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04-20-2013, 03:39 AM   #1
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Help Choosing another lens

Hey, I have a quick question and would be really happy if anyone could give me advice. I've been doing my own research, but I wanted to hear an actual persons opinion on it.

I own a k-5ii and currently only have the kit 18-135, which suits my current purposes completely fine. Ive been thinking about getting another lens. I want to get a macro lens, I also want the lens to be versatile. I really want to be able to shoot close ups, but at the same time, I want a lens I can take around a city with me. I am probably going to be going to the republic of georgia for a while and wanted to get a new lens to suit it. I also am excited to upgrade from the kit lens. the 3 lenses I had been looking at are "SMC Pentax-D FA 50mm F2.8 Macro", "SMC Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro WR", and "SMC Pentax-DA 35mm F2.8 Limited Macro". Any recommendations or other lenses to look at?

thank you very much for your advice.

04-20-2013, 03:56 AM   #2
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Hello and Welcome!!
Before i go on with my opinion, know that i am fairly new to photography altho i have been doing a lot of research and asking around a lot.
From what i learned....the 18-135 is fantastic for your purpose... probably the best consumer lens for what you are up to. What i was suggested was to get a zoom lens (55-300) DA or DAL same optic..... DAL has no quickshift/aperture ring/no metal mount. But is very cheap to aquire. It would give you the lacking range. As for Macro purposes.... the SMC Pentax D FA 100mm F2.8 WR has by far the most favorable review quality/optic wise, it is also strongly recommended to have a higher zoom for macro(from the reviews i read) and it is also WR.... which is a big plus in my books.
for the 50mm prime lens i got a Manual 50mm F2.... for 30$ and honestly its retina cutting sharp images , i am very impressed with it so far.

If you get all these in the used / market place of the forum your looking at +- 650$ . probably +- 1100-1200 if new.
Good luck and enjoy!!!
04-20-2013, 04:25 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Welcome to PF ... I have the D FA 100 WR and it's a great lens ... cannot say about the others you listed. I don't know if I would travel with both a D FA 100 and DA 18-135 WR, there's overlap and both lenses would be "large" to travel with. I would opt for a smaller prime like the 35 Limited or the super feather weight DA 35/2.4. Or why not a DA 15 ? Good luck and let us know what you finally decide and post some images upon your return ... J
04-20-2013, 04:31 AM   #4
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by "a lens I can take around the city with me" you mean taking cityscapes/ street photography/ foodie I think the most versatile of the three you were eyeing is the 35mm.. 100 too long, 50 lovely portraits, wide enough to accommodate street shots, a small group. But it's entirely up to you.

04-20-2013, 04:46 AM   #5
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Welcome to the forum, I was going to suggest a 15 mm too, but it's just the way I'm shooting just now.

Great for city and street work, as Robert Capa was accredited as saying... "If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough"
04-20-2013, 04:52 AM   #6
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All those lenses get you 1:1 magnification at closest focus. The question is how close to your subjects you want to be (or can get to). The DA 35mm ltd macro is probably a most versatile choice, because it allows macro, street photography, architecture, landscape photography, etc., but ironically its probably the hardest to use for macro, because you have to get so close to your subject. If its not moving, thats not a problem, though. The 100mm is great because you don't have to be as near to your subject for 1:1 macro and it is a great lens for portraits, even for some wildlife shots and the like. The 50 is in between and allows a bit of each. Thing is, none of these lenses is a bad choice, they all perform really well. I suggest you just zoom your 18-135mm to 35mm, 50mm and 100mm and decide which focal length you find the most useful for your needs.
Oh, you can also look at FA or F series macro lenses. These are older lenses, but they have full automation and AF. Sometimes they can be found used and can cost a little less than new DFA lenses. Check out the lens review database on this forum and type in "macro" - beware though that not all macro lenses have the same max. magnification. Some only go to 1:2, maybe not even that. Of course, you might not even need true 1:1 macro.
04-20-2013, 05:08 AM   #7
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I have the 100 and the 35 and I love them both. If you really want to do macro, then you should go with the 100. It is the easiest to use when getting started and produces stunning macro results. If you want the most versatile then go with the 35. It is wide enough for cityscapes and the macro feature works well, even if you have to be closer to your subject than on the 100. I do like the versatility of the 35 enough to keep it after I had acquired the fa31.

I haven't tried the 50 macro, but my guess it is the happy middle. Personally I find 50mm a little too long for cities (and I really mean a little because I love the 43 for that), but I do like that length for portraits. I think your other two choices are just more popular focal lengths.
04-20-2013, 06:00 AM   #8
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If you find yourself in conflict between the focal length you want for macro and the focal length you want for other shooting, you could look at other ways to gain macro capability. Extension tubes, a reversing ring, or Raynox (a brand of close-up adapter) might be the ticket and you can use these with any lens you have.

04-20-2013, 09:03 PM   #9
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Thank you all very much for your help. You've give me a lot to think about and consider. I'm definitely going keep an eye on the focal lengths I am using the most next time I take my camera out, to get a better feel for what I'd want. I think because I'm looking for something that I can take around a city with me and indoors, i'm leaning towards the 35, or the 50mm, however, I do like shooting wildlife like bugs and things, so the 100mm would be really nice for that too.... I guess you can't have it all.
04-21-2013, 04:20 AM   #10
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Well again it depends what you want to shoot with what kind of lens... 100mm is great for macros of things that might move.... 35 is better for architecture etc...
Since you juuuuust got the camera, id say .... experiment for a couple week and see what you enjoy shooting the most and at what lenght .
A single day is not enough to base your preference because if your shooting outside .... the subject.. the weather ... everything migh affect where/what youll shoot at what focal lenght .
My 2 cents! (Again... i am also new to photography, i am just sharing my short experience and what i did.... so far its working great)
Have fun good shooting!
04-21-2013, 04:40 AM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by cpritchardv Quote
I guess you can't have it all.
You can get the DA 35mm f2.4. Its versatile, not expensive, but not macro. Great for everyday shooting, though. And then you can buy a 100mm macro sometime later.
You can do some near focus with your 18-135mm lens already. Just use manual focus, 135mm, then focus as near as possible, and move closer toward the subject until its in focus (on that lens it should be 40cm from the camera sensor). Not 'true' macro, but close.
04-24-2013, 06:27 AM   #12
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I'd get the DA35 limited Macro, hands down. Very good general focal length
04-24-2013, 07:25 AM   #13
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We love our Tamron 90 Macro, great lens great price. The 18-135 is really quite storng in it's 20-40 range, any lens you buy in that range is going to over lap. At 24mm the 18-135 is almost like a prime. So, I'd either go DA 15 and get something entirely different, or Tamron 90 macro 2.8, and get a lens that excels edge to edge where the DA 18-135 is center sharp only.

For the 35 and 50, the 18-135 is sharp there, edge to edge. All you'd be getting would be the macro. Perfect world for you would be the new SIgma 180 macro (not yet available in k mount, or the old Pentax 200 macro.
SMC Pentax-A* 200mm F4 Macro ED Reviews - A Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
Sigma 180mm F2.8 APO Macro EX DG OS HSM Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database

That would give you a bit of extra reach, and macro.

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