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10-07-2010, 09:09 AM   #1
Pentaxian




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Coming home :-) Advice on lens set-up...

Hi everyone :-)

Some of you may remember that I used to shoot a Pentax dSLR system (K20D, DA* 16-50/f2.8, DA* 50-135/f2.8 and DA Ltd 35/f2.8) a couple of years ago before changing, for an assortment of reasons, to Olympus 4/3rds (since then I've continued to shoot Pentax 35mm with an MX and LX).

Now don't get me wrong, I love my E-3, and the idea of selling my 12-60 SWD and 50-200 SWD combo is a sad thought indeed, but at the moment Olympus' attitude toward classic 4/3rds simply does not give me the confidence required for an investment of $5000AUD+. Especially the new E-5 (would have been impressive 2 years ago, but not now, and not for $1700USD) and Oly's official stance that it will be their last dSLR with an OVF and most likely their last with a standard 4/3rds mount. I have no issue with m4/3rds, but it's not for me and definitely not a replacement for a proper dSLR system.

Sooooo, I've decided to come back home I'm very impressed with the new K-5 (especially in terms of sensor improvements over the K20D/K-7, which were my main issues with both those bodies) and I'm planning to purchase one when the price drops a bit (I'm in no great rush). So my question for you guys and girls concerns lenses...

I shoot a wide variety of subjects, without any real specific interest. My main interests are street/photojournalism, architecture, landscape/nature and surfing/bodyboarding. I like being mobile with my kit, so versatility is important. I also do a lot of shooting outdoors in Tasmania, which doesn't have the best weather, so sealing is a must. At the moment I shoot with the following (35mm equ. in brackets, to avoid confusion between formats)

- ZD 8mm FE (16mm) - I don't use this much, but there are times (mainly interior photography, I'm an architecture student) where it's invaluable.

- ZD 12-60/f2.8-4 SWD (24-120mm) - Terrific walkaround lens. Very useful range and excellent build quality. The complex distortion at 12mm though is an issue and it's slow at the long end, which combined with the reduced DoF and average noise-performance of the 4/3rds sensor is annoying at times.

- ZD 50-200/f2.8-3.5 SWD (100-400mm) - Very handy lens, but not an ideal length for me. I only use the long end for surfing, and the short end is a bit too long for street/portrait work. Also big for a general purpose lens.

These are the two kits I'm thinking about initially. Both will probably expand over time with some primes and so on, but these are the lenses that will do 99% of my photography...

Option 1:
- DA 12-24/f4 or 10-17mm FE
- DA* 16-50/f2.8
- DA* 50-135/f2.8
- DA* 200/f2.8

Option 2:
- DA 12-24/f4 or 10-17mm FE
- DA* 16-50/f2.8
- DA* 60-250/f4

*Edit - additional option*
Option 3:
- DA 12-24/f4 or 10-17mm FE
- DA* 16-50/f2.8
- DA* 50-135/f2.8
- DA* 300/f4

To add to the confusion, I'm considering the DA 10-17mm FE instead of the 12-24/f4... Undecided.

(For what it's worth, I currently have a K20/f2.8, M35/f2 and M50/f1.4 that I use for film)

I'm undecided on the long end. On the one hand, the DA* 60-250/f4 covers a great range and gives me a bit more reach. But then it's as heavy and as long on the short end as my 50-200, making it less ideal for street work, and it's slower and bigger than the 200/f2.8, which I think would probably be long enough for my surfing stuff (I mainly shoot reefs which are quite close to land, and I like to shoot surfing with context).

On the other hand, I know from experience that the 50-135/f2.8 is an ideal walkaround tele, and the 12-24 + 50-135 or 16-50 + 50-135 would both be great travel combinations. But the 50-135/200 combo is a bit more fiddly for tele stuff than the 60-250...

Argh, to many options...!!! Thoughts & suggestions?

Cheers, Nick


Last edited by nickthetasmaniac; 10-07-2010 at 05:06 PM.
10-07-2010, 09:25 AM   #2
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If truly undecided on the long end, you might just 'punt' - get a 55-300 to tide you over, and it just might win you over. Sure it gets slow at the long end, but for tele quality it's very good and IQ/gram it's quite excellent! As long as the surfers are out on sunny days it should do the job. (I punted even further with the DAL, saving us$100; still hoping for a WR non-* tele myself.)

My dynamic duo is the 16-45 + 55-300; if I went for a trio I'd likely take the oddball 10-17 fish.. not everyone would do such a thing, and the 12-24 is a fine choice. While I don't have one, it seems hard to go wrong with a DA*. As long as the motor issues I read about now&then are over!
10-07-2010, 03:30 PM   #3
axl
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Interesting...
Welcome back I mean
To your options:
I'd recommend Sigma 10-20/4-5.6 for wide end, 10mm (15 eqv) rectalinear is invaluable at times. I wanted to sell this lens many times just to realize how stupid I would be!
You seem to be decides on normal lens so I'll leave you to it...
The long end. 200 may be bit short bit long if you know what I mean but by skipping 50-135 you are skipping people portrai lens. Since WR is must as you said, I'd recommend: 50-135 + 300. I used to have the former and it's a terrific lens, but I'm more of a prime person so... But the range is great for people, long street shots etc, and it's not too big. And I used to have 300 but FA* not DA*. Many say that the newer is even better, if that's true than I'd really recommend it. Optically the FA* was superb, it's small lens too (barely bigger than 50-135) light and for surfing it would be great IMO. In any case it seems you have some though choices to make... Good luck!
10-07-2010, 04:40 PM   #4
wjt
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I think your option one sounds the best. As you don't seem to use the wide angle much you just need to decide whether you want the fish eye effect or not, I have both the DA10-17FE and DA12-24 and both are great, i would probably lean more towards the fisheye for shooting around the urban environment and the 12-24 more for landscapes etc. I haven't used any of the DA* lenses yet (ordering 50-135 in next few days) but i would say the extra speed in the 50-135 vs the 60-250 would benefit your shooting indoors. And like axl said the 300 would give you better range than the 200 and sounds like you use it for your surfing stuff.

10-07-2010, 05:04 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies people.

@ axl - I like your reasoning for the 50-135/f2.8 + 300/f4. When I was shooting with Pentax before the 50-135 was probably my favourite lens; there's just so many things to love about it! I suppose with those two lenses in my bag I'd be pretty well covered for surfing stuff, although I do lust after the 200/f2.8 ;-)

@ mibane - Yeah I'm undecided on the wide-angle option. When I shoot landscapes I tend to prefer to stitch panoramas rather than shoot wide, so I don't need the rectilinear wide for that. But I've never had an UW, so I'm not sure if it'd get more general use than a fisheye... Unfortunately I don't know anyone who owns one I could try...

@jimr-pdx - Unfortunately most good surfing days in Tassie are far from sunny ;-) Seriously though, after three years shooting with Pentax DA* and Ltd and Olympus HG lenses, I'm really not interested in going back to consumer lenses... Call me a gear-snob if you like :-)
10-07-2010, 09:27 PM   #6
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how about this setup instead;

1.> Sigma 8-16 or Pentax 12-24
2.> Pentax 18-135 or Pentax 16-45
3.> Pentax 200 or Pentax 55-300.
10-07-2010, 09:36 PM   #7
Ash
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G'day mate.
I'm with option 1 - Pentax all the way, and you won't be more impressed by any other telezoom if you're comparing it to the 50-135.
Wide angle, you can't go wrong with the 12-24 - ask yourself do you need any wider FL than 12mm?
You may even with the 10-17 as well, but don't make it your only UWA lens...
10-08-2010, 03:04 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
how about this setup instead;

1.> Sigma 8-16 or Pentax 12-24
2.> Pentax 18-135 or Pentax 16-45
3.> Pentax 200 or Pentax 55-300.
Is the Sigma 8-16 available in K-mount?

10-08-2010, 03:59 AM   #9
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As far as your wide option goes, you need to decide if you want a rectilinear or a fish eye perspective. They are two very different lenses. I chose a fish eye because I sometimes want a really different look or want to get 180 degrees into view, which is impossible, even with the Sigma at 8mm. Also, distortion can get pretty bad on the Sigmas wider than 12 mm from what I have seen. With the Pentax 12-24 it seems to be a little better controlled.

For me personally, I could start with the 16-50 and the 50-135 as my mainstay lenses. I could shoot with just those two lenses 99 percent of the time and be happy. Not sure if you need the longer focal length, but the DA *300 does seem to be very nice.

The other thing to consider with a wide lens would be a prime (like the DA 15 or 14). Neither would get quite as wide as the other options you have, but they would be smaller and less prone to flare.
10-08-2010, 06:11 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
As far as your wide option goes, you need to decide if you want a rectilinear or a fish eye perspective. They are two very different lenses. I chose a fish eye because I sometimes want a really different look or want to get 180 degrees into view, which is impossible, even with the Sigma at 8mm. Also, distortion can get pretty bad on the Sigmas wider than 12 mm from what I have seen. With the Pentax 12-24 it seems to be a little better controlled.

For me personally, I could start with the 16-50 and the 50-135 as my mainstay lenses. I could shoot with just those two lenses 99 percent of the time and be happy. Not sure if you need the longer focal length, but the DA *300 does seem to be very nice.

The other thing to consider with a wide lens would be a prime (like the DA 15 or 14). Neither would get quite as wide as the other options you have, but they would be smaller and less prone to flare.
Another alternative I'm considering at the moment is getting the DA 12-24 to begin with, then possibly adding the Sigma 10mm/f2.8 Fisheye down the track if I feel it's still needed.
10-08-2010, 10:28 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by nickthetasmaniac Quote
Is the Sigma 8-16 available in K-mount?
Yes. some people in the forum already own one. you might want to check those threads for the samples.
10-08-2010, 10:33 AM   #12
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Ok thanks, I couldn't find it on B&H that's all...
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