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12-25-2007, 09:43 PM   #1
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Best basic Zoom Lens to start with?

Am I asking this right? Is there such a thing as a "basic" zoom lens? Well, all I'm trying to say is a starter zoom lens... since this is my first zoom.

I just bought my first DSLR around a month and a half ago; and as far as I understand, I took the road less taken: I bought the K100D body, skipped the kit lens and bought the smc P-DA 40mm F2.8 Limited "pancake" lens. I don't regret the choice and I'm having fun with the "pancake", but I'm definitely missing the flexibility of a good zoom lens... especially for group shots. Hehe. So, I'll surely have to buy a zoom lens quite soon.

My main candidate from the get-to is the 16-45mm. It has a decent range and as I've read and seen, it takes great pictures. However, I've also been considering zooms with a much larger range, such as the 18-250 and a few others. I don't want to get the zoom lenses with 70mm on the wide end since I want the wide angle.

What would you guys suggest I do?

12-25-2007, 09:49 PM   #2
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I've said many times here in the past that the best option is to get the best glass you can afford. I'd go with the 16-45 first if that range will suit your needs. then research the next addition to save for. There is simply no replacement or better way to improve your images than to get the best glass.
My other recommendation would be the Tamron 28-75 f2.8 Di fast, sharp and of all the lenses I've owned, it's one of the most used.
If money was no option or the potential to save for a mate to the above choices, I'd then recommend the DA*50-135mm.
12-25-2007, 10:43 PM   #3
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I can easily recommend either the DA 18-250 or the Tamron version. From what little that I have shot with it, it appears tack sharp at all ranges, little to no purple fringe, excellent IQ. The perfect walk around lens for your camera. Read up the reviews on the Tamron 18-250 to get an idea of the lens.

Likewise, you could get the 16-45 along with a 50-200. I have these lenses also, and both are excellent. The 50-200 is surprising considering its cheap price.
12-25-2007, 10:44 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Zack Quote
I've said many times here in the past that the best option is to get the best glass you can afford. I'd go with the 16-45 first if that range will suit your needs. then research the next addition to save for. There is simply no replacement or better way to improve your images than to get the best glass.
My other recommendation would be the Tamron 28-75 f2.8 Di fast, sharp and of all the lenses I've owned, it's one of the most used.
If money was no option or the potential to save for a mate to the above choices, I'd then recommend the DA*50-135mm.

To me, it's a choice of going longer or wider. The 40 is pretty close to a 'normal' lens
for the digital format. He needs to think about which way he wants to go.

buying a 16-45 accomplishes little unless he wants a wide angle

the cheapest Pentax brand zooms on ebay are 35-70 zooms,
but really, in longer zooms, I would think that the DA* 50-135 is a good choice if he has plenty of cash--- but the poor man's alternative is the Pentax DA 50-200. they hang around ebay for $190 new. Not the best lens ever made, but not the most expensive either.

and if he wants to go to the wide side---why not a truely wide angle zoom. No use putting a zoom on top of the prime that he already has.

I wouldn't see the DA 12-24 as a bad choice, or maybe even not a zoom at all by the DA 21mm fixed.

I don't see the point in buying a zoom that simply replaces the prime lens he has.

12-26-2007, 12:07 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by rvannatta Quote
To me, it's a choice of going longer or wider. The 40 is pretty close to a 'normal' lens
for the digital format. He needs to think about which way he wants to go.

buying a 16-45 accomplishes little unless he wants a wide angle

the cheapest Pentax brand zooms on ebay are 35-70 zooms,
but really, in longer zooms, I would think that the DA* 50-135 is a good choice if he has plenty of cash--- but the poor man's alternative is the Pentax DA 50-200. they hang around ebay for $190 new. Not the best lens ever made, but not the most expensive either.

and if he wants to go to the wide side---why not a truely wide angle zoom. No use putting a zoom on top of the prime that he already has.

I wouldn't see the DA 12-24 as a bad choice, or maybe even not a zoom at all by the DA 21mm fixed.

I don't see the point in buying a zoom that simply replaces the prime lens he has.
Yep, I would say the 12-24 is a good choice for wide - it doesn't duplicate the 40, and goes very wide while remaining rectilinear. Or, you can go for the fisheye for 1/2 the price. At 17mm there is still some barrel distortion, but not much, I think it's more useful than many people think. On the long leng, the 50-200 is quite good, though not particulary fast.
12-26-2007, 10:15 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by rvannatta Quote
...the cheapest Pentax brand zooms on ebay are 35-70 zooms,
For now the Pentax SMC-F 35-70mm is my walk around lens - on my camera 99% of the time. It was a kit lens bundled with film bodies such as the SF1, and has very good IQ. Since it is not "digital only", corner softness is not a problem. Some reviews of the Tamron SP AF 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di and other digital only lenses mention corner softness. If 35-70mm is an acceptable range - go for it. Here are the specs:

Pentax SMC-F 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5*
Focal length 35 - 70mm
Max aperture f/3.5 - f/4.5
Minimum focus 32cm
Filter size 49mm
Weight 235g / 8.2 oz.
Dimensions 50mm x 67mm

Note the weight - about 8 oz - that is light, and uses 49mm filters. The focusing ring rotates the filer, so polarizing filters are less of an option.

The primary downside of this lens is the limited focal range. In the near future I'll be moving on to a different zoom lens - maybe a Sigma 17-70 or the Sigma 18-50 macro. I need something wider angle on the low end. Decisions, decisions!
12-26-2007, 10:31 AM   #7
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I agree re. the 35-70 film zoom - where it can suck on a film camera due to the edges not only soft but also vignetting, on a digital it's surprisingly decent and conveniently light and small. Or is mine a 28-70, haven't looked recently The issue is at the wide end, does it go wide enough for you.

I bought the 16-45 before I bought a digital body. It is an excellent lens, well suited for groups and interiors. Even with the f/4, I find the main lowish light limitation has to do with focus hunt.

I have the 43mm, and don't mind the range overlap at all, as the two are different beasties. So if you are hankering for wider, the 16-45 complements the 40, in my experience at least.
12-26-2007, 10:55 AM   #8
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Hi
Since you specifically mention "group shots" I get the impression that you want more flexibility on the wide end. In that case go for the 16-45. Don't own it myself, but I've seen legions of excellent photographs taken with this lens. If, on the other hand you want more on the long end, I'd go with the Tamron 28-70 XR DI that Peter mentions above. I do own that lens, and I've found it to be a highly versitile lens; sharp, fast and close focusing. It's one of my favorite lenses.

NaCl(however there are many other good choices besides)H2O

12-26-2007, 11:51 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by NaClH2O Quote
Hi
Since you specifically mention "group shots" I get the impression that you want more flexibility on the wide end. In that case go for the 16-45. Don't own it myself, but I've seen legions of excellent photographs taken with this lens. If, on the other hand you want more on the long end, I'd go with the Tamron 28-70 XR DI that Peter mentions above. I do own that lens, and I've found it to be a highly versitile lens; sharp, fast and close focusing. It's one of my favorite lenses.

NaCl(however there are many other good choices besides)H2O

Note the typo, should be Tamron 28-75 XR DI
12-26-2007, 01:57 PM   #10
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oops!

QuoteOriginally posted by superfuzzy Quote
Note the typo, should be Tamron 28-75 XR DI
Thanks superfuzzy! but you try typing replys while looking over your shoulder for your boss!

NaCl( 28-75, 28-75, 28-75, 28-75,...practice makes perfect)H2O
12-26-2007, 02:38 PM   #11
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The Tamron 28-75 f2.8 Di and the Tamron 18-250 f3.5/6.3 Di II should cover anything you will need.
12-27-2007, 12:44 PM   #12
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I just purchased a Sigma 18-50 F2.8 EX DC. I found the non-macro version on Amazon for $270. It is a nice focal range with a constant 2.8 aperture and takes great pictures.

Here is the link:
Amazon.com: Used and New: Sigma 18-50mm F/2.8 EX DC Lens for Pentax Digital SLR Cameras
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