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05-20-2010, 01:25 PM   #1
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Canon 'Defector' seeking glass guidence

Hello everyone!

I am a Canon user planning on defecting to Pentax. Originally I had a Canon 50D with a 17-40L f/4 and 70-200L f/4

I am highly interested in the K7. I guess of the few reasons I chose Pentax was from glowing recommendations from my Dad in the film days when he was a Minolta shooter, and from another friend who did a lot of classic Pentax film shooting. Obviously, the K7's price also allows me to pick up more glass in the process. I do have semi large hands and loved the size of the 50D... its much larger than the Rebels. I owned two Rebels and I really didnt like the feel of them in my ape hands. I don't have any local stores that carry Pentax any more.. although they still talk about Pentax in a positive manner when I mention it. I hope the K7 is better than the Rebel in size/comfort.

I always heard about the legacy of the wonderful Pentax Glass. Knowing the K7 can utilize all the old lenses made in the past, this really encouraged me to get some great lenses at great prices... not to mention delve further in to the world of manual focusing.

Since I plan to get a Body only K7, I wanted to get some glass thats not terribly expensive to make sure that this conversion is right for me. I really don't wish to bother with kit glass as they usually let me down, and coming from L, I really don't want to get the wrong impression from Pentax.

So far I have bought a 50mm 1.7 off ebay for a mere $20! Its in great shape and the rings are still smooth to turn. I am wondering though... should I bother with the kit glass? I hear many people are happy to start with the 18-55 and 55-300 from Pentax. However like I said previously I am a little weary of kit glass, I was thinking of a 17-50 Tamron and Possibly the 70-200 Tamron to cover my bases till I decide if this is the right track for me.

Later if this proves to be what I want, then I will dump money into the vaunted Limited Primes.

Anyone have any other legacy glass recommendations that could save me money? Or any other recommendations at all? Like 17-50 + 55-300? or 18-55 + 70-200? I am really trying to save a little money moving over but still keeping the quality of lens in mind.

Oh, and for what I shoot? Anything and Everything. I go from street, action, landscape, back to street, sports.. etc. I am a generalist.

Thanks a lot and I can't wait to get to know more of you as time goes on!

05-20-2010, 02:15 PM - 1 Like   #2
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If you haven't done so already, I strongly recommend you browse through our lens database, located here: Pentax Lens Review Database - Lens Listings

In contains information (including pricing) and reviews for every Pentax lens.

I'd personally recommend the DA* 50-135mm as far as zooms go, about that's no cheap lens. In the Pentax world, the "*" (star) is the equivalent of Canon's L. The Limited DA primes are also great lenses.

However, there are also many fabulous manual lenses, some of which are actually better than modern ones. Please have a look through the lens database, and if there's anything that catches your eye, I'll try to comment on it. My lens collection includes almost the entire Pentax lineup

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05-20-2010, 02:31 PM   #3
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Great, thanks Adam!
05-20-2010, 02:37 PM - 1 Like   #4
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I am a semi-defector because I still have a 50D as well as a K-x. I won't comment on lenses. I've never owned a Canon L.

The K-x is great for what it is, great fun & has very good high ISO performance.

I don't think I would have given up Canon for the K7.

05-20-2010, 02:39 PM   #5
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Welcome kalison,

You've asked some different questions here so I'll try to parse them out.

As for build quality and handling, I think you will be pleased with the K-7. Some people on the forum with larger hands have complained that it is too small compared to other models like the Canon 50D, but I find it just about perfect for me (I have medium sized hands with long fingers). In fact, I'd put the feel and ergonomics of the K-7 up against about just any other camera I've ever held. The body is heavily reinforced and feels heavier than it looks.

If the camera ends up being too small for you, you can also try adding the optional battery grip, as some people have said that this helps them if they find the camera too small.

As for lenses, I have read some reviews where the Pentax DA16-45 f/4 compares pretty favorably to the Canon 17-40L f/4, with the build quality advantage going to the 17-40. Buying this lens would give you an upgrade over the Pentax kit zoom but also won't break the bank. I can recommend the DA*16-50 f/2.8, too, but there have been some reported issues with that lens that I have been lucky to avoid so far.

The Pentax 17-70 f/4 is very simiar to the DA16-45, except it is a little bigger, has the extra reach, is partially weather sealed, and has an silent internal motor (SDM)

Another great wide angle option would be the Pentax DA12-24 f/4. I've never used it but pretty much everyone who owns one seems to love it.

The Pentax DA 55-300 is supposed to provide great image quality for the price. The DA*50-135 is probably the most revered zoom that Pentax makes at the moment. The only knocks on it are that the focus speed is kind of slow and the SDM motor fails sometimes (get a good warranty). Depending on who you ask on here, SDM (Pentax's lens motor) fails more or exactly as much as other company's lens motors do.

The DA*60-250 f/4 is a little more recent and is sort of the Pentax equivalent of the Canon 70-200 f/4 L in that they are both high quality zooms that provide good range at f/4.

(I mostly recommended these lenses as a starting point based on what you already use. You should note that all DA* lenses are weather sealed which makes for a completely weather sealed kit when you use it on a K-7. All DA* lenses also have the SDM internal motor I referenced earlier)

Last edited by Urkeldaedalus; 05-20-2010 at 02:45 PM.
05-20-2010, 02:40 PM   #6
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Welcome to the forum.

For lenses, I would add to Adam's suggestion a visit to Welcome to Photozone! - Pentax Lens Tests

Photozone.de and Slrgear.com are two of most comprehensive independent review sites. The above URL will give you a good choice of Pentax lenses and review comments.

Pentax has some excellent fast primes and the 50mm is an excellent start. There are also some fabulous pancake lenses: DA70mm Ltd, DA40mm f2.8, DA21mm Ltd. I think that these lenses are a fantastic line-up.

There are further some very good zooms: the DA50-300mm , DA18-250m are both well regarded in their respective category. The kit lens 18-55m is also very good value for money and above average for a kit lens.


With the camera body, all K-7 pentaxians would recommend it very strongly. An excellent semi-pro camera at a very reasonable price, especially now. You canot go wrong wit the K-7. The K-x is also a great camera but an entry level.
05-20-2010, 02:47 PM   #7
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I can't personally vouch for this as I have neither a k7 nor large hands, but I read a comment recently from a k7 owner with self described big hands who said that the k7 with the battery grip was a really very good combo. I thought that was a useful comment.

If you were to go with a kit lens, opt for the DA 18-55 WR version. It's the latest and it's the water resistant version.

The Tamron 17-50 f2.8 is an excellent lens no doubt. My daughter uses it on her Canon 40D. I have owned the Tamron 70-200 f2.8 briefly and it is very sharp although a very big lens (that was the one thing I didn't like about it).

I would say that you may want to go slow at first with your lens purchases. Particularly with the older non auto focusing glass. While it's true that you can use the older lenses, it's not quite the same as the newer lenses and it's better to get the controls all worked out before you delve into the older manual focusing stuff.

Enjoy.
05-20-2010, 02:54 PM   #8
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Sounds like the 50D suits you, wonder why you want a tiny body like the K-7. Any lens can be mounted on the K-7, can be mounted on 50D too, except DA lenses which have no aperture ring. Get the K-7 if you want DA Limited lenses, otherwise I fail to see the point consider you have already own the 50D with 2 fine zooms.

05-20-2010, 03:02 PM   #9
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The standard Pentax 18-55 kit is so cheap and acceptable at the 18 end, that there's little reason not to have one for its full auto.

I'm a legacy M42 user (see my signature), and although I'm not close to being one of the better photogs here, I just love using my old manual glass. Not just for the look of the images, but the experience of shooting full manual.

I'm 53, so that has something to do with it. But whatever your age, there's something really cool about picking up an old Russian lens for 15 bucks from 1969 (my latest acquisition, a Helios), and taking images that kind of bring you BACK to 1969.

The resolution of modern lenses is incredible, but it's a different animal than these older lenses, which will only disappear as time goes on.
05-20-2010, 03:03 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by wlachan Quote
Sounds like the 50D suits you, wonder why you want a tiny body like the K-7. Any lens can be mounted on the K-7, can be mounted on 50D too, except DA lenses which have no aperture ring. Get the K-7 if you want DA Limited lenses, otherwise I fail to see the point consider you have already own the 50D with 2 fine zooms.
I have to agree with this. It was the slow AF performance of SAFOX, as well as the terrible reliability of SDM lenses that made me consider Canon 7D, and Ring USM lenses for the first time, after decades with Pentax.

Don't make the mistake of comparing Pentax in the digital age with the Pentax of old that many of us fondly remember.

Choose your glass wisely, and you may want to have some experience with that k-7 before you sell off the 50D and your L glass.
05-20-2010, 03:06 PM   #11
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If you want to experience the best of Pentax than get one to three of the FA Limited lenses with the K-7. Yes there are some incredible zooms as well... more than enough. But all brands have those. No-one else has the Limiteds.
05-20-2010, 03:30 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by kalison Quote

I am wondering though... should I bother with the kit glass? I hear many people are happy to start with the 18-55 and 55-300 from Pentax.
I would avoid the kit glass, particularly the 18-55. It won't measure up to the Canon L glass. The Pentax 16-45 is a better choice: it will at least equal, if not exceed, your Canon 17-40. Even better (but much more expensive) is the 16-50.

The 55-300, although pretty good for a kit lens, will not measure up to the 70-200 L Canon. Pentax has some lenses in that range that arguably are superior, like the 60-250 and the FA* 80-200/2.8 (no longer in production), but these lenses are rather expensive (+$1,200).

Among the legacy Pentax glass, the best lenses can be divided into two types: the "legendary" legacy Pentax glass that fetches huge prices on ebay (this includes most of the Pentax macro 1:1 and long lenses, and their fast 85s), and the great legacy glass that can be picked up at bargain prices (like the fast 50 1.4 and 1.7). Among the latter group, I would recommend that A series 35-105 f3.5 zoom (perhaps the best of Pentax's manual zooms), the K-series 28 f3.5, the K-series 35 f3.5, and the K-series 135 f2.5.
05-20-2010, 05:49 PM   #13
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First I want to thank all of you for the welcome and the comments and recommendations!

QuoteOriginally posted by blackcloudbrew Quote
I can't personally vouch for this as I have neither a k7 nor large hands, but I read a comment recently from a k7 owner with self described big hands who said that the k7 with the battery grip was a really very good combo. I thought that was a useful comment.

If you were to go with a kit lens, opt for the DA 18-55 WR version. It's the latest and it's the water resistant version.

The Tamron 17-50 f2.8 is an excellent lens no doubt. My daughter uses it on her Canon 40D. I have owned the Tamron 70-200 f2.8 briefly and it is very sharp although a very big lens (that was the one thing I didn't like about it).

I would say that you may want to go slow at first with your lens purchases. Particularly with the older non auto focusing glass. While it's true that you can use the older lenses, it's not quite the same as the newer lenses and it's better to get the controls all worked out before you delve into the older manual focusing stuff.

Enjoy.
Yeah, I guess its weird for me to be looking at the K7 especially per size difference. From what I understood even though its small, the grip is deep and semi curved, which allows it to be more comfortable in even larger hands. My Rebels were so tiny that my knuckles and finger tips would be always touching the zoom rings or the body right next to the lens. Hell, even the Nikons have a curve to deepen the grip... which to me makes it feel larger than it is.

The 50D solves this by being wider, but not from an ergonomics stand point, its big... but I will be damned if its "ergonomic". I think Nikon wins (so far I dont know what the K7 is like), I drooled over a D300s for a few minutes at my local shop.

Besides, Rebels are notorious for being the worst small DSLRs when it comes to ergonomics. The T2i was better than the older models but to me, it still wasnt that good.

Thanks for your response!

QuoteOriginally posted by wlachan Quote
Sounds like the 50D suits you, wonder why you want a tiny body like the K-7. Any lens can be mounted on the K-7, can be mounted on 50D too, except DA lenses which have no aperture ring. Get the K-7 if you want DA Limited lenses, otherwise I fail to see the point consider you have already own the 50D with 2 fine zooms.
Well, thats just it, I am really looking to get into the DA and FA limited lenses eventually. I like primes I figured I would get more all around lenses to start with.

Is it really that much smaller than the 50D? From the people I have seen handing it, they had some meating fingers and it seemed to not bother them. One guy said the grip solved his "pinky-hanging-off-the-bottom" issue.

Other than that, I am really looking forward to packing this smaller DSLR for hiking and shooting in worse conditions than I would ever take my 50D into... as we all know being Canonites.... if you want REAL sealing you need to spend 1600 for good... and 2500 (this may not be true anymore, as the 5D seals are supposedly bested by the 7D's) for better, and 5-6k for the vaunted 1D seals.

From what I have read through testing, the K7 not only bests the 50D in seals... its on par with the kind of splash protection that the 1D and 7D share. And for 700-1600 dollars less!

Whats pushing me to try this so bad is that I feel the K7 is like a smaller brother of the D series bodies. Well sealed, Rugged, Fast (FPS), Lighter... all while keeping all the features I am looking for. I am actually lickin my chops' thinking of taking such a substantial camera with me more often than when I drag out the 50D. The shutter from what I have heard sounds so smooth and quiet... which is another thing that helps get those candids and natural people shots.

Thanks a lot for your post! Don't get me wrong... Canon is the fine system. I do enjoy my 50D.

QuoteOriginally posted by northcoastgreg Quote
I would avoid the kit glass, particularly the 18-55. It won't measure up to the Canon L glass. The Pentax 16-45 is a better choice: it will at least equal, if not exceed, your Canon 17-40. Even better (but much more expensive) is the 16-50.

The 55-300, although pretty good for a kit lens, will not measure up to the 70-200 L Canon. Pentax has some lenses in that range that arguably are superior, like the 60-250 and the FA* 80-200/2.8 (no longer in production), but these lenses are rather expensive (+$1,200).

Among the legacy Pentax glass, the best lenses can be divided into two types: the "legendary" legacy Pentax glass that fetches huge prices on ebay (this includes most of the Pentax macro 1:1 and long lenses, and their fast 85s), and the great legacy glass that can be picked up at bargain prices (like the fast 50 1.4 and 1.7). Among the latter group, I would recommend that A series 35-105 f3.5 zoom (perhaps the best of Pentax's manual zooms), the K-series 28 f3.5, the K-series 35 f3.5, and the K-series 135 f2.5.
Hey! Thanks! I was looking at the 16-45 and 17-70 with intent to take place of the 17-40L. You say the 16-50 is sealed up like an L glass? I would consider it. I am not as concerned about the 70-200L replacement as my 17-40L is on the body about 85% of the time. I could make due with a 55-300 cheapy to get a feel for things. After all, its not the lens or the body that takes the pictures.

Thanks for the recommendations on the legacy glass! I picked up a great condition A 50mm f/1.7 is this the right one?

I gotta tell you, I am drooling over those limited prime photos that have been posted. The build looks out of this world... even compared to my L glass. Bokeh looks buttery smooth as well. The size is also very enticing. I loved my 50 f/1.8 "nifty fifty" on the canon... I couldn't imagine having a whole bag of such small yet substantial lenses with me all the time.
05-20-2010, 05:57 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by PentaxPoke Quote
I have to agree with this. It was the slow AF performance of SAFOX, as well as the terrible reliability of SDM lenses that made me consider Canon 7D, and Ring USM lenses for the first time, after decades with Pentax.

Don't make the mistake of comparing Pentax in the digital age with the Pentax of old that many of us fondly remember.

Choose your glass wisely, and you may want to have some experience with that k-7 before you sell off the 50D and your L glass.
Will do, I appreciate your response.

To me USM is tops... there is nothing I have felt thats smoother and more reliable than Canon's USM system. SDM lenses are pretty bad? Or what exactly makes them unreliable?

QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
If you want to experience the best of Pentax than get one to three of the FA Limited lenses with the K-7. Yes there are some incredible zooms as well... more than enough. But all brands have those. No-one else has the Limiteds.
I plan on doing this. One of the bigger draws to Pentax. As stated before... I am really looking forward to making a much less conspicuous camera that I can capture people and general street photography with.

Thanks!
05-20-2010, 06:31 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Urkeldaedalus Quote
Welcome kalison,

You've asked some different questions here so I'll try to parse them out.

As for build quality and handling, I think you will be pleased with the K-7. Some people on the forum with larger hands have complained that it is too small compared to other models like the Canon 50D, but I find it just about perfect for me (I have medium sized hands with long fingers). In fact, I'd put the feel and ergonomics of the K-7 up against about just any other camera I've ever held. The body is heavily reinforced and feels heavier than it looks.

If the camera ends up being too small for you, you can also try adding the optional battery grip, as some people have said that this helps them if they find the camera too small.

As for lenses, I have read some reviews where the Pentax DA16-45 f/4 compares pretty favorably to the Canon 17-40L f/4, with the build quality advantage going to the 17-40. Buying this lens would give you an upgrade over the Pentax kit zoom but also won't break the bank. I can recommend the DA*16-50 f/2.8, too, but there have been some reported issues with that lens that I have been lucky to avoid so far.

The Pentax 17-70 f/4 is very simiar to the DA16-45, except it is a little bigger, has the extra reach, is partially weather sealed, and has an silent internal motor (SDM)

Another great wide angle option would be the Pentax DA12-24 f/4. I've never used it but pretty much everyone who owns one seems to love it.

The Pentax DA 55-300 is supposed to provide great image quality for the price. The DA*50-135 is probably the most revered zoom that Pentax makes at the moment. The only knocks on it are that the focus speed is kind of slow and the SDM motor fails sometimes (get a good warranty). Depending on who you ask on here, SDM (Pentax's lens motor) fails more or exactly as much as other company's lens motors do.

The DA*60-250 f/4 is a little more recent and is sort of the Pentax equivalent of the Canon 70-200 f/4 L in that they are both high quality zooms that provide good range at f/4.

(I mostly recommended these lenses as a starting point based on what you already use. You should note that all DA* lenses are weather sealed which makes for a completely weather sealed kit when you use it on a K-7. All DA* lenses also have the SDM internal motor I referenced earlier)
Wow thanks for all the info!

I keep hearing the SDMs arent reliable. Thats semi bothersome, as I have grown accustomed to the wonderfully smooth, fast, and quiet USM motors.

From what I have been reading the 55-300 Pentax is kinda the "cheap wonder" much like the 55-250 that I had started with years ago. The "nifty two fifty". Sounds like it wouldnt be a horrible idea to get this for trials.

The 50-135 looks great as well and its in the acceptable price range... not as long as the 70-200... but 50-135 is not bad at all. Fully sealed since its a *.. which is more than the 70-200L is. Also 2.8 which is a plus. I could see using that glass quite frequently... I am sure it can't be larger than the 70-200.

60-250* looks nice too!

I think its all in time, but I will more than likely be moving to primes in the end. Having maybe only one or two zooms. FA and DA limited lenses just teasing me right now.

I think I am really eyeing the 35 macro limited and the 77 limited.

I see you are an Iowa resident as well!
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