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06-22-2016, 09:00 PM   #1
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Good landscape lens for Pentax K1 full frame

Hello, I finally got a dslr and chose Pentax because it had all the great features I was looking for.

I'm by no means a pro photographer so I'm having some difficulty selecting a lens. I would like to start with one lens to keep my costs low for now.

I find myself usually shooting landscape or architecture on my phone (over 4,000 photos).

I'm also taking a trip to Iceland soon to see the Northern Lights. I'd love to get some good shots.

Can someone recommend a lens that leans toward landscape [night] shots but can also be used for everyday usage?

I've been looking at the Pentax 31mm F/1.8 FA Limited Lens because everyone raves about it but I'm not sure if it's what I need.

Any suggestions are appreciated!

06-22-2016, 09:13 PM - 1 Like   #2
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The D FA 24-70mm is probably going to be your best bet thanks to its versatility, unless you want to go wider with the 15-30mm. The latter would be my recommendation if you just wanted to focus on landscape/architecture and didn't need a walkaround lens.

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06-22-2016, 09:18 PM   #3
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The FA*24 is great if you stop if down to f/10 or above. For landscapes, that's what you'd be doing so it would work quite nicely. Corner to corner sharpeness isn't as good as the FA31 (which rolls off at the edges below f/5.6 or so) but the FA*24 is a nice lens if you can tolerate its quirks.
06-22-2016, 09:49 PM   #4
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Welcome to Pentax Forums, code200.

Your choice of landscape lens really depends on what aspects of landscape you plan to shoot. People often think of landscape as being limited to wide-angle views, but that isn't necessarily the case. If it is, then I agree that either of the new D-FA wide zooms mentioned would be suitable, as would the FA*24/2 and the FA20/2.8, both of which I have. Those last two lenses, though, are only available secondhand, and a friend recently searched for a good FA20/2.8 and couldn't find any, anywhere. Instead, he settled for a new Samyang 14/2.8, which he really likes on the K-1, and which is not an overly expensive option, especially in comparison with the two D-FA lenses, but which obviously isn't as versatile.

Having said that, you can successfully use longer focal length lenses to shoot other aspects of landscape, including long zooms such as the D-FA*70-200/2.8 (or its older cousin, the FA*80-200/2.8, which again is only available secondhand).

If you're just starting out with a DSLR, then I reckon the D-FA24-70 is probably a good versatile starter lens - I have its older cousin, the FA*28-70/2.8, and I'm told the new lens is sharper and quicker to focus, but I have no problem with the way the older lens performs in either respect.

06-22-2016, 09:55 PM   #5
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Your choice depends a lot on the landscapes you are shooting. I am finishing up a Palouse trip and have used the da*60-250 for the majority of landscape shots. Even used the dfa150-450 for quite a few.
06-22-2016, 11:33 PM - 2 Likes   #6
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I think the deal is about the 24mm of the DFA24-70 versus the 28mm of the DFA28-105. For landscape anyway, you may never use f2.8 (because of the narrow DoF of FF @ f2.8), and the 28-105 is cheaper and more portable which may be an important criteria for long walks or hiking. If you know you are never going to buy a wide angle lens, buy the DFA24-70 for its 24mm, but if you know you are going to have a ultra wide angle lens, then buying the 28-105 makes more sense.
06-23-2016, 01:21 AM - 2 Likes   #7
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The FA31 is a very nice lens for candid shots, even portraits, it's advantages are most pronounced when the picture shows lot of out of focus stuff - bokeh. It's certainly usable for landscape, but far from being a good value for that purpose.
06-23-2016, 02:21 AM   #8
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I bought the D-FA28-105 for my new K-1 for this very reason, most, if not all my shooting with my previous K-3II/DA*16-50mm f2.8 combo was at f5.6-f11 so I really don't need the f2.8. The D-FA28-105 is a LOT lighter and smaller than the D-FA24-70.
I am really pleased with the build of the D-FA28-105, a solid little lens!

Only thing missing is UWA, so I await to see if there is a compact ~21mm ish lens in the pipeline, basically a FF equivalent of the DA15.

06-23-2016, 02:51 AM   #9
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To shoot the northern lights you are going to need a fast lens as you need a short exposure time to freeze the movement. The pentax 15-30/2.8 or 24-70/2.8 are the best options and have weather sealing. A budget option would be to get the 28-105 for general purpose use and also get a samyang 14/2.8, or 24/1.4. The 31ltd is also suitable if you like the focal length.
06-23-2016, 02:53 AM   #10
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If you're aiming to shoot night landscapes, such as starry skies and northern lights, the Samyang/Rokinon/Bower (all the same optics, different branding) has some really great lenses for those purposes. For example, the 14 mm F2.8 has a great reputation but I would also take a look at the 24 mm F1.4. All these lenses are fully manual (manual focusing, manual aperture). Lenses from Samyang/Rokinon/Bower are excellent value for the money you pay for them.

If you're looking for something more versatile, the DFA 24-70 would probably be a good option as already mentioned. The DFA 15-30 is probably also a great option.
06-23-2016, 03:08 AM   #11
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I also reckon the DFA15-30/2.8 is the best option in the Pentax ecosystem for a one-stop landscape/astro/architecture lens. Despite my misgivings about its size and weight, it is what I will be taking overseas for my upcoming trip through the English west country and the Irish Republic. Even in summer I'm expecting big wetness, so matched with my DA*55, DFA100WR and HD55-300 I'll have most bases covered. I'm expecting it to be my most used lens.

The three amigos (and a flash and a Sirui tripod) will tag along too
06-23-2016, 09:00 PM   #12
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Thanks for the great info!

Especially to those of you that addressed my Aurora trip.

I'm really getting the sense that I need two lenses.

Honestly, I'm still confused by all the choices but I'm going to:
1) Check out all the suggestions, prices, reviews, etc.

2) Ask a friend to look at this post and help me make a decision.

Awesome forum!
06-23-2016, 09:02 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by robjmitchell Quote
To shoot the northern lights you are going to need a fast lens as you need a short exposure time to freeze the movement. The pentax 15-30/2.8 or 24-70/2.8 are the best options and have weather sealing. A budget option would be to get the 28-105 for general purpose use and also get a samyang 14/2.8, or 24/1.4. The 31ltd is also suitable if you like the focal length.
@robjmitchell, couldn't I also setup a tripod and take some cool long exposure shots of the lights?
06-24-2016, 02:18 AM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by code200 Quote
@robjmitchell, couldn't I also setup a tripod and take some cool long exposure shots of the lights?
The movement in aurora is not too fast. Ideally you want to a sub 10s exposure though, which is about f2.8 at iso 3200 correctly exposed . You will still need a tripod. You can still get some nice colour with longer exposures but it starts looking mushy like this.(from a not so close viewpoint on the australian mainland. (at close range I expect movement to be more of a problem)
30sec at f2.8 iso 1600



vs 10sec at f2.8 iso 1600 (underexposed and pushed hence noisy)



Obviously the K1 give you a big advantage over my K3 in this regard
06-24-2016, 08:29 PM   #15
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I've got an FAJ 18-35mm that's waiting for the K-1. Will let you know how it is
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