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05-04-2013, 11:32 PM   #1
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Complete kit suggestions

So...I love lenses. Looking to put together a complete kit in time, using decent finances to get decent IQ. I don't want to get crazy with super expensive stuff, but I also don't want to use kit lenses forever. Most I see myself spending on a lens is maybe around 500 bucks, give or take.

I've compiled a list of my picks to cover everything from wide to tele, including what I already own(in bold). Please feel free to jump in with ideas, Pentax or third party, everything goes. Yes I could browse the databases for a couple more weeks and figure out everything that's worthy, but we can never have too many lens threads. After all, we love lenses, don't we?

Here we go:

Wide:
DA 15mm F4 Limited
DA 12-24mm F4
Sigma 10-20mm F3.5
(kind of need something cheaper here, I don't shoot wide that much)

WR:
(I'm thinking one zoom one prime, not too worried about it right now cuz it's summer)
DA* 55mm F1.4
DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 WR

Fast zoom:
Tokina AT-X Pro 28-70mm F2.6-2.8 (own - love/hate relationship already)
(thinking about trying) Tamron 28-75mm F2.8

Daily prime:
DA 35mm F2.4 (own, like, can't fall in love with plastic though)
Should I get one more?

Portrait:
DA 70mm F2.4 Limited
FA 77mm F1.8 Limited

Macro:
Tamron 90mm F2.8 Macro (own, love, works for portrait as well)
Is D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro better?

Tele-zoom:
DA 50-200mm F4-5.6 ED (own don't like)
DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED? (lots of people swear by it)

Manual lenses:
M 28mm F2.8 (have, it's ok)
M 50mm F1.7 (have, love it)
M 135mm F3.5 (have, not crazy about it)
Want to get: Bokina...and what else?

05-05-2013, 12:31 AM   #2
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Oh dear, LBA has arrived at your door, be prepared for all the replies that will no doubt be coming your way shortly.

No advice from me, cos it's such a personal thing based on your needs and requirements, but remember to enjoy the buying experience it's all part of the fun.
05-07-2013, 09:20 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by kerrowdown Quote
Oh dear, LBA has arrived at your door, be prepared for all the replies that will no doubt be coming your way shortly.
Indeed. Tons of replies...
05-07-2013, 09:38 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by steppenfuchs Quote
Looking to put together a complete kit...
There is no such thing.

Of the ones you list, the 12-24 is one of the better ranges, and the 55-300 is the best of the budget xx-300 zooms. Put a 17-70 in the middle and you done. Except for fisheye, macro, low light and wildlife.

05-07-2013, 09:50 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
There is no such thing.

Of the ones you list, the 12-24 is one of the better ranges, and the 55-300 is the best of the budget xx-300 zooms. Put a 17-70 in the middle and you done. Except for fisheye, macro, low light and wildlife.
+1 on that.

Or do the expensive route
Pentax 12-24mm
15/31/43/77mm Ltds
DA* 60-250mm
DA* 16-50 F2.8
18-135mm WR
D FA 100mm Macro WR

Wish I had that setup...
05-08-2013, 12:10 AM - 1 Like   #6
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You must buy ALL OF THEM or you are out of the family.

You must also buy the DA 560 or you are out of the family.



Seriously, I can remember making a very similar post to this one shortly after I joined.

The only way to find out what lenses you want though, is to TRY THEM OUT. Seriously.

Luckily there's a relatively cheap way to accomplish this. All it takes is patience and persistence.

1. Read the lens database, scour Amazon, B&H Photo/Adorama/KEH, Fleabay. Learn the rough values of lenses.

2. Scan the marketplace, local craigslist listings, camera gear swaps, etc. When you see a lens you want, and if it's a good price (see #1), BUY IT.

3. You don't like it after a while? SELL IT. You can probably get the same amount for it, or close to. You may have to eat shipping, depending on where you bought it from/where it's being sent to, but at most that should be about $40-$50 per lens (at most. It will be hopefully well under this).

4. Accessories are the other thing that will eat up lots of $$$. It's hard to offload the random crap we buy to accompany our cameras and lenses (bags, cheap filters, etc.).

Oh yea, and your self imposed limit of $500 max spent per lens will be SHATTERED in spectacular fashion sooner than later.

As for your list, here's what I would do (bolded are things I have)

Wide:
DA 15mm F4 Limited
A spectacular lens. I bought mine basically on a whim because it appeared locally (used ones usually get snapped up pretty quickly). I have a gut feeling that one day this lens will pay for itself somehow.

WR:
None
Weather resistance is overrated, unless you're going kayaking, or are spending a lot of time in desert conditions. If you insist, get the 18-135.

Fast zoom:
Tamron 17-50 f2.8
I lusted after the DA* 16-50, but again a good deal came up on the marketplace for a Tamron 17-50, and I bit. So glad I did. It's silly sharp, and if I had to keep just one lens going forward for some reason, this would be a strong contender.

Some people prefer a little longer reach as opposed to a little wider field of view, and I think the Tamron 28-75 f2.8 is equal to its brother.

Daily prime:
Pentax F 28 f2.8. I've owned the DA 35 2.4, and it's an absolutely excellent substitute.
I am itching to upgrade this to the FA 31 though. Soon . . .

Portrait:
DA 70mm F2.4 Limited/Pentax F 50 1.7
70 might be a little long for indoors, so you might find a fast 50 to work better. They're all good really.

Do note that I'm going to offload my DA 70 soon because . . .


Macro:
Tamron 90mm F2.8 Macro
Again, bought on a whim for a good price. This is my new longer portrait lens. It's so crackling sharp, as all Macros are. The DA 100 to my knowledge is its equal in the IQ department, and it's their intangibles and price points that separate them.


Tele-zoom:
Pentax DA/Tamron 18-250
I dislike changing lenses, so I favor the versatility of the 18-250. I have owned a 55-300 though, and it was a fine lens, but honestly if I really wanted a telezoom, I would get one of the Bigma variants.

Manual lenses:
None because manual focus isn't for me. If I want manual focus I'll just use my lenses above in manual mode.

Get some flashes yo!

Have fun.
05-08-2013, 07:56 PM   #7
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Much appreciated, Earl.
05-08-2013, 08:17 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by steppenfuchs Quote
Portrait:
DA 70mm F2.4 Limited
FA 77mm F1.8 Limited
I like most of where your going, aside from this one, this is redundant and not really needed. The DA*55 works as a great portrait lens already, so I would choose one or the other between the 77 and the 70. Personally I choose the 77 and its the best lens purchase I've ever made. The f1.8 is not only going to give you better low light performance, but more depth of field options as well. It's an amazing lens.

I would recomend you find the DA*16-50 f2.8 and the DA*50-135 f2.8 used if you could so as not to break your budget. They are both spectacular pieces of glass and worth every penny in my opinion. Really there is not much you can't do with those two lenses in your bag, I find if I need to travel light and can only pack two lenses and a prime it's the DA*16-50, 50-135, and choice of FA Limited glass.

Talking about FA limiteds. The FA 31 is way out of your price bracket, even used, but is a fantastic piece of glass you should look at investing in if you can. It really is a wonderful lens and one to save up for.

the FA 43 though, I would grab as soon as possible. I regret this being one of the last lenses acquired in my great "complete kit hunt".

If you can't see yourself with the 31, replace the 35 f2.4 with the 35 f2.8 DA Macro. Better construction, metal body, fantastic image quality, and the ability to close focus.


the DFA WR 100mm Macro may be redundant with your Tamron. I have the Tammy and I enjoy it a lot... part of me still wants the DFA. I would only trade for the DFA WR if a used one came along and I could find a buyer for my Tamron personally.


Get the fish eye 10-17 DA. Most fun you will ever have.


Really, you could chase this forever...

05-08-2013, 08:29 PM   #9
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My usual loadout for a day when I don't know what to expect is my K-5 with 10-24, 55-300, and FA 43. It all fits into a LowePro SlingShot 100 (a very compact backpack/sling) and accommodates a mix of museums, architecture, landscape, wildlife, aviation, street, and low-light photography. It's a great kit that can do a bit of almost everything well. Unexpected rain is a shortcoming of that arrangement, though.

QuoteOriginally posted by steppenfuchs Quote
Wide: DA 15mm F4 Limited DA 12-24mm F4 Sigma 10-20mm F3.5 (kind of need something cheaper here, I don't shoot wide that much)
The Tamron 10-24 is cheaper than the Pentax and Sigma zooms. It handles flare well (very important at wide angles), is reasonably sharp, and has good color. It's weakest in the 10-12mm range, but the DA 12-24 can't even go that wide.

QuoteOriginally posted by steppenfuchs Quote
Tele-zoom: DA 50-200mm F4-5.6 ED (own don't like) DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED? (lots of people swear by it)
The DA (or DAL) 55-300 is an excellent lens for the price. It's not very fast but that keeps the size and weight down. IQ at 300mm is good especially when stopped down to f8.

QuoteOriginally posted by steppenfuchs Quote
WR: (I'm thinking one zoom one prime, not too worried about it right now cuz it's summer) DA* 55mm F1.4 DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 WR
Fast zoom: Tokina AT-X Pro 28-70mm F2.6-2.8 (own - love/hate relationship already) (thinking about trying) Tamron 28-75mm F2.8
As an alternative to those two zooms, you can get WR and fast in one Pentax 16-50 f2.8. More expensive than your $500 target but replaces 2 lenses, especially if you think the extra width is worth giving up the 50+mm range. I don't own the 16-50 but it is on my wishlist.
05-08-2013, 09:12 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Yos Quote
+1 on that.

Or do the expensive route
Pentax 12-24mm
15/31/43/77mm Ltds
DA* 60-250mm
DA* 16-50 F2.8
18-135mm WR
D FA 100mm Macro WR

Wish I had that setup...
I subbed the 18-135 for the 50-135 and I don't have the 15, but I have the fisheye, so almost your suggested kit here and I certainly can't complain.

The thing about lenses is that you can give yourself a limit, like not spending more than $500 on a single piece of glass, but then once you try a da* or fa ltd all of your price issues go out the window.
05-08-2013, 11:47 PM   #11
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I won't comment on any of the AF lenses, I'll leave that for others, but get yourself an M42 - K mount adapter or two and then:
Helios 44 xx-x (any version will do) for its great bokeh wide open and a nice lens stopped down
Carl Ziess Jena 135 Sonnar 2.8,3.5 or 4 for some buttery wide open bokeh and great ziess colors
Tair photo sniper 300 for a sharp abberation free long lens

All are readily available and are just fun to use. Of course this is just the tip of the M42 iceberg...
Happy hunting
05-09-2013, 01:21 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Yos Quote
+1 on that.

Or do the expensive route
Pentax 12-24mm
15/31/43/77mm Ltds
DA* 60-250mm
DA* 16-50 F2.8
18-135mm WR
D FA 100mm Macro WR

Wish I had that setup...
My current "equivalent" setup is as above except:

Substitute the 55-300 for the 60-250,
the FA35/2 for the FA31 (I don't mind the plastic, and the quality is great)
the DA40 or Voigtländer Ultron 40/2 and/or FA50/1.for the FA43,
Add DA 21 and 70
Sub the two kit lenses 18-55 and 50-200 for the 18-200
Add Kiron 28/2--great old normal lens with "A" setting if you don't mind mf.
Add SMC K135/2.5 (A favorite for larger indoor settings)

For travel, a Kx body and the DA Ltd set.
05-09-2013, 08:39 AM   #13
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I can't answer the whole question but I can offer you the version of my "whole" kit

Sigma 10 - 20mm 4 - 5.6 . Lot cheaper than the 3.5.
Sigma 17 - 70mm 2.8 - 4.5. Just can't beat it for a walk around lens and the macro capably for a zoom.
Pentax *50-135mm great portrait and can be a good walk around if you only took one lens.
Sigma 70 - 200mm f2.8 EX APO non SMC. Unbelievable autofocus speed and very sharp from f3.5

I do have a Tamron 90mm f2.5 macro 52b but would buy a Sigma 105 macro if I had the money.
If I could add a couple more it would be 77 2.8, 31mm if price was not a factor
The *50 1.4 would be great too

Good luck with your decision

Randy
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