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10-30-2007, 07:12 AM   #16
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Conflicted as well

For years I used only primes but the quality of modern zooms have changed my mind. As with a number of others here, the Tamron 28-75 is the lens that generally stays on the camera for general use. For specific outings, I pack what I've found to work best -- sometimes just the Tammy and a flash or two, sometimes 2-3 fast primes for low light situations, sometimes a couple of teles and a monopod... My personal advice would be to start with a good general purpose lens like the 28-75, 16-45, 16-50, etc. and use it. As your experience grows, you'll find yourself thinking, "I could use a wider/longer/faster lens for this shot..." When that happens a couple of times, you'll know where you should invest next. Dave

10-30-2007, 07:43 AM   #17
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I think a lot of people also chose the Pentax system for the prime lenses, and that says a lot about the quality of Pentax's primes. Going the prime lens route would certainly give you spectacular photos. A look in this forum's photo section will tell you all you need to know.

On the other hand, it wouldn't hurt to have a couple of zooms handy, just for the flexibility, and lesser weight. It would be ideal when one needs to travel light, or for shooting events where there's a greater risk of losing the moment.

There's positives and negatives on using both. I'd keep both options available, if I were you. In any case, the advantage of going Pentax is that they kept lens compatibility there, so you don't have to blow ginormous amounts of money to have both worlds.
10-30-2007, 09:30 AM   #18
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I used to use prime lenses exclusively. A big reason was because I love shooting backlit scenes and the Pentax primes did a great job of controlling lens flare. The second reason was because my zoom lenses weren't as sharp as my primes. However, my zooms in those days weren't top-of-the-line zooms, either, so that had a lot to do with the relative sharpness. These days, I still don't own really good zooms, but I tend to favor zooms a bit more than my prime lenses. This is mostly due to the increased image quality of modern zooms and the fact that zooms are just more versatile. I sometimes combine zooms and primes when I'm going out to take pics, depending on whatever it is I expect to be shooting. For instance, if I'm going to the zoo, I'll take my 200mm and 400mm primes since I'm expecting to be shooting animals that will most likely be quite a distance from me, but I'll also toss in my 18-55 kit lens just in case I run across a situation where I need a wider lens. Likewise, if I'm going out to shoot landscapes, I'll most likely pack my wider primes, but I'll also toss in my 70-300mm zoom in case I run across a scene where I need more reach. If I were younger, I might trying carrying them all with me. But I'm not, so I compromise.
10-30-2007, 10:56 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by superbass Quote
I'm not even sure where I want to take myself with photography.
Zoom or primes???

That's like asking "protective filter or none at all?" No real answer!

Since you already have the 50-200, what I would recommend for you at this point in time is to get the kit lens, which can be had pretty inexpensively these days. Then, shoot for several months with just the two lenses. Just shoot what you feel like, when the mood moves you.

Then, after due time, load all of your images onto a single directory of your computer and run the freeware program called "Exposure Plot" and available for download at:

ExposurePlot (former Focalplot)

Analyze the results, especially the "focal lengths used" plot. Look for patterns. If you determine that you have a pretty evenly distributed graph, that indicates that you use multiple focal lengths pretty much equally. Then, stick with a zoom lens and consider obtaining a higher quality one.

However, if you find that you have an uneven distribution and see that you use several focal lengths almost exclusively, then primes near those focal lengths might be a better way to go for you.

- - - - -

For me personally...

Since purchasing the DA* zooms, I'm reconsidering my "options". I'm going to run some short tests to analyze image quality between the DA* zooms and some of my primes. If the image quality of the zooms is as good as the primes...I will sell the primes. Probably all of them except for the fast primes and the Limiteds.

- - - - -

edited to add:

Primes will make you a better photographer.
Zooms will give you "infinite" convenience.

Last edited by volosong; 10-30-2007 at 11:02 AM.
10-31-2007, 07:08 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jacob Quote
Hello superbass,
for me it depends on
- time for changing lenses
- space/weight priority
- required image quality / speed

That's why I have both.

To start with I can imagine:
Tamron 18-250 and FA 43 Limited.
Advantage is the enormous flexibitlity of 18-250 and the speed, very nice iq and tiny size of the 43 Limited. I use the 43 appr. 80% of the time (!).
BTW: I personally would not get a 31 Limited in first place, bacause it is much bigger than 43 Limited.

After that spread prime range, e.g.:
- FA 77 Limited
- DA 21 Limited
- DFA 300 (on Pentax roadmap)

For me this strategy was very useful.

Kind regrads
I definitely wouldn't get the 18-250, because I don't really travel, and when I do I actually don't mind lugging around equipment ha ha ... that and I wouldn't want to sacrifice iq for convenience at that price range. Now if the 18-250 was around $250, I'd be all for it.

Now you're bringing up my other question that I never asked ... Before the da* line came out I was gung ho for primes and torn between the limited and the da pancake line only because the da pancakes look so cool! Especially the 40mm. So with that being said, I'm guessing you'd suggest the limited over the da line.

Putting your comments with everyone elses, I'm going to get the the 16-50 so at least I'll be able to cover that range. But after that I'm definitely going to get a prime. I was hesitant to purchase the 43 limited because I already have the 50mm and I figured the difference in focal length wouldn't really be a good idea for me since I already have that range covered with a decent lens.

And to everyone else

Thanks for all the replies. I think I'm going to break down and purchase the 16-50mm for now because it will be the most convenient. Being that I can't speed 1,000 on a lens every other month ... I figure I can start here and then use exposure plot (thanks volosong) again to see which focal lengths I use the most.

I downloaded the program and found that when I had the k100d, my kit lens, 50mm prime, and the 50-200mm most of the photos I took were either at 18mm, 50mm, or 200mm. Actually it was somewhere around over 100 shots at 200mm, just under 100 shots at 50mm, and about 15 at 18mm. I don't think this accurate for my current shooting habits, because when I first started I pretty much pretended to be a wildlife photographer.

So now I have to throw down the cash ... thanks again everyone.
10-31-2007, 07:48 PM   #21
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Ah, I am a primes man all the way.

I just love the look of them, and the simplicity they can allow for. There is one ring to deal with, and that is for focus for those of us who like to do it ourselves.

And they tend to be sharper, contrastier, and have much better flare control.

But zooms are much more convenient, that is true...
10-31-2007, 08:59 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by carpents Quote
Not a zoom among them...

Of course, I would still use a zoom, and the Tamron 28-75/2.8 has been calling me since I sold it. But for now I'm content to walk around with only primes.
Wow! I thought I had a bunch of lenses..I don't feel so bad now...
By the way, I love my 28-75 /2.8..My fav lens..
11-01-2007, 01:21 AM   #23
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I was going to say that I use a M50 for portraits but when I do my yachting photography I am glad I got my F35-70 and F70-210. I then had thought after reading Volosongs reply and checked my photos. 70% of them was at 210mm, 25% 35mm and the rest around 70mm. That was an eye opener.
So for me a 35mm and a 200mm prime would do for 95% of my photos. The logical step for me would be to sell my 2 zooms and buy 2 more primes.


11-01-2007, 03:47 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by mingdie Quote
I was going to say that I use a M50 for portraits but when I do my yachting photography I am glad I got my F35-70 and F70-210. I then had thought after reading Volosongs reply and checked my photos. 70% of them was at 210mm, 25% 35mm and the rest around 70mm. That was an eye opener.
So for me a 35mm and a 200mm prime would do for 95% of my photos. The logical step for me would be to sell my 2 zooms and buy 2 more primes.


I would add that it only makes sense to sell the zooms and buy primes if you are going to have two bodies, or enough time to change lenses back and fourth. For sports, action and events, I believe someone else mentioned it, zooms may be more practical. Two bodies with two primary primes though might be an alternative in some cases.
11-01-2007, 05:44 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by scribble Quote
Ah, I am a primes man all the way.

I just love the look of them, and the simplicity they can allow for.
It can be fun to hand a camera with a prime mounted to someone who is not familiar with primes and watch as they try to figure out how to zoom the lens. When you tell them that it doesn't zoom they gaze at you with a puzzled and pitying expression.

There is one ring to deal with, and that is for focus for those of us who like to do it ourselves.
Or two rings, for us Takumar diehards.
11-01-2007, 09:53 AM   #26
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i use mostly zooms because i can not take the time to change lenes i mostly use my kit 18-55 on one camera and Sigma APO 70-300 or Tokina AT-X 80-200 on the other they cover most of what i need for what i shoot with out a lot of lens changes. is the qulite good YES

i think that it deepens on what you shoot
11-02-2007, 01:22 PM   #27
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I am personally leaning more towards primes as I love the image quality that they produce, compared to the Pentax kit lenses (18-55, and a 50-200). Also, my composition is a lot better now that I'm forced to use a fixed focal length.

However, I would probably have a bit of both. Primes are awesome, but zooms have their place to.

The times I would bring out a zoom would be:
1) when you are travelling (being a tourist)
2) when you cannot move (ex: sitting in a train/car/truck, or walking along a fixed trail at a zoo).
3) when you are going to a place where lens changes are difficult (ex: I was at Bondi beach in Sydney and I had to go and find shelter before I could switch lenses because of the wind kicking up sand. Still managed to get dust on my sensor. ugh!)

Otherwise, I've had my DA 40mm Limited pancake prime lens on all the time.
11-06-2007, 08:14 AM   #28
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This is an interesting discussion. I've just gotten a K100d, and have these lenses so far:
The kit 18-55, a Pentax FA 80-200 f4.7-5.6, an SMC-A 28 f2.8, and a SMC-A 35-70mm f3.5.

The only lens I have used a lot is the 80-200 zoom, photographing my grandson's soccer games, and "sneak shots" while there of people and animals. I have been VERY impressed with that lens, which is even more wonderful since I paid $60 for it brand new at Wolf/Ritz!

I would like to get a longer lens for bird photography. I'm thinking something around 300mm might work well, and I thought a prime would make sense; lighter, less expensive, and probably have better quality than a zoom? But now I'm reading about Tamron and especially the Sigma 70-400mm DG AF zoom that sell for well under $200! And a prime can cost up to 10 times that amount? I know the prime probably is "better" than the zoom, but for a non-professional I'm not sure I'd ever see the difference.

I guess what I'm wondering is can the Sigma (above) really be that good? For a non-professional? And do you experienced folks here think a 300mm would be appropriate for "birding"? Oh, can anyone rate the Sigma (above) to the Pentax 80-200 (also above). I love what I've seen with that Pentax, but if the Sigma can do about the same, I'll reluctantly sell the Pentax.

11-06-2007, 10:15 AM   #29
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Does sigma make a Sigma 70-400mm DG AF? for pentak k mount?
11-06-2007, 10:44 AM   #30
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I'm pretty sure Papersniper meant 70-300mm.

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