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05-09-2013, 06:48 PM   #1
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Treasonous thoughts -- on the lens Price Hike Debacle of 2013

Folks,

I am putting it to the community. Since December I had my plan all worked out. I pay my car off in July. I had planned on putting that money toward the (then) $1000 31mm f/1.8 FA Ltd. I had been looking for the rare 30mm "K" lens, and at $600 used it made sense to me to just continue saving and get the 31mm. In the past week, I actually had an opportunity to acquire a 30mm "K" for less than half of its going 'retail' rate I had been seeing on eBay (in 2 days of shooting is definitely showing its potential. It definitely has its signature and is damn near a perfect focal length on APS-C for me, mostly shooting street. I need more time to fairly assess this lens, but I have to say it is probably going to be a permanent fixture on my camera.). I thought, well....I'll still save for the 31mm. Seems like THE lens to have, highly regarded and already a part of modern photographic history as a benchmark...even at $1300.00. I could save for that.

And then, this weekend it happened that I was in my local camera shop and got to handle a Fuji x100s rangefinder. My-my. I have to say...pretty darned sexy that little number. I wont recount my feelings about this camera except to say that it seems somewhat unimpeachable. I had scoffed at the price in the past..especially since it was not an interchangeable lens camera. Getting to handle it, I can see where that could be an asset for someone like me--I shoot street photos everyday on my lunch breaks and the 50mm on APS-C is simply a little too long. Even the 40mm is a tad tight. I had been struggling to find a good 28mm (now the proud owner of 5 or 6 28mm lenses) for its "wide normal" status on APS-C. In any case, the x100s looks pretty darned tempting.

So the question is: x100s or 31mm ltd. on the K-o1? I have the 30mm, and have read the comparison over in the lens review section under the 30mm "K" entry. My idea for the K-01 was to have my kit as follows: The 15mm, the 21mm and the 31mm limited lenses, the 50mm f/1.7 which I already have and then up to a 135mm (I have a TAIR 11 A which is a great lens, but challenging in live view) and that's it.

Anyone had any experience with both the 31mm and the x100 or x100s?

05-09-2013, 07:01 PM   #2
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Shot the X100. Got old quickly to be honest.

Try the Ricoh GR with the OVF option.
05-09-2013, 07:10 PM   #3
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Around that 28-35mm FL there will definitly be a trend to buy 'fixies' like the X100S and the GR instead. I think this is a totally viable option especially if you want to stay small and have that lens on 90% of the time anyway. Save the larger interchangeable body for those other occasions or carry both!
05-09-2013, 07:15 PM   #4
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Contax G 28/2.8 and a used NEX would be about $600.

05-09-2013, 07:39 PM   #5
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IMO, get the lens.
It transfers to future cameras.

This sort of 'look good/feel good' fixed lens cameras become 'yesterday's toy' pretty fast (together with the lens).
Unless you are the sort of user who does not care about newer stuff for a good 3yrs or more once you get a camera.
The exception to me is perhaps a DP1m that has IQ good enough against any bayer array sensor for many yrs to come (but its a one trick pony as a camera)

I also think a 31ltd is overkill for street shots.
IMO, street shots are never fully personal nor intimate and seldom get seriously displayed/printed.
The 'flow'/feel of street shots are more important and often technicals are less so.
Therefore, imho, better camera/lens is often not necessary.
My few cents.
05-09-2013, 07:51 PM   #6
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yeah. I dont know. Its a clincher. I have a theory that 28mm at f/2.8 has a tendency to blow out highlights on digital. I nearly wrote off 28mm lenses as a whole for digital and that is why I was thinking of the 31mm: better to feel the pain once than to have a bunch of 28's that are all 'not quite' there. That said, everything in 28mm that I was looking at (the 2.0, the 3.5) was fetching way more than I thought they were worth. Saw a 2.0 going for $600. Since the aggregate score for the 30mm was higher, I was keeping my eyes peeled for that lens and luckily I have not been disappointed. I am not knocking 28mm lenses, I was just going with a theory that I wanted to pay once for a bulletproof lens an be done with it.

I started this photo-taking business as a way to stay visual. I was an art major (painting and sculpture) in the mid 90's and now for the past 8 years worked in a law firm doing the most uncreative, non-visual based daily grindstone work one can think of. For someone who could draw before they could talk, that has been torture. I started off September of last year with a Fuji point and click (AX330 finepix, 14mp). Very basic. Despite its limitation, I was getting good enough images that it compelled me headlong into photography. In a way it has been a sort of a lifesaver. I am impressed with Fuji's camera making abilities and the image quality I was able to squeeze out of a $50 camera and Picasa. I also know how weird their menus are and was initially pretty pissed about the price tag on the x100 when it came out. Does seem a little like a gimmick -- what happens when that snazzy parallax viewfinder goes on the fritz?

Basically, I should just save my money for the inevitable full frame!! But I guess at this point I have a little bit of a fetish for the out-of-the-ordinary. Pentax and Fuji both deliver in that regard. Both the x100s and the 31mm f/1.8 are photographic tools I think that are hallmarks and achievements (again, I havent used a 31mm but its reputation precedes it and the images I have seen are pretty much bulletproof). Seems like the 31mm would be the way to go....especially if that full frame is on the way. On the other hand, I guess I have developed a soft spot for this Fuji as well. Are either worth the money at full retail?
05-09-2013, 08:09 PM   #7
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Hi - here in NZ Camus Wyatt Camus Wyatt: Photographs is a young street photographer who is gaining more attention for his work. Up until very recently he was using a Pentax K7 and FA 31mm Ltd for his work.

You can buy FA 31's off the marketplace here from very reputable members for less than the numbers you are talking about.

I have the 15 and 21 Limited and a Zeiss ZK 35/2 - that is a good range of focal lengths and covers a lot of possibilities. I don't shoot street really, but my advice is try a range of focal lengths to find out what you really like and best suits your style and shooting.

Once you have that sorted - then consider a fixed focal length compact.

Whilst camera bodies depreciate quite quickly, good lenses - and the Pentax Limiteds are in that category generally hold their value well. If you are patient, and buy well then you will almost always be able to sell the lens for about the same money, as long as you look after it and don't ding it.

Have fun with you decisions - and whatever you decide - keep taking lots of photos

Ross
05-09-2013, 08:11 PM   #8
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yes, I was reading about the Sigma cameras also and they certainly looked interesting to me. I have to wonder about the way the sensor is implemented. It is certainly a one of a kind -- nobody else is doing that. Using the optical properties of the chip itself to absorb the different colors of light. The MP count, though---I heard that they claim to be able to triple the MP count by the method they use (where the red light exposes at a certain 'depth', blue light further down, etc). Does this actually triple the MP count?

I am leaning towards the 31 for the reasons you cited. As I have experienced, I/C lenses tend to hold value and especially good lenses like the 31mm. One has the same disposition towards it as one would have towards a Leica-- you buy a Leica, you are buying an heirloom. I have to say, having acquired the 30mm, I have more of a sense of stewardship than ownership. The 30mm "K" definitely feels like something crafted rather than extruded out of the business end of a 3rd world factory for mass consumption.

In regard to the x100s, it has the feel --truly-- of something that is really a photographer's tool as well. I suppose my question in regard to the 31 is whether it is necessary if one already has the 30mm? One review places them at nearly identical optically for sharpness from 4.5 down. Only advantages of the 31mm are autofocus and its a stop wider. Advantages listed for the 30mm are that it handles CA a little better. I have noticed the 30mm being a tad neutral (not too neutral as to be bothersome..as the TAIR sometimes can be). I wonder if the newer SMC coating on the 31 delivers puchier color and contrast?

05-09-2013, 08:13 PM   #9
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beautiful work NZ!! Wyatt is very talented.
05-09-2013, 08:18 PM   #10
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actually -- amazing work. These are fantastic.
05-09-2013, 08:22 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by cristigj Quote
actually -- amazing work. These are fantastic.
I have met Camus - he is a really nice young guy as well, and very talented. When I look at his photography, I am just challenged to see different and get better at my own photography
05-09-2013, 08:39 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by cristigj Quote
yes, I was reading about the Sigma cameras also and they certainly looked interesting to me. I have to wonder about the way the sensor is implemented. It is certainly a one of a kind -- nobody else is doing that. Using the optical properties of the chip itself to absorb the different colors of light. The MP count, though---I heard that they claim to be able to triple the MP count by the method they use (where the red light exposes at a certain 'depth', blue light further down, etc). Does this actually triple the MP count?
No, it does not really triple the resolution, but it crams a lot more detail into a 16MP picture than I ever thought possible. It's outstanding with fine textures. I've seen people write that it's more like somewhere between 20 and 30MP on a regular camera. I started a thread for sample pictures here, in case you're interested.

I'm not sure it would make the best "street" cam, though. It feels really slow compared to a DSLR, but I'm not sure how it compares to the K-01. It's amazing at B&W, even at high ISO (Foveon grain is much closer to film grain than other digital sensors), but if you want color, it's unwise to push it past ISO 200.

Oh yeah, and battery life is terrible. I've gotten close to 200 shots in the best of conditions, but in the worst, don't expect much more than 50. There's a reason Sigma includes two batteries with the camera.
05-10-2013, 05:07 AM   #13
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Fwiw I have a K5 and the 31mm Ltd, plus 43Ltd, 77Ltd, F28 2.8, etc etc. I ordered a Fuji X100S this week having given up hope for a Pentax full frame.
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