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08-01-2007, 10:54 AM   #1
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New K100d owner needs advice on 2nd lens...

I just purchased a k100d with the kit lens and I've been generally happy.

I've found that I have great want for a longer lens, probably somewhere in the 100-200mm range, however, there is a catch and that will probably have to wait:

I have a baby due in October, and our baby is the whole reason we replaced our old crappy P&S with an SLR, instead of just getting a new, less crappy P&S.

I can afford one lens priced in the $250 range (post rebate, if any).

Along the lines of this thread, I do not wish to be using a flash when photographing my baby: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/10124-portraits-lens-k100d.html

Now, when I walk around outside I really enjoy the 35-40mm range and for this reason I have seriously considered the 40mm f/2.8 pancake but... I wonder, would it or the 50mm f/1.4 do a better job in the house? The kit lens has been disappointing inside without flash or good lighting.

To summarize what I'm looking for:

1.) Needs to beat the kit lens in as many aspects as possible.
2.) Needs to work in low light (in doors, without flash).
3.) Needs to be good for (semi-)portrait as well as scenery, street-level, etc.
4.) Needs to be around $250 (can be $250 after rebates).

I'm sure I've missed something although I've spent a lot of time pouring over reviews etc.

Please let me know if you can think of any lenses that would help. Also, please point out if replacing the kit lens for these purposes might be silly and getting a longer lens to round out my capabilities would be wiser.

I'm open to the idea of zooms and third party lenses, but I've been seriously eyeballing the 40/2.8 & 50/1.4 (but you wont offend/bother/hurt my feelings if you suggest something else or just steer me away from them).

Thanks for any input in advance!



08-01-2007, 11:19 AM   #2
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I would try and go for the DA 50-200. Its under your budget, and is a really good lens for the money. Ive seen some for about $180 new. Its not going to be great in really low light, but not bad.
08-01-2007, 11:46 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tyler Quote
I would try and go for the DA 50-200. Its under your budget, and is a really good lens for the money. Ive seen some for about $180 new. Its not going to be great in really low light, but not bad.
Thanks for the input Tyler. I've looked at that lens since I bought my camera. The rebate sure helps too.
08-01-2007, 12:03 PM   #4
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I agree with the 50-200mm. It's only slightly bigger and slightly heavier than the 18-55mm kit lens and they both share the same 52mm filter size, so you can reuse filters.

I would choose the FA 50mm over the DA 40mm. I have both, but I find myself grabbing the 50mm more often for indoor portraits. If you can afford an FA 35mm f/2.0, then you might want to consider that even, but it's a bit more expensive than the other two.

It looks like B&H has the 35mm in stock for $299:
Pentax Wide Angle SMCP-FA 35mm f/2.0 AL Autofocus Lens

08-01-2007, 12:30 PM   #5
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Have you considered some used lens from KEH or Adorama? There is a 50 f1.7 at KEH for $56 in BGN condition. It's a good way to find out what you want.

Regards,
Ken
08-01-2007, 12:57 PM   #6
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Thanks Igowerf and Regken,

I do like the idea of having the "matching" 50-200 lens, sharing my lens filters, etc. It seems like it would be better than the kit lens inside (at least a little), owing to it being f/4 @ 50mm (vs. the kit f/5.6 @ 55mm).

My biggest dilema and the reason I haven't made up my mind yet, is the though that an f/2(ish) lens would be even that much better.

Thanks for the suggestion to look at used as well. I've thought about it and it's not out of the question but I'm willing to pay for autofocus. There seems to be a general consensus that the FA 50/1.4 is a great way to go for portraits and low-light and I'm basically trying to see what viable alternatives there are.

Since most of my 'keepers' have been in the 35-40mm focal length (so far), the FA 35mm f/2 is extremely appealing. I read a review that it's good for half body portraits as well... which is more than suitable for me... I just wish it was a little less dough. My budget is tight and I'll have to pass for now.

Thanks for all the great advice... anything further is also appreciated!
08-01-2007, 02:01 PM   #7
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Solution

Ok my friend I have your solution............... BUT....you will get 2 lenses.

The DA 50-200 is a great lens for the price....ignore the suposedly bad reviews, and BUY THIS LENS. When stopped down it is sharp and is a delight to handle and use. However it will be as hopeless as the 18-55 Kit lens for indoor without flash.

So get yourself on ebay and get a Pentax M or A manual focus 50 mm lens. get the fastest you can afford. In the M series the 1.4 and 1.7 are both very sharp. In the A series the 1.4;1.7; and 2.0 are all very sharp. The A series will cost a bit more, but have the advantage that you can use auto-exposure. The M lenses need to be manually metered , but the "green" button will set a shutter speed for you. You should get one for around $50

The sharpness of these old lenses will be as sharp or sharper than all the new lenses from any manufacturer on the dealers shelves. So second hand does not mean second hand quality. You will get the fast lens you need to take indoor pictures without flash. Then once you are delighted with the results you can run outside and play with the 50-200 as well !!!

As an aside you will have great fun learning a bit more about photography as you get to grips with a manual focus lens !
08-01-2007, 02:22 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by pschlute Quote
Ok my friend I have your solution............... BUT....you will get 2 lenses.

The DA 50-200 is a great lens for the price....ignore the suposedly bad reviews, and BUY THIS LENS. When stopped down it is sharp and is a delight to handle and use. However it will be as hopeless as the 18-55 Kit lens for indoor without flash.

So get yourself on ebay and get a Pentax M or A manual focus 50 mm lens. get the fastest you can afford. In the M series the 1.4 and 1.7 are both very sharp. In the A series the 1.4;1.7; and 2.0 are all very sharp. The A series will cost a bit more, but have the advantage that you can use auto-exposure. The M lenses need to be manually metered , but the "green" button will set a shutter speed for you. You should get one for around $50

The sharpness of these old lenses will be as sharp or sharper than all the new lenses from any manufacturer on the dealers shelves. So second hand does not mean second hand quality. You will get the fast lens you need to take indoor pictures without flash. Then once you are delighted with the results you can run outside and play with the 50-200 as well !!!

As an aside you will have great fun learning a bit more about photography as you get to grips with a manual focus lens !
Thanks... so far it seems the 50-200 is a very popular candidate. I do like the idea of the 50mm manual focus lens, some of my best shots so far have been when I grabbed the reigns from the cameras computer (so to speak) and I have seen oodles of great examples on pbase and elsewhere.

08-01-2007, 03:13 PM   #9
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If you are willing to step out of the Auto Movement, check out pentax's long history. Even within the realms of the K Mount, you'll find many manual solutions that will fit your budget.

With $250, you can easily get

-Tilt Swivel Head Flash
-a 135mm prime like the SMC Pentax M 135/3.5 or any 135mm f2.8 from other lens manufacturers.
-50mm prime f2 or f1.7 or f1.4 The FA 50/1.4 is kinda pointless overkill on your wallet in my opinion. An older version whos' optics are just as good can be had for at least half the price if not less.
-mid telephoto zoom like the SMC A 70-210, SMC F 70-210 etc.

Hope it helps! With the Pentax K Mount's backwards compatibility, $250 can go a LONG way!
08-01-2007, 03:15 PM   #10
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Not a portrait I know...but this was taken on my DS with a M- 50mm 1.7

08-01-2007, 04:35 PM   #11
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I just posted this in another thread, but I'd think that it would help you as well (in case you haven't been to that thread).

Here's a picture from the M 50/1.4 (the one Peter/pschlute mentioned that could be had for $50):

08-01-2007, 05:26 PM   #12
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Since the range you wanted is 100-300mm, why not get the Sigma 70-300 APO? It is about the same price as the DA 50-200. It also has a macro function which the DA 50-200 does not have. f-stop wise, it is abt the same as the DA 50-200.

I have the DA 50-200 and I concur with the recommendations by other forumers above but I am still contemplating to buy this sigma lens as a matter of fact.
08-01-2007, 05:43 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by raider Quote
Since the range you wanted is 100-300mm, why not get the Sigma 70-300 APO? It is about the same price as the DA 50-200. It also has a macro function which the DA 50-200 does not have. f-stop wise, it is abt the same as the DA 50-200.

I have the DA 50-200 and I concur with the recommendations by other forumers above but I am still contemplating to buy this sigma lens as a matter of fact.
Thanks Raider, while I really want a longer lens, my priority is to get the best lens for capturing special moments with my baby & family. My thinking was that the starting length of 70mm might be too much for around the house, but I'll keep reviewing example photos.

QuoteOriginally posted by vinzer Quote
I just posted this in another thread, but I'd think that it would help you as well (in case you haven't been to that thread).

Here's a picture from the M 50/1.4 (the one Peter/pschlute mentioned that could be had for $50):
Thanks vinzer, that's a great photo and it's making it tough not to buy one of those from KEH or Adorama...

QuoteOriginally posted by pschlute Quote
Not a portrait I know...but this was taken on my DS with a M- 50mm 1.7
Thanks pschlute... also a great photo and a good example closely related to my needs...

QuoteOriginally posted by FotoPete Quote
If you are willing to step out of the Auto Movement, check out pentax's long history. Even within the realms of the K Mount, you'll find many manual solutions that will fit your budget.

With $250, you can easily get

-Tilt Swivel Head Flash
-a 135mm prime like the SMC Pentax M 135/3.5 or any 135mm f2.8 from other lens manufacturers.
-50mm prime f2 or f1.7 or f1.4 The FA 50/1.4 is kinda pointless overkill on your wallet in my opinion. An older version whos' optics are just as good can be had for at least half the price if not less.
-mid telephoto zoom like the SMC A 70-210, SMC F 70-210 etc.

Hope it helps! With the Pentax K Mount's backwards compatibility, $250 can go a LONG way!
Thanks alot FotoPete... The flash is out (at least for this purpose), I'm hoping to eliminate the need for it in most circumstances with my next purchase. I'll peep at all the example photos I can from the older 50's and maybe even some zooms.

So now that a bunch of you have me considering the DA 50-200 I'm not able to find one in stock... at least, not for MSRP or less.

Luckily, the highly recommended manual 50's are a piece'o'cake to find right now.
08-01-2007, 06:39 PM   #14
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I have the DA 40mm Limited, and I use it for exactly the situation you've mentioned -- taking pictures of my kids around the house. At f/2.8, it's not the fastest lens, but that's still pretty fast, and it's sharp wide open. With decent ISO 1600 from the K100D and a little help from the shake reduction, I have no problem getting decent shutter speeds in most indoor situations.

A 50mm is probably also a decent choice, but I find the 40mm x 1.5 = 60mm equivalent focal length to be about as tight as I'd like for this use. If not the 40mm Limited, I think I'd instead go for the 35mm f/2, which can be had for just outside your price range. (Doh. I think that's a universal law.)

I think any of these are a better choice for right now than the 50-200mm. Save up and get that in two years when the baby is running around outside.

Attached images are just random DA 40mm f/2.8 Limited examples; JPEG straight from the camera, no PP (who has the time, with a newborn!) except for resizing and a tiny WB tweak on the second. (And the second could probably use some more work -- the lighting was nasty at the doctor's.)

See also my other post from a while ago about this lens and kids.
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08-01-2007, 06:49 PM   #15
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An external flash makes all the difference indoors. Even with say a ..50/1.4..if your lighting is not there, you'll still end up using very slow shutter speeds. While you might be able to take a shot, you might not freeze motion/get the DOF that you need.

If you spend all your cash on a DA50-200, sure you'll end up with a good daylight lens, but it won't help you one bit indoors.

A tilt swivel external flash is in no way asking alot. (You can cross out 360/540FGZ/EF550 out because P-TTL..for the extra $300-400..won't give you photos 3-4 times better than an auto thyristor would.) Buy something cheap. I use a Sunpak autozoon 333 ($17CAN) and a Vivitar Series 1 600N ($70) Both do a great job especially when used with a bounce card or diffuser. An external flash will add ALOT more 'life' not only to your kit lens but any future lens you buy.

Even if you chuck out $70 or even $100 for a tilt swivel flash, that leaves $150 for extra lenses. Getting a 135/2.8 shouldn't cost you more than $50 nowadays. (An SMC-M 135/3.5 is a solid purchase.) $100 should fetch you a nice tele zoom.
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