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02-19-2012, 01:13 PM   #1
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35A & 35FA primes vs. 33-55FA zoom for 645D

From folks who have actually tried them both...what are you thoughts on these lenses? I'm a landscape shooter considering either a 35mm prime or 33-55 zoom for a 645D. I've heard nothing but good things about the 35 primes and mixed reviews of the 33-55 zoom. Of course, a zoom is more convenient in that you can get that "perfect composition" and the zoom goes a tad wider as well...which is a relevant consideration since the 25mm is expensive and not yet available in the US (though hopefully soon!) I'm not concerned with bokeh as almost all of my images will be shot at smaller apertures to get good DOF. Chromatic abberations are somewhat of a concern, though I do know how to correct or at least reduce them in PS. The 33-55 is also much harder to find, but I did spot a mint used one on ebay for around $2K USD yesterday.

Also, if I do go the 35 prime route, how easy is manual focusing on the A lens? Often, I am composing in low light waiting for the sun to rise.

Either way, the other lenses for my kit will probably be the 45-85FA (very good reviews, available relatively cheap) and the 80-160A or FA. Maybe a longer prime down the road...and hopefully the 25mm prime eventually as well. I also noticed an approx 28-70 or so, tentatively on the road map in upcoming years...but I'm not holding my breath!

Thanks for your input.

02-19-2012, 01:35 PM   #2
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Have you seen the new zooms on the 645D lens roadmap? I would start by getting the FA 35mm prime for now, and then upgrade to a zoom once it becomes available. IMO the 33-55mm just doesn't have the IQ to justify its use.

Based on the roadmap, it looks like the upcoming zoom will be wider - starting off in the 25-30mm range!

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02-19-2012, 01:42 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ryan Tischer Quote
From folks who have actually tried them both...what are you thoughts on these lenses? I'm a landscape shooter considering either a 35mm prime or 33-55 zoom for a 645D. I've heard nothing but good things about the 35 primes and mixed reviews of the 33-55 zoom. Of course, a zoom is more convenient in that you can get that "perfect composition" and the zoom goes a tad wider as well...which is a relevant consideration since the 25mm is expensive and not yet available in the US (though hopefully soon!) I'm not concerned with bokeh as almost all of my images will be shot at smaller apertures to get good DOF. Chromatic abberations are somewhat of a concern, though I do know how to correct or at least reduce them in PS. The 33-55 is also much harder to find, but I did spot a mint used one on ebay for around $2K USD yesterday.

Also, if I do go the 35 prime route, how easy is manual focusing on the A lens? Often, I am composing in low light waiting for the sun to rise.

Either way, the other lenses for my kit will probably be the 45-85FA (very good reviews, available relatively cheap) and the 80-160A or FA. Maybe a longer prime down the road...and hopefully the 25mm prime eventually as well. I also noticed an approx 28-70 or so, tentatively on the road map in upcoming years...but I'm not holding my breath!

Thanks for your input.
I use the 33-55 and did have a FA 35. I traded it in for the 33-55 and A 75. Part of me still regrets it. The 33-55 is a very good lens in my experience although quite soft above f/22.

This is 33-55 at it's widest and f/11 where it is strongest. I use it at f/13 and f/16 also


.

I haven't used the 45 - 85 but have heard very good things about it. It might be worth looking at FA 35 and FA 45 - 85 bearing the road map into consideration. One can only hope, however that Pentax are quicker with these than they have been with the 25mm which still tempts me but at a little under 4k it's pricey.
02-20-2012, 02:33 AM   #4
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Hey there! Why do you regret it? Is it that you think the FA35mm produced better results than the A35mm? Overall, most accounts I have read suggest not...

02-20-2012, 03:06 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ed Hurst Quote
Hey there! Why do you regret it? Is it that you think the FA35mm produced better results than the A35mm? Overall, most accounts I have read suggest not...
I sold the FA 35 before I had really got to know my camera. I don't have the A35, I have the A 75 (I also have the FA 75 which is excellent). I just wonder whether had I got to know the camera better before selling it whether I would have sold it. I was in two minds as it was. Especially as I suspect I didn't get a fantastic price for it. If a 45-85 had been available at the time, I wouldn't have sold it. I do still love the 33-55 and it gets used widely. I just wonder whether I would have loved the FA 35 more
02-20-2012, 03:10 AM   #6
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Sorry - I must learn to read more carefully! My question was based on the misunderstanding that you were disappointed by an A35 compared to an FA35. Now I know you are referring to an A75, my question is irrelevant! Thanks for replying anyway...

I have a A35 by the way, and find it very good indeed. Can't compare it with the FA35 as I don't have one, but I find it hard to imagine it would be better. And AF is hardly a big deal with such a lens.
02-20-2012, 03:14 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ed Hurst Quote
Sorry - I must learn to read more carefully! My question was based on the misunderstanding that you were disappointed by an A35 compared to an FA35. Now I know you are referring to an A75, my question is irrelevant! Thanks for replying anyway...

I have a A35 by the way, and find it very good indeed. Can't compare it with the FA35 as I don't have one, but I find it hard to imagine it would be better. And AF is hardly a big deal with such a lens.
I have heard that the A35 is an excellent lens. Wish I was heading to Tokyo again soon. I'd find myself back in Akhihubara at Yodabashi getting the 25mm. I do often tracel to Japan but have nbo trips lined up at the moment.
02-21-2012, 08:19 PM   #8
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Some find the A35 a tad better than the FA35 on the 645D. Sadly, I can't comment, since I only have the A version. I don't find a zoom that important - with 40 MP at our disposal we can always crop a bit if need be (or zoom with our feet)!

I guess what I'm saying is that I think the ideal kit would be:
D FA 25/4 (if one could only find one below $1,000...)
A35/3.5 (or FA)
FA45-85 or D FA 55/2.8
A120/4 Macro (or FA, same optics)
FA80-160 (just produces IQ which is out of this world on the 645D)

02-21-2012, 08:30 PM   #9
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Ole, I was thinking along those lines for my kit. Do you ever find the 35 A hard to focus (i.e. low light or other situations) ? Also, does the FA80-160 have the same IQ as the A version? The A can be found quite inexpensively, about a third as much as the FA from what I've seen.
02-21-2012, 08:38 PM   #10
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I also have the A 35mm. I find it easy enough to focus. At f/3.5, the viewfinder image is fairly bright. I just bought a green laser pointer which projects a pattern to help focus at night. I hope to find out how it works soon.
03-01-2012, 11:28 AM   #11
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I recently played with a very clean A35 at Fujiya Camera here in Tokyo. I would have loved to take it home with me but it was simply out of my price range even though it was only about $450. If my 645n was my main body I would have grabbed it in a heartbeat! But for now I am content with my A45 and A55.
03-01-2012, 12:24 PM   #12
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Thank you everyone for your input! The 33-55FA is hard to find for a reasonable price, and since the general consensus is that the 35A is the sharpest and not too difficult to manual focus I think I will go that route. I'm used to the ease of zooms, so the transistion to a prime will be interesting, but I am looking forward to the great clarity on the 645D.

Thanks again!
03-16-2012, 11:26 AM   #13
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I ended up purchasing the 645 35mm A on ebay for $700 (a good price, I think) and have been shooting with it for a few days. It's very sharp overall, with the middle being sharper than the very edges, but the edges are still more than acceptable. I'm finding it easy to focus most of the time, as I'm typically shooting at infinity anyways. This morning, before sunrise, it was a little harder to be sure of focus when I did some focus bracketing for my foreground element, but I was able to verify focus using the image review after taking the shot. I think after a while I'll be able to pretty acurately guess, and may just stop down another stop or two to make sure I have enough DOF...better to lose a touch of sharpness overall due to diffraction than have the foreground fall unacceptably OOF in my opinion.

Thanks everyone for your input!
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