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10-19-2010, 11:58 PM   #16
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You do have the 28-80mm?

Well, I thought you had no lens at all! ;-)

Don't sell ist, get the kit lens nonseless (giving you a cheap wide angle ability), and then go shooting for a year or something.
With these two lenses, you cover everything from wide angle to short tele, which will be everything you need in the beginning.

As your skills improve, you will invariably find the limitation sof these lenses, but until then, they will serve you well.
(In a year or two, your budget might have improved, and, more important: then you will know what you want - and not end up buying a lens you don't use at all.)

10-20-2010, 12:49 AM   #17
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Probably a reasonable fast 35mm (around f/2)
10-20-2010, 12:49 AM   #18
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Ok I will have to post some pictures. Because like I said I feel it's the lens sometimes (since I'm new to DSLR I know I am an amature but as far as composition I'm pretty good).
10-20-2010, 01:03 AM   #19
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Since you have a zoom to cover the most common focal lengths already I'd suggest a second hand prime: a Pentax-M 50 1.7 (general purpose) or a 28 2.8 (for a FOV better suited indoors), or maybe something similar from lesser known brands, where top IQ can be had for dirt cheap if you do your research dilligently (the review database on this site would be a good place to start). The shipping costs can be a deal killer though, but some sellers only charge the actual postal fees. In the UK, they have a cheap option for tracked delivery: "Royal Mail signed-for". I understand that this is only 2 £ on top of the postage itself, the rates for which which are quite reasonable with Royal Mail too, so your best bet might be US Mail in itself is on par, but tracking seems to add dispropotionately to the cost. is also good for old lenses, but delivery charges are a bit higher, also it seems that the crowd there really appreciates good old lenses - in my experience the prices themselves tend to get higher.

MF and stop-down metering are worth the trouble, IMHO, because they not only make good old lenses an option, thereby saving money, but help one to tune into the Force as it applies to photography. I believe the Force is especially strong with old, generally unapreciated lenses with high IQ, where you invest your trouble instead of money to discover it :-)

10-20-2010, 01:41 AM   #20

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I don't think Pentax made any 28-80 lenses that were that good - I know my first SLR was a Pentax (ZX-50, I think) with two kit lenses - one was the F 35-80mm F4-5.6 and the other was the F 80-200mm F4.7-5.6. I really liked the control layout and ease of use of the camera for a beginner, but the picture quality was always less than I expected. I also had access to an older manual Minolta SLR with a Manual Focus 50mm lens that gave much sharper and better photos. At the time I didn't understand why and was frustrated, but I continued to use the Pentax with its degraded IQ because of its flexibility and ease of use with the kit zooms. Now of course I fully understand - not only are 50mm primes higher quality, but those zooms were some of the worst lenses Pentax ever made, according the the forum ratings. Even as a novice I recognized the quality wasn't there. I don't think your lens is quite as bad, but it's of a similar era and apparently is not that good either.

If you get one of the lenses mentioned it may ease your frustration as you see the IQ you should be getting. In fact, you might be able to pick up a cheap DAL 18-55 and an A50/2.0 for about $100 for the pair - I think that would get you started. But I still like the IQ on the other lenses I mentioned better - and I agree with jolepp about it being worth the trouble to use a Manual Focus lens - although the A series is easier to start with.

USPS can ship a 2 pound package to Japan for less than $18 - you could get one or two lenses sent for that. And the dollar to yen exchange rate is in your favor right now.
10-20-2010, 02:54 AM   #21
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Isn't A also manual focus?
(but more comfortable to use than M, as Av mode should work? - Don't know to much about A, don't own any, but that's what I read...)
10-20-2010, 06:38 AM   #22
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If you are careful, and scour pawn shops and camera stores that sell used lenses, you should do quite well.

In my collection, please note the following purchases.

M42 lenses
vivitar 28mm F2.5 $9
Helios 58mm F2 $13
SMC Tak 135F3.5 $35 (Slow aperture blades)

K mount and other
Tamron 28mmF2.5 (nikon mount) $10
sigma 28mm F2.8 macro in KA mount $30
SMC-FA 28-80 F3.5-4.5 $10 (broken power zoom mode switch, but otherwise fully functional)
SMC -M 50mmF2 $10

You could almost have the entire lot for $100,

I don't know what is available where you live, but very close to me is Henry's outlet store. It is very easy to find old plastic body FA and FA-J kit lenses like the FA-J 18-35 and FA 28-80 lenses for $30 in the scrap bin, there are even the 55-300 type lenses there. so you could have a cheap AF 2-3 zoom kit for about $100

Optically they will give up something, compared to the best of new lenses, but if you want to get started in a hurry, it is possible.

Also check local thrift stores and pawn shops. ALthough MF, I passed up a complete P30 kit, with an A50F1.7, a 28-80 and 70-200 all for $80, because I had no use for it.

there are options out there if you can look around and wait a little
10-20-2010, 09:26 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
I would get the F 35-70mm f3.5-4.5 or the FA 28-70mm f4 and put the rest towards a fast 50 or 55mm mf lens. Both these zooms will smoke any of the 18-55 lenses in IQ and are far more compact and overall faster.
The F35-70 lives on my K10 for most of the time, it's a great lens, it's compact and best of all a mint copy cost me £12 ( $20 ) at the local pawn shop.

Which leaves about $80 for a selection of Helios, Pentacon and other cheap and cheerful manual focus wonders.

10-20-2010, 09:44 AM   #24
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F 35-70mm much under-rated and cost-effective

It's an older lens from the film era, but I have one from around 1990 that has served me well over the years. I would rate it as better than the kit lens and it does also have some modest macro capabilities. It is available for really good prices - I have seen them around $25 on eBay. I don't use mine much anymore, preferring the manual focus A 35-105mm in this range.

For portraits, I use the Pentax-A 50mm 1.4 and also have a 1.7 that is nearly as good and much more affordable.

I also second the recommendation for the Pentax-A 28mm f 2.8 - a reasonable normal lens on a K10D - and quite affordable.

10-20-2010, 10:15 AM   #25
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Get either a:
Pentax-A 50mm f1.7
Great lens, very sharp, great color and contrast, good focal length for all sorts of things including portraits. They can be found for under $100 if you can find one that is less then perfect) I picked one up for $35 + shipping. It had a very minor fungus issue arround the edges of the front element. The fungus does not affect image quality and I killed it with UVC light so it wouldn't get worse. Contrary to some peoples belief, fungus does not spread to other lenses, and can be easily killed with UVC light. The myth that fungus spreads is perpetrated by people that do not take care of their equipment properly.
Pentax DA L 18-55mm or DA 18-55 AL II. Auto focus, very useful range, good color and contrast, reasonably sharp. 18mm is wide enough to do some good wide angle work. 55mm is long enough for most general use. The DA L and DA AL II are the same lens (optically identical), but the DA L an be found for less. Read the reviews in the review section.
10-20-2010, 03:08 PM   #26
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I just thought of another one. The Miranda 24mm f2.8 macro. VERY sharp, great resolution, great color rendering, good contrast. Macro is good for a 24mm. It will get you in pretty close. I recently purchased one and compared it to my pentax-a 28mm f2.8. It beat the pentax-a 28mm in all aspects except color rendition. I picked it up for $50 from the UK, took like 2.5 weeks to get here, but it was worth the wait. The one thing you will have to watch out for is the pesky Ricoh pin. Don't put it on your camera if it has a Ricoh pin. I did and it got stuck. Luckily I was able to remove it. Removal of the pin is very easy so don't be afraid to get one. If by change you do, PM me and I'll walk you through removing the pin.
10-20-2010, 07:27 PM   #27
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The Miranda sounds nice but I can't find it :-(

And even though shipping to Japan is only like $16-20 they all seem to be charging $25-35 with an average of about $30
10-20-2010, 07:58 PM   #28
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I am sure you could find a used 18-55 version II there in Japan for $100 or less. That would be a good place to start.
10-20-2010, 08:00 PM   #29
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Keep looking, they come up from time to time on Ebay. Take 5 min every day and check to see if one is up fore sale. A lot of times they come up on buy it nows for in the neighborhood of $75. Wait for an auction to come up and try to get one for a good price.

If you can't find that Miranda, and they are fairly rare, get the 18-55. Truthfully though, the 18-55 would probably be more useful for you. It's what I typically leave on the camera and use for most general shooting. If I want to get artsy or go for long shots, that's when I pull out other lenses. Though, I do really like the Miranda. Very useful focal length. It's kept in my small bag with me 50mm 1.7 my 18-55 and my 35-105.
10-20-2010, 08:18 PM   #30
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Good auto-focus lenses for under $100 shipped to Japan is a tall order. I would think you would do better if you could find some in the used market there, but I have no idea what that would look like.

Most of the advice above is quite good. For lenses with auto focus, the F 35-70 is maybe a little better optically than the DA 18-55, but less versatile and obviously overlaps with what you have. You could maybe sell the F28-80 to expand your budget somewhat, but I don't think anything in your price range will give you earth-shattering improvement. It would be a very reasonable course of action to work on maximizing what you can do with the lens you have.

With that said, most of the bargain gems of the Pentax world are manual focus primes. A Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7 lens gives great IQ as well as ability to play with a very narrow depth of field. A Pentax-M 50mm f/4 macro lens will be extremely sharp at all apertures and allow you to fill the frame with something about 45mm across. The Sigma Mini-Wide II (28mm) and Super Wide II (24mm) both have auto-aperture (an A setting) and can be found in manual focus versions for under your price limit - the 28mm anyway, the 24mm is a little more rare.

Good luck!

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