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Thread: Which would make a good and light walk-about lens?

  1. #21
    Member scorpioh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Which would make a good and light walk-about lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by aaron80 View Post
    Hi fellow Pentaxian bros! I just got myself a blue K-X for my birthday and is now contemplating to get one prime lens to use as a general walk-about lens. I have a GF1 with 20mm F1.7 pancake so I am hoping to buy a lens which is about the same focal and speed as the 20mm pancake as I have gotten quite use to and really like the 40mm (35mm equivalent) focal length and also the fast F1.7.

    After reading up on the web, I have shortlisted 3 lenses which might be able to fulfill my need. I want to seek your opinions/advices on which one of them would be most suitable for my needs? Most importantly it must be lightweight and fast (for low-light shooting). Image quality don't need to be the best but hopefully at least as good as the Panny 20mm.

    My 3 shortlisted lenses:
    1) SMC Pentax DA 40MM F2.8 LIMITED
    2) SMC Pentax-FA 35mm F2.0 AL
    3) SMC Pentax FA 50mm F1.4
    Out of the three, I think I would take the 35mm. It's probably gives the most versatile FOV though its the one I do not own. The 31mm is better than it and worth the price you pay for. But I think it cost some $1.5k now. The thing about FA35mm is that it is discontinued. A good condition one, if you could find, would probably set you back at some $600++. With the super price hike of the 50mm, I would pick the DA40mm...
    I say the lens is the soul of a camera. What about the body? Well, it's just the body...

  2. #22

    Default Re: Which would make a good and light walk-about lens?

    For flexibility, the Sigma or Pentax 17-70 would have a more usable range.

    If I had to choose from your 3 lens choices, it would be the DA40mm. Wonderful "true" pancake lens that's fast enough, render good colours and more usable than the 50 f/1.4 which is a little too high for close in photography.
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  3. #23

    Default Re: Which would make a good and light walk-about lens?

    I had to answer a similar question for myself soon after I bought my K-x. After doing some research and keeping in mind that my needs were primarily portraits and shots of kids in action at home, I discovered that the 31mm Limited would have been the wisest choice from Pentax's lens lineup for a 1.5 crop APS-C sensor. It offers both superb IQ, compact form factor, low light shooting capability & adequate focal length as an everyday walk about lens. Only it costs a bomb at the moment with the recent price hike!

  4. #24

    Default Re: Which would make a good and light walk-about lens?

    arron80, if you want a 40mm film perspective.. I think that FA28/2.8 is the nearest focal length. I never have the FA28, but I do have the M28/2.8 which is very sharp on my film. And it may be difficult to source for FA28/2.8 on the resale market.

    If you want to get a new lenses off the shelve. I think the DA21/3.2 is a good lens to go for. You may think that F/3.2 is a little slow. But depending on which bodies you couple this lens. It is not actually that slow. I have been using DA21 extensively as its always on my body like a lens cap. DA21 is a good walk-around lens as it allow you to take the full street picture with the wide perspective. And if you are to walk closer/close up with your subject, you can do a close up short. The minimum focusing distance of DA21 is actually shorter than 0.2m. Very useful to do close-up. Plus its cheaper when compared to FA31.


    cheerss..

  5. #25
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    Default Re: Which would make a good and light walk-about lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by seafone View Post
    arron80, if you want a 40mm film perspective.. I think that FA28/2.8 is the nearest focal length. I never have the FA28, but I do have the M28/2.8 which is very sharp on my film. And it may be difficult to source for FA28/2.8 on the resale market.

    If you want to get a new lenses off the shelve. I think the DA21/3.2 is a good lens to go for. You may think that F/3.2 is a little slow. But depending on which bodies you couple this lens. It is not actually that slow. I have been using DA21 extensively as its always on my body like a lens cap. DA21 is a good walk-around lens as it allow you to take the full street picture with the wide perspective. And if you are to walk closer/close up with your subject, you can do a close up short. The minimum focusing distance of DA21 is actually shorter than 0.2m. Very useful to do close-up. Plus its cheaper when compared to FA31.


    cheerss..
    I agree with all the above - and I have both the FA28 2.8 and the DA21 3.2. When comparing the DA21 with 'faster' lenses like the 35s or 50s people always seem to forget that you can hand-hold a shorter lens with slower shutter speeds, which partly compensates for a (very) slightly slower aperture. Both these lenses work very well for me and I could live with either of them on a trip as the only walkaround lens in the bag. I love my DA40 (newly acquired) and I have just sold my FA50 1.4 - those are both great lenses but slightly too long to be the only one with you at any one time. For me that is.

  6. #26

    Default Re: Which would make a good and light walk-about lens?

    Sigma 30/1.4 is good if you know you shoot very often at f1.4 to f2.8. The edges just don't get sharper stopped down, which may be a negative if used as a walk around lens.

    I've never had the 40/2.8, but I have the 24, 28, 35.

    24mm is rather wide. Still usable as walk around, but you need to get nearer for portraits. A bit scary for me esp. when the subject of the portrait is a stranger on the street (no, not talking about sly hip shots here ). The plus side is that it does include more for environmental portraits.

    28mm stands in a rather similar spot as the 35mm. Its wider, so it boils down to personal preference on what you consider 'normal' or better (ie. narrower or wider). Again, a bit of the same negative for portraits as the 24mm. I don't often go for the 28mm as its slower (f2.8) and mine has no AF.


    I don't advocate a slower lens. Yes, its less focus sensitive because of short focal length, often you need the speed to stop motion as well (eg. 1/60; 1/90 for a moving/walking subject).

  7. #27

    Default Re: Which would make a good and light walk-about lens?

    Hi bro, I like taking street/candid, cats, portraits and the occasional buildings. Ya I know the lenses that I shortlisted are all more than the 40mm focal length I am used to. The 31mm F1.8 will be good for my purpose but its too ex. So I have to make some compromises, I guess using my legs to zoom out zoom in is the only way now.

    Quote Originally Posted by sebianos View Post
    TS, want to ask what kind of photos do you usually take?

    If you like the Panny 20mm, light and fast is only half of the equation. All the lenses you have shortlisted are 52.5mm, 60mm, and 75mm (35mm equivalent) - the shortest focal length is still 12.5mm more than your 40mm favorite focal length.

    The fov will be smaller and tighter - 52.5mm is good for portraits but you'll get a shock when you want to take a tree and end up seeing branches inside the vf. I think you already know that... but you know like just in case.
    Life is like photography, we develop from the negatives.

  8. #28

    Default Re: Which would make a good and light walk-about lens?

    Thanks for the recommendations bro! But I prefer prime lenses coz they force me to think more about my composition and move around. Funny thing is few years ago, I hated prime lenses coz I find them so troublesome and inflexible, cannot zoom must ownself move. Guess the older u get, the more your mentality changes. Now I prefer a fast and good prime over any zooms!

    I never knew there's a SMC Pentax-FA* 24mm F2 AL [IF]. Is it a discontinued model? I guess I will skip SMC Pentax-M 35mm F1.4 coz I dun shoot manual focus at all..

    Quote Originally Posted by sircam View Post
    Though not a Prime Lens, you may want to check this one out...

    SMC Pentax-DA* 16-50mm F2.8 ED AL [IF]

    in 35mm equivalent terms the focal length works out to be 24-75mm which is truly a great range for a TRUE walk about everyday lens... and not that slow too! The IQ from this lens is great too... which is a big bonus! The colors and contrast are great too.



    and then...

    we have this one... another great Prime Lens... and reasonably fast too.

    SMC Pentax-FA* 24mm F2 AL [IF] ... becomes 36mm... a bit short if you want to use it from portraits and close ups of cats though, but really a great everyday walkabout prime.



    or perhaps...

    SMC Pentax-M 35mm F1.4 - more like your focal length plus very fast... if you like doing things in manual mode though!
    Last edited by aaron80; 27th December 2009 at 02:12 PM.
    Life is like photography, we develop from the negatives.

  9. #29

    Default Re: Which would make a good and light walk-about lens?

    The 31mm F1.8 LTD is the ultimate but too ex for me. Seems like the 35mm F2.0 is a good alternative but problem is I dun see a used one selling at the B&S section. Guess not many people are willing to give up this lens. If can't find the 35mm F2.0, I might get the DA40mm F2.8 new or try to find a FA28mm F2.8.

    Quote Originally Posted by scorpioh View Post
    Out of the three, I think I would take the 35mm. It's probably gives the most versatile FOV though its the one I do not own. The 31mm is better than it and worth the price you pay for. But I think it cost some $1.5k now. The thing about FA35mm is that it is discontinued. A good condition one, if you could find, would probably set you back at some $600++. With the super price hike of the 50mm, I would pick the DA40mm...
    Quote Originally Posted by sircam View Post
    I had to answer a similar question for myself soon after I bought my K-x. After doing some research and keeping in mind that my needs were primarily portraits and shots of kids in action at home, I discovered that the 31mm Limited would have been the wisest choice from Pentax's lens lineup for a 1.5 crop APS-C sensor. It offers both superb IQ, compact form factor, low light shooting capability & adequate focal length as an everyday walk about lens. Only it costs a bomb at the moment with the recent price hike!
    Life is like photography, we develop from the negatives.

  10. #30

    Default Re: Which would make a good and light walk-about lens?

    Thanks bro! You opened up my eyes to another lens! Now I must consider the FA28mm F2.8 liao as it is nearer to my familiar focal length of 40mm. But I suspect that this lens is a discontinued one also? If so, then must be very difficult to find.

    Quote Originally Posted by seafone View Post
    arron80, if you want a 40mm film perspective.. I think that FA28/2.8 is the nearest focal length. I never have the FA28, but I do have the M28/2.8 which is very sharp on my film. And it may be difficult to source for FA28/2.8 on the resale market.

    If you want to get a new lenses off the shelve. I think the DA21/3.2 is a good lens to go for. You may think that F/3.2 is a little slow. But depending on which bodies you couple this lens. It is not actually that slow. I have been using DA21 extensively as its always on my body like a lens cap. DA21 is a good walk-around lens as it allow you to take the full street picture with the wide perspective. And if you are to walk closer/close up with your subject, you can do a close up short. The minimum focusing distance of DA21 is actually shorter than 0.2m. Very useful to do close-up. Plus its cheaper when compared to FA31.


    cheerss..
    Life is like photography, we develop from the negatives.

  11. #31

    Default Re: Which would make a good and light walk-about lens?

    wow this thread has been very informative indeed. please pardon my small sidetrack.. does anyone know of a site which lists 3rd-party lenses with reviews as well as prices in singapore?

  12. #32
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    Default Re: Which would make a good and light walk-about lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by aaron80 View Post
    Hi bro, I like taking street/candid, cats, portraits and the occasional buildings. Ya I know the lenses that I shortlisted are all more than the 40mm focal length I am used to. The 31mm F1.8 will be good for my purpose but its too ex. So I have to make some compromises, I guess using my legs to zoom out zoom in is the only way now.
    Well... if you're serious on getting a prime lens for a walkabout lens. Stick to it, save up and get it. Or hope that someone sells it in B&S.

    If you want to make compromises, the kit lens is actually quite decent. Especially, if you get the AL II version which is metal mount and very very light. Costs about a $100 - covers the range from 18-55. I mean just because it's kit lens doesn't mean it's junk.

    And if you don't mind, manual focusing - manual lenses are good and reasonably priced. Not for everybody, so far i only know baracus and myself like to do manual focusing.
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  13. #33
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    Default Re: Which would make a good and light walk-about lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by sebianos View Post
    Well... if you're serious on getting a prime lens for a walkabout lens. Stick to it, save up and get it. Or hope that someone sells it in B&S.

    If you want to make compromises, the kit lens is actually quite decent. Especially, if you get the AL II version which is metal mount and very very light. Costs about a $100 - covers the range from 18-55. I mean just because it's kit lens doesn't mean it's junk.

    And if you don't mind, manual focusing - manual lenses are good and reasonably priced. Not for everybody, so far i only know baracus and myself like to do manual focusing.
    Agreed. It depends on situations too, if you are doing 'own time own target' shooting, manual focusing is pretty rewarding. Probably why i chose pentax when it comes to manual focusing, its a joy to use.
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  14. #34
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    Default Re: Which would make a good and light walk-about lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by tootboink View Post
    wow this thread has been very informative indeed. please pardon my small sidetrack.. does anyone know of a site which lists 3rd-party lenses with reviews as well as prices in singapore?
    tootboink, you're gonna confuse yourself into knots. Ortega keeps a price lists for 3rd party lenses but it's kind of hard to find the lenses that's suitable for k-mount. Some are not available for k-mount.

    Can always use www.bhphotovideo.com to do research - filter by sigma, tamron for pentax k mount. The USD price is listed so you can have a rough estimate how much it costs. After that, give the local distributor of the 3rd party lenses a call for enquiry. ~ I think i've added fuel to your desire for lens.
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  15. #35
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    Default Re: Which would make a good and light walk-about lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by eselite View Post
    Agreed. It depends on situations too, if you are doing 'own time own target' shooting, manual focusing is pretty rewarding. Probably why i chose pentax when it comes to manual focusing, its a joy to use.
    YAY!!! High-five, Charlie.

    Manual focusing is easy with some practice... my target is to shoot a flying housefly with buttery creamy bokeh using manual focusing. If Kungfu Panda can chopstick a flying shuai-gao, so can I shoot a flying housefly. Just joking...
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  16. #36

    Default Re: Which would make a good and light walk-about lens?

    how about a pentax housefly challenge, post pics and manual focus only, no sharpening, no PP. these subjects are also so easy to find you'd look like an idiot trying to shoot a housefly in flight tho
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  17. #37

    Default Re: Which would make a good and light walk-about lens?

    Thanks for the advice bro! Ya I find the kit lens pretty decent, mine is the DAL version, different from AL II? I will definitely keep it to use as a normal zoom lens. The prime lens is more for low light and just walkabout. I just like the feeling of having to move to get the shots I want nowadays. I might try manual focusing one day, but I find auto focusing easier and more convenient.

    Hopefully I can get one of the lenses I want in B&S, will definitely keep a lookout everyday.

    Quote Originally Posted by sebianos View Post
    Well... if you're serious on getting a prime lens for a walkabout lens. Stick to it, save up and get it. Or hope that someone sells it in B&S.

    If you want to make compromises, the kit lens is actually quite decent. Especially, if you get the AL II version which is metal mount and very very light. Costs about a $100 - covers the range from 18-55. I mean just because it's kit lens doesn't mean it's junk.

    And if you don't mind, manual focusing - manual lenses are good and reasonably priced. Not for everybody, so far i only know baracus and myself like to do manual focusing.
    Life is like photography, we develop from the negatives.

  18. #38

    Default Re: Which would make a good and light walk-about lens?

    i bought a very cheap second hand manual 50mm f/2 a few days back without thinking(was looking for a telephoto actually), and straightaway i clipped it before going for dinner outside.

    my first impression was WOW. the sharpness of the lens was unbelievable. along the singapore river i took a lot of shots without flash, and they all turned out to be very nice indeed. however having to focus manually made me take at least 5 to 10 X the time needed to take a shot. hahaha.

    back at home clipping on the kit lens back again(the only other lens i own atm as a newbie) to do some comparisons by myself, i found out how much i so so so missed my autofocus. the sound and feeling of the whirl of the focusing ring was heavenly! nevertheless image wise definitely the 50 f2 is so much nicer. such conflicting emotions! how i wish i have an autofocus prime!!

    but then again.. when i go outside, no choice. i find that i rather use the 50 f2 as my kit lens cannot deliver such sharp images.. and since that day it has spent more time on my camera than my kit lens. and i have never spent more time trying to take pictures than now.

    having survived this traumatic time with the manual focus, i must say there is an immense sense of satisfaction in getting a shot right. in fact, i think that if i were to get an autofocus one, i will feel like i am playing cheat!

    getting an autofocus prime will set me back by at least 300 and while i feel the surge of temptation everytime i see better prime than mine in the BnS, the poor student in me screams out that it isn't worth the money now getting an AF one when i can do it manually especially when i am saving for a telephoto.

    now.. what i dream for is a all in one zoom, constant (large) aperture lens
    Last edited by tootboink; 28th December 2009 at 06:03 AM.

  19. #39
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    Default Re: Which would make a good and light walk-about lens?

    Aaron, take your time building a lens kit. We always see somebody with a huge lens collection and go "I want that!" but lenses will pop out all the time. If you miss one now, another will come up later. Some more ex, some more cheap. No big deal... have to remind yourself that they took a long time finding and buying them. Slow and steady does it. In 10 years time, you will have a formidable lens collection. Do lots of research and less buying. Next time you will go, my prime lens is better than that.

    Tootboink, there's infinity focus on the prime. When i'm lazy, i will turn to infinity and use it like a point and shoot. Super sharp too. hahahaha... autofocus is always nice. Manual is a lot more satisfying, especially when focus, exposure, and composition is spot on. At times, it's the focal length at work. Turn your kit lens to 50mm so that everything is equal and you'll find that IQ difference is similar.

    Elavan, i already looked like an idiot trying to focus on a bee manually. I'm going to find a very BIG housefly to win that competition, if there's one.
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  20. #40
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    Default Re: Which would make a good and light walk-about lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by aaron80 View Post
    Hi fellow Pentaxian bros! I just got myself a blue K-X for my birthday and is now contemplating to get one prime lens to use as a general walk-about lens. I have a GF1 with 20mm F1.7 pancake so I am hoping to buy a lens which is about the same focal and speed as the 20mm pancake as I have gotten quite use to and really like the 40mm (35mm equivalent) focal length and also the fast F1.7.

    After reading up on the web, I have shortlisted 3 lenses which might be able to fulfill my need. I want to seek your opinions/advices on which one of them would be most suitable for my needs? Most importantly it must be lightweight and fast (for low-light shooting). Image quality don't need to be the best but hopefully at least as good as the Panny 20mm.

    My 3 shortlisted lenses:
    1) SMC Pentax DA 40MM F2.8 LIMITED
    2) SMC Pentax-FA 35mm F2.0 AL
    3) SMC Pentax FA 50mm F1.4
    I suggest that you buy the lens DA 40mm F2.8 Limited, you will not regret !
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