...And speaking of the Department of Redundancy Reduction of Redundancy, as we were in the previous post, Pentax has announced a new prime lens. Full moniker: the SMC Pentax DA L 35mm ƒ/2.4 AL. A brand new...er...35mm ƒ/2.4.
Oh, right, right...
I think this is partially a cultural thing. I don't know any Japanese people, so I'm just going on a mix of hearsay and received wisdom and possibly bigotry, but it's a commonplace that Americans are known to value individuality, innovation, and going your own way ("Think Different," advised the Apple computer ads, proudly if ungrammatically), whereas the Japanese place a higher cultural value on co-operation, conformity, and imitation as a virtue. I don't know that firsthand, or for a fact.
I do know that, as an American, tracking Japanese product introductions can sometimes drive me insane. So there's that data point.
As everyone knows, I'm all in favor of primes. And I love Pentax—they're our major sponsor right now, God bless 'em—but this is not the new prime lens we needed from Pentax at this point. Because of course it almost exactly duplicates the already-existing DA Macro lens. Which is one of the best lenses currently made for digital cameras, period. But why would you want to use a superlative lens that is one of the best reasons to shoot Pentax at all, when you could have a cheaper, crappier version?
I shouldn't say the new lens is crappier. That's irresponsible, and provocative. Pentax won't like it. It's cheaper. It's not the DA Macro, which is enough to indict it in my eyes, but then, I'm prejudiced: I've used the DA Macro.
Pentax-wielding friends, Romans, countrymen: The DA Macro is expensive. But it's not that expensive. Assuming you want a prime 35mm, here's my advice: SAVE UP. Put aside fifty bucks today and do the same thing two weeks from now. Add a twenty or a C-note when you can. Sooner or later, you will have saved up the difference between what the cheap new lens will cost and the DA Macro.
You will not be sorry. A camera body is just a camera body, but a great lens is a thing of beauty and a joy forever.
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Original contents copyright 2010 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Alex H.: "While on the topic of 'normal'/standard lenses: Let's pray that someone bright at Nikon, Sony, Pentax will finally think it a good idea to have a reasonably fast, not incredibly expensive 24mm DX/APS-C lens (35mm-e). Now that would be something new...."
Mike replies: From your lips to the ears of the directors of product development, Alex. (Although there we go again, just thinking in terms of what photographers need and not in terms of what will sell well.)
Featured Comment by Ctein: "Normally I'm in your camp on the dearth of decent primes, but this time I think you're barking up the wrong tree. That wonderful Pentax 35 macro's a $550 lens! I'll eat the web page if the new 35mm's street price is over $200. That is not a trivial difference in price; it's an entirely different class of buyer. Complaining that this is redundant feel to me a lot like complaining that it's redundant when camera makers produce two superficially similar DSLRs that sell, respectively, for around $800 and $2,000."
Mike replies: Okay, okay. My judgement is probably clouded by the fact that it's not "a reasonably fast, not incredibly expensive 24mm DX/APS-C lens (35mm-e)."
Featured Comment by 645D Next?: "Here's the 35mm ƒ/2.4 color choices link."