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05-05-2011, 03:37 PM   #1
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General Lens Questions

I'm rather new to DSLR cameras (love my K-x!), and as I think about eventually upgrading some lenses, I have some general questions...
  • How often does Pentax (or Sigma or Tamron) come out with a new lens?
  • Is there a certain time each year when new lenses are announced?
  • Is there ever a regular time when lenses go 'on sale' at reduced prices? (Do lenses ever even go on sale at reduced prices? I've seen mention of rebates occasionally.)
(I'm wondering if it is at all like how new cars are sold?)

Thanks for any info.

05-05-2011, 03:56 PM   #2
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I don't think there are any good answers to these questions. In other words, no, it's nothing like cars, where you know they come out on a regular schedule.

Pentax tends to put out lenses in bursts. Like none for a years, then two or three announced at once, then none for a couple of years, then one more, etc. Occasionally, the announcements might be timed to coincide with a major trade show like Photokina or PMA, but perhaps not to the same extent that other products are.

And yes, there are occasionally sales or rebates, but they are even less predictable. Was more common 3-4 years ago than recently. BTW, when checking prices, be aware that most retailers don't list their actual prices in ads or search listings - they list only MSRP. You usually have to add the lens to your cart to see the actual price, which is normally a lot lower. Some unscrupulous retailers don't even offer a lower price, counting on you to not realize that others are actually selling the lens cheaper. When in doubt, visit B&H and/or Adorama and add to cart to find out the going price for a lens.
05-05-2011, 06:12 PM   #3
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New doesn't mean better lens.
With Pentax, you have a whole variety of lenses to choose from, seeing as nearly all Pentax lenses are compatible.
Look through the lens review section, both Pentax and Third-Party lens and use as a reference to which lens you will want to have.
Research carefully. and extensively.
If you don't know much about technical mumbo-jumbo, try asking for help.
05-05-2011, 06:55 PM   #4
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As mentioned, new lenses are mostly released whenever the lensmakers damn well feel like it. It's not cost-effective to issue a new version every 18 months or whatever. So some items stay in production for years or even decades, as long as the assembly line remains profitable. New versions are more likely released to benefit corporate managers and stockholders rather than we drooling customers. No, new ain't necessarily better.

There is one valid point: Most newer zooms are better than most older zooms. Not so with primes, especially manual glass. Many older lenses remain superb designs, or are at least quite usable. I have (and use) a couple lenses over a century old. I have (and use) many lenses made in the 1950's through 1980's, and a few from the 1940's and 1950's. Even some of my (few) AF lenses date from the 1990's.

And then there is cost. I have 10 AFL's (5 each new and used), average cost US$330 each. My 200 MFL's (all used) cost an average of US$20 each. AF is expensive. For many applications like 'scapes, portraits, macros / close-ups, architecture, set pieces, AF is unnecessary or even counterproductive -- where the system wants to focus may not be where YOU want to focus!

Deciding on lenses is always an intensely personal matter. Think about what you want to do that you can't do with what you have; and about what lenses will help you do that; and about how much you're willing to spend.

05-05-2011, 08:13 PM   #5
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In addition to the information above, Pentax K mount is usually the last to be considered for a new 3rd party lens, if it ever gets built at all. The best advice is if you see a lens you want and like, don't wait for the new model to come out. You may be waiting for a long time. Some of the most sought after lenses are the 'older' ones.

Enjoy your camera and welcome to the LBA club (if you aren't a member, you will be shortly).

05-06-2011, 08:45 PM - 1 Like   #6
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Thank you all! That helps very much. I did buy a used DA16-45mm which has happily replaced the 18-55 kit lens. I love the DAL 55-300, so I'm good for that range. I found a very cheap M 50mm f1.7 and F 35-70 (w/ macro which is what I mainly use it for). I've been starting to save for a walkaround lens, some version of the Pentax/Sigma/Tamron 17-70 or 18-135 or 18-250, but they all seem to have issues. It seems as if with these you can often get a 'bad' copy, so I was thinking it would be better to buy one of those new to have the warranty available.
With your advice, I see that there is no sale time I should be waiting for, nor should I wait for some newer/better lens. When I have the $$, and the right one comes along, go for it!
Thanks again.
05-07-2011, 05:50 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by mgvh Quote
Thank you all! That helps very much. I did buy a used DA16-45mm which has happily replaced the 18-55 kit lens. I love the DAL 55-300, so I'm good for that range. I found a very cheap M 50mm f1.7 and F 35-70 (w/ macro which is what I mainly use it for). I've been starting to save for a walkaround lens, some version of the Pentax/Sigma/Tamron 17-70 or 18-135 or 18-250, but they all seem to have issues. It seems as if with these you can often get a 'bad' copy, so I was thinking it would be better to buy one of those new to have the warranty available.
With your advice, I see that there is no sale time I should be waiting for, nor should I wait for some newer/better lens. When I have the $$, and the right one comes along, go for it!
Thanks again.
Best statement I've read about lens acquisition in months.

05-07-2011, 09:45 AM   #8
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QuoteQuote:
It seems as if with these you can often get a 'bad' copy
I think that generally you are more likley to get bad copies of almost any lens today, so if it's an expensive lens, it's important to be able to return it at low/no cost. Realistically lenses like my old fixed-length Takumars were much, much simpler designs, and maybe quality control then was just better than today besides, so they seemed to be much more uniform. But today quality on almost all lenses seem to vary a lot.

Paul

05-07-2011, 10:02 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by mgvh Quote
I did buy a used DA16-45mm which has happily replaced the 18-55 kit lens. I love the DAL 55-300, so I'm good for that range. I found a very cheap M 50mm f1.7 and F 35-70 (w/ macro which is what I mainly use it for).
You've actually got a really nice collection already! Both DA zooms are very well regarded, and the F35-70 is an underappreciated lens. The ƒ1.7 50s are my favorites of the pentax 50s, I have an M and an F. I'm not a superzoom person, but I believe that the Pentax/Tamron 18-250 is generally regarded as the best of the lot. It's not the cheapest, but the IQ of some of the cheaper ones you can find is not always the best. (especially the old 28-xxx zooms designed for film) There are quite a few people who like the DA 17-70 as well...
05-07-2011, 10:06 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by tibbitts Quote
I think that generally you are more likley to get bad copies of almost any lens today....
Makes that you want to go back to the days of the golden JCII stickers. Maybe not a bad idea
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