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06-17-2007, 10:58 AM   #1
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What do you think is the best pentax all-prime lineup?

its fun to discuss and dream about lenses isnt it

I have been thinking about primes a lot and since the current lineup has some pretty close focal lengths, I think its a waste to get them all, but which ones are the best choices.

Some random thoughts:

DA 14 / no competition, but expensive and if there is ever a > APS-C pentax you wont be able to use it

DA21 vs FA20 / not really a difficult choice since u dont have much of a choice given that the 20 is too hard to find. I think its a tough call, the DA has the build quality but the FA is usable on FF as well altho it carries a very hefty pricetag.

FA 28 / FA 31 / FA 35 : I havent tried the 28 but I hear its good and I have the 35 which is fantastic and to me a lot better than the FA 50. Of course who doesnt want the FA 31 but its so overpriced that it would be a lot better choice to get both the 28 and 35 instead.

DA 40 / FA 43 / FA 50: Ah, the DA40, sorry I dont see the point, its too small! Doesnt look comfortable to use at all, and its not fast eanough and the screw type cover is a pain. The FA 43 is reasonable and has been tested as one of the very sharpest pentax lenses when stopped down AND its also small, but not too small, a very nice size. The FA 50 is fast and cheap but I havent been too impressed with mine, its sharp but the FA 35 has got so much more "pop". I think the slightly wider FA 43 should be the best choice of the three. Possibly adding the 50 later for completion.

DA 70/FA 77: Heres one I dont understand, according to formal tests the DA should be as good or better than the 77 (ref photozone) and the price is certainly very nice but come on man... look at the pictures. I think the pics I Have seen with the 70 have mostly been dull and lacking pop, and I keep seeing great shots from the 77, I have no doubt the 77 is in a different league than the 70. So unless youre on a budget, the 77 wins.

(FA 85: droool....this lens kicks so much ass...but I will never afford nor be willing to pay so much for one)

(FA 135: bring it back! give me a DA 135 f2.0 SDM).

So I end up with: DA 14, DA 21, FA 28, FA 35, FA 43, FA 50, FA 77 (and a 100 macro) Altho Id take an FA 20 if I could, I mean who wants a prime thats slower than a zoom, then whats the point.

06-17-2007, 11:53 AM   #2
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Not bad - considering were just dreaming (ie. unlimited funds available for lenses without your gf/wife leaving you!) I'd go with (inluding the upcoming primes of course)

DA14 f/2.8
DA21 f/3.2 Ltd
FA31 f/1.8 Ltd
FA43 f/1.9 Ltd
DA*55 f/1.4 SDM
FA77 f/1.8 Ltd
DFA100 f/2.8 Macro
DA*200 f/2.8 SDM
DA*300 f/4 SDM

and be down about oh - about $5.5K~6K based on quick calculations (and guesses for the upcoming lenses)

Of course you would be in possesion of some seriously good (and fast) glass and a huge camera bag!

Last edited by sft; 06-17-2007 at 03:26 PM. Reason: Typos like usual
06-17-2007, 01:31 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by and Quote
...I think its a waste to get them all...
Surely this is a problem!!

I've done a great job of 'getting them all'...and still for not all that much. If I had to put together my ultimate kit with them (i.e. they all can fit in my Tamrac):

Tamron SP 14/2.8
Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 17/4 Fisheye
FA 20/2.8
FA* 24/2
FA 31 Limited
A 50/1.2
FA 77 Limited
FA* 85/1.4 (yup - I have one)
Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 135/2.5
Tamron SP 300/2.8
Pentax 1.7x AF Teleconverter


Okay...the 300/2.8 doesn't fit in the Tamrac...but the rest will!
06-17-2007, 02:49 PM   #4
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Here's my planned lineup... getting there but steadily:

DA14/2.8 (I'm a firm believer in the fact that Pentax will never release a full-frame DSLR)
DA21/3.2 (have to get)
FA31/1.8
FA43/1.9 (have to get, mainly for film use with my MX)
FA50/1.4 (wanted to sell but what I'd get for it is too little compared to what this lens can do)
DFA50/2.8 Macro
DA*55/1.4 (still want it in spite of having the FA50)
75/2.5 Voigtlander Lanthar
FA77/1.8
125/2.5 Voigtlander Macro Or 180mm Sigma Macro (have to get)
DA*200/2.8 (when it's available)
Sigma 300/2.8 or a Pentax one if they decide to release a DA* version, F4 won't do. (when funds permit)

Much redundancy in my lineup, but I don't mind that.

Cheers,
-Asad

06-17-2007, 04:51 PM   #5
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Hmmmm...

I find it strange that the DA* lenses are included in these types of lists.

What if they turn out to be just average???
06-17-2007, 05:05 PM   #6
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I hope not! I doubt Pentax would put their * label on a lens if it wasnt up to par. I read comments similar to this often and I wonder why people think this way? Is there anything that hints that these * lenses will only be average whereas all the past ones have been excellent. The 200 and 300's are obvious replacements for the FA*200 and FA*300 and the DA*55 f/1.4 is the NEW FA*85mm f/1.4 (when taking into account the 1.5x crop) - Pentax has definetely positioned these lenses to be of top quality so I seriously doubt they will be just average. Judging by past * series - they should be some of the best lenses optically/mechnically.
06-17-2007, 07:43 PM   #7
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DA14
DA21
FA35
DA70
DFA135 Macro
F*300 (or FA)

OK well I am biased as that is the lineup I have (almost).. Though due to stock availability or lack there-of I ended up with the Sigma 10-20 EX instead of the DA14 (one day I may switch, though I don't use super wide that much and the Sigma is very good)..

The other hole is the non existant DFA*135/2.8 Macro.. So I just (yesterday) purchased the Voigtlander 125/2.5 macro

Last edited by joele; 06-17-2007 at 07:58 PM.
06-17-2007, 07:54 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by and Quote
FA 28 / FA 31 / FA 35 : I havent tried the 28 but I hear its good and I have the 35 which is fantastic and to me a lot better than the FA 50. Of course who doesnt want the FA 31 but its so overpriced that it would be a lot better choice to get both the 28 and 35 instead.
I have the FA35 and had the FA28 and have used the FA31.. The 31 to me isn't worth the extra over the FA35 (just my opinion).. The FA28 is not as good a lens as the 35, much more CA, and rather soft at 2.8, whereas my 35 is good even at 2.0. I sold my FA50 too, though would never sell my FA35..

QuoteQuote:
I have no doubt the 77 is in a different league than the 70. So unless youre on a budget, the 77 wins.
Sorry but after using both I would have to disagree. The 77 has better bokeh (seen in certain situations), as far as sharpness and CA the DA70 is better IMO.. Colour and Contrast are to me about equal.. Its a bit hard to judge comparing pics from different photographers, the only way is to get them both (or borrow) and compare yourself Ohh and aren't they around the same price?


Last edited by joele; 06-17-2007 at 08:03 PM.
06-17-2007, 08:03 PM   #9
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I see you guys agree in general about some things:
- Despite what formal tests say, the FA77 > DA70
- The FA 31 is very desireable

But I didnt include the FA 31 in my list because I really think its priced too high, consider the very excellent FA 35 in comparison and look at the diminishing returns as you compare how much better the 31 is to the 35 compared to how much more it costs (about 3 times more?).

Asad included a 50 macro, I have actually toyed with that idea myself, ormaybe even the new 35 macro. And that is simply because for some subjects, like flowers, I dont need the extra focusing distance and the FA 100 that I have now is so big and heavy, coupled with the long focal length that it can be hard to shoot with it without using a tripod.

On a different thought, the FA*85 is sooo good I wish they would put out a new one, the DA 55 is too close to the FA 50, what if u ended up having FA 50, DFA 50 macro and DA 55 SDM, so many... I think the 85 has a very nice rendering that is similar to the 80-200 f2.8.
06-17-2007, 08:11 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by joele Quote
DA14
The other hole is the non existant DFA*135/2.8 Macro.. So I just (yesterday) purchased the Voigtlander 125/2.5 macro
Hehe, you could not resist Voigtlander macro either...

DA* 135 f2.8 macro is rumoured to be available in the next decade ... Right now, Da 35 f2.8 macro is nowhere to be seen as it is already long overdue (not that I am keen to have it)
06-17-2007, 08:20 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by roentarre Quote
Hehe, you could not resist Voigtlander macro either...
Not quite sure how I will pay for it, but thats a problem for tomorrow..
06-18-2007, 01:10 AM   #12
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After some debating and b&s, my curent prime line up:

FA31/1.8
FA43/1.9
A50/1.2 (letting this go due to lack of usage. I use AF lens mostly)
FA77/1.8
FA*85 /1.4(yes, just got one!)
DFA100/2.8
FA*200/2.8

If I get time to shoot birds/widelife again, I'd get an F/FA300/4.5 back

Cheers!
06-18-2007, 01:15 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by frank Quote
After some debating and b&s, my curent prime line up:

FA31/1.8
FA43/1.9
A50/1.2 (letting this go due to lack of usage. I use AF lens mostly)
FA77/1.8
FA*85 /1.4(yes, just got one!)
DFA100/2.8
FA*200/2.8

If I get time to shoot birds/widelife again, I'd get an F/FA300/4.5 back

Cheers!
wow.....
Well thats a pretty good demo of the best lineup money can buy, I cant think of any way to spend more money and improve on that one, at least up to 100mm.

Thats a pretty insane lineup... even replacing the FA50 for a f1.2.

Have you thought about getting something below 31? Like the da21 or DA14. Or are you too happy playing with the fish eye As a digression I must admit I like the fish eye more and more, actually I wanted to buy one at the same time as I got my FA35 in japan but they were out of stock everywhere at the time. I guess that was fate.
06-18-2007, 02:03 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by and Quote
wow.....
Well thats a pretty good demo of the best lineup money can buy, I cant think of any way to spend more money and improve on that one, at least up to 100mm.

Thats a pretty insane lineup... even replacing the FA50 for a f1.2.

Have you thought about getting something below 31? Like the da21 or DA14. Or are you too happy playing with the fish eye As a digression I must admit I like the fish eye more and more, actually I wanted to buy one at the same time as I got my FA35 in japan but they were out of stock everywhere at the time. I guess that was fate.
I might just keep the 50/1.2 for collection purpose

I'm not a wide guy - don't use wide angle lens that often. I had the DA14 and 21 before, but only tested them once or twice. Both are good lenses, but I prefer either even wider (that's when the DA1017 FE comes in ) or just normal views. So 31mm is perfect okay for my shooting style.
06-19-2007, 05:44 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by roentarre Quote
Hehe, you could not resist Voigtlander macro either...

DA* 135 f2.8 macro is rumoured to be available in the next decade ... Right now, Da 35 f2.8 macro is nowhere to be seen as it is already long overdue (not that I am keen to have it)
Roe,

Along with every other "promised" Pentax lens in existance (cross that out ...NOT IN EXISTANCE)....

Stephen
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