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01-10-2013, 10:41 AM   #1
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Lens purchase decision, need advice...

Greetings Fellow Pentaxians!!

As you can see, I just joined the forum recently and have been scouring for as much information as I can find on lens recommendations and ways to improve my photography in general. I have a K-7 with the DA18-55mm WR kit lens along with a DA50-200mm WR lens. I'm very happy with both, although not necessarily happy with switching between the two when going out and about. I'm wondering if it would be a good decision to sell the two lenses I have and get the DA18-135mm WR. The feedback in the forums and the photo samples seem to be very posititive, however, I obviously have this range coverered (and then some) with my two lenses.

I should note that another area where I'd really like to gain is in the lower end of the range with better low light performance for more natural (no-flash in some cases) photos. I know from reading that a fixed prime may be the way to go here, so that should also factor into my long term lens plans.

So, do I consolidate my two lenses into one, then invest in a fixed prime down the road? Or do I keep what I have and get a fixed prime sooner? Assuming fixed prime is what I'd need for good DoF, portraits and artsy interest shots of landscapes, nature, etc.

Here's a link to some sample shots I posted over in the Photo Critique forum:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/photo-critique/211392-nature-beginner-dis...ml#post2235521

Thanks!!

01-10-2013, 11:39 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsm0372 Quote
Greetings Fellow Pentaxians!!

As you can see, I just joined the forum recently and have been scouring for as much information as I can find on lens recommendations and ways to improve my photography in general. I have a K-7 with the DA18-55mm WR kit lens along with a DA50-200mm WR lens. I'm very happy with both, although not necessarily happy with switching between the two when going out and about. I'm wondering if it would be a good decision to sell the two lenses I have and get the DA18-135mm WR. The feedback in the forums and the photo samples seem to be very posititive, however, I obviously have this range coverered (and then some) with my two lenses.

I should note that another area where I'd really like to gain is in the lower end of the range with better low light performance for more natural (no-flash in some cases) photos. I know from reading that a fixed prime may be the way to go here, so that should also factor into my long term lens plans.

So, do I consolidate my two lenses into one, then invest in a fixed prime down the road? Or do I keep what I have and get a fixed prime sooner? Assuming fixed prime is what I'd need for good DoF, portraits and artsy interest shots of landscapes, nature, etc.

Here's a link to some sample shots I posted over in the Photo Critique forum:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/photo-critique/211392-nature-beginner-dis...ml#post2235521

Thanks!!
I think you would be happy overall with the 18-135mm, as it is a very good walkaround lens. Once you have it, you could add affordable primes such as the DA 35mm or DA 50mm without having to spend too much.

Pentax smc DA 50mm f/1.8 Lens 22177 B&H Photo Video
Pentax 35mm DA L F2.4 AL Lens 21987 B&H Photo Video

You probably won't get better IQ from the 18-135mm compared to the 50-200mm in the 100-135 range, but the two lenses should be comparable. And when the IQ really matters, that's when you switch to primes! One other nice thing about the 18-135mm is that the AF is silent and really fast.

I would also recommend that you read user reviews in our lens database:
Pentax Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

as well as our in-depth lens reviews:
Pentax Lens Reviews | Pentax in-depth reviews | PentaxForums.com

Before making your final decision

Adam
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01-10-2013, 12:15 PM   #3
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I would sell the 18-55, get the 18-135, and keep the 50-200!

Then LBA...
01-10-2013, 12:41 PM   #4
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once you get a prime it will be downhill from there...lba is both enjoyable and painful

01-10-2013, 12:45 PM   #5
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I gave away my 50-200 to my neice and have never used my 18-55; but then I am one of those all prime weirdos
01-10-2013, 12:53 PM   #6
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I have also a K-7, and I am happy to share my own experience with lenses on the K-7.

(1) Low light
The K-7 is not the best at high-ISO, definitely below the K-5, K-5II and K-01 sensor capability. In turn, you need to use some fast lens in low light: i.e., lenses with large aperture. I found that f1.8 or f.14 works well on the K-7, and this means using some primes. In my case, I have 31 mm f1.8, 58mm f1.4 and 85mm f.4. On the other hand, i found that f2.8 is not fast enough on the K-7 for low light IMHO.

Conversely, you cannot expect to get a zoom lens which will work well in low light with the K-7.

There are ample fast prime lens choice for K-mount. If you are willing to go MF, you can get some some nice lenses for reasonable prices.


(2) All around zoom lens
I do agree with you that an all-around zoom lens is much more convenient. I have the DA18-250mm and I can recommend it very strongly. The lens was manufactured by Tamron and rebadged Pentax. It can be purchased second-hand as the Tamron 18-250mm or Pentax DA18-250mm. The lens is very sturdy, well regarded by many Pentaxians and non-Pentaxians. The two weaknesses of the lens are low light (as any all-around lens) and zoom. creep. The latter can be very easily fixed: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/161684-da18-250mm-...ion-works.html.

And the DA18-135mm is anothe roption. I bought a DA18-135mm for my wife (who has a K-01) and it is an interesting lens. The DA18-135mm is WR and it can be purchased new. The lens is very sturdy, , slightly smaller than the Da18-250mm, but it lacks some reach IMO compared to the DA18-250mm.


So what's next? I took a different path from you: I did not buy the kit lenses. My first lens was the DA18-250mm and my next purchase was the Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4: an all-around lens and a fast prime. These are my two most used lenses and they pair very nicely with the K-7. I think that your decision to go along the same path is very sound and you do have some options.


To sum up: the DA18-135mm and DA18-150mm are excellent all-around lenses that I can recommend with the K-7. For low light, you must consider some prime lenses (f1.4 or f1.8).

I hope that the advice may help.

Last edited by hcc; 01-10-2013 at 08:07 PM.
02-11-2013, 03:20 PM   #7
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::UPDATE::
First, thank you all for being so kind to respond and offer your suggestions. Based on some of the comments here and also in another thread where I asked for advice on purchasing a 40mm limited lens, I've finally come to a decision. I decided to sell my K-7, the 18-55mm WR Kit Lens, and my 50-200mm WR lens. I managed to get a good price for everything on eBay and already purchased a new K-5II from B&H along with the DA* 16-50 lens. This should hopefully address some of my pain points with the K-7 with the kit lens. I will still look to get a couple of primes...maybe the three amigos to feed my LBA but until then, I need one more lens to get a bit farther out. Naturally, I'm looking at DA* again, so here comes the question.

Do I get the DA* 50-135 or the DA* 60-250. I feel like I would need the 250 in order to get shots in an auditorium for dance recitals or some indoor sports, however, the F4 gives me pause, but maybe this will be less of a concern now that I have better sensor performance out of the K-5II?
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