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01-08-2012, 06:54 AM   #1
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Best budget or film lens to replace DA 18-55mm kit lens?

Tried to find the answer to my question elsewhere in this forum, but alas, couldn't find quite the same topic; sorry if it's been covered before....

I've got an emergency--autofocus on my kit lens for my kd100 super died this past week, and I need something to replace it now! Was planning to replace the lens soon anyway or upgrade body & lens later this year, but can't afford that right now. Am trying to find a good budget-priced lens to replace it, but looked around a lot, and don't think I can afford a digital one, even used, other than a direct replacement. I like the kit lens and was getting some great shots out of it for my purposes. But I need something a little more at the long end. When I upgrade the body, I'll add a couple lenses, but for now I need one good "walkaround" lens. I use the camera daily, and have found the kit lens to be nearly "just right," except at the long end, and I don't need a lot more there.

I'm fine with an old film lens (the compatibility is one of the reasons I went to Pentax), but some descriptions I've read say that using a film lens on a dslr will change the wide end? I don't know if it's true or not; is it? But I do need something not too far off the 18mm end. Was looking at several Tamron & Sigma lenses that start at 28mm--which I could easily live with, but not if 28 changes to 42 or something on the dslr. I've found some Pentax 28-80mm ones, which seem very affordable but don't seem to have the good reputation as the others.

Any suggestions on a reasonably priced used film lens (or digital, if there's one out there) that'll give me close to the equivalent of the 18-55, only a little longer? Might there be some good private-branded out there that are less costly than the "name" brands? Thanks!


Last edited by amc654; 01-08-2012 at 07:01 AM. Reason: made some typos
01-08-2012, 07:17 AM   #2
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You can find kit lenses, particularly the DAL 18-55, for very little here and eBay. I've got several 28- zoom lenses that I like a lot. The Tamron 28-105 (IF) was rebagged as a Pentax FA28-105 and its rather nice with crisp AF and descent sharpness across the range. I own 2 Quantaray 28-90s (long story) and am selling the non-Macro one right now - they are rebagged Sigma lenses that were made in Japan. They are also surprisingly competent (see the reviews) and have some of the fastest AF among my zoom lenses. These lenses are in the $40-60 range (plus shipping) when you find them and IMHO worth the price as casual walk-around lenses.

I find it fascinating that the Tamron version (8.63) of the same lens is rated much higher than the Pentax version (7.67).

Tamron AF (IF) 28-105mm 1:4-5.6 Lens Reviews - Tamron Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database

Quantaray 28-90mm f3.5-5.6 version 5 Lens Reviews - Quantaray Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database

Pentax-FA 28-105mm F4-5.6 [IF] Reviews - FA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
01-08-2012, 07:31 AM   #3
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Thank you; this is very helpful. I saw some Quantaray lenses, but didn't know if the quality would be up there, but it seems as if a lot of the off-brand lenses are all made by the same people! Sure can't beat the pricing....
01-08-2012, 08:12 AM   #4
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Budget Zoom?

Hello Amc654,
I agree with Doc on the 28-105mm zoom, I have ANOTHER re-badge version, the Promaster, same lens as the Pentax and Tamron. About the only difference I can see is in the lens coating, the Pentax is "SMC", the Tamron is "MC" and my humble Promaster doesn't list any coating. Flare resistance is OK, but the massive standard lens hood helps a lot, don't leave home without it!
They also have slightly different zoom and focus grips, the rubber part is diagional-ribbed on one, straight ribs on another and fluted on the third.
AFAIK they are identical otherwise, optically and mechanically.
A better-than-average budget zoom, respectable IQ, fast AF and solid construction. Perfect walk-around daylight lens.
Another great budget zoom, albeit with a much shorter zoom ratio, is the Pentax F 35-70mm f3.5-f4.5. If you can live with the tighter range, you will have wonderful sharpness and IQ, small size and weight and the fastest and most accurate AF in any zoom costing less than several hundred dollars. This lens is truly amazing, quirky but extremely useful.
Yes, the 28mm is really 42mm, just as your 18-55mm is actually (in 35mm terms) 27 to 87.5mm. Add 50% to the numbers for 35mm equivalent to digital.
Good Luck!
Ron

01-08-2012, 08:19 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by rbefly Quote
Yes, the 28mm is really 42mm, just as your 18-55mm is actually (in 35mm terms) 27 to 87.5mm. Add 50% to the numbers for 35mm equivalent to digital.
Thank you, Ron! Promaster was another I'd seen, as well. And thanks so much for the equivalency lesson--I didn't realize that 18-55 was more like 27 to 87.5 in 35mm terms. That helps a lot! Some of this is starting to come back to me from my 35mm film days. But that was SO long ago!
01-08-2012, 08:56 AM   #6
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Anybody know anything about Access-Tempo lenses? Found a couple 28-70mm ones on eBay; made by Sigma, apparently. Range is good for me. Good price. Good lens?
01-08-2012, 09:33 AM   #7
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+1 on Doc's suggestion for the Quantaray (rebadged Sigma) 28-90. Excellent budget walkaround lens with fast AF and very good image quality. In fact, I would buy the one he's selling if I didn't already own it.
You might browse thru here for shots from this lens and similar ones: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/lens-clubs/79149-cheap-auto-focus-28ish-8...lens-club.html
01-08-2012, 09:35 AM   #8
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I picked up a Sigma 28-80 Aspherical Macro a while back for 15 bucks. Really nice lens, fast AF, decent sharpness. Check with KEH, they have some Sigma, Tamron and Pentax zooms in that range now. Don't be afraid of their bargain grade.

01-08-2012, 09:37 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by amc654 Quote
Anybody know anything about Access-Tempo lenses? Found a couple 28-70mm ones on eBay; made by Sigma, apparently. Range is good for me. Good price. Good lens?
From what I could find many of those older Access Tempo/Sigma lenses were not chipped to work on newer bodies. On eBay lenses I typically want to see a photo down the throat of a lens before I'll bid on it.

The one on eBay currently appears to be a rebagged version of this lens:
Sigma 28-70mm, 3.5-4.5, Epsilon Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database
01-08-2012, 09:37 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by amc654 Quote
I'm fine with an old film lens (the compatibility is one of the reasons I went to Pentax), but some descriptions I've read say that using a film lens on a dslr will change the wide end? I don't know if it's true or not; is it?
The so-called crop factor is not for comparing lesnes, it is for comparing cameras. If you dom't own a film camera, you can forget you ever heard of it. On your digital camera, all 18-XX lenses will perform exactly the same at the wide end, wihether they were designed for film or digital. However, there are almost no 18-XX lenses designed for film - most general purpose zooms for film are 28-XX. So yes, any 28-XX lens - again, whether deaigned for film or digital, that's irrelevant - will give up a lot at the wide end compared to a 18-XX lens. Set your 18-55 to 28 and you'll discover it isn't wide *at all* - in fact, it's almost exactly "normal". So switching to a a 28-XX means you would not be able to take any wide angle pictures at all.

The obvious cheap solution given your situation is to to just get another 18-55 for now - you won't do better for anything remotely close to the price. You can always crop if you want a little more length, or switch to a telephoto zoom when you want a lot more. Going to an 18-70 or 18-135 or similar lens adds quite a lot fo the cost, as well as size and weight, in case that matters to you, but sometimes you can find the old Tamron 18-200 for pretty cheap.
01-08-2012, 09:46 AM   #11
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If you specifically want an 18-55 DAL then there is one on the marketplace right now that sounds good.
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/photographic-equipment-sale/167713-sale-f...-sf1-pz20.html

BTW, 28+ Zooms are not much bigger, need not cost more, and can give added longer reach. There are a number of them floating around that are rebagged Tamron or Sigma lenses.
01-08-2012, 09:56 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Going to an 18-70 or 18-135 or similar lens adds quite a lot fo the cost,
Yes, that's exactly the problem I found! I "can" use my current lens at 28, but I have space limitations where I shoot and it's not optimal. 24 works fine, but I like having the 18. If I literally move a storage cabinet, I can probably gain enough room so that I won't need the 18.

I'm trying to avoid buying a 2nd lens for now, until I upgrade my camera. As with the 28mm end, I "can" get by with 55, but I'd like more there.

Well, I guess it comes down to what I'll be doing with this the most for right now, and buying the "best" lens I can (range and IQ) in the price range I have. I'm willing to spend around $100 or a little more--I don't need a $50 or $60 solution--but hard to find anything in that price range, at least so far.

Thank you, Marc!
01-08-2012, 10:32 AM   #13
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What is the problem to buy another 18-55 lens? They tend to be very cheap when bought used. Most of the 28-something zooms are wasted money.
01-08-2012, 10:43 AM   #14
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QuoteQuote:
What is the problem to buy another 18-55 lens?
I may end up doing just that! But it wasn't quite what I wanted to begin with. I do a lot of close-up quasi-portrait work (mannequins, not people) and jewelry photos, and don't want to have to move around a lot once I set up. If I weren't in a "need now" situation, I'd bide my time till I could afford something else. But, while I can get good, sharp shots using the 18-55 manually, it takes me a helluva lot longer than using AF! So, yep, I can certainly get by satisfactorily with just replacing the 18-55, but was hoping for more range. I don't have the luxury of time, though!
01-08-2012, 02:21 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by amc654 Quote
I do a lot of close-up quasi-portrait work (mannequins, not people) and jewelry photos, and don't want to have to move around a lot once I set up. If I weren't in a "need now" situation, I'd bide my time till I could afford something else. But, while I can get good, sharp shots using the 18-55 manually, it takes me a helluva lot longer than using AF!
As mentioned, moving a lens to another camera doesn't change its focal length, but different-size frames (film or digital) crop different amounts of the projected image, so the FOV changes. Thus 18-55mm on APS-C is roughly equivalent to 28-80 on 135/FF in terms of what the camera sees. With usage, DOF and perspective change.

Hopefully your mannequins and jewelry don't move around a lot, so MF shouldn't really be a problem, especially if you use LiveView to nail the focus. But if AF is a must, then the cheapest solution would just be to go for another DA18-55. I doubt you'll find much anything else in the 18-XX range for under US$100 without a time-consuming search. I see this Sigma for US$100 BIN Sigma AF 18-50 /3.5-5.6 DC Lens for Pentax SLR NEW | eBay but I don't know if it's any better than the DA, and it's even shorter on the long end.

That's my best suggestion: another kit lens.
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