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08-15-2010, 08:34 AM   #1
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Advice for upgraded kit - 2-3 lenses

Hi There,

Like more people on this forum, I am also into buying a Pentax DSLR, but I want an upgraded lens-set to start with. And I am considering to use the price delta between the K-7 and K-x for better lenses. My applications can be summarized into taking pictures of our young daughters (2-4 years) every where you can think of - playing / partying / posing at home as well as playing / hiking outside or at school or sports field in the near-future. So (some of) the lenses need to be faster than the kit lenses (larger aperture for better brokeh). They don't really have to have longer reach (kids don't run away), nor much wider (not my current interest). Oh, I would like to have like 1 lens for inside and 1 for outside (and 1 for posing or my 200% focussing on getting that one perfect shot), so I don't have to switch lenses during the action.


For inside I was thinking about one of these lenses:
  • Sigma 17-70 mm F2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM, 535g = 350 Euro
  • Sigma 18-50 mm F2.8 EX DC Macro, 450g = 350 Euro
  • Tamron SP 17-50 mm F2.8 XR Di II LD ASL IF, 430g = 325 Euro
  • Pentax DA* 16-50 mm F2.8 ED AL [IF] SDM, 565g = 800 Euro
For outside I was thinking about one of these lenses:
  • Sigma APO 50-150 mm F2.8 II EX DC HSM, 780g = 575 Euro
  • Sigma APO 70-200 mm F2.8 II EX DG Macro HSM, 1370g = 650 Euro
  • Tamron SP AF 28-75 mm F2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical, 510g = 325 Euro
  • Tamron 70-200 mm F2.8 Di LD [IF] Macro, 1150g = 600 Euro
  • Pentax DA* 50-135 mm F2.8 ED [IF] SDM, 685g = 800 Euro
And as add-on, I am also thinking about a external flash:
  • Metz 36 AF-4P = 75 Euro - head only turns vertical
  • Sigma EF 530 DG ST = 125 Euro - head turns vertical and horizontal
  • Sigma EF 530 DG Super = 150 Euro - idem + wireless capability etc.
Initially I was actually thinking about a single prime next to the standard 2 lens kit or even next to the upgraded kit. But maybe I better first try out how the fast zooms work out and see what specific focal length I want to utilize for portraits even more. I can also try out my fathers old Pentax 50 mm F2 manual focus lens.


Prime options I have been considering:
  • Sigma 50 mm F1.4 EX DG HSM, 505g = 400 Euro
  • Pentax DA* 55m F1.4 SDM, 375g = 700 Euro
Oh, if you didn't notice, I highlighted the strengths as well as weaknesses I am aware of for all lenses.


What is good balanced investment?
  • K-x + wide zoom + long tele zoom + flash
    • 450 + 350 + 600 + 150 = 1550 Euro
  • K-x + wide zoom + short tele zoom + portrait prime
    • 450 + 350 + 325 + 400 = 1525 Euro
  • K-x + wide zoom + slow kit tele zoom + portrait prime + flash
    • 450 + 350 + 150 + 400 + 150 = 1500 Euro
  • K-7 + wide zoom + short tele zoom
    • 850 + 350 + 325 = 1525 Euro
  • K-7 + slow kit wide zoom + long tele zoom
    • 850 + 125 + 600 =1575 Euro
  • K-7 + slow kit wide zoom + slow kit tele zoom + portrait prime
    • 850 + 150 + 125 + 400 = 1500 Euro
Which wide zoom lens should I go for, Tamron 17-50?
Which tele zoom lens should I go for, Sigma 50-150 or Tamron 28-75?
Which flash should I go for (or none at all), Wireless Sigma?
Any lenses I forgot to look at?

Best regards,

Joep

08-15-2010, 08:59 AM   #2
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That's a lot of information there, yet you fail to give your budget. Can we assume it is 1500 euros max or ideally 1500 euros?

Why don't you decide on the camera/kit lens first and go from there?

We can't answer any of your questions for you. I can only answer it for myself. The best way to find out is to choose between the k-x, k7, k20d, use the kit lens and 50/2 for a few weeks and you'll have a better idea of what you need.
08-15-2010, 09:10 AM   #3
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You're certainly going to leapfrog my kit with your plans! I really, really like the DA16-45, great range and close-focus capability but it's no more a half-step up compared to your 16-50 choice. And the 55-300 is optically great, though I see your preference is f/2.8 on most all the lenses. Really, if you like the k-x you can bump the iso up, buy f/4 glass & save for what you will learn that you need - but I use my k-7 to iso1600 and am perfectly satisfied with the 'character' that some prefer to call 'noise'.

My setup of 16-45, 50 prime and 55-300 serves me well, saves weight & keeps cash in my wallet (supposedly). I owned the earlier 17-70 Sigma and was happy with it for my indoor shots; the 16-45 is very similar in character to the 17-70 other than range. I have no experience with large f/2.8 teles to assist you; I seem to have an allergy to any lens over 500g.

I hope you get enough from others here to help you achieve your lens dreams though!

Last edited by jimr-pdx; 08-15-2010 at 09:17 AM. Reason: after further review...
08-15-2010, 09:34 AM   #4
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If it were me, I would do the following:
K-X
Pentax 16-45mm f4 or...Sigma 18-50 f2.8
Pentax da*50-135mm
And an older fast 50...FA 50mm F1.4 or A 50mm f1.4 or 1.7

08-15-2010, 09:50 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by hangu Quote
That's a lot of information there, yet you fail to give your budget. Can we assume it is 1500 euros max or ideally 1500 euros?

Why don't you decide on the camera/kit lens first and go from there?

We can't answer any of your questions for you. I can only answer it for myself. The best way to find out is to choose between the k-x, k7, k20d, use the kit lens and 50/2 for a few weeks and you'll have a better idea of what you need.
My budget is 2000 Euro's, but I want to spend it on the right equipment and actually don't have to spend it all. I can spend it all today, but the total budget holds for the coming 2-3 years (so no additional 500 Euro every year).
First buying the K-7 with kit-lenses will limit my choices... (K-7 is 400 Euro more expensive than K-x and also 275 Euro gone on lenses that I don't want)

So maybe I should state my question differently. If you would have 1500-2000 Euro to buy a camera plus lenses, would you go for
  • K-7, leaving 1150 to 650 Euro for lenses and flash OR
  • K-x, leaving 1550 to 1050 Euro for lenses and flash
What is good percantage to spend on lenses for camera?
  • K-7 with kit lenses only = ~80% for Camera and 20% for Lenses
  • K-x with 1500 for lenses flash = ~25% for Camera and 75% for Lenses
08-15-2010, 09:55 AM   #6
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Very much in the same situation here, my kids are 3 and 1. I have to admit I didnt plan ahead as much, so I first bought the k-x with 2 lens kit (18-55 and 55-200). If you plan to use flash indoors, that 2-lens kit (or the 50-300 instead) is probably pretty good. I didnt follow my own advice and started bying other lenses...there is thing called LBA (lens byuing addiction) to which newbies like myself are particularly vulnerable...

At any rate, if you decide you still need more lenses, then buy the k-x body only. I would then recommend: Sigma 17-70 or Tamron 28-75 (the Tamron is faster but not as wide, you will probably still need flash for some/most of the indoors shots - see my thread about my questions and advice I got) for the everyday/walk-around lens and either the 55-200/50-300 pentax (even better if you can buy the k-x with one of those as the kit lens) or another less expensive telephoto (I have a used Tamron 70-300 which is pretty decent). As far as I know/understand, unless you are into sports photography, you really dont need fast telephoto lenses, as they become very heavy and expensive. Finally, if you really want to play around with indoor shots without flash, then a used fast 50mm prime is probably the easiest solution - similar to the one you have, but you can also get a used FA 50 1.4 for ~$250-300 on ebay or here.
Some of the other lenses you mention (50-135 for instance) maybe very nice, but I am not sure if you will be happy with 135 at the tele end - and the cost is significant.
08-15-2010, 09:59 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jimr-pdx Quote
You're certainly going to leapfrog my kit with your plans! I really, really like the DA16-45, great range and close-focus capability but it's no more a half-step up compared to your 16-50 choice. And the 55-300 is optically great, though I see your preference is f/2.8 on most all the lenses. Really, if you like the k-x you can bump the iso up, buy f/4 glass & save for what you will learn that you need - but I use my k-7 to iso1600 and am perfectly satisfied with the 'character' that some prefer to call 'noise'.

My setup of 16-45, 50 prime and 55-300 serves me well, saves weight & keeps cash in my wallet (supposedly). I owned the earlier 17-70 Sigma and was happy with it for my indoor shots; the 16-45 is very similar in character to the 17-70 other than range. I have no experience with large f/2.8 teles to assist you; I seem to have an allergy to any lens over 500g.

I hope you get enough from others here to help you achieve your lens dreams though!
I want the F2.8 to enable brokeh (blurred out of focus background), no to keep ISO low. Yeah, K-7 High ISO performance is not as good as the K-x, so that makes the K-x pretty attractive. I will just have to get used to those batteries...
- The possibility for an external microphone on the K-7 might also be handy some days and to my understanding also the in-camera image stabalization is more effecient (incl horizon correction). But on the other hand for the 400 Euro difference I can buy a nice(r) lens.
- A light and cheap 50-200 mm (or even 18-250 mm) is also something to consider.
08-15-2010, 10:09 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by icarus Quote
If it were me, I would do the following:
K-X
Pentax 16-45mm f4 or...Sigma 18-50 f2.8
Pentax da*50-135mm
And an older fast 50...FA 50mm F1.4 or A 50mm f1.4 or 1.7
Thanks, may I ask why?

I am also leaning towards K-x (altough K-7 is cool, but too expensive for my hobby). Is it OK-ish to have 50-135 mm, 50-150 mm or even 70-200 mm attached on this tiny lens?

The Pentax 16-45 mm F4 didn't got my attention so far, so I will have to check it out!!!
- Why Sigma 18-50 mm F2.8 and not the Tamron?

The Pentax DA* 50-135 mm F2.8 is much better than the Sigma 50-150 mm F2.8?
- I am a little scared of all those SDM stories...
- Weather coating is nice, but not really needed icw K-7...
- Is the in-camera correction for Pentax lenses a significant aspect of your preference over the Sigma?
- I am curious if the 135 mm will give me enough reach (although 150 mm is not much more), would a tele converter be something to consider for me?

Thanks up front for your feedback,

Joep

08-15-2010, 10:21 AM   #9
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You're obsessing over percentages, figures and this inside/outside nonsense. Have you even held/tried out the two cameras? I would go to a camera store and try the two cameras out if possible. The main selling points should be high ISO vs weather sealing. If you've done any research/reading on the two cameras, you should already have a decent idea of which one is better for you.

If you're looking for my opinion on what I would do if I were in your position, I'd purchase a used K-7 from the marketplace (like the $650USD with 9700 shutter actuations here: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/photographic-equipment-sale/110961-sale-a...worldwide.html), then use the remaining 1500 Euro on either the Pentax 16-45mm f4 or one of the similar Tamron/Sigmas. The Pentax 60-250 and 50-135 might then be my next purchase. I'd also look into a fast 50mm manual focus lens. Photography's supposed to be fun, after all. Two thousand Euros can go pretty far, I'd start out small and slowly build up my collection once I know what my needs are. You're trying to predict and plan for every scenario, which is impossible. Keep in mind that you can't go wrong if you have patience, take it slow and listen to what your true needs are.
08-15-2010, 10:23 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by tbirdas Quote
Very much in the same situation here, my kids are 3 and 1. I have to admit I didnt plan ahead as much, so I first bought the k-x with 2 lens kit (18-55 and 55-200). If you plan to use flash indoors, that 2-lens kit (or the 50-300 instead) is probably pretty good. I didnt follow my own advice and started bying other lenses...there is thing called LBA (lens byuing addiction) to which newbies like myself are particularly vulnerable...

At any rate, if you decide you still need more lenses, then buy the k-x body only. I would then recommend: Sigma 17-70 or Tamron 28-75 (the Tamron is faster but not as wide, you will probably still need flash for some/most of the indoors shots - see my thread about my questions and advice I got) for the everyday/walk-around lens and either the 55-200/50-300 pentax (even better if you can buy the k-x with one of those as the kit lens) or another less expensive telephoto (I have a used Tamron 70-300 which is pretty decent). As far as I know/understand, unless you are into sports photography, you really dont need fast telephoto lenses, as they become very heavy and expensive. Finally, if you really want to play around with indoor shots without flash, then a used fast 50mm prime is probably the easiest solution - similar to the one you have, but you can also get a used FA 50 1.4 for ~$250-300 on ebay or here.
Some of the other lenses you mention (50-135 for instance) maybe very nice, but I am not sure if you will be happy with 135 at the tele end - and the cost is significant.
Initially the 28-75 mm Tamron was on my ignore list, that means I thought it was a 35 mm full frame lens. But then I read a lot of possitive stories about it. F2.8 over the full range and relatively cheap. But the effective range of 42-112 mm still sounds really strange to me (not wide enough nor long enough, I will need 3 zoom lenses). Maybe I just have to get used to it...
A flash for indoor usage is probably going to be a must for me, but if needed I can of course buy it later (less combi-discount...).

About the fast wide/tele zoom lenses (despite light / flash), I think I have a different opion. But maybe it comes back to my budget and target for best Image Quality (and photography flexibility) within that budget. A couple of years later I might buy me some more primes.
08-15-2010, 10:32 AM   #11
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If you haven't noticed already, you're getting a lot of different advices. It's only going to get more and more confusing. This is why I'm suggesting to start simple, decide on a body + kit lens to start out with and go from there. You really can't go wrong doing that.

I ended up doing something very different by going the manual focus route. I have been very, very happy with my choice of equipment. That might not have happened if I had done what you plan to do by purchasing everything at once or if I had listened completely to other people's advice. People here typically suggest the DA*16-50 and DA*50-135, which are both fine lenses, but I probably would be as happy using them. We're all different and our needs certainly are.
08-15-2010, 10:34 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by hangu Quote
You're obsessing over percentages, figures and this inside/outside nonsense. Have you even held/tried out the two cameras? I would go to a camera store and try the two cameras out if possible. The main selling points should be high ISO vs weather sealing. If you've done any research/reading on the two cameras, you should already have a decent idea of which one is better for you.

If you're looking for my opinion on what I would do if I were in your position, I'd purchase a used K-7 from the marketplace (like the $650USD with 9700 shutter actuations here: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/photographic-equipment-sale/110961-sale-a...worldwide.html), then use the remaining 1500 Euro on either the Pentax 16-45mm f4 or one of the similar Tamron/Sigmas. The Pentax 60-250 and 50-135 might then be my next purchase. I'd also look into a fast 50mm manual focus lens. Photography's supposed to be fun, after all. Two thousand Euros can go pretty far, I'd start out small and slowly build up my collection once I know what my needs are. You're trying to predict and plan for every scenario, which is impossible. Keep in mind that you can't go wrong if you have patience, take it slow and listen to what your true needs are.
Thanks for your advice!!!
- I did hold both camera's already a couple of times. The K-7 was a bit big/heavy for me and the K-x a bit small/light. But my feeling is telling me to go for K-x with some better lenses, rather than K-7 with less / less nice lenses. That is also why I post in this sub-forum about lenses.
- Pentax DA* 60-250 mm looks sweet, but too big for my and I don't need that reach most of the time (my kids don't run away that far (yet)).

I have to check out that Pentax 16-45 mm F4!!!
08-15-2010, 10:50 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by JoepLX3 Quote
Thanks for your advice!!!
- I did hold both camera's already a couple of times. The K-7 was a bit big/heavy for me and the K-x a bit small/light. But my feeling is telling me to go for K-x with some better lenses, rather than K-7 with less / less nice lenses. That is also why I post in this sub-forum about lenses.
- Pentax DA* 60-250 mm looks sweet, but too big for my and I don't need that reach most of the time (my kids don't run away that far (yet)).

I have to check out that Pentax 16-45 mm F4!!!
I suggested the 60-250mm because of your mentioning of sports photography. That's one of the few lenses that you can couple with a 1.5 auto tele-converter and still get AF and great image quality. At its shorter end, it's perfect for photographing children.

I also suggested a used K-7 stateside because of the strength of the Euro and the money you'd save by buying second hand. 9700 shutter actuations is nothing as long as the camera has not been abused.

The Pentax 16-45mm is an inexpensive lens ($250USD) that gives great image quality. The only downside is its relatively slow aperture. Since the used K-7 I had linked did not include a kit lens, the 16-45mm would be a great alternative. I also would not hesitated to buy the 16-45 used. You'd save quite a bit and since it's screw mount, it doesn't suffer from the SDM issues.

The K-x is actually pretty heavy once you have the 4AA batteries inside. You can't go wrong with either camera. For me, it ultimately came down to weather sealing vs high ISO performance.
08-15-2010, 10:56 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by hangu Quote
If you haven't noticed already, you're getting a lot of different advices. It's only going to get more and more confusing. This is why I'm suggesting to start simple, decide on a body + kit lens to start out with and go from there. You really can't go wrong doing that.

I ended up doing something very different by going the manual focus route. I have been very, very happy with my choice of equipment. That might not have happened if I had done what you plan to do by purchasing everything at once or if I had listened completely to other people's advice. People here typically suggest the DA*16-50 and DA*50-135, which are both fine lenses, but I probably would be as happy using them. We're all different and our needs certainly are.
I am just getting close!!!

K-7 is too expensive, so I go for K-x with 2 kit++ lenses:
  • For an additional 200 Euro I upgrade the kit wide zoom lens to for example the Tamron 17-50 mm F2.8
    • 325 iso 125 Euro
  • And I replace the kit tele zoom by the Sigma 50-150 mm F2.8 for an additional 425 Euro
    • 575 iso 150 Euro
450 for camera, 900 for two nice lenses, 150 for a flash and I am ready.
- I keep 500 Euro and decide later on portrait prime / ultra wide angle / extreme tele / ...

Just have to feel how that Sigma 50-150 mm F2.8 lens on the K-x fits in my hands.
- I am also curious about the Tamron 28-75 mm F2.8, but it actually isn't much more light compared to the Sigma 50-150 mm F2.8 either
08-15-2010, 11:07 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by hangu Quote
I suggested the 60-250mm because of your mentioning of sports photography. That's one of the few lenses that you can couple with a 1.5 auto tele-converter and still get AF and great image quality. At its shorter end, it's perfect for photographing children.

I also suggested a used K-7 stateside because of the strength of the Euro and the money you'd save by buying second hand. 9700 shutter actuations is nothing as long as the camera has not been abused.

The Pentax 16-45mm is an inexpensive lens ($250USD) that gives great image quality. The only downside is its relatively slow aperture. Since the used K-7 I had linked did not include a kit lens, the 16-45mm would be a great alternative. I also would not hesitated to buy the 16-45 used. You'd save quite a bit and since it's screw mount, it doesn't suffer from the SDM issues.

The K-x is actually pretty heavy once you have the 4AA batteries inside. You can't go wrong with either camera. For me, it ultimately came down to weather sealing vs high ISO performance.
Maybe I wasn't 200% clear in descibing my applications (also pretty difficult to make up my own mind). But my daughters are 2 and 4 so it will take several years before they play games on a big soccer / rugby / hockey field!!!

The K-x I tried was working, but maybe indeed without batteries (by power cord), interesting...

Currently I live in Japan, but I am Dutch, so in my situation I am a little hesitant on second hand for the camera. Lenses on the other hand is a totally different story, especially prime lenses!!! Oh, in Asia they also often do stacked discount, if you buy more you get more discount, or from every product you get 10% back as discount on your next product and in some smaller shops paying cash gives you another 10% discount.

Thanks for all your advice
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