Saturday, January 31, 2009

My Personal Pentax Lens Buying Road Map. What's yours?

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Hi Pentaxian friends.

Lately I have been thinking about how much investment I have in Pentax glass. If I were to re-purchase all the Pentax lenses I currently own, at the manufacturer's suggested price, I would be approaching the $10,000 mark. It hit me like a freight train. Then, because I own these lenses, I have filters in all sizes, lens cases, lens caps, hoods, etc. Do I need all these lenses? I don't really think so. I'm beyond the Lens Buying Addiction (LBA) syndrome, I'm more in the Obscene Lens Buying Addiction (OLBA) syndrome. It's got to stop!

I decided to come down to planet earth and eliminate (sell) the lenses I really don't need. I would like to cover focal lengths from 15mm (in 35mm format) to 300mm (in 35mm format). I would like to have one set of zoom lenses covering these focal lengths and overlapping a little, with a common filter size of 77mm. Then, I would like to have all of the the present and future Pentax DA Limited lenses as prime lenses, but they must all have 49mm filter sizes. I can hear you from here saying "you can buy adapters so that the larger filter sizes can fit on all smaller lenses as well". That may be true, but today's lenses do not have filter threaded lens hoods and using a filter adapter means you cannot use the hoods supplied with your lenses.

I know that zoom lenses cannot be as good as primes, at least theoretically, but today's worst zoom lenses are better than the best prime lenses of yesteryear's. So for my usual photographic endeavors, local shoots, planned field trips, I'm quite okay with zoom lenses. For one thing, using zoom lenses means you don't have to change lenses so often and when shooting in dusty and windy outdoor locations, the less lens changing the better. For these occasions, I always bring at least two bodies, with zoom lenses attached; one from wide-angle to normal and one from normal to medium telephoto.

When traveling, I bring either the K200D or the K2000 with prime lenses. They are all made with more metal parts and the glass is probably the best, in optical properties, that Pentax produces. The primes are good for portraiture and most have excellent bokeh on account of a combination of more diaphragm blades, larger maximum aperture, and the quality of the glass. Their small sizes and the small DSLRs makes them ideal for traveling or street photography.

Here is my personal Lens Buying Road Map, using what's currently available or scheduled as per Pentax's own Lens Development Roadmap.

Zoom Lenses

smc PENTAX DA 10-17mm F3.5-4.5 ED (IF) Fish-Eye Currently own (No filters required).

smc PENTAX DA 12-24mm F4.0 ED AL (IF) Need to purchase.

smc PENTAX DA Star 16-50mm F2.8 ED AL (IF) SDM Currently own.

smc PENTAX DA Star 50-135mm F2.8 ED (IF) SDM Will not purchase as the filter size is 67mm.

smc PENTAX DA Star 60-250mm F4 ED (IF) SDM Would love to have but filter size is 67mm. Will not purchase.

** For now, the Pentax DA 50-200mm lens I already own will bridge the gap between my DA* 16-50mm and the DA* 200mm. When and if Pentax introduces a new 50-200 with a filter size of 77mm, I will get one, otherwise, I might have to get a Sigma or Tamron. I would like to stay with Pentax lenses only. In simplifying my approach, I decided on 49mm and 77mm filter threads only. I use ND and CPL filters only, but they are an important tool that can make or break the results.

Prime Lenses

smc PENTAX DA Star 200mm F2.8 ED (IF) SDM Currently own - Not a zoom lenses but the filter size is 77mm.

smc PENTAX DA Star 300mm F4 ED(IF) SDM Currently own - Not a zoom lenses but the filter size is 77mm.

smc PENTAX DA 21mm F3.2 AL Limited Need to purchase.

smc PENTAX DA 35mm F2.8 Macro Limited Will be buying next.

smc PENTAX DA 40mm F2.8 Limited Own, however, the focal length may be too close to the 35mm for still needing this lens. Might sell it.

smc PENTAX DA 70mm F2.4 Limited Currently own.

smc PENTAX DA 15mm F4 EDAL Limited Will purchase when it becomes available. I will love this lens!

DA 1.4 Rear Converter SDM - Will purchase when available.

As for my twenty something other lenses, I will sell them and spend some of the money on the new lenses listed above, that I don't own, and I will put the rest in the bank. I don't think that I will even keep my faithful FA 50mm f/1.4, or DA 16-45mm, and a whole list of FA and FA* lenses.

Pentax will probably introduce a 400mm and maybe a 600mm at one point, but that was always beyond my reach and will probably stay that way.

That's my Pentax Lens Buying Road Map. What's yours?

Thank you for reading,

Download the latest Pentax Lens Roadmap here.

Yvon Bourque
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