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11-16-2010, 10:32 AM   #1
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Pick 1 from 4

I am looking to buy a new lens before a trip in about a year or so. I am a college student, so money is tight and thats why I need to save for that long lol.

I will likely be getting a K-5 with the 18-55mm WR lens soon. I would like to buy one more lens between now and the trip.

I have narrowed it down to the following:

Sigma 24-70mm 1:2.8 HSM EX (Convenient walk around, better quality than kit lens)

Sigma 10-20 1:3.5 HSM (interested in doing wide angle stuff, thought this'd be a good place to start)

Pentax 40mm Ltd. (Legendary quality and small, convenient size)

Sigma 70-200 1:2.8 HSM (Played with it, like it a lot but not sure how functional it will be for the trip)

They all have benefits and negatives. For my trip, I will be headed to London and will be going to a bunch of places around Europe. I will be with a school group so I won't have all the time in the world to take photos and get them perfect, I will need to have some level of flexibility with my lenses (hence the 24-70mm zoom). The 40m I really like the idea of because I could stick that on the K-5 and take it everywhere with me without having to carry a ton of weight. The 10-20 I think would be fantastic for the views when I can't set up or don't have my tripod. The 70-200 is more something I want, but don't know how much use I'll get from it, so it almost doesn't count.

The basic question for the 24-70 is, is it much better than the 18-55? If not I would rather have one of the other lenses, like the 10-20 or the 40mm. Heck, I could get both of those for the cost of the 24-70...

Anyway, opinions are appreciated. Thanks guys!

11-16-2010, 10:39 AM   #2
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i would go for 10-20 and the 40 lim.
but that's me)
11-16-2010, 10:44 AM   #3
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anything f2.8 will be much better than the kit lens.

40mm is light but might be too long for many situations, 10-20 or the kit will be most versatile, I use mostly the wider end when travelling myself. theres also tamron 17-50 2.8, pretty ideal range for travelling and high quality
11-16-2010, 11:02 AM   #4
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Do you value the WR on the 18-55? You could wait about a month and see how the new 18-135 performs... it might be a nice step up from the kit lens in image quality, and then you would only need to bring one lens for your trip.

As far as wide goes... the 10-20 is WIDE (photo by MoiVous)



18mm is still very wide and pretty decent for landscapes. The 10-20 is a pretty special purpose lens... so you need to decide how dramatic you want those shots to be.

Now I like small lenses so I have not really warmed up to zoom, and I can vouch for the 40mm's quality... but the Limiteds are not exactly cheap if you want to cover a reasonable range (the 21, 40, and 70 trio would likely cost you about 1200-1300 if you shop smart). I see myself buying a limited once a year (but we will see how that pans out ).

Now if I was traveling, those would be the ones I would want to carry because they are so light, but if it starts raining on you, you are screwed! So the 18-135 WR is a pretty safe bet... would be good for nature walks, the beach, etc. You would never run into a situation you could not photograph unless you went on a safari or signed up with the paparazzi.

Except for one! Low light. Now the K-5 is pretty strong in low light with the high ISO, but it would be worth looking at a lens in the f2.8 or below arena. For example, if you went to a museum, or went out on the town for the evening, and didn't want to carry around a zoom, the DA 40 2.8, FA 50 1.4, or DA 35 2.4 would be very nice and compact. Of those, the DA 35 2.4 looks like the winner for the budget consumer (200 dollars, likely less in the long term).

What you would need to decide is whether you want a SUPER FAST lens (the 1.4), the best IQ (DA 40), or really good IQ, and a little bit of extra speed (DA 35). Of those, the DA 35 would be the most flexible, and the FA 50 would be the best for portraits and really bad light. The DA 40 feels more like a luxury item.

11-16-2010, 11:12 AM   #5
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Take the 40, it will draw less attention, which is what you need in the UK and especially London with over zealous special constables and security guards.
11-16-2010, 11:15 AM   #6
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I think the one lens you could leave behind would be the 70-200. Reason, it's too big and I think limited use for your situations. I think you want the fastest glass you can have so you can shoot with out flash indoors if possible. I'd go with the DA 40 and 10-20 if you can. If it could only be 1 lens, I'd go wide as a complement to the 18-55 WR lens. OTOH, the 24-70 is fast glass and could be really more a useful range. It's just not wide enough for me and it may not be wide enough for you either. Ok, I'm now confused as well because if it were me, I'd take about a dozen lenses, a simple change of pants/shirts/underware and a tooth brush.
11-16-2010, 11:38 AM   #7
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my normal LBA rules are expand the focal length range before repeating the same lens range you have presently, unless there is really something wrong with it.

therefore go wide or long first.
11-16-2010, 11:55 AM   #8
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Buy 10-20 and 40mm and a second body; or just the 10-20mm and a second body. A cheap k100d or one from the *ist series will do you well. Dual body setup is godsent for travels. Just the 40mm is not a good idea imho unless you just need it for the shallow DOF stuff.

I second Lowell in that if you will have the 18-55 and you're planning to bring it anyway, the 10-20mm will be the best bang for your buck. Buy earlier than later so that you can exchange bad copies...

Sigma 70-200 is huge, if you're fine with that it will be a fine lens to bring. Personally I'd recommend the 50-200 WR over that one for travel though.

Sigma 24-70 is a nice lens but I will not personally bring that together with 18-55 WR, too much overlap. 10-20 + 24-70 is a good combination though.

The 18-135 suggestion is nice as well

Either way when you buy your K-5 you should buy at least the 18-55. If you end up not using it you can more than recoup the price difference by selling it here.


Last edited by Andi Lo; 11-16-2010 at 12:17 PM.
11-16-2010, 12:06 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Deimos Quote
anything f2.8 will be much better than the kit lens.
I'd normally agree with this ... I bought the K10D and exceptional Tamron 28-75/2.8 at the time as my 1st/Kit lens. But as a) the k-5 at high ISO is exceptional, and b) the Pentax kit is a WR lens too, that really changes the value/utility calculus.

However (isn't there always one) along those lines of buying a 'slower' lens that's WR sealed for maximum flexibility of use in inclement weather while travelling, I'd opt to buy the body only now, and get the 18-135mm DA WR early next year when it becomes available (that's with the assumption it will be as good in rendering and color as the kit, which is TBD), and it become available in-time; if it's a 1 year timeframe, it should be.
11-16-2010, 12:11 PM   #10
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This question is hard.
A year long trip requires: light weigth, robust, versitile, enough quality to match the K-5...

Sigma 24-70mm 1:2.8 HSM EX (Convenient walk around, better quality than kit lens)
Weak point: image quality!

Sigma 10-20 1:3.5 HSM (interested in doing wide angle stuff, thought this'd be a good place to start)
Good choice, get a 2nd hand Pentax 1.7AF TC with your kitlens for longer shots.

Pentax 40mm Ltd. (Legendary quality and small, convenient size)
Weak point: versitility

Sigma 70-200 1:2.8 HSM (Played with it, like it a lot but not sure how functional it will be for the trip)
Weak points: weigth, size, price.
Alternative: DA 50-200mm or DA 55-300mm

Depending when your trip starts, you might want to wait for the 18-135mm:
Versitile, cheap enough if bougth as kitlens, no lens changes, sealed, light weigth.
Get a 2nd hand 10-20mm with it!

- Bert
11-16-2010, 12:39 PM   #11
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I should probably mention what I currently have first as well.

I already have a K100D and that 18-55 non WR, but this lens is now 4 years old, has seen the abuse of me when I was 15, and the zoom ring is starting to stick, so I would like to replace it. Ideally I would but the 24-70 and the 10-20 with a body only K5, but that's a bit too much of an investment for me as I have to pay for the trip itself as well.

I currently also have an 50mm A mount 1.7. This is manual focus so it will likely only be used when I have the time to adjust it correctly (I have a hack of a time with MF lenses on my K100D). I also have a 75-300 4.5-5.6 Tamron telephoto. This will probably sit in my apartment and be used on the rare occasions that it is needed (like the 50mm). I do have a Kenko fisheye converter however which might make taking the 50mm along worth it for a few shots.

So in recap, I have:

K100D
18-55 non WR kit lens
50mm 1:1.7 MF A mount
75-300 1:4.5-5.6 Tamron
Kenko 1.6x Fisheye Tele-converter (Mounts on the 50mm)

QuoteQuote:
I think the one lens you could leave behind would be the 70-200. Reason, it's too big and I think limited use for your situations.
I agree, 70-200 is out.

QuoteOriginally posted by blackcloudbrew Quote
I'd take about a dozen lenses, a simple change of pants/shirts/underware and a tooth brush.
Me two, but you need a few dozen lenses to take before that is a good plan lol

QuoteQuote:
As far as wide goes... the 10-20 is WIDE
I know, I have been following the 10-20 club thread for more than a month now and I love some of the things it can do. I am a huge fan of wide shots and panoramas, so I would live to use this on, say, the Irish countryside, the Cliffs of Dover, and in general for cityscapes.

QuoteQuote:
my normal LBA rules are expand the focal length range before repeating the same lens range you have presently, unless there is really something wrong with it.
This is a good rule of thumb. My main reason for the 40mm was the convenience of such a small package on days where I wasn't planning on shooting and don't want to carry all my stuff around, but then I suppose the 35mm could do that and be more useful for slightly wider shots. Plus if I have the 50mm, 40mm isn't much of a change...

Alright 40mm Ltd is out and replaced with the 35mm Ltd. I just can't shake how nice it would be to carry my camera everywhere...

QuoteQuote:
Do you value the WR on the 18-55? You could wait about a month and see how the new 18-135 performs...
The WR is the only reason I want the Kit lens. If the 24-70 and 10-20 were WR, this wouldn't be a question. I am not crazy about the variable aperture of the 18-135, simply because I hate it on my current telephoto, but have grown used to it on my kit lens. I really would like to cover 24-200 with a 1:2.8 aperture eventually and down to 10 with a 1:3.5 or lower, and buying the 18-135 would be putting off buying what I really want for even more time. Then again, I could have this for situations where I need WR, and hopefully have other lenses in the bag to use when I don't need WR. Use it as a backup kinda...

I do see your point though and it is making me think, just not sure what I want to do about it... Part of why I like the 24-70 is it gives me more range on the long end where I could supplement the wide shots with the 10-20.

QuoteQuote:
Limiteds are not exactly cheap if you want to cover a reasonable range (the 21, 40, and 70 trio would likely cost you about 1200-1300 if you shop smart)
I'm not planning on buying a bunch of Ltds for the trip, since that would negate the need for speedy shooting that a zoom affords me.

QuoteQuote:
Dual body setup is godsent for travels
How so? Any experience or explanations? I always thought dual bodies were more for Pro's that didn't have time to change lenses between action shots...


Alright, so overall we have:

Buy the 10-20 first since that is a range I can't cover now and will supplement either the 24-70 and the 18-55 as well as the 18-135 regardless of which one I go with.

Don't buy the 40mm Ltd. though I am now considering the 35mm Ltd. (I am assuming this is just as inconspicuous as the 40mm to London guards and police). Is this still a bad idea or does the wider focal length make it more worth it?

The last decision is what to use to cover the middle/long range. 18-135 WR, 24-70 Sigma, or basic Kit lens. (I am leaning towards 18-135 WR as kit lens, then trying to buy something else before my trip in a year that is better quality).

Lastly, I apologize for writing a book, and congratulations if you read it all
11-16-2010, 12:52 PM   #12
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Sigma 10-20 + DA 18-135 would likely cover 99% of the shots you'd want to take. The only downside is the bulk, so you could try and budget for a smallish prime as well. The DA-L 35/2.4 seems like a good choice, though the DA40 can't be beat for compactness.

FWIW, 24-70 is not a range I find useful with an APS-C sensor; 24mm is just not wide enough IMHO. Definitely look for something that starts around 17-18mm for a walk-around zoom.

In my experience of European travel, an ultra-wide is pretty much mandatory, and it tends to stay on the camera once it gets mounted...
11-16-2010, 01:09 PM   #13
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I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest another manual focus lens. An M or A (depending on budget) 28/f2.8.

A = SMC Pentax-A 28mm F2.8 Lens Reviews - Pentax Lens Review Database

M = SMC Pentax-M 28mm F2.8 Lens Reviews - Pentax Lens Review Database

Low cost, light weight, proven utility, great length for street and museum shots, faster than most options that don't cost a bunch more. If you really want AF then why not consider the DA35 it's f2.4 and getting very positive reviews? Prices have already started to come down a touch but list is only $219 new.
11-16-2010, 01:24 PM   #14
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Hmm, very valid points you have made.

If you like 10mm, there is only one way to hack that . So you have the 10mm covered.

Aside from the 35mm LTD, which is phenomenal in it's own right, consider the DA 35mm 2.4, which is very new and about 1/3 the price. It's not all metal, or macro, but it's a pretty solid performer. I think it would be wise to bring along one prime for ease of use when you don't want to lug around a huge thing. The 50 would work too, but I know what you mean about the manual focusing (especially with a 1.7, very hard to see without a prism).

That said, the DA 40 is as inconspicuous a lens as you will ever find. I don't know how much it will matter w.r.t. the guards though, it's still attached to an SLR. I think they tend to really freak out when they see "professional" zooms, so the 35 macro, 35 2.4, or 40 2.8 should all fit the bill in some way.

IMHO, I would not bother replacing the kit lens with the WR version. The kit is ok, but I would only buy it once. If the 18-135 seems like a compromise, I would just buy the K-5 body and save the extra money for another lens in the future.

I have one other idea (I know I'm full of it) but I've been really impressed with the images coming from the Tamron 16-50 2.8 - apparently it's very similar optically to the DA* 16-50, minus the SDM and weather sealing. You could skip on the 35mm and just get that to replace your kit lens, which will be an actual step up in image quality, skip the 35mm all together, and bring along the 50mm for low light / portability (it's a nice, small lens). Eventually, you could suppliment that lens with a 50-X 2.8 lens, and have a pretty strong 3 zoom set up.

The major cons of the Tamron is build quality, which can feel rather cheap, but it should not affect your pictures unless you go snowboarding with it.
11-16-2010, 01:30 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by soppy Quote
How so? Any experience or explanations? I always thought dual bodies were more for Pro's that didn't have time to change lenses between action shots...
I've only done travel with two bodies once. 90% of the time I had the Sigma 10-20 and the DA 40. Whenever there's a street scene I want to capture in its surroundings, I use the 10-20, When I want to take some portraits or be inconspicuous, I use the DA 40. If I only have one body, I'll need to spend time to change lenses, and lose shots. I can't exactly ask the ladies selling mangoes on the street to go back to where they were standing before because I got the 40mm and not the 10-20mm. 10mm is my favourite length and it can't exactly be replaced with a zoom that goes longer than the DA 40mm.

That and I was traveling with the wife (then girlfriend) and don't want to anger the missus with lens changing

Two bodies is also nice in that you don't have to try to change lenses in dusty or windy environment, keeping sensor dust and hassle to a minimum.

If your main interests doesn't move much, like architecture, and you're travelling alone, I think you can ignore the two body suggestion

Last edited by Andi Lo; 11-16-2010 at 01:56 PM.
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