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09-27-2011, 01:05 PM   #1
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New lens for Kx & New to new Lenses :)

I have lurked on this form for about 2 years now w/o posting anything. But last Februrary (2010), I picked up a stormtrooper white Kx with the kit 18-55 lens to coincide with my first born son. My wife and I have taken thousands of pictures of him and really enjoy the camera. My wife is starting to get really good at the post processing stuff too. It's my wife's birthday soon and I want to pick up a new lens for her (and me). We use the camera mostly for portrait shots. IE, candid shots of our son, family & friends at random events. We take a lot of indoor pictures as well and I feel that is where the kit lens comes up short. I've been looking at several different lens' and can't decide on what to go with so I was hoping for some help.
Here is what I've found:
Sigma 18-200 - Like that we can still get up close & zoom when we need to. I feel the zoom isn't totally needed yet, as he's only 19 months and he can't get that far from us without my wife or I freaking out (new parents thing, I guess). Also looking at Tamron 18-200 for this purpose.

On the flip side, we take a lot of up close shots, so I was thinking about going with a prime like the Pentax 35mm DA L f2.4 and then using the kit if we feel the need to use the zoom or if we are going to take a lot of outdoor shots where we know he'll be walking around a lot. I like how the Pentax is a faster lens since the little one runs around like crazy and won't be slowing down any time soon.

So what do the experts think? Am I over-thinking things? Would I be better off taking a class first? Or should I be saving for nicer glass as the 3 options I've listed are garbage? Budget is less than $300.

Thanks!

09-27-2011, 01:12 PM   #2
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Well for image quality the 35mm is your best choice. That is 2 ligthstops better then your kitlens, so you can make those home indoor pictures (and video) way better then before.
09-27-2011, 01:19 PM   #3
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Thanks for the quick response Ron! I am sort of leaning toward the 35mm, but still fear being at a fixed length. I like how it's relatively affordable and in 6 mo or so, I could pick up one of the zooms if I feel the need to.
09-27-2011, 02:01 PM   #4
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Analyze the focal lengths that you are using your kit lens at most. (If you're using Windows you can use Exposureplot)

ExposurePlot (former Focalplot)

If you are using the lower end get the 35. if you are using the upper end get a used FA 50/1.4 or F 50/1.7.

09-27-2011, 02:24 PM   #5
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Awesome tool! I'll be playing with that when I get home. I have a feeling its going to depend on where the picture was taken. If indoors, on the low end. If outdoors, it will be on the high end.
09-27-2011, 02:44 PM   #6
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I just bought my wife the Tamron 18-200. The rebate they have on it right now makes it pretty attractive. I would consider it an outdoor lens, though. I don't know if it would be any better than the kit for indoor use. It is quite acceptable outdoors, though (for a superzoom), and is reportedly sharper than the equivalent Sigma. None of the slower zooms are going to be real good at the indoor stuff. I would also recommend the 35/2.4 for that use.
09-27-2011, 02:54 PM   #7
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I would go for the FA 50mm f/1.4. The large aperture gives some flexibility over the kit lens.
Great for tight baby portraits with natural light. It will allow you to blur out the background and isolate your subject.

I used to get my best baby shots with my DA 70mm f/2.4, but that is a bit out of your stated price range. I think the 50mm would be the next best thing.
09-27-2011, 06:18 PM   #8
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I agree with Shamwow, get a 50mm lens. F or FA, 1.4 or 1.7, any of them will give you some very neat options. The 18-55 is pretty good at 35mm, not so much at 50, and slow at the long end too. F/1.4 or f/1.7 will give the option for very artistic pictures, and stopped down to f/3.5 of f/4 you can take amazing pictures of your kid. I think the FA 50/1.4 is now available for under $300, certainly used you should be able to find one. the F 50/1.7 are often about $200 used. Manual focus is cheaper yet, but that is a bigger jump, and tricky with fast moving kids.Here's an example I happen to have available, with an F 50/1.4:



A DA 40/2.8 would also be a good option, but might push the budget. The DA 35/2.4 is probably just about as good. I would NOT get a big zoom.

09-27-2011, 07:01 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone, I think I'm going to go w/ the 35mm DA L. Like I said It's affordable at 175 so I'm not blowing the budget on our first lens upgrade. Nick, that's a beautiful picture. I'll try to post a few of our good ones so you guys can critique.
09-27-2011, 07:22 PM   #10
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Check out some of Carrie Wren's photos on Flickr. She's a member here who uses a F 50/1.7 for most of her pics.

Flickr: cassidysmom's Photostream
09-27-2011, 07:48 PM   #11
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Here are a few of my favs





I realize that most of these are all outdoor shots, but hey, thats where the best light is.
09-28-2011, 12:15 PM   #12
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You don't need a macro lens to take close shots, you just need a lens that is good at close focusing.

For your situation where you want a lens that is good for taking portraits and candid shots both indoors and out, I think the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 would be a natural choice, and in threads like this one it usually gets mentioned earlier than this. Great image quality, fast and constant aperture, flexibility of a zoom, and ideal focal lengths for portraits. And it won't break the bank since you can often find used copies for under $400 on eBay. And with it being a popular lens, you can always resell it and get almost all of your money back if for some reason you don't take to it. Just hold onto your 18-55mm for the occasional wide shot.

And since you specifically mentioned close pictures, I would point out that the 28-75mm will focus on an object that is just a few inches away from the front element. I wish my Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 could do that!

The biggest drawback of the Tamron is that it does not have a silent autofocus motor. If that is important to you, then Sigma makes a competitor with HSM. But, of course, that means the Sigma costs much more, so it's a trade off. And from what I've read, the Tamron has better image quality and bokeh than the Sigma.

In case you haven't already stumbled onto it, here's a thread where I posted a bunch of pictures that I've taken of my children and their cousins with the 28-75mm on my (white) Pentax K-x:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/145599-tamron-...lots-pics.html

Good luck, and let us know what you end up buying!
10-11-2011, 08:01 PM   #13
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Sorry for the delay, but I went with the Pentax 35mm. So far so good, we've taken quite a few shots and I'll try to post some later as I don't have them on this computer. Thanks everyone for the advice. Is it wrong to already want another lens???
10-11-2011, 09:26 PM   #14
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I like the first two photos. One tip on the second one might be to use the flash; that will lighten up the shadow in the face. You probably have to get out of scene mode to get it to work.
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