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06-04-2011, 09:24 AM   #1
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Lens price trends

Gentlemen,

I am enjoying my new K-5 and have decided that I would like to add one or two lenses. I have used some of my older Pentax SMC lenses from my SF1 with nice results but I would like to add some reach beyond what I have and a wide angle would be nice as well.

The two lenses I am considering are the DA 12-24 and the DA 55-300. When I price these, along with a descent UV filter I am close to $1200. I was wondering if these prices are stable or should they start to trend one way or another in the future. I have read that the tragedy in Japan has had an impact on both availability and, by extension, price. Is this likely to hold over the near future? Any suggestions on vendors with the best pricing would be helpful as well. I have seen some vendors offer lenses in what they call "kit boxes" or "white boxes" at reduced prices and wonder if they are legitimate.

Any help will be greatly appreciated,

Best regards,

Doug

06-04-2011, 09:41 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by SEWIS Quote
Gentlemen,

I am enjoying my new K-5 and have decided that I would like to add one or two lenses. I have used some of my older Pentax SMC lenses from my SF1 with nice results but I would like to add some reach beyond what I have and a wide angle would be nice as well.

The two lenses I am considering are the DA 12-24 and the DA 55-300. When I price these, along with a descent UV filter I am close to $1200. I was wondering if these prices are stable or should they start to trend one way or another in the future. I have read that the tragedy in Japan has had an impact on both availability and, by extension, price. Is this likely to hold over the near future? Any suggestions on vendors with the best pricing would be helpful as well. I have seen some vendors offer lenses in what they call "kit boxes" or "white boxes" at reduced prices and wonder if they are legitimate.

Any help will be greatly appreciated,

Best regards,

Doug
Although I can't answer some of the specific questions you have, I can say that in general Pentax lenses have risen substantially in price in the last few years, though some lens lines have increased faster than others. Whether the most recent price increases in the wake of the tsunami and nuclear incidents in Japan reflect a temporary situation or are just a part of the trend is hard to say, but I think prices will continue to rise.
06-04-2011, 10:02 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by SEWIS Quote
I was wondering if these prices are stable or should they start to trend one way or another in the future.
The price on the DA 12-24 has been fairly stable the last few years, with a slight upward trend. Although Pentax does not appear to have been significantly affected by the Tsunami tragedy, it's not likely any of their higher priced lens, or really any of there lenses (with the possible exception of the DA 35/2.4) will come down in price. Downward pressures on the dollar will see to that. And there's a decent chance they continue to go up as the U.S. economy continues to stumble and debt levels continue to rise.
06-04-2011, 10:55 AM   #4
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You could of course knock the price down by substituting a different wide angle lens for the 12-24.

06-04-2011, 11:30 AM   #5
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I have both lenses that I have acquired over the last several years, and like each of them quite a bit. Obviously, they are each oriented in different areas. I do think that $1,200 for the the pair is a bit rich. The 12-24 can be had for $700 while the 55-300 is available for $350, or about $1,050 for the pair. The prices have been generally pretty stable for these two lenses. They do have a following in the Pentax community.

The 12-24 is very good and can almost be thought of as a bag full of primes. The DA 15 will beat it in a few areas, as well as the 14. It's a tad large, but not that large. It is sharp, f8 its sweet spot at 12 to about 18mm. Image quality trails of a tiny bit in the upper range - but its a zoom and its VERY good at what it does. $700 for a new one just about anywhere. If you watch the market place you can find a well cared for unit for less.

The 55-300 comes in two varieties which are optically the same. The difference between them is the DA has a metal mount plate, and has the quick shift for toggling between auto focus and manual focus. It also comes with a hood. The DAL version has a plastic mount plate, no quick shift and comes with out a hood. This is the version that comes in the kits, and I do not believe that Pentax sells it alone, although I have read that a few retailers have some outside the kit. Again check the market place and evil bay.

I am going to assume that you have the kit lens (18-55). As Mark observed you can look for a different wide angle lens. However, if $700 is in your budget - and you are really very interested in ultra wide angle Sigma has the 8-16 for the same price. Its wider, and there is more distortion, but its a really a very nice lens from what I have read. You also eliminate the overlap with the kit lens. The 8-16 was not offered when I acquired mine. I like the Pentax version of the 12-24 over the others due to its better control of the distortion.

Various folks have various opinions about filters - from being worthless, to offering protection, to an absolute belief. The 77mm front element on the 12-24 pushes the price of the filter up. I do have to say that the large front element on it, does present a target.

hope that helps...
06-04-2011, 08:45 PM   #6
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The U.S. dollar is down so everything that's imported is up, just keep your eyes peeled for deals.
06-05-2011, 08:53 AM   #7
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Gentlemen,

Thank you for your thoughts. I like to be cautious and make purchases with as much information as possible but try not to be too smart by half. Market timing is always tricky. In any event, I very much appreciate your input and I will be in the hunt for the best deal.

I agree with the thoughts on the UV filters. I do use them mostly for protection but have found that using a good quality one can be useful in some circumstances. I have a sigma DG on my 18-55 DA lens and find it to be of very good quality.

Best regards,

Doug
06-05-2011, 06:52 PM   #8
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I don't know or care much about new-lens price trends because I can't afford any more, so I just don't pay much attention -- except to note that my US$195 FA50/1.4 seems to have spiked since I bought it 3 years ago. I suspect that, absent any major economic upsets, new lens prices are unlikely to drop anytime soon.

I *can* comment on used lenses. Over the past 3 years I've bought over 300 used lenses and sold over 100 of them. I took painful losses on some old Pentax zooms; otherwise, I have done quite well. My profit margin is close to 100%, ie I've about doubled my money (and bought yet MORE old glass!). And if I'd waited a bit longer, I'd probably have profited from those Pentax zooms too. But even what I consider ordinary lenses now demand much higher prices than a few months ago.

IMHO the trend is clear: Lenses ain't getting any cheaper.

06-05-2011, 07:06 PM   #9
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Pixel-Peeper tracks ebay prices decently, but with Pentax doesn't have the most data points.
06-05-2011, 08:18 PM   #10
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Don't figure on the FA limiteds ever getting cheaper, there's only one way their price can go IMHO.
06-06-2011, 05:53 AM   #11
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you can buy used to save some cash. anyway, great lens you considered btw.
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