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03-28-2011, 03:44 AM   #1
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Prime lens desire

Just after some advice from my fellow Pentaxians. I recently left the zooms (DA* 16-50 & DA* 50-135) at home, and took out my old Pentax A 50/2 on a K7 and loved the freedom of not having to carry around the weight. Even liked going back to MF!!! Any suggestions on some primes aimed at travel photography. A bit of landscape, bit of street, bit of portrait. The range is just confusing !!! Like the look of the FA limiteds 31 and 77, or DA 15 even D FA 100 (WR ) Macro as portrait/bug lens. Maybe the Voigtlander 58. Super fast isn't a major priority, most of what I do is in broad daylight.
Many thanks

03-28-2011, 04:13 AM   #2
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It really depends on your style of shooting. Although shooting with primes might modify your style a bit because you have to use your feet and brain more for composition. You have to think more, which means being more careful at composition, and it sometimes bring new perspective because you change your point of view.

I suggest the following: Analyze how you shoot with your zooms. People with zoom lenses have a tendency to shoot many pictures at similar focal lengths. Some just use the shortest and longest focal lengths of their zooms, with very little in between.

You might find statistical spikes around 16mm, 50mm and 135mm. Then again, you might find them at 21-35mm, and 75-100mm. Very rarely will you see someone who uses the whole range evenly.

Examine which focal lengths you normally shoot at. It might give you pointers as to which combos will suit you best.
03-28-2011, 04:18 AM   #3
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M50 1:1.7 and M28 1:3.5 are inexpensive and well regarded, at least the former is kind of abundant too. Also, a Helios 44M (58mm 1:2) is worth picking up at a price of <$50. For wide angle there is not that much among the old stuff at least not at a similar bargain price.
03-28-2011, 04:32 AM   #4
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If I were to choose four primes to cover the spectrum, I would choose focal lengths of 15mm, 35-ish (could be 31mm, 43mm, etc), 70-ish, and 135-ish. There is an awful lot of wiggle room in there; however it seems pretty important to have wide enough lenses for the situations which demand it.

03-28-2011, 04:42 AM   #5
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find a 28mm f2.8 or f3.5, they are cheap and very good. It's more close to human vision than the 50mm on a DSLR.
03-28-2011, 05:40 AM   #6
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In the good old days of the Spotmatic era, the standard set for the "serious-but-not-so-advanced amateur" was a 35mm "wide", a 50 to 58mm "normal" and a 135mm "long". Many, many photographers lived happily with such a set.

If you would "re-invent" this standard for an APS-C camera, the conversion would be: 24mm, 35-40mm, and 90 mm. For my own part, I have a set of 24, 35, 50, 58 and 100mm MF lenses.

Of these, I only use the ones in the 35-58mm range for special applications, but I find that the 24mm and 100mm lenses are a pleasure to use and quite versatile for an APS-C. As said above, a 28mm could also be an alternative in the modrately wide-to-normal range. No doubt an 85mm would also be great ---- and expensive!

Steen G. B.
03-28-2011, 05:55 AM   #7
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There is the Samyang 85mm 1:1.4 < $<arm+leg> though.
03-28-2011, 07:15 AM   #8
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I shoot both old and new lenses, Old lenses for primes, new and expensive (fast) zooms when I shoot zooms.

Suffering a little from LBA, I have reasonably complete K mount and M42 (screw) mount kits.

For some time, both kits ranged from 24-200mm, and on digital I found 24 a little limiting, in terms of field of view.

Unfortunately while 24mm lenses can be had cheaply, the price rises very steeply for any lens below 24mm, and there are not that many out there in legacy lenses to begin with.

I solved this reciently with the purchase of a Samyang 14mmF2.8 (ok I got the vivitar version) which is a great lens, but by no means small. It is, however nice and wide, very sharp, and suffers from virtually no CA, although there is some slight barrel distortion.

If I were to go out with an MF kit today, It would be the 14F2.8, my Kiron 24mmF2, SMC-M 35F2 and SMC 50F1.4. I would also add in my 85F1.4 for street candids. This makes 5 lenses, but as noted the 14 is not small and neither is the 85F1.4

03-28-2011, 12:18 PM   #9
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If you go the (mostly) prime route, the important thing (in my opinion) is to decide what your primary lens should be; the one that lives most of the time on your camera. For me that lens is the FA31Ltd, for you it can be a 24mm or a 40mm or ... The FA31Ltd is very universal and basically lives all the time on my camera (landscape, city, parties, whatever).

What suites you is up to you. You have the gear to test it. Set your 16-50 on 31mm for a couple of days and see if you can work (under different circumstances) with the field of view that it gives. Same for the decision at the long end; set your 50-135 on 77mm and see if it works for you. If not, try other focal lengths.

In both cases: no cheating

I consider the other lenses 'specialist' lenses. I think this allows me to limit the collection of what I need as well as the lens swapping.

With that in mind I added the DFA100WR to be able to zoom in a little on details and pull things a little closer; slightly longer than the FA77Ltd, macro functionality and reasonable suitable for (the occasional) portraits.

And one day I will need something wider (mostly for indoors in cathedrals and other buildings); I haven't taken my decision on that one yet, strongly thinking about DA12-24 and not a prime, mainly because my favorite field of view at the wide side is not available as an AF prime but also some flexibilty there.
03-28-2011, 12:27 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jolepp Quote
M50 1:1.7 and M28 1:3.5 are inexpensive and well regarded, at least the former is kind of abundant too. Also, a Helios 44M (58mm 1:2) is worth picking up at a price of <$50. For wide angle there is not that much among the old stuff at least not at a similar bargain price.
+1 on the 2 m lenses
the 28 in particular is a great value, very sharp and effectively a slightly wide normal. not at fast as the 2.8 but sharper overall
03-28-2011, 01:22 PM   #11
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Thanks for the advice, and interest. Just to clarify the a 50/2 was the kit lens on my K1000 which I happily took many photos over a 15+ year period on. Flickeroo's comment
QuoteOriginally posted by Flickeroo Quote
. Although shooting with primes might modify your style a bit because you have to use your feet and brain more for composition. You have to think more, which means being more careful at composition, and it sometimes bring new perspective because you change your point of view.
is so right, and was a refreshing change for me, hence the reason to have a good look at primes again.
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