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10-28-2010, 11:17 AM   #1
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Help picking up a setup!

Hey everyone! As a long time lurker, first time poster, I'm looking for some advice on my seek for a lens to grow my gear. At the moment I only have K200D and the 18-55 II kit lens. Since I'm going to Switzerland in three weeks, I could really use some new equipment. I've picked up three different choices from which I'm going to pick one up.

1) I would just replace the kit lens with Tamron 17-50/2.8 and that's about it.

2) I would get the 55-300/4.0-5.8 lens. This would give me some nice lengths to work on, I'm just not sure I would need something this long. And I like to photograph some in- and outdoor sports, and this lens doesn't seem to be fast enough for those.

3) I have two double-packs I could pick up. First, 50-200 WR kit with the new DA 35/2.4. This would give me some new things to try and work with, since I have only used zooms till today. Or I could get the 50-200 WR and Metz Mecablitz 44 AF-1 flashgun. "Real" flash is also something that I haven't used, but would like to get since I shoot alot indoors.

Everyone of these fit in my my budget (~360). Only requirement I have is that I should fit all of my gear in a Crumpler Jimmy Bo 600 with some small junk. Could you help me making up my mind, plz?

10-28-2010, 11:26 AM   #2
Ira
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I would get the 35 and just use that. Supplement with your kit.

And I just don't see you needing a long zoom for Switzerland.

If it were me, I would want to do Switzerland with the 15 LTD, but we're talking big bucks. As far as flash goes, again, I don't think this will be the main priority for shooting in Switzerland, but it sure couldn't hurt. So, I would recommend buying something cheap, non P-TTL, so at least you'll have the firepower for interiors. Full automation just isn't necessary for this.
10-28-2010, 11:35 AM   #3
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I suppose it all depends on what you're ultimate reason for making this purchase is. Is it primarily for the trip to Switzerland, or for shooting indoors? And do you wish to replace your kit lens, or merely supplement it? If your purchase is primarily for Switzerland and to replace the kit lens, get the Tamron 17-50/2.8. If it is to supplement the kit lens, get the 50-200 WR and the DA 35/2.4. (The 55-300 is a non-starter if you don't think you need the range.) If your purchase is primarily for indoor use, get the 50-200 and the flashgun.
10-28-2010, 11:41 AM   #4
Ira
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The 50-200 is no great shakes, so keep that in mind. Also, this is not a range at all you would want for interior shooting.

10-28-2010, 11:46 AM   #5
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option 3 is gets my vote. WR longer zoom and fast normal prime.... the 2 kit zooms + the normal prime will give you good idea of what you can/can't do with each of those and help you decide furher. I believe you will not have problem to sell either if you'll dislike them, WR will be in demand and cheap fast normal prime too...
10-28-2010, 11:47 AM   #6
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Well, mayde I should clear my thought a bit. I'm looking for a versatile setup, what I can use as many situations as possible. I consider myself a pretty allaround photographer, since I don't have any main subject to focus on. And what comes to my trip, it's mainly a time limit for me when to get the new gear, since it's a schooltrip.

Good posts guys, you really gave me something to think about. I was almost going to pull the trigger on the Tamron, but I think I'll get the 50-200 and 35.

edit: Is there a place where I could look for some example shots from these lenses?
10-28-2010, 11:53 AM   #7
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The 50-200 is known, at best, as mediocre. The 55-300 is far superior.
10-28-2010, 12:47 PM   #8
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If I only had a penny for every time I post this...

... I'd be rich. (well, not rich but better off)

Here goes for what seems like the 1,000,000th time.

Welcome to pentax and digital photography.

As you presently have only your kit lens, it is time to spend on more lenses, and I hope the following gives you directions to proceed, in development of an all round kit.

In my opinion, any kit should have 3-4 zoom lenses as a backbone, for general use, covering the range of 10-12mm at the wide end, to 150-200mm at the long end, with as much of this as possible at F2.8. You should also have some idea of how you would approach 300-400mm, especially for wild life and / or sports.

your kit can have some gaps, for example you may find that you like a 16-50mm lens, and a 70-200mm lens, and the gap between 50-70 is not covered. This may not be an issue and gaps at the wide end are worse, than in the tele range.

You may also decide that since wild life does not interest you that you only need to go to 135mm at the long end, so a 50-135 would work in your case,

overlap between lenses can help reduce lens changing but is not really absolutely required.

Once you have your zooms you can start to look at primes and macro or other specialty lenses, but I will leave that alone for the moment.

Now back to your case, you have the kit lens, and unless there is a real need to immediately jump to F2.8, you should spend some time to first use this lens.

For your upcoming trip, you need to decide what you will be taking photo's of. For me, I would for travel go wider before you go long, the 18-55mm kit lens is not really wide enough for many aspects of touring, and a sigma 10-20 or pentax 12-24 would be a good idea to get the field of view you may want.

For telephoto there are a lot of different things to consider, but if you can afford it, getting a 70-200F2.8 is a really good starting place, the speed will always be a big benefit, and the lens is expensive, compared to perhaps a 55-300F4-5.6 but when expanding outside the kit lens, if you get a quality lens like this you will find you do not replace it, where you are prone to replace a slower consumer lens at some point.

My own kit is actually 4 lenses

Sigma 10-20,
Pentax FA-J 18-35
Tamron 28-75F2.8
Sigma 70-200F2.8 (plus 2.0 and 1.4x sigma teleconverters)

My sigma is a screw drive so the TCs work with it, there is no current production HSM compatable TC yet.

if I am travelling light I go with the sigma 10-20 and tamron 28-75 and nothing else. that does just fine for travelling in cities etc...

the 18-35 is a gap filler and the least used lens,

From personal experience I would also recommend expanding the focal length range of your it before replacing the kit lens, unless you really don't like it.

I would hold off on primes unless you really know exactly what you want.

10-28-2010, 01:06 PM   #9
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I recommend the tamron 17-50 option and just that. Will be good for indoors as well. It can be considered an upgrade over the kit lens with the constant f/2.8 aperture.

Unless you are going birding or wildlife photography, dont really need a long telephoto.

and if i am not wrong, its going to be winter soon.

everyone including pros usually have an 18-2xx or similar lens in their bags which they mount when in unfamiliar surroundings. Myself i have a Tamron 28-105 just for that.
10-28-2010, 01:26 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by R3dux Quote

1) I would just replace the kit lens with Tamron 17-50/2.8 and that's about it.
This.

I feel there would be few occasions where you would want to go super long on travel photography. You will appreciate the speed of the Tammy, and the extra MM on the wide end. You might want some basic portraiture which the 50mm will give you, but I would bet you won't be doing too much bird watching or paparazzi style street shooting. The longer lenses for sports really need to be 2.8 if you are indoors, and that is going to cost you big bucks.

I bought an 80-200 to try out the focal length for next to nothing, and I really didn't get into long range photography like I thought I would. You might want to consider borrowing a telephoto, or buying a very old consumer one for like 10 bucks. You would not want to bring it on your trip but it will give you a feel for what long range photography is really like.
10-28-2010, 05:54 PM   #11
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When asking for recommendations, the answers may be idiosyncratic. Ie, we all have our prejudices, preferences, experiences, financial-emotional involvements (gotta justify that expensive lens!), etc. There is very little science to this.

My total-bare-minimum travel kit (honed over many miles) is the Zenitar 16/2.8, DA18-250, FA50/1.4, and Raynox DCR-250. I really like the superzoom outside, where I can switch from wide-context views to picking-out details beyond my reach. It's been irreplaceable in more than a few small mountainous Mexican villages. The Zen16 is good in small spaces; the FA50 is for dimmer spaces or more detail-picking. For a little longer lower-light reach, I'll supplement with an 85/2 or 135/2.5.

I have two-lens kits that break around 50mm. I don't much use those kits, because I shoot a lot in the 35-70mm range -- and I just got a small F35-70/3.5-4.5 for US$11, and a Tamron 38-70 AF for US$10, and they're seeing use because they *do* cover that vital zone. Carrying my 18-55 and 60-300 entails too much lens-swapping.

If you don't mind the 55mm break, budget glass abounds in the 70-200/4 neighborhood. If you do mind the break, look for an 18-250. Or not. It depends on what you want to shoot. I just find that a superzoom plus something wider plus something faster makes a good kit.
10-28-2010, 07:50 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
The 50-200 is known, at best, as mediocre. The 55-300 is far superior.
+1 on this
10-29-2010, 01:02 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
... I'd be rich. (well, not rich but better off)

Here goes for what seems like the 1,000,000th time.

Welcome to pentax and digital photography.

As you presently have only your kit lens, it is time to spend on more lenses, and I hope the following gives you directions to proceed, in development of an all round kit.

In my opinion, any kit should have 3-4 zoom lenses as a backbone, for general use, covering the range of 10-12mm at the wide end, to 150-200mm at the long end, with as much of this as possible at F2.8. You should also have some idea of how you would approach 300-400mm, especially for wild life and / or sports.

your kit can have some gaps, for example you may find that you like a 16-50mm lens, and a 70-200mm lens, and the gap between 50-70 is not covered. This may not be an issue and gaps at the wide end are worse, than in the tele range.

You may also decide that since wild life does not interest you that you only need to go to 135mm at the long end, so a 50-135 would work in your case,

overlap between lenses can help reduce lens changing but is not really absolutely required.

Once you have your zooms you can start to look at primes and macro or other specialty lenses, but I will leave that alone for the moment.

Now back to your case, you have the kit lens, and unless there is a real need to immediately jump to F2.8, you should spend some time to first use this lens.

For your upcoming trip, you need to decide what you will be taking photo's of. For me, I would for travel go wider before you go long, the 18-55mm kit lens is not really wide enough for many aspects of touring, and a sigma 10-20 or pentax 12-24 would be a good idea to get the field of view you may want.

For telephoto there are a lot of different things to consider, but if you can afford it, getting a 70-200F2.8 is a really good starting place, the speed will always be a big benefit, and the lens is expensive, compared to perhaps a 55-300F4-5.6 but when expanding outside the kit lens, if you get a quality lens like this you will find you do not replace it, where you are prone to replace a slower consumer lens at some point.

My own kit is actually 4 lenses

Sigma 10-20,
Pentax FA-J 18-35
Tamron 28-75F2.8
Sigma 70-200F2.8 (plus 2.0 and 1.4x sigma teleconverters)

My sigma is a screw drive so the TCs work with it, there is no current production HSM compatable TC yet.

if I am travelling light I go with the sigma 10-20 and tamron 28-75 and nothing else. that does just fine for travelling in cities etc...

the 18-35 is a gap filler and the least used lens,

From personal experience I would also recommend expanding the focal length range of your it before replacing the kit lens, unless you really don't like it.

I would hold off on primes unless you really know exactly what you want.
it's not a bad advice but definitely not every kit should have that back bone....
Back bone of my kit is 5 primes covering 24-77. I don't need nor intend to buy zooms, and extending of the reach will be probably limited to 135. I still need to swap 10-20 for some nice smallish fastish prime and that's it!
You have to realise that not everybody feels the need to cover 10-200 + TCs, for someone like me it's vaste of time, money and space in camera bag....
10-29-2010, 05:49 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
it's not a bad advice but definitely not every kit should have that back bone....
Back bone of my kit is 5 primes covering 24-77. I don't need nor intend to buy zooms, and extending of the reach will be probably limited to 135. I still need to swap 10-20 for some nice smallish fastish prime and that's it!
You have to realise that not everybody feels the need to cover 10-200 + TCs, for someone like me it's vaste of time, money and space in camera bag....
While I recognize that the generalization is perhaps not for everyone, it is a very useful approach for someone new to photography.

Additionally, and this is perhaps wrong on my part, I IASSUME that most people interested in photography will have a desire to become proficient in more than a narrow band of a 3:1 ratio of focal lengths as you have in you rpresent kit. It could be compared somewhat to looking at life through a toilet paper tube.

While it may suit your needs, it certainly does not represent the norm.

The reason I consider advising covering a wide range, is based upon personal experience.

I consider myself probably average in photographic interests, covering everything from archetecture and landscape (which tends to push to the wide end) to portrait, to nature and wild life and sports.

My own kit overall, has, in addition to the 4 zooms mentioned as a backbone, Manual focus primes, in both M42 and K mount, starting at 24mm for each mount through to 200mm in M42 and 400mm in K mount. I am looking for wider in either mount at present.

I also have an 8mm fisheye.

The difference is I have been shooting for 30 years. And my kit represents not just what I have aquired over that time, but what I have learned as well. I can travel with as few as 2 lenses or as many as 10-12 depending on where I am going, what I am doing, and how much time I will have doing each activity when I get there.

For a newcomer, lacking the luxary of experience, wanting to have good experience, and not be limited by the blinders of other photographers, they should consider strongly, covering the range i suggest with a few quality zooms. While they may find primes are more their taste later on, the zooms let them cover the majority of opportunities easily, and there are very good options for covering from 10-12mm at the short end, and for covering from the range of 16-28m through to 50/75mm at F2.8 as well as covering from 50/70mm through 135/200 at F2.8 as well.

So with 3 lenses, anyone can get a good kit, covering a large focal length span at F2.8, and be able to take excellent photos. The OP has at present the kit lens, and is just starting out, therefore before upgrading in that focal length range, it is more advisable to expand the focal length range first, to explore and learn, and only then, or if he finds the kit lens really limiting, should he replace the kit lens.
10-29-2010, 12:44 PM   #15
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since I post my ideas so frequently, I decided to poll the forum to see what they thought.

Check here for a view of what other forum members think a kit needs

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/120286-lens-kit-design-poll.html
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