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05-09-2011, 02:53 PM   #1
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From This List, Which 4 Pentax-A 645 Lenses Would You Choose

If you did mostly outdoor/nature stuff and some street/people. And could only keep four of these lenses for your kit...What four lenses or lens + converter combination would you likely choose? And why. I have 35mm, 55mm, 75mm, 120mm macro, 150mm, 200mm, 300mm ED, 45-85mm, 80-160mm, 1.4 ED lens converter and the 2x lens converter. I don't have extensive experience with most of them yet, but was looking to get some feedback on your experiences with these lenses to help me choose what to keep.

05-09-2011, 06:05 PM   #2
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Landscape - you need the 35mm.

You didn't mention macro, but the 120mm is a keeper by default IMHO.

Street/people, you need a longer focal length and the flexibility of a zoom: the 80-160. Perhaps 160mm is even too short in some instances, so the 300mm stays as well!
05-09-2011, 06:54 PM   #3
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35mm is extremely useful; essential, even. Manual focus is a gem, and still very useful for zone focussing.

The 75mm, small and tidy, walk around lens.

Either of the 120mm or 150mm. Doesn't really matter. They're both kind of expensive, but not really if you figure they should be more expensive than the much more common Pentax FA lenses.

200mm which gives you 135mm equiv. Isolating a subject, or reflections in water.

I don't have the 120 or 150. They are on my list, but I'm having a hard time looking at today's prices. I have the 55mm, which I don't really use so much, and the 80-160mm which is big and heavy. (Ahem, or I should say extraordinary and necessary so the prices go up more when I sell). I have some needs that would be met by a 300mm, but in general, if you are moving toward telephoto lenses, you want the K-5 or the imaginary Pentax FF. It's not easy to shoot birds with the 645 system.

If I had to choose three lenses, it would be 35mm, 75mm and any of the 120mm, 150mm or 200mm.

The 75mm and 200mm tend to be the cheapest of the necessary lenses. The 35mm is worth every penny.
05-09-2011, 07:04 PM   #4
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The *300/4 is an awesome lens, my favourite in the system. It gives a noticeably different, more contrasty look to the images (at least on film) than my other lenses, and its brutally sharp. The 80-160mm is a great lens, though I notice that from 150-160mm its not quite as hot as the rest of the range. I've had two copies, A/FA and both were the same like that.

05-09-2011, 07:28 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by MetaD Quote
35mm is extremely useful; essential, even. Manual focus is a gem, and still very useful for zone focussing.

The 75mm, small and tidy, walk around lens.

Either of the 120mm or 150mm. Doesn't really matter. They're both kind of expensive, but not really if you figure they should be more expensive than the much more common Pentax FA lenses.

200mm which gives you 135mm equiv. Isolating a subject, or reflections in water.

I don't have the 120 or 150. They are on my list, but I'm having a hard time looking at today's prices. I have the 55mm, which I don't really use so much, and the 80-160mm which is big and heavy. (Ahem, or I should say extraordinary and necessary so the prices go up more when I sell). I have some needs that would be met by a 300mm, but in general, if you are moving toward telephoto lenses, you want the K-5 or the imaginary Pentax FF. It's not easy to shoot birds with the 645 system.

If I had to choose three lenses, it would be 35mm, 75mm and any of the 120mm, 150mm or 200mm.

The 75mm and 200mm tend to be the cheapest of the necessary lenses. The 35mm is worth every penny.

Can you elaborate on why you say the 35mm is so "essential". It seems like it's too wide. Does it have a lot of distortion at the edges? Sorry if it's a dumb question. I just haven't used a lens that wide before.
05-09-2011, 08:58 PM   #6
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You mention that these are all Pentax-A 645 (as opposed to FA autofocus).

Four lenses I would choose are:

- A 35mm nice and wide for landscapes, close up of plants with environment in background as well as some people photography

- A 45-85mm a very nice range for a walk around, general purpose lens. If the A is anything like the FA version, a great performer too!

- A 120mm This is a wonderful, wonderful lens. Sharp, really well built. For macro work and people portrait work.

- A* 300mm Really sharp. Same optical formula as the FA* version. Works nicely with the 1.4x converter.

If you had a fifth lens, then I would choose the A 75mm - it is an f/2.8, small and light and very nice.

If you were thinking of FA lenses, then I might opt for the FA 150mm over the A 120mm. The FA 150mm is an f/2.8 and I love my copy for people portraits. The f/2.8 does a wonderful job blowing the background out of focus. It is also quite light.
05-10-2011, 06:00 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by yurihuta Quote
You mention that these are all Pentax-A 645 (as opposed to FA autofocus).

Four lenses I would choose are:

- A 35mm nice and wide for landscapes, close up of plants with environment in background as well as some people photography

- A 45-85mm a very nice range for a walk around, general purpose lens. If the A is anything like the FA version, a great performer too!

- A 120mm This is a wonderful, wonderful lens. Sharp, really well built. For macro work and people portrait work.

- A* 300mm Really sharp. Same optical formula as the FA* version. Works nicely with the 1.4x converter.


If you had a fifth lens, then I would choose the A 75mm - it is an f/2.8, small and light and very nice.

If you were thinking of FA lenses, then I might opt for the FA 150mm over the A 120mm. The FA 150mm is an f/2.8 and I love my copy for people portraits. The f/2.8 does a wonderful job blowing the background out of focus. It is also quite light.
Yes, these are all manual focus "A" lenses that I already own. I'm going to thin the herd a little and I just wanted others opinions on keepers. Thanks.
05-10-2011, 06:53 AM   #8
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Topaz, what four lenses do YOU use the most. Keep those.

05-10-2011, 07:42 AM   #9
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Ah. Okay. Well is keeping them all an option? Get your four lenses in a nice bag, but have the other glass as future options?

You mention you don't have extensive experience with them all, yet. This will give you an opportunity to get to know the their tendencies as well as yours.

QuoteOriginally posted by topaz Quote
Yes, these are all manual focus "A" lenses that I already own. I'm going to thin the herd a little and I just wanted others opinions on keepers. Thanks.
05-10-2011, 08:15 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by yurihuta Quote
Ah. Okay. Well is keeping them all an option? Get your four lenses in a nice bag, but have the other glass as future options?

You mention you don't have extensive experience with them all, yet. This will give you an opportunity to get to know the their tendencies as well as yours.
Unfortunately, I Can't keep all of them. I'm needing to sell some for other reasons.
05-10-2011, 10:22 AM   #11
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35, 75, 120 and 300
05-10-2011, 10:43 AM   #12
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I still cannot answer the question myself...

What I do know, however is that I will never sell:

- The A 35mm, because it is really that good. And according to some, on the 645D it performs better than the FA. Cannot confirm that.

- The 75mm. Practical, light, sharp. I've had all three versions, still have A and FA.

- The 120mm. Because it is that good.

Now my doubts. I also have the 45-85mm (A and FA are optically identical). It is very good. Heavy though. Cpuld work in a 35 - 45/85 - 150 set.

I have a hard time choosing between the 4/120mm, 4/135mm LS, FA 2.8/150mm and FA 4/200mm. I only have the LS for fill-in flash, the 150mm because it is fast and AF, and the 200mm because it makes for a nice comb with the 120mm.

Point the barrel at my chest and I say: 35 - 75 -120 -200. But you would need to like the 120mm for portraits - matter of preference and style, really, not anything objective. Or 150mm - 300mm, if you really use the 300mm. I don't, but that is partly due because I have no car at the moment.

I expected to have the 55mm as my workhorse, but found my preferences and style had changed. I sold it. I did have the 3.5/150mm and found it very good, but two 150mm lenses was too much.
05-10-2011, 12:29 PM   #13
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Good bad or indifferent, for my style of shooting, I've decided on the 55/2.8, 75/2.8 & the 200/4. The rest will be finding new homes.
05-10-2011, 02:56 PM   #14
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I may be interested in some of those lenses you don't want, sending a PM.
05-10-2011, 04:53 PM   #15
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I'd keep the following:
35mm - when you want it wide;
55mm - when you want it not quite so wide;
120mm macro - a very good macro lens;
80-160mm - a great all round, single lens kit;
300 ED - don't sell this one. As someone else said, more contrast and deeper colours than the others, great for isolating subject matter and close cropped portraits; and the
1.4 converter when you need a little more reach.

That leaves you with the 75, 150, 200 and the 2X converter to sell - hope that is enough money!

Alan
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