Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
11-20-2011, 08:19 AM   #1
Senior Member
Kona's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Victoria
Photos: Albums
Posts: 202
How to decide what lens to get next...

I hope this isn't the wrong place for this (should such be asked in newbie forum instead?)

But I'm having trouble deciding on what lens to get next. At the moment I have the kit 18-55, the WR 50-200, 35 2.4 AL and a Tamron SP DI 90. I absolutely adore the primes, and really wanted a 60ish mm prime to go in between my 90 and 35, however the closest I can find is the DA*55, which is dreadfully expensive (and countless SDM horror stories are offputting.

Sigma do a 50mm 2.8 Macro which is probably the cheapest goodish prime in the range, however I've also been considering the Sigma 17-70 to entirely replace my 18-55 and then some. I've never been particularly pleased with the 18-55 (DAL, kit with my K-r) but I do like the variable range, and the Sigma 17-70 is reportedly quite sharp throughout, which sounds quite good. It is also cheaper than any prime. ($339 domestically)

On the other end of the scale, I would quite like something longer than my 50-200 for birding and other wildlife. I was giving the 55-300 DAL a lot of consideration for its length, price and reportedly good optics, but I know there are a number of other lenses in this realm that are probably quite a bit better. The DA*300 is the best looking in the range but again, the price is quite prohibitive.

As always, budget is a concern. I don't want cheap crappy glass and would rather save and wait a while for something better, but if I'm going to get similar results for within a few hundred dollars, I may as well go on the cheap side of things. So can anyone give any input on any of the mentioned lenses? Any suggestions of a prime between 35 and 90 (leaning toward shorter than longer). The reviews on this site are helpful in some ways but more confusing in others, eg the DA 55-300 vs. DAL 55-300, supposedly optically identical yet they get rather different scores for optical qualities.

Any help and/or advice would be appreciated.

11-20-2011, 08:34 AM   #2
Veteran Member
bassek's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2011
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 547
There are hundreds of similar questions asked, but since everyone has a different setup no question is really redundant. So ask ahead!

There are the FA50 and the DA55, but as a budget friendly alternative I recommend the F35-70 unless you need a lens for low light. If you are lucky you should have one around $50. Fast AF and small size. Covers the range where the kit lens is poorer (long end).

Seb.
11-20-2011, 10:10 AM   #3
Site Supporter
jimr-pdx's Avatar

Join Date: May 2010
Location: 1hr north of PDX
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 3,480
QuoteOriginally posted by Kona Quote
-snip-
I was giving the 55-300 DAL a lot of consideration for its length, price and reportedly good optics, but I know there are a number of other lenses in this realm that are probably quite a bit better. The DA*300 is the best looking in the range but again, the price is quite prohibitive.

As always, budget is a concern.
Everyone has tried to find a better budget option to the 55-300, and few have succeeded. On a copy-average basis nothing beats the optical setup of the Pentax, whether DA or DAL. I have owned it more than once and it's a genuine winner - only budget crises have forced them to move on. Now and then an excellent 70-300 Tamron or Sigma is praised, and no doubt you can get great copies of those lenses too. I owned the 17-70 Sigma (1st generation) and was happy, but it wasn't enough better than the 18-55; if budget is key you might try Sigma's newer 18-50 f/2.8-4, has silent focus and OS inside.

If you like primes, consider the options in all-manual SMC-M models. You can get 50mm f/1.7 and 200mm f/4 primes for $50 each with some searching. Nothing up to 300mm in a budget model though My budget choice has been Rikenon and Sears (usually also Rikenon!) primes, which go at auction for cheap. Other than the lens coatings they do excellent work, so backlit scenes can be a challenge to avoid large-scale flare.
11-20-2011, 10:28 AM   #4
Pentaxian




Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Eureka, CA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,827
QuoteOriginally posted by Kona Quote
I've never been particularly pleased with the 18-55 (DAL, kit with my K-r)
If you're not all that pleased with 18-55 but like the range, this is where I would concentrate first of all. I think it's a fair to assume that the Sigma 17-70 would be better than the Pentax kit lens. Other options to look at would include the Tamron 17-50 and 28-75 and the Pentax DA 16-45.

QuoteOriginally posted by Kona Quote
Any suggestions of a prime between 35 and 90
If you can handle a manual focus, manual exposure lens, the old K 55/1.8 is a stunning piece of glass which usually can be found below $70 (the f2 version is even cheaper). If you must have AF, the best cheap option is probably either the F or FA 50/1.7, which usually goes for around $200.

QuoteOriginally posted by Kona Quote
I was giving the 55-300 DAL a lot of consideration for its length, price and reportedly good optics, but I know there are a number of other lenses in this realm that are probably quite a bit better.
It's a bit feast or famine when it comes to long glass, with cheap, inferior glass on the one end versus excellent but very expensive glass on the other. The 55-300 seems to be the best compromise between these two extremes currently available. In any case, I doubt you'd be able to find any AF glass under $900 that's significantly better than the 55-300.

11-20-2011, 10:40 AM   #5
Veteran Member
sterretje's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Roodepoort, South Africa
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 3,534
I think you must make up your mind a little You compare a consumer telezoom with a DA*300; you can't unless you're prepared to pay the price. Consensus is that you will have a very hard time finding a telezoom in price range of the 55-300 that is actually better.

QuoteOriginally posted by Kona Quote
But I'm having trouble deciding on what lens to get next. At the moment I have the kit 18-55, the WR 50-200, 35 2.4 AL and a Tamron SP DI 90. I absolutely adore the primes, and really wanted a 60ish mm prime to go in between my 90 and 35, however the closest I can find is the DA*55, which is dreadfully expensive (and countless SDM horror stories are offputting.

Sigma do a 50mm 2.8 Macro which is probably the cheapest goodish prime in the range, however I've also been considering the Sigma 17-70 to entirely replace my 18-55 and then some. I've never been particularly pleased with the 18-55 (DAL, kit with my K-r) but I do like the variable range, and the Sigma 17-70 is reportedly quite sharp throughout, which sounds quite good. It is also cheaper than any prime. ($339 domestically)
I have a similar two prime setup as yours from a focal length perspective (bit wider, bit longer). I do not often feel the need for a gap filler, but contrary to you, I would prefer a touch longer instead of wider (DA70Ltd sometimes crosses my mind). Luckily somebody dropped a M50/1.7 in my lap and I use that. If manual focus is no problem, there is plenty of choice (including screw mount Takumars)

And again, you have to make up your own mind a little with regards to priority (zoom versus prime); it's something that we can not decide on

QuoteOriginally posted by Kona Quote
The reviews on this site are helpful in some ways but more confusing in others, eg the DA 55-300 vs. DAL 55-300, supposedly optically identical yet they get rather different scores for optical qualities.
That is because the people who rate them are different; those reviews are highly subjective I don't think that, if Adam does an objective comparison of both, there will be much of a difference (probably caused by sample variation).


PS added afterwards:
To add, Rondec posted a thread a while ago how to decide ( https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/162643-choosing-lens.html ). The first step is to decide on focal length; the rest you can find if you search for the thread.

Last edited by sterretje; 11-20-2011 at 10:55 AM. Reason: added PS
11-20-2011, 11:12 AM   #6
Site Supporter
SpecialK's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: So California
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 14,428
If you like wide I recommend the 12-24 which has a useful range. A used FA 50 is about the cheapest AF option for that focal length. 300 is a bit short for birding, so you are looking at $1000+ for a longer option, such as the Sigma xxx-500. 17-70 is a good focal length for a single casual-use, i.e., walk-around, lens.
11-20-2011, 12:16 PM   #7
Pentaxian




Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 1,994
QuoteOriginally posted by Kona Quote
however the closest I can find is the DA*55, which is dreadfully expensive (and countless SDM horror stories)
SDM problems vary by individual lens models. SDM problems with the DA*55 are virtually unheard of.
11-20-2011, 12:33 PM   #8
Veteran Member
RioRico's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Limbo, California
Posts: 11,264
Decent old MF primes can be MUCH less expensive than their new AF counterparts. Even more budget options are available if you can handle M42 screwmounts. If MF isn't for you, the classic FA50/1.4 probably offers the best price-performance.

For longer lenses: the DA or DAL 55-300 gets much love. The old FA100-300/4.7-5.8 is great at the long end and costs rather less, used. But good fast long glass ain't cheap.

For short zooms: the usual kit.lens replacements are suggested. (I can't comment on those.) The F35-70 mentioned is a great deal, like a small pack of primes, crisp and agile.

Here's a possible kit, one that I use at times: Tamron 10-24 for tight spaces towards the short end and 'scapes towards the long end. F35-75 as a superior 'people' lens. FA100-300 for tele needs. And an FA50/1.4 for low-light, action, and DOF control. The gaps between those zooms aren't really significant.

11-20-2011, 04:55 PM   #9
Senior Member
Kona's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Victoria
Photos: Albums
Posts: 202
Original Poster
Some very helpful input. Thanks all. I had come to the conclusion the 55-300 DAL is probably the best for priceerformance, so I think I will end up getting one. However my priority at the moment is something shorter, in between my 35 and 90, and with the very low price of the Sigma 17-70 (older version) I suspect it may be my obvious option.

Old manual lenses aren't really an option as I can't manual focus for the life of me. No matter what I do with the diopter and focus ring, when it looks in focus through the viewfinder it never is when I look at the captured image. I haven't really played with live view capturing much due to the battery drain, but I suppose I could see if it helps any and then consider an old manual, but for ease of use and knowing what works for me now I think an AF lens is going to be better.

The FA50 2.8 is one I investigated (Not seen 1.4) but it's really quite expensive domestically, and even second hand doesn't offer much savings over the 17-70... though I know primes are better than zooms. My few months of practice and experimentation have made that abundantly clear. I just wish Tamron made their 60mm in K mount. Canikon only. Sigma's 2.8 Macro is $100ish more than the 17-70, but somewhat more tempting; Sigma Lens 50mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro - Digital Camera Warehouse Australia but it really is difficult to choose.

Also being fast is kind of a non issue for me as I never shoot wide open, and rarely even close to it. Just about all of my shooting is 7.1 or higher. Often in the f8-11 range.

I will take all of your comments in to consideration though, some useful advice here as expected.
11-20-2011, 05:04 PM   #10
Pentaxian
Wheatfield's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: The wheatfields of Canada
Posts: 10,043
QuoteOriginally posted by DogLover Quote
SDM problems vary by individual lens models. SDM problems with the DA*55 are virtually unheard of.
+1. I took my 55 out last night for the first time in about a year, and it performed without a hitch. I used it quite heavily for a while, then put it aside in favour of the 43, but last night it was what was called for.
My understanding is that most of the SDM problems happen to people who don't use the lens frequently.
11-20-2011, 05:09 PM   #11
Pentaxian
twitch's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 4,571
SDM problems are with the zooms, the primes seem way less prone to failures.

If you are shooting f8+ and want a 50mm ish focal length, then I'd urge you not to buy a prime, you would be throwing money away IMHO. I have the Sigma 17-70 and at f/8 it's great. Also don't buy a macro unless you are going to use it for at least some macro, otherwise again you're throwing money away.
11-20-2011, 06:55 PM   #12
Pentaxian
Wheatfield's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: The wheatfields of Canada
Posts: 10,043
As an aside, I think everyone should have a standard prime lens. For Pentax, anything in the 28-35mm range is a good choice, with some choices better than others.
11-20-2011, 07:19 PM   #13
Senior Member
Kona's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Victoria
Photos: Albums
Posts: 202
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
As an aside, I think everyone should have a standard prime lens. For Pentax, anything in the 28-35mm range is a good choice, with some choices better than others.
I love my 35mm 2.4 AL. It's a wonderful lens. My 90mm Tammy is a little long for certain usage, but it's definitely a great macro lens to get in real close. I would like something inbetween the two, but if the Sigma 17-70 is nice and sharp stopped down a little in the 50-60 range, that's all I need for now.
11-21-2011, 01:41 AM   #14
Pentaxian
hoanpham's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Strand
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,360
QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
My understanding is that most of the SDM problems happen to people who don't use the lens frequently.
The problem acts like people not using the lens very often, but there is no proof, just an observation. I don't have a theory that support this observation either - not a clue, what annoying.
11-21-2011, 02:10 AM   #15
Site Supporter




Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Aylesbury, Bucks
Photos: Albums
Posts: 492
The Sigma 17-70 is a nice lens, for sure (at least the new version is) but be warned: it's HEAVY and looks like a piece of ordnance. For a few dollars more, you could probably find a used DA 18-135. This is a good bit lighter with extra reach and similar aperture at the focal lengths covered by the Sigma (e.g. F4.5 at 70mm).
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
k-mount, kit, lens, lenses, pentax lens, price, range, sigma, slr lens
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Yes, another help me decide a new lens post qtopplings Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 14 03-05-2011 09:20 PM
Help me decide on a lens Tony3d Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 9 02-13-2011 01:24 PM
Please help me decide which lens to sell! gsrokmix Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 6 12-29-2010 03:49 AM
Help me decide on the DA 35mm or another Limited lens Fer Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 12 07-08-2010 03:11 PM
Need help to decide - 28mm f2.8 lens for my K-x srini Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 17 04-08-2010 09:16 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:22 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top