Visit MPB Visit MPB Visit MPB

That good old topic - the 3 lens selection

Posted 31/05/2022 - 13:24 Link
Over the years we've seen many discussions on the "perfect" 3 lens set up - often based around what you would take with you on a walk/trip/event. The conclusion is of course that the set-up depends on may factors, and I suspect if you're anything like me you will almost always find that another lens would have been useful on the particular trip.

My usual trips with the K1 MkII involve walking, scenery, towns, detail, etc. and I always like to get the best quality images I can. Many zooms offer a flexible compromise - with the best quality models also being pretty heavy. The fastest primes will usually bring the highest quality results, but again the weight is a limiting factor.

In my LX and MX days life seemed so much simpler - my ultimate selection then (which I rarely seemed to yearn for anything wider or longer) was my M series 35/2, 50/1.4 and 85/2

In my digital world I can see the appeal of the original trio of the FA Limited 31mm, 43mm & 77mm lenses when going through the selection process (it's not unlike my film set-up used to be!) - and I have been out with the 3 princesses a few times - but they have not really delivered what I'm after fully

I've been out with various zoom combinations too...

The "lightweight" zoom selection of the FA20-35, DFA 28-105 and DFA 70-210 - offering great coverage but not always "wowed" by the lack of fast aperture and not always the best IQ

The "heavyweight" zoom selection of the DFA15-30, DFA 24-70 and DFA*70-200 - even greater coverage, fast(ish) apertures and excellent IQ, but the amount of muscle rub and achy back syndrome afterwards makes it a selection I'm rarely willing to make

But now I think I have found the closest thing to my perfect outfit at last....

An utra-wide that is equally high quality at close and distant shots plus it features beautiful rendering/bokeh.
The pinnacle of fast fifties with it's dual characteristics of incredible sharpness at every aperture plus superb portraiture type bokeh at widest settings.
The Long Macro - covering all close up detail needs with the additional benefit of a moderately long telephoto of the highest quality.

The D FA 21mm f2.4 Limited, the D FA* 50mm f1.4 and the A* 200mm f4 Macro

It may not offer the flexibility of the zooms, and is not the ultimate lightweight outfit (but bearable) but IQ is at the top end and with the ability to crop from the sensor of the K1 I can produce pretty much what I want most of the time

So now the fun bit - if you're not too fed-up of posting your selection (for the umpteenth time) - what is/would be your current 3 lens selection and why :

I'll make a prediction here....

....there will be no 2 selections the same
Posted 31/05/2022 - 13:39 Link
Interesting options John, for me, different tools for different jobs so :-

My 3 are and I keep to these on the K1 are the DFA 24-70 F2.8 and DFA*70-200 F2.8 plus a Sigma 85mm F1.4, gives me all options I need

O the K3iii my DFA 150 - 450 is pretty much welded to it, I could take the release lever off and it wouldn't bother me, used for wildlife and aircraft

In the Z its the FA 45 - 85, the 120mm Macro and the 28 - 45, covers most options when I want the quality plus product photography for work, I do have a 150mm F2.8 but I'm seriously considering selling that

" A Hangover is something that occupies the Head you neglected to use the night before".

K1 - Sigma 85mm F1.4, Pentax DFA 150 -450 F4.5 / 5.6, Pentax DFA* 24 - 70 F2.8

Samyang 14mm F2.8, Pentax DFA* 70-200 F2.8

K3iii + K3ii + K5iis converted to IR, Sigma 17 - 70 F2.8, Pentax 55 - 300 F4.5 / F5.6 PLM
Edited by Chrism8: 31/05/2022 - 13:41
Posted 31/05/2022 - 15:37 Link
Back in the days of film with my trusty MX my 3 lenses were M 28/2.8. M 50/1.7 and M 135/3.5. I travelled around the Far East with all that in a small shoulder bag

Today with my K1 I find it difficult to come up with an obvious trio. Given I am not as young as I was and your brief mentions carrying kit around for the best part of a day I have to say my trio of primes would be:

DFA 21/2.4 LTD
FA 50/1.4
FA 77/1.8 LTD

I tend to differentiate these days between days out with partner/ friends where I will take photographs, and photographic excursions where I prefer to go alone with tripod and more kit.

Lenses like the DFA 15-30. DFA 24-70 and DFA 70-200 will often be part of that kit but not if I have to carry them around for any length of time
Posted 31/05/2022 - 16:05 Link
Easy. The 01, 02 and 06 - for the Q, of course. No muscle rub or achy back syndrome with that lot. In fact, I'll sometimes take both the Q and Q-S1 with the 06 on the Q (slightly longer reach** than on the Q-S1) and 01 on the Q-S1 (slightly wider angle** than on the Q) with the 02 going on either camera as and when the urge takes me. Still no muscle rub or achy back syndrome, even with 2 cameras as well as the 3 lenses .

** Yes, I know it's really just the crop factor, but you can see what I'm getting at!

Posted 31/05/2022 - 18:42 Link
Keeps changing but at present it is a Pentax KP + DA 21 + DA 40 + DA 70 - can't get much more compact for such a high quality DSLR system.

Posted 31/05/2022 - 18:43 Link
Back in the day it was easy. The KM went along with a 28, 55 and 135. Finances dictated the choice.

This is close to my heart at the moment as I'm agonising over what to pack for my next holiday.

The Q-S1 goes out with the 02, 06 and 08. But I can also fit the 01, 03 and viewfinder into the system case so they always go along too. It also fits into the bike's handlebar bag.

Like Lennybloke the K-1 can go out with the FA20-35, DFA28-105 and DFA 70-210. However I too find it lacks wow factor. So if I know I'm not going to be out for hours the DFA15-30, DFA24-70 and DFA70-210 is my choice. If I'm just visiting a specific event or location the DFA*70-200 will go along instead. I find the K-1 plays well with the F28 and FA135 so why I don't think to go with these 2 and the DFA*50 in retro style I don't know. Taking a leaf out of Lennybloke's book I think I must try the DFA21, DFA*50 and FA*200 (not macro).
Edited by Bertie54: 31/05/2022 - 19:02
Posted 31/05/2022 - 21:05 Link
My 'holy' trinity of 3 lenses for the K1 that live in the camera bag full time are the DFA 24-70mm, DA* 60-250mm and the Irix 15mm. For me this gives me the ability to shoot landscapes at a multitude of focal lengths as well as all lenses being all weather so I can shoot in any weather condition.

On the K3II I have the FA 35mm welded on it. I find this is a match made in heaven as a walk about lightweight camera/lens combo as well as being ace for street images
Gareth Williams ARPS

My outfit: K1ii - Pentax D FA 24-70mm f2.8 - Pentax DA* 300mm f4 - Pentax modified DA* 60-250mm f4 - Irix 15mm Firefly - Pentax FA 35mm - FA 50mm f1.4 - Tamron SP 90mm macro - Pentax AF 540 FGZ II

Welsh Photographer
Foundation NFT
Posted 31/05/2022 - 21:10 Link
As Bertie has alluded to "back in the day" finances dictated
My set then was the A50mm 1.7 that came with my program A for the first couple of years followed by secondhand
the A28mm 2.8 and the A70 210mm purchased from the same shop in the space of 2 days
i thought i had everything that i needed i was 22 at this stage
Comment Image

I still have all my old kit and more
I now own a K1ii with with 28 105 and DFA 100 macro but would dearly love the set of primes DFA 21 and DFA 50 and my da*200 will cover the long end as i love that lens
I will get there somehow
Posted 31/05/2022 - 23:07 Link
My selection would change from one quarter to the next, but these past couple of months looking at the images I have taken my trio would have to be the Samyang 135 /f2, Pentax 100 /2.8 WR and Sigma 10-20/ f3.5...all with the K-5IIs which suits me very well.

These lenses cover my interest in landscape/travel....aviation... outdoor and insects.

If its wet the 100 / f2.8WR can stand in to some extent for them all. A very versatile lens...although my favourite lens of the past 12 months is definitely the Samyang 135.
Posted 31/05/2022 - 23:21 Link
LennyBloke wrote:
I'll make a prediction here....

....there will be no 2 selections the same

Correct so far
Posted 01/06/2022 - 00:21 Link
I haven't used my camera seriously for a very long time so I'll share my set up from a previous trip - I used the DA 15, DA 40 XS and FA 77 as the main trio of lenses on a trip to Spain, attached to a Pentax KP. It's slightly cheating but I also had a 18-135 to cover everything else!
All the gear with no idea
Posted 01/06/2022 - 01:43 Link
Haven't got a set of three but smc pentax A 1:2.8/ 50 macro and to back it up smc pentax A zoom 1:4/ 24-50. In both cases their resolving power is phenomenal so you get considerable reach by the simple expedient of a crop and it's one lens on the K1 and one in your pocket ! ........ and your battery lasts longer 'cos there's no motorized focusing.
Both the *istDS and the K5 are incurably addicted to old glass

My page on Photocrowd
Posted 01/06/2022 - 09:10 Link
I'm just pretty boring I guess.... With my K1 I'm using DFA 15-30 DFA 24-70 Tamron 70-200. And that's a ;ot of weight. So usually leave the 700-200 beind. Unless I'm aware of a specific need.
K-1Gripped K-1 ungripped K-5ii K7 Various lenses

Posted 01/06/2022 - 09:30 Link
For me, the D-FA trinity if I carry the K-1, the lenses being used on the P50 as well.
Z-1p, K-1, P50
F50 1.7. SMC-FAs 24, 35, 50 1.4, 85, 135. HD-FA15-30, DFA24-70, D-FA*70-200. The SMC-FA Limited Trinity.
Metz 45 CL-4, AF500FTZ. AF540FGZ.
Some Mamiya and some Nikon
Posted 01/06/2022 - 10:16 Link
The thread doesn't state it's primes only, so my three lens kit for my K-3 would be the DA 16-85mm, the DA 35mm Limited and the DA 70mm Limited. That covers a good range, includes macro and WR and decent enough speed. If it were just primes then I suppose I'd need to swap the 16-85mm for the 15mm Limited. I'd have chosen the 21mm as it's a more useful focal length overall but I've just put mine up for sale so wouldn't really be an option.

For film it'd be the K 28mm f/2, the M 50mm f/1.4 and the M 85mm f/2.
Pentax hybrid user - Digital K3, film 645 and 35mm SLR and Pentax (&other) lenses adapted to Fuji X and Panasonic L digital
Fan of DA limited and old manual lenses

Add Comment

To leave a comment - Log in to Pentax User or create a new account.