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09-08-2007, 04:20 AM   #1
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Looking for advice on a 2nd lens

Hi,

I'm very new to SLR photography and lenses etc. I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of my K10D with 18-55 kit lens.

I am looking to get another lens that will allow me to shoot distant subjects - birds, wildlife, possibly some sporting events (motorsport, rugby, snowboarding etc) but could also be used as 'walkabout' lens (if I have understood the term correctly)

What lens would you recommend to a newbie like myself, do I need something that goes up to 300 or is 250 or even 200 going to be enough?

Cheers,
Techno~

09-08-2007, 04:41 AM   #2
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I could easily recommend the Pentax 50-200mm lens.

It is very small for its focal range. It is also dirt cheap. It sells for 199 Canadian. You cannot really go wrong for the price. It is a great inexpensive way to get some reach.

If you are looking for something with a little more reach, but also reasonably priced, you could look at a Sigma 70-300mm APO or the Tamron 70-300mm. The Sigma doesn't purple fringe as bad as the Tamron, but the Tamron has more sharpness. Itís a trade off between the two. The Tamron is also a lighter lens to carry around.
09-08-2007, 04:58 AM   #3
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Thanks for the swift reply.

How bad is the purple fringing on the Tamron? Remembering that I am very new to this, is it something that I will notice and think it's my fault or is it something that only the pros would notice when printing out at A3+ sizes?

This site recommends a Sigma 58mm EX DG UV Filter for the Sigma but they don't recommend anything for the Tamron - does the Tamron have a built in filter or is it something that I should consider buying if I chose the Tamron.

Do you feel that the filter is a necessity at all?
09-08-2007, 05:15 AM   #4
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A UV filter is usually used more for protection of the front element of the lens than for any filtering it provides.

There are two schools of thought on the need for a "protective filter":

1. It's better to have a relatively cheap filter get dirty, suffer bumps, endure poor cleaning attempts than your expensive lens.

2. A filter adds two more glass surfaces to your optical path and so may degrade the optical quality of your expensive lens.

Personally, I'm of the latter school. I thing a good hard hood provides adequate protection to the front element, and will help, not harm, the image.

Oh, and remember that filters are a high-profit item compared to cameras and lenses. That gives a camera store a real incentive to sell them to you.

And finally, a UV filter can be useful to eliminate UV haze in the distance when shooting at high altitudes.

09-08-2007, 05:32 AM   #5
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I am on the other end. I have found that the image degradation is so small that it is almost negligible with a good quality filter on the lens. I believe in having UV or in the old days, skylight filters to protect the lens. It has saved me a lot of money over the years also. I somehow managed to smash two filters with no ill effects to the lens in the past. I would rather throw away 60 dollars then 400.

The purple fringe can be fairly severe, but you will only see this in high contrast areas. For example, you are shooting at a bird in a tree with a bright sky background. You will get purple fringe around objects.

I have the Tamron 70-300, and here are a few examples of what I mean.



and



Overall I am fairly happy with the lens. The price was right, it is light, well built, and the purple fringe can be easily removed with Photoshop, for those few keepers that I may want to print at a later date.

The Sigma has CA well under control.
09-08-2007, 06:10 AM   #6
baw
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Also have a look at the Tamron 18-250.
Tests are rather positive, and you'll find some posts on this forum with positive comments.
I do like mine.

Photozone test.
09-08-2007, 06:30 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the excellent advice so far.

I had just about made up my mind to go for the Sigma until baw's post.

The 18-250 is almost double the price of the 70-300s.

If I were to choose the 18-250 would the 18-55 kit lens then be redundant?

Am I better to have a single 18-250 or the 18-55 plus a 70-300?

Again , thanks for all the advice and sorry if these questions are a little naive.

I suspected that this was going to be fast learning curve and I haven't even received the camera yet!
09-08-2007, 07:26 AM   #8
baw
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I believe the Tamron to be the best all-in-one lens at the moment. Good for walkaround use.
I cover the wideangle with the Pentax 12-24, thus overcoming the (not very bothersome) distortion of the Tamron.
My 18-55 and 70-300 don't get much use at the moment.
The Tamron + some old manual 1.7/55 or similar lense could be all you need, certainly when starting out.

This album has a lot of shots with the Tamron. I believe all the shots at Universal. The rest is with the 12-24.

09-08-2007, 07:27 AM   #9
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No apology needed -- people who come here like talking about cameras, so when a new forum members' questions are posed, all the better!

If you're not sure what focal lengths you are likely to use, one option is to buy an inexpensive zoom and see if you use it. If you don't like it, sell it. I've noticed that Pentax lenses show very little (if any) depreciation on the used market, even for lenses still in production. I took this to the extreme and bought a cheesy old Sears 60-300mm zoom with an "A" setting on the aperture ring, just to see if I would like the 300mm end. I didn't end up using it (I rarely lug my tripod around and my hands are too shaky to hand-hold at 300mm), but I was only out $30.

As for UV filters, I also use them, but I've noticed that you really get what you pay for. Cheap ones are prone to awful flare that can hugely degrade image quality, especially in tricky shooting conditions (backlighting, harsh light, etc.). I think it is absolutely worth it to pony up a little more for a Hoya HMC or B+W MC filter.
09-08-2007, 08:40 AM   #10
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I have heard nothing but good things about the Tamron 18-250mm.

One thing to consider, every time you change your lens, you are exposing your camera's insides to dust, which will be attracted to the positive charge of an image sensor. Your camera has a few things to combat the dust, but there isn't a system on this planet that will eliminate it all.

I tend to like the Sigma 50-500mm (Bigma) lens partially for this reason. I really like the versatility of focal length in one package. The convenience factor is something worth considering. Others prefer the better optics of prime lenses, and don't mind the lesser convenience out in the field when you want to switch them. There is a lot of equipment out there, and if you take your time, chances are you will find something that will fit your needs.
09-08-2007, 02:54 PM   #11
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I recommend DA 50-200

I have both the kit's lens and DA 50-200. After rebate, the DA 50-200 is reasonably cheap. It is not as long in focal range for the reach but the most important attribute of DA 50-200 to me is on its light weight. It is just a bit heavier than the kit's lens. It is great for hiking, traveling and I use it for almost many things including indoor pictures. Picture quality and range may not be as good as the Tamorn but if weight is a concern and that you care about shorter focal length on your 2nd lens to avoid lens change, you can think about da 50-200. Some sample pictures:

spontaneous sunset shot at long focal length


hiking with kid


indoor portraits from 50mm to 90mm


hiking and close up




More from these blogs with picture links to flickr

Photozone.de Pentax DA 50-200 review - Hin's Tech Corner

Chasing My Boy with DA 50-200 - Hin's Tech Corner

Thanks,
Hin
09-08-2007, 03:17 PM   #12
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wow - thanks for all the advice everyone.

Those are some lovely shots hinman - I love the grass seeds and your kid looks like he has mischief written all over him

I've changed my order as it was due to ship on Monday - I've canceled the 18-55 kit and gone for the Tamron 18-250. I also added the battery grip and a couple of Hahnel batteries (does anyone if these are any good they were less than 1/2 price of the Pentax ones so thought I'd give them a go) and a couple of 2gb cards - I sort of got carried away. There's lesson here somewhere - don't go shopping after 1/2 bottle of red wine.

Again - I really appreciate all the advice and hope to post some of my early efforts soon.
09-08-2007, 03:22 PM   #13
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Just wait till LBA creeps up on you.
09-08-2007, 03:41 PM   #14
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LBA?

Help a confused beginner out here - it took me twenty minutes of googling to find out what CA means (do you know how many domain names there are in Canada or how many photographers/studios there are in California?)
09-08-2007, 08:28 PM   #15
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Oh sorry. Sometimes I forget about the language at times.

CA = Chromatic Abrasion. This results in that beautiful purple fringe seen in my bad examples above.

LBA = Lens Buying Addiction. A disease that afflicts many a photographer. You know you have it when youíre buying lenses for no good reason. Real bad LBA could even result in having the same lens twice lol.
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