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02-07-2010, 01:44 AM   #1
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What's the cheap , auto-focus prime lens(es) for K-x?

I've been looking for a DSLR for a while and originally settled with D90, but B&H sent me an open box (new expected) so I returned.
Then I decided on D5000 after more reading, but its price never went below 600.
Then I bought my K-x at sub-500 and still waiting for its arrival.

The main factor I had not considered Pentax out-right was its lack of cheap, auto-focus prime lens, like Canon's Nifty-Fifty (~$80), or Nikon 50mm 1.8 (~$120).

The cheapest "modern" (ie, introduced in the last ~10 years) prime is the 50mm f/1.4, at $350 (BH, Adorama, anywhere.)

I know there is the M-mount old lens for cheap (~$40), but they don't auto-focus, and I haven't seen great reviews on them.


What's the cheap, auto-focus prime lens (around 35-50mm)??? Kenrockwell said they're CHEAP to make. Is pentax ripping us off selling their glass high after baiting us with cheaper (than N/C) cameras?

(I used to own an film EOS and never got good use of it, largely of course, due to my own laziness - but I'm never going back to Canon.)

02-07-2010, 02:29 AM   #2
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Yes, I would like to know this too. A bit confused over all the different letter prefixes, even after reading the lens guide here.

A good value (new or used) 50mm f/1.7 f/1.8 Pentax prime that offers autofocus and aperture control.
02-07-2010, 02:32 AM   #3
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M = manual everything
A = auto aperture but manual focus
F, FA, DA, DA* = auto everything, with the DA* having SDM (focus motor in lens). Actually, I realised at least on of the DA zooms (17-70 also has SDM. Hmmm, :~ )

Last edited by twitch; 02-07-2010 at 02:43 AM.
02-07-2010, 02:37 AM   #4
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Thanks Twitch

02-07-2010, 04:52 AM   #5
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Your best option is to watch on e bay for an F 50mm f1.7. Pentax use to sell their FA 50 f1.4 (a very nice lens) for around 200 dollars, but the price has climbed considerably in recent years. I wish as well that Pentax had an entry level prime for 150 dollars, but they have chosen to make their primes a little higher quality. Also, they don't have the sales volumes that Nikon and Canon have.

I guess the other thing to remember with regard to Canon's 50 f1.8 is that it has a very poor construction and is reported to fall apart after a few months of moderate useage. Any of the Pentax lenses out there (used or not) should hold up better than that.
02-07-2010, 05:24 AM   #6
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no rip off

QuoteOriginally posted by yuwlyuwl Quote
What's the cheap, auto-focus prime lens (around 35-50mm)??? Kenrockwell said they're CHEAP to make. Is pentax ripping us off selling their glass high after baiting us with cheaper (than N/C) cameras?
It's not that they're ripping you off by selling the same thing for a higher price. It's that Pentax stopped making their cheap f/1.7 film-days 50mm lens model, and Canon and Nikon kept it up. The lenses current lineup (even with the price increases) are very fairly priced for their quality.

Nikon's new budget 35mm is selling like hotcakes, so hopefully Pentax will get the message. But optically, it's nothing amazing.

There's nothing at all wrong with the used older Pentax lens as suggested by others. But you may want to look into stretching your budget a bit and getting the DA 40mm f/2.8 Limited lens. It's a gorgeous performer and pairs well with Pentax's compact dSLRs.
02-07-2010, 05:40 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by yuwlyuwl Quote
Kenrockwell said they're CHEAP to make.
Well, if Ken Rockwell, who owns his own lens manufacturing facility, says so then it MUST be true!!

02-07-2010, 10:46 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by yuwlyuwl Quote
The main factor I had not considered Pentax out-right was its lack of cheap, auto-focus prime lens, like Canon's Nifty-Fifty (~$80), or Nikon 50mm 1.8 (~$120).
It's a common complaints, but realistically, 50mm is not a very useful focal length on APS-C. More to the point is the lack of a cheap 35mm lens. Still, that's just one lens. In the long run, it all about evens out - some lenses where Pentax has better/cheaper options than the others, some where the reverse is true.

QuoteQuote:
I know there is the M-mount old lens for cheap (~$40), but they don't auto-focus, and I haven't seen great reviews on them.
Then you haven't looked very hard. Many if not most of the old manual focus lenses for Pentax are generally considered to be quit a bit better than the cheap 50/1.8's for Canon and Nikon.

02-07-2010, 05:28 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Then you haven't looked very hard. Many if not most of the old manual focus lenses for Pentax are generally considered to be quit a bit better than the cheap 50/1.8's for Canon and Nikon.
To be fair, the extremely common 50mm f/2.0 (the typical lens for the K1000 on Craigslist) isn't anything exciting.
02-07-2010, 08:06 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
It's a common complaints, but realistically, 50mm is not a very useful focal length on APS-C. More to the point is the lack of a cheap 35mm lens. Still, that's just one lens. In the long run, it all about evens out - some lenses where Pentax has better/cheaper options than the others, some where the reverse is true.
Have to agree that if Pentax had a cheap 35-ish lens, it would be a perfect starter lens. I have a fast fifty and I hardly ever to use it -- sure it's fast, but it is also a little long for indoor work and feels too short to be a portrait lens. I still wouldn't sell it, but I don't use it a whole lot either.
02-08-2010, 12:32 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by mattdm Quote
To be fair, the extremely common 50mm f/2.0 (the typical lens for the K1000 on Craigslist) isn't anything exciting.
True; I was thinking more the 1.7's and 1.4's.
02-12-2010, 11:47 PM   #12
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if you look around you can get a pretty good deal on the DA 40mm limited, depending on your locale or country, maybe it's just my part of the globe. I saw some real good deals with promotions, cheaper than the current going rate for FA50.

Last edited by tokyoso; 02-12-2010 at 11:54 PM.
02-13-2010, 12:05 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
.... but realistically, 50mm is not a very useful focal length on APS-C. ....
Once again, this is a matter of opinion.

My favorite and most used lens on my DSLR is my F series 50mm f1.7. Many other people like the 50mm on APSc field of view as well. Please, stop trying to sell what is a matter of opinion as a fact.
02-13-2010, 03:59 AM   #14
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I have three 50mm lenses, which have their uses, but don't see nearly the use for digital that they did and do on film. The go-to lens for me on the K-x is the FA35/2 or DA40/2.8.

But I agree, it is a matter of preference. Back in the 80s, my wife never even bought a 50 with her Contax, but used a short tele and wide combo of fast primes to make her "normals." She uses 50 on the DSLR more often than I.
02-13-2010, 04:13 AM   #15
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+1 for DA40, the cheapest DA Limited.
if you want faster lens get FA43.
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