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04-19-2010, 08:39 AM   #1
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Most functional NON SDM lens set.

After playing around with film, 135, 120, DSLR, various manual, m42 lenses, cheap zooms, AF primes and Limited's, i've realized that in situations where you depend on others (when shooting people) a fast, functional and reliable lens set is needed.

What i need for my shooting is:
-kit ranged wide zoom (somewhere in the 16...70mm range);
-medium telezoom (~50..300mm);
-long-ish macro (mostly technical stuff, so DA35 would be too close, also 135 and 120 film duplication);

All NEW/CURRENT,AF lenses with constant aperture (2.8..4*) covering the whole range without large gaps (16-45 + 100-300 = NONO).

*Depending on the above, another lens to fill some gaps...if the wide zoom is F4, then it should be a fast normal (35/2, 40/2.8), if the zoom is slow (55-300) then a bright, long macro/portrait (100...150 2.8) etc. The combination should consist of cheaper+more expensive lens. (12-24 + 55/1.4 = a NONO)
I'd prefer not to have 24..28-70 lens + additional super wide. I like to change FL in this range a lot.

What would be the lens set you'd recommend?

Currently im confused because i'd like to have WR lenses, but i'm avoiding SDM. The macro option is quite unclear, because some manufacturers tend to add "MACRO" to all of it's lenses and the price differences are huge.

I was thinking of:
DA 16-45,
DA 55-300,
FA 100 mm F/2.8 Macro (is it 1:1?),
FA 35/2.


Last edited by ytterbium; 04-19-2010 at 08:50 AM.
04-19-2010, 09:04 AM   #2
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Don't know if you are only looking at Pentax lens but I would suggest

Sigma 17-70 (original version)
Pentax 55-300
Sigma 105 f2.8 for macro or the Tamron 90 for macro
I like the Fa43 for my walk around prime
04-19-2010, 09:14 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by ytterbium Quote
After playing around with film, 135, 120, DSLR, various manual, m42 lenses, cheap zooms, AF primes and Limited's, i've realized that in situations where you depend on others (when shooting people) a fast, functional and reliable lens set is needed.

What i need for my shooting is:
-kit ranged wide zoom (somewhere in the 16...70mm range);
-medium telezoom (~50..300mm);
-long-ish macro (mostly technical stuff, so DA35 would be too close, also 135 and 120 film duplication);

All NEW/CURRENT,AF lenses with constant aperture (2.8..4*) covering the whole range without large gaps (16-45 + 100-300 = NONO).

*Depending on the above, another lens to fill some gaps...if the wide zoom is F4, then it should be a fast normal (35/2, 40/2.8), if the zoom is slow (55-300) then a bright, long macro/portrait (100...150 2.8) etc. The combination should consist of cheaper+more expensive lens. (12-24 + 55/1.4 = a NONO)
I'd prefer not to have 24..28-70 lens + additional super wide. I like to change FL in this range a lot.

What would be the lens set you'd recommend?

Currently im confused because i'd like to have WR lenses, but i'm avoiding SDM. The macro option is quite unclear, because some manufacturers tend to add "MACRO" to all of it's lenses and the price differences are huge.

I was thinking of:
DA 16-45,
DA 55-300,
FA 100 mm F/2.8 Macro (is it 1:1?),
FA 35/2.
I think you pretty much have it nailed.

The FA 35/2 used to be a real gem and a good bargain. Still a gem but the price is terribly inflated. Depending on how good you want your prime to be, maybe
DA35macro and the FA31 can come to your consideration as well.
04-19-2010, 09:15 AM   #4
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I think the selection of F2.8 across a large focal length range is something that each user needs to decide for themselves. I have found having 28-200mm at F2.8 is very important, especially when you also consider I put a 2xTC on my 70-200 zoom to get out to 400mm. BUT speed vs weight is a decision each user has to decide for themselves.

I also think you are missing a lot when you stop at 16mm. I really think for an ASP-C sensor, 10-12 mm is necessary. This equates to between 15 and 18 mm for film. I always found 24mm on film (16mm for ASP-C) was never wide enough.

What I usually recommed is to go 10-200mm with either no or minimal gaps, with from at least 24-28mm up to 200 at F2.8.

Newer and better high ISO perfromance can cut this somewhat, but if you want to do any shooting aside from bright sunny days, F2.8 is not a luxury but a necessity, at least in my opinion. Note that I have used my 70-200F2.8 wide open at ISO 3200 to shoot stage performances, and have enough shutter speed to freeze the performers. Forget about shake reduction, it only stops camera movement induced blurr. To stop a moving object requires shutter speed.

Since many shooters don't go for a lot of primes on top, this is a base kit that can be done with 3-4 good zooms and will serve any one very well.

If you need more speed, or need ultra sharp lenses, or very limited DOF, then you add in primes. this is especially true in the 20-85mm range where you can buy lenses in the F1.4-F2 range and gain an additional 1-2 stops over the F2.8 zooms. Again, I have sought out (for the most part) MF primes that are faster than my zooms. 24, 28, 35mm at F2 or F2.5, 50mm and 85mm @ F1.4 etc.

04-19-2010, 09:51 AM   #5
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Just a couple of additional thoughts:

- Tamron 17-50/2.8 might eliminate the need for the normal prime
- A Raynox 150 on the telezoom might eliminate the need for a macro, although if you want a fast telephoto lens also, then the various macro primes definitely make sense. I'd go with the Sigma 70 or Tamron 90 if you're planning on using it for portraits much.
- If it's a zoom, ignore the word "macro" that might be in the name - it won't be anywhere close to 1:1. If it's a prime, chances are it is 1:1, but the specs usually make that clear. I believe a couple of the old "M" macro primes were only 1:2.
04-19-2010, 10:06 AM   #6
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Good thought's Lowell. Thanks for the advice. I think the setup your'e describing might be a bit overkill for me.
This is more suitable for serious amateur or even professional. With high quality coverage in the whole range.

Simple amateur can satisfy his creative desires well enough with something a bit wider than kit, something to zoom in (distance, perspective and macros) and something nice and bright for indoors and portraits.

Yes, as much as i'd like to have one the FA's 35 price has become a pain. Although not as much as in the rest of the world (compared to FA50 who's price has almost tripled here). It was ~400$ now it goes for ~500$.

Once i had an used Sigma 30/1.4. I liked it a lot, but it has terrible AF. Very unresponsive (sometimes i had re-half-press the shutter button several times for it to start working) and very imprecise (impossible to AF at infinity). I wonder if was sold a broken lemon or thats how all of them behave on Pentax without their native HSM. It would have been a great lens, if more reliable.

Still expecting something affordable in that range from Pentax. With DA limited's and DA* there are currently no consumer oriented primes.

Btw, how important flash is? With single flash on camera and no desire for complex strobist setups (i'm more a landscape/nature shooter) i found myself using the flash only for macro/product shots. Bounced from ceiling or blank paper.

Thanks for the adivce Marc. I'm not considering M lenses. I always miss the focus with them. Wasn't the 17-50 known for bad AF precision? I don't have a Pentax service nearby so it is very important to get everything right. Otherwise i'm left with selling the thing as broken for half the price, as it was with my 30/1.4.
For the raynox adapter. How well it compares to true macro? I often need to picture fine details. I've found that it is quite a challenge to expose and focus them correctly with reverse attached M50/1.4 to 50-200.

I wonder how much i could cover by selling my current kit (DA 18-55WR, DA 50-200I, M50/1.4, SMC Tak55/1.8, Jupiter 135/3.5, some manual flashes) and some impractical equipment (2x135/1x120 tank, Flexaret IV Tlr, EOS 300, Sigma EOS 35-80, Praktica MTL5, Cokin RED, Cokin ND, 55mm bad cokin cpl, film/paper tray, locking release, some m42->PK rings etc).

Last edited by ytterbium; 04-19-2010 at 10:13 AM.
04-19-2010, 10:06 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by ytterbium Quote
I was thinking of:
DA 16-45,
DA 55-300,
FA 100 mm F/2.8 Macro (is it 1:1?),
FA 35/2.
With a couple of additions, that's pretty much my main kit (I also have a 10-17 fisheye and FA 50mm 1.4). I don't have the FA 100mm, I have the D FA 100mm. You may want to consider the new D FA 100mm WR macro instead. If you're looking to avoid SDM, those are some great choices, IMO.
04-19-2010, 12:41 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by gokenin Quote
Sigma 17-70 (original version)
I'd like to have pentax only lenses. Still, what is the original and non orignal version (how do i look it up in google - DG/DC/HSM/I/II?)?

04-19-2010, 08:27 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by ytterbium Quote
Thanks for the adivce Marc. I'm not considering M lenses.
I realize that; I mentioned the only because they are the exception that proves the rule about macro primes usually being 1:1.

QuoteQuote:
Wasn't the 17-50 known for bad AF precision?
Could be, although given that most people have no clue how to conduct a focus test, I'd take any such impression with a very very large grain of salt.

QuoteQuote:
For the raynox adapter. How well it compares to true macro?
I doubt you could tell the difference, but see the Raynox Club thread and give it a shot!
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