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07-22-2011, 11:10 AM   #1
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Which one?

I am wanting to get another lens for my K10. I think I would like the DA 55-300 to go along with the 18-55 I have. But, I have been a Pentax shooter for about 20 years and never been able to afford prime lenses.
I have fallen in love with the 50-135 and would love to own one. Should I go for the 55-300 or continue to save my pennies for the prime 50-135?

07-22-2011, 11:21 AM   #2
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If by 'prime' you mean superior, then get the best you can. (Those you mentioned are all zooms, not fixed-focal-length prime lenses.) The DA55-300 gets excellent reviews. The DA*50-135 gets even better reviews. Your choice may depend on how much you need the extra reach. Good luck!
07-22-2011, 11:23 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Old Man Quote
prime 50-135
This isn't a prime lens, although it is of premium quality.

Prime lenses needn't be expensive. What is your intended purpose? Portraits?

The 55-300 is an excellent lens, no shame in purchasing that one! If you want to shoot a few portraits as well, think about:

The M 50mm f1.4, or K 55 f1.8. Both are excellent portrait lenses that will run you under 100 dollars. They are all-manual, though, so you will want to use your 55-300 when you are shooting action.

Make sure to use those manual focus lenses with hoods!
07-22-2011, 12:45 PM   #4
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The DA 55-300 is an excellent zoom. Optically the DAL 55-300 is the same, the L model just lacks the quick shift focus and has a plastic mount but it costs a LOT less. The 50-135 gets better ratings but it doesn't have nearly the reach. As RioRico said it really comes down to how much reach you need/want.

07-22-2011, 02:53 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replys. I knew the 50-135 was not a prime, but just a well built lens.
I have several FA zooms from when I got my first PZ-1. 28-105, 100-300 and a 28-80, they seem to work real well, and I have always been satisfied with them on film.
I am just getting into digital and bought the K10d used with out a lens. I ordered the 18-55 DA W from B&H, whom I have done business with for years, I love that place.
Just thought maybe the newer lenes would be an improvement over my older ones. I am watching a couple of those primes on Ebay now, and may take the plunge.

Thanks
07-22-2011, 02:58 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Old Man Quote
Thanks for the replys. I knew the 50-135 was not a prime, but just a well built lens.
I have several FA zooms from when I got my first PZ-1. 28-105, 100-300 and a 28-80, they seem to work real well, and I have always been satisfied with them on film.
I am just getting into digital and bought the K10d used with out a lens. I ordered the 18-55 DA W from B&H, whom I have done business with for years, I love that place.
Just thought maybe the newer lenes would be an improvement over my older ones. I am watching a couple of those primes on Ebay now, and may take the plunge.

Thanks
They might be an improvement but I'd read the reviews of your lenses and the ones you are interested in getting.

Pentax Reviews - Pentax Lens Reviews & Comprehensive Database
07-22-2011, 04:34 PM   #7
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Old versus new - Prime versus zoom

First let me define prime. A prime lens is a lens with a single focal length: e.g. F50mm f1.7.

There have been a few discussions on the quality abd IQ of new versus old lenses. Generally there is a consensus that the prime lens technology has little evolved over the past 30 years, albeit possibly some enhancement in terms of coatings. On the other hand, the zoom lens technology has drastically improved over the last 20 years, incl. HSM, OS, ...

In other words, a quality prime lens from the 1980s wll still be outstanding today nd Pentax offers a freat range of superb prime lenses: the FA* series, the FA Ltd series, the A Ltd series... The situation is different with the zoom lenses.

Riorico will be able to tell you more based upon his most comprehensive experience. His experience is realy amazing.

In the original post, you compared DA 55-300mm versus DA*50-135mm. Two zoom lenses with very different background. A kit lens which is clearly above average and a professional grade lens. It is very difficult to compare these. If money is no issue the DA*50-135mm would be the clear winner IMHO.
07-22-2011, 05:27 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcc Quote
Riorico will be able to tell you more based upon his most comprehensive experience. His experience is realy amazing.
Aw shucks. [/me blushes, shuffles feet...] Well, instead of 55 years' photo experience, I have more like 1 year's experience 55 times. And the older I get, the dumber I get. Yow.

QuoteOriginally posted by Old Man Quote
I have several FA zooms from when I got my first PZ-1. 28-105, 100-300 and a 28-80, they seem to work real well, and I have always been satisfied with them on film.
I am just getting into digital and bought the K10d used with out a lens. I ordered the 18-55 DA W from B&H, whom I have done business with for years, I love that place.
Just thought maybe the newer lenes would be an improvement over my older ones.
Those lenses are all fine. I wouldn't mind an FA28-105, and my FA100-300 is great. Put it this way: My longest zooms are a Tamron 60-300, the FA100-300, and the Lil'Bigma (Sigma 170-500). The Tamron is OK. The Lil'Bigma is my most expensive lens. (What a fool I was!) But the FA100-300 is what I actually carry around and use.

If I had your film lenses and know what I know, I'd probably have looked for a DA*16-50/2.8 instead of the nice (but lower-grade) DA18-55 -- and I would retire the lower-grade FA28-80. With the fast sharp 16-50, the okay 28-105, and the very good 100-300, I'd have my bases covered for starting in digital. Then I'd grab a bunch of cheap old manual primes for special occasions -- which is what I've been doing for some time now.

But use what you have; see what focal lengths work best for you. Ask yourself, "What do I want to do that I can't do with what I have? Where do I want to go, what will get me there, and how much do I want to pay?" The answers will guide your future purchases -- unless you're swept away by LBA. Good luck!


Last edited by RioRico; 07-22-2011 at 06:09 PM.
07-22-2011, 05:44 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
.....

But use what you have; see what focal lengths work best for you. Ask yourself, "What do I want to do that I can't do with what I have? Where do I want to go, what will get me there, and how much do I want to pay?" The answers will guide your future purchases -- unless you're swept away by LBA. Good luck!
Rico makes a good point - there is a way to look through your digital photos in Lightroom 3 and find the lengths that you use most often (that data is recorded in teh EXIF info passed along with the image from the camera). That way you can see what it is that you really shoot, not what you think you want.
07-23-2011, 08:18 AM   #10
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The 50-135mm is indeed a beautiful lens, but the 55-300 is also very capable. It all comes down to cost and whether you feel it is worth spending more than 2x on another lens. i think with patience and effort, a great photography can do wonders with the 55-300mm.
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