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Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Comments

Funny. I just wrote this same post on PentaxForums today. I imagine we're not alone.

It's frustrating that Panasonic got it so right straight out of the gate with the 20mm 1.7 having spent years collecting (but enjoying) Pentax's Limited Lens line with no such equivalent.

I even resorted to finding an FA* 24mm f/2 (35mm-e) on eBay. And while it looks like it was born on my silver K-5, it's quite a intimidating beast next to the OM-D with the Panasonic pancake. It's an FF lens.

Pentax deserves to be the prime king with all the attention they've given to the amazing Limited Lens line (FA and DA both), but right now they're getting beat at their own game.

The Pentax 35mm f/2.4 is only 1/2 stop slower than the f/2 lens you are looking for. Not the same, but close enough in my book with today's super clean high ISO digital cameras. I'd take this with a K-5 over a 35mm f/2 and ISO 100 slide film any day.

I love that old Pentax 50mm. The long end of the DA*16-50 is superior in every technical respect I can be bothered to check, but that 50 pleases me in ways I can't explain.

Here it is doing street photography (at 75mm-e!) http://photography.badlightgoodlight.com/365/e13612d28

Current Pentax user here: an f/2 to f/2.4 28mm-35mm (effective FL in 24x36 terms) would be great.

A weather-sealed or weather resistant version would be spectacular.

I don't *need* small or light with a lens like this. That's what the Limited lenses are for.

I have a weathersealed Pentax body, but the only short prime that's equally weathersealed is the aforementioned 55mm DA*, a bit too long to be an everyday FL.

I agree with you 110%, Mike. I'm perfectly happy with my SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 at the short tele end. I just want what you want: a tiny bit longer and a stop-and-a-half faster than my 21mm f/3.2 DA. When I shot film, I spent most days with just a body and the AF Nikkor 35mm f/2. That is the only thing I miss from my Nikon gear.

(As an aside, I read your disappointment with the K-5 with trepidation, but I'm happy to report that it has turned out to be everything I ever wanted and more. Granted, I was upgrading from an original K100d. But the K-5 not only matches all the 7D/D300 features I was jealous of, it remains the perfect size -- unlike those behemoths).

Mike-You are in good company: Thom Hogan was ranting about this for Nikon DX a while back (July 13). None of the Big 4 offers a lens like that for APS SLR mounts. At least Pentax has the 21/3.2 DA Limited (yikes! is it really $649?) . It seems to me that the mirrorless cameras have a big advantage in fast wide angle lens design options for APS or 4/3.

There are indeed 4 Lenses for You: why didn't you buy the Pentax FA 35mm/f2? or the DA 35/f2.4 or the DA 35 2.8 or the limited FA 31 /1.8

It's also absurd that Nikon (and I guess also Canon) hasn't provided something like that for DX - there should be a 24/2ish DX or something modest like that, or even something wider like a 14/2.8 or 18/2.8 DX. Seems like a no-brainer. Instead we get a zillion DX macros nobody asked for.

Mike,

You might want to stock up on this really nice Pentax 35mm f2 for the day when a Pentax full frame camera is announced - I'm sure there is one in the works.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/180121-USA/Pentax_22190_Wide_Angle_35mm_f_2_0.html

I like my Pentax 50mm f/1.7 SMC-M so much, I'll keep it no matter which camera I end up buying to replace the biggish K-20D.
A 20mm (equivalent to 28 to 35mm, faster than f2) is really missing.

But Mike, this is why all the FF fanatics (I include myself) have such an easy time of it!

"why didn't you buy the Pentax FA 35mm/f2? or the DA 35/f2.4 or the DA 35 2.8 or the limited FA 31 /1.8"

Stefan,
Because those aren't 35mm equivalent lenses. They're 35mm lenses, which are long normals on APS-C. A 35mm equivalent would be a ~24mm, a moderate wide angle on APS-C.

Mike

I have the 50mm f1.4 and I totally agree, it is one of the best lenses I've ever owned, I rarely ever took it off my K10D.

In fact, even after I retired my chunky K10D and moved over to the more svelte m43 platform, one of the first things I did was acquire a K-mount adapter so that I could continue to use this beautiful lens on all my Olympus gear.

I wonder how many other photographers, like me, have just crossed Pentax off the list because of the company's head-scratching lens lineup? (I've been using multiple Pentax film cameras for 35 years, so I have no instinctive beef with the company.) Among camera companies there's "good quirky" (Sony R1, hybrid finder in Fuji x100, most Ricohs) and "bad quirky" (Canon's refusal to put in a dedicated mirror-lockup button, a few Ricohs, companies that deliberately don't produce lenses buyers really want), and I got tired of Pentax's bad quirkiness.

Considering that all major camera-makers know how to make lenses, the holes in their lens lineups are baffling--especially since it routinely means that a photographer will then commit to a different system for years to come. Not that it scares away any customers, for example, but it is astonishing that after making more than 60 million lenses Canon cannot produce a 50mm/1.4 prime that is, well, prime (the 1993 1.4 they still offer is notoriously unreliable; I've burned through three of them, so I know) even though many Canonites would pay $7-800 for a good 50/1.4.

The other side of the coin is that good lenses can also keep a photographer with a system despite shortcomings in cameras, and I have experience with that also. To wit: from where I stand it looks like Nikon is way ahead of Canon in sensor technology, so much so that I would switch from Canon to Nikon in a minute-- except that I haven't seen any tests that show a Nikon lens equalling any of my three most-used Canon lenses: the 24-105, the 70-200IS II, and the 24mm T/S, each of which is stellar even when shot wide open. Of course, the cruel irony is that one can put Nikon lenses on a Canon body but not vice-versa....

(Yes, I know, for cross-brand compatibility I should look at a more open system like m4/3, but they don't have equals for my favorite most-used lenses either.)

I want a fast 24mm DA Limited. I. WANT.

Doesn't have to be a pancake either.

Not sure if I'll still be saying this a year later, though. My tastes are slowly, but perceptibly, converging towards using a single prime in the wide-normal range.

If and when that happens, I know what will await me: that 31mm. (I know, I know- the 35mm Macro is better, but just a tad too long for my taste).

Hi Mike. I agree with your sentiments initially, but I think we both sadly know the answer.
When we consider Pentax somewhat re-released the FA35 f2.0 in the new DA35 f2.4L it is fair to surmise they did the same with the old M50 1.7 F50/FA50 F1.7 design they they had floating around.(its just like getting the old band back together, new yet old at the same time!

I think another fast 50 makes less sense for APSC crop factor of course however now they have a normal (DA35L) and a mild tele portrait lens for an entry price (DA50L) .

Something also tells me that since canon and Nikon both are guilty of both marketing cheap fast 50's to the masses for APSC Pentax in response are probably wise to ride that wave of marketing. I am told this lens design is quite economical to produce?

So Will they resurrect their old FA20 f.2 ? God I hope so but if they did would Pentax users consider the DA21?. Maybe the point is to release a gateway drug in the form of two cheap primes and hope for more "pro sales"?

The pro in this particular design of a new 50 is if it does share its heritage with the older design it promises to be sharper/more contrasty wide open than the FA50 1.4 which will be more useful to beginners in my opinion. It may also be that they round out the aperture blades for a smoother bokeh than past models.

So I agree and I too wish it was a 35 equivalent but I think they need this one as well from a marketing point of view in todays current market.

Ahhh, Mike. I hear you buddy. That's why I have the Pentax FA* 24/2. It's about 35mm-e -- and I'm a happy camper. In fact, I'm really happy with my Pentax setup: 21/3.2, 24/2, 35/2, 50/1.4. That covers 28, 35, 50, 85 mm-e.

I still wish though they reformulated that 24 in a modern DA lens though. It really needs an update...

Pak

Not having the exact focal length I was used to in 35mm has not proved a problem for me. I used a 35mm a lot on my film SLRs. Now I use the 21mm Pentax pancake, and am fine with it.

I think the reason was my move up to 4x5. Not only are some of the focal length equivalents not normally used in the 35mm format (the 210mm for example became one of my most used lenses in 4x5), the proportions of the film were different. I had to get used to these differences, and then I just adapted to and "saw" in the available focal lengths.

When I picked up the 21mm for my K-r, I just went with what I saw in the finder.

I am probably one of those people who would do well with the 50mm in the APS-C world. It would be similar to my 210 for large format!

DA21mm F3.2 Limited. When I first bought it in 2009, I thought that it was a bit slow. But a funny thing happened on the way to 2012 - with the newer bodies (from the K-x onward) I've been shooting ISO1600 and ISO3200 with clean, predictable results. Not only that, but Pentax in-body Shake Reduction let's me nail shots with this lens at 1/4 and 0.3s.

All of a sudden this lens which is plenty sharp from wide open and can create a richly-colored 3D effect is coming into its own and becoming one of my favorites.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnmflores/6239022187/in/set-72157628608033483

It will likely work well with the new K-30, but at the moment it's pretty much welded to my K-01.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnmflores/6986326729/in/set-72157628935499683

The near silent shutter and stealth looks (non photogs have wondered if it's a vintage camera LOL!) combined with the rear LCD makes this a pretty darn good street combo. (Dear Pentax, please give me a K-01 firmware update with 3FPS RAW. K. THX. BYE).

As a former Pentaxian turned Sony shooter in the dSLR era, I must say that relying on the used market for lens acquisition can be a problematic proposition outside the US, Canada and parts of Europe. And if its only competition is the DA*55/1.4, I think the DA50/1.8 has more than justified its existence.

One of the reasons I got a Sony was that Pentax didn't sell dSLRs in my country, and another was that I would've had access not only to Sony's own prime lenses but a variety of Minolta glass from the used market. Yeah, right. In the three months I've been chasing the "nifty fifty", the Minolta 50/1.7 that's supposedly the most common Minolta bargain in the used market, I've only seen two surface: one that was sold the very next morning after publication (next time: bid, *then* have breakfast), and another which is selling for a price that can only be charitably described as "utterly nuts". The famed "Beercan"? oh boy, I could buy a whole new body for the price it's going for and still have enough for the overpriced fifty I've been running away from.

Then again, the Sony 50/1.8 that was meant to replace it has been out of stock on the local Sony dealer for at least as long, so perhaps we international shooters are screwed either way.

I certainly agree as to the quality of the Pentax 50/1.4, and even the often overlooked 50/1.7 which it eclipsed. But they won't do much good if newer photographers can't get a hold of them, don't you think?

To all (JPC?) of you complaining about the lack of a 35mm equivalent with F/2 speed, why not have a look at the Fuji X100 ? They got it right from the start.
Just saying...

Continuing to make/market lenses in the format for old full-frame cameras shows what a bunch of non-photographers are running the current "camera/electronics" businesses.
When, oh when,is someone going to give us a beautiful, sharp little 30mm f:2.0, the equivalent to the standard lens we got for so many years on our 35mm cameras. (The f:1.4/30mm Sigma lens for my Canon t2i is the right focal length, but it weighs a ton, is the size of a Howitzer, and isn;'t all that sharp wide open, anyhow.)

You're seeing the the downside to the Pentax Limited lenses, I think:
They won't make an f/2 or faster normal because they're protecting the (very expensive) 31mm Limited (hence the "slow" 35/2.4). They won't make a fast moderate wide because they're protecting the 21mm Limited. (I'd be concerned that the FA 50/1.4 will get discontinued now to protect the DA* 55/1.4.)
From a lineup perspective the Limiteds have the disadvantageous combination of being expensive and, in the case of the DA Limiteds, not very fast.

Yay, Mike. Frankly, I am getting tired of being told that a 50mm lens is a portrait lens on an APS sized sensor. I could be wrong, but I think Leica is the only company to ever build a 75mm lens and most people thought it was just weird. If they were going to go to the trouble of designing and building a reduced format "portrait lens" it seems to me they could have actually built something with a focal length that would actually translate to portrait length equivalent, such as something in the 58 to 65 mm range and something fast enough to recapture the reduced depth of field of a traditional portrait lens. This seems to me just a thoughtless, cheap lens, more expensive and no better than the probably millions of cheap 50/1.8 lenses in closets across the world.

"None of the Big 4 offers a lens like that for APS SLR mounts. At least Pentax has the 21/3.2 DA Limited (yikes! is it really $649?) ."

While this is true, it is also true that all the 'Big 4' have full frame cameras with native 35/2s.

Only Pentax does not offer anything comparable. The 21/3.4 is also a mediocre lens, as well as being very slow and over-priced.

I've mentioned this point dozens of times on-line, and and also mentioned that it made me switch to Canon 5dII from a film LX and film Leicas.

I really cannot understand what is going on in the heads of Pentax's planners. Bizarre.

An 18mm f/2 for APS-C can be made, and for a MSRP of about $500. Fuji makes one for the X-pro1. (18mm is about a 28mm equivalent on full frame.)

Why haven't Canon, Nikon, Sony, or Pentax done this? All of them are capable of making a 16mm, 18mm, and 24mm f/2 lens for APS-C... but WHY haven't they?

Nikon released the D1 in 1999... we've waited long enough for good APS-C lenses.

I'd still be shooting _________ if only they had made a _________.

So true ...

I don't get this fascination with 50's for APS-C. I truly believe that it's due to an issue Thom Hogan points out, which is that the executives in these Japanese companies responsible for decision making look at data and make the wrong conclusions. They look at the sales figures of 50mm lenses and say "wow, people must love 50mm lenses" instead of "people have been buying 50mm lenses in lieu of the lenses they really want".

So Sony gives us a 50/1.8 for NEX and calls it a "portrait prime". It's supposedly a nice lens. I'll never know. I find a 50 too short or too long for almost everything.

Oh well ...

Andrew--I think you are helping to make my point: if you want compact, fast, and wide, mirrorless is the way to go over APS SLRs (check out the large rear element size and 5.6mm back focus of the Fuji lens, for example--you don't have nearly that much freedom for SLRs). I am hypothesizing that the price for a fast 20-25mm retrofocus lens is high enough that it only makes sense to sell it in a full-frame version.

@ Bill Mitchell
"When, oh when,is someone going to give us a beautiful, sharp little 30mm f:2.0"
Someone does Bill and it's so nice and small that I bought a body just to put it on!
Samsung NX, check it out........

Why hasn't anyone mentioned the Zeiss 24mm's for Sony E & Alpha mount? Both are excellent and useable on APS-C sensors?

From a guy about to switch from Pentax DSLR system to m43 (although thr K-30 does give me second thoughts): anyone with any experience to share from using a Pentax 50 (I have K50/1.4) via adapter (perhaps a tilt-shift one?) on a m43 body? Thanks for comments.

I'm reasonably certain that Canon perceives the market for primes as being essentially similar to the market for full-frame bodies, and as a member of that group it seems to me that they're right. Almost all APS-C lenses in general are zooms, and most of them are reasonably economical zooms.

That doesn't explain Pentax, though.

Sony has the Zeiss 24mm F2 with silent autofocus and close focussing ability and beautiful metal construction.

That lens is reason enough alone to buy a Sony Alpha APS-C body.

You and I certainly are in sync when it comes to Pentax. We love their primes, realise the FA Limiteds are the equal of anything from Zeiss and Leica, and wonder why the heck they don't have a normal for their APS-C system. I have been filling the gap with manual focus Vivitar 24/2 and 28/2 lenses... exactly the two things Pentax refuses to make, despite the fact that the equiv. FOV are the classic 35mm and 43mm (normal).

Instead they just keep producing lenses in the same focal length range. You forgot to mention two of them: we can actually buy great 40mm, 43mm, 50mm, and 55mm primes already, so why we need a fifth lens is beyond me.


And I too have "largely switched to Micro 4/3" because they've trumped Pentax at their own game. The 14 / 20 / 45 prime combination is a delight. (Though I use a manual 40mm instead.)

Winsor wrote: "I could be wrong, but I think Leica is the only company to ever build a 75mm lens and most people thought it was just weird."

Pentax makes the fantastic FA 77mm. Anyone who thinks that is weird just isn't looking at the pictures it takes!

The Pentax DA 21mm f3.2 is actually steeped in tradition, just not it's own. It's the spiritual successor to Pentax's famed FA 31mm thus it's equivalent focal length. Sadly, it doesn't come close to matching the 31mm's max aperture, the aspect most responsible for its fame.

The best solution of all of course, would be for Pentax to join its last two SLR manufacturer brethren (crazy but true) and just make an FF SLR. Only make it the size of a K-5.

I already have the fast and small 24 f/2, 28 f/2.8 and 35 f/2 waiting for it. (and the FA Limiteds after that, then bankruptcy).

The FA*24 f/2 is not a difficult lens to find second hand, nor is it a particularly expensive one as fast primes go. What is the mental block that prevents people buying this lens and yet complaining of no fast 35mm equiv? Well here it is, and what's more you are future proofed should Pentax release a FF DSLR, and you can also use this on old film cameras as it has an aperture ring. What's not to like?

I got mine for ~$500, and I've seen mint ones go for $600. There's always copies on eBay but expect to pay a $200 "must have it now" premium.

Just what the world needs: another 50 mm lens. I find the K-5, and now the K-30, the most attractive DSLRs. However, Pentax doesn't have the right lenses, so I'll stick with my Nikon. Although, Nikon DX doesn't have the right lenses either. All I want are a compact fast wide normal prime, and a dedicated APS-C portrait lens (a legacy 50 mm is usable, but not ideal). Ten years ago (!), smaller, sharper lenses was one of the promises of APS-C. Instead, we've had iterations of kit zooms. So, I'll use my D80 until it dies, and then it will probably be all mirrorless.

After twelve years of crop sensor cameras, maybe it's time to drop the film equivalency hangover and just start talking in focal lengths (24 mm wide normal, 35 mm long normal, 58 mm short telephoto, etc). The number of photographers who have used film is going to be an ever-shrinking minority. Surely people can handle the multiplier math.

Obviously this doesn't really apply to Pentax, but I wonder if the prime shooters of the late film era were (and current full-framers are) all spoiled by the abundance of lenses (and designs) from before zooms took off. Manufacturers know that the ubiquitous 28mm f2.8 has been replaced by a zoom of some sort and while there're plenty of those to go around still, none of the manufacturers are willing to put any--let alone significant--R&D behind that same lens but 0.66 times the length.

(And yes, add me to the chorus; I want either a full frame Pentax body for my 35mm f2, or a 24mm f2 for an APS-C body. But if Pentax waits any longer, or increases the resale value of that 35mm any more, I may just bunk off anyhow.)

Seems as though the lens guys at Pentax haven't gotten the memo: Pentax doesn't build a "full-frame" camera, and quit building 35mm cameras a year or two ago. (Or ten)
They build and market no less than three 50/55mm lenses, plus two 40s and a 43. Several of these include the word "standard", meaning "normal" in their official titles. As many have commented, these are neither fish nor fowl, and definitely not "standard," on a APS-C camera.
A real "normal" lens for APS-C is somewhere around 30-35mm. Pentax sells three of these: the moderately fast (but not especially fast) one is $1000, the other two are f2.8 and f2.4. All three are designated "Wide-Angle", which they are not, on the cameras Pentax actually sells.
They seem to be living in some alternate universe, but they're not alone. None of the other manufacturers get it either.
The classic 35-50-90 set for film cameras would be roughly 23-30-65. No APS-C manufacturer builds that set, after 10 or so years.
Interesting that m4/3, starting with a clean slate, has 28e, 35e, 50e and 85e primes after only 2 or three years on the market. With luck we'll see slightly faster wide angles (f2 would be fine) in a year or two.

Winsor wrote: "I could be wrong, but I think Leica is the only company to ever build a 75mm lens and most people thought it was just weird."

It turns out that one of the nicer Hasselblad lenses works out to be 75mm equivalent when converted to FF. This is if you want to shoot squares with a 2:3 format camera. (I think, it's been a while since I've done the math.)

Slightly more off topic, I think the reason that 55mm primes were more common in the early 35mm-film era wasn't just ease of construction (though that helped), but because when a 2:3 frame is cropped to 4:5, 55mm works out to be an nice equivalent to a large format 4x5 150mm f/5.6 or 8x10 300mm f/8. (Unless I did my math wrong...again?)

Will

I still have my K-5, some decent Pentax zooms and a number of Pentax primes including the DA 15, 21 and 70 Limiteds. I'm glad I got these lenses well before the recent price hike because I wouldn't pay the going rate for them. Having said that, I really don't have a problem most of Pentax's lenses, not even with the "mediocre" DA 21, which I enjoy quite a bit.

I also have the DA 35mm f/2.4. Sure, it's not a Limited, but it is a surprisingly good lens, even if it is a plastic-fantastic for the 21st century. Because I've been so pleased with this lens, I have preordered the new DA 50 f/1.8.

As someone else has mentioned, it's fairly obvious to long-time Pentaxians that the new lens is based on the discontinued FA 50mm f/1.7. Except the new lens has seven curved blades to smooth out the bokeh. It even works on full-frame cameras if one is to believe the B&H listing.

But my last two Pentax lens purchases - the 35 and 50 - may turn out to be my final Pentax lenses purchases. That's because I was actually an early micro four-thirds proponent. I had Panasonic G1 shortly after it came out. I now have a G3 and an Oly E-PM1.

I have a number of great lenses for them, including the killer 14, 20 and 45 combo. But none of my micro four-thirds lenses was more than $500 (all bought new). In fact, all but one were in the $300-350 range. Only my 100-300 tele zoom hit the 500 mark. I have intentionally stayed away from the $800-900 Panny zooms and primes like the PanaLeica 25mm and Oly 12mm - at least as long as I also have my Pentax kit. And that's the question I'm wrestling with now:

Option 1 would mean I would keep running two systems with my Pentax gear remaining fairly static. I would probably only update a camera body every other generation and micro four thirds would remain my "second" system when I need smaller and lighter (or I'm travelling). This would also mean I would stick with the less-expensive glass.

Or I could dump my Pentax gear - I'd probably get a nice chunk of change for the K-5 and a dozen lenses in fine shape - freeing me to go after the best micro four-thirds bodies and most expensive glass, including the new Panasonic 12-35 and 35-100 f/2.8 zooms. It would also simplify my photographic world.

The answer might come down to whether I can use the new Oly E-M5 or Panny G5 or GH3 to track birds in flight or shoot sports. I'm going to need a bit more time for the professional and user reviews on all of these devices.

Dan wrote about his experience with the Pentax 21mm and the K5. I had the 21mm and the K7 for a while, and was quite pleased with the results, although the 21mm is probably the worst performer among these DA Limited primes. Curiously though, when a friend tried the lenses on a K5 they had very variable and disappointing results. Never got to the bottom of it, despite lots of to-ing and fro-ing over at Pentaxforums. I'm a bit suspicious of the K5 - maybe a QC thing, because lots of people are very happy. In the end though, I gravitated back to 35mm full frame for much the same reasons that Dan expounds. Even the modest Canon 35mm F2 on something like a 5D leaves the equivalents that I've tried trailing, and with the availability of bargains like the 50mm f1.4 and the 85mm f1.8, carrying a FF DSLR doesn't feel too onerous.

Pentax seems to be releasing modified old designs in the DAL format. Current two appear to be derived from FA 35/2 AL and M/A/F/FA 50/1.7.

If so, what may come next? My guess is DAL incarnation of FA 28/2.8 AL (less likely M/A 24/2.8). True, no f/2.0 in sight, but any of these focal lengths would fill the gap between 21mm and 35mm.

The problem with the Pentax system is that, while they have some lovely prime lenses, they are all of long focal lengths on the cropped sensor. Wider than 50 mm equivalent there are no great options. The 31, 35DA, 43 and 77 are exquisite, but for those of us who shoot in the 25 - 35 mm equivalent range, there is nothing special at all out there - even more so now that Zeiss has dropped the K mount.

I really don't like your "mm-e" notation, and wish you would recant it.

Here's a hint: "mm" in the SI system of measurement is not in fact an abbreviation for "millimetres".

I'm cool, in a way a lot of people aren't, with the phrase "35mm equivalent" or just, in context, "equivalent", when we're talking about APS-C and APS-H focal lengths. That's because it's well-defined and useful. (I couldn't say, off-hand, whether for micro 4/3 it's well-defined, but I don't consider it useful because the actual conversion factor is going to depend on which side of which format is being cropped when they are compared.)

Apparently some of your readers never even noticed the "-e" on the end. Neither did I at first, and I had to reread the blog entry.

So please wear that little bit more off your keycaps and write out "75mm equivalent"!

I have a bunch of a Pentax 50s: f1.7 M and A, a K 1.4, and K f1.2 (which...drumroll...cost me $25AU). Stellar lenses.

But we definitely need a 35mm f1.4-1.7, and a fast 24 too. Or even a 28mm f2, for the budget-minded.

And that's why I left Pentax for Sony. At a minimum I want a 28/35, a 50 and a 75-90. With my NEX I've got the ZA E 24/1.8, the DT 35/1.8 and either the DT 50/1.8 or the E 50/1.8 OSS, with the DT lenses using the LA-EA1 adapter since I don't use AF. The DT lenses are only marginally larger than the native lenses, a legacy of Sony's choice to go with larger, but better handling lenses aside from the 16 Pancake. I'll probably add the new Sigma 19 to get my 28mm fix.

If I was shooting their SLT's as a primary systems (I've an A33 asd a backup), I'd have essentially the same lineup, just with the normal ZA 24/2 instead of the E, I used to use the Minolta 24/2.8 in that role on the A33 but I would have liked another stop.

Pentax has a nice lineup of super-compact primes with reasonable performance (none of the DA limiteds are optically exceptional, all are outperformed by comparable larger lenses from Pentax), but nothing for those of us who want a reasonable sized body combined with a bit of speed from our lenses. The DA 35/2.4 was the last straw for me with Pentax, it was both a stop slower and had an MSRP higher than the Sony DT 35/1.8 which was introduced at the same time, or the Nikkor 35/1.8 AF-S which had been on the market for a year or so.

I don't think it's fair to compare the price of the newly released 50mm f/1.8 with the old f/1.4. I'd bet that in a few months the price difference will be much larger than it is now and will make much more sense. Just like the difference between the two 35mm f/2.4 and f/2.

That said I'm lucky to have bought the f/1.4 a few years ago for less than 250$. It's a wonderful lens.

Partial dissenting opinion from the other comments here.

First, I wouldn't buy into an APS-C system without a good 24mm option. If Pentax doesn't have one, then shame on Pentax.

BUT 50mm lenses work great as short portrait lenses in APS-C. They're the perfect length for indoor work, and focus much closer than the 85mm I used to use.


I have a Nikon D5100 (recently upgraded from a D40) and I regularly use it with a pre AI 24mm F2.8. This is a lovely lens and 2nd hand examples can be picked up for around £100 if you're not fussy about a few scratches.
You have to use the camera in manual mode but with the function button set to vary the ISO
you have access to everything without using the menus. It's great fun

Gavin

I'm in no position to swap systems; I don't have the money. Still, for Pentax a 55 or 58mm f/2 would be more saleable and useful than yet another 50mm lens, for those who can't stretch to the existing 55mm.

I have the 16-50mm f/2.8 Pentax lens. Why should I buy a 50mm f/2? If it was a bit longer as well it would be worth considering, but I can get along without the extra stop.

There are a lot of people out there using the old Russian Helios 58mm f/2; the market is there.

I use my old Tamron 24mm f/2.5. Designed in 1979, it is about the same sharpness as the 16-50mm on the quick brick wall test. Just half a stop smaller than f/2, light and compact. Some slight probs with exposure due to the old type KA mount, but I use manual exposure and digital preview a lot anyway.

It can't be that hard to make a 24mm f/2. Pentax, get yer fingers out!

My Pentax 50 is a Sigma f/2.8 macro. I tried several 35-50mm lenses and was never quite satisfied, but the Sigma does the trick with point-blank closeups available too. It's even full frame friendly like my 15 fisheye.. for what that may inevitably be worth. The FF dream lives on with Pentax fans; maybe this is their year?

I may be one of the few here but I do not consider da 21 mediocre or inferior. This lens is slower but it is a moot point with k5's iso performance. It is plenty sharp from wide open, focuses fairly slow and has nice contrast.If you feel it mediocre, try adjusting your AF.it did wonders for mine I am now travelling and da 21 spends 90% of my shooting time mounted. The second one being da 70. Da 21 gave me some of the best pictures I have ever made. I for one do not feel the need for 24. i understand other people may need different lenses and I congratulate them on finding them elsewhere. It is about the the pictures afterall. I just wanted to add at least one voice for the dissed da 21

yes I'd love a 24mm equivalent, it would rarely leave the camera, especially now my 21mm ltd appears to be falling apart.

I feel your pain, one of my future 'gotta have' lenses was a 50-135/2.8 (70-210'e') Tokina for my Nikon, which they have since DROPPED, that the Pentax version was still available makes me want a Pentax body--almost. Pentax makes a lot of neat primes but not the ones I want. My favorite two 'walk about' Nikon lenses are a new 35/1.8 DX and an old 28mm/2.8 AF, I thought (and hoped) the new 35/1.8 DX would open the floodgates and we'd get 28/1.8, 24/1.8 (35mm'e') and a 20/1.8--all DX format (Sigma does FX format lenses in those focal lengths). The neat thing about DX/APS-C and 4/3's is that neat, little, fast lenses are realatively cheap and easy to make. But I may be a member of a small elite group that like small, light lenses rather than big, heavy, clunky do-it-all (badly) zooms. OK Tokina how about a 25/2.0 Pancake with metering and MF?

I've switched to m43 just a few days ago for the same reasons: exactly the lens lineup I need, big/heavy/old dSLR being a hassle to carry around, Nikon not providing a moderate prime other than the old 24/2.8 AF-D. Nikon not providing any decent wide prime 17-18mm for DX dSLRs. At least Pentax provides the 21mm. I am not willing to pay for and lug around a big/heavy 18 or 20mm lens designed for film cameras, performing suboptimally on digital. I am not going to use a zoom on the dSLR because it's too big/long/heavy. I do not care how many more nonsense zooms Nikon puts on the market. I am not going to move to full frame either, since a 2.5 year old camera that I bought for pennies today offers better IQ than my old Nikon dSLR at half the weight and comparable AF speed.

On m42 I just need two lenses: the 14mm and the 20mm. I can even narrow it down to one and be happy with the 20mm alone.

Forgot to mention: the lenses I use most on my K5 are the 24,28,35, 50 and 100mm manual focus "A" types. These are the last of the manual focus Pentax lenses, with the "A" on the aperture ring.

They work fine on digital Pentaxes. They meter and expose correctly, and the diaphragms work as they should, which is NOT the case with the older manual focus Takumars, despite the "every Pentax lens ever made" advertising hype.

They all came from eBay, and were all (I think) between $50 and $150. You need to be patient though; they're often listed as "RARE!", with a $350 price.

Yeah, that is why I have to lug around Sigma 24mm f/1.8 - 21ltd is too slow.
Let's see what they will produce as a mirrorless-only wide lens:
http://www.pentax.jp/japan/news/announce/info-image/20120208_6.jpg
Doesn't look too fast either...

It seems from the recent lens "roadmap" that
Pentax plans to address the wide angle gap with the "zoom limited" - cover all the prime
focal lengths (primarily 24mm and 28mm) people are clamoring for with one lens.

On another note, 35mm and 50mm are very convenient on aps-c for shooting group and environmental portraits - just the type of picture that many up-graders from p&s will want to shoot. Cheapish fastish lenses in this
category make sense for the `new-to-dslr' segment of the market.

In other words, it's not personal - it's business.

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