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Wednesday, 10 November 2010


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What, no Nikon?

Oh yeah. Mike definitely needed a DSLR. And he chose wisely.

(Shame about that Minolta 35mm you'd violently forced yourself to buy such a short while ago. Ah well.)

Congratulations on the camera.

There may be another explanation for the reduced Amazon income. I routinely put things on my wishlist and then buy them later. I was unaware that you don't get a commission when people do that. I will change! Hopefully, other people will do the same.

Congratulations Mike. Nothing like the excitement of waiting for a new camera to arrive. ;)

The K-5 sure looks like a great camera. If I was shopping for a APS dSLR now I think I would make the same choice as you did. Besides I've always been tempted by those exotic pentax primes.

Regarding the lens, you may have a third option (and kind of in-between the other two): the Sigma 30mm f/1.4. I think it is smaller than the 24mm and cheaper than the pentax 31mm. It may had been pure luck but I've already had two versions of this lens, one for Olympus and other for Canon, and didn't had any AF problems.

Having a Pentax without using one of those fantastic primes it's a shame though ;)


Finally!!!! Enjoy my friend, enjoy. Anybody want to buy a used D700? Just kidding.

Have a blast.


Congratulations, Mike!

Mike Re the lens, would the Pentax 21mm lens not be OK? http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/441869-REG/Pentax_21590_Wide_Angle_SMCP_DA_21mm.html I know @33mm eq angle of view is not exactly what you wanted but its small and very close

Why not buy a used Pentax 24/2?


I'll be joining you soon, Mike. But I have a similar lens quandary. In my case, I like 50mm EFL and there's no fast, affordable option there either. Pentax has the 35/2.8 (too slow) and the new 35/2.4 (still too slow). There's the Sigma 30/1.4, which was just mentioned, but what I don't like about that lens is it's rather large minimum focus distance.

Of course, with that sensor the need for fast glass becomes much more about DOF and creative possibilities than about light. But I'm one of those creative types that appreciates the razor thin DOF of f1.4.

I'm trying to decide between a K-5, a used 5D Mk II or a Sony a850. Tough choice!

One other feature I couldn't live without (& missing from the Canon): AF micro-adjust.

I bought that 24mm Sigma lens to improve the indoor (low light) performance of my Nikon D80 to replace the 18-135mm lens the camera came with. I haven't used it very much (make me an offer) because it is too large/heavy. I wish it were the size if the 35mm f/2 Nikon lens on my film camera, but it seems twice as big. I ended up buying a Canon S90 for indoor pictures. I like the size of the Canon but find it much less convenient (except size) than the D80.

Funny I am working through the same decision of k-5 verses E-5. Leaning to the Pentax. Just not there yet. Let us know what you think when you get yours.

If you're not averse to manual focusing (you may well be of course; autofocus is very convenient), there's some really good 24mm and 28mm manual lenses for the K mount. The K28/3.5 is a favourite of mine, though admittedly that one really benefits from a split-prism focusing screen.

Welcome to the club. Does the 35 mm equivalent have to be autofocus? I'm quite happy with my SMC-A 2.8/24 mm. - Wonderfully compact and optically fine as well.


Sweeticles, Mike! I'm sure you'll enjoy it! BTW here is a link that gives a bit of hope fora Pentax 35mm equiv.
Also, I do think the sales through your site will go up. It seems more of us are aware now in what we need to do for you to get credit.

Great, now get out there and shoot!

BTW, it's not the 35mm you're looking for (in FOV), but as a "normal macro" you really can't beat this Pentax prime: http://photo.net/columns/mjohnston/pentax-35mm-lens/optical-discussion/

(But really, what can an "internet review" tell you about a lens?)

Yes, Absolutely Mike NEEDS a DSLR. It is a moral imperative. ;-)

I'm perplexed, Mike. What about the DA 21/3.2 ?

That's a 32mm equivalent. Maybe a tiny bit wide, but certainly in the ballpark. And it has perhaps the nicest lens hood I've ever seen.

Ah Mike, for only $400,- more you could have owned the beautiful full-frame A850 on which you can fit your Minolta 35mm F2 ;)



And one more reason that would have counted for me - DNG RAW format, which means that whatever version of Photoshop you're using now will read RAW files just as soon as you take the camera out of the box.

Bought an A900, a flash, and a 24-70/2.8 through TOP a few months ago from the B&H link. I am looking to buy the 135/1.8 as well, when business picks up. I will buy through TOP again.

I bought a few books from Amazon a few months ago but didn't buy from TOP. I still feel guilty about not having done the right thing.

Please forgive me.

How about the Pentax 21mm f3.2? It's tiny, it's plenty sharp, and it's roughly 32mm equivalent. Not very fast, but if you really have ISO 20,000 on tap, who cares?

I have cataracts in my right eye (so far just the right), so until I can afford the operation (no health insurance being the biggest downside of blogging for a living), I need AF.

I actually have a K28/3.5, but can't begin to focus it on a modern bright screen.


What a great choice! The more I look across the DSLR landscape the more the Pentax truly appeals. I hope it serves you well, and we are all looking forward to your long-term observations with use. I am curious as to what lens(es) you will select, as their line-up is quite the envy of some of us... :)

Wait a while (about a year maybe?) and I'll sell you my FA*24/f2.

"BTW, it's not the 35mm you're looking for (in FOV), but as a "normal macro" you really can't beat this Pentax prime: http://photo.net/columns/mjohnston/pentax-35mm-lens/optical-discussion/ (But really, what can an "internet review" tell you about a lens?)"

You're telling me?


"Yes, Absolutely Mike NEEDS a DSLR. It is a moral imperative. ;-)"

See, I thought so. This makes me feel a little better.



Seriously, thanks for helping out so much.


The K-5 seems superb, but all the DA* lenses, except for a 55mm f/1.4 and single, big, heavy zoom, are telephoto.I If only Pentax had compact, high quality, weatherproof primes...

I'm with you Mike. Wanted to buy a K7 but all the noise about the sensor put me off it. I'm about to order a 60D and some bits and pieces (through TOP OF COURSE!), but for the investment in Canon glass it would have been a K5. As for the lens - talk to Gordon Lewis about the old Pentax 24mm. They can be had for very little especially if you don't need AF or fast AF. Whatever you get HAVE TONS OF FUN!!


John W

What about the Zeiss ZK 25/2.8?

I'm really happy for you Mike! This is the camera that I would buy for myself were it not for my budget. Please post some pictures from it from time to time, and please talk about how it feels to use from time to time. Anyone can do "gear reviews", but there's only one set of insights Mike Johnston can give us about what it's like for you to use it.

Seriously, maybe you could post a picture every week or two?


I have several Sigma lenses (28mm, 50mm, 70mm) and really like them. The 28mm is rather large though. For that reason, I find I don't use it much.

As Pentax user I find I mostly use the DA 15-70mm. All of them are really top notch.

I concur on the DA 21mmm although I use the DA 35mm the most.

Mike, I have the 21mm f/3.2 pancake, and I love it. Furthermore, someone stole my Pentax body, so I have no use for this lens any more.

Make me an offer if you like ...

I also have the 40mm pancake, if you're interested.

Way to go on the Pentax K5, no photographer should be without a SLR. When I get my K5 (after a major price drop), I will order through TOP if possible (got my DA 35mm f2.8 Macro through TOP on your recommendation).

Post a review of the K5 when you get a chance - I am dying for a serious photographer centric review.


Sounds like a good bet. I especially like the sound of that quiet shutter. I went for the E5 myself a couple weeks ago, having several of their lenses, and love it so far, but I know it's nowhere in the ballpark of the K5 for noise and DR.

Get the Pentax 31mm LTD (+ the 77mm would make a good combo) - I had the 43mm and loved it. I also had an old K 30mm f2.8 on my K10D that was spectacular - the best lenses I've ever sold :(

I'd also get an ME-super (if you get the 31+77 LTD) or similar so your new darkroom can get a workout.

Congrats on the new camera Mike. It looks like a winner.

Well, Mr. Johnston -

I'll be helping you out in the next month or so, I know sometime before the end of the year, and will be ordering my last lens (the Nikon Telephoto AF DC Nikkor 135mm f/2.0D... that is if it hasn't been discontinued from Nikon, B&H has had it out of stock for some time stating it has been backordered from the manufacturer), as well as the SB-900 flash, and maybe, just maybe, a couple SB-600s, from B&H via your website, to use with my D700 that I ordered earlier this year via your website.

So, a few dollars to be gladly sent your way :-)

Many contratulations Mike, good choice.

This is not in anyway a dampener but I was sufficiently frustrated with the K7's low ISO performance (I have started shooting a lot of live music gigs) that I traded a virtually pornographic collection of FA* and LTD primes for a Nikon D700 and a handful of pro zooms.

I am not sorry - the D700 has performed even better than I expected, and there are many upsides to owning a mainstream camera -but it's fair to say that the one thing I miss is the handling of the K7 body which is just a dream: From the body quality to the grip position to the control layout and easy access functions.

Now Pentax have graced the perfect body with the best APSC sensor available and upgraded the AF, the result is a truly desirable camera.

I am sure Pentax will add a professional grade fast 24mm to the lineup soon, but in the meantime just go and buy the 21 pancake. The 40 and 70 pancakes are excellent too. For really discreet street shooting, a K5 and a pancake is unbeatable and I suspect that even after you have your fast 24 you will still find reasons to attach the 21, put the camera in a baggy coat pocket and head out on the street.

Anyway, whatever lens you choose, I think you made a very fine choice of body.


Mike - I use a Vivitar 28mm f2 Close Focus. It's fully manual on my K20D (waiting for a small bit of additional cash for the K-5 and it's killing me). Use Catch-In-Focus, and you don't even have to look through the viewfinder. I often set my distance, put my finger on the shutter release, move it into position with center focus detection, and bingo! When in focus, the shutter fires. After a short bit, you get the feel for the framing in your hand, without using your eye to focus. Give it a go.


After market split prism focusing screens. One would expect one for K-5 to come forth soon.

When put film through an old body with a split prism every now and then, I marvel at how easy it is to focus very precisely, say on an eye pupil.

since you're already planning to get the fuji x100, which has a 35mm-e lens, i would choose a lens that complements it, gives me something a little different. just my 2 cents.

I totally understand about the 35. I think in retrospect the main reason I sprang for a D700 was to be able to use the Nikon 35/2 as a 35/2 again. It doesn't even have a reputation as a super lens. But dammit it's just the right way to look through a camera.

You can even almost convince yourself that that D700 is not ludicrously huge with that little 35 attached to it. My favorite travel combo... unless I'm using the normal zoom.

Exactly the camera I would have put in your Christmas stocking. But having just had the transmission go on one of our cars, I'll have to settle for sending you a small contribution. Photography would be cheap if it were the only thing we had to worry about.

Here's to making some great pictures this year.

Mike - Pentax has focus confirmation with all the old manual lenses. Not quite autofocus, but if you just want to be able to tell when you've focused on what you want...

Just received mine today with kit lens and the DA 35 macro. So far I'm very impressed. Solid little bugger. Just feels right. Quiet too. The lenses are hard to make sense of though, since nothing seems to translate to standard focal lengths. I'd love a 28mm. Rainy season just starting up here in Nor Cal. Gonna get out and take some pictures.

I hope my Amazon purchases have helped a bit - I do always navigate there through your links!:)

John Gillooly

Enjoy your new camera Mike. I bet that new Sigma 24/1.8 will perform nicely, and a good bit faster than my old Sigma 24/2.8 AF. But I like the small size of the 2.8.

I have had some good luck with Sigma, and also had some dogs... but that has happened with Nikon and Pentax glass too. I love the 15-30 EX DG and the 24-135 Asph IF. I've had my eye on the Sigma 28/1.8 EX DG because I fancy a fast 40-ish myself.

Mike, I have a Katz Eye focusing screen for my dslr's. Makes a big difference for manual focusing. Well worth the extra $, and they offer opti-bright as well....

Mike, maybe it's time for another reading list post? I know I can't afford to buy expensive camera gear every month but I do love photobooks :)

Enjoy your new camera, I will be getting one as soon as my finances allow.
I have the Sigma 24/1.8 and I will vouch for it. I am very happy with it and it doesn't do badly at all against the Pentax 31mm, which I also own. Really though, they don't compete against each other, the focal lengths are just too far apart. It is big, but I find that its size seems to make handling it quite easy for me.

Enjoy the K-5, I wish I was getting mine sooner rather than later.

Dam it MIke! Why did you have to buy the camera I most desire. Bought a lens you recommended years ago for my ancient Canon 3ood and have loved it since. Now I am afraid, really afraid that I might have to buy a K-5 and another lens.

Maybe you're looking at this from the wrong angle, Mike. Perhaps it's time to try out new and exciting focal lengths. If you've been shooting at 35mm-e all your life, isn't it about time to try something new? :D

I bought my V700 scanner through B&H, so hoping i did it right so you get credit, but decided to get my D7000 locally(whenever they get more). Since everyone's selling at the same price, it seemed churlish to not support to only place in town where i can buy b/w film.

Plus, they let me hold an M9. That was worth sales tax:)

I wish I could buy more!
Really jealous of the K5, anyone want a 7D?
P.S. I know, the 7D is a great camera, and I am getting great results from it. Somehow though we just haven't bonded - guess it isn't quite the right tool for me.
P.S.S. I second the moral imperative.

You know I bought my first DSLR based on your recommendation; the Pentax *ist DS, ... a few more Pentax DSLRs later, I bought the Panasonic GF1... again based on your input... and now!!!

My K20D has to last me a few months longer (IF I can make it)

Now for the lens; I used to have a couple of sigma 24mm F/2.8's. One AF, and the other MF. Both were EXCELLENT. IMO, the Sigma 24/2.8 is a much better lens than the Pentax 21mm.

Then again with Pentax, you could get the DA15/4, the DA35/2.8, and the FA77/1.8 and be done with it! All about the same small size, with Excellent IQ.

Congrats. Do let us know if/when you find an acceptable 35mm-e lens. I know there are a lot of happy FA 24mm F2 owners out there. Which explains the prices those are fetching on eBay. Here's hoping for a 28mm DA Limited in the near future.

Mike, the Sigma is bulky and not that great. Better save for the 31 ltd.

Ahhh, the gentle pulling power of Pentax. Like yourself, I've used a few in my time... but if the K5 proves to be a marriage of the Pentax LX and Olympus OM4 in handling, quietness and pleasure to use then I'll be in the queue for one.

Mike, I am waiting for your first impressions with the camera before buying it for replacing my trusty Pentax K10D

Mike, I also a few months ago purchased three books off Amazon which I think were referred to in your blog, namely the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 books and the CS5 book. I also didn't realize about the commission thing and I don't know if I went about it the correct way to get you the commission break. Too late now but I'll remember next time. Sorry. David.

Hi Mike

I feel terribly guilty! I always buy everything from B&H through your site and so it was on Monday after I read about the DXO results for the K-5.

Thanks to a refund from both the Taxman and Emirates (long story) I took the plunge only to find that B&H were (and still are) out of stock!

Adorama had stock and you aren't linked to them. I am really sorry, but I couldn't wait.


Here's a possible solution to your lens quandary: Sigma 28/1.8 (http://www.sigmaphoto.com/shop/28mm-f18-ex-dg-asp-macro-sigma) Not really significantly wider than the 30mm, and focuses a lot closer (it has the "Macro" designation in the name, but is not actually true macro. A very good close-focus lens though.) This was my choice for a "normal" lens for my Pentax -- it is 42 mm-e, which is perfect. The only downside is it is rather large and heavy -- a common theme with Sigmas.

Ok, lets see Pentax prime lens lineup :
DA21/3.2 I own it, and it is a very good performer, including wide open.
FA31/1.8 I own it, and it is my best lens. This is truly a gem.
DA35/2.8 Macro
FA43/1.9 I own it, and love it.
FA50/1.4 I own it but prefer the 43 ^_^

And this is just for the standard primes.

I can tell by experience that the FA31 is truly a great, great lens. But compared to DA21 or FA43 that I own as well, it is too big (meaning that I won't switch to Canon or Nikon anytime soon)

I never tested the Sigma, but given that size matter to you, I would strongly suggest that you try the DA21 before. I had mine new for 500€ so buying and reselling it on the market (if not convinient) shouldn't be a hassle. The only problem I have with the DA21 is that it is too slow for interior shots, but I have a K20D and if the K5 delivers its promises on low light, it shouldn't be an issue.

Personnaly, I travel with DA21 and FA43, and the FA43 stays on the camera 99% of time, I love its size and it rendition which is just a tad below the FA31 for half the size. But focal lens is a matter of taste as you point out.

Good going.

So how do you feel about a return to dSLR-land given the touting (in some circles) of m4/3rds as supplanting that platform, earlier in the year?

There are 2 of the Pentax 24mm f2 lens in at KEH at mo... 'only' $200 more than the Sigma is new...

I do have the Pentax 24mm 2.8 A lens and it is lovely if you can deal with manual focus. I would check out the 21mm 3.2 though. Will make a lovely compact package.

Congrats though! The K-5 looks like a stunning camera... Planning to buy one next year when the prices come down a bit.

Ed x

Free advice? Here it is: the Pentax 31mm f1.8 is a fabulous lens, pin-sharp and a pleasure to use. Smooth and buttery, and here I'm talking about the manual focus as well as the bokeh. But I will admit that I was early conditioned to the 50mm lens view of things, so took to the 31mm, well, like a photographer used to 50mm lenses taking to a 47mm eq. lens.

Mike, you listed the reasons (weighted) for choosing the Pentax. What else I would be interested in, and I am not trying to be perverse here, are the reasons for you not choosing the other contenders.

I ask this because I am considering a similar choice, mainly between the Pentax and the Olympus. I am currently an Olympus user, and lens owner', so the E-5 makes sense. But I am more than a little fascinated by the Pentax.

Congrats on the new cam!

Now look at that, I didn't even know Sigma had a 24/1.8 but then again, I'm not looking! My current favourite lens on my Canon crop cam is a teeny little Sigma 24/2.8 from the film days. Have two of them in fact - one that does and one that doesn't work on digital. My digitally working one is decentered. And the focusing is slow. And noisy. But I love it, warts and all.

When it comes time to replace it the 1.8 version will be top of the list for sure.

Hi Mike,

I used to own a Sigma 24mm f1.8 (on an *ist D - if your memory stretches back that far) and found it to be a good lens. It was sharp and focused pretty close. A bit bulky, but very versatile - I managed for a long time with just that and a Pentax 50mm f1.7 - which was very good.

For the money, you could a lot worse then this.

Just a suggestion.


Mike, congratulations on your imminent elevation to fellow Pentaxian! :) I'm curious about a couple of things though (I'm sure you have your reasons, even if they're not immediately obvious to the rest of us).

First, as others have asked, why not the DA 21/3.2 Ltd? It's a lovely little lens, and even has that rarity in modern lens, a DoF scale, and is only slightly wider than 35mm on full frame. Is it because f/3.2 doesn't give you enough DoF control, especially on a smaller than full frame sensor?

Second, how come the Nikon D7000 didn't make it to the short list? Many reviews seem to rate it as very comparable to the K-5, and it appears to have the same sensor. The much hyped DXOmark test results showing the marginal win for the K-5 are probably within the realms of sample variation and test error. I guess the lack of in body stabilisation would've finally swung it for the K-5, but I'm surprised it didn't get some consideration.

Anyway, hope you don't have to wait too long for your new toy, and I look forward to more articles on its quirks and charms - I may even get round to upgrading my K20D someday... :)

Forgive me for saying that I would chose a lens line first and body second, and that really only leaves 2 choices, Nikon and Canon.

I need tying to the mast.

Congrats! And yes, you do need a DSLR. Color me envious that you're getting your K5 now while I have to wait until my birthday.

I will order my birthday K5 through your links, of course ☺. Actually, I have several things on my Christmas list that will also go through your links, but my husband is self-employed, too, and they money has to get here first. So don't give up hope. If I can swing it, I want an FA77 for Christmas.


Uhhh.. I'm confused! What happens to the Minolta / Sony 35/2 that you bought?


I know the 31 Limited is a bit long for your tastes, shame as we all know the quality of the Pentax Limiteds. Since I lean more towards 50 primes the 31 would be my choice. Good luck with the K-5, from all reports it seems the finest iteration of the reduced frame sensor.

..and most of the reasons you've listed in your decision are the same ones I used to move from my almost 3-year old Pentax K20D to the K-5!
Based on the series you and Carl Weese wrote a while back, I have been using the wonderful 35mm/f2.8 DA Limited Macro as my ONLY lens and loving it! But then, there IS that Sigma 24/f1.8...

Congratulations :-)

My absolute favourite lens on an 1.5 crop DSLR is by far the old Sigma AF 28/1.8 - i.e., not the current EX version. This takes 58 mm filters and is about the size of a 50/1.4. I really like the combination of 40 mm FOV and speed. It should probably be quite cheap, too.

Caveat: I "only" have 6 MP in my camera - maybe it does not hold up as well at higher resolution.

I just got rid of a reflex (Pentax) cause I found a deal on a Leica. No more reflex, for the moment...

My take on the limiteds I owned:
70mm: the best one, a perfect lens
35mm: you think it's a jewel, I don't; hope the K-5 have solved the problems with focus at infinity (spot on 1 on 3 times with the K-7). FA35 still a valid alternative (and perhaps DA35 f/2,4).
21mm: a good lens but far from perfect and yes, a bit short.
15mm: a jewel for its flare resistance, but border quality frankly bad.

If I were to buy a DSLR again, it's be the K-5. Oly's great, but where do you see primes?
I'd buy LTD70 again, and look for an FA31 and an FA24.
If you need a trans-standard zoom, definitely look for a good Tammy 17-50. Better that any similar Pentax, 16-50 included, but compact and light.

:-) you love suggestions, don't you?

Fine choice Mike. K-5 is compelling.

Why not consider the current weather sealed kit zoom lens from Pentax ?

The 18-55 WR would be a great place to start.



I shoot an Olympus E3 and have the two f2 zooms that were praised in TOP some month ago. I was planning to get the E5, but since the K5 was announced my eyes are turnig to it. Clearly it has some magnetism.


Well, in my book, this little comment from you is the only support that was needed by the K5. After the hype on its dynamic range and image quality, the fact that I see my favourite writer on photography not endorsing, but actually buying this camera, is all it needed to become THE DSLR camera of 2010. (I repeat, all of this is my opinion only, of course).

I would love to become another member in the club of K5 owners, even if my beloved K10D still works at perfection. But this new toy tempts me a lot. Pity that my budget does not allow to consider any new camera at the moment, because if it did, a new K5 would be already coming home.

In the mean time (until budget recovers, I mean), I will certainly read with loads of interest your future comments on this camera.

When the K-5 was announced I found myself with the same choice and problem as you did. The body is prety much exactly what I want (except for no EVF, I'm a confirmed EVF lover for low-light work). But the lack of fast glass options in K mount is a serious issue for this low-light shooter. I know I could track down an FA* 24/2, but that still leaves poor options at 35mm and longer than 55mm (I already had both the great FA 50/1.4 and an old SMC Takumar 50/1.4 handling my 50mm needs)

I ended up switching to Sony for the EVF and the wider selection of fast glass. The kicker for me was film bodies. I still shoot primarily film when shooting in good light and I've never got on well with Pentax film bodies, while the later Maxxum bodies are a joy to work with, so my Maxxum 7 and 600si

I should note that your A mount 35/2 is worth a bit more than an FA* 24/2. Might be worth selling in favour of the 24/2.

Wise move!please consider the pentax 21.The
sigmas while often very good indeed,you are
fortunate if you happen on a good copy.
Unless their quality control has improved
dramatically resently it leaves a lot to be desired.I owned the lens attempting to save
money,returned it promptly.pentax,as you and
older guys like you and I know pentax makes first class glass,dont settle for less,you will regret it.just my two cents worth,but its because I care,happy shooting.

Yes, why not the DA21mm f/3.2 ? I always prefer a bit too wide than too tight (one can crop, nobody can uncrop).

The big advantage is the size. I considered the Sigma 24mm too but, first it's not a 35mm equivalent (24mm x 1.53 = 36.72mm) and more importantly it's huge. The good things are good IQ and close focusing abilities.

There's also the FA* 24mm f/2 if you can find one... But I don't think it has many advantages over the Sigma anyway.

But the DA21mm fits the body really well, it's just a pleasure to use it on the K-7.

...so, what were the reasons for not going the Olympus E-5 route?

Enjoy the K-5.

BTW: on the lens choice, go a little wider and pick the SMC-Pentax DA21mm f/3.2 Limited. It's a great performer.

Alas the Minolta 35/2.0 can't be found/bought at any of your links, so I'll do you one better: now that you've committed (for awhile at least) to team Pentax, I'll happily buy yours! Just name your price -- seriously. That way you can get BOTH the fast but heavy Sigma AND a cute-as-a-button pancake.

(Like many in this thread I also recommend the Pentax 21mm. It's a tiny jewel, as is the even tinier 43mm. In fact I still own both even though I passed my old Pentax 200d on to mom when I finally sprung for the A900. Briefly considered offering them both in trade for your Minolta lens but just can't bring myself to let 'em go yet...)

Congrats on the camera Mike, I think you will love it.

I actually have had great luck with Sigma, they make some of my favourite lenses. The 15-30 EX DG and the 24-135 Asph IF always deliver the goods for me, and test as sharp as any of my good Pentax glass. I have had poorly performing Sigmas too... just like I've had poorly performing Pentax and Nikon glass. I think you will really like the 24/1.8, although it will be considerable bigger than my old Sigma 24/2.8 AF.


I know you are trying to be discreet but it might be helpful to make the Amazon and BH links that follow each post more prominent. Most people stop reading after the end of the article and will ignore the small print that follows. Just a suggestion.


Congrats. I still have my doubts about the long term viability of Pentax (as I said in the other thread), and their lack of your 35mm and my fast/cheap 50mm is an irritation, but the K5 looks to be a great camera. Look forward to a review.

Mike, I feel your pain re: a 35mm equivalent prime. That is also my "normal". Sure the 21mm Pentax is close, but why didn't they make a 22 or 23? Ditto for the Nikon stuff I have, considered the 24mm D "close", but wanted a "G" lens, considering with Nikons track record, it's only a matter of time that they'll do away with the "shaft" drive stuff (giving the owners the shaft as well). The "laughability" of Nikons alleged "never-changing-lens-mount". The Nikon 24mm 2.8 D also doesn't really test out that well at the tech sites, with "decentering" an issue, and sharpness varying across the field, a big problem for me and not worth taking the chance (really, decentering in this day and age of lasers?). The new 24mm 1.4? Too big, and I need that much money to think about replacing my dying car too!

Regardless of the 21 vs. 22-23-24 issue, I've always given Pentax kudos for meeting the needs of prime users far more than any other manufacturer. As I've stated before, where are my 300 dollar range, APS-C sized f/2.8 primes? I could use a 16, 23, 55 or 60, yeah.

I hate dragging lenses around 3 times bigger and heavier than the camera bodies. I've often told "pro-ams",that I could go around the world on assignment in the "olden" film days, with a 24mm, 35mm, and 85mm and do virtually everything. Beyond that, I just needed a full-frame rectilinear 18mm and a 500mm for "effects".

Hard to believe when I look back on my annual report stuff, I used a Hasselblad with an 80mm for literally 60% of my stuff, and a 150mm for another 30%, with the rest divided between a 50mm and a 250mm. If I had it to do again, I could have done it all with a 60mm, 100mm, and 180mm!

Now I'm trying to get Nikon interested in an APS-C sized zoom that would be 20mm-60mm f/2.8-4, small, and able to do 99% of all my needs!

Congrats Mike,
I feal a bit jealous because they don't sell
Pentax in India. It will be nice if you can tell them, it makes a huge business sense for them to set shop in India. Too many people for something to not sell here. Canikon are the 'yeah' brands and that's because they are available.
PS: Did you give a thought to forthcoming Sigma SD1?


Have you thought about creating your own Amazon Store?

I wonder if it would help some...

There's an extension to Safari called "Affilitizer" that automatically appends affiliate codes to all of your Amazon orders.

You know what to do...

Alas the Minolta 35/2.0 isn't available from any of your sponsor links so I propose another, more direct form of support for all your good work: now that you've committed to team Pentax (for awhile at least) I'll happily buy your copy of that hard-to-find lens. Seriously, just name your price. That way you can afford to buy BOTH the fast-but-heavy Sigma AND a cute-as-a-button Pentax pancake.

(Like many others on this thread I recommend the 21mm. It's a tiny jewel, as is the unbelievably tiny 43mm. I own both, even though I gave my old Pentax 200d Super to mom when I finally ponied up for the A900. For a second I considered offering both up in trade for your Minolta, but just can't bear to part with 'em yet...)

You should use the new DSLR to take pictures of the new / in-progress darkroom. (Two worlds collided...)

@Nigel - Pentax has had microadjust for the last 3 generations of cameras, since the K20. I believe it's standard for pretty much everyone now.

@Mike - I'll be interested to see how you like that Sigma. I've considered getting that one for the same reason you did. The FA31 looks nice, and it reportedly has tons of magic fairy dust in it, but I just can't handle the price tag. In the meantime I've acquired 5 Sigma lenses (for a total cost less than a used FA31) and not had a problem with any of them.

Thoughts on marque. I cut my teeth on good old Olympus OM1 and my first digital an E20. After much of the um and ahing of the Mike variety I plumped for a Nikon DSLR and have now invested in a lens set. I really miss Olympus but cannot rely on them in the long run - they so often stay ahead of the techno game but drop their loyal clients in it with these constant sea changes. Didn't I read that 4/3 lenses are to go? Pentax tried and trusted - if as I nearly did I started with the K1000 I would undoubtedly have remained a Pentax devotee. OM1 pretty and not for sale!

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