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08-17-2010, 11:38 AM   #1
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Alternative to kit lens

So I just got back from a trip, a destination wedding in the Caribbean, relying solely on on my 40mm da pancake lens. I chose to take this instead of the kit lens because of the compact size and slightly faster glass. But I had a hard enough time getting shots of groups b/c 40mm wasn't wide enough. Should I have just taken the kit lens instead? Is there a better, affordable alternative, like Sigma, to the kit lens at f/2.8? Or, should I have just focused more on framing the shots?

08-17-2010, 11:44 AM   #2
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I think something along the lines of the Sigma 24-70mm is what you might be looking for: Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 EX DG MACRO (AF Lens) Lens Reviews - Pentax Third-Party Lens Review Database

It's faster than the kit lens and also a bit longer than needed. 24mm is plenty wide for most applications, so I'd say it's a good trade-off for the extra two stops at the long end.

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08-17-2010, 12:00 PM   #3
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The 'standard' focal length range is probably the most saturated in lenses.
Off the top of my head:

Pentax 16-50 f/2.8
Sigma 18-50, 17-50, 24-60, 24-70 f/2.8s
Tamron 17-50 f/2.8,
+ more
And heaps of primes.

And other options like f/4s, Pentax 17-70, 16-45, Sigma 17-70 I think f/2.8-4?

Standard zoom range lenses starting at 24mm or thereabouts are usually full-frame lenses, but are still moderately wide. f/2.8 zooms will be bigger and heavier than your kit, but by how much varies with the lens.

What do you want to improve on from the kit? Range/build/speed/IQ etc

Last edited by CWyatt; 08-17-2010 at 01:58 PM.
08-17-2010, 12:03 PM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by LucyGoosey Quote
So I just got back from a trip, a destination wedding in the Caribbean, relying solely on on my 40mm da pancake lens. I chose to take this instead of the kit lens because of the compact size and slightly faster glass. But I had a hard enough time getting shots of groups b/c 40mm wasn't wide enough. Should I have just taken the kit lens instead? Is there a better, affordable alternative, like Sigma, to the kit lens at f/2.8? Or, should I have just focused more on framing the shots?

This may be moved to Pentax SLR Lens Discussion

I really like the 18-55 kit zoom - lots poo-pooh it as it is a kit zoom - but it is one of the better kit zooms out there - the original Mk 1 was liked a lot and the more recent Mk II is even better.

I use the lens at the 18mm end a lot that max aperture is f/3.5 which is not that much slower than f/2.8 the possible max aperture for a 18mm prime, or premium zoom that encompasses that focal length. (f/3.5 is about 2/3 stop slower than f/2.8)

The main advantage of the zoom is obviously its flexibility to allow in camera cropping - or framing as precisely as one's patience/tolerances will allow.

As you have found even though a prime may theoretically be superior optically it is just not that flexible - there are many situations when one may not make up the single focal length limitation by moving closer or further.

Whereas a zoom may still not be a panacea - and one ought to still move and adjust one's position for better angle and/or perspective - but it is much more flexible allowing one to frame the shot properly as opposed to accepting a compromise.

When one can actully use the full frame without much cropping then that utilizes the maximum quality of the shot - whereas a prime with severe cropping may not be able to make up for the quality loss from the crop and using a smaller area.

It may seem like going against the tide - but perhaps you'd like to look at this thread:

Kx in Use

where I have been using the K-x in pretty challenging lighting conditions -

ISO5000, f/4, 1/30 would be about my average -
that's about 2 foot-candles = 22 lux = 22 lumens/sq metre

I only use the kit zoom lenses 18-55 and 50-200.

There are some who seem to poo-pooh the kit zooms, but the Pentax kit zooms are actually of very good quality as reviews (and hopefully my results) show.

Popular Photography tested both the original 18-55 (as the Samsung clone) and the more current 18-55 AL II versions -
this is the very useful SQF (Subjective Quality Factor) chart - from their review of the Pentax DA 18-55 AL II -


08-17-2010, 12:17 PM   #5
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I moved it. You're right UnknownVT. Better in Lens Discussion. Adam must've been half asleep or something.
08-17-2010, 12:26 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by UnknownVT Quote
There are some who seem to poo-pooh the kit zooms, but the Pentax kit zooms are actually of very good quality as reviews (and hopefully my results) show.
Excellent stuff. The Schneider (look it up) DA18-55 is too-often derided by those who haven't learned to exploit it. I bought my K20D with a DA18-250 instead, then got the DA18-55 later, and I use the 18-55 when I don't need the 18-250's reach. That kit lens is a minor gem.
08-17-2010, 12:39 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Excellent stuff. The Schneider (look it up) DA18-55 is too-often derided by those who haven't learned to exploit it. I bought my K20D with a DA18-250 instead, then got the DA18-55 later, and I use the 18-55 when I don't need the 18-250's reach. That kit lens is a minor gem.
Couldn't agree more, too often this lens is dismissed because it is the "kit lens", it seems like the first thing people want to do is to get rid of it and get something else. I would like to get a faster lens in this range but for now, I am concentrating on getting other types of lenses because this one is great in most situations. It is the lens that stays on my camera.
08-17-2010, 01:33 PM   #8
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no offense to those who liked the DA18-55. fwiw, it is a decent lens and is capable of delivering good results. but honestly, I haven't gotten anything from it that has really blew my mind away. I didn't dismiss it because it is a kitlens, but rather dismissed it due to the "just" good images I got from it, aside from other concerns of IQ performance at certain focal lengths. although it is much better than the CaniKon counterparts if I were to say it. those other lenses really suck.

sometimes I regretted why I bought a $200 brand new 18-55 WR where I could had bought a used 16-45 for the same amount. it doesn't take rocket science to see the IQ difference between the 2 lenses. if someone would go for IQ for a cheap price, the 16-45 would be the best alternative. if size matters, the 18-55 would be the better deal.

anyway, I had done some extensive PP with images shot by 18-55. although it improves the results, I am still not that satisfied from the results at the settings that I preferred it to be used.

08-17-2010, 01:41 PM   #9
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Some sugestions are:
Pentax DA 16-45mm 4.0
Sigma 17-70mm 2.8-4.5
Pentax DA 17-70mm 4.0
or ultimete the
Pentax DA 16-50 2.8
08-17-2010, 01:53 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
where I could had bought a used 16-45 for the same amount. it doesn't take rocket science to see the IQ difference between the 2 lenses. if someone would go for IQ for a cheap price, the 16-45 would be the best alternative. if size matters, the 18-55 would be the better deal.
dpReview of Pentax 16-45


dpReview of Pentax 18-55

I think this is the earlier Mk 1? -
the Mk II is slightly improved......
08-17-2010, 03:59 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by UnknownVT Quote
dpReview of Pentax 16-45


dpReview of Pentax 18-55

I think this is the earlier Mk 1? -
the Mk II is slightly improved......

the real world images should be as good as the chart should be. in my personal experience of handling both lenses and as far as the images that were shown here time and again, it is not the case.

I believe photozone has a much accurate testing and representation as far as charts versus real world images are concerned.

Last edited by Pentaxor; 08-17-2010 at 04:05 PM.
08-17-2010, 04:30 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
the real world images should be as good as the chart should be. in my personal experience of handling both lenses and as far as the images that were shown here time and again, it is not the case.

I believe photozone has a much accurate testing and representation as far as charts versus real world images are concerned.
I think both lenses are good - there is also sample variations -
if the 16-45 is better - I would hazard it is not night and day better.

Otherwise there may be different rockets in space cadet school
08-17-2010, 04:39 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by UnknownVT Quote
I think both lenses are good - there is also sample variations -
if the 16-45 is better - I would hazard it is not night and day better.

Otherwise there may be different rockets in space cadet school
. funny. anyway, I would be more than glad to trade my 15-55 WR for a 16-45. if there are any takers out there, just pm me and will do some trading.
08-17-2010, 04:48 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
. funny. anyway, I would be more than glad to trade my 15-55 WR for a 16-45. if there are any takers out there, just pm me and will do some trading.
This is the point -
I can find reviews from the same source that suggest the 18-55 is "better" than the 16-45.

You of course can find another source that shows the 16-45 is "better" than the 18-55.

Both sources look reputable to me -
who to believe?

NASA of course......
08-17-2010, 05:20 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by UnknownVT Quote
This is the point -
I can find reviews from the same source that suggest the 18-55 is "better" than the 16-45.

You of course can find another source that shows the 16-45 is "better" than the 18-55.

Both sources look reputable to me -
who to believe?

NASA of course......
NASA believes that the 16-45 is better. I'll take their word for it.
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