Zooms or Primes

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rparmar

Link Posted 23/03/2011 - 23:30
giofi wrote:
How about the FA 31 ltd? Quite near to 28mm.

The FA31 is almost 32mm, when measured, and thus acts more like a 35mm. If anything, something wider than 28mm would be the sweet spot, specifically 24-28mm.

(This has been thrashed to death in many threads, including Vivitar 28mm As FA31mm Replacement?)
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Last Edited by rparmar on 23/03/2011 - 23:31

chrism_scotland

Link Posted 26/03/2011 - 17:45
I've picked up the DA 40mm and its just amazing, makes my K20 seem tiny and I love the image quality, its got me thinking that long term I'd like to replace all my kit with primes starting with the 21mm f3.2 and the 15mm also, but how good are these two lenses? There seems to be a big division on opinion when reading through the reviews over at pentax forums.

aliengrove

Link Posted 26/03/2011 - 19:17
I really like the Sigma 24mm f2.8 Super-Wide II, which I picked up for £30, and the Tamron Adapatall 90mm macro f2.5 is excellent, but then again, I've not tried any of the Ltd lenses yet...

Pentaxophile

Link Posted 26/03/2011 - 20:27
The da21mm is a beaut of a lens, but in the end I preferred my sigma 24mm f2.8 - doesn't have the beautiful flare-resistance, contrast and warmth of the 21 but I prefer the non-pancake design and it's actually sharper, and has slightly less barrel distortion.
[link=https://500px.com/will_brealey/[/link]

rparmar

Link Posted 27/03/2011 - 13:33
Consensus is that the DA15 is "excellent" and the DA21 is "good" (I've not used either). I love my manual focus Vivitar 24/2 Close Focus but when it comes to wider than that I reach for the DA12-24. It's the only zoom I care to use, as it is simply impractical to carry primes in all those focal lengths -- there is enormous difference between 12mm, 15mm, 18mm, 24mm, etc. Even if there were primes for each of those focal lengths they would be no faster and have no better image quality than the zoom. (Even at the 24mm end I prefer to shoot the prime at f/4 for IQ reasons.)

The main benefit of something like the DA15 is of course size, with the compromise of not being wider. Then again the same argument is used by those who like the Sigma 10-20mm but I would not be as happy losing 24mm and the edge in IQ the Pentax provides.

I personally do not like Sigma primes as they are big and ugly. Though fast they do not have edge performance until you stop down a lot. That may be OK in a portrait lens but for wide angle I generally want everything sharp corner to corner.

Chris, if size is the thing go for the DA15. I can't see how you would be disappointed. It makes the most sense after the DA40 so you have a wider focal range covered.
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Pentaxophile

Link Posted 27/03/2011 - 14:27
The old sigma 24mm f2.8 is not 'big or ugly' like some of their newer, faster AF primes... it is about the size of the DA35mm Macro. It doesn't suffer any of the IQ issues you mention either.
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rparmar

Link Posted 27/03/2011 - 15:56
Yes, I was referring to the AF primes which always seem gigantic compared to the nice Pentax jewels. For IQ I was referring to the fast Sigma primes, those that go better than f/2.
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ChrisR

Link Posted 27/03/2011 - 16:09
I would prefer to use my primes more, but being disabled, zooms are a life line, as I can no longer run around to the best position, therefore, the zooms do the job for me. So necessity as apposed to convenience.

Zooms as a disability aid. Purchase Vat free, now there’s a great thought, never get away with it though.

Keep smiling .

Chris R
Chris R.

I. El. (Eng). (Rtd).

Dangermouse

Link Posted 27/03/2011 - 16:13
I still think the SMC Pentax 28mm f3.5 or the M version (the former is the better lens, the latter is generally easier to find and cheaper though) are brilliant walkabout lenses if you can't raise the £150 for the DA 35mm f2.4. With a bit of cunning and waiting you can bag one for about £50.

Mine don't see much use on digital now but if I'm out with a film camera I will always have one or the other in a pocket. The M 28/3.5 and 135/3.5 make an excellent ultra-compact outfit and will fit into a waterproof box like this along with an M-series body, 40/2.8 lens, AF160 flash and three or four rolls of film.
Matt

Shooting the Welsh Wilderness with K-m, KX, MX, ME Super and assorted lenses.

chrism_scotland

Link Posted 29/03/2011 - 10:02
How good are the zooms particularly the Pentax 17-70 & 16-50 v the similar primes?
Its just I remember talking about UWA and someone said that the Pentax 12-24 was very similar quality wise to a lot of the primes in that range, I guess its subjective but I just wondered if it was similar for other focal lengths / lenses.

rparmar

Link Posted 29/03/2011 - 11:25
That point can be argued indefinitely. I wonder what it means for one lens to be "as good as" another? People have different levels of quality they are satisfied with. What is good enough for 98% of people or shots or situations will still not work for the other 2%... but you may pay dearly for the extra little bit of quality. And no lens is perfect, so it is always a matter of compromise.

For me, a lens is never complete without a hood, and with a hood the zooms are monsters (even without they are too large for comfort). Why is this an issue? I carry an SLR every single time I go anywhere. And I rarely travel by car so I must haul everything. For those who use lenses only on designated shoots where photography is the reason they are present, this factor of weight and bulk won't matter so much.

The fastest zoom you are going to get is an f/2.8 and often their IQ benefits significantly from being stopped down one. (On the other hand, the f/4 zooms seem to be very good wide open.) But almost every prime I shoot with is f/2 or faster and works just fine at that aperture (except the wider ones). Getting one or two more stops out of a lens is a big deal for many.

The best zooms now have a nice bokeh, but primes still give a lot more control over DOF and OOF areas. That's a reason to have three or more lenses in the same focal length -- for different renderings. You get a lot more personality with primes. So I can afford to take better shots.

Zooms are functional and relatively boring. So they suit situations where you just need to get a job done. My shots would not have the look clients like if I shot zooms. Then again I am not a professional (eg I don't make a living this way).

Finally, there is no doubt that Canikon have much more capable camera systems overall than Pentax. Except when it comes to primes. My love for primes is why I shoot Pentax and vice versa.
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Last Edited by rparmar on 29/03/2011 - 11:28

MrCynical

Link Posted 29/03/2011 - 15:35
rparmar wrote:
The main benefit of something like the DA15 is of course size, with the compromise of not being wider. Then again the same argument is used by those who like the Sigma 10-20mm but I would not be as happy losing 24mm and the edge in IQ the Pentax provides.

There is also a suggestion, apparently based on Photozone reviews, that at the same focal lengths and apertures the Sigma 10-20 actually edges the DA15 for IQ until you get to f8 or so.

johnwhit

Link Posted 29/03/2011 - 16:01
MrCynical wrote:

There is also a suggestion, apparently based on Photozone reviews, that at the same focal lengths and apertures the Sigma 10-20 actually edges the DA15 for IQ until you get to f8 or so.

I use both the DA-15/4 and the Sigma 10-20/4-5.6, there really isn't much in it, if anything I get less distortion with the Sigma but the IQ is roughly the same

John
PPG link

In LBA hiatus.

smudge

Link Posted 30/03/2011 - 12:33
I tend to use primes most of the time. I'm not sure why but my own experience does not always agree with lens reviews.

FWIW here is my snapshot of the characteristics of the lenses I have:

DA 15mm - my newest lens and so far I'm very impressed - great colours, very sharp and of course huge DoF

DA 21mm - a very nice landscape and walk around lens with no outstanding strengths or weaknesses.

FA 31mm - nice natural perspective and very sharp with good strong colours. No focus clutch and prone to purple fringing. I'm supposed to mention glorious bokeh but I can't actually see that it's any better than the FA 50 or DA 100.

FA 50 f1.4 - dreamy look wide open with ice cream colours gives nice portraits.

DA 70mm - sharp and useful for portraits. Rather cool colours.

DA 100 macro - very sharp with good colours. very prone to hunting even at normal distances so I tend to use on manual focus.

DA 16-45 - nice general purpose lens. Fair bit of distortion at 16mm.

DA 18-55 WR - much better than I expected and lightweight.

DA 55-300 - useful range but soft at 300 (though that could be poor technique on my part).
Regards, Philip
Last Edited by smudge on 30/03/2011 - 12:37

Algernon

Link Posted 30/03/2011 - 13:26
Any problems with the DA 55-300mm at 300 are probably due to camera shake
I rarely use it wide open, but at f/8 to f/11 it's sharp

Quite hard to MF compared to the *** 300mm lenses
Half Man... Half Pentax ... Half Cucumber

Pentax K-1 + K-5 and some other stuff

Algi
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