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Old Aug 14, 2012, 10:52 AM   #1
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Default lens suggestions 20-40 range

Hello again.
I wanted to start off with:

I've been lurking for the past year on forums but have posted only a few times. I am starting to get back in the swing of things after tackling a new job/engagement/ and moving cross country. I look forward to spending more time sharing photos/reviews with you all.

Not to babble, but I did want to give a bit of background info to help you posters narrow down some suggestions.

I am a prime shooter at heart, owning about over 20 zooms in my day but only keeping one to date. Where I used to live in the mountains, I found myself shooting a little longer, having to crop closer and frame distant landscapes, or shooting over various obstacles. Here in the gulf coast, I am definitely finding a hole (or two) in my kit.

I have 50-300 covered in very nice primes but have a few issues. My 50mm is an old zeiss built for full frame shooting so is a bit more narrow. with crop sensor. Wider than that, I have a zeiss 28mm that worked welll but recently noticed some hardened oil or dirt flake inside of it that never used to be there. I can shake it to the side off the glass but if I am walking around it can easily move back. :-/ I'm not comfortable with opening it up and cleaning it out and while I love this lens, took interest in trying out a Pentax LTD lens from all the rave reviews. (I like trying new things and welcome any excuse to buy/try a new lens )

My wide end is a Sigma Ex 24-60 2.8 which is a very sharp zoom lens. I use this as a walk around lens but when doing landscapes, prefer to shoot with a prime. The few times I shoot with the sigma for landscapes, I find myself pushing it to 24-35 range, never the latter. This leads me suggest I need to keep something in that range. I don't need to go too wide as I stitch a lot.

So the basics of what I am looking for a spectacular prime lens staple to cover the wide end of my kit. Since my 50 is cropped more liek a 75, I was leaning towards the 20-40 range, (might just need two lenses!)

Beautiful coloration
Perfect balance of Sharpness and softness


What I am considering:

pentax 21mm ltd
Pentax 35mm ltd
pentax 40mm ltd
pentax 31mm ltd

I could never justify owning a 31,35, and 40 since I can easily step back or forward, so I am hoping to hear your honest opinion of your suggestion for my applications, primarily a landscape/architecture lens/maybe street photo.

Im considering the 21 and 40 just because they're different enough to justify owning both but I would really like to hear your opinion. If there's really one lens here that outshines them all in terms of bokeh, coloration, or stellar performance, I am interested to hear.

So far from my reviews I've read and research, they all sound like wonderful buys, hopefully you can help steer me towards some decision.

Thanks for reading/taking interest and sorry for the long post.


'If I Had More Time, I Would Have Written You a Shorter Letter'
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Old Aug 14, 2012, 5:05 PM   #2
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First - congratulations on the new job/engagement and the new location - hope you're not missing the mountains too much!

Second - Good to hear from you again - had wondered where you were...

Third - I am NOT an expert on lenses by any means, but have gone through a similar dilemma. Used to use the DA 16-45 for most landscapes. Color was great, but, on my copy, sharpness not so great. Got an A 35-105 for intimate landscapes, and still use it quite a bit. It's been called the "stack of primes" for its sharpness and excellent color. But it's not wide enough for broader landscapes.

Got a Vivitar 28mm, which is very sharp and just about the right length for landscapes, but has a rather cool tone.

Got an M 24-35, very nice colors, good sharpness, perfect length, but a fair amount of CA.

And recently was able to purchase some (very used but still in good shape) limited lenses for landscapes - the DA 21 and the DA 35 macro. Wonderful color and sharpness in both of these.

Will post a few samples if that might help...
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Old Aug 14, 2012, 5:06 PM   #3
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Here's one taken with the Vivitar 28mm. It took a fair amount of PP to get the colors right...
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Old Aug 14, 2012, 5:07 PM   #4
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Here's a shot taken with the M24-35. It took a fair amount of PP to correct the CA...
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Old Aug 14, 2012, 5:08 PM   #5
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Here are two shots from the DA 35 macro - almost no PP except for resizing...
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Old Aug 14, 2012, 5:09 PM   #6
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And one with the DA 21 ltd, again very minimal PP...
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Old Aug 14, 2012, 8:14 PM   #7
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Excellent photos mole.

Im now wondering 35mm DA or FA.

Curious to see if pentax has a ff around the corner..
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Old Aug 23, 2012, 10:01 PM   #8
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I have both the DA 35 macro and the FA 31 ltd. I bought the macro lens because I got it for a reasonable price and hoped it would take away my yearning for the FA 31. It's been a very useful lens but it didn't take away the yearning, and I eventually bought the 31 about a year later. My original idea had been to sell the macro lens, but it's useful for a number of things and so I keep both.

They have completely different characters. The reason why the 35 didn't stop my yearning was that what I really wanted was the creamy bokeh of the 31 - the 35 can be quite harsh, like many macro lenses. It's incredibly sharp though and makes an excellent close-up lens (you have to get really close, too close for many 1:1 macro subjects though). The color of the 31 is also a step above the 35, as is the contrast. You don't always see it, but it can take your breath away occasionally. It takes many more ordinary pictures than those special ones, but it is capable of it. The 35, as useful and workmanlike as it is, has never given me that little bit extra, the pixie dust that I once in a while see with the 31. Wish I could figure out the conditions that create that effect, I'd try to use it all the time.
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Old Aug 24, 2012, 7:10 PM   #9
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Well I got the FA 35 F2 due to the FF capabilities (all my lenses are FF, so I thought I would keep the trend- just incase)

I really wanted the FA 31 but I kept researching pics taken by both the 35 and 31 and really couldn't tell one was better over the other. Maybe the 31 produces consistently better photos (?) I do like the feel of the build quality of the 31 but I found a copy of the 35 for 1/3rd the price. The good thing is I budgeted for the 31 so now can maybe get a second lens


I can't remember how to post photos in here without robbing the quality due to size limitations so I will go ahead and link the zenfolio portfolio I did with a few test shots of the lens inside with very poor lighting conditions...

So far - Im very impressed


Hello,

You are invited to view photographs from my "pentax fa 35 f2" gallery.

Enjoy,
Nicholas Mathews
http://nicholasmathews.zenfolio.com/p1053837563


Edit: I thought these candle sticks would make a nice and difficult test due to obvious reasons.. These are going to be used on the tables at my wedding reception.
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Old Aug 26, 2012, 12:51 AM   #10
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Looks very good, you should be really happy with the lens.
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