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04-07-2010, 08:25 PM   #1
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28mm M step up from 18-55mm DA II?

I have a K20D with the 18-55 DA II kit lens, and I've been considering buying a 28mm prime to get better optical quality for certain situations. I've been looking for a 2.0 for a reasonable price but they seem pretty scarce. The 2.8 is less expensive but isn't rated as well as the 2.0. Would a 28mm M be an upgrade over the kit lens given the changes in technology over the years, or am I wasting my money and giving up the convenience of AF?

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Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 04-08-2010 at 08:09 PM.
04-07-2010, 08:41 PM   #2
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I have no personal experience with the M28/2, but I'd say the M28/2.8 *is* a step up from the kit lens in terms of IQ alone. Not much so at f/8 or f/11, which I think is a more a testament to the 18-55 II than a knock on the 28. But the 28 is quite a bit better at f/4 - f/5.6, and of course it offers f/2.8, and a much nicer manual focusing experience. I like it also because it is so much smaller & lighter than the kit lens, and it is so widely available and cheap. The M28/2 might offer better IQ overall, but you do pay for that a bit.
04-07-2010, 10:30 PM   #3
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You'll be losing the ability to use autofocus, which can actually be a bigger thing than people realize. But the 18-55mm II is a really good lens, so I'm afraid that you're not going to really notice anything when you make the switch, except for the fact that you can't use 18-27mm and 29-55mm, which you might find yourself missing. If you are just buying it to supplement it though, then there are actually quite a lot of cheaper lenses that are both A and M series that you could consider. The only one that I've actually owned is the A 50mm f/2, which was an OK lens but not that exciting.
04-08-2010, 12:28 AM   #4
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The M28 is an excellent lens; mine cost a whole US$32 on eBay a year ago. It's a stop faster than the kit, and I judge the optics as a bit sharper. (I actually have 9 manual 28/2.8's and I'll do a shootout with them against my DA18-55, DA18-250 and A28-80 in a couple days to decide which to part with.) Being manual you lose AF, but as with many of my manual lenses I use Catch-In-Focus as a sort of free AF.

As faster supplements, numerous inexpensive 24, 28, 35, 50, and 55's are available, as well as the incomparable and dirt-cheap Helios-44 58/2. Glass at f/2 or faster in 24, 28, and 35 isn't so common or inexpensive, but fast 50's and 55's are abundant and often astoundingly low-priced. And they're mostly pretty small. It's no big thang for me to toss a 24 or 28, 35, and 55 or 58 in my bag. Have fun!


Last edited by RioRico; 04-08-2010 at 12:33 AM.
04-08-2010, 01:15 AM   #5
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Practically: no (but you can be used to shooting manual)
Optically: yes (even though the kit zoom is one of the better kit zooms)
Speed: yes, even f2.8 is faster.

The cheapest Pentax 28 is the M28/2.8 (the A28/2.8 is the same optics but more practical and more expensive). The sharpest and opctically best is the K28/3.5 (don't confuse it with the M28/3.5). Extremely good landscape lens. It goes for 100-150 USD. The faster one I don't know so well, but the M28/2 is supposed to be the superior, followed by the K28/2 and the A28/2. Prices are higher though.

There are plenty of good third party 28mm. Vivitar, Kiron, Chinon, Ricoh, Tamron. Some of the Ricoh's are even rebadged Pentax. Tamron adaptall 2 28/2.5 is a good budget solution. If you start with the cheap K adaptall 2 adaper you can later upgrade to the more expensive KA adaptall 2 adapter and get program functions on the Pentax DSLRs.
04-08-2010, 05:37 PM   #6
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I have a A50mm/1.7 and I use it a lot indoors so I can avoid the flash if I can. I find it to be an excellent lens and is better than the kit in many situations. I'm not really looking to get a prime at 28mm just to get a prime, and it would seem to me that a budget solution wouldn't really give me much more than I have now with the kit lens. So if I'm going to spend a few bills on a lens, I want to do some due diligence to make sure it would actually be a step up.

I think the best option is probably the A, but one just went on e-bay for $367 and the bidding war at the last minute was furious. It went from $120 to the final selling price in about two minutes.
04-08-2010, 06:41 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jct us101 Quote
You'll be losing the ability to use autofocus, which can actually be a bigger thing than people realize. But the 18-55mm II is a really good lens, so I'm afraid that you're not going to really notice anything when you make the switch, except for the fact that you can't use 18-27mm and 29-55mm, which you might find yourself missing. If you are just buying it to supplement it though, then there are actually quite a lot of cheaper lenses that are both A and M series that you could consider. The only one that I've actually owned is the A 50mm f/2, which was an OK lens but not that exciting.
The other thing you will miss is the auto aperture. The M 28/2.8 was a film workhorse for me for many years, and it is a great lens. You will definitely get superior pixel peeping capabilities with it over the 18-55. How much you use it depends upon you. I have not used my Kiron 28/2 KA very much on digital bodies, despite its very good performance, speed, and auto aperture. I always end up reaching for the smaller, wider, autofocus DA21 instead.
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