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06-08-2009, 04:28 PM   #1
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lens choice

Hello All,

I'm presently using the Sony R1 and have the K7 on order. I'm trying to get an idea from users about the very best wide and standard AF zoom lenses in the Pentax line up. I'm looking at the lens review forum but am a little overwhelmed by the sheer number presented. Can you help me in determining which of the older Pentax lenses equal or best the modern line up (if there are any that do)? Would it be best using the K7 to stick to the new lenses? I shoot landscapes and cityscapes and appreciate "lush colour, smoother-than-smooth bokeh and an appealing rendition that eschews the dramatically contrasty nature of Canon and Nikon lenses in favour of a Leica-flavoured, high-res presentation that gently rolls off the tonal extremes for open shadows and well-tamed highlights." (I can't remember where I stole this quote from but I remember when I read it saying yes! to myself, very enthusiastically.) Thank you.

bluekorn

06-08-2009, 04:48 PM   #2
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"lush colour, smoother-than-smooth bokeh and an appealing rendition that eschews the dramatically contrasty nature of Canon and Nikon lenses in favour of a Leica-flavoured, high-res presentation that gently rolls off the tonal extremes for open shadows and well-tamed highlights."

You find that in a wide or standard AF zoom and I want one too... heck get me two of em'

Them thare are sum purdy words...

p.s. welcome
06-08-2009, 05:13 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by bluekorn Quote
I'm looking at the lens review forum but am a little overwhelmed by the sheer number presented.bluekorn
That is a pleasant change as apposed to the statement that the Pentax lens lineup is to limited.

You stated that you are looking at zoom lenses. You also stated I shoot landscapes and cityscapes and appreciate "lush colour, smoother-than-smooth bokeh and an appealing rendition that eschews the dramatically contrasty nature of Canon and Nikon lenses in favour of a Leica-flavoured, high-res presentation that gently rolls off the tonal extremes for open shadows and well-tamed highlights. Although you can get some of this kind of stuff with a zoom lens as you are looking at things like landscapes (you have time to choose a setup and lens) you may be able to not only get more bang for the buck but a little more of what you are looking for by building a collection of prime lenses. There are a lot of good used primes that are out there but to get the things you quoted you will need to spend more for the better zooms.

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06-08-2009, 06:00 PM   #4
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The problem with older zooms is that zoom technology has gotten significantly better in the past 20 years or so, so there aren't many legendary older zooms from any system, Pentax or otherwise. I've read very good things about the A 35-105 f/3.5. Here's a link to some of forum member Mike Cash's images using this lens (he posted the link in another thread, where I copied it from). It may be too long for your uses on the K7, though. The FA 20-35 f/4 is also well regarded according to reviews I've seen.

06-08-2009, 06:10 PM   #5
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OK. primes,

Daz and Gus, Others have suggested primes and I'm certainly willing. I like the 45 mm focal length. The Pentax 31 (35mm equivalent to 45mm) is almost $1000. Are there older prime Pentax lenses of equal IQ for any less money that will give me them thar purdy words? The other problem is in finding primes that go wide enuf in the x1.5 format. Peter
06-08-2009, 06:22 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by bluekorn Quote
The other problem is in finding primes that go wide enuf in the x1.5 format. Peter
Others are probably others better at pointing out the better less expensive older primes then I but all older lenses will work on a 1.5 sensors (APS-C). It is that some of the new lenses (some DA for example) that will not work on a full size film camera)


I have mostly the newer stuff.


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06-08-2009, 07:16 PM   #7
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I guess if I were starting off, I would probably get either the DA 16-45 f4 or the Da * 16-50 f2.8 and then pick a prime lens of a focal length that you want to partner with it. If you want a normal length prime for less than the FA 31, you should look at the DA 35 or, the FA 35, both of which are excellent choices. One other option would be to look at one of the DA limiteds (I'm thinking of the 40) -- a very sharp, smooth option in a tiny package.
06-08-2009, 08:39 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by bluekorn Quote
Daz and Gus, Others have suggested primes and I'm certainly willing. I like the 45 mm focal length. The Pentax 31 (35mm equivalent to 45mm) is almost $1000. Are there older prime Pentax lenses of equal IQ for any less money that will give me them thar purdy words?
Well, any of the 28's would be worth a look, especially the A28/2. Also the K30/2.8. It's all subjective enough that you'd have to try for yourself to see if any of them produced the particular rendering you're after.

06-09-2009, 09:11 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by bluekorn Quote
Daz and Gus, Others have suggested primes and I'm certainly willing. I like the 45 mm focal length. The Pentax 31 (35mm equivalent to 45mm) is almost $1000. Are there older prime Pentax lenses of equal IQ for any less money that will give me them thar purdy words? The other problem is in finding primes that go wide enuf in the x1.5 format. Peter
There a bunch of "old primes" (old being subjective) considerably less than the 31mm ltd. If you don't mind manual focus, try some of the ones Marc S. suggested. Along with that, the "A" 35mm F2.0 has gotten stellar reviews as have almost all of the "fast 50's": the A 50mm f1.7; and if you can find one, the A 50mm F1.2 (tho this one is rare and expensive). The "M" and "K" iterations of these 50's are good too and a bit cheaper tho they don't have auto aperture.

If you are looking for a "relatively" inexpensive zoom that has good bokeh and is decently sharp I can highly recommend the Pentax "A" 70-210mm F4.0. It's not in the focal range you are looking for but is a VERY good lens especially since it can be found relatively cheap. Note that "cheap" is a relative term. IIRC my copy cost me around 175 usd. To my mind it is significantly better that the much newer DA 50-200.

I could go on and on. Old lenses make my heart smile, but I'll stop here.

NaCl(hope that helps)H2O
06-09-2009, 09:21 AM   #10
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Hey Bluekorn

Bluekorn... I forgot to say, the R1 is a special camera. I had the Sony H2 and loved my time with it and with the fine folks over in the STF of DPR. But I was always impressed by the IQ of the photos from the R1 and the quality of photogs who were using it. Are you a member over there? The R1 is a really wonderful landscape shooter...

If you could say, what focal lengths are you shooting the most with the R1?

Are you getting the kit lens with the K7? If so, I think it would be smart to shoot that at its various focal lengths to get a sense of the 1.5x crop factor of the DSLR.
You also did not mention what your budget is? In zooms, the 12-24 is a great little landscape shooter, The sigma 10-20 also a very good wide shooter.
The DA16-50 2.8 would be a good choice for the fast constant ap. And of course the DA 50-135 2.8 would be good for the medium ranges... But those are fairly expensive (by my standards at least)
If you are not getting the kit... and budget is an issue, the Tamron or Pentax 17-70 is a very good walk around Zoom... Hin, just had one for sale in the marketplace for a very good price.

As others have pointed out the Prime lenses are probably the better way to go if you are looking for the 'magic' look... But many of the new zooms are pretty good too. (and that R1 can get pretty magical itself) If I was heading into the High end prime territory, I definately would shoot the kit and look for the focal length that you shoot the most...

But all that said, I personally have opted for the old MF lenses and find a lot of my joy in the hunt for old glass and the connection to the camera that full manual requires. A completely different way to go.

Congrats on the new camera... Share some of your R1 work with us, or at least a link to see what you have been shooting of late....

Again welcome to the best Pentax forum this side of the virtual world...
06-09-2009, 08:03 PM   #11
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Thank you all

A lot of good suggestions. And I'm glad I don't have to sort it all out right away. Gus has, perhaps inadvertantly, directed me back to re-evaluate my Sony R1. And to post some images. I put up four shots under the Landscape section. The K7 won't arrive for a month at least so I have lots of time to find a couple of prime gems. I wanted to switch from the Sony because there are times when when I'm frustrated with the 7 or 8 secs between shots when shooting raw but really, I'm hardly ever in much of a hurry. I think I'll buy primes only for the K7 since I do have the 24-120 fixed Zeiss zoom on the R1. I'm cultivating minimalism in as many areas of my life as I can these days but two cameras??... I'll give myself the OK. Thank you all for your help in forming a plan for venturing forth with a new digital SLR. I'm excited.
Bluekorn
06-10-2009, 08:55 PM   #12
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Bluekorn, you will be happy with the K-7, I am sure. I am very happy with the renditions from my DA 12-24/4. You can see some test shots from various new and old Pentax lenses on my Flickr site. The Elk River series will show you what the 12-24 can do.

Whatever your choice, your original quote sounds very much to me like "the Pentax look".
06-17-2009, 01:51 PM   #13
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I second the nod to the DA 16-45, it's a good all-around lens and very good indoors. I'm glad I bought mine, and I paid just about the same amount for an FA-100 Macro. That was another great purchase. The Tamron 70-300 is a budget zoom for a reason, though. It's not bad in low contrast situations above 200mm, but if it's a bright day you'll want to keep it below 200mm.

I have a few others, but those first two I'm sure will do well on the K7 and won't break the bank.
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