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01-09-2015, 08:30 AM   #1
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HGMerrill's Avatar

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Help choosing!

HI! I have a K50 with the kit zooms - 18-55 WR and 50-200 WR, plus I picked up a lovely FA 50mm Macro (thank you, Paul!).

Now I'm looking for a fast, sharp prime for lower light conditions. None of my lenses does well in low light.


Many thanks,

01-09-2015, 08:55 AM   #2
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If f/2.8 of your 50mm macro does not cut it, here are a few

Sigma 30mm/1.4
Pentax FA35/2
Pentax FA31 Ltd

I have specifically looked at the 30mm range so 50mm focal length is not duplicated. If you don't mind another 50mm, DA50/1.8 or FA43 Ltd.

Next time, please provide a budget as a guideline. useless telling you that any of the FA Limiteds will do the job and you can't afford them.

If you don't mind manual focus, there is a whole world to choose from
01-09-2015, 08:58 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by HGMerrill Quote
HI! I have a K50 with the kit zooms - 18-55 WR and 50-200 WR, plus I picked up a lovely FA 50mm Macro (thank you, Paul!).

Now I'm looking for a fast, sharp prime for lower light conditions. None of my lenses does well in low light.


Many thanks,
If it were me my next step would be a good flash and delve into bounce flash photography. But the lens I would get is Pentax fa 1.4/50mm but the it really depends on what events you are shooting
01-09-2015, 09:27 AM   #4
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Or is you are looking for something cheap as a knock around lens, like a Ricoh 50mm f1.7, I have several for sale. f1.7 is usable and once you are up one stop they are great.

01-09-2015, 09:43 AM   #5
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How much are you willing to spend?
01-09-2015, 10:19 AM   #6
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The DA 35mm f2.4 "plastic fantastic" is hard to beat and they are less than $150. I have one that was a Christmas gift and I love it. Some of the other mentioned might be half a stop or so faster and perhaps quieter but at 2-3 times the price. There is also a DA 50mm f1.8 with similar pricing and performance but you already have the 50mm focal length covered.
01-09-2015, 10:23 AM   #7
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Are you comfortable with manual focus? If so, there are tons of great fast 50s out there that can be purchased
for little more than peanuts to around $100. If AF is a must, then the DA50/1.8 would do well on a pauper's budget,
the FA43 if you're feeling a little more comfortable and the FA31 if you are feeling opulent.
01-09-2015, 11:40 AM   #8
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My wife loves her sigma DG HSM 50 1.4.

A formidable lens in low light with brilliant bokeh - make sure you get a good copy though. We hit gold on the new lens with the 2nd copy.

I get by with an A50 1.7, I like manual focus and this is a really lovely lens to use.

good luck with your choice.

Both of these lenses are used on K5's

01-09-2015, 12:16 PM   #9
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In the beginning, all new lenses are a pile of numbers, without a great idea of what they will do for you. Let's say you are thinking about the DA 35mm f2.4. You can use the kit lenses to get an idea of what a 35mm prime looks like. That lens is two stops faster than the 18-55WR at 35mm. That means you could shoot at ISO 3200 instead of 12800, or 1/125 instead of 1/30.

Think about the shots you want to take in low light. You can get a rough idea of focal lengths that would work for those shots.

Subjects that don't move usually work better with a tripod than a superfast lens. For example, a city at night. You can stop down more and have greater depth of field.

If I don't exactly know what I want to shoot, just that it'll be dark, I like my Pentax FA 35mm f2. The easier to find, cheaper alternative is the DA 35mm f2.4.
01-09-2015, 12:26 PM   #10
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As mentioned above, both the "Plastic Fantastics" DA35mm f2.4 and/or DA50mm f1.8 are excellent values and worth consideration. I have both with the 50mm on the K5 and 35mm on the K-01. IMHO, these two lenses you get way more than what you pay for. One thing to think about is both are also screw-drive AF and can be distracting at times depending on your location. What budget do you have in mind and purpose (portriat, landscape, general walk-around)?
01-09-2015, 02:39 PM   #11

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The DA35/2.4 may not seem obvious as a choice, because of its "slower" f/2.4 aperture. But reality is that IQ is very good wide-open. Compared to the FA35/2 (which is the same lens in a different shell) all it lacks is the half-stop between f/2 and f/2.4. But the FA35/2 IQ is rather weak in that range anyway (and I've had two of them - both the same). So, assuming you want pretty good IQ (most of us do) you can shoot the DA35/2.4 at f/2.4, whereas (by comparison) even the best among the F/FA50 f/1.4 or f/1.7 (I've had three of them) needs to be stopped down to at least f/2 or (more typically) f/2.2.

So both the DA50/1.8 and DA35/2.4 should be candidates. Eventually, you may find that the ultimate lenses for low light are the FA77/1.8, FA*85/1.4, and DA*55/1.4. But they're all much higher priced than what I believe you're looking for right now. These two DA lenses are awfully good for the money.

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