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01-29-2011, 11:54 AM   #1
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Comments requested on lens kit

I just bought a K-5 and am waiting to have the sensor stain issue resolved by Pentax with a repair or replacement, and while I am waiting I am pondering my lens kit and whether I need to make any adjustments. I'd love to hear any comments you all may have about my thoughts, or to add any thoughts of your own.

Here is what currently in my bag

DA 18-55 AL II
DA* 16-50
DA 55-300
A 50 f/1.7
A 100 f/4 macro
A 135 f/2.8

My primary concerns are around having something a little more compact and flexible for a walk-around lens, but of higher quality than the Al II kit lens. The DA* 16-50 is a great lens, and I love it for when working with the kids at home, but it is a bit hard to lug around for sightseeing.

I am thinking of the following scenarios.

A) Get rid of the kit lens and pick up the new DA 18-135mm WR. I'd keep the A 135mm to be able to have something a little faster because the max aperture of the 50-135 is only 5.6 on the long end.

B) Keep the kit lens but supplement the A series with a 28mm, which I think would be good for street photography. I don't think I'd mind carrying the 28mm around along with the 55-300 to get some flexibility.

C) Keep the kit lens, get rid of the A 50 and 135, then go for the DA* 50 - 135mm


Last edited by GregK8; 01-29-2011 at 12:09 PM. Reason: I meant comments
01-29-2011, 12:31 PM   #2
Ash
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Hi Greg.
Walk-around and street photography may have to be two different lenses. If you're also looking for 'sightseeing', perhaps the DA 55-300 added to the walk-around lens may suffice - speed shouldn't be too much of an issue since you'll have the K-5, and the 55-300 has very good optics, yet remaining very compact and light.

The 18-135 may fit the bill but not really for street photography as it will be slightly larger, heavier and still a relatively slow lens. I'd suggest a Tamron 17-50, which is still quite small but has stunning optical quality. You might like to add an A 28 purposely for streets, or consider something autofocus and small like perhaps a DA 21, DA 35 ltd or Sigma 30/1.4 (this being the heavier and bulkier option).

If funds permit, then replacing the A 50 and A 135 with the 50-135 is never a bad idea, however you must ask yourself what you will use it for. If you know you want something AF, then for that reason alone the 50-135 will be a good upgrade. But it is bigger and heavier than the two MF lenses. Then again, you may want WR and the versatility of a fast telezoom - it's all up to you.
01-29-2011, 01:08 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
it's all up to you.
Yeah, I know. That's what I'm trying to figure out. I was hoping some input from the PF Community would help me fully understand the pros and cons of various choices.
01-29-2011, 02:36 PM   #4
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The best thing of course is for you to try each of the lenses in your hands (and shoot a few images with them) to see how they suit your particular applications. If you have a good store nearby that stocks Pentax you could drop by for a visit (if you can hold your LBA back!)

01-29-2011, 02:38 PM   #5
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You want something for walkaround. I personally think that the 50-135 is a bit long for that if itīs the only lens.

As you mention the 28mm, you might want to look at DA-L35/2.4 as an alternative with AF (on a low budget ) or the other AF options around 30mm that Ash mentioned. On itīs own or with the DA55-300 if youīre not comfortable with just one prime for normal use.
01-29-2011, 02:55 PM   #6
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Have you considered the DA 21 or DA 40 for street? Discretion is key, and the image quality is phenomenal. The A 28mm 2.8 is a great FOV for street, but manual focus is much more conspicuous. The DAL 35mm is a good suggestion too.


DA* 16-50
DA 21
DA 40
DA 50-300

or DA* 16-50
DAL 35
DA 50-300

would have you pretty covered.
01-29-2011, 03:33 PM   #7
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I would personally would probably choose (C), but I am not a manual focuser. However, if you really want a smaller lens for street photography, you should figure out what your favorite focal length is and get a prime in that length. Any of the FA limiteds or DA limiteds will be more portable than either the DA *16-50, DA *50-135 or, even the 18-135 and you won't give up anything in terms of image quality.

I think zooms are more for people like me who can't decide on a focal length.
01-29-2011, 10:46 PM   #8
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The DA L 35mm is something I had not though of, and that isn't a bad idea.

I was leaning zoom for the walk-around because you never know what you'll run into, but having AF on a normal lens would probably be pretty cool.

01-29-2011, 10:53 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
The A 28mm 2.8 is a great FOV for street
One of the main reasons for thinking about getting the 28mm was to just fill a hole in the A series group that I have. The 28mm 2.8, 50mm 1.7, 100mm f/4 macro and the 135mm f/2.8 are a nice progression and seem like having all 4 would satisfy my OCD about having complete sets of things Plus the A series lenses just look so damn cool So that probably means I'm picking one up anyway.

Last edited by GregK8; 01-29-2011 at 11:09 PM.
01-30-2011, 07:24 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by GregK8 Quote
One of the main reasons for thinking about getting the 28mm was to just fill a hole in the A series group that I have. The 28mm 2.8, 50mm 1.7, 100mm f/4 macro and the 135mm f/2.8 are a nice progression and seem like having all 4 would satisfy my OCD about having complete sets of things
Sorry, I can't help your OCD. But I find that my pile of 28's, including an M28/2.8, a couple nice Tokina-made 28/2.8's, and a couple good 28/2.5's, just don't get used that much. Anywhere I might want one of those, or my Tokina 21mm, I'm more likely to use a 24/2 (Vivitar-Kiron). The primes in my bag are Zenitar 16/2.8, that Viv 24/2. FA50/1.4 or Tomioka 55/1.4, and Nikkor 85/2. And maybe M135/3.5 if I need more reach. But whatever progression works for you, do it!
01-30-2011, 09:53 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by GregK8 Quote
Plus the A series lenses just look so damn cool
I'm with you on that one. The 28mm f2.8 is a real underdog, overlooked lens. I think it is wonderful. The colour is very neutral, which can be a nice change of pace from the Pentax "pop". It's ultra sharp, as sharp as you could want stopped down, and the FOV is great. It's a loose normal, more forgiving than 35mm, but without going too wide where you begin to see perspective distortion like with a 21mm.

If you have enough light that you can zone focus, the 28mm is a good choice. It's not exactly expensive, either.

One word of caution - this lens requires a hood. It flares as much as my 70-210 zoom (which I expected flare from). It can look nice, actually, but for off the cuff shooting on bright days, remember to bring a good hood with you or you might get frustrated.

The best bang-for the buck lens, optically speaking, I have ever used is the DA 40... and the snappy autofocus really pushes it into my "most used lens" category. I would pick it over the DA L 35mm any day, and I think it is worth the extra coin. The extra 5mm go a long way to allowing for some nicer DOF effects too, and it has a lot better OOF rendering than you would think from a f2.8 lens.
01-30-2011, 01:22 PM   #12
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I just noticed the review of the 35mm Limited Macro that went up yesterday and that's a pretty sweet lens. I could practically pay for that by selling everything but the 16-50 and 55-300. The 35 mm can do macro, so I wouldn't really be giving up any functionality, although I love the 100mm A.
01-31-2011, 09:09 PM   #13
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I am in absolute agony here. I think I decided that Ash has given very good advice and the DA 35mm Ltd Macro is the best choice, mostly because the smaller max aperture of the 55-300 will be much less of an issue with a K-5. I really don't need f/2.8 at 135mm if can get two more stops out of the camera and use f/5.6. I have also considered that I think AF is very important for a walk-around lens, so getting a 28mm A series doesn't really fit the bill.

So my kit will look like this:

DA* 16-50mm for people and portraits
DA 35mm Ltd. to stay on the camera for general use
DA 55-300mm for days when I need something longish or more flexibility

and I'll hang onto the kit lens for the times I need a zoom in the wide range but cannot lug around the 16-50.

I really like this, but now I have a problem ...

I have lined up my A lenses like soldiers to get them ready to help fund the new lens, and I cannot bear to part with any of them. This must be what The Bachelor feels like when he gets down to 3 girls.
01-31-2011, 11:25 PM   #14
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Some of us will tell you you're crazy to see your classic A lenses, and others will say you should rationalise your lenses to suit your practical purposes, clearing everything else that is superfluous. The choice is, and always will be, yours.
02-02-2011, 08:11 PM   #15
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I took the plunge and sold them all. A nice lady from Oz took all three in one lot. I put the money into a 35mm Macro Ltd. Let's see how we do with these for awhile.
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