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04-03-2012, 10:11 AM   #1
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Need advise for lens collection for K-5

Hi,

I have a K-x currently, with a Pentax 17-70/F4 SDM lens and the 55-300 DAL kit lens. I am not very satisfied with 17-70 lens, and wish I had kept the Sigma 17-50 EX HSM lens that I had tried before (though I'm wondering if I thought that was better because it was more expensive). I am considering to buy a K-5, and needed some advise on which lenses to have with it. I don't want to buy too many lenses, but would like to make sure I have enough to cover most shooting situations. Also, would like to avoid changes lenses very often when I'm walking about etc.

I am still a newbie with DSLR photography. I shoot generally family shots, kids in the home/outside, and vacations. I also like doing outdoor shots. i guess I just want to have more than the 'standard' vacation pictures. I would like to be able to take good pictures of my kids, even though they are not ready to pose!

My questions:

1. Should I keep the 17-70/F4, or get something like Tamron 17-50 ?
2. the Pentax 18-135 looks very attractive, because it looks small (compared to 17-70) and has larger range. How is its performance compared to 17-70, especially on a K-5?
3. I would like to buy one prime lens. Doesn't have to be macro. mostly for indoor shots(without flash), portraits etc. I read that DA50 , DA70 are good for portraits. any thoughts, or other suggestions. the DA 77 limited is too expensive!
4. should I keep the 55-300 DA L for longer range shooting? I don't do much of that, but its zooming and AF is terribly loud (as I found out during my kid's recital!)

I don't have much of a limit of budget, but would like to keep it reasonable, based on the my photography.

Finally, I used the Exposureplot to review my pictures, and find that I shoot quite a bit at the short end of the lens, and most of the rest in the 40-80mm range. I don't know if that's because that's the limit of the lens that I have.

04-03-2012, 11:03 AM   #2
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Keep your 55-300, it is a very good lens. The DA70, I love it, but it's not much brighter than the Tamron 17-50/2.8. If you want a low light lens the FA 50/1.4 gives you a lot of options. Another option is the Sigma 30/1.4. You could pick up a manual lens for low light, like a Pentax-A 50/1.7. I just sold one for $55. A great kit would be the Tamron 17-50/2.8, your DA L 55-300 and a cheap fast 50 prime lens.
04-03-2012, 11:39 AM   #3
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I agree with kenafein about a 17-50 2.8, DAL 55-300, and a low-light 50 prime as an ideal kit for your needs.

The DAL 55-300 you should definitely keep- it's a great long-range zoom lens and you may need it for when your kid plays sports, etc. I have the 18-135 and it's excellent for a superzoom -- and would be a nice WR match for when you get a K5. I don't have a 17-70 but the 18-135 has what might be a more reliable silent motor (DC versus SDM) and it is lighter, smaller, and WR. Still, 17-70 is f/4 constant, and you get a little wider and optically it's supposed to be a bit better than 18-135.

If you want only one prime, especially just for indoor shots without flash, you may want to consider a DA 35 f/2.4. I have FA50 and it's great for low-light portraits, but it is a bit long for indoor use, so you need to be sure you have the space to back up in a room, or you will be getting mostly head shots, or torso-head, not full body. (I have FA35 for indoor use and it's amazing; also have a 24mm f/2.8 which is awesome too) DA70 may also be too long for indoor portraits for the same reasons but you should use the long end of your 17-70 to decide that question for yourself-- would you be happy with a 35, 50, or 70? Or you might be better off with a 17-50 2.8 for your family shots-- a versatile range, good low light pictures, and no need to swap a bunch of lenses.

Good luck!
04-03-2012, 01:14 PM   #4
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Thanks, 76erfan and Kenafein, for the prompt replies. I realise that 17-70 will be F4 throughout, but perhaps the K-5 will help to overcome this with the Tamron 17-50? Actually, I am just wanting to get better pictures, and somehow the ones from the 17-70 don't appeal to me. Maybe its a limitation of my skill, not the lens!

I was also thinking of the DA 50-135, but was shocked to see that the price seems to have almost doubled from a couple of days ago!

When you say manual lens, do you mean it does not have AF? I can see how that will be very useful in low light, but does those lens (or camera) give some sort of feedback before I click, so I know the subject is not out of focus? I am assuming that with enough practise I will be able to do manual focus almost as quickly as AF?

04-03-2012, 01:27 PM   #5
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As above, the DA 55-300 is a good one. It's loud but its image quality is excellent and it's small - very versatile.
What are you thinking of getting the 50-135 for? If just for indoor portraiture, you can make do with a good prime, like a DA 40 or DA 70. How much room do you have to shoot indoors? You can work out your most suitable focal length by testing out your DA 55-300 at home and see if you can get everything in the frame that you want with that lens. Then pick the prime that meets your needs. If you don't have all that much room, the DA 40 may be the way to go. If for something a little cheaper, but still very good, the DA 35 f/2.4 lens really is hard to beat.
04-03-2012, 01:40 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by gopentax Quote
I realise that 17-70 will be F4 throughout, but perhaps the K-5 will help to overcome this with the Tamron 17-50? Actually, I am just wanting to get better pictures, and somehow the ones from the 17-70 don't appeal to me.
I've had good experience with the Tamron 17-50 on my K-x.
Its colors aren't as good as Pentax (without PP), but it's very sharp.

QuoteOriginally posted by gopentax Quote
When you say manual lens, do you mean it does not have AF? I can see how that will be very useful in low light, but does those lens (or camera) give some sort of feedback before I click, so I know the subject is not out of focus?
If you have AF(S) switched on, you'll get the same confirmation as when an AF lens is focused.
You can also use the Catch-In-Focus/Trap Focus option.

QuoteOriginally posted by gopentax Quote
I am assuming that with enough practise I will be able to do manual focus almost as quickly as AF?
If your kid is old enough to be giving recitals, they should have slowed down enough for you to focus manually on them.
04-03-2012, 02:06 PM   #7
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Hi, Ash,

looking at your signature, I am like you (K-x and K-5) ! I was only looking at 50-135 because it seems to be unversally accepted as a very good lens, and I thought another option for me would be to get that and maybe a 40 prime. I realise better lens will cost significantly more, and even $899 seemed a lot. but now its just too much.

Exposureplot showed me that I shoot a lot of pics at the shortend of the lens, more than any other focal length. I think sometimes that is to just get a little 'extra' around the subject, so I can crop if necessary. also, that's one way I know of getting a sharp pic across the entire image (though I need to educate myself on other techniques). There were a few situations where my old 28mm P&S was not wide enough, and I didn't have enough space to move back.

Speaking of DA40 limited, someone in my area is selling a used one ('Like New') for $290, is that a good deal?
04-03-2012, 03:17 PM   #8
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Prodigital in Canada is still selling the DA* 50-135 for 900 something.

04-03-2012, 06:14 PM   #9
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A DA 40 for $290 is unheard of in my books. Very very good lens. Have a look at the photo samples from the lens on this forum...
04-04-2012, 01:30 PM   #10
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Thanks for the feedback guys, I will try to buy the 40mm today. Since this is the first time I am buying a used lens, here is the steps I was going to take to figure out its quality.

1. Visually check exterior for major bumps,dings, scratches. small ones are ok

2. hold up lens to a bight light, or bright sky, and see if any scratches on glass

3. some posts have suggested turning focusing ring and looking at the blades, is this something to try here?

4. put it on my k-x and get a 'feel' for AF speed, snappiness(?), and image quality(whatever is visible on the tiny LCD)

Any additional or different tips?

Thanks!
04-04-2012, 01:55 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by gopentax Quote
Thanks for the feedback guys, I will try to buy the 40mm today. Since this is the first time I am buying a used lens, here is the steps I was going to take to figure out its quality.

1. Visually check exterior for major bumps,dings, scratches. small ones are ok
2. hold up lens to a bight light, or bright sky, and see if any scratches on glass
3. some posts have suggested turning focusing ring and looking at the blades, is this something to try here?
4. put it on my k-x and get a 'feel' for AF speed, snappiness(?), and image quality(whatever is visible on the tiny LCD)

Any additional or different tips?

Thanks!
3. DA40 has no aperture ring. If you're worried about a problematic aperture, then you'll have to test on camera. Set the aperture to small (f22?) and make sure the output is correctly exposed. If it's overexposed, there might be a problem with the aperture if the overexposure goes away when stopped down less.

---

Practically speaking, though, I'd check the glass for dust/scratches, and make sure the electronics work (AF, auto-aperture), and check to make sure focus looks like it is decent.
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