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09-04-2012, 10:59 PM   #1
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New lens for zoom (K-x)?

Hello!

I'm new to using DSLRs, and I was thinking about getting a new lens in a few days. I've had my k-x for over a year now and have decided that I want some sort of telephoto (maybe?) lens so I can zoom in on stuff far away. I know absolutely NOTHING about lenses or what the numbers mean. Any help/suggestion is greatly appreciated! My biggest problem with the lens that came with the K-X kit was always that I couldn't take a picture of anything far away. I felt that my pictures were too crowded and messy and... it just wasn't what I wanted my camera to do.

My budget would probably be under $300? Maybe a little more?
Thank you!


Last edited by Ambrosial; 09-04-2012 at 11:17 PM.
09-04-2012, 11:11 PM - 1 Like   #2
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The Pentax DA 55-300 gets great reviews, and you can get one for less than 300 second hand if you are not afraid of buying used.
https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/SMC-Pentax-DA-55-300mm-F4-5.8-Zoom-Lens.html
09-04-2012, 11:17 PM   #3
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Thank you for the reply! I will look into that!

Here are two that I was just looking at, could you give me your opinion on these?:
Amazon.com: Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro Telephoto Zoom Lens for Pentax and Samsung SLR Cameras: Camera & Photo
Amazon.com: Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 Di LD Macro Zoom Lens for Pentax Digital SLR Cameras: Camera & Photo
09-04-2012, 11:51 PM   #4
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I use the Tamron myself and I find it to be quick and sharp.
it has a useful close focus feature as well.
Its only drawback is a tendency to show a bit of purple fringe in high contrast areas but it is easily corrected in post process.
I feel it is an excellent value as the price is very reasonable.

I don't know the Sigma so I'll let someone else comment.

09-04-2012, 11:54 PM - 1 Like   #5
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The Sigma and Tamron options are cheaper than the Pentax DA recommended by crewl1 but they seem to be of lesser quality. I have to second the DA 55-300 suggestion, I bought one second hand for EUR200 and am very satisfied with it. Just be aware that it's still much larger and heavier than your 18-55 kit lens.
Also, at 300mm it is already difficult to shoot precisely while hand-holding. Don't buy anything longer if you are not prepared to use a tripod!

Another option you might want to consider would be to buy a "superzoom" like a Pentax/Sigma/Tamron 18-250mm or 18-200mm (lots of different options if you buy used, and I think only the Sigma can be found new?). This would cost a bit more but it would completely replace your old lens and you would not need to change lenses to get from wide-angle to telephoto. On the negative side, the image quality and the maximum aperture at longer focal lengths are lower than with a dedicated lens.

Your call...
09-05-2012, 12:07 AM - 1 Like   #6
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Another option would be the FA 100-300 f/4.7-5.8 (the plasticky silver-coloured version, the black one is a different lens). It is no longer in production but you can get one easily and quite cheap second-hand and I find it really excellent.
09-05-2012, 12:30 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by crewl1 Quote
I use the Tamron myself and I find it to be quick and sharp.
it has a useful close focus feature as well.
Its only drawback is a tendency to show a bit of purple fringe in high contrast areas but it is easily corrected in post process.
I feel it is an excellent value as the price is very reasonable.

I don't know the Sigma so I'll let someone else comment.
That sounds perfect! I used to do a lot of photo editing and web designing so the post process is really never a problem for me. Point for Tamron! (:

QuoteOriginally posted by victordeamorin Quote
The Sigma and Tamron options are cheaper than the Pentax DA recommended by crewl1 but they seem to be of lesser quality. I have to second the DA 55-300 suggestion, I bought one second hand for EUR200 and am very satisfied with it. Just be aware that it's still much larger and heavier than your 18-55 kit lens.
Also, at 300mm it is already difficult to shoot precisely while hand-holding. Don't buy anything longer if you are not prepared to use a tripod!

Another option you might want to consider would be to buy a "superzoom" like a Pentax/Sigma/Tamron 18-250mm or 18-200mm (lots of different options if you buy used, and I think only the Sigma can be found new?). This would cost a bit more but it would completely replace your old lens and you would not need to change lenses to get from wide-angle to telephoto. On the negative side, the image quality and the maximum aperture at longer focal lengths are lower than with a dedicated lens.

Your call...
Thank you for the detailed feedback! I feel like I should have mentioned that I don't have actual plans on being anything more than a hobbyist in photography. As a college student studying to be a nurse, I find that I don't have enough time as it is. Would this change your suggestion of the DA lens? I do enjoy photography A LOT. And I love being artsy haha! (: But.. Asian parents.. y'know? Thank you especially for the tip on not buying anything longer than a 300mm if I don't want to use a tripod. I am not ready! So I will definitely be keeping the lens under 300mm. If only I knew what these numbers mean.. What is the difference between a 250mm and a 300mm in the zoom?

QuoteOriginally posted by nono Quote
Another option would be the FA 100-300 f/4.7-5.8 (the plasticky silver-coloured version, the black one is a different lens). It is no longer in production but you can get one easily and quite cheap second-hand and I find it really excellent.
Oh, where would be an example of a place to get such a lens? I just took a quick look at a search of this particular lens and all I got were some forum discussions. Thanks for the suggestion!
09-05-2012, 12:46 AM   #8
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If you're really on a budget and want to buy new, then yes, I might change my recommendation. However over time I have found that even if I am just a hobbyist like you, I tend to replace all the lower-quality lenses by better ones, thus, "paying twice". My new philosophy is to directly get the best lens possible (within reason!).

The "XXXmm" numbers are called "focal length", to put it simply, they indicate the degree of magnification between what you see with the naked eye and what you see in the viewfinder.
For example you probably currently have the regular 18-55mm lens.
At 18mm you see a wide angle covered. Now if you zoom in all the way you see a more narrow angle, at 55mm.
If you get the Tamron 70-300mm:
at 70mm you will get an even slightly narrower angle than at 55mm. Then zoom all the way in...
Look at this another way, your 18-55 is a 3x zoom (because 55/18~=3). It goes from wide-angle (18mm) through normal (30-35mm) to short telephoto (55mm).
The Tamron will go from bit-less-short telephoto (70mm) all the way to long telephoto (300mm) acting as a 4x zoom (300/70~=4).
A 18-250 lens is thus a ~12x zoom going from wide-angle to long tele. The difference between 250mm and 300mm is not big, about 15%. For example it is the same difference than there is between 25mm and 30mm (or any other proportional lengths).

Hope I didn't create more confusion with this!

09-05-2012, 01:47 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by victordeamorin Quote
If you're really on a budget and want to buy new, then yes, I might change my recommendation. However over time I have found that even if I am just a hobbyist like you, I tend to replace all the lower-quality lenses by better ones, thus, "paying twice". My new philosophy is to directly get the best lens possible (within reason!).

The "XXXmm" numbers are called "focal length", to put it simply, they indicate the degree of magnification between what you see with the naked eye and what you see in the viewfinder.
For example you probably currently have the regular 18-55mm lens.
At 18mm you see a wide angle covered. Now if you zoom in all the way you see a more narrow angle, at 55mm.
If you get the Tamron 70-300mm:
at 70mm you will get an even slightly narrower angle than at 55mm. Then zoom all the way in...
Look at this another way, your 18-55 is a 3x zoom (because 55/18~=3). It goes from wide-angle (18mm) through normal (30-35mm) to short telephoto (55mm).
The Tamron will go from bit-less-short telephoto (70mm) all the way to long telephoto (300mm) acting as a 4x zoom (300/70~=4).
A 18-250 lens is thus a ~12x zoom going from wide-angle to long tele. The difference between 250mm and 300mm is not big, about 15%. For example it is the same difference than there is between 25mm and 30mm (or any other proportional lengths).

Hope I didn't create more confusion with this!
I actually kinda am on a budget. ): I will still really take "paying twice" into consideration though.

Also, didn't you say the DA was heavier? Is it heavier or bigger than the Tamron/Sigma? I'm trying to keep things light, without sacrificing too much of course (:

No you didn't create more confusion! I just didn't understand why the 18-250mm had more zoom. Would a 18-250mm be a better selection than a 70-300mm lens if zoom is most important thing for me at the moment?
09-05-2012, 02:23 AM   #10
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It really depends...
If I understand what you mean correctly, what's really important to you is not actually "zooming" but "getting a narrow field of view". In that sense you want the most mm at the long end, so you want one of the XX-300mm lenses.
I just now remembered of a good tool to help you get used to the notion of focal length: it is simple and intuitive and will give you in a visual way the difference between 250 and 300mm: Tamron Europe: Focal length comparison
Regarding the weight/size, I don't really know but you can usually find these info very easily on the dealers' websites (or the manufacturers').
Good luck!
09-05-2012, 03:43 AM   #11
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Value Telephoto?

Hello Ambrosial, Welcome to the forum!.
For an average to better-than-average low cost telephoto zoom, I'd agree with Nono, the FA 100-300mm f/4.7-5.8 (silver version) zoom is one of the best value-to-performance lenses available.
You can find this lens on eBay for around $100 USD easily. It is light enough to hand-hold, sharp enough for general use and renders colors beautifully. Is it as sharp as a $1000 200mm prime or a $2000 300mm prime? Of course not! But it is more than adequate for walk-around telephoto use.
Take a look at some of the photos here;
SMC Pentax-FA 100-300mm F4.7-5.8 Reviews - FA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
And judge for yourself. I strongly suggest a 58mm telephoto hood (about $5.00 on eBay) to reduce flare and increase contrast.
JMO,
Ron
09-05-2012, 04:53 AM   #12
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I can also recommend the Pentax DA or DA-L 55-300. It's a terrific lens.

QuoteOriginally posted by victordeamorin Quote
A 18-250 lens is thus a ~12x zoom going from wide-angle to long tele. The difference between 250mm and 300mm is not big, about 15%.
The difference between 250mm on the 18-250 and 300mm on the 55-300 can actually be a big difference, since the 18-250 is an internal focus lens & the 55-300 isn't. At infinity there isn't much difference, but the closer you get to your subject the greater the difference becomes.

I once checked the difference between an internal focus and conventional design lens at the same focal length and found that from a distance of about 15 feet, a 300mm internal focus lens was the equivalent of about 190mm on a non-internal focus lens. A whopper of a difference.

For this reason, I prefer non-internal focus lenses when it comes to tele ranges. And the 55-300 is one of the very few non-internal focus AF lenses out there.
09-05-2012, 05:44 AM   #13
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I would vote for the 55-300 DA-L on the grey market (its the kit lens parted out). You can find them for about 220$ online. The 55-300 DA-L is the kit version on the 55-300 DA. The optics are 100% identical. With the DA-L it has a plastic mount, no included hood, no quickshift focus and no focus distance markers. So it has the same feature set of your kit 18-55, just more zoom and better optics. I bought mine and love it. I like it because you can shoot at F4 up to about 135mm.
09-05-2012, 05:59 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by GibbyTheMole Quote
For this reason, I prefer non-internal focus lenses when it comes to tele ranges. And the 55-300 is one of the very few non-internal focus AF lenses out there.
Off topic, but some 'internal focus' lenses are actually just normal designs with an extra tube around the inner barrel, thus appearing to be internal focus.
09-05-2012, 06:19 AM   #15
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An umpteenths vote for the 55-300mm. IMO worth spending a little extra for this lens. Note that the DA (without the -L) comes with quick focus and the hood, plus the metal mount. The hood alone is at least $20+. Be careful when you buy used, and know the difference. Many used ones are DA-L and has no hood, and should be substantially cheaper than the DA version.

I you want to save emoney, you can pick up a DA-L 50-200mm for next to nothing ($50-$75 used). Not as good Image Quality as the 55-300mm, but you can't beat the price, and it is very small as well. Could be an option if you want to figure out if two lenses work for you, as opposed to one "mega-zoon".
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