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08-03-2011, 04:09 AM   #1
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looking for a lens

Hello,

I am looking for a new lens that will give me the versatility to zoom in on an object at close range, as well as focus in on something in the distance. Most of my pictures I take are of my children. Is there such a lens that I could use to take pictures of my flowers in the day, and at a wedding during the night?

Thanks,
Dan

08-03-2011, 04:22 AM   #2
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Ah, you want a fast 'macro' zoom, which is more accurately called close-focusing. Normally, 'fast' translates to 'costly'. How fast you need depends on 1) budget, 2) the action you want to grab, and 3) what camera you have. The Kx, Kr, and K5 are renowned for high-ISO capability, so slower cheaper zooms are feasible with those. What camera and lenses do you have now? Another consideration is autofocus -- if you're comfortable with manual focus, much money can be saved. If not, well hay, it's only money. ')
08-03-2011, 04:26 AM   #3
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SMC Pentax DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 Lens Review - Introduction

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08-03-2011, 05:20 AM   #4
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So you want a wide angle, along with a strong telephoto. That brings to mind the various superzooms out there, something like Pentax or Tamron's 18-250mm. These lenses are fine but nowhere near high optical qualities.

You also want a lens to take pictures of flowers. If you want good close-ups with high quality, we're talking about a macro lens.

AND you want a lens for weddings. For that you actually want more than one lens, but in any case you need a lens with a wide aperture because typically weddings occur in low light environments.

You're really looking for more than one lens. Or you're looking to be disappointed by your single lens in most situations.

08-03-2011, 05:30 AM   #5
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Pentax DA18-135 will be great for pics of your kids - but not ideal for night wedding shots.
08-03-2011, 05:58 AM   #6
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Da* 50-135? Need more info from the OP really.
08-03-2011, 07:30 AM   #7
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While not a long lens, the 16-45 has decent zoom and good close-range performance. For weddings and events I think it will be far more convenient than the 55-300, which I just bought a couple months ago and find it tricky at closer than 8 feet.

I've used the 16-45 for a few years now with great success. I guess it depends on what you take pictures of the most, because any superzoom is going to be a compromise. I can't say whether it's a substantial increase over the new kit lens, because I replaced the older 18-55 with the 16-45 early on.

I'd like to get an 18-135WR for weather resistance and walkaround capability, but it's not in my budget. Maybe I should rent it for a week sometime.
08-03-2011, 09:32 AM   #8
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Currently have f1.4 50mm & 55-300mm. I like the aperture range on the 50mm and the ability to focus on far objects of the 55-300mm. Is there lens that has both of those qualities. I'm using a kx.

08-03-2011, 11:04 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by utahdl Quote
Currently have f1.4 50mm & 55-300mm. I like the aperture range on the 50mm and the ability to focus on far objects of the 55-300mm. Is there lens that has both of those qualities. I'm using a kx.
The fastest aperture you're probably going to find on a long lens (particularly a zoom) is around f/2.8. That's 2 full stops slower than the 50, but fast for that range. The biggest problems with longer fast lenses are the size and cost. You can get the DA* 50-135 f/2.8 for somewhere around $1000 (I think... haven't priced it in a while), or you can get a Tamron or Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 for somewhat less (around $700 if you go used, I think... check latest prices to be sure). None of those options are nearly as long as the 55-300, and you're not likely to find a zoom that fast that will go that far anyway.

There are some prime lenses in the 300mm f/2.8 range, but then you're talking big bucks, usually.

Edit: Forgot to mention that the Sigma and Tamron will be HUGE compared to the 55-300, and the 50-135 is considerably larger, too (though smaller than either of the other two).
08-03-2011, 11:26 AM   #10
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Sounds like I should choose 1 or the other. So having said that, I have the 50mm 1.4 which does not give me much of a zoom. Is there a lens similar tongue 50mm that also has some zoom capability, not like the 55-300, but mire than the 50mm. Thanks for all of your advice.
08-03-2011, 01:01 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by utahdl Quote
Sounds like I should choose 1 or the other. So having said that, I have the 50mm 1.4 which does not give me much of a zoom. Is there a lens similar tongue 50mm that also has some zoom capability, not like the 55-300, but mire than the 50mm. Thanks for all of your advice.
Hopefully someone with more experience will help you out, but I'll offer what I know. I think I'm a bit confused by your question. A terminology clarification: I think you're looking for a telephoto lens, rather than a zoom. The greater focal length the lens, the tighter the field of view and the 'further away' you see through it. Your fast fifty is a lens with a 50mm focal length, and your zoom has a max of 300mm. For APS-C (like Pentax DSLR), anything over about 45 or so mm in focal length could be considered a telephoto lens, but most would think of something in the range of 70mm or so. A zoom lens is one that has the ability to change focal length. The opposite of this is a fixed for prime lens.

If you want speed in a telephoto lens, you could look for at the D-FA 100mm, or a third party lens from Sigma or Tamron. Used, you could get an FA 135/2.8. If you don't mind manual focus, you could look into something like an older 135, like an SMC Pentax-A 135/2.8. Have a look around in the lens review database on this site for more ideas.
08-03-2011, 01:33 PM   #12
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Im sorry for any confusion. In my attempt to find a new lens I have realized that what I want is really not possible. However, I am still in the market for a new lens. The 2 lenses I have (f1.4 50mm + 55-300) do not let me focus in on a subject that are close to me; be it a butterfly on a rock, or my son's face. I feel that I am a bit limited with these two lenses. Sooo, any advice on a lens,zoom or prime, lens that will let me capture images that are close up.

Thanks
08-03-2011, 01:53 PM   #13
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Good answers above. Here's some terminology:

A *zoom* lens lets you change the focal length, like your 55-300. A *prime* lens has a fixed focal length, like your 50/1.4. A *fast* lens has a small f-stop number, like your 50/1.4 (its widest f-stop is f/1.4). A *tele* (telephoto-type) lens has long focal length(s), like your 55-300. Your 50/1.4 is a fast short-tele prime. Your 55-300 is a slow long-tele zoom.

And now, the reality:

Fast long-tele zooms are expensive -- the faster and longer, the costlier. Fast long-tele primes are also expensive, but usually not as as costly as equivalent zooms. Some very reasonable compromises exist. Jason mentioned the FA135/2.8 and DFA100/2.8, both medium-fast medium-tele primes. All F and FA and DA and DFA lenses are autofocus. Manual-focus primes are often faster and cheaper, like the A135/2.8 that Jason mentioned. For details on these and all other Pentax lenses, see the lens review database here.

For getting close (like shooting bugs) you'll want a macro lens -- but they are expensive. For shooting faces from a reasonable distance, you'll want a portrait lens. Fortunately, you can combine these by getting an f/2.8 macro lens in the 90-105mm range. Pentax's offerings are expensive. Tamron and Sigma have lenses here at competitive prices. Other folks will gladly recommend their favorites. Have fun!

Last edited by RioRico; 08-05-2011 at 06:42 PM.
08-03-2011, 02:00 PM   #14
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Sounds like you really need a close focus lens, but perhaps not necessarily macro.
You should keep your existing two lenses, but perhaps consider a Tamron 28-75 or Sigma 17-70. These lenses have a decent amount of zoom but are also more capable than your existing lenses to focus in closer on a subject. Otherwise you are looking at considerably more expensive lenses such as dedicated macro lenses (with autofocus) or a telezoom 'macro' lens (which would overlap with your DA 55-300's focal lengths.
08-05-2011, 06:11 PM   #15
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As others have suggesred, you need to be clearer in your use of terms. The relevamt ones here ae telephoto ( whch is what you really mean when you mentioned zoom), zoom (which means something quite different), and macro (extreme closeups). Sine it seems you,re now focusing on the macro sie of thing, I recommend the Raynox 150, whch for $40 will turn your 55-300 into a fine macro lens.
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