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03-11-2008, 05:27 AM   #1
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New Lenses v Old for the growing family, prime or zoom!! Help and guidance please.

Dear all,

This is my first proper post and I imagine it is a classic newbie post.

Specifically, I am after guidance to the best prime and/or zoom that will meet my needs for the next 10 years or so.

I will soon be purchasing a K10. And lenses.

My photography will rotate around my growing family: 4 years, 2 years and 4 months.

The last time I took photographs with my old ME Super, was 10 years ago. Inherited amongst my camera bag were three manual lenses:

Pentax 24-35 f 3.5 zoom
Pentax 50mm f1.7 the standard lens for the Me Super in the early 80's
A Vivitar 70-210mm f3.5-5.6 zoom.

The gaps I foresee with my K10, is a lens below 20 mm, a good automatic 28, 30 or 35 mm lens that will stay on the camera. And, despite their limitations a zoom.

Whilst Pentax Forum and other reviews have clarified my mind to this position. I know that if I stick with the manual focus with the children, I will have three bored kids or empty photo's.

At the same time, with all the usual family baggage I cannot afford the luxury of taking a suitcase of lenses!

With all these considerations should I focus on Pentax's present 35mm (Pentax 35mm f2 SMC lens) or go for a SMC Pentax-A 35mm F2.8?

A good portrait lens seems essential for my needs, should I upgrade the 50mm to a Pentax 50mm F1.4 P-FA SMC Lens. Partly for the automatic function, or again, is my hard earned cash better spent elsewhere.

And zooms. I have read the pro and cons. But in reality is the one cap fits all my best solution? Any tips from family photographers.


London Calling.

03-11-2008, 05:57 AM   #2
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All of the lenses you have are still very good on the new camera. They are totally manual and will take some getting used to but will do a great job.

Now as for modern lenses there are a number of choices.
The favourite fast lens is without question the FA50 f1.4 Fast, sharp and great IQ (Image Quality). Only issue with it might be length indoors. It will be hard to get much of a room in the frame unless the space is big.

The Kit lens (18-55) is very good but a little slow and some will complain it's not sharp enough but IMO this is a fine lens and at a great price. The other alternative is the Sigma 18-50 f2.8. I have just gotten this lens and it seems fast and sharp with very good IQ and quite small as well. Decent close focus but not a macro lens. Around $300 in North America.
There are a number of others around this range like the 17-70mm that others may comment on.

Next but not as wide is the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 DI. A great lens that most owners will rave about. Still my favourite zoom. Sells around $350.

Wide primes will cost some bigger $$. If you can find a DA21mm at a good price, that might be worth considering but a touch on the slow side. The 35mm f2 is a supurb lens. Fast, sharp, great IQ, small enough and reasonably priced. About the right length for indoor portrait shooting.

So the question comes down to zooms or primes. Primes will usually offer faster speed (better in low light and greater DOF (depth of field) control and generally sharper. Zooms offer lower cost and convenience. The Sigma and Tamron above are very sharp and only slightly slower than many primes.

If I were to pick one, given the lenses you now have, I would recommend the f2.8 18-50 Sigma. Only because it is wider than the Tamron.
03-11-2008, 06:03 AM   #3
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Also bear in mind that the feild of view (FOV) on a DSLR is different than an SLR. The 50mm will act like a 75mm. The sensor size is smaller than the film size and you use a crop factor of 1.5x on the Pentax Digitals. The lens doesn't get you closer but the FOV is tighter. An 18mm = 27mm etc.
03-11-2008, 08:42 AM   #4
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I love my 16-45mm as a general use lens, but might be slow for kids moving around indoors without a flash. The 50 mm/1.4 gets some use as well for portraits. Both are an excellent value for the price. If you want really light packing there's always the 18-250mm, but again a bit slow.

03-11-2008, 09:28 AM   #5

Hi, thought I would drop my 2cents in... I have a 5 and a 3 yr old and enjoy flashless shots indooors. After a long process of elimination I recently picked up the tamron 28-75mm F2.8 that Peter mentioned. I had gone back and forth in my mind between the 18-50 and 28-75, but after looking at most of my "kid shots" I realized that I was most often in the 28-75 range.

This is a very nice zoom lens, it is pretty sharp wide open at 2.8 and has an almost prime "look" to it. Very smooth OOF areas and nice color. It is heavy and that takes some getting used to, but a nice piece of glass. I am very happy with it.

It really depends on how you shoot, if you find you are at 18mm a lot then go wider, for me I was seldon there so the 28-75mm is a nice portrait range for me.

I also have the FA 50 1.4 - SMC tak 50 1.4 - 28mm 2.8 and M 35 3.5 and in very low light I would still grab one of the 50 1.4's, but for now most of them are on the shelf.

good luck in your search....
03-12-2008, 04:20 AM   #6
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Original Poster
I thank everyone so far for their detailed responses, if I was starting completely new, I think it would be an easier decision. The sigma 17-70 or tamron 28-75 seem to be an obvious choices, the other lenses I would guess make my present lenses redundant!


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