50MM PRIME LENS OR NOT


johnha

Link Posted 26/07/2019 - 10:51
RobL wrote:
I recently bought the 50mm f2.8 macro and as an experiment used it as the sole lens on a coast path walk, and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Very lightweight, strangely liberating not zooming in or out, just framing a nice shot by moving around a bit (I say a bit, the cliff edge was a limiting factor!) and the added bonus of close-ups. I now use it paired with a 35mm f2 lens and a 100mm macro for walkabouts if I donít want to carry weighty gear and as all three share the same 49mm filter thread I just have one polariser and a screw-on 10 stop filter.

I feel there's a sense of freedom with a few small primes compared to heavy slow zoom. The camera balances better, both when carrying it and shooting it, you don't necessarily need the battery grip and you don't look like a CaNikon tourist...
PPG Flickr

Jonathan-Mac

Link Posted 26/07/2019 - 13:51
50mm on FF or film is the most useful focal length there is. On APS-C the nearest equivalent is 35mm. A good 35mm prime will be better than a zoom in every measurable factor of image quality - sharpness, contrast, micro-contrast, flare resistance, colour...

The best option for your K-3 II would be the DA 35mm limited. Failing that, the DAL 35mm f/2.4 is a lot cheaper but loses the build quality and frills while maintaining decent optics (though not up to the standard of the limited).
Pentax hybrid user - Digital K3 & K200D, film 645 and 35mm SLR and Pentax (&other) lenses adapted to Fuji X digital
Fan of DA limited and old manual lenses

Jonathan-Mac

Link Posted 26/07/2019 - 13:52
johnha wrote:
RobL wrote:
I recently bought the 50mm f2.8 macro and as an experiment used it as the sole lens on a coast path walk, and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Very lightweight, strangely liberating not zooming in or out, just framing a nice shot by moving around a bit (I say a bit, the cliff edge was a limiting factor!) and the added bonus of close-ups. I now use it paired with a 35mm f2 lens and a 100mm macro for walkabouts if I donít want to carry weighty gear and as all three share the same 49mm filter thread I just have one polariser and a screw-on 10 stop filter.

I feel there's a sense of freedom with a few small primes compared to heavy slow zoom. The camera balances better, both when carrying it and shooting it, you don't necessarily need the battery grip and you don't look like a CaNikon tourist...

That too.
Pentax hybrid user - Digital K3 & K200D, film 645 and 35mm SLR and Pentax (&other) lenses adapted to Fuji X digital
Fan of DA limited and old manual lenses

davidwozhere

Link Posted 27/07/2019 - 01:12
Curious that with all the recommendations for a 35mm nobody has mentioned the highly affordable, relatively common (on Ebay) Takumar 35mm. It is every bit as good except you have to focus manually.
Both the *istDS and the K5 are incurably addicted to old glass

My page on Photocrowd - link

PeterKR

Link Posted 27/07/2019 - 22:36
Like you I tend to travel light with either my Sigma 18-250 (the earlier version of your lens) or the Pentax 18-135 which came with my K50.
Reviewing my exif data I find that a large number of my landscape and travel shots were taken at 18mm with others at various focal lengths between 18 and 60mm.
Going for a single prime I would therefore ask whether (on an APSC camera) a 28mm lens would be more useful ?

Whilst the larger aperture (e.g. around f/2 to f/2. might indicate a better quality lens (?), for landscape use I would doubt that the narrower DoF at wide apertures would seem a benefit so most shots would be taken at f/5.6 or f/8 ? A good quality zoom starting at f/3.5 or f/4.5 would then fit the bill ? So back to the old 'kit lens' 18-55 (which came with my Kr) then ? Perhaps not in my case as I found a s/h Sigma Epsilon 28-70 gave me better results (much to other people's surprise). I also got a used Pentax F 35-70 which is a very good sharp lens. (Both of these cost me under £20 on the auction site !)

It really is a case of what suits YOU and your requirements !
In my case it is those first mentioned lenses which get 99% of my use but of the two I would say that the Pentax 18-135 is the sharper (despite a bad 'Press' when it was first released !)

Good luck - you'll need it !
Peter
Last Edited by PeterKR on 27/07/2019 - 22:37

LennyBloke

Link Posted 27/07/2019 - 23:02
I'm a big believer in trying as many different lenses as possible to work out what suits you. A 50mm lens will cost you between £20 and £1300 depending on what you go for, they will all give you the same angle of view and although the aperture on different models will vary they are all relatively "fast" compared to zooms.

As a landscape shooter you will probably appreciate the flat field sharpness of the macro lenses - the Pentax branded 2.8 versions would be my personal recommendation, but I doubt any 50mm macro would disappoint. One of these will set you back somewhere between £75 to £200ish, but if you want to start off at the cheaper end of the scale then one of the 50mm f1.7 pentax offerings (as sold with many film camera bodies) will be a good choice. The AF versions tend to be from around but an A series (MF) is probably the best compromise (having the 'A' setting for proper auto exposure) and you can often pick one of these up for £30 to £50 ish.

Just my views, but having tried many, many lenses I believe the journey through lenses is well worth while - and any lens that doesn't suit you can be sold (on the forums maybe) for a similar price to that you paid.

Hope that helps
LennyBloke

Anstonian

Link Posted 28/07/2019 - 09:07
This is a real "library" full of advise and options here and I thank you all so much for that. Having started a thread wondering if it would be worth buying a 35mm or 50mm prime I now am asking myself if I need to change my lens line up. I won't get rid of my Sigma 10-20 f3.5, this is a cracking lens and highly recommended for anyone interested in taking landscape or architecture. Looking at many reviews of the Pentax 55-300 PLM this seems to be a class act and many put it above the other lens I have, the Sigma 18-300 f3.5-f6.3. I am tempted to sell the 18-300 and purchase the 55-300 together with the ubiquitous 18-55 kit lens or the 16-85 along with the 55-300. I am sure the 18-55 or 16-85 would be the one on the camera the most with the 55-300 put on as required, for wildlife shots maybe. I am still going to acquire a 35 or 50 prime but as I say am now seriously looking at swapping out my 18-300 for Pentax lenses.
So, what started out as a simple question (is there such a thing regarding photography) has blossomed into a much wider discussion, great isn't it?
Any additional thoughts much appreciated.
Andrew
Andrew Goble

PeterKR

Link Posted 24/08/2019 - 21:29
Well, Andrew, you certainly got me thinking. So as a challenge I took my M50 f/1.7 to Portmeirion recently and set myself the task of only using that instead of my usual zooms.
It was a fascinating experience and I learned a lot, both then and also from other members after posting the results in another thread on this Forum.
I checked today and there are still plenty of old M50 and A50 lenses on offer on the usual Auction site.
Thanks for asking the question and do give it a try!

Best regards
Peter

davidwozhere

Link Posted 24/08/2019 - 23:42
If you are going to go down the 55-300 route I would really suggest the PLM. It is made for the K3ii and praised somewhere on the previous page. If you DO want a DA 55-300 f4.5 ED you can have the one that my PLM displaced for £100 + carriage. It's good with both caps and hood and has its box. PM if necessary.
Both the *istDS and the K5 are incurably addicted to old glass

My page on Photocrowd - link

Benz3ne

Link Posted 10/09/2019 - 15:58
PeterKR wrote:
Well, Andrew, you certainly got me thinking. So as a challenge I took my M50 f/1.7 to Portmeirion recently and set myself the task of only using that instead of my usual zooms.
It was a fascinating experience and I learned a lot, both then and also from other members after posting the results in another thread on this Forum.
I checked today and there are still plenty of old M50 and A50 lenses on offer on the usual Auction site.
Thanks for asking the question and do give it a try!

Best regards
Peter

Nice part of the world too. I picked up an A-50/1.7 and A-28/2.8 for about £40 posted, total, off the auction site in question. I definitely agree that having some hands-on time with manual zooms, and manual aperture, makes for a more involved experience. I'm using my recently-procured Auto-Takumar 55mm f/2.2 almost solely this month and it really opens your eyes to what adjustments affect photos in certain ways, or how best to wield manual focus.
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