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08-21-2010, 04:39 PM   #1
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Beginner: Which lens to start with 18-55 or 50mm?

Hey Everybody!

So, I am going to be purchasing a K100DS for sure. What I have been wondering is should I start with a DA 18-55AL II or should I pick up a 50mm prime such as the FA 50mm 1.7? My budget for the lens would be around $150 max (preferably in the $125 range. I know that the 18-55 can be bought for much less, but picking up a nice AF 50mm might be a stretch in that price range. My interests/potential subject matter is pretty varied at this point. Everything from architecture, nature, macro, photos of our family + dog etc so I think whatever lens I end up with should be versatile. Any help/advice you can give would be much appreciated.

Thanks!
Steve

08-21-2010, 04:45 PM   #2
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18-55 for sure...50 will be too long for many of your application. You'll have a tough time with macro with either though.

Later if you have the urge for a fast prime, you could grab some of the older manual focus lenses to try. The A 50/1.7 can be had for $80-90 and will do everything except AF or there are even cheaper options.
08-21-2010, 04:46 PM   #3
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If you have a specific reaosn based on extensive experience to think you'd be among the minority of people happier with a single prime in an unusual focal length (50mm is a short telephoto lens on digital, not "normal" as it was with film), then by all means, go that way. But if you don't have the specific extensive experience to know for sure you'd be in that minority, then get the 18-55. It's the lens sold with the camera for a reason. And you can always get the prime later if you like. From your description of your varied interests, there is absolutely no reason to even suspect you'd be happy with just a short telephoto prime. As you say, the lens should be versatile - and a 50mm is anything but.
08-21-2010, 04:53 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by pcarfan Quote
18-55 for sure...50 will be too long for many of your application. You'll have a tough time with macro with either though.

Later if you have the urge for a fast prime, you could grab some of the older manual focus lenses to try. The A 50/1.7 can be had for $80-90 and will do everything except AF or there are even cheaper options.
Thanks for your suggestion. I know neither would be dedicated for Macro...I figure at some point if that is a subject I really enjoy I would have to get a dedicated lens.

QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
If you have a specific reaosn based on extensive experience to think you'd be among the minority of people happier with a single prime in an unusual focal length (50mm is a short telephoto lens on digital, not "normal" as it was with film), then by all means, go that way. But if you don't have the specific extensive experience to know for sure you'd be in that minority, then get the 18-55. It's the lens sold with the camera for a reason. And you can always get the prime later if you like. From your description of your varied interests, there is absolutely no reason to even suspect you'd be happy with just a short telephoto prime. As you say, the lens should be versatile - and a 50mm is anything but.
Thanks Marc for your detailed response. As I was finishing up that post I read my last line and thought...a 50mm would definitely not be versatile. I think I will go with the 18-55 unless there is a different zoom that you/anyone would feel would be more versatile in my price range? Also, for future reference, what would be a good prime to look into buying? Thanks again!

08-21-2010, 05:24 PM   #5
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The one question I have is why the 18-55 II kit lens. The K100DS is a 6MP sensor, and for $50 you can pickup the 18-55 version I. It works well on my K100D and K20. I know that with the K10, Pentax came out with the Ver II - purportedly for increased resolution, but from what I have seen the Ver I would be just in fine - especially with a tight budget. Just a thought....

08-21-2010, 05:35 PM   #6
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FA 50mm f1.7 no longer.
Only FA 50mm f1.4.
08-21-2010, 05:40 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
The one question I have is why the 18-55 II kit lens. The K100DS is a 6MP sensor, and for $50 you can pickup the 18-55 version I. It works well on my K100D and K20. I know that with the K10, Pentax came out with the Ver II - purportedly for increased resolution, but from what I have seen the Ver I would be just in fine - especially with a tight budget. Just a thought....

Not sure why...other than some of the reviews on the lens review section said it was a bit better than the original version.

QuoteOriginally posted by Danny Delcambre Quote
FA 50mm f1.7 no longer.
Only FA 50mm f1.4.
You can still get it used. There's one on the MP right now I think.
08-21-2010, 05:42 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Danny Delcambre Quote
FA 50mm f1.7 no longer.
Only FA 50mm f1.4.
True, the FA50/1.7 is no longer in production, but there are quite a few on the used market (and even more F50/1.7 lenses which are optically the same).

But as Marc and other have pointed out, if you're going to start with a single lens, something like the 18-55 makes more sense. If you're really on a tight budget, the 18-55 version "I" would be the most economical choice and would be perfectly fine (especially with the 6MP sensor). You should have no problem finding one for less than $50. If not, you're welcome to the one sitting in my closet not getting any use for half that price

08-21-2010, 05:43 PM   #9
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Stick with the kit for a while. See what you like.

I love the 50mm even on APS C. You can learn a lot of composition by getting a prime and forcing yourself to shoot with it a while. It should be a standard practice for new people.

Like many people say "everyone should have a fifty"
08-21-2010, 06:55 PM   #10
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I will go against the current to suggest that you start with the 18-55 version II. No, the optical imprvement probably makes no difference at 6MP, but you will then not have to worry about whether the lens (or your copy) is in fact giving you any trouble at 6MP, and will futureproof you against your next 10, 12, or 14 MP body.


I will also suggest (with the current in fact) that you try manual focus primes to test those waters (though I personally recommend auto aperture to limit the learning curve).
Such lenses as A 50/1.7, A 28/2.8, and A 100/3.5 macro can all be had for less than $100 US and allow interesting (and diverse) shooting experiences.

Finally, I will say with or without the current that for me, normal AF primes such F35/2 or Stigma 28/1.8 are of more interest on Pentax digital bodies than an AF "fast 50", but your mileage will inevitably vary.
08-21-2010, 08:32 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Impartial Quote
I will go against the current to suggest that you start with the 18-55 version II. No, the optical imprvement probably makes no difference at 6MP, but you will then not have to worry about whether the lens (or your copy) is in fact giving you any trouble at 6MP, and will futureproof you against your next 10, 12, or 14 MP body.
Fair point, although if you're talking about buying a $25 lens, you probably don't have to be too concerned about future proofing

QuoteOriginally posted by Impartial Quote
I will also suggest (with the current in fact) that you try manual focus primes to test those waters (though I personally recommend auto aperture to limit the learning curve).
Such lenses as A 50/1.7, A 28/2.8, and A 100/3.5 macro can all be had for less than $100 US and allow interesting (and diverse) shooting experiences.
I've had all three of those lenses at one point or another and you really can't go wrong with the A50/1.7. You should be able to find an excellent copy for less than $100, maybe even closer to $75 if you look around. It would complement an 18-55 kit lens well in terms of giving you some speed on the longer end.

QuoteOriginally posted by Impartial Quote
Finally, I will say with or without the current that for me, normal AF primes such F35/2 or Stigma 28/1.8 are of more interest on Pentax digital bodies than an AF "fast 50", but your mileage will inevitably vary.
I would, without hesitation, recommend the FA35. Despite selling for around $375 used (which I realize is way outside of your stated budget), it's still a decent value given the IQ (IMO). I sold mine when I "upgraded" to the FA31, but to be honest, the FA35 is nearly as good in most respects. It's the kind of lens you can just leave on the camera most of the time.
08-22-2010, 02:50 PM   #12
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I would go for the FA50/1.7. since it's not every day that you can find one. the 18-55 however is very easy to find and can get one for $50 bucks.
08-22-2010, 06:17 PM   #13
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Yes, it's good to have the kit lens, available cheap. Yes, it's good to have a Fast Fifty or three, whether cheap or not. What I've learned from buying too many cheap old manual lenses and a very few newer AF lenses is that if I had to start with one prime lens on an APS-C sensor, it would be in the 28-31mm range, ie wide-normal. I spent the last couple days shooting only with my long-normal pixie-dusted Isco Westron 35/2.8, similar AoV to a Fifty on 135/FF, and that was great, but a bit wider is more universal.

Back in the day (pre-zoom), a well-stocked SLR fiend might carry 24-35-50-85-135mm lenses. The rough equivalents for APS-C dSLRs are 16-24-35-55-90mm. As usual, faster is often (but not always) better. They might also carry some macro tubes, reversal rings, a flash, and filters (now superfluous). A kit AF zoom covers much of the range of those primes, but without their speed and special qualities. A zoom is for an easy start; primes teach you to see.
08-22-2010, 07:22 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
The one question I have is why the 18-55 II kit lens. The K100DS is a 6MP sensor, and for $50 you can pickup the 18-55 version I. It works well on my K100D and K20. I know that with the K10, Pentax came out with the Ver II - purportedly for increased resolution, but from what I have seen the Ver I would be just in fine - especially with a tight budget. Just a thought....

The II is in fact a better lens than the original and is a decent close up lens. Its not just improved, its a different optical formula. That's based on my experience as well as reading through the reviews and looking at image posts.
08-22-2010, 07:23 PM   #15
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ninemm,

You can find some posts from these lenses in the "Kit Lens Club" here:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/45425-kit-lens-club.html


Also, the II doesn't sell for much more than the I on the used market.
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