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12-05-2010, 01:35 PM   #1
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Need help with lens for older ist series DSLR

Hello everyone, I've looking into getting my girlfriend a lens to replace the kit lens that came with her Pentax DSLR. She has an older ist series body. It looks like most of the lenses out there simply aren't compatible with her camera body. I'd like to spend up to ~$500 on something that would be a solid upgrade from the kit lens, but I'm not sure if I'd be better of upgrading the camera body. I'm a Canon guy (don't flame please ) so I know next to nothing about Pentax stuff. Can someone recommend a lens? I was considering the Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4:
Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM Zoom Lens 668109 B&H Photo

But then found this:
http://www.*************/news/0912/09120402sigma1770OSHSM.asp
QuoteQuote:
*Autofocus on Pentax version only available on K10D and newer bodies offering HSM/SDM support.
It appears that even the Pentax branded lenses have the same issue.

Any help is appreciated.

12-05-2010, 01:47 PM   #2
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There are LOTS of lenses for the ist cameras, as they're compatible with practically every k-mount lens ever made:

Pentax Reviews - Pentax Lens Reviews & Pentax Lens Database
Third-Party Lenses for Pentax - Pentax Third-Party Lens Review Database

As long as the lens isn't HSM/DC/SDM-only, you should be good. You could go with the Pentax 16-45 for instance, or just browse the lens reviews and I'm sure you'll run into something nice.

Here's an alternative to the HSM-only 17-70mm you linked; this will autofocus just fine on ist series DSLRs: Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4.5 DC MACRO (AF Lens) Lens Reviews - Pentax Third-Party Lens Review Database

Adam
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12-05-2010, 01:53 PM   #3
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Thanks so much for the reply, the non-HSM Sigma looks nice. I'll definitely do some more research on that one.
12-05-2010, 02:04 PM   #4
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If that's all she has, she's interested in photography, and she plans to keep you around for at least a decade or two, wouldn't you be better to invest in the same system? Assuming you have a lot of Canon equipment, that would mean Canon, of course.

Paul

12-05-2010, 02:13 PM   #5
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Any Pentax mount AF lens that doesn't specify HSM or SDM only (emphasis on the Only), will work with your girlfriend's camera. Actually they all will but she will be stuck with Manual Focus on those types. Nothing wrong with the idea of upgrading the camera but she will still be stuck with the kit lens (and it may even perform worse due to the higher resolution of the new camera). The Sigma 17-70 non HSM is a decent lens, I had one once. If she's use to the 18-55 focal range, I would actually suggest something like the Tamron 17-50 f2.8. If she doesn't use the wide end very much then maybe the 28-75(?) f2.8 would suit her better. If you can spare the extra cash, a DA*16-50 f2.8 may (optically) be the best of the bunch (having never tried the tamrons, can't say that for certain). I Can say however, that side by side with the older Sigma, the Pentax blows it away. The Pentax is both SDM and Screw drive AF but will only use SDM on cameras that are equipped with it.

ALL of that said. If you want to consider a new camera, why not a K-x with the 18-55 and a 55-300 kit? The newer kit lenses are much improved over that original one (though still not great) and the 55-300 is said to be one of the best consumer zooms in that range available.

12-05-2010, 04:13 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by tibbitts Quote
If that's all she has, she's interested in photography, and she plans to keep you around for at least a decade or two, wouldn't you be better to invest in the same system? Assuming you have a lot of Canon equipment, that would mean Canon, of course.

Paul
Yeah, we've been together a while and plan to keep each other around a another decade or two I don't have a huge amount of Canon stuff, just a digital rebel and a 17-40 f4 L. She does occasionally steal my setup, mainly due to her slow kit lens. Having been through two K1000's (wearing one out, the second still lives) she is a bit attached to her Pentax.
12-05-2010, 04:46 PM   #7
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Is she into getting any vintage, manual glass at all? Like M42 Takumars that she can use with a simple K-M42 adapter?

Lenses which, hint hint, you can also modify for your Canon?
12-06-2010, 03:38 AM   #8
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One approach is a lens that will extend her range of possible photos.
Alternatives include:
1) Scenes with much less light - like interior portraits in the home home, bistro, theater, etc -in this case go for a fast lens in the focal length range she uses, like a 50:1.7.
2) Scenes much further away, like wildlife, soccer, etc, -go for a long zoom like the DA 55-300.

A lens that is widely lauded is the Tamron 28-75:2.8, it is a little longer than what she has, and 4 times faster at the long end, and excellent wide open, or the Tamron 17-50:2.8 which covers the range she has.


Last edited by newarts; 12-06-2010 at 03:47 AM.
12-06-2010, 06:41 AM   #9
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actually depending on which specific *ist camera she has. it is very worthwhile keeping.

The *istD, DS, DS2 all support both P-TTL flash and TTL flash. TTL flash is important if you want to do flash photography with older Manual focus Manual aperture lenses, AND the *istD and DS cameras had very good metering when it came to manual aperture lenses.

As pentax once claimed themselves in a later marketing campaign, there are 23,000,000 lenses that fit this camera, of course, that is just pentax's production not third party, but you get the idea. There are a lot of lenses that can work and are a pleasure to use.

The only real downside of the *istD series is the lack of shake reduction, but if you only need to print 8x10 shots, the 6MP sensor will do you just fine
12-07-2010, 11:05 PM   #10
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Good suggestions everyone!

After some research, I think I have it narrowed down to 3 choices.

-Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4.5: The non HSM lenses are a bit hard to find, most places are listing these as discontinued. I have seen some used ones for ~$300 though.
-Pentax 17-70 f4: Still readily available, $300 used, not much more new.
-Tamron 17-50 f2.8: The most expensive of the three, and the shortest reach, but constant f2.8 is a plus.

IIRC, she does have a *istD. I did consider a fast prime, but I'd like to get her a more versatile lens. She sometimes uses her camera for work...she is a reporter for the local paper. She sometimes has to shoot photos for her stories if a staff photog isn't available. Unfortunately if you're not a photog at her paper they will only issue you a point and shoot. As far as what she shoots for work, it really could be anything, indoor, outdoor, portrait, etc. Outiside of work she shoots a wide variety of stuff as well.

It took me quite a bit of searching to narrow it down to these three, any help cutting these down to one is appreciated.
12-08-2010, 06:39 AM   #11
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Just remember that the Pentax 17-70 f4 is SDM only. On her *istD she will be manual focusing all the time with it. Again, I see nothing wrong with that but it may affect your decision.

12-08-2010, 06:43 AM   #12
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I know I would likely prefer the constant 2.8 (if its image quality is up to snuff.) Enlarging a 50mm f2.8 photo by a factor of 1.2 (ie equivalent to a 70mm) is like a 70mm shot at f3.5 from a noise standpoint.

Dave
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