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05-29-2013, 07:21 AM   #1
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What lens should I get?

I recently joined Pentaxforums and with the help of a few of the members settled on purchasing the k-5iis. Now I would like to ask for some advice on a decent lens or lens combo to get started with. I really don't want to spent more than $600 for any single lens and not more than $1000 on any combo. This camera is for personal use and I will be using it for a lot of indoor school events like concert choir, etc. I will also take it with me bicycling for random pics. I was leaning toward the sigma 18-250 DC Macro OS HSM for $399.00. Someone suggested the pentax 50-135 but at $1000+ it's just not doable for me at this point. Is there any other lens or combination of lenses anyone could suggest that would bring out the best in this camera for my price range and uses. I would also like to ask for a few suggestions for what one prime lens to have for all around usefulness. I know that's kinda vague but I guess what I'm asking is if you only had two lenses to choose from for all situations, what two lenses would you choose. ...uh and let's keep the budget total under $1000 please. All brands and older currently available lenses as well.

05-29-2013, 07:29 AM   #2
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Welcome Aboard.

What lenses, if any, do you have? The 18-55 is compact and versatile with decent IQ - plus its dirt cheap. If you don't own one then get the WR version for around $100, you will not regret it unless you get the 18-135 for <$400 which is also WR. They are both inexpensive for what you are getting, WR, and versatile lenses.

For indoors and kid sports you are going to need something faster and longer in my experience.
05-29-2013, 07:35 AM   #3
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The 18-55 WR as a starter and a Tamron or Sigma 70-200/2.8 for the school events. You should be able to get both for less than the 50-135.
05-29-2013, 07:36 AM   #4
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I just ordered the body, so I have no lenses. I have not heard much good about the kit lens and while the Sigma isn't WR I was under the impression that its IQ was as good or better than the pentax 18-135. Is this incorrect?

05-29-2013, 07:42 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
The 18-55 WR as a starter and a Tamron or Sigma 70-200/2.8 for the school events. You should be able to get both for less than the 50-135.
When I googled the Tamron and Sigma the prices were $1000+.
05-29-2013, 07:46 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by djam Quote
I just ordered the body, so I have no lenses. I have not heard much good about the kit lens and while the Sigma isn't WR I was under the impression that its IQ was as good or better than the pentax 18-135. Is this incorrect?
I can't comment on the IQ of the Sigma 18-250 or the Pentax 18-135, but I can tell you that they would be totally inadequate for indoor activities. In a well lit indoor environment, like a museum, they would be adequate. But a school environment is not going to be well lit, and the subjects aren't going to be static.
05-29-2013, 07:47 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by djam Quote
When I googled the Tamron and Sigma the prices were $1000+.
Amazon.com: Tamron AF 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD IF Macro Lens for Pentax and Samsung Digital SLR Cameras (Model A001P): Camera & Photo

Will be less if you get it second hand.

The Sigma is over $1,000 because it is OS & HSM.
05-29-2013, 07:49 AM   #8
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For your school events, you need a lens with a fast aperture. The superb high ISO rendering with the K5 IIs will allow you to keep the shutter speed up and allow you to use an aperture that gives a bit of depth of field, but you need to have the ability to focus quickly, and a fast aperture will do that for you.

With the high ISO and low light focusing ability of the K5 II, you can probably get away with a zoom lens with an aperture of f/2.8. Check out the lens database, and then check out the marketplace and see if one is available.

[Edit] the immediate prior post suggests a 70-200, but in my opinion you need a wider field of view for concert work than that provided by 70 mm. I would suggest something in the 24 to 28 mm range at the wide end. Even 28 will seem a bit long to you when you try to get the whole band/choir in the picture.


Last edited by Canada_Rockies; 05-29-2013 at 07:52 AM. Reason: Refer to prior post
05-29-2013, 07:54 AM   #9
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As a general purpose lens a WR which covers all standard focal lengths: the 18-135 WR.
135 is already 4x-5x magnification compared with the standard view, and anything longer would be mainly for sport events and wildlife.

For indoor without flash the sigma 1.4/30.

If you think IQ won't satisfy you (your remark about the 18-55 seems to indicate this), you may have to spend something more than the limit you set.
05-29-2013, 08:05 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by djam Quote
I just ordered the body, so I have no lenses. I have not heard much good about the kit lens and while the Sigma isn't WR I was under the impression that its IQ was as good or better than the pentax 18-135. Is this incorrect?
There is nothing wrong with the kit lenses. If you want the 18-250 for versatility I still encourage you to find an 18-50WR model for <$100 for those times that you need the WR. If you want an all-in-one lens then the 18-250 isn't bad, but the 18-135 is WR and that is a big part of having a K-5 body.

QuoteOriginally posted by djam Quote
When I googled the Tamron and Sigma the prices were $1000+.
The Tamron has two models and the newer one is $1000+ but the older one (which I have and am very happy with) is $769 until they are gone.
Amazon.com: Tamron AF 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD IF Macro Lens with Built in Motor for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras (Model A001NII): TAMRON: Camera & Photo

QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
I can't comment on the IQ of the Sigma 18-250 or the Pentax 18-135, but I can tell you that they would be totally inadequate for indoor activities. In a well lit indoor environment, like a museum, they would be adequate. But a school environment is not going to be well lit, and the subjects aren't going to be static.
boriscleto is absolutely right. Schools are notoriously poorly lit and with kids sports you need a wide aperture. f2.8 on a 70--200 will handle that situation on the K-5IIs (I have that combo and have used them in that situation and they are solid for that purpose).
05-29-2013, 08:13 AM   #11
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To help you judge what kind of FOV you want, check out the indoor pics in these 2 sets. They were taken with a 135/2.8 in rooms much smaller than an auditorium or gymnasium.

Beaver Lake - Wild Wings Raptors Apr 20, 2013 - a set on Flickr

In the second set I was much closer...but I still did some cropping.

Montezuma NWR & Audubon May 04, 2013 - a set on Flickr
05-29-2013, 08:53 AM   #12
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Let me take a dive off the deep end here and I'm sure I'll be upsetting many regulars over here but neither the 18-250 nor the 18-55 or the 18-135 will do justice to that incredible sharpness machine you just bought. You owe it to your camera body to marry it to a lens that is capable of doing it some justice at least or you will end up disappointed

Get either the DA17-70 or its Sigma equivalent both capable of f4 across the range (the Sigma even going to f2.8 on the wide end). That settles you for the short to medium range. For the longer range either buckle up and save a bit for the 50-135 f2.8 which would be superb-as-good-as-it-gets for your purpose or try and lay your hands on a used Tamron 70-200 f2.8. There's also a lot to be said to try and score an SMC-A 135mm/f2.8 on Ebay in the meantime or get the most underestimated zoom in the Pentax range, the 50-200 which is definitely capable of lovely results if you do not use it beyond 150mm. (It has one huge advantage: it is dirt-cheap and can be found in a WR version...ok, actually 2 advantages then).

Whatever you do though, make sure your plans will lead you to the sharpest and highest quality lenses otherwise, why would you have gone the extra mile to get the K-5 IIs, right?
05-29-2013, 09:02 AM   #13
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I would advise you buy the DA 50mm f1.8 (or FA 50mm f1.4), it would be great for dark places and its not too expensive. If you want tele, most bang for buck is the DA 50-300mm. Its a little big, not great in very dark places, but it ought to get the job done. Especially since the K-5II has good high ISO capabilities without too much noise. You can get an expensive, fast tele lens some time later.
Sigma and Tamron also make some relatively cheap, but pretty decent tele lenses, so feel free to look at the lens reviews and sample photo sections on these forums
And then you can get a wide angle lens some time later, like a Pentax 35mm or 21mm. I would suggest you mostly use prime lenses for that camera, to get the most out of it. But the 17-70mm suggestion is also good. Gives you a bit of everything with a lot of flexibility
05-29-2013, 09:08 AM   #14
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If you're not going to be in the dust and weather a Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 and a Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 can both be had on the used market for under a thousand.

If out in the weather I would recommend the Pentax 18-135, then get the Tamron 17-50 for indoor events, then the DA 55-300 for when you need something longer. That should still keep you in budget on the used market.
05-29-2013, 10:09 AM   #15
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18-135. You don't know what your preferences are so take 1 lens with multiple focal lengths, shoot away, and see what works. Second choice would be the 17-70, but it's not WR. Might be a tad sharper. Might be.

You could supplement with a DA 35/2.4 or a 50/1.8 for indoor shots where you can move your feet.
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