Lens Journey


robbiec

Link Posted 29/10/2011 - 00:03
I'm coming up to 3 years now in the Pentax fold and its only now that I feel that I can really understand my focal length needs. I've had a K20D (which I adored) and a K-5 which i'm still getting to grips with (almost a year on )but its the lenses that are the key still. It was last week at a gig that I decided that I needed to focus more on what I use rather than what I may possibly use or have just in case. My lens travels have included some really lovely and very good lenses from the Pentax list.
Taks - 28 f/3.5, 35 f/3.5, 50 f/1.4, 55 f/1.8,85 f/1.8, 85 f/1.9, 135 f/3.5
Ks - 24 f/2.8 (X2), 28 f/3.5, 30 f/2.8, 35 f/3.5, 50 f/1.2 (X2) 55 f/1.8 (X2), 135 f/2.5
Ms - 50 f/1.4, 50 f/4.0 macro
As - 50 f/1.7
FAs - 43 f/1.9, 50 f/1.4, 77 f/1.8
DAs - 16-45 & 55-300
And a couple of Helios and Chinons as well but the time has come to sort it out once and for all.

So what from the above have I kept or will keep? 43, 77, and 50 f/1.2 straight away jump to the top of my list, I love using them and understand what they can and cannot do. After that I struggle... I love street shooting but the 16-45 is a bit clumsy for that, and the 24 & 28 are really for static shooting, don't get me wrong, they can be excellent but from say 3' to infinity the focus throw is miniscule and that is where I want to really nail it. I'm thinking DA15 for that area.
So from 20 to 43... what to put in there? 21 is average, 24, 28, 30 don't suit, so the only option really is the 31. Things have started to get expensive now but I would have 15, 31, 43, 50, 77. I might swap the K50 for the A50 but I think that looks like a nice set. What say you? Have I gone mad dumping the whole 16-300 that I could use range for 15-77 that I will use? Oh and there will be a FA* 28-70 there as well which is an oddity but I want to have a play with that for low light gig work, it was either that or another K-5.
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johnriley

Link Posted 29/10/2011 - 00:14
It's one of the joys of DSLR photography - lenses, lenses and more lenses. Exciting and infuriating at the same time.

Why choose? What you like this week maybe won't suit if some particular requirement pops up in the future.

Having said that, the DA Limited lenses are adorable, even if not quite as good as the three FA ones. The DA 70mm f2.4 in particualr has a fine character, but then so does the 77mm FA.....and so we go round in circles.

I don't think there's any final "sorting it out" because I'd argue there's nothing to sort out. Everything you have may have a use sooner or later. Just enjoy them and have fun!
Best regards, John

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robbiec

Link Posted 29/10/2011 - 00:28
True, I do love getting to know a lens, it is one of the best aspects of the DSLR world. I do think that i'm getting to the stage that a lens has to have a certain something... I fight with my FA77 for example, it can smack me in no uncertain terms with a really hohum image if I am not paying attention.. I like that in a lens I imagine a DA70 would be more forgiving in that instance and hence not as interesting to me. Perhaps its a cycle we go through, at the start you want a zoom maybe, then a longer zoom then something faster, then perhaps something sharper or a macro.
I just counted, 27 lens in all over 3 years. That is not so bad really.

And why choose? because I had a bag full of lenses and it seemed silly that half of them would hardly ever see the light of day. And some of the lads / lassies here can get a bargain if they are paying attention
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Last Edited by robbiec on 29/10/2011 - 00:29

Mannesty

Link Posted 29/10/2011 - 07:38
You certainly have a varied arsenal of glass there. Yhe first thing I noticed is that you have doubled up on some of the K series, the 24, 50, and 55mm. Why keep two of each?

The spare K50/1.2 would realise a reasonable amount of cash.
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sorted78

Link Posted 29/10/2011 - 08:15
Quote:
but I would have 15, 31, 43, 50, 77

It's interesting to read your post, as I've been with Pentax for a similar time and after a couple of years experimenting with various lenses, have ended up with much the same lineup.

I've got the 12-24 instead of the DA15 but am tempted to try the DA15 when funds allow, as I really like the samples from it I've seen.

Personally, I'd keep the 135/2.5 as well, as it is a lovely lens and would give you a bit more reach should you ever need it.

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robbiec

Link Posted 29/10/2011 - 12:29
Mannesty wrote:
You certainly have a varied arsenal of glass there. Yhe first thing I noticed is that you have doubled up on some of the K series, the 24, 50, and 55mm. Why keep two of each?

The spare K50/1.2 would realise a reasonable amount of cash.

Oops my mistake. I have had all those lens at one stage or another. Currently I have a Helios 44M, Takumar SMC 55 f/1.8, K28 f/3.5, K50 f/1.2, FAs 43 & 77 and the DA16-45 with a FA* 28-70 f/2.8 arriving next week.

I doubled up on the Ks 24, 55 & 50 because I sold them and bought again.

The Helios is a bit of a freak, I like the crazy bokeh it produces

The Takumar 55 f/1.8 I picked up with a really low bid on a Sportmatic II, saying that it is a K55 by another name and I think the 55 is a great party / portrait lens. It is so easy to use and wide open it has delicious colours and bokeh and so cheap!!! I regard that lens as Pentax's hidden undervalued gem. A 50 f/1.7 is more highly regarded but the 55 has a wider range of abilities.

For pure handling, nothing touches the Takumars and Ks, wonderfully tactile and so carefully crafted. I despise the FA50 for example, for sure lovely glass and quick AF but so cheaply made and horrible to touch. Besides, once you have tried a 50 f/1.2, the 50 1.4s and 1.7s become a bit so so. Really the f/1.2s (and I missed a A50 f/1.2 in the list , sold that because I had a better K50 at the time) are an example of Pentax allowing its designers free reign to build a lens without regard to price constraints and by that nature a class above - you could say that they were the start of the * and Limited ranges.

The 43 & 77, I fight with them, because each time I have the arrogance to believe I have them figured out, they pull another ability out of their arsenal and stun me into silence. The 43, 50 and 77 torture me and my lack of abilities and make me strive to become better and then they torture me some more... all the while however they give me a hint of what they can do if they did not have an idiot holding them.

The 85s... again beautiful glass with lovely handling and weapon like build quality (I slapped a mugger / assailant once in Cork City with a K20D and 85 f/1.9 and both survived without a scratch) but the 77 had them covered. I preferred the f/1.9 over the f/1.8, the f/1.8 was a bit too cold colours and contrast wise, sharper for sure but maybe a bit too Zeiss like in its rendering. The 85 f/1.9 was warmer, softer and easier to use as a portrait lens.

The 135 f/2.5, big, heavy, but wow it could produce an image out of nothing. I personally struggled to find a use for it enough.
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Last Edited by robbiec on 29/10/2011 - 12:29

sterretje

Link Posted 29/10/2011 - 14:15
If 15, 31, 43, 50, 77 works for you, go for it; you're actually not that crazy.

Personally I would keep the DA55-300 as well, just in case you one day need something longer. Mine has been collecting dust in the cupboard for a long time (basically since I bought it in 200. Reason I'm keeping it is that I live in a wildlife country and know that I one day will find the time to go to the nature reserves again. And my wife has since a few months discovered it and has basically replaced the kit lens with it so she will kill me if I sell it.
Pentax K10D + Vivitar 55/2.8 macro + Super Takumar 55/1.8 + SuperMultiCoated Takumar 85/1.8 + SuperMultiCoated Takumar 135/3.5 + SuperMultiCoated Takumar 200/4 + Super Takumar 300/4
Pentax K100D + DA18-55ALII + DA55-300
Pentax K5 + FA31Ltd + M50/1.7 + DFA100WR + M120/2.8 (+ DA18-55WR at occasion)

robbiec

Link Posted 02/11/2011 - 13:00

FA* 28-70 arrived 15 mins ago. My first zoom in almost 3 years. Immense hood, I love it. It is really wet and windy outside but i'm half tempted to visit a lough nearby and see if I can get a swan shot
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robbiec

Link Posted 02/11/2011 - 13:33
Forgot the LBA shot




Powerzoom function is brilliant, will need to stock up on spare batterys though.
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Last Edited by robbiec on 02/11/2011 - 13:34

rparmar

Link Posted 03/11/2011 - 22:42
We are in sync on this, partially because we both shoot for fun and have an exacting eye. Not being professionals we don't have to compromise!

I have quite a few lenses but which ones are worth using? Here's the first cut.

FA43: Without a doubt the best rendering.

FA77: A better focal length for me, since it works for details and portraits.

K50/1.2: Hmmm... I don't find the extra stop that useful since I am not into fake "art" looks from massive coma. For the same reason I don't want any cheap Russian lenses. But still I keep it since it works so well on my PEN.

Vivitar 24/2: For when I want a straightforward street lens.

DA12-24: The only zoom I need, since only in the wide end is a zoom essential. If I had the DA15 I would miss the extra 3mm ans also the extension to 24mm which is one of my favourite focal lengths.

Vivitar Series 1 105/2.5 macro: One of the best ever made, though there are many other good candidates. Though I have a couple of the world's best 135mm lenses I would keep this one instead since it does 1:1 macro.

DA 55-300: Far better than it has any right to be, but really do I need a long zoom? Once in a blue moon.

Leica Macro-Elmarit-R 60mm: I have no idea why this one Leica is reasonably priced since it gives up nothing on the image front. But it renders in an old-school fashion that doesn't interest me much. Still, having a macro in this focal length kills two birds with one stone.
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rparmar

Link Posted 03/11/2011 - 22:44
Second cut:

FA 43 Limited
FA 77 Limited
DA 12-24
Vivitar Series 1 105mm Macro

I could happily live with those four lenses.
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robbiec

Link Posted 03/11/2011 - 23:26
Got you figured , there is a gap in your 4 lens lineup for a very nice 30 something!

That Leica is anything but reasonably priced! , I know, I had a look when you got it and put samples up on TofN. I kinda like how it renders.

I can half understand the 43 over the 50, saying that the 50 has a fun side and stopped down a little a really serious side where it stomps all over the 1.4s and 1.7s. Besides it is fun focussing @ f/1.2 . They have different roles to play.

77? yep immense, just gorgeous in just about everyway.

Which leads to the 31. If it as good as the 43 & 77 then it has to appear on the LBA list sooner rather than later and I think you've gathered that.

I took a detour and got the FA*28-70 in the meantime, the PZ function is great, f/2.8 is a bit soft @ >50mm but I have one use for this and that is for gig work. I know a few bands in Cork and it is a genre of photography that I enjoy doing for the laugh and if the bands like the shots, I get an extra free buzz, + its hard work!

My other little outlay is the DA15, should be here next week, fun shots in the Hi-B Far less conspicuous than a 12-24 for my intended main use for it, street shooting.
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Frogfish

Link Posted 04/11/2011 - 12:31
You are going to love that 15 Ltd Robbie - my latest addition and a fantastic lens !

I think I have gone the traditional route, starting with zooms, progressing to M42 Taks and so on and then onto some gorgeous primes.

I'm now starting to trim the fat and will in future only add the best .... so hard saving is the order of the day !

Definitely staying will be :

Sigma 10-20 (for work, may change for the 8-16). 15 Ltd. (stuck on camera - impossible to remove), Contax Zeiss 28/2.8 (landscape giant), Signa 30/1.4 (wonderful creative low-light lens), 43 Ltd (incredibly sharp, great rendering), Voigtlander 50/1.8 (something different, gorgeous bokeh), Contax Zeiss 85/1.4 (portrait master), Tamron 90 di (wonderful macro - another one with fantastic bokeh), Sigma 50-150/2.8 (sharp, quiet, very fast HSM - great all-rounder), DA*300 (what a stunning lens), AFA x1.7 (is there a better TC ? I don't think so). Definitely a gap from 15-30 that needs filling and the 31 Ltd is such a different lens to the 30/1.4 that I could see a place for both. Other than that maybe the Voigtlander 90 and 125 and some experimentation with Leicas ? Hopefully Pentax will bring out some more Ltd primes !!
http://frogfish.smugmug.com/ Pentax. Pentax DA*300/4, Cosina 55/1.2, Lens Baby Composer Pro & Edge 80, AFA x1.7, Metz 50 af1.
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Last Edited by Frogfish on 04/11/2011 - 12:33

rparmar

Link Posted 04/11/2011 - 15:36
robbiec wrote:
there is a gap in your 4 lens lineup for a very nice 30 something!

He he. It's not really a "gap" for me. In fact I've never much understood that way of thinking. If gaps are the issue, one should shoot with a zoom. But most people find that with a zoom they shoot at one end or the other. So it goes!

I have no doubt he FA31 is a superlative lens but it gives up too much being not close enough to 28mm and too big (relatively speaking).

robbiec wrote:
That Leica is anything but reasonably priced! , I know, I had a look when you got it and put samples up on TofN. I kinda like how it renders.

Well, it is rather cheap for a Leica. Most have an extra zero on the price! I got a good deal on one already converted for K-mount (though the conversion could be better).

robbiec wrote:
I can half understand the 43 over the 50, saying that the 50 has a fun side and stopped down a little a really serious side where it stomps all over the 1.4s and 1.7s. Besides it is fun focussing @ f/1.2 . They have different roles to play.

For me there is no contest since I must stop down the 50 to f/2 to get an image I like. It has a very workmanlike and excellent IQ after that, but the FA43 is special. And again it's much smaller.

robbiec wrote:
My other little outlay is the DA15, should be here next week, fun shots in the Hi-B Far less conspicuous than a 12-24 for my intended main use for it, street shooting.

Would you not look at the Olympus PEN for that? With the Panasonic 20mm it is very small indeed and doesn't look much like a "real" camera. Of course the angle of view is nowhere near as wide but better for street IMO. I got the two for 400 euro which included some extras, shipping, etc.
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Last Edited by rparmar on 04/11/2011 - 15:37

Pentaxophile

Link Posted 04/11/2011 - 15:53
rparmar wrote:
Would you not look at the Olympus PEN for that? With the Panasonic 20mm it is very small indeed and doesn't look much like a "real" camera. Of course the angle of view is nowhere near as wide but better for street IMO. I got the two for 400 euro which included some extras, shipping, etc.

Arguably if you want to go down that road you could go for a compact which would be even cheaper / more discreet. But the 15mm is handy for those wide angle shots of opportunity when you want to shoot with your DSLR. It's also nice and light for walking etc.
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