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06-17-2007, 06:40 PM   #1
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A Good Prime For Indoor Shots?


I'm been playing with digital point and shoots for a few years now, but I finally got fed up with not being able to get decent indoor shots. After much agonizing, I settled on the k10d (with kit lens.) I picked up the 200m f4 zoom because of the current $100 rebate offer, but I still need a decent large-aperture prime for general indoor/cloudy day work.

Mostly, I'd just like to be able to snap some indoor portraits and candid shots without blinding people with a flash or suffering massive blurring due to camera shake or (slowly) moving subjects, or suffering high-ISO noise. Good bokeh would be nice, but is a secondary concern.

I haven't actually received the camera yet (and I've only used a film SLR a couple times before, eons ago), so I suppose it's *possible* the kit lens will perform as I desire, but I'm doubtful. Are there any particularly good, versatile, sub-$400 (sub-$200 would be even better) primes you could recommend?

06-17-2007, 08:09 PM   #2
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Two obvious answers: FA 50 f1.4 and FA 35 f2.0. Both good and relatively inexpensive. I greatly prefer the FA 35 of the two because the focal length makes the lens usable for more than just head-and-shoulders portrait and closeups of ojects.

Before I had any of them the consensus seemed to be that everyone should get the FA 50, so I did. Its fast, its sharp (at least stepped down a little) and the contrast is ok. But its so long, 75mm. If I was indoors in anything but a big room, I would have trouble moving back eanough to get a shot. So I havent used mine so much.

Then I got the FA 35 and it is now my most used lens, I would say its sharper than the 50 and the contrast is really good, the pictures have that "wow" effect to me ("pop") that the 50 doesnt.

You havent gotten your camera yet, so wait untill you do, presuming you are getting the kit zoom with it. Then use your kit zoom, setting it to 35 and then to 50 and imagine you were shooting with a 35 or 50 prime lens. Then you should soon realize which of the two focal lengths is more usable to you.
06-17-2007, 08:10 PM   #3
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The FA35 is also my most used lens esp indoors. I had the FA50 but sold it as on digital the 35mm was better (for me)..
06-17-2007, 08:11 PM   #4
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check ebay for 50 mm f1.4 or f1.7 I bought the SMC-M f1.4 and it does well in low light

06-20-2007, 02:47 AM   #5
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Hi guys, I'm new here, so I don't know if the discussion is limited to pentax-branded gear, but I use a Sigma EX 24mm f/1.8 Aspherical that I got specifically for interior shots, and it's a very nice lens. While it's not a "wow" lens at the larger apertures, it does it's job and is generally a constant and reliable performer.

A bit on the bulky side, though, 77mm filter (actually, come to think of it, it's quite large), but it balances really nice with the body (i think they're about the same weight).

Added bonus is that it's a FF lens - so it can be a 24mm UW on film and a "normal"-wide (well, ~35mm) on digital, giving you two "classical" focals, and it has close focusing ability (you can almost touch the subject with the front element and be in focus).
06-20-2007, 03:38 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by LodeRunner Quote
Are there any particularly good, versatile, sub-$400 (sub-$200 would be even better) primes you could recommend?

^^Another recent thread on the topic. Check the posts and you'll see that the FA35 is the one to go for according to many. I choose the Sigma 30/1.4 for real low light.
06-20-2007, 04:02 AM   #7
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You might also want to consider the DA 40mm f/2.8. It's (obviously) a stop or two slower than the suggestions above, but it's pretty nice wide open, and f/2.8 lets you get pretty decent shots in much indoor lighting at ISO 800 or 1600, and it's an easier depth of field to work with. (Nose *and* ears in focus.)

It's still a bit too long (no whole-room or group shots), but on the other hand, it's $220 new after rebate. Also, it's really fast at auto-focusing even when it's dim, and the quick-shift focus means it's easy to go to manual.

Last edited by mattdm; 06-20-2007 at 04:04 AM. Reason: added more
06-20-2007, 07:11 AM   #8
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The older manual focus SMC-A 28mm f2.8 is also a good performer that can not be beat for the price. On digital it is roughly a 42mm lens.

06-20-2007, 07:45 AM   #9
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Regarding the 35 f2, is it still being made? All of the online outlets say out of stock, back ordered, or discontinued.

06-20-2007, 08:36 AM   #10
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I believe it still is, in batches. It can still be had but they disappear fast when someone get them in. I suggest just backordering it and you will get it eventually.
06-20-2007, 08:48 AM   #11
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21mm Limited

OK, so these shots are outdoors, but the lens is nice

Queensday 2007 Haarlem Photo Gallery by Kees de Haan at

I have this lens, but I'm at work and don't have MY samples. Nice lens, good build quality as with all the Pentax Limiteds.

PS- not all the photos on this page are 21mm...
06-20-2007, 09:12 AM   #12
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I ordered (and received) an FA 35mm f/2.0 from B&H on May 30th. They have since gone out of stock. I'm sure if you keep checking back they will be back in stock.
06-20-2007, 07:52 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Olrocker Quote
Regarding the 35 f2, is it still being made? All of the online outlets say out of stock, back ordered, or discontinued.

As far as I know, this lens is quite easily available in Japan and some other asia countries (but not here in Singapore ).
06-21-2007, 02:17 AM   #14
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As others have mentioned, the FA 35 f2.0 makes a really good "normal" lens,US$299 at B&H . For a reasonably priced fast zoom, try the Tamron 28-75 XR di f2.8. US$369 after rebate at B&H.

Very sharp through it's zoom range, and only 1/2 stop slower than the FA35.
06-21-2007, 08:41 AM   #15
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How about something wide, reasonably fast, not very heavy, and not too expensive?

I want to capture dimly lit interiors (temples, palaces, etc.). I need wide angle to get everything in. I don't want to drag my bag all day long just for the few shots for which I might use the lens. And I can be quite happy with an older manual focus. Interiors tend to stay stationary.

Something around 18mm might be nice. And it would have to be significantly faster than f3.5.

I wouldn't be asking for too much would I?

Last edited by Bob Wallace; 06-21-2007 at 08:45 AM. Reason: personal

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