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08-28-2011, 11:25 AM   #1
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Recommendations PLEASE

I just recently purchased a kr, I haven't received it yet but I do know that the 18-55mm lense that it comes with is not really what I need. (I know this b/c I purchased a new Nikon d3100, it too came with the same 18-55mm and I am not happy with it at all.) I am going to return the Nikon as well once my Kr arrives. No one in my area from New Orleans to Pensagola Fl carries Pentax or was willing to help me. I am new to the SLR world and want to make sure that I purchase the right lense for me. I mainly work with natural light in outdoor settings. I do a lot of portraits. Since I live near the beach the majority of my photographs are taken there and when I am taking pix of children I normally like to stand back and take them. Thank you all in advance for sharing your knowledge, I do appreciate all that is offered.

08-28-2011, 11:36 AM   #2
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Perhaps a tamron 28-75mm lens would be more like what you need?

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di Autofocus Lens for Pentax AF09P700
08-28-2011, 12:32 PM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by NewFlasher Quote
I mainly work with natural light in outdoor settings. I do a lot of portraits. Since I live near the beach the majority of my photographs are taken there and when I am taking pix of children I normally like to stand back and take them.
I second the tamron 28-75 f2.8 lens.

If you can afford it and don't need as wide an angle, the Pentax 50-135 is even better. Of course, you could get both

08-28-2011, 12:35 PM - 1 Like   #5
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what exactly is wrong with the 18-55mm? I always found mine to be sharp and capable of producing excellent images. If you're new to dslr cameras, are you sure it is the lens rather than a lack of understanding how to use the camera?
08-28-2011, 12:44 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by adpo Quote
what exactly is wrong with the 18-55mm? I always found mine to be sharp and capable of producing excellent images. If you're new to dslr cameras, are you sure it is the lens rather than a lack of understanding how to use the camera?
I agree - and keep in mind the DA18-55 is considered one of the best kit lenses available. Check out some of the photos on "The Kit Lens Club" (here in the forums) - you might be surprised!
08-28-2011, 01:07 PM - 1 Like   #7
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Afternoon and Welcome to Pentax!

It would probably help if you could expand a bit more on what and how the 18-55 is not fitting your needs (the focal length, image quality, lens speed, etc.). That would help all of us to suggest possibly something more appropriate. Also, down in the lens area there are lens "clubs" and here is the one for the kit lens. It is a pretty good lens for what it is. Pentax's kit lenses tend to be a bit better than the other vendors.
  • The kit lens isn't the fastest, and with your wanting to work with ambient or natural light - possibly something faster - f2.8, might be better.
  • Are you looking for just a single lens to cover all of your needs?
  • Is size and weight a concern?
  • Image quality?
There is generally a rule of thumb of 4x for zoom ratios (the lower focal length to the upper focal length) for lenses in order to maintain good image quality. Lenses with large zoom ratios tend to suffer from not having the best IQ, because the optical designer needs to make too many design compromises in the lens. That is why you tend to see zoom lenses in groups 18-55, 50-200, in order to have reasonable sized, high image quality lenses. Wide angle lenses tend to have even smaller zoom ratios of 2x (focal lengths smaller than 18mm).

Faster lenses tend to increase in size in order to gather the light and maintain image quality. The glass elements used tend to make the lens larger and weigh more.

You indicated that you like portraits. Portraits are usually done somewhere between 70 to 100mm, usually at 85mm. Image quality comes into play here, in that extremely sharp lenses with very high image quality, folks tend to shy away from for portraits because it highlights each and every flaw in someone's face, so you will see "soft" lenses used at times for this. Its the "you made me look ugly" comments.

Your comments about usually standing back to take pictures, could indicate you may want some additional focal length, so you can get "up close", with out actually getting up close.

Folks have responded with good suggestions, each tends to emphasis particular aspects of your request, but with a bit more information, we all could probably do a better job in helping you out.....

08-28-2011, 01:09 PM   #8
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The kit lens is really sharp just not wide open. You really dont mention your issue with the lens. Is it a focal length or iq issue.

08-28-2011, 01:12 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by NewFlasher Quote
I do know that the 18-55mm lense that it comes with is not really what I need. (I know this b/c I purchased a new Nikon d3100, it too came with the same 18-55mm and I am not happy with it at all.)
I just want to stress that the Pentax kit is way better than the Nikon kit by most accounts (and from my personal experience). that being said, it is an entry-level lens, not the best available.
08-28-2011, 01:15 PM   #10
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I fully appreciate your situation and I agree that the kit lens is not for everyone. For example, i did not buy a kit lens myself.

I would recommend the DA18-250mm/Tamron 18-250mm. Manufactured by Tamron, the 18-250mm was sold under Pentax and Tamron names, but these lenses are the same basically. A very decent all-around zoom across all brands incl. Canikons. The 18-250mm is no longer manufactured but you cna get easily a good copy from PF marketplace, Buy & Sell New & Used Cameras ? Canon, Nikon, Hasselblad, Leica & More - KEH.com and Adorama.com (Used equipment) for between $350 to 450.

The DA18-250mm was my first lens and it is my most used lens. The huge focal length range is a fantastic.

Hope that the comment will help.

Last edited by hcc; 08-28-2011 at 06:31 PM.
08-28-2011, 01:39 PM   #11
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I do not think you should compare the kit lens from Nikon to that sold with the Pentax system without trying it. I have never used Nikon but most reports here and elsewhere indicate the Pentax 18-55 is quite good. If your issue with the lens is not IQ but perhaps the focal length you might look at the DA 18-135.

I am sure if you can describe what you did not like about the Nikon 18-55 better recommendations could be made.
08-28-2011, 01:50 PM   #12
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While nearly everyone here in the forums talk about how good the 18-55 is, the numbers just do not back that up when you compare it to the kit lenses offered by other manufacturers.

Pentax: Pentax SMC-DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL - Review / Test Report - Analysis

Canon: Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS - Review / Test Report - Analysis

Nikon: Nikkor AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR - Review / Test Report - Analysis

Sony: Sony 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 SAM DT - Review / Lab Test - Analysis
08-28-2011, 02:51 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by adpo Quote
what exactly is wrong with the 18-55mm? I always found mine to be sharp and capable of producing excellent images. If you're new to dslr cameras, are you sure it is the lens rather than a lack of understanding how to use the camera?


First of all, I am sorry, I didn't notice that I had not pointed out my issue with that particular lense which is focal length, not quality, not sharpness. Before you suggest that someone lacks understanding why don't you ask them instead of coming across as a jackass.
I'm not trying to be rude, but that is exactly how I took it.

To all of you who have given suggestions and explained yourself in the process, thank you so much. I chose Pentax after weeks of reading and learning about the camera. I was so impressed with the advantages the Kr has over the other brands. I am still in the process of learning the lenses and their capabilities and what is good for me and my style. I appreciate all you have to offer.
08-28-2011, 09:20 PM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by NewFlasher Quote
I mainly work with natural light in outdoor settings. I do a lot of portraits. Since I live near the beach the majority of my photographs are taken there and when I am taking pix of children I normally like to stand back and take them. .
This will sound outrageous at first, but hear me out. Go for the DA*50-135. Expensive? Yep. Too long to be your only lens? Yep. But, it's tailor-made for portraits and longer-distance shots of kids on the beach (and elsewhere). It's also weather sealed, which makes the thought of sea spray and sand getting on it less troubling.

Personally, I use my DA*200 as my "beach lens". Why? The long focal length and large maximum aperture are perfect for isolating my intended subjects (my kids) from unintended subjects (i.e. the big, hairy guy wearing a speedo bending over to fetch sunscreen from a bag in the background). With a wide-to-normal focal length, you'll usually get too much clutter in the background (unless you are all alone on the beach, which doesn't happen nearly as often as you like).

So, why am I recommending the 50-135? Simple, to give you a little extra flexibility with your first lens. This focal length range (approx 70-200 in full-frame terms) is a staple for professional event photographers for a reason. And, realistically, you won't notice too much of a difference between 135mm and 200mm in practical shooting situations. You can prove this for yourself by trying a 70-200 in the store and zoom from 135 to 200 while looking through the viewfinder.

Best of luck, whatever way you choose to go!
08-29-2011, 06:20 AM   #15
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You may also consider the Pentax 55-300mm as an excellent, low-cost portrait lens. If you're shooting outdoors during the day, you won't really need f/2.8. The long focal length of the 55-300mm allows you to get nicely blurred backgrounds even without an extremely wide aperture. I've found the bokeh from the 55-300mm to be very nice. And since you can get the DA L version for a little over $100 on eBay, you can take it out on the beach and in the weather without being too worried about it getting damaged. And if you picked up this lens now, it would give you more time to save your money and research before buying a more expensive lens.

Here are some pictures from my Pentax DA 55-300mm, all captured with available light. (Unfortunately, I no longer have it, since I sold it to help finance my Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8):










Last edited by Edgar_in_Indy; 08-29-2011 at 06:53 AM.
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