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01-10-2011, 10:24 AM   #1
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Help me spend $1000

I have $400 earmarked for equipment upgrades. I currently have a Sigma 17-70 non-OS and an FA50/1.4 that I think I should be able to sell for $600, which would bring me up to $1000.

Otherwise, my kit includes a K10D body, the 18-55 that came with it, a not-so-great Viv 70-200 manual zoom, and a bunch of lighting stuff.

I primarily shoot candids of my kids, indoors and out, natural light and indirect flash. So I definitely need a fast standard for the indoors stuff. I also really enjoy wide angle, trying to layer objects in a scene, etc. I often use the lock switch on my Sigma cuz it stays at 17mm.

I'd also like to add a consumer-grade tele zoom for the occasions when it'd be nice to have. I've seen some 50-200's on the marketplace for under $100.

Things I'm looking to improve by upgrading:

I do a lot of wide-open shooting, and having a constant-aperture zoom would be fantastic. I'm also looking for an IQ bump. My Sigma is pretty good, but it's not amazing.

I LOVE the IQ of the FA50, but it's just a little too long for indoors. I'd do much better with something in the 30-something range. As well as something that can focus a little closer.

Obviously, I'm due for a body upgrade as well, but $1000 isn't going to nab me a K-5, and even if it did, I'd be down to only an old kit lens.

I have a few possible plans.

Plan#1: Tamron 17-50/2.8 and Sigma 30/1.4 from Tri-State for a grand total of $850, then find a used 50-200 on the marketplace.

Plan#2: FA31 Limited. It's everyone's dream lens, after all. Would the allegedly unbelievable IQ make me willing to go back to the kit lens for WA?

Plan#3: Save for a K-5. I have a Mamiya C330 that I inherited but never used. Maybe I could sell that and make up the difference? But I think I'd miss a lot of shots without a fast lens for indoors.

Plan#4: Sell the whole kit and jump ship to Canon?

Plan#5? Plan #6?

Feel free to vote for a plan, critique a plan, add your own, or ignore me entirely. The choice is yours.

01-10-2011, 10:40 AM   #2
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I would go for the FA* 31, and then start saving up for a DA 16-45 to replace that kit lens. Or another option would be to try track down a used DA 12-24 and a used FA 50/1.4.
01-10-2011, 10:40 AM   #3
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Some thoughts: in addition to the Tamron 17-50 1:2.8 consider its sibling 28-75 1:2.8, the long end might be cool for candids; I have the 17-50, which I have been happy with, but have been considering getting the the 28-75 for similar use (might end up having both :-), another interesting piece of kit to consider might be the new DA 35 2.4, as for consumer zoom: DA(L) 55-300 enjoys a favorable reputation, price not bad either. The k-x is a great bang-for-the-buck deal if low ISO is important (K-5 is even better, but not by a huge margin in the low ISO dept).
01-10-2011, 11:05 AM   #4
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It really depends on where you want a zoom, where you want a prime, and how much focal length you want to cover.

An interesting all-zoom option is the Sigma 10-20, Tamron 28-75 2.8 and 50-200, $1187 total new. Buying a one or two of those used gets you around 1000.

You'd be able to use the 28-75 as a walkaround and for candids, then go to the 10-20 or 50-200 for their specific talents.

01-10-2011, 11:29 AM   #5
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For the WA -- Pentax 16-45. Can be had for around $250 (used).

For the low-light/indoor/kid shots: DA 40 Limited. $300.

For the longer zoom: DA-L 55-300 -- $200 (used).

You are well under your $1000 target here, and with the savings you're about halfway to a KR.
01-10-2011, 11:37 AM   #6
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Hmm... How about the DA 40mm + Tamron 17-50mm + 50-200mm?

I'd go for the DA pancake trio if I had that money to spend.
01-10-2011, 11:39 AM   #7
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I think the K-r (body only) and the Tamron 17-50 would be a good upgrade for you, as the strengths of the K-r and the K10D compliment each other. Although I guess that would be a bit higher than $1,000.

Option 1 would also work well.

I love, love, love the FA31 but for that amount of money I think you could get more versatility by buying multiple lenses.
01-10-2011, 11:54 AM   #8
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Oh, and before I forget, the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 would be a good option for you as well.

01-10-2011, 12:36 PM   #9
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As you have mentioned the FA31 as well as the K5, get FA31 + K5 + flash It's the combo I currently use exclusively for family events; I leave any other lenses that I have at home.

What you're indicating with the FA31 is that you're prepared to sacrifice wider angle and flexibility of zoom.

As your funds are more limited, there is a K-r + DAL35/2.4 kit for US$899 (price bhvideo).
01-10-2011, 12:53 PM   #10
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You have a family and want to take shots of them both inside and outdoors - a one lense solution (31 Ltd) is not going to fly and could well find you very dissatisfied. You say you also like wide and use the 17mm a lot :-

The 20d is still an excellent camera so keep your FA 50/1.4 for now - for low light situations. Leaves you ca. US$600 - 650

Option #1 - Sigma 17-50/2.8 & 55-300.

Option #2 - Sigma 10-20 & Tamron 28-75 (these two might be a little over but you could go used). If you want / need something longer to add to those then either Pentax 55-300 if you can stretch to it, or if you want something cheaper then the Tamron 70-300 is an amazing lense for the money and gives you the flexibility of 1:2 macro too.

OR ......

Option #3 - Sell the 20d and buy a Kx kit with the new WR 18-55 (for ca. US$100+ is great value) and a DA (L) 55-300. Keep your Sigma 17-70 which gets a new lease of life with your Kx sensor then sell it later when you've saved enough for a DA70, the FA 50/1.4 gives you superb coverage at low light too with the Kx.
01-10-2011, 01:47 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Frogfish Quote
The 20d is still an excellent camera...
Well, it's a K10D though...

QuoteOriginally posted by Frogfish Quote
Option #2 - Sigma 10-20 & Tamron 28-75
Interesting that you should bring up the 10-20 as I've pined for that lens for several years now, but something always supersedes it.

Someone should make a 10-600mm, f/2.8 that's compact, lightweight, no flare, zero distortion, well-controlled CA, superb sharpness, and available in all mounts. Oh, and it sells for $100.
01-10-2011, 01:51 PM   #12
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Candids - DA 40

fast fast autofocus and amazing IQ wide open. The FA 50 has more DOF control but was a slug in comparison with AF. Also the DA 40 is super high contrast, and lets in lots of light at 2.8. Just bing a flash along.

Tele - 55-300 is likely the best bet. I can also recommend the F 70-210 as being super-sharp... but you can afford the tele really. If cash is tight, look into the F 70-210, which I think goes for around 100 and is very high on the IQ scale.

Wide - 12-24 is a great buy. I personally use the DA 15 and love it to pieces but I would not be happy without the A 28mm to fill the gap. You can find the 12-24 used for a similar price to the DA 15 new, and you have very long range covered. f4 is not prohibitive with these focal lengths (lots of DOF with close focus).

12-24 - 500 ish (used)
DA 40 - 300 ish (used)
55 - 300 - 200 ish (used)

A neat 1000 .
01-10-2011, 02:06 PM   #13
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My advise would be:

1) Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Perfect range for taking pictures of people and kids. Wide enough for group shots, but long enough for head shots without getting in people's faces. Outstanding IQ, constant f/2.8, sharp, and no vignetting problems. Also focuses very close, so it can do some light macro duties. I've taken thousands of pictures with my copy, and I LOVE this lens. $474 new at Abe's, goes used on eBay for $300 - $350.

2) Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 I don't own this lens yet, but probably will before too long. Supposed to be one of the better ultra-wide zooms. $449 from Adorama. Goes used on eBay for $300 - $400.

3) Pentax 55-300mm DA L I had the non-L version of this lens, but the "L" version (kit lens) is the same optically. Very good image quality for an inexpensive zoom. Produces gorgeous bokeh, so it's also a very nice portrait lens when you have the space to use it. I've gotten some of my favorite outdoors portraits with this lens. Goes for $180 - $220 on eBay depending on if it's new or used.

It looks like if you buy new, you could go ahead and get the Sigma 10-20mm and Tamron 28-75mm and come in slightly under your budget. You could then add the 55-300mm later when you scratch together some more lens money.

Or if you don't mind buying used, you could probably fit all three into your budget. I've had pretty good luck with lenses I've bought on eBay. I usually request that the seller email me full-size sample images taken with the actual lens.

You mentioned Tristate camera. If I remember right, they are not one of the more reputable camera equipment sellers. I don't remember if they're one of the bait-and-switch companies, but I think they sell a lot of gray-market items, which means that in most cases items wouldn't have the manufacturer's warranty. If that's the case, then I would just buy used and save some money. If you want to buy new and get the full warranty, I would buy from either Amazon, Adorama, B&H, or Abe's of Maine...whoever has the best price on the item you want.
01-10-2011, 02:58 PM   #14
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Here is my 2c worth.

For your $1000 bucks i'd get:

DA 40mm LTD
DA 15mm LTD
Optio w90 ( 16426 Pentax Optio W90 12.1 Megapixel, Waterproof, Dust/Cold/Shock-Proof Digital Camera, Wide-Angle 5x Optical Zoom, Green )

The 40mm is great indoors and just a little wider than the 50.
The 15mm is just so good. I have barely removed it from my camera for months.
Doesn't sound like you REALLY want a tele zoom. For get it for now.
You'll keep the two DA LTDs for ever so it is a good purchase.
IQ of both is superb.

I suggested the w90 because you have kids. It's not always practical to carry the DSLR. These things will take so much abuse it's not funny. You can take them every where. I also use mine to teach the kids to take pics. Also has video, the k10 doesn't. At the moment the green one is $199 at adorama.

Upgrade the body later... there is always a better one being released.

My grand total for all this (from adorama) is $1039.

mike
01-10-2011, 06:01 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by schmik Quote
Here is my 2c worth.

For your $1000 bucks i'd get:

DA 40mm LTD
DA 15mm LTD
Optio w90 ( 16426 Pentax Optio W90 12.1 Megapixel, Waterproof, Dust/Cold/Shock-Proof Digital Camera, Wide-Angle 5x Optical Zoom, Green )

The 40mm is great indoors and just a little wider than the 50.
The 15mm is just so good. I have barely removed it from my camera for months.
Doesn't sound like you REALLY want a tele zoom. For get it for now.
You'll keep the two DA LTDs for ever so it is a good purchase.
IQ of both is superb.

I suggested the w90 because you have kids. It's not always practical to carry the DSLR. These things will take so much abuse it's not funny. You can take them every where. I also use mine to teach the kids to take pics. Also has video, the k10 doesn't. At the moment the green one is $199 at adorama.

Upgrade the body later... there is always a better one being released.

My grand total for all this (from adorama) is $1039.

mike
Now there's a thought... My pocket digicam is a bit long in the tooth and I've been eyeing the W90 since I first laid eyes on it. And the 15mm sounds awesome, especially since my 17-70 is almost always at 17mm, and I feel like I need wider. My only issue with this situation would be the lack of a truly fast lens, with the 15 being a 4 and the 40 being a 2.8, a full two stops slower than the FA50. If I could do all that and keep the 50, maybe so.

AAAHHH... DECISIONS!!
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