We're happy to announce our latest review, which is a three-way comparison of the SMC Pentax-DA 17-70mm F4, Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC OS HSM Macro, and Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4.5 DC Macro. Originally meant to be just a two-lens comparison, we decided to initially hold off with publishing the review and instead expanded it to a three-way comparison to include both the old (F2.8-4.5) and new (F2.8-4) versions of the Sigma 17-70mm (as evidenced by the thumbnail above!).
17-70mm lenses offer a very versatile zoom range which we recently recommended in our Pentax K-30 lens guide. So, which of the three 17-70mm lenses available for Pentax cameras is the best?
The theme for the official PentaxForums.com photo contest for August will be "Fences." Take part for a chance to win $150 in gift cards from B&H Photo, as well as a pack of premium photo paper from Red River Paper!
Additionally, we'd like to invite you to vote for the winners of last month's "Motion" photo contest, which saw over 180 submissions! Click here to vote, and thanks in advance for helping us determine the winners! Good luck to our participants!
Sigma has launched a fresh series of instant rebates this month. Of particular interest are the $150 and $50 instant rebates on the Sigma 50-500mm "Bigma" and 17-50mm F2.8, both of which we've reviewed in-depth and can highly recommend. Refer to the table below for a breakdown of the rebates and an overview of each lens.
New Sigma Pentax Lens Instant Rebates Through Oct. 30, 2012
We found this lens to outperform the Pentax DA* 16-50mm F2.8 optically, and it features more reliable autofocus. Check out our in-depth comparative review for more!
Also known as the "Bigma", this lens is one of our members' all time favorites. Its 10x zoom range makes it a very versatile lens for more than just ultra-telephoto photography.
This is the fastest fisheye lens currently available for Pentax. It offers a 180-degree field of view.
This is one of the fastest wide-angle lenses available for Pentax, and it features an interesting twist: macro capabilities.
This is the widest rectilinear zoom lens available for Pentax.
Now that our Pentax K-30 review has been posted, we'd like to take this opportunity to recommend a few lenses which we think suit this camera particularly well!
First, let's begin with the Pentax K-30 kit options. While they do vary from country to country, chances are that one of more of these are offered in your area:
- Pentax K-30 Body-Only (US- $849)
- Pentax K-30 + DA L 18-55mm (US- $899)
- Pentax K-30 + DA L 18-55mm + DA L 50-200mm US- $1049)
- Pentax K-30 + DA L 18-55mm + DA L 55-300mm US- $1149)
- Pentax K-30 + DA 18-135mm WR US- $1199)
Of these five kits, we recommend that you either get the 18-135mm WR bundle, or stick with just the body and then buy your lenses separately. The 18-135mm is the only kit lens to offer weather sealing, and it's a great lens regardless, as it offers a very handy zoom range and fast, quiet DC autofocus while delivering better image quality than the 18-55mm kit lens (see our in-depth review of the 18-135mm for more). Plus, the 18-135mm kit will save you a good chunk of money, as the MSRP of the lens is $529- $180 higher than its price in the bundle. If you don't think that you'll be using this lens much as a walkaround, however, then we recommend that you pick up the K-30 body and buy the weather sealed version of the 18-55mm in order to be able to take advantage of the outdoor capabilities of the K-30 (note that in certain European countries, the 18-55mm WR is actually offered in K-30 a bundle). Then, you'll be able to add other lenses individually as needed.
Pentax Lens Series Overview
So why do we not favor the three other lens kits? Well, in order to answer that question, we need to take a look at the difference between the Pentax DA and DA L lens series. The DA lens series is Pentax's current digital lineup. With two exceptions*, all current DA lenses feature a metal lens mount, come with lens hoods, and allow you to manually override the focus setting at any time (have "Quick Shift"). Some DA lenses have the "WR" designation, which means that they are weather sealed, or the "SDM" designation, which means they have silent autofocus. DA L lenses are optically identical to their DA-series counterparts, but they have plastic mounts, no Quick Shift, and don't come with lens hoods. DA L lenses cannot be purchased separately from retailers as they are meant to be affordable kit lenses. Two other lens series exist: D FA, and DA*. The former includes current digital lenses which also cover the full-frame image circle, and the latter is Pentax's premium/professional lineup, in which all lenses feature top-of-the-line image quality, improved build quality, weather sealing, and silent focusing. Read more about the different Pentax lens series here.
Going back to the DA L K-30 kits: we think that the only DA L lens worth getting is the 55-300mm, as it's simply a more affordable version of the regular DA 55-300mm. The DA L 50-200mm isn't an exceptional lens, as it has less reach and slightly worse image quality compared to the 55-300mm. As far as the DA L 18-55mm goes, we would have liked to see it replaced by the weather-sealed version in the K-30 kits. If you end up getting the K-30 body and would like to add the DA L 55-300mm to your lineup, second-hand copies are frequently available in the Pentax Marketplace. While the dual-lens kits can be quite versatile overall, we feel that it wasn't right for Pentax to bundle so many non-weather-sealed lenses with the K-30.
Now, let's take a look at other lenses that we recommend for the K-30. For each lens category, we include both weather-sealed and non-weather-sealed lenses, so that you can come up with a kit that's tailored to fit your needs and your budget. We're not going to mention the 18-135mm or 18-55mm WR lenses below, but you may assume that they fall under the walkaround category.
Just a few days ago, we announced that James Ables's photo "Reflecting the Future" was the winner of our ofiicial June "Shadows" photo contest. Today, the author would like to tell us a little bit about how this photo was shot and processed.
Equipment & Settings Used
- Pentax K-r (Hand-Held)
- Sigma 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM
- Shutter speed: 1/640s
- Aperture: F8
- ISO: 200
- Shooting mode: Av
- File format: RAW
"I always shoot in raw with Adobe 1998 color space. I processed in Lightroom 3. First I adjusted the White Balance then pulled in highlights with recovery and negative exposure. Next I lightened the shadows with Fill-light slider. I balanced color saturation with each individual color and then pushed up vibrance a bit and some brightness. Lastly, I sharpen according to which ISO I'm shooting at then reduce noise and balance them till I'm satisfied. My interest in the shot was the sun rising and shining its light, creating long shadows and bouncing its light off of the glass doors. I love how the light cuts through its own shadows. A very interesting picture."
Here is the original photo:
The SMC Pentax-DA 14mm F2.8 lens is somewhat of a mystery. It has been around ever since Pentax launched the DA lens series, but it doesn't get nearly as much attention on our forum or in our user reviews as the newer Pentax primes do. So, we decided to take a closer look at this lens ourselves to see how it performs compared to the recently-reviewed Pentax 15mm F4 Limited, While we were at it, we had B&H send us a Rokinon 14mm F2.8 lens, which is affordably priced at just $399, to use as a comparative benchmark.
Read our in-depth Pentax 14mm review to find out how the Pentax 14mm matches up against the Rokinon and the 15mm Limited!
The new Pentax-DA 50mm F1.8 standard/short tele lens is finally shipping in the US. You can acquire your copy today from B&H Photo, Amazon, and Adorama. If you placed a pre-order, it should be shipping soon if it hasn't already!
This 50mm lens was announced back in February during the CP+ trade show in Japan. It sports a plastic mount and is meant to be affordable without making any compromises when it comes to image quality. The launch price for this lens is $249, and you can read more about it in our lens database. Numerous sample photos have already been posted on our forum!
In first place was this sunset photo from forum member mrjamesabels. Click on the thumbnail to enlarge.
The photo is now being featured in our Premier Gallery together with past contest winners.