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08-22-2012, 06:17 PM   #1
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Which One Was It?

Hey Folks,
I am a new member although a frequent visitor in the past. I own a K-20 and a K-5 as well as a variety of lenses dating back to some old screw mounts. I am currently looking to upgrade to a pro level lens in the $800 to $1400 range. It would either be a long zoom or a telephoto prime. I have read countless reviews on this and numerous other sites but my question is simple and directed to you folks who are the everyday photo enthusiasts and pros. Which lens for you was a game changer? Which single acquisition lens made you feel that you had gotten to the next level in your photography? I really appreciate any insight you may have.

Cheers and Thanks!

08-22-2012, 07:43 PM   #2
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It all depends on what you like to shoot.

I like to shoot wildlife and outdoor shots - my FA*300 4.5 was a game changer for me. Even though not available, very similar to the DA* 300 that is currently available.
08-22-2012, 07:48 PM   #3
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DA*50-135, K200/2.5, FA77 or FA*85. It could be any of these, or even the F*300/4.5.

Honestly, I even thought this of the much less expensive A100/2.8 non-macro when I first got it.

Last edited by DSims; 08-22-2012 at 07:55 PM.
08-22-2012, 08:20 PM   #4
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DA*16-50, DA 70mm ltd, DFA 100mm macro. All made an impression on me. But if you are looking to buy a lens you need to decide what you want not what everyone else likes. Lots of good lens, even great, lenses out there, you need to narrow the field a bit.

08-22-2012, 08:47 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
DA*16-50, DA 70mm ltd, DFA 100mm macro. All made an impression on me. But if you are looking to buy a lens you need to decide what you want not what everyone else likes. Lots of good lens, even great, lenses out there, you need to narrow the field a bit.

As I stated in my post I am looking at a long zoom or a telephoto prime. Something like a 50-135mm, 60-250mm or perhaps the 200mm or 300mm DA primes. I guess the people I want to hear from are those who had "kit" lenses and then eventually took the financial plunge and were like "why didn't I get this lens sooner?!".
08-22-2012, 09:52 PM   #6
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Don't know how long you want but the Tamron 70-200 2.8 might be a good choice and are not too pricey.Don't have one myself but plan on getting one in the future.Have seen several pro's with both Nikon and Canon using them around events I attend.They get good reviews in the lens database.
08-22-2012, 10:14 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bercules Quote
Something like a 50-135mm, 60-250mm or perhaps the 200mm or 300mm DA primes. I guess the people I want to hear from are those who had "kit" lenses and then eventually took the financial plunge and were like "why didn't I get this lens sooner?!".
Then everything I said still applies. I imagine you know how good the DA*50-135 is. If you want to maintain that quality above 135mm you'll need to go to the primes (or the hard-to-find FA*80-200). The Tamron 70-200 would be a bit of a step down, although maybe not enough to matter to you.
08-22-2012, 10:53 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bercules Quote
Which lens for you was a game changer? Which single acquisition lens made you feel that you had gotten to the next level in your photography?
For me that would be the M135/3.5, which was my first manual lens. It got me hooked on manual lenses, my next body will get a focusing screen. Also the F35-70 for action shots outside and the Sigma 15-30 indoors made some difference. My learning curve is still quite steep.

Seb

08-23-2012, 12:58 AM   #9
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The three long FL lenses that changed things for me were:

1. The SMC Takumar 300/4 that I bought new in 1975, to go with my Spotmatic F (I still have both), and which gave me the taste for good long FL lenses;
2. The FA*80-200/2.8, bought a couple of years ago, which proved to me that some zooms could be almost as good as primes; and
3. The F*300/4.5, bought last year, which demonstrated that newer isn't necessarily better (let alone lighter or even cheaper), and that patience can actually be a virtue when it comes to buying good glass at a reasonable price.

The two extra-long FL lenses that provided lessons in choice for me were:

1. The SMC Pentax 400-600/8-12 mirror, which showed that novelty and performance are not necessarily linked; and
2. The Tamron 500/8 mirror, which demonstrated that value can come at a lower price.

The FA*80-200/2.8 isn't rare, but commands a fairly high price. However, in my view, it's still very good optical value for money and is built like the proverbial brick outhouse. Others prefer the newer Sigma and Tamron offerings.

The F*300/4.5 is similarly solidly built and optically good, has a built-in lens hood (like the SMC Takumar 300/4: why don't we see these any more?) and an extraordinarily-long removable mounting foot, but is harder to find than the later (and heavier) FA*300/4.5, even though it's around the same price or even cheaper.
08-23-2012, 01:22 AM   #10
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My first top class long lens was the DA*200/2.8. Before that I just had a crappy 10$ ebay Sigma 75-300 push-pull zoom.
I couldn't believe the contrast and colour I was getting from the DA200. I didn't know a telephoto lens
could be that good.

I recently also got the DA* 50-135 zoom. That's also a remarkable piece of glass. To this day, I've not noticed any
optical weaknesses like chroma errors, distortion, fringing, flare, etc. Nothing, it's just - perfect. AF is slowish though,
esp. at the near end of the focus range, so it doesn't track nearby pedestrians, dogs etc. very well.

Regards,
--Anders.
08-23-2012, 01:36 AM   #11
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I'd have to agree with 2 of the choices from RobA_Oz :

The FA*80-200 f2.8 is pretty close to Prime lens quality but with the flexibility of the zoom, a fast maximum aperture and (if you like the feaure) Powerzoom. It is very usable at f2.8 but I much prefer it at f4. Very heavy, very pricey, very nice

The other lens that really struck me with its quality from first use is the F* 300mm f4.5 - this one is totally usable from maximum aperture. The build/feel of this lens is second to none and although they sell "used" for quite high prices I feel it is well worth the investment.

If you do consider a slightly shorter lens then I'd have to agree the DA* 50-135 is superb - although since getting the FA* 80-200 it doesn't get a look-in
08-23-2012, 04:30 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bercules Quote
Which single acquisition lens made you feel that you had gotten to the next level in your photography?
None of them. And I've bought a lot of lenses over the past 14 months or so. Most have extended the capability of my kit in some way (some have been duplicates), enabling me to get shots I couldn't before. But to me that's not game changing. For me leap has been going beyond available light photography to learning about flash and strobist techniques.
08-23-2012, 06:01 AM   #13
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You can't go wrong with a Sigma EX APO 100-300:4 if you can find one.
08-23-2012, 07:44 AM   #14
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The first game changer for me was the DA 12-24. Before that I'd been shooting entirely with uninspired kit glass. The 12-24 gave me a taste of what first-rate glass can do.

The second game changer was the K 28/3.5, which reinvigored by love of shooting primes and proved that first-rate glass didn't have to be prohibitively expensive, as long as you were willing to go with older glass and you choose wisely.
08-23-2012, 07:55 AM   #15
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My dad has a K20D and a DA 18-250. I had tried to convince him to go for something with nicer optics, but he didn't want to bother with changing lenses.

But...he has a little power boat he uses to scoot around the eastern shore of Maryland, and he found that he needed something more for getting good shots of ospreys and other stuff around the water.

So all on his own he went and found the DA* 300/4 and asked me if he was crazy for wanting to spend $1100 on a lens. I said, "well at least it's not $3400 for the Sigma 300/2.8."

He bought the DA* 300 and has been VERY happy with it. I still haven't convinced him to get any other nice lenses though...
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