Sunday, December 14, 2008

Is the argument that Pentax doesn't have enough lenses available still true Today? I don't think so.

Hi Pentaxian friends,

For several years now, we've heard time after time that Pentax did not have enough lenses available. Of course, we're talking about new lenses as there are more than twenty-five million older lenses available on the used market. Remember, all lenses ever manufactured by Pentax will still work in some way with the new DSLRs.

I agree that just a few years ago, the choice of new DA lenses was pretty slim. The DA* was non-existent. There were still some Full Frame lenses available. For example, looking at an old Shutterbug magazine dated October 2006, B&H Photo were showing the following lenses as available: Note that there were rebates of $50.00, $75.00 and $100.00 on selected lenses.

AF Lenses for Digital (APS-C):

DA 14mm f/2.8 - $624.95
DA 40mm f/2.8 Limited - $274.95
DA 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5 - $499.95
DA 12-24mm f/4 - $719.95
DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 - $109.95
DA 16-45mm f/4 - $409.95
DA 50-200mm f/4 - $234.95

AF lenses for 35mm and Digital:

17-28mm f/3.5-4.5 F Fisheye - $379.95
18-35mm f/4-5.6 J AL - $129.95
20mm f/2.8 - $499.95
24-90mm f/3.5-4.5 AL IF - $399.95
28mm f/2.8 - $219.95
28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 J FA AL- $399.95
28-105mm f/4-5.6 FA IF- $169.95
31mm f/1.8 Limited - $879.95
35mm f/2.0 - $299.95
43mm f/1.9 Limited - $479.95
50mm f/1.4 - $219.95
77mm f/1.8 Limited - $689.95
50mm f/2.8 Macro - $429.95
100mm f/2.8 Macro - $539.95

The lenses covered from 10mm to 100mm or 15mm to 150mm equivalent when used with the APS-C sensors. Of course "A" series lenses were still available at some stores or the used market up to 600mm. One has to agree that this was not enough glass for a complete system.

Today, I believe that Pentax is well on it's way to have a very good and complete lens system. Although they still don't have a lens above 300mm, they have improved their system immensely. Of course, using the 300mm on a APS-C DSLR will crop the image, and the angle of view and the results will be similar to a 450mm lens. I know that a 300mm is always a 300mm lens regardless of the format it is used on and that the perspective effect is never that of a true 450mm lens, but the angle of view is the same and that's what hits the APS-C sensor, at full resolution. You can always purchase high quality telephotos and zoom lenses from Sigma and Tamron. They do make some good lenses too. I would venture to say that only about 1% to 2% of entry-level to professional photographers use lenses above 300mm. None-the-less, here is what's available today.

DA Star - AF Lenses for Digital (APS-C):

PENTAX DA Star 55mm F1.4 SDM - $TBA
PENTAX DA Star 16-50mm F2.8 ED AL (IF) SDM - $699.95
PENTAX DA Star 50-135mm F2.8 ED (IF) SDM - $749.95
PENTAX DA Star 60-250mm F4 ED (IF) SDM - $TBA
PENTAX DA Star 200mm F2.8 ED (IF) SDM - $949.95
PENTAX DA Star 300mm F4 ED(IF) SDM - $1,169.95

DA - AF Lenses for Digital (APS-C):

PENTAX DA 10-17mm F3.5-4.5 ED (IF) Fish-Eye - $429.95
PENTAX DA 12-24mm F4.0 ED AL (IF) - $699.95
PENTAX DA 14mm F2.8 - $599.95
PENTAX DA 16-45mm F4.0 ED AL - $399.95
PENTAX DA 17-70mm F4 AL (IF) SDM - $489.95
PENTAX DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL II - $149.95
PENTAX DA 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 ED AL(IF) - $449.95
PENTAX DA 50-200mm F4-5.6 ED - $219.95
PENTAX DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED - $399.95

DA Limited - AF Lenses for Digital (APS-C):

PENTAX DA 21mm F3.2 AL Limited - $424.95
PENTAX DA 35mm F2.8 Macro Limited - $489.95
PENTAX DA 40mm F2.8 Limited - $269.95
PENTAX DA 70mm F2.4 Limited - $479.95

D FA - AF Lenses for Full Frame and Digital (APS-C):

PENTAX D FA 50mm F2.8 Macro - $394.95
PENTAX D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro - $524.95

FA - AF Lenses for Full Frame and Digital (APS-C):

PENTAX FA 50mm F1.4 - $199.00
PENTAX FA 31mm F1.8 Limited - $869.95
PENTAX FA 43mm F1.9 Limited - $469.95
PENTAX FA 77mm F1.8 Limited - $679.00

Announced lenses for Digital (APS-C):

PENTAX DA 15mm f/4 ED AL Limited - $TBA
PENTAX DA 1.4X SDM Rear Converter - $TBA

There are some FA lenses still available from big retailers such as B&H Photo and Adorama, just to name a few. You can order lenses from Japan, not available in the USA, through some EBay vendors.

The lenses coverage now extend from 10mm to 300mm or 15mm to 450mm equivalent when used with the APS-C sensors. One has to agree that this a great improvement toward a complete glass system. Also note that more lenses are of professional caliber with dust and humidity protection. We really only lack some fast telephotos beyond 300mm. Sigma or Tamron have those currently available for the Pentax mount.

Thank you for reading,
Yvon Bourque


Anonymous said...

I will only disagree with you on three counts, we're lacking: 1) a fast DA* 90mm prime, 2) a fast DA* 135mm prime, and 3) a standard DA 28mm prime. Other than that, I think we're fine. I totally agree that most of us have no need for glass beyond 300mm on APS-C, and if you're doing most of your shooting at those focal lengths, then you're much better of with Canon or Nikon.

Thanks for putting this list together, Yvon. I'm bookmarking this post for future reference.

Anonymous said...

I would love something like Canon's 100-400L for wildlife and distance sports. I bought Pentax because I didn't want to spend $2800 to $8000 for weather sealing, but topping out at 300mm seems short-sighted because outdoor and nature shooters are most likely to switch over for the lower cost ruggedness - except the over 300mm lenses aren't there unless you buy Sigma.