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02-15-2010, 09:47 PM   #1
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DA 40mm vs M 50mm and similar primes

Going through my want list and what I currently own list.

I'm picking up my Macro tomorrow, which will also give me my 300mm reach that I was lacking before. So now I want a good prime to be wandering around with.

Right now my primary lens is my M 50mm 1.4 for the last few years, and I run into two drawbacks:
manual focus (issue when I hand the cam to friends and family to take a shot and they are not familiar with manual operation let alone DSLR operation)
distance of operation
Now, I LOVE the result my M50mm gives me, in fact even with my DA* 16-50 I still use the M because the colors seem to be warmer, and sharpness is on par.

The 40mm seems to give stunning results as I've seen on the limited lens club forum. Incredibly stunning. I'm also seeing that it is one of the more affordable lenses in the Pentax lineup.

M vs DA how is the quality? Can I expect better or worse results on the same subject? I see amazing results from others using both.

Finally... 35mm Macro. Since my only macro is a 70-300mm Tamron, and I do plan on increasing my Macro skills... would the 35mm Macro be a better investment than another standard prime?

02-15-2010, 11:44 PM   #2
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how often do you shoot macro? buying a real macro lens does not improve your skills but rather improve your image quality. I think the Tamron 70-300 would be sufficient for now for pseudo-macro work. it's not bad nor excellent, but produces very good IQ results. just watch out for those horrendous PF.

the DA40 would be the better or best investment. once you put it into your camera, you would certainly love it. not to mention that it's very small and very cute, aside from having an awesome IQ.

I don't have one but I had tried it numerous times already. I had considered getting one before, but just couldn't justify buying it especially if it's against my other lenses with excellent IQ as well. the things that I found attractive about it is it's cute size and 40mm focal length and convenient AF (my 50/1.2 and K55/1.8 don't have AF but my 35/2 and 50/1.7 are but display a different bokeh). as for bokeh, it would surely be dwarfed by it's older and faster 50mm predecessors. if only I didn't have those other lenses, I would definitely get it. as for your case, you need to have it.
02-16-2010, 05:38 AM   #3
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ironically, i have both lenses.

I like the focus ring on M50, nice long and smooth. I usually stop it down to f2.8.
DA40 pretty much makes my k-x a one handed camera, focus ring is a short flip to infinity with the thumb.

I picked DA40 because it's a limited lens and it is cheapest of the pentax primes, at the moment, probably with some good deal of promotion going on behind the scenes.

I don't think you can go wrong with any of the pentax primes.
02-16-2010, 08:32 AM   #4
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I enjoy my "M" lenses, but having at least one really sharp AF/AE prime is really a must. The DA40 is an excellent choice, but if not the DA40, then the DA35 or even the ultra-light and ultra-sharp FA35/2. These lenses are very nice at F2.8, so they give you usable speed as well as superb quality stopped down. The size on the DA lenses is lots of fun as well, even on the larger bodies such as the K20d. A camera is only useful if you have it with you, and a body with one of the DA pancake lenses is so easy to bring along.

02-16-2010, 12:57 PM   #5

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I have a manual 50mm 1:1.4 and several 50mm 1:1.7, including an SMC-FA 50.

But I haven't used any of them since I got the DA 40mm. The DA 40mm is small, sharp, with fast auto-focusing.

I also have a 50mm macro and a 90mm macro. But when I travel light, I bring the 3 DA limited lenses (21mm, 40mm, and 70mm) and an extension tube (actually a PK-A 2X TC with the optics removed).

Last edited by SOldBear; 02-17-2010 at 12:13 PM.
02-17-2010, 01:51 AM   #6
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Hands down winner would be the 40 Ltd. Crazy sharp from edge to edge at all apertures.
02-17-2010, 12:09 PM   #7
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I'd just add that while I too find the 40 more generally useful than any 50, much less a totally manual one that you need others to be able to use, I wouldn't sell the 50 to fund the 40, since it's certainly nice to have something faster than f/2.8 available for when it's necessary. But aside when you you really *want* the softness and especially the shallow DOF you get at f/1.4, you're generally better off shooting stopped down a bit anyhow. So my 50 doesn't get called on very often - but I'm glad I have it. You *could* consider selling the the 50/1.4 and getting a 50/1.7 instead, which would probably net you $75 or so toward the 40.

As for macro, I'd get a Raynox 250 to stick on the 50 and have a ball.

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