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10-10-2012, 11:28 PM   #1
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DA 50-200? Under $400 lens???

Thinking of a new lens, I have the kit 18-55 and DA50 1.8. for my k-30. I am looking for something that will prove useful for portraits and nice bokeh but needs to reach a stage, I shoot dance recitals so speed is also a great point. As well as landscapes. (Too much for one lens??)
And more importantly I cannot spend a ton. Like under $400. Any ideas? I was considering the DA 50-200.
Thanks!!!

10-11-2012, 12:12 AM   #2
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I'm not sure if it's long enough, but I see the DA70 on the Marketplace for about your price.

You probably really need the DA*50-135, but it costs more. If you buy one, you'll definitely want to get it used - the new prices are too high right now.


The DA55-300 is a better lens than the DA50-200. You can even save money by buying the DAL version of the 55-300.

The F or FA135/2.8 is also quite good, although I usually see people asking about $100 more than your price range (I'm not sure what the final selling prices are).
10-11-2012, 12:13 AM   #3
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The DA 50-200mm is an useful lens, but it definitely isn't fast!
In AF lenses with your requirements, I can't think of any that would fit your budget.
I don't know much about older zooms but maybe someone can advise you for a MF zoom within you budget.
Otherwise, if you are OK with prime MF lenses, how about a Samyang 85mm? Or a Pentax (M or A) 100 or 135mm f/2.8?
10-11-2012, 12:28 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by northmole Quote
Thinking of a new lens, I have the kit 18-55 and DA50 1.8. for my k-30. I am looking for something that will prove useful for portraits and nice bokeh but needs to reach a stage, I shoot dance recitals so speed is also a great point. As well as landscapes. (Too much for one lens??)
And more importantly I cannot spend a ton. Like under $400. Any ideas? I was considering the DA 50-200.
Thanks!!!
If you are looking for a fast lens that can meet your criteria, $400.00 is nowhere near enough. None of the consumer zooms (including Pentax) can be accused of being fast, they are all at near the limit of AF capability. I would recommend that you save a little more for a Tamron AF 70-200/2.8 lens instead of hoping for or wishfully thinking a DA 50-200 or similar will fill your need. However, if you really want one (DA 50-200), I will sell you my barely used copy for 1/4 of your max limit.

10-11-2012, 12:58 AM   #5
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Ok, for a decent lens, what kind of prices are we talking (if I save a bit more) for what would work? What can you recommend?
Thanks so much!!!!
10-11-2012, 01:02 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
I'm not sure if it's long enough, but I see the DA70 on the Marketplace for about your price.

You probably really need the DA*50-135, but it costs more. If you buy one, you'll definitely want to get it used - the new prices are too high right now.


The DA55-300 is a better lens than the DA50-200. You can even save money by buying the DAL version of the 55-300.

The F or FA135/2.8 is also quite good, although I usually see people asking about $100 more than your price range (I'm not sure what the final selling prices are).
Why is the 55-300 so much less $$$ ??
10-11-2012, 01:13 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by northmole Quote
Ok, for a decent lens, what kind of prices are we talking (if I save a bit more) for what would work? What can you recommend? Thanks so much!!!!
Well, you would probably look at the DA* 50-135 or the Tamron/Sigma 70-200. Any one of these will probably cost at least USD/EUR 700 (actually I don't know so well the US prices, but these are what we can find, on the used market, in Europe).
QuoteOriginally posted by northmole Quote
Why is the 55-300 so much less $$$ ??
I'm not sure I know what you mean. Normally DA 55-300 is more expensive than DA 50-200. However both lenses exist in simplified "kit" DA-L versions, and their pricing is more or less: DA-L 50-200 < DA-L 55-300 <= DA-50-200 < DA 55-300. To make things worse there is also a WR version of the 50-200 which is more expensive than the regular DA. But not as much as the DA 55-300.
Hope I didn't confuse you more...
10-11-2012, 01:21 AM   #8
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18-55 covers landscapes, 50 1.8 covers portraits.

So really you just need a lens for the dance photos.
The Sigma 50-150 2.8 is cheaper than the Pentax 50-135 2.8.
Still not $400, though.

But then if you can find a 55-300 for $400, get that anyway. It's F4.5 at 190mm, so it's "only" about one stop slower than a f2.8 zoom if you stay at the 55-150mm range anyway. Auto focus is a bit slow, however. But dancers are a pretty slow moving and predictable subject (no offense), at least compared with birds in flight! And I get enough BIF photos with my 55-300.

You really need to work out how far away you will be / how close you can get to the stage - because maybe you need 200mm or maybe 50mm will do??? In the meantime, I would plug on with the 50mm lens you have and learn to move about to take photos rather than zooming.

10-11-2012, 01:57 AM   #9
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The 50-200 is really for those who want a lightweight zoom, for use in good light. It is at its best at f8 or f11. That does not seem like a good match for your low light requirements.

I think you should consider an A series 70-210 f4. Manual focus, quite heavy, but comparatively fast at the long end, and very cheap.
10-11-2012, 05:01 AM   #10
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I have the DA-L 55-300 and it's a terrific lens. Paid $160 for it on the forum. Very sharp all the way to 300mm, and nice bokeh. Also makes a great portrait lens. Another nice thing about the 55-300 is that it's not internal focus, so you get the full 300mm reach at any distance from your subject. The only downside is that it's not a fast lens, but otherwise it's great.
10-11-2012, 01:48 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by northmole Quote
Ok, for a decent lens, what kind of prices are we talking (if I save a bit more) for what would work? What can you recommend?
Thanks so much!!!!
The FA135/2.8 is in this forum's Marketplace right now for well under $500 - the price has been reduced.

Also, the Tokina 80-200/2.8 (ATX Pro version) is good and sometimes sells for around $400-500. The similar Tamron is around $600-700 and isn't even much more new. I think I like the IQ from the Tokina better, but it's heavier and harder to find. Still, it would be my choice for a zoom in this range.

But again, I think the FA135 or DA*50-135 is what you're looking for.
10-11-2012, 07:03 PM   #12
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The DA 55-300 is a great lens, if you use it for an event or something that you need to change focusing distances quickly the quick shift feature is invaluable, the DA L version does not have that. But, even with your K-30 the 55-300 will probably not be optimal for a dance recitals. I don't have a 70-200/2.8 but everything I've read tells me it would be good for those recitals, as are some other suggestions in the thread. However with $400 it will be tough to find a fast longer lens. But, once in a while you can get lucky and find a deal if you look hard. I would also suggest using the 50/1.8 at those dance recitals, you just have to get closer!
10-13-2012, 02:59 PM   #13
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If you can manage manual focus at first, I'd suggest the SMC-M 200mm f/4, which appear at times for under $80 either here or at other used-gear websites - keh.com has a BGN version right now for under $50! Try it as a test of focal length and low-light capturing, then you will have a good idea of what you need above and beyond it. While AF is the better option for dances you can do good work waiting for dancers to hit your focus... you may even try catch-in focus for it, I haven't tried that feature.

The 200/4 will not likely be ideal, but it's inexpensive and talented - and can be sold again at very little loss. I'm keeping mine though
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