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02-11-2010, 01:57 AM   #1
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What primes are considered essential these days.

This may and up a bit anachronistic in this digital age of zooms but...

I've sold both DA-L kit lenses that came with my K2000 and am deciding what to replace them with. Part of me wants to simply replace them with their current betters: the DA 18-55mm AL II and the DA 55-300mm ED (incrementally better and considerably better, respectively, from what I've read). Then there is the idea of buying one good prime telephoto to supplement my 28mm 1.8 macro, 50mm 1.4, and 10-17 fisheye.

Back when I was in middle school my prized AE-1 and just about every other camera was sold with a 50mm or so lens. Every schoolboy photog's dream was to supplement that "normal" lens with a full compliment of prime lenses (and a motorwind, second body, bracket mounted flash, etc.); zooms were for amateurs. It's thirty-two years later. Times change. Or do they???


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02-11-2010, 05:14 AM   #2
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I don't think there is "accepted wisdom" on this or, if there is, it should probably be ignored. Get a quality prime at a FL that's suited to the photos you want to shoot very well.
02-11-2010, 06:02 AM   #3
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The best answer depends on your shooting style. You could use exposureplot to see which focal lengths you use most often.

To replace the kit lens, I would either suggest the weather resistant kit if you plan on using the lens in difficult environments, otherwise I'd recommend upgrading to the Pentax or Sigma 17-70 lenses. Both are much better than any kit. I own the Sigma and it's my main lens.

A fast 50 lets you do things no other lens will, so it's always a good thing to carry around. A fast wide will not be as fast but can be useful too.

A good telephoto makes sense for many people, that's your call.

A macro lens can or cannot be useful depending on your interests.

A portrait lens, in the 70s area, can be useful, again depending on your style.

I think I've covered the basics.
02-11-2010, 06:04 AM   #4
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I agree with above. You already have the 28 which is basicaly normal lens on your camera.
I enjoy primes, so got myself 24, 31, 43, 55 and I'm looking for 77/85. I also have wide end covered by zoom (10-20).
I rarely take all of them together. Usually it's light kit (24 + 43) or heavy kit (10-20 + 31 + 55).
These days it's really hard to say what are essential primes.
As dadipentak said, get what suits your needs

02-11-2010, 06:18 AM   #5
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As the people above, I will say that there is no clear answer.

I have a big collection of lenses and I can't tell which are the best use. Currently I use a lot of the FA43/1.9 on film, I like the sligthly wide set as ompared to a 50, the aperture, and lens quality is important too.

However on APSC, I also use mostly now this lens, making a lens a bit longer than a 50, it forces you to choose what you shoot.

Before that I was mostly using the 31/1.8 on both medium. Retrospectively, I don't think I switched because of the focal lens or image quality (which is amazing on both) but because of the size and weigth...

So at the end of the day, your "must have" lens will depend on so much parameters that nobody can guess at you place.

Raymond Depardon started his fame by shooting almost exclusively with a 28mm stuck on his Leica. it worked for him. But as much as I admire his work, I know it wouldn't be working for me.

Guillaume
02-11-2010, 08:05 AM   #6
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Zoom optical quality has improved greatly over the years, but most still perform optimally at a limited range and less-than-optimally for the remainder. The other thing that primes give you is "speed".

The 35mm f2 is (IMHO) the closest thing to the old 50mm f1.8 that you enjoyed on your AE-1. (With the crop factor you are getting a 52.5mm at f2). The FA35mm f2 is a terrific lens and (I believe) an essential if you want a normal prime with lower light capabilities. You are gaining 2 full stops over a f4 zoom.

The fast 50mm lens of yesterday becomes yesterday's fast 85mm (with an effective 75mm, actually). And yesterday's fast 85mm becomes yesterday's 135mm.

The hardest thing to match with the crop factor is the wide end of the spectrum, and it is here that you will probably need to stay with a zoom (Pentax 12-24mm or Sigma 10-20mm are the most popular choices). They will give you the 35mm equiv. from 15-18mm to 30-36mm.

I'm picking up a Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 this weekend. I have the FA35mm f2, an A 50mm f1.7, SMC K 50mm f1.4, SMC K 85mm f1.8 and feel that they will meet the needs of almost anything I want to do. I recently picked up a Pentax-F 70-210mm which is much slower (f4-5.6) but I may keep just for convenience in bright daylight shooting. (A lot of people also like, dare I say "prefer" the old 55mm f1.8 (SMC K or Takumars). If you get a m42 adapter you will find a myriad manual focus primes that are fun to play with for very little money.
02-11-2010, 08:12 AM   #7
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I see an "old school" trend; 21,35,50,85 and 135 or closest according to your manufacturer, i prefer to carry fast zooms but my heart says all you can afford
02-11-2010, 08:14 AM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by MD Optofonik Quote
What primes are considered essential these days.
They are all essential.
Every one of them.

02-11-2010, 08:24 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
They are all essential.
Every one of them.
I'm with Wheatfield on this one, but would go a little further to say it's the ones I own.
02-11-2010, 08:28 AM   #10
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same angle-of-view lens sets for crop- and full- cameras look like:

type|crop|full
wide|20|35
normal|35|50
portrait|50|85
telephoto|85|135
02-11-2010, 08:38 AM   #11
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Like others here, I don't have any primes I'd like to give up. More and more, my decision is which, if any, zoom I will take along. However, if I were to interepret the word "essential" strictly, I'd say at least one sharp prime in the middle of the FOV range with a stop or two of usable speed more than your zoom. For me, that is usually the FA35/2, which is in my bag all the time, sometimes replaced by the DA40ltd. If I owned the 31/1.8, I suspect it would be a strong candidate.
02-11-2010, 08:55 AM   #12
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And another vote for the FA35/2 as the prime I'd be most miserable without... altough I'd hate to part with any of them.
02-11-2010, 09:10 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by kerrowdown Quote
I'm with Wheatfield on this one, but would go a little further to say it's the ones I own.
I decided that they were just all essential....
02-11-2010, 09:19 AM   #14
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To be fair to the OP *MD Optofonik* because of the increased margins on these lenses, new Pentax users have to choose their equipment carefully now just like those other guys
02-11-2010, 10:02 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by kerrowdown Quote
I'm with Wheatfield on this one, but would go a little further to say it's the ones I own.
I keep discovering it's the ones I don't own that are essential.
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