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04-03-2012, 05:33 AM   #1
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Help narrowing down choices needed.

hey there everyone, hope all is well!
can't praise enough this forum and all the help one can get from here but i seem to be struggling a bit myself being a complete noob so hang in with me)
so i got a beautiful Pentax K-r as a gift from my loved one and i am real happy with it.
i've also got a great Pentax MX which i absolutely love.
of course i've got some lenses with it which are
-vivitar 28mm 2.8 close focus (love it)
-helios 44k-4 (love it)
-pentax f 80-200mm (again love it)
-18-55 DAL wich came with my new K-r
no complaints here but i feel all of my manual lenses are for the sitautions when i've got plenty of time to stop, think, compose and shoot.
which brought me to the question - what kind of lens (or two) would be best for me if i just want to be quicker with my actions. I mean i love manual focus but sometimes feel i just need to be a bit faster to capture the moment. i mainly shoot city, people, landscapes, flowers here and there. just an all-round user i suppose.although i barely use my 80-200 cause there wasn't much need for it yet. i have been considering DA 35, DA 40, sigma 17-50, sigma 17-70, sigma 10-20. and i just get to the point where i'm confused with all the options((
so i'd really appreciate any help from you guys.
thank you.

04-03-2012, 05:55 AM   #2
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OK, you seem to have reached the understanding that using legacy lenses are for time, enjoyment etc, and that newer AF lenses give faster response and allow to some extent a more snapshot approach to photography, So far so good.

So the real question is where are you headed with your photography.

I used to advise that people should consider designing their lens kit to cover some how 10mm to 200mm with an option to get out to 400mm or beyond if they were interested in wild life, and that much of the perhaps 20-200 range should be at F2.8.

That approach can get expensive in a hurry, but prior to the K7 and definitely with the K5 it is what i felt was required to cover the situation. The High ISO capability of the later camera models, has negated to some extent the absolute need for F2.8 across that entire range although it still has its uses.
For you, the first thing to consider is whether you want to replace the kit lens, with a higher quality and perhaps slightly larger zoom fange, or do you wish to compliment the kit lens with a second lens, that gives you AF in another range outside the focal length ofrange of the kit lens.


In reading your lens inventory so far, you indicate you have a pentax F 80-200, Is this truely an AF lens? just checking to be sure, but if it is, then for now, keep this for the times you want extra length with AF, and focus more on what you say are the main interests, people, archetecture city shots etc. FOr this, i think you need to cover 10-70mm, and at present that is with 2 lenses. I say 10mm because when travelling in cities, there are many many times when you just can't back up enough, a 10-20 also is great for interior shots.

In your present situation this would be perhaps more logical than replacing the kit lens with a 17-70, although that would perhaps be an alternitive objective or a long term goal, but if you are relitively happy at present with the IQ of the kit lens, go wider with a ultra wide zoom before replacing the kit lens.

Just my $0.02
04-03-2012, 06:04 AM   #3
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The decision has to be are you a prime shooter or would you prefer the flexibility of a zoom (and be willing to accept the size/weight penalty that comes with it)
Personally I am more of a prime shooter, and use mainly MF lenses even in situations that are more dynamic (mind you I have a brighter VF with a split screen which makes it easier)
The DA35 is a really good all round lens. think of it as the replacement for the helios you used n the mx. Good standard FOV. If the Helios was your primary lens on the mx then the 35 (or even the 40 ) would be good prime choices. However if the 28 was then you may be better off with a DA21
As a zoom I would lean to the Sigma 17-50 2.8. Fast across the range so good in lower light. At 50 at the long end it will give you a short portrait lens at the wide it will cover groups and landscape and tight city street shots. a Very Good all rounder
There is a good comparison of the 16-50, the sigma and the tamron alternatives. with the ecent rice in price of the Pentax the Sigma looks like a steal

DA* 16-50mm vs. Sigma and Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 Comparison - Introduction - PentaxForums.com

Edit - I'll add that i agree with Lowel it really is best a 2 lens kit a 10-20 and say a 24-70
04-03-2012, 06:05 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
pentax F 80-200, Is this truely an AF lens?
thanks for such a quick reply!
the above mentioned lens really is an AF lens just to confirm.
i do appreciate the fact that when i look at my friend's shots i'm always like "hm if only you could get the roof of that cathedral in, that would have been a perfect shot", so a wide-angle is something i'd really need provided i love travelling when i have time on my hands.
i'm not sure about the kit lens cause i haven't really had a chance to test it properly due to real nasty weather here in Moscow lately. so still kinda undecided if it's a keeper or not for me.
but a DAL 35/40 looks pretty attractive as a "walk around" lens to me. i'm wondering if 10-20 + 35/40 would do the trick for me?

04-03-2012, 06:14 AM   #5
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it may well be a good altrnative since the 80-200 can step in as a portrait lens for you provided you have enough room

for the wide zoom you may want to look at the comparative review that covers the Pentax,Sigma and tamron.

DA 12-24mm vs Sigma and Tamron 10-24mm Comparison - Introduction - PentaxForums.com
04-03-2012, 06:15 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by eddie1960 Quote
The DA35 is a really good all round lens. think of it as the replacement for the helios you used n the mx. Good standard FOV. If the Helios was your primary lens on the mx then the 35 (or even the 40 ) would be good prime choices.
yeah i do like using my helios and the shots in my album are made with exactly that lens. the DAL 35 does look like a steal for 200$.
04-04-2012, 06:19 AM   #7
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The 18-55 can be a little soft (I never use mine after testing .. it's just there if I ever need a WR lens).

I'd look at the Sigma 10-20 (the older variable model, not the constant F stop model, as it is supposedly to have very slightly better IQ, both are still available new) and the excellent and very popular Tamron 28-75/2.8. Those should cover all of your needs (along with your 80-200 and MF lenses for fun).
04-04-2012, 11:11 AM   #8
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my question still stands if i should consider DAL 35 or 40?
what do you guys think?

04-04-2012, 11:48 AM   #9
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Is it between the DAL 35 and the 40XS, or the DA40? If it is between the DA 40 and the DAL35 i'd go for the DA. far better construction (at more than double the price though)
If it is between the other 2 the new xs may perform as well as the DA but i've yet to see a good comparison done (if it is in fact as good as the DA then it is a killer deal (if somewhat odd looking on a dslr).
DA 40 benefits
Smaller
Sharper
Better Metal Build
Quick shift focus
Distance scale
Comes with a Hood

for the 40 XS the benefit goes down to smaller and sharper all the other benefits are gone (sharper only true if it's the exact same optically as the DA40)

DAL35 benefit
Lowest price
Still excellent optically
fastest F stop (not by much)

If you have the money the DA is the better unit but realistically teh DAL is a very strong performer. it's build is so so, it misses some nice features, you'll need to buy a hood separately, Due to build it may well not stand up as well (though it's no worse and seems better than the cheap canon and nikon 50's from a build standpoint).

Last edited by eddie1960; 04-04-2012 at 11:55 AM.
04-04-2012, 11:50 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by eddie1960 Quote
If it is between the DA 40 and the DAL35
it is actually)))
thanks for the input!so many great lenses!
04-04-2012, 12:16 PM   #11
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If it's between those 2 and cost isn't a big factor then the DA 40 is a no brainer (heck right now in the US the FA43 is the real no brainer since it's not much more than the 40 and it's one of the best lenses ever made (and the leica variant has a big cult following)
up here the FA is $340 more than the DA so the choice is much easier
04-04-2012, 12:27 PM   #12
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I see some great info posted and the really good lenses mentioned - Frog mentioned the Tammy 28-75, I have that one and it is a great lens (and not too expensive).

QuoteOriginally posted by racingsnake Quote
i mainly shoot city, people, landscapes, flowers here and there. just an all-round user i suppose
Has anyone mentioned or have you considered the DA 16~45? For a standard everyday walkaround lens, this is a great alternative.


FYR: I had the DA 35 2.4, IQ is nothing short of outstanding with that lens, it also has extremely zippy AF...
04-04-2012, 09:05 PM   #13
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Your choices depend on your budget and your interests. Here are my priorities for building a lens kit:

1) Coverage. My Tamron 10-24, D18-250, and Lil'Bigma 170-500 cover a lot of territory.
2) Speed. My FA50/1.4, and f/2 manual lenses at 24-28-35-58-85mm help me there.
3) Specialties. Macro lenses, long mirrors, the DA10-17 fisheye zoom, are all special tools.
4) Character. Older slower cheaper manual primes render images differently than newer glass.
5) Mania. Whatever optical materials I can stick in front of the camera, that's what I like!

If your F70-200 has enough reach for you, then look for shorter AF lenses. Some suggestions:

* The old F35-70, smallest zoom Pentax ever, is sharp, agile, cheap, good for people-shooting.
* The Tamron 10-24 is my fave of the ultrawide zooms due to range, price+warranty, quality.
* The Tamron 17-50/2.8 is highly regarded as a sharp fast replacement for the kit DA18-55.
* The FA50/1.4 is indispensable. It's my gotta-get-the-shot lens. Don't leave home without it.
* If you can afford them, the Limiteds are exceptional. DAs are smaller; FAs are worshipped.

I have another kit-building trick: Get lenses such that each has about 1/2 or 2x the focal length of its neighbor. That makes it easier to decide which lens to swap to next. One such kit might include the 15Ltd, 31Ltd, DA*55, and DFA100 Macro. Another might be the 21Ltd, 40Ltd, and 77Ltd.

Those are some ideas. Everybody will recommend their own favorites or wanna-haves. Such is life.
04-05-2012, 03:58 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by racingsnake Quote
thanks for such a quick reply!
the above mentioned lens really is an AF lens just to confirm.
i do appreciate the fact that when i look at my friend's shots i'm always like "hm if only you could get the roof of that cathedral in, that would have been a perfect shot", so a wide-angle is something i'd really need provided i love travelling when i have time on my hands.
i'm not sure about the kit lens cause i haven't really had a chance to test it properly due to real nasty weather here in Moscow lately. so still kinda undecided if it's a keeper or not for me.
but a DAL 35/40 looks pretty attractive as a "walk around" lens to me. i'm wondering if 10-20 + 35/40 would do the trick for me?
For what you could possibly get for the tele zoom I would keep it and just add the 10-20 or any other ultra wide zoom. Fill out the bottom end of the range first and then look perhaps to replace the kit lens with a lens that more suites your needs, whether that is qprimes or a wide to tele zoom. When you start looking for additional length the tele zoom will help you, but it just may not go on every trip,

There is nothing wrong with leaving part of your kit at home when you travel. Take what you want, and don't feel pressured to take everything, that can lead to tired shoulders and a less enjoyable trip
04-05-2012, 10:19 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
For what you could possibly get for the tele zoom I would keep it and just add the 10-20 or any other ultra wide zoom.
oh i have no intention on parting with any of my lenses cause i simply enjoy all of them.
i was just looking at the da 40 photos and absolutely love the sharpness!!!i've got a little nephew who's probably the best to shoot cause he's just always the best in the photos.but you gotta be real snappy with him)))i barely shoot at night really and that's something i'm still looking into and i know i'd need something for night shots as well cause being a musician myself i like being in dim venues.
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