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01-21-2008, 07:41 PM   #1
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1 everyday fixed lens: advice requested

Hello everyone,

I just bought a K100D Super & am slowly learning how to use it. It's my first ever SLR. I really love this camera & only yesterday moved it into P Mode (not ready for M yet). The camera came with the kit lens (18-55). I like to walk the downtown streets of my city & snap pics of people. Also, I plan on going to Peru this year. I can easily see myself wandering the streets of Lima snapping pics of the locals living their lives.

Anyway, I want to take one lens with me, preferrably a non-zoom lens. A friend of mine suggested these:

Sigma 30

Pentax 50

What do you guys think?

01-21-2008, 07:45 PM   #2
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I think that no matter what fixed lens you get, you are going to miss lots of shots. I would recommend the 18-250mm Pentax or Tamron zoom...
01-21-2008, 08:06 PM   #3
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First of all, you're probably going to want to wait a while and get used to what you have before deciding on a "walkaround" prime. Most prime users go for a setup of three lenses: wide, normal, and portrait (sometimes a bit beyond portrait). A "normal" lens on film is 50mm. On digital, somewhere between 30-35mm gets you a normal lens. Some people like their normals to be slightly wider or longer than 50, but that's why you have a zoom--to find out for yourself! Your choices are pretty much:

Pentax 28mm f2.8
Sigma 28mm f1.8
Sigma 30mm f1.4
Pentax 31mm f1.8 Ltd
Pentax 35mm f2
Pentax 40mm f2.8 Ltd
Pentax 43mm f1.9 Ltd

Limited lenses have the best outer build quality plus really good IQ. You'll have pay for it.
Personally, I use a Sigma 28mm f1.8 as my "normal"... it's heavy, but it's fast and has great IQ.

For being on vacation, you have to make a choice between convenience and quality. Superzooms like the paired 18-250mm from Pentax and Tamron are the most convenient, giving a huge range with acceptable IQ through most of that range. They're pretty slow, however, and won't be great in the evening. There are comprimises in the Sigma 17-70mm f2.8-4, Pentax 16-45mm f4, both being really good replacements for the kit lens, going from wide to semi-telephoto. The fastest wide zooms available are the Pentax 16-50mm f2.8 and Sigma 18-50mm f2.8--they're the best choice for nighttime if you want to stick with a zoom.

Again, I stress, use your kit lens for a while and figure out what limitations you find. The kit works well for many, many people.
01-21-2008, 08:15 PM   #4
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welcome to the Pentax Forums Arthur.

I pretty much only use fixed lenses with the exception of while photographing events.

However i will echo jgredline's advice on using a zoom. For your trip anyways. And the 18-250mm is a very good choice.

I grew up in Sardis, British Columbia. Up Chilliwack Lake Rd.
If your from that Chilliwack, and I've never heard of any others you live in a nice area.
Although I'll never move back

01-21-2008, 08:21 PM   #5
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I have the new Pentax 18-250 lens, and I recently bought the Pentax 50mm f/1.4 The 50/1.4 has become my favorite lens since it is so versatile. It is especially great if you want to shoot indoors, or in low light. I have never read a negative review of this lens. If I only had one lens it would be the 50/1.4, and it is the lens that is on my k10d right now in the bag. Read every forum or review of the 50/1.4 and you will read multiple times: "every Pentax owner needs to have this lens in thier bag."

Your kit lens + the 50/1.4 will be a great combination, and a reasonable price. Buying the 18-250 will cost you over twice as much and you STILL will need to buy a fast lens. The only thing you would be gaining is at the telephoto end. Don't get me wrong, I love the 18-250, but IMO your next lens should be a fast prime.
01-21-2008, 08:57 PM   #6
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POKE is right

the Pentax 50mm 1.4 is quite possibly the biggest steal out there. It remains on my k10 80percent of the time. So fast, so accurate and it has a nice solid heavy feel.

BHPhoto sells them for a decent price.

Perhaps those of us who have stumbled upon this lens should keep it a secret and take all the credit when we display the amazing images it produces.

Either way, enjoy Lima!
01-21-2008, 09:11 PM   #7
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I am going to go pretty much against what everyone else is saying. For travel, and especially for street photography, the last thing you want is a big super-zoom hanging off the end of your camera saying "LOOK AT ME". If I were in your situation I would go for the DA 21mm. It is tiny and relies on you to get close to your subject, which I find results in much more interesting, intimate photographs. Something in the 28-35 range would also do nicely, if getting up close and personal makes you a bit nervous. Anything longer than that tends to create a lot of distance (literally and figuratively) between the photographer and his or her subject.
01-22-2008, 05:39 AM   #8
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DA 16-45 is a great all-around lens.

01-22-2008, 05:52 AM   #9
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I wouold go for the widest lens you can get, in a zoom, that reaches out to about 50mm.

If you are going to play tourist, you will want wide angle to portrait length. Unless you are going for some wild life or specially framed shots length is not as much of an issue as width.

The concern with any of the 18-200+ lenses is in my view they are not wide enough for many situations

16 is much better.
01-22-2008, 05:54 AM   #10
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Lots of different replies Yes a zoom is more convenient and only having 1 prime as the only lens is limiting. I use primes but then I have several so I have choices.

But, if there was to be only 1. Then the traditional all around lens is around 50mm. Which means on pentax dSLR it would be around 35mm.

Which makes the FA 35mm f2 a great choice. I use this one a lot. I wouldnt get anything longer. But the FA 31mm I think for me would be even better in terms of focal length since its slightly wider.

Next would be the DA 21, a nice lens, but that is getting quite wide but depending on your shooting style and preference that could be it.

So I would go for either the FA 35 or DA 21 depending on how wide you like it.
01-22-2008, 05:55 AM   #11
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Finn makes a good case for the wider lenses and that's great for getting up close and personal as well as getting shots of larger buildings etc. For a solid fast prime though I would start with the FA50 f1.4 as well. It's a great lens and an essential part of any kit for all the reasons above.

The other I would give serious thought to is the FA35mm f2. Beautiful compact lens that will be close to what is considered the "normal" focal length for a DSLR. Personally for a travel (vacation) lens though the 18-250 makes sense. One lens and a simple kit to carry around. I don't own it but it appears to be fairly compact for carrying around.

If I was going to Peru though I would be looking at this differently. Probably a 3 or 4 lens bag. Sigma 10-20 or 12-24 (Pentax or Sigma) although the Kit lens (18-55) may just be fine for wider shooting in many cases, Tamron 28-75 f2.8 Di, FA 35,43 or 50mm and something longer like DA50-200, DA*50-135 or the above mentioned 18-250mm. I would want to cover a fairly wide range myself to be prepared for any possibility.

Last edited by Peter Zack; 01-22-2008 at 10:32 AM.
01-22-2008, 08:09 AM   #12
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I concur with those who are also recommending the SMCP-FA 50mm f/1.4. This was my first purchase after having received the body and 18-55. It stays on my camera pretty much at all times, unless I know I want to do some landscape or city-scape shots. The only other one I would also say yes to (because I want one for the same reason you do!) is the Pentax or Tamrom 18-250. The size of the lens and the range it offers is perfect for what I do when on the road. As soon as I can find an excuse to lay down the dough on this, I will have it and plan on making my everyday lens unless shooting primarily indoors or portraits.

Jason
01-22-2008, 08:37 AM   #13
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I would say FA 35mm f2, just because in city street u can always walk closer but not farther away ( or u will found yourself on the road or hit on parked car and stuff)
I have both 50mm and 35mm, both are beautiful lens.
01-22-2008, 08:47 AM   #14
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Although it is perhaps too early, maybe the OP can use one of the EXIF analysis programs to review exactly what focal lengths he is currently shooting.

He has said he wants to take pictures of his friends, and also likes to walk around town and take pictures.

He also wants to visit peru, and take photos as he walks around town

To me, this suggests he needs a portrait lens, and a wide angle lens, I don't see a one lens does it all.

For me, when I visited france in the summer, I used my sigma 10-20 as the walk around lens, because city scapes, building photos etc, needed an ultra wide angle. Interiors of churches and museums also.

Portrait needs something in the 30-100mm range (maybe cut this down a little to 75mm)

For me this would be a 28-80mm or 28-75mm lens. here there is a ton of choise, from getting an old 28-80 FA kit lens from a film camera to the Tamron 28-75 f2.8 zoom. both remarkably are about the same size, and the difference really is 1-2 f stops in speed.

No matter what he does, he will look like a tourist in peru if he has an SLR!

His other option if he wants to avoid looking like a rich tourist, is to get a P&S that has an equivelent 24-150mm range. A lot smaller lighter and possibly just as good for most thngs as a DSLR. only real limitation will be low light and noise at higher ISO.
01-22-2008, 09:37 AM   #15
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There is one thing bugging me: why do you want to take only one prime. The zoom lenses now are good enough so you can almost always find one with a range that will accomodate just about all the situation you are likely to encounter on a trip. Don't limit yourself. If you bring only one lens, make it a zoom, something in the range of 17 to 70 or so is great and not to bulky.
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