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Which lens, 50mm 1.4 or 40mm 2.8 ?

Posted 21/01/2009 - 14:47 Link
I have a Km with it's kit lens and a 55-300 telezoom.
I want to get a good quality and neat standard lens and like the small size and closeness to 50 in 35mm of the 40 but the 50 is faster.
I don't really want a non Pentax lens as both of these Pentax ones seem very good.
Later I will be getting a 100mm macro lens.
I am new to DSLR.
Any opinions and guidance on the matter?
Edited by morelia: 21/01/2009 - 14:51
Posted 21/01/2009 - 14:55 Link
I have a Pentax F 50mm f1.7 and never use the thing.
Given the choice I would go for the DA 35mm f2.8 macro.

That way you wouldnt have to wait for a macro lens, although 100mm is certainly better in the long run.
Posted 21/01/2009 - 16:11 Link
There's always the Pentax FA35/f2 - no longer in production but still in stock at a good number of suppliers. A friend of mine has the Samsung-badged version for his GX20 and it's a fantastic lens in terms of IQ, nice and compact and relatively fast.

The Pentax FA50/f1.4 is, of course, faster still - and cheaper! To see if you'd get on with any of these focal lengths then just set them on your 18-55 and spend a day walking round taking photos *without touching the zoom ring*. Repeat on successive days with each length (35/40/50) and see what suits you best. You won't have the speed or the quality that the primes bring but it'll give you a feel for their focal lengths.

You might just find that 40mm is perfect for what you do or that 50mm isn't as constrictive as you feared. If 35mm is the one for you then at least you'll have proved it to yourself with logic - takes a little of the sting out of the wallet...

Personally, I just love the 43mm as my "standard" lens - it's a bit longer than I suspect most people would like but it just feels right to me. And that's the point, all of this is really subjective so only you will know for sure what tickles your fancy.
Joining the Q
Posted 21/01/2009 - 16:25 Link
The 50/1.4 is really rather sublime - if only for the ability to shoot at f/1.4 to f/2.4. It really shines around f/2.2 - and I've found it superb for flower shots. Makes a great portrait lens too.
On digital it's not a "standard" lens, but I've done days out with just the 50/1.4 - as a compositional challenge

The bokeh is just out of this world on the 50/1.4

(For gallery, tips and links)
Posted 21/01/2009 - 17:07 Link
If you want a fast lens that's near 50mm in full frame you'll want the 31mm f1.8. The downside is, it's gonna cost more than all the kit you've already bought.

If like me, you haven't won the lotto lately then you might want to look at the Sigma 30mm f1.4. I'm gonna see if I can find one this weekend to try out. Not as pin sharp as the Pentax 50mm (or sigma 50 for that matter) but a more useful length for me

I think I will add a 50 to my kit, but I'm hoping a few will appear on the used market once the 55 is released.
Edited by RR: 21/01/2009 - 17:08
Posted 21/01/2009 - 20:16 Link
I bought the 35mm f2 as a fast 'standard' lens but I find I don't use it that much. It is a remarkable lens though, the colours is wonderful, it is very sharp - I rarely feel the need to let Silkypix add any sharpening beyond its default - it's fairly compact and I was hoping it would be a walkabout lens. It's also good value and full frame as well.

However, I find at 35mm it's just a bit too long and the 17-50 or 10-20 creeps back onto the body.

If you want some sample images I can oblige - my entry for the fortnightly scales competition was taken on this lens.

I am struggling not buy a 50 f1.4 at the moment as I'm pretty sure I'd not use that either!

I looked at the Sigma 30 but rejected it as not being as good as the Pentax offerings - and how often will you need/use 1.4?

Posted 21/01/2009 - 20:31 Link
I have the 40mm DA Ltd 2.8, a really charming lens that will complement the diminutive KM well. I like the slightly tighter than 'standard' focal length. Why dont you make a point of setting your 18-55 at 40mm for a while and get used to the view - and no cheating mind!

See if you like what you get. The 40mm is much sharper wide open than your zoom and a bit faster. More imortantly it is miniscule. On my DS it does not protrude further than the pentaprism overhang. Camera and body easily fit in a coat pocket. Beatifully made like all the LTD lenses, the barrel, hood and cap are metal and the focussing action is very nice too. It is incredibly discrete.

The 50 is a great lens undoubtedly but really a short telephoto

“We must avoid however, snapping away, shooting quickly and without thought, overloading ourselves with unnecessary images that clutter our memory and diminish the clarity of the whole.” - Henri Cartier-Bresson -
Posted 22/01/2009 - 22:17 Link
Than you everyone for your comments and advice, it is very helpful.
The last post by Ken is the line I will take to start with and I will let you know when I have decided what to get.
The suggested alternatives all have merit but the 40mm pancake has the most attraction for me at present.

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