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10-25-2010, 11:52 PM   #1
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Invest in ONE lens less than $300 USD, which one?

New or Used, does not matter, opinions needed. I like to do outdoors and nature photos. I use a Pentax K-X

I am thinking about investing in a good lens. What would be a good lens to look for new or on ebay thats under $300 dollars? After i buy this lens i wont be buying an expensive/new lens for a long time, i'll stick with thrift/pawn store cheap lenses.

DigitalRev did a video on "pro camera+cheap lens vs. Expensive lens+intro camera" and the intro camera+expensive lens came out better, so i wanted to invest in a good lens.

I have so far: (all lenses were 25 dollars or less)
500mm Tamron SP Adaptall
70-200 Sears Ricoh lens (Manual Focus, pin removed)
28-80 Sigma Mini Macro Zoom II (Auto-Focus, pinhead crack on edge of lens but no effect on photos) I use this lens more than my kit lens.
and the 18-55 Kit lens.

10-26-2010, 12:00 AM   #2
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I suggest a fast 50, since your lacking a fast lens.
A must have for any kit, the faster apertures will open up alot of doors for you.
And you have many options under $300.
10-26-2010, 12:09 AM   #3
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I suggest a used copy of Sigma 18-50mm F/2.8 EX DC Macro or similar (make sure it's the "macro" model). Among the lenses I have, the Sigma 18-50 F/2.8 and the Pentax DA* 16-50 F/2.8 are used the most. The Pentax DA* exceeds your budget (and is bigger and heavier than the Sigma), but the Sigma is about that price (used).
10-26-2010, 01:06 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by TOUGEFC Quote
I suggest a fast 50, since your lacking a fast lens.
A must have for any kit, the faster apertures will open up alot of doors for you.
And you have many options under $300.

What would i use a fast 50 for? landscape shots? What else could i use it for? My dad has his old 50mm f2 Pentax lens from his K1000 back in the day, would that be fast enough?

I'm sure he would give it to me, or sell/trade it to me cheap, he already gave me quite a bit of camera gear, including a double rail bellows he used to use also.

So consider the 50mm f2 gotten.

10-26-2010, 01:27 AM   #5
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It seems you'd be better off dividing your money between a Takumar F 70-210/4-5.6 (or the more expensive Pentax F version, but why spend the money), an A50/1.7 (or 2.0 in a pinch), and a good copy of an FA28-70/4 (or an F24-50/4). And a macro such as one of the Cosina 100/3.5 variants (or some MF Pentax models) might be worth squeezing in there somehow.

Otherwise the DA17-70/4 or the Tamron or Sigma 2.8 zooms lenses within roughly that focal length range could be good, but some of them run a little over $300. A fast Tokina might be a good bet too.

Alternately, simply the A50/1.7 and an A100/2.8 (non-macro) combo gives impressive image quality and might open up new worlds for you. You could also substitute an A24/2.8 for the A100, but the A100's longer focal length gives more dramatic DOF/subject isolation results at f/2.8, especially if you're not used to it! I have these three lenses and I'd say from experience the only way to do better is to get the 3 FA Ltd.s (which costs about 4x more than these three)! And don't forget, the new DA35/2.4 is roughly in the same league, IQ and value-wise.

EDIT: I just saw your response above. The 50/2 from your dad could nearly replace the A50/1.7 in the above scenarios and give you more $ for the other bits! In any case, both the first and third paragraphs represent budget kits I've put together and am still very happy to use despite being an owner of fine * and Ltd. lenses now. I don't think any of the lenses you now have can hold a candle to these options I've mentioned. Certainly the last two don't - I can speak from experience, having used them!

So, thinking this through a little more now, you could compromise on the A100 and get the Cosina 100/3.5 Macro, then add the DA35/2.4 to your 50/2 and also be quite well set, with 2 of three lenses also having AF (assuming you get an AF version of the Cosina).

Last edited by DSims; 10-26-2010 at 01:48 AM.
10-26-2010, 01:28 AM   #6
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I think the Tamron 28-75 f2.8 would be a great bang for the buck.
10-26-2010, 02:00 AM   #7
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It depends on what you plan about shooting, but a fastprime is missing from your kit. Fast 50 or the new DA 35 f2,4 could fit the bill.
10-26-2010, 03:03 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
It depends on what you plan about shooting, but a fastprime is missing from your kit. Fast 50 or the new DA 35 f2,4 could fit the bill.
I agree with those saying a 50. The new DA 35 F2.4 looks very interesting as well. I am debating between those two choices myself right now. Many people use the 50's for portraits because of the DoF you get with a fast lens. I liked to use it for indoor events like family gatherings, bday parties etc, partly for the same reason, but also because, with attention to focus points, it can let you shoot with a lower iso. Good luck!

10-26-2010, 04:24 AM   #9
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QuoteQuote:
I am debating between those two choices myself right now. Many people use the 50's for portraits because of the DoF you get with a fast lens. I liked to use it for indoor events like family gatherings, bday parties etc, partly for the same reason, but also because, with attention to focus points, it can let you shoot with a lower iso.
My reasoning might have been different if the DA 35 had existed some years ago (or maybe not) but right now my compact, low light kit is made of the DA21 LTD and the F50 f1,7. Killer combo regarding size, IQ, and low light performances.
10-26-2010, 04:35 AM   #10
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If you don't mind manual focus, you could have 3-4 excellent primes within $300: either Pentax M 28mm 3.5 or Pentax A 2.8 + Pentax A 50mm 1.7, to which you can add the new DA L 35mm prime in a few months, when it might sell for about $150 (at least I hope so). A good 135mm 2.8 is $40 or less.

Last edited by causey; 10-26-2010 at 04:42 AM.
10-26-2010, 05:20 AM   #11
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I would go for an SMC-Pentax 300mmF4.

great lens and probably best bang for the buck.

Also, if you can find one add the 1.7x AF TC to get 510mm F7.

it does autofocus, with the adaptor, and still delivers great images.
10-26-2010, 06:25 AM   #12
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Three hundred bucks? A small bag of Takumars. Cheap price, expensive quality.
10-26-2010, 06:29 AM   #13
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how much does a 16-45/4 go for these days?
10-26-2010, 06:31 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
Three hundred bucks? A small bag of Takumars. Cheap price, expensive quality.
Mike

No fair. he specifically said 1 lens not 1 bag of lenses,


BUT..... I would agree. If you take out my 85mm tak, I think the total of my 35F2, 50F1.4, 200F3.5 and 135F3.5 is still less than 300, and there are some other $10 add ins in my M42 kit including a helios 58F2, a vivitar 28F2.5 and a tamron 24mmF2.5 which combined cost $30.

So yes, for get the one lens approach and take a full lens kit.
10-26-2010, 07:12 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by SOldBear Quote
I suggest a used copy of Sigma 18-50mm F/2.8 EX DC Macro or similar (make sure it's the "macro" model). Among the lenses I have, the Sigma 18-50 F/2.8 and the Pentax DA* 16-50 F/2.8 are used the most. The Pentax DA* exceeds your budget (and is bigger and heavier than the Sigma), but the Sigma is about that price (used).
+1 on a Sigma 18-50mm f2.8 EX DC MACRO, perhaps has the same range as your kit lens but a constant f2.8, more versatile than a prime IMO.
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