Brilliant if it was 28mm

Started 10 months ago | User reviews
Isherwood
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Brilliant if it was 28mm
10 months ago

This is slightly frustrating lens. It is pretty sharp & has classic Pentax saturation but what sets it apart is it's size. Even with a slim-line filter & the hood attached the camera slips into a small camcorder bag, plus it doesn't seem to intimidate & people usually don't mind when I take candid shots in public.

What frustrates is that it's just a bit too long to be a normal prime. It's optical design was takes from a film era 40mm, Pentax were too lazy/cheap to transform it for APS sensors. The digital equivalent would be 28mm, which would have made a perfect prime to keep on all day. Personally I get on very well with a longer lens but it means that photos concentrate on the subject with little background. Sometimes the context is also important.

The lack of any real focusing ring always slows me down when I need to nudge the focus but the real, unforgivable flaw is that after not that much use the thing started to rattle badly. It was out of warranty so I removed the mount & carefully tightened all the screws inside. Inside the metal shell I found quite a bit of polycarbonate. Compared to lenses made between 1955 & 1975 (what I think of as the golden age) it looks somewhat cheap. The lens coatings & optical designs have improved but the overall robustness has sadly declined, & this applies to all manufacturers.

 Isherwood's gear list:Isherwood's gear list
Pentax K-5 Sony Alpha NEX-6 Pentax K-3 Pentax smc DA* 16-50mm F2.8 ED AL (IF) SDM Pentax smc DA 40mm F2.8 Limited +14 more
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Russell Evans
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Re: Brilliant if it was 28mm
In reply to Isherwood, 10 months ago

Isherwood wrote:

What frustrates is that it's just a bit too long to be a normal prime. It's optical design was takes from a film era 40mm, Pentax were too lazy/cheap to transform it for APS sensors.

Maybe they were looking to replicate 58mm on FF?

Thank you
Russell

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sterretje
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Re: Brilliant if it was 28mm
In reply to Isherwood, 10 months ago

Isherwood wrote:

What frustrates is that it's just a bit too long to be a normal prime.

It was never designed (or intended) for that

Isherwood wrote:

The digital equivalent would be 28mm, which would have made a perfect prime to keep on all day.

A FA31Ltd would probably have been the better lens for you So sell the Sigma 30 and the DA40Ltd and get the FA31Ltd.

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WimS

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drummercam
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Re: Brilliant if it was 28mm
In reply to Isherwood, 10 months ago

They made the DA 40mm "because they could."  The 5-element 4-group design of the SMC-M 40mm was already in the can, so to speak.  It had to be tweaked very little (read "low R&D investment") to provide a pancake-type for APS-C.   It has its uses at the 60mm eq. focal length, but to have gone wider could not have been done well and remain that thin.  The DA 21mm is the solution in that regard.  The design briefly glimpsed several years ago with lens extension inside the flange would have been interesting for the K-01, but that lens never came to fruition.

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Gary Martin
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Re: Brilliant if it was 28mm
In reply to Isherwood, 10 months ago

I thought it was an odd focal length until I started using it. My own experience has taught me that just about any focal length can be useful once you start learning to "see" at that field-of-view which, in the case of the DA40, is not all that different than a traditional 50mm lens on a film camera. And the DA40 has a well-deserved reputation as a high-quality optic, which is always a good thing.

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audiobomber
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Re: Brilliant if it was 28mm
In reply to Isherwood, 10 months ago

I find 28mm more versatile than 40mm on APS-C, but...  I shot a head and shoulders portrait of my niece and and her newborn with my FA 28mm. Their faces suffered obvious perspective distortion, because I had to stand too close. My DA 40 would have done a lot better in this scenario.

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Dan

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timo
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Re: Brilliant if it was 28mm
In reply to drummercam, 10 months ago

drummercam wrote:

They made the DA 40mm "because they could."

I'm sure you're right. And it gave rise, no doubt for similar reasons, to the lens offered with the K-01. But I wonder if the K-01 would have been better received if it had been offered with a kit prime with a focal length more appropriate to a variety of walkaround situations.

tim

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drummercam
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Re: Brilliant if it was 28mm
In reply to timo, 10 months ago

If the aborted lens had been a 35mm eq., I think the K-01 might have done better, yes.   The XS 40 design proves they wanted thinness, but the focal lengh of 60mm eq. was too long.   (Plus, there's no decent CPL for the XS 40mm!)  My conjecture is that they didn't make the rear extended lens because they would have received thousands of complaints of wrecked mirrors on other K-mount cams, even if they painted the rear red and wrote "K-01 only" on it.  People do stupid things.  The DA 21mm is not thin, but it suits the K-01 very well.

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Isherwood
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Re: Brilliant if it was 28mm
In reply to sterretje, 10 months ago

sterretje wrote:

A FA31Ltd would probably have been the better lens for you So sell the Sigma 30 and the DA40Ltd and get the FA31Ltd.

Very true, sadly the wonderful FA31 Ltd. was beyond my budget & although it would look the business on my grey K-3 (*) the portability this dinky lens affords shouldn't be overlooked. Plus I form attachments readily & both the DA 40 Ltd. & Sigma 1:1.4/30 have been reliable & even-tempered performers so I shall stand by them.

Having used the 40 Ltd. (short focus throw) on the K-3 (faster motor) in the last few days there's absolutely no complaint about focussing speed. One extremely responsive camera. The short throw results in ever-so slightly unreliable focussing but I'd much rather have 'the moment' slightly flawed than miss it completely - plus we're only on v. 1.0 firmware.

* Heavy satin chrome plating on brass is silver. Paint is shiny grey.

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foto guy
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Re: Brilliant if it was 28mm
In reply to audiobomber, 10 months ago

audiobomber wrote:

I find 28mm more versatile than 40mm on APS-C, but... I shot a head and shoulders portrait of my niece and and her newborn with my FA 28mm. Their faces suffered obvious perspective distortion, because I had to stand too close. My DA 40 would have done a lot better in this scenario.

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Dan

That's 'cause angle of view doesn't change, only the cropped area. 28mm AOV is always gonna be a 28mm AOV.

40mm would have been better, but this is how we learn.

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Joe G.
'The universe is wider than our views of it.'
-- Henry David Thoreau

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foto guy
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Re: Brilliant if it was 28mm
In reply to Isherwood, 10 months ago

Works great on my film cameras...well, the newer auto ones with aperture adjustment in the body. Perfect FL for film.

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Joe G.
'The universe is wider than our views of it.'
-- Henry David Thoreau

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dave
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Re: Brilliant if it was 28mm
In reply to Isherwood, 10 months ago

The FA31 fills the high end fast normal prime slot and the DA35 2.4 meets the low end prime slot. The DA50 1.8 is a little too long to be considered normal. The DA40 is a money maker due to low development cost. When a company is struggling, R&D money is hard to find.

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