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Old Aug 22, 2011, 1:28 AM   #1
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Default Which Pentax Lens should I buy

Hi All,

I have a Pentax K-X camera and I currently have the 2 kit lens (18-55 and 55-300).

I am taking a lot of pictures with my daughter in-door and low light outdoor. So, the kit lens doesn't have the aperture that I need to do Fast action and low light situation.

I am thinking about 50 mm - F/1.4 or the 35mm - F/2.4

I know there is a price different between the two. Since I only have a K-X, I really don't want to spend too much money on it because I am thinking that my next camera will be a Canon or Nikon because it is easier to get accessories (is this a wrong thinking?)

Is there a big different between the 2 lens?

Thanks
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Old Aug 22, 2011, 9:51 AM   #2
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Out of curiosity, what accessories are you looking for that you can't find for the Pentax? So far I haven't found anything that I can't get for a Pentax, and there's been a couple of unique items (i.e., the new GPS device that also does some star tracking).

As far as the lenses go - both are very good. I find the 50 a bit long for indoors, but it really depends on how you view things. The 50 will have a very tiny dof at f1.4, something that can work against you or can work for you, depending. You'd be able to get faster shutter speeds than with the 35 f2.4, but might miss focus more due to the smaller dof. It's very well built and is very much loved by its owners. I have an earlier, manual version of the lens and can attest to its sharpness (like cutting edge) when stopped down smaller than f2. I understand that the FA version has better optics than my M version and is sharper at f1.4 - mine is pretty soft wide open.

The 35 f2.4 is a small, lightweight lens with a plastic mount. It has very pleasing bokeh because of its rounded aperture blades. While I don't have either of these lenses, I had the opportunity to shoot with a friend's 35 f2.4 and was very impressed. If it had been available when I was looking for a prime between 24 and 50, I would most likely have gotten this one (instead, I bought the 35 macro limited and then added the FA 31 f1.8 limited).

My personal feeling about you buying a new lens is that you shouldn't buy a lens for a system you are planning on replacing. If you really want to go to another brand, do it now before you spend any more money - if you buy new lenses you are less likely to recoup your investment money (if buying used then it doesn't matter much). I, personally, love my Pentax equipment and don't find it limiting in the least. I've upgraded my camera a couple of times and now have a camera (K5) that is far better than I am a photographer. My lenses cover everything I can reasonably handle (though I do keep eyeing lenses longer than 300, just have serious doubts about being able to reasonably USE them). But your needs could be significantly different than mine, and every system has its advantages and disadvantages.

Whenever I find myself hitting a brick wall for some reason and start thinking that the grass is greener elsewhere, I just have to look at various pictures on the internet to realize that it isn't. And that there are others getting far better pictures from my camera model than I am - the fault is often (usually) mine. I'd get the same sort of pictures with any camera, given the same faults.
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Old Aug 22, 2011, 12:30 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtngal View Post
Whenever I find myself hitting a brick wall for some reason and start thinking that the grass is greener elsewhere, I just have to look at various pictures on the internet to realize that it isn't. And that there are others getting far better pictures from my camera model than I am - the fault is often (usually) mine. I'd get the same sort of pictures with any camera, given the same faults.
+1 to that, with one exception: tracking/shooting fast moving objects, especially when they move towards you or away from you. I had more success using my (film area) Minolta Dynax 500i in that area than with my Pentax DL2 or Pentax K-r, sadly. Still using non-HSM lenses on the K-r, though.

Now for the "easier to get accessories" argument. That's true for Germany and in the streets, but I can't say for other countries. Choose a random city and a random photo shop. Chances are like 5-10%, that they have SOMETHING with a Pentax label on it, in most cases this will be a K7, K5, K-r kit. No lenses, no rechargeables, no flashes etc. It's really true. However, chances are 100%, that they have Canon and Nikon and like 80%+ for Sony. Talking dSLR stuff only. Everything from bodies to lenses, flashes etc. I can't just go into a shop and try some stuff if I am a Pentax user. End of story. I can't test and choose from 3 lenses and pick the best one. Canon/Nikon/Sony users can do that all the time and everywhere. And since there is so much competition the street prices are quite good and very close to the best/lowest prices on the internet. IF a shop has Pentax equipment available, they try to sell it close to the recommended price. Result: nobody will buy it unless he/she is really desperate. As a Pentax user I can buy stuff in the internet. That's it.

That being said, you can of course get plenty of nice equipment for Pentax and you are K-mount compatible which is a nice feature.

Now to answer your lens question: Both the 50mm and the 35mm lenses are good choices. Why not choose depending on focal length? You got the kit lens. Set it to 50mm and leave it there. Shoot a week with just that setting. Then switch to 35mm. Again - shoot a week with that setting. Maybe this might give a good first indication on what to choose.

I've got a Pentax-A 50/1.7 and a Vivitar "M" 24/2 and often thought about getting an AF capable lens for low light stuff. Still - with all the experience coming from these two lenses I couldn't decide on the 50/1.4, 35/2.8 macro, 35/2.4 or maybe even something shorter... so it's really tough. Good luck!

Kind regards,
Th.
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Old Aug 22, 2011, 9:21 PM   #4
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I have a 50 mm F 1.4. I love it, very clear. On my 35mm film cameras the 50mm was to me, not used a lot, lens because of the focal length.

I find I like the 50mm 35 mm film conversion to about 75mm....it makes a nice portrait lens.

The new 35 mm converts to about 50 mm I believe ...again this focal length I wouldn't find too useful.

I have a very good zoom lens (16-45mm) that can match that focal length if I need it.

In the end regarding 35mm vs 50 mm...50 at F 1.4 is faster...as a result, as the previous poster says...the dof...the bokeh is something to consider.

Best decision...if you can try both lenses....or if you have a zoom that encompasses both 35mm and 50 mm focal lengths, try to determine which focal length is most useful to you for your purposes.

Zoom vs prime gets into another issue...are primes better than zooms ? They used to be regarded as better....but nowadays I don't think that is the case.

I know my Pentax 12-24mm is a wonderful lens and I would be surprised if the 14 or 15 mm prime W/A were better, insofar as clarity, colour rendition, etc.

Anyways...that is another topic for another thread.
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Old Aug 23, 2011, 11:27 PM   #5
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Thanks for the advise. I shouldn't say it is easier to get accessories for Canon or Nikon. I should have said that their accessories are cheaper and that I see on sale items for these brands all the time.

I think I mostly shoot at 55mm and that is because I can zoom in. WIth these prime lens, I will have to walk.

I think my concern is which one give me better result in low light (like wedding or restaurant) and Fast Action (indoor, kids running around).

But if F1.4 is harder to focus, maybe the 2.4 is better since I am already having a hard time catching my daughter in action.

On the other hand, the F1.4 maybe better at low light.

I just don't want to spend the time on 2.4 and then I find out that I should have gotten the 1.4.
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Old Aug 25, 2011, 10:52 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raylee011 View Post
I think my concern is which one give me better result in low light (like wedding or restaurant) and Fast Action (indoor, kids running around).
- the 50/1.4 is faster if you need it
- the 50/1.4 can be stopped down to like f/2, f/2.8 and will give tack sharp images while the 35/2.4 is still "wide open"
- fast action? Most likely you will be a few steps away? --> the 50/1.4 gives some extra range
- weddings? For portraits etc. you need some focal length. 50*1.5=75mm which is somewhat like the starting focal length for portraits (some would argue this is still too short, but each to his own. I like to use my 85/2 and 135/2.5 if I have the room for it, but I am happy to use my 50/1.7 if I don't)

-35/2.4 has probably the nicer bokeh AND it is shorter which means in smaller rooms you get the advantage over the 50/1.4

The choice is yours.

Regards,
Th.
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Old Aug 26, 2011, 4:58 AM   #7
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On the faster lenses, if you plan to use them wide open (f1.4, 1.7, etc.) you will have a very thin depth of field, thus probably a lot of the picture potentially will be out of focus.

Fast action and low light together is very demanding. The Kx is a very capable camera. What ISOs do you usually use. With some of the newer noise reduction software utilities, you can increase the ISO substantially and then remove a lot of the remaining noise in post processing. I would start to increase the ISO and see if you are able to catch the pictures you are expecting, if not increase the ISO some more, until you hit the top or you start get what you are hoping for.

Then download some of the new noise reduction trials - try before you buy and see if you are happy with the results.

Try that and if you still need the lens go the lens path. Primes will be faster than zooms, however as you observed zooms have the versility.

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Old Sep 1, 2011, 4:43 PM   #8
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I have the 35/2.4 and really like the lens. I use it on a K20D and it is very good in low light. I would think with the higher ISO capabilitiesof the newer cameras it would be very fast. I have owned several manual focus 50s and find I just don't use them enough. I sold my Super Tak 50/1.4 after getting the 35/2.4. To be fair I much prefer auto focus over manual, especially in low light.

It's true that there are more places carrying other brands, but besides for true camera stores they are all carrying the same few lenses. Interestingly I was in a small-chain camera store a few months ago that had the K-5, K-r spot (sold out) and a few Pentax lenses including the 18-135WR. That was the first time I've ever seen a Pentax in the store. Smart move on their part, maybe too late since they've closed half of their locations in the last couple of years. Why does any camera store sell the basic Nikons, Canons, and Sonys when every big box store sells them cheaper? I know of another camera store that sells high end Canon and Nikon, along with a multitude of lighting and other gear, and they are thriving. They have started carrying some Tamrons with Pentax mount, hope their is more to come.
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