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10-09-2012, 09:14 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
You are absolutely correct. If a person needs a 20, a 28 would be a poor substitute. However, I don't know that anybody said the OP was looking for a 20mm lens. A 28 is a good recommendation for a wide-angle on 35mm film and is sufficiently wide to satisfy most subjects. Most available 28s are relatively fast, quite sharp, and have low distortion. They are also dirt cheap.

I personally like wide-angles and own several 28mm lenses. Every once in a while I have wanted a 24. Never, have I had a need for a 20. Given my personal experience, I don't know that I would point a noob in the direction of an expensive specialty lens and a 20mm is very definitely a specialty lens.

The M35/2 is a decent lens and would be my first choice for street photography using a 35mm camera like the MX. Again, what is an appropriate advice for a noob? I like my 35s (I have several in three different mounts), but would not point someone in that direction unless they already owned a 28 or a 50 and wanted something in-between. Traditionally, the classic kit is a 28mm, a 50mm, and a 135mm. All three are usually good, readily available, and dirt cheap.


Steve
I think that's a sensible approach. Oddly enough, the set of lenses I bought for my first MX was M 28/2.8, M 50/1.4, M 135/3.5. Still have them all, worn paint but in excellent working order.

While the first version M 28/2.8 is not as well-regarded as other Pentax 28s, it is very decent, affordable, and easy to find. Same for the 135/3.5. A 50/1.7 is a fine affordable alternative to the 50/1.4.

The three lenses make a very compact outfit. I often put two of the three in jacket pockets and go without a camera case.

10-10-2012, 07:39 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
You are absolutely correct. If a person needs a 20, a 28 would be a poor substitute. However, I don't know that anybody said the OP was looking for a 20mm lens. A 28 is a good recommendation for a wide-angle on 35mm film and is sufficiently wide to satisfy most subjects. Most available 28s are relatively fast, quite sharp, and have low distortion. They are also dirt cheap.

I personally like wide-angles and own several 28mm lenses. Every once in a while I have wanted a 24. Never, have I had a need for a 20. Given my personal experience, I don't know that I would point a noob in the direction of an expensive specialty lens and a 20mm is very definitely a specialty lens.

The M35/2 is a decent lens and would be my first choice for street photography using a 35mm camera like the MX. Again, what is an appropriate advice for a noob? I like my 35s (I have several in three different mounts), but would not point someone in that direction unless they already owned a 28 or a 50 and wanted something in-between. Traditionally, the classic kit is a 28mm, a 50mm, and a 135mm. All three are usually good, readily available, and dirt cheap.


Steve
Can you please describe specialty of 20mm against 28 or eventually 14mm to 28mm. I am trying to build up my system and I do not have experience with under 28mm lenght really. It would help me a lot. Thanks.
10-10-2012, 10:31 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by em-tx Quote
Can you please describe specialty of 20mm against 28 or eventually 14mm to 28mm. I am trying to build up my system and I do not have experience with under 28mm lenght really. It would help me a lot. Thanks.
20mm is much wider than 28mm. 14mm is much wider than 20mm. Remember that the wider you go, the closer you have to get to your subject to make it equivalent size.

20mm (Pentax M 20/4). I was much closer to this airplane than the photo suggests.


14mm (not a pentax lens). Just pointed it straight up in downtown LA.
10-10-2012, 12:24 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by jakeblues Quote
20mm is much wider than 28mm. 14mm is much wider than 20mm. Remember that the wider you go, the closer you have to get to your subject to make it equivalent size.

20mm (Pentax M 20/4). I was much closer to this airplane than the photo suggests.


14mm (not a pentax lens). Just pointed it straight up in downtown LA.
Great, thank you. Is there any ratio could apply to understand 28 - 20 - 14 mm difference?

10-10-2012, 01:01 PM   #20
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jakeblues: That last photo is epic!
10-10-2012, 01:07 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by montman Quote
jakeblues: That last photo is epic!
agree. I wonder what lens was that.
10-10-2012, 01:20 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by jakeblues Quote
20mm is much wider than 28mm. 14mm is much wider than 20mm. Remember that the wider you go, the closer you have to get to your subject to make it equivalent size.
20mm (Pentax M 20/4). I was much closer to this airplane than the photo suggests.
14mm (not a pentax lens). Just pointed it straight up in downtown LA.
Both are very nice photos.

QuoteOriginally posted by em-tx Quote
Great, thank you. Is there any ratio could apply to understand 28 - 20 - 14 mm difference?
With a 28 you don't have to watch for your feet in the frame. With a 20 you do. With a 14 you have to watch for your feet and elbows.

Seriously though you could always compare numbers with a Field Of View Calculator. Select "35mm film" for your camera and enter 28, 20 and 14 in the focal length box.
10-10-2012, 04:40 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by em-tx Quote
Great, thank you. Is there any ratio could apply to understand 28 - 20 - 14 mm difference?
The angle of view in degrees is the best way.

17mm fish-eye is 180 degrees
15mm is 111 degrees
20mm is 94 degrees
28mm is 75 degrees

Phil.

10-10-2012, 04:42 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by John Poirier Quote
I think that's a sensible approach. Oddly enough, the set of lenses I bought for my first MX was M 28/2.8, M 50/1.4, M 135/3.5. Still have them all, worn paint but in excellent working order.

While the first version M 28/2.8 is not as well-regarded as other Pentax 28s, it is very decent, affordable, and easy to find. Same for the 135/3.5. A 50/1.7 is a fine affordable alternative to the 50/1.4.

The three lenses make a very compact outfit. I often put two of the three in jacket pockets and go without a camera case.
Yep I also started with the 28/55/135mm kit, but K series lenses. I agree it's still the best option for someone starting out.

Phil.
10-10-2012, 05:24 PM   #25
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On film, I would describe 28mm as a good all-rounder wide angle - much wider view that a standard 50mm but not so wide that composition could become challenging to a new user, and likely to be used often, and good for landscape and general travel photography. On film, 20mm would be good for architecture shots in tight surroundings but in many settings the photographer may be too far way from the subject for the shot to have any real impact, while 14mm on film is very much a specialty lens. As the OP is in starting out mode, I continue to think the 28mm would be a good starting point vs the very wide angle lenses - 20mm is a big jump from the 50mm he currently owns. The field of view of 28mm on film is equivalent to that of an 18mm lens on a APS-C digital camera - nearly all 'standard' digital zooms start at 18mm or there abouts which suggusts that lens makers also view this as a good intro point at the wide end. Not at all knocking wider lens, but merely recognising that the OP is really only just starting to explore his photography and would get good service from 28mm or thereabouts in combination with his 50mm and a short telephoto.
10-10-2012, 05:38 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
You can mount and use any K-mount lens that has an aperture ring. This would include the following series from Pentax:
  • K(simply labeled SMC)
  • M
  • A
  • FA
  • DFA
The older DFA lenses have an aperture ring, but the newer DFA100WR macro does not.
10-10-2012, 10:30 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by em-tx Quote
agree. I wonder what lens was that.
It's the Tamron 14mm 2.8 on a Canon Rebel G film body. I rented the Tamron for a weekend to shoot a recording session in Capitol Records. The day after the shoot, I kicked around Downtown LA and just shot away.

Here are a few more:

10-11-2012, 07:29 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by southlander Quote
On film, I would describe 28mm as a good all-rounder wide angle - much wider view that a standard 50mm but not so wide that composition could become challenging...
I remember several months ago when I handed one of my film cameras mounted with a 28mm to a friend that has only shot APS-C digital. The first words were "Wow! What a huge clear viewfinder". The second words were "Wow! That lens is really wide!"


Steve
10-12-2012, 05:06 AM   #29
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I agree with Steve/Phil and others who have suggested the 28/2.8, 50/1.4 or 1.7 and 135/3.5 as the best film starter set. This is a versatile group able to cope with most photographic situations. Like Phil, I love K series lenses but they are little big on the diminutive Pentax MX body. If going the K route I would suggest the MX winder as, speaking from experience, the camera handles better with the grip. I’ve used an MX for over thirty years and the camera just feels “wrong” without the grip especially with a K series lens attached. I know the M 20/4 has its fans but on a film camera 20mm is a very wide almost specialist optic. Perhaps a much less expensive K 24/2.8 would be a gentler introduction to the wide angle world. In my own experience I find a 24mm is more than wide enough for my wide angle film needs. This is all subjective of course as I do a lot of birding and use telephoto lenses most of the time. In addition to the 28, 50, 135 starter set I would add the M 85/2 or K 85/1.8 as a portrait lens. The M 100/2.8 is also a fine portrait lens and can be had for less money than either of the 85mm optics.

Tom G

Last edited by 8540tomg; 10-12-2012 at 05:07 AM. Reason: typo
10-12-2012, 09:23 AM   #30
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There are a lot of good suggestions here and I agree with them. However I'd like to cover another angle. Do you plan to try other Pentax bodies?

Not knowing how familiar you are with Pentax I thought I'd give you something else to consider. One of the greatest things about Pentax is lens compatibility, meaning you can use your 50/1.7 on the newest DSLR offered without any adapters. You can also use any newer lens, as long as it has an aperture ring, on your MX.

If you'd like to use other newer Pentax cameras, such as auto focus bodies (film or DSLR), you may want to look at the F- and FA-series lenses. They'll work great on your MX too and be completely compatible with manual and auto focus cameras. The price will increase a bit with auto focus, but there are lenses in the 28, 50 and 135 range in those series.
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