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12-25-2010, 04:56 PM   #1
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Pentax 18-55 kit lens

I still haven't bought my first DSLR & may still just buy an advanced compact instead but just for interest's sake I wanted to ask if the Pentax 18-55 kit lens that comes with the K-x, K-r, K-7 or K-5 is any better or worse than the other 18-55's that are offered with the Canon & Nikon bodies as kit lenses.

I'm wanting to know this so I can decide on either buying a body with kit lens or whether to buy a body only & either a better zoom or a Pentax prime instead.

After a fair amount of research I think that I'm going to get better image quality out of a prime lens for a lower price but as I haven't done any shooting a zoom might be the better way to go so I can see at what focal lengths I most often use.

Cheers for any advice with this.

12-25-2010, 06:38 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by elbeasto Quote
After a fair amount of research I think that I'm going to get better image quality out of a prime lens for a lower price but as I haven't done any shooting a zoom might be the better way to go so I can see at what focal lengths I most often use.
The only way this would happen is if you buy a vintage prime lens with manual focus... but it still wont be nearly as flexible as the kit.

Kit lens is better than the 18-55's sold with Nikon or Canons, but if you are willing to spend more, there are better all purpose zooms (i.e., 16-45, or the 17-70).

If you need a cheap solution at the beginning, the kit lens is a pretty safe bet.
12-25-2010, 08:38 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by elbeasto Quote
I still haven't bought my first DSLR & may still just buy an advanced compact instead but just for interest's sake I wanted to ask if the Pentax 18-55 kit lens that comes with the K-x, K-r, K-7 or K-5 is any better or worse than the other 18-55's that are offered with the Canon & Nikon bodies as kit lenses.
I'm wanting to know this so I can decide on either buying a body with kit lens or whether to buy a body only & either a better zoom or a Pentax prime instead.
Generally, the Pentax 18-55mm kit lens is regarded as better quality than the kit lenses offered by Canon and Nikon. In fact the Pentax kit lens is considered to be well worth it price.

However you must also consider your needs. Do you need the kit lens? Will you use it or should you bypass it? No one can answer but yourself.

I can share simply my own experience. I came from a ultra-zoom dSLR and I wanted an all-around zoom lens. I bought my K-7 and a DA18-250mm lens. I never had a kit lens and I build up slowly a line of quality lenses that fulfill my needs (see signature).

Food for thought... and I hope that the comment will help.
12-25-2010, 08:53 PM   #4
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As regards the old Pentax manual lenses, as nice as they are I've yet to see one of them surpass the kit lens in terms of sharpness. My FA 50 1.7 didn't either. The advantage of using prime lenses over the kit, IMO, is twofold:
1. Speed (more depth of field)
2. You are forced to think about composition

Buying the kit lens gives you an emergency backup lens at a very reasonable cost, even if you never use it.

I can see with the canon how you would want to substitute the 50 1.8 from an economic standpoint. The Pentax 50 1.4 is pretty reasonable but is still more than twice as expensive than the kit lens. The 35 2.4 is a little cheaper but a stop slower.
If you only want to shoot primes, Pentax is probably a better solution because of available selection (and in body stabilization). If you want to shoot zooms, then you should think about the future costs and compare like to like between the brands (Pentax will win this one too).

12-25-2010, 09:01 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by kxr4trids Quote
As regards the old Pentax manual lenses, as nice as they are I've yet to see one of them surpass the kit lens in terms of sharpness.
HUH????

I've got the lowest of the manual loop, the 50mm F2 and it is noticeably sharper than my old 18-55 equivalent aperture. I think it's sharper than my 16-45 as well. And my M50 1.7 is much sharper than that. If you don't find them sharper then you aren't hitting focus.

Get the kit lens and then grab a 50F2 for < 20 bucks or 50F1.7 for around 50 and you'll have a great addition to your kit.

Last edited by VaughnA; 12-25-2010 at 09:14 PM.
12-25-2010, 09:20 PM   #6
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What's the difference between the body only and body plus kit lens? <$75?

If you're getting a K-x and you don't have several lenses I don't see a reason not to get the kit lens. You can easily and cheaply get MF lenses from 28mm-200mm if you are interested in high quality primes but once you get wider than 28mm (and esp 24mm - absolute min $100) it gets expensive. Even if the kit isn't great (possibly weakest) at wide angles you can still have what essentially becomes a wide angle prime and a lens you can take when autofocus and different focal lengths are required (like outdoor family gatherings). I have a bulging lens list but I wouldn't get rid of mine.
12-25-2010, 11:29 PM   #7
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When I bought my K20D, I ordered the DA10-17, DA18-250, and FA50/1.4, not the DA18-55 -- and 175+ lenses later, those are still my most used: ultrawide/fisheye, walkaround superzoom, and low light / portrait. I later got a used DA18-55 (CHEAP!) and use it in appropriate situations. If you are new to SLRs, the 18-55 is a good place to start. If you know what cameras and lenses can do, pick lenses that do what you want. I bought that 18-250 superzoom for utility; all the rest of my lenses are essentially specialty items: faster, wider, longer, smaller, macro, or for their character.

The 18-55 is a good lens. But common two-lens kits include it with a 50-200 or 55-300 or whatever -- and I find that I shoot a lot between 35-70mm, which would mean changing lenses a great deal. That's why I don't use my 18-55 and 60-300 set much. But that's me.

A good starting point: either an 18-55 or 18-200 or 18-250 to learn how to use the camera, and a manual Fast Fifty like a cheap 50/2 or sexier 50/1.7 or hot 50/1.4 to learn how to see and compose.
12-26-2010, 12:22 AM   #8
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The kit lens is decent, and yes the best you'll get, but there are better zooms, and certainly better primes. There's so much of a range of options available you'd have to be more certain of the focal lengths you want to get the right advice on choices of zooms and/or primes (as well as a budget ).

Replacing the kit lens's focal range is the Tamron 17-50 or Pentax DA* 16-50 or Sigma 18-50 f/2.8. These are well regarded fast lenses in this range. Primes, there are many, I should always mention the FA 31 limited, FA 43 limited, DA 21 limited and DA 40 limited (all relatively expensive), but autofocus primes aren't cheap - the FA 50 f/1.4 or 1.7 are as good value as you'll get for fast primes.

12-26-2010, 05:31 AM   #9
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Ta for all the replies fellas.

I suppose the 18-55 kit lens would probably be the best bet. It costs bugger all with a body & I'll be able to determine what focal lengths I like/want with it. Also, it's better quality than a kit lens usually would be, (according to your good selves).

I realise that the 16-50 while not being a huge range is probably one of the best zooms at the moment but I was a put off a little by how many have had problems with it. I suppose I have read similar things with other brands. More expensive stuff should really have better quality control, again that goes for all brands.

After looking at Nikon & Canon extensively, Pentax seems to really offer bang for buck, sure the range might not be as big but I doubt I'll be buying 50 lenses within a year.

The 31 & 77 Limited appeal to me as well as the 16-50 zoom, they'll be for later on though I think.
Also, the new K-5 seems to be the best cropped body out there right now, Kudos to Pentax.

I can afford pretty much any DSLR body & lens combo, just not sure if my interest warrants buying a K-5 & said lenses right off the bat as my first camera. It may also offend real photographers.
12-26-2010, 06:07 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by VaughnA Quote
HUH????

I've got the lowest of the manual loop, the 50mm F2 and it is noticeably sharper than my old 18-55 equivalent aperture. I think it's sharper than my 16-45 as well. And my M50 1.7 is much sharper than that. If you don't find them sharper then you aren't hitting focus.
Amen, brother. Amen.

I sometimes wish I had a desk job with lots of paperwork so I could finally find a use for my 18-55.
12-26-2010, 08:36 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
I sometimes wish I had a desk job with lots of paperwork so I could finally find a use for my 18-55.
Mine is when there is a chance the camera might come into contact with a hard surface or nasty liquid .
12-26-2010, 08:51 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by elbeasto Quote
I still haven't bought my first DSLR & may still just buy an advanced compact instead but just for interest's sake I wanted to ask if the Pentax 18-55 kit lens that comes with the K-x, K-r, K-7 or K-5 is any better or worse than the other 18-55's that are offered with the Canon & Nikon bodies as kit lenses.

I'm wanting to know this so I can decide on either buying a body with kit lens or whether to buy a body only & either a better zoom or a Pentax prime instead.

After a fair amount of research I think that I'm going to get better image quality out of a prime lens for a lower price but as I haven't done any shooting a zoom might be the better way to go so I can see at what focal lengths I most often use.

Cheers for any advice with this.
There is an entire "Kit Lens" gallery to look at. I did not buy a kit lens, though I kind of knew what I wanted based on my previous film camera experience. If I was new to photography, I would probably get it. I am considering getting the WR version (or 18-135) for my next a vacation.
12-26-2010, 09:42 AM   #13
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Not saying these shots are the best, but the kit can do some cool stuff. I like it for converting stuff to b&w, because I'm not a good enough photographer to get the best color out of it.

Here's one in color:





The rest b&w, with added noise on this one:




Pretty sharp with some PP:






Often, it's more important to just get the damn shot. The 18-55 is the only zoom I own, the only automatic lens I lens, and I shot these at a bar party with a lot of drunk people. It did what it had to do for the price.
12-26-2010, 12:11 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by elbeasto Quote
I still haven't bought my first DSLR & may still just buy an advanced compact instead but just for interest's sake I wanted to ask if the Pentax 18-55 kit lens that comes with the K-x, K-r, K-7 or K-5 is any better or worse than the other 18-55's that are offered with the Canon & Nikon bodies as kit lenses.

I'm wanting to know this so I can decide on either buying a body with kit lens or whether to buy a body only & either a better zoom or a Pentax prime instead.

After a fair amount of research I think that I'm going to get better image quality out of a prime lens for a lower price but as I haven't done any shooting a zoom might be the better way to go so I can see at what focal lengths I most often use.

Cheers for any advice with this.
My brother-in-law asked if he should get an advanced compact super zoom camera or a DSLR. I told him to get a used K100Ds and a DA 18-250mm (same cost). He got the Lumix anyway. He came over with a CD of his best shots to show off what his camera could do. When I showed him similar shots from the 18-250mm and my Pentax, he was shocked at the image quality difference in crops and high ISO like 800 and 1600. He said "How can this be? The Panny has 14 Mega Pixels and the Pentax is only 6." I told him again about sensor size, and high ISO and noise when cropping. He bought a K-X two lens kit and a Tamron 18-250mm. This is a nice set-up. The 55-300mm for birds and wildlife, the 18-55mm for indoor family get-together (with and without flash) and the 18-250mm as a travel lens.
12-26-2010, 12:56 PM   #15
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Did he understand that the camera's megapixel resolution only matters when it comes to printing large prints,

And has nothing to do with image quality when displayed full screen on a monitor, which is only 72dpi?
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