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05-20-2012, 01:39 PM   #1
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Lens advice for a K-x

Hello,

I have a K-x with the standard 18-55mm Pentax DAL kit lens which I have found to be quite versatile. I also have a SMC Pentax-A 50mm f2 prime and a Tokina SD 70-200mm zoom.

I originally purchased the K-x to get the benefit of a larger APS-C sensor and a good optical viewfinder. I was not particularly interested in the interchangeability of lenses - I purchased the additional prime and zoom lenses second hand just to see how they performed and how they suited my needs.

I find that I use the standard kit lens 95% of the time. I very rarely use the prime lens even though the picture quality is very good I miss the auto focus! The Tokina zoom is good but at 200mm there is no way I can hold it steady enough (I'm old!) and again I miss the autofocus. Even with a well adjusted viewfinder I find it hard to manually match the autofocus accuracy.

Ideally I would like to move to a single lens for all my needs (I accept there will be some compromise in quality). The question is which one would be best matched to the abilities of the K-x . I quite like the Pentax DA 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 ED AL (IF) DC WR but the price is significantly more than I paid for my camera including kit lens and I wonder if this is "overkill" My other option seems to be the Tamron AF 18-200mm f3.5-6.3 which is considerably cheaper than the above Pentax lens.

At my age I have lost interest in accumulating accessories - just a good camera with one good versatile lens. I will plan to sell my existing 3 lenses once I have a satisfactory "all in one"

So is the Pentax 18-135mm worth the extra money over the Tamron 18-200mm and /or are there alternatives that I should be looking at??

Cheers


Last edited by coylum; 05-20-2012 at 02:39 PM.
05-20-2012, 02:50 PM   #2
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The nice thing about the Pentax is the weather sealing and the fast/silent AF. Another option worth considering is this new Sigma, which also has HSM and is cheaper than the Pentax:

Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 II DC HSM Lens for Pentax AF 882109 B&H

It's got a $100 instant rebate till the end of May, and we won't be reviewing it till this summer.
05-20-2012, 02:56 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by coylum Quote
The Tokina zoom is good but at 200mm there is no way I can hold it steady enough (I'm old!) and again I miss the autofocus.
Welcome to the forum!

A Pentax 50-200 or 55-300 zoom would give you autofocus for that range.

Since the K-x is good at higher sensitivities,
you could set it for 800 or 1600 ASA
in order to use a faster shutter speed at 200mm.

There are other tricks as well,
like resting on a support where you can,
holding longer lenses under the barrel with one hand, ,
and half-exhaling before gently squeezing the shutter release with the other.
If your hands have a tendency to shake,
you can try twisting the support hand one way,
and the hand on the camera grip in the opposite direction,
so the two hands tend to steady each other.
05-20-2012, 03:15 PM   #4
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You already received some good advice.

You may consider the Tamron/DA18-250mm. The IQ is considered better than the Tamron 18-200mm:
"Given its shorter zoom range, you'd expect the original 18-200mm lens to outperform the new 18-250, but that proved not to be the case. The 18-250mm beat its 18-200mm predecessor all hollow when it came to sharpness. Wide open, the 18-250 was much better behaved, and sharpness was markedly better across the board." (Tamron Lens: Zooms - Tamron 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II LD Aspherical IF Macro AF (Tested) - SLRgear.com!)

The Tamron/DA18-250mm is not WR, it is out of production and there are a number of good 2nd hand copies on the market.

Hope that the suggestion may help.

05-20-2012, 03:20 PM   #5
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There are a number of "all in one" lens out to 200mm and 250mm. If you are satisfied with the 18-55 kit lens then I think most of them will be as good or very close.
The Pentax 18-135 has WR as noted but you have the k-x so it doesn't really help. Some have reported this to be a good lens others say it is not so sharp. This is either variability in the lens tested or the expectations of the reviewer. Compared to the kit lens it will not be any worse.

Another all in one from Pentax is the DA 18-250 which has always gotten good marks. It is available only used now though.

The Sigma 18-200 should also fit your requirements, you give up the WR (which you cannot use anyway) and gain an extra 65mm on the long end.

If it was me I would get the DA 18-250, but if do not need that range or cannot hold it well enough to use it then the 18-200 will cover your needs. The big advantage of the 18-135 is WR, so for the price difference I think the Sigma 18-200 is a better fit for you.

Another thing to keep in mind is that these all in ones usually give up some light on the long end, which means the camera slows the shutter speed to compensate (assuming you are using the auto modes). f/5.6 or f/6.3 on the long end is fine for bright light but quickly becomes a handicap in dim light especially indoors. I would hang on to that 50mm just for low light shots, you will not get a lot for it anyway. Or consider getting the DA 35 f/2.4 to replace it just for low light.

My wife is in exactly the same situation, she has my old k-x and simply refuses to change lenses. She currently has the 18-55 DA L but at some point I need to get her an all in one with some more range.
05-20-2012, 03:43 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by coylum Quote
The Tokina zoom is good but at 200mm there is no way I can hold it steady enough (I'm old!) and again I miss the autofocus
A monopod could be a good investment here...

AF-zooms (both DA & FA versions) in the 50-200/300mm range can be found fairly cheaply on the auction site... AF won't help much against 'shake' though... Keep a fast shutter (so raise the ISO) when shooting longer focal lengths (70mm+) and get some stablisation (tripod/monopod)
05-20-2012, 05:20 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by testuser Quote
The nice thing about the Pentax is the weather sealing and the fast/silent AF. Another option worth considering is this new Sigma, which also has HSM and is cheaper than the Pentax:

Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 II DC HSM Lens for Pentax AF 882109 B&H

It's got a $100 instant rebate till the end of May, and we won't be reviewing it till this summer.
This Sigma lens, to suit Pentax, does not seem to be available yet in Australia. I have written to the distributor to confirm and I have also enquired of B&H whether they can supply to Australia at the $399 price. My other concern is the lack of a review although I guess the reviews for Nikon and Can are relevant...

Thanks
05-20-2012, 05:24 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by lytrytyr Quote
Welcome to the forum!

A Pentax 50-200 or 55-300 zoom would give you autofocus for that range.
Thanks for the welcome and the advice but at this stage my objective is to have just one lens for convenience. I may change my mind if I can't find or afford a suitable lens in which case I would seriously consider a "kit" lens to cover the telephoto range

Thanks

05-20-2012, 05:26 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcc Quote
You may consider the Tamron/DA18-250mm. The IQ is considered better than the Tamron 18-200mm:
I agree following your suggestion and further reading...thanks
05-20-2012, 05:27 PM   #10
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A DA 18-135 WR seems like a perfect fit for you then.

Secondhand (and cheaper with slightly poorer IQ) there's the Tamron or Pentax 18-250 (the Pentax one is just a rebranded Tamron).
05-20-2012, 05:30 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote

Another all in one from Pentax is the DA 18-250 which has always gotten good marks. It is available only used now though.
.
Isn't the Pentax DA 18-250 just a rebadged Tamron 18-250? - assuming that to be the case then the prices are better for the Tamron

And yes, I will keep the f2 50mm prime for low light

Thanks
05-20-2012, 05:35 PM   #12
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I own the older version of the sigma 18-200 and I've found it very versatile. I found the iQ surprisingly good compared to my originally 18-55 sigma kit lens (although this isn't really surprising) and it worked very well in low light all things considered. I don't have the lens here for me to double check all the specs, but I thought i'd just throw in my two cents here.

While on holidays I found I could have just lived with that one lens, rather than swap cameras/lenses etc. It really is a great lens, and very versatile, despite some slight vignetting, although i wonder if that's just my copy ( i got it secondhand) as opposed to the lens itself. i know that you can get this lens at a decent price secondhand.
05-20-2012, 06:45 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by coylum Quote
Isn't the Pentax DA 18-250 just a rebadged Tamron 18-250? - assuming that to be the case then the prices are better for the Tamron
Yes. The DA18-250mm and Tamron 18-250mm are the same. Manufactured by Tamron, the lens was rebadged by Pentax. Otherwise, they are the same.

The Tamron 18-250mm (Pentax mount) tends to be slightly cheaper than the DA18-250mm. Both are found regulalry on the market place.

Hope that the comment will help.
05-20-2012, 07:59 PM   #14
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Are rumors that the DA18-250 has SMC coatings and its Tamron twin doesn't. I'm not sure. But when I bought my first dSLR, the K20D, my original kit were the DA10-17 (the lens that drove me to Pentax), the FA50/1.4 for low light and action and DOF control, and the DA18-250 for almost everything else. Hundreds of lenses later, those are still my most-used lenses, and the DA18-250 is my basic lens; all the rest are specialty items. IMHO there's no better all-in-one.

It ain't perfect. Superzoom optics always involve compromises. It has lens creep; that's why there's a lock button on it. It's not fast. But it does many things very well, without needing to change lenses. Changing lenses can mean missing shots. The IQ (image quality) of a missed shot is zero. My K20D is with me always.
05-22-2012, 03:45 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
A DA 18-135 WR seems like a perfect fit for you then.
I think this is where I'm going.... just trying to convince myself that I can afford Australian prices!!
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