54 PM   #2
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There are a few choices, including the DA 35 macro ltd, which is a very sharp, well-built and quality lens for both portraiture and closeups.

Your FA 50/1.4 suggestion is never far from the top of the list, and the other options are indeed the FA 43 ltd and perhaps even the FA 35/2 (not as good as the DA 35, but cheaper, if you can find one).

None of these options would disappoint you, but the DA 35, FA 43 and FA 50 are all top lenses that open up room for a lot of creativity as well as striking sharpness - be weary of using the FA 43 or FA 50 wide open - both have been considered soft, but when will you want an aperture of larger than f/2?
12-25-2009, 03:10 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by kostarae Quote
I'm looking for a fast and sharp prime for low light portrait/everyday shooting.

This prime will stay on my K-x 99% of the time since I've learned I'm a prime lover after using one on my old Nikon D40. Prime + option of bounce flash =

The two I am looking at right now are the 43mm Limited and 50mm FA 1.4

On my current 35mm 1.8 I find myself closing the aperture to about 2.2 - 2.5 unless I need it fully open since the DOF is so small to get a portrait with two people (mom/baby) without one way out of focus and also my nikon prime wide open is quite soft (like all primes) -- Therefore....there may be no different in the 50mm being faster unless one is sharper than other at 2.2 or so.

I also think I will enjoy the 40-50mm range since I find myself needing to be a bit closer with the 35mm (up-close and personnel)

Am I on the right track? (without breaking the bank with the 31 Limited....also too wide)
There is a huge difference between your 35 and the 50. I see a big difference between 35 and 43. So, definitely the 50 will be very strange. But, if you think you will be ok with a bit wider view, the FA43/1.8 is the definite choice. You said you stop it down up to f2.5, then if you can stretch this to 2.8, then the DA 40/2.8 pancake (very tiny lens) would be an excellent choice as well. These two are limited lenses and have incredible rendition and will be awesome, better than your current 35/1.8. The direct alternative to your 35/1.8 would be the now discontinued FA35/2, which being discontinued has gone up in price and inspite of not being a limited fetch about ~US$400 on ebay (was selling for $299 before). The samsung 35/f2 is the same lens as well. Like your 35/1.8 the DA40 is a crop sensor lens, but none of these three have the sonic motor like your 35/1.8 and will be noisier.

p.s; forgot the da35/2.8 macro, that is a fabulous lens as well....you've got choices.

Last edited by pcarfan; 12-25-2009 at 03:31 PM.
12-25-2009, 03:19 PM   #4
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I just got my Kx two days ago and so far I have been really happy with the Kx/DA40 combo. I used it last night quite a bit, wide open (2.8) and at ISO 3200 indoors with pretty good results. I even tried 6400 too, just to see what the results were like, and if exposed properly the images are quite usable. I also used the FA50/1.7 part of the night and was equally happy with the results, everything is just a bit tighter, especially indoors.

I also own the DA35 and have previously owned both the FA50/1.4 and FA35/2. I think any of them can be used as you decribed, it just comes down to small differences and personal preferences.

12-25-2009, 03:26 PM   #5
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The FA 43mm ltd is one of the, if not the, sharpest Pentax lens. If you can afford it, it's probably your best bet. It will be sharper at f/1.9 than the FA 50mm. It's also a very nice focal length for portraits on the APS-C format.
12-25-2009, 03:37 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by kostarae Quote
This prime will stay on my K-x 99% of the time since I've learned I'm a prime lover after using one on my old Nikon D40. Prime + option of bounce flash =
uh... you're missing something... the thing about primes is that you have to keep switching them (not that's a bad thing)

IMHO... wider is better... so go for the DA15... but you don't even know what you'll be photographing, do you?
12-25-2009, 04:31 PM   #7
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if you can live with the 35mm range . . .

the 35 ltd macro is one of the best lenses around - very, very versatile and very, very good.

please google it or search these and other forums - you should at least consider it.

I think it would be perfect for what you want and don't think you would be disappointed with it.

it is 'only' f2.8 but with Kx high ISO performance that should not pose any problems.

Leonard
12-25-2009, 05:59 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by kostarae Quote
I'm looking for a fast and sharp prime for low light portrait/everyday shooting.
Damn, I failed to read the whole original post, haha. Take back my FA31 suggestion.

Alfisti below pretty much summed it up.


Last edited by ilya80; 12-25-2009 at 07:12 PM. Reason: Rubbed my eyes.
12-25-2009, 06:56 PM   #9
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No one seems to be listening to the poor fellow. If you are REALLY sure you don't want 35mm, then you have options, be sure to use your kit lens at 40mm, 43mm and 50mm to see what you're dealing with exactly.

The 40mm is only 2.8 but focuses like lightening and is sharp wide open, i suspect this is your lens to go with as the price is also reasonable.

The 43mm has that limited pixie dust so renders nicer than a regular prime, a year ago it was near half the price it is nw but availabe under $500 on the used markeplace on this forum. AF i sslow but it's more a manual focus tool than an AF robot ..... built like it matters

The 50/1.4 is great from f/2.8 but softish and poor contrast wide open through 2.2 ish. I think you will find th efoca llength too tight IMHO but see what you tink. Available used under $200.
01-07-2010, 10:01 AM   #10
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I highly recommend the DA 35mm macro.
  • Incredible build.
  • Perfect weight.
  • Excellent all-round focal length for walkarounds or portrait.
  • F/2.8.
  • Macro capabilities.
  • Built in lens hood
  • Sharp, sharp, sharp.
  • Excellent colour renditioning.
  • No CAs.

I used it almost exclusively on my trip to Japan. Take a look at my flickr photos if you need samples.
01-07-2010, 10:30 AM   #11
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Well, it depends what FOV do you want.
If wide/normal, I'd go for 31ltd. It's good even wide open.
If long/normal then 43ltd. I have to confirm what was written above. It's super sharp, and I have to say, that wide open it spanks the hell out of 31ltd or F50/.17.
In between would lie FA35 but I can't comment on it as I never shot it, but it's the cheapest of these three.

BR
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01-07-2010, 11:09 AM   #12
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I vote for the FA 43mm F1.9 Ltd. Fantastic lens, sharp and contrasty enough for me even when shooting at f/1.9. Basically you can't go wrong with this one, and it's closer in terms of focal length to your 35mm Nikon. I don't think I've ever heard of anyone being disappointed with the FA 43 Ltd.
01-07-2010, 11:12 AM   #13
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I'll preach for my new acquisition... How about CV Ultron 40mm f/2?
01-07-2010, 01:30 PM   #14
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dont forget to consider the sigma 30mm f1.4

this is personally the everyday prime i would go for. its "normal" length for APS-C, fast (although ive read its a bit soft wide open) and fairly cheap too

id go for the 31mm ltd, but i just cant spend that kind of cash on a hobby right now
01-07-2010, 02:35 PM   #15
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I have the DA 35mm Macro, 43mm ltd and the A-50 f/1.4. The latter is optically identical to the FA 50 f/1.4.

All three are superb lenses but they are all different. I find the 35mm to be a great general lens, excellent micro-contrast and sharpness. The 43mm has gorgeous rendering but needs to be stopped down to f/2.8 to start showing its mettel. The 50 is very soft wide open but sharpens up nicely and produces lovely rendering.

This was taken with the A-50mm f/1.4:



I know its small but hopefully it shows the rendering well enough.

DA 35mm:



Contrasty with nice 'pictoral' bokeh. f/4.0 distance was probably a metere or so from memory. To be honest I haven't used this lens that much.

43mm Ltd:




I appreciate that these are all quite different images but hopefully they'll give a flavour of the rendering of each of them. The picture taken by the 43mm is probably weighted by being a better shot! but its renderng is true to the lens - the '3D look'
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