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07-16-2013, 02:34 PM   #1
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18-250mm designation questions

First post on the board. Had a question about lenses.

I'm in the process of purchasing a K-30 as my first SLR camera. I'm pretty comfortable with the purchase as a camera I can grow into. Initially I'd like to get an all-purpose lens for the camera and in my research I've read that the 18-250mm Pentax or Tamron is one of the best (if not the best) all purpose lens. They aren't manufactured anymore so I have to buy secondhand and it is a bit confusing. A lot of the lenses for sale have a number of different designations and I wanted to ensure I was getting the right lens. Here are a couple examples of designations I've found for Pentax lenses:

DA ED 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 f/3.5-6.3 AL
AF 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 LD Dill Macro
SMC P DA 18-250mm F/3.5-6.3

What does the P represent? I can't find that anywhere. How about Dill Macro? Do they have any meaning I should be concerned with or wary of?

In my research it sounds like the first option (DA ED 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 f/3.5-6.3 AL) is the option to go with. I found a page to decipher some of these designations (terminology - What do all those cryptic number and letter codes in a lens name mean? - Photography Stack Exchange) but before I invest $300 I want to make sure I'm not missing anything.

Any comments/suggestions/insults out there for me?

07-16-2013, 02:40 PM   #2
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P is for Pentax, lol The DIII Macro is the same lens with Tamron branding.

Here's the official lens name:
SMC Pentax-DA 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 ED AL [IF] Reviews - DA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

BTW, if you don't want to buy second-hand, get the Pentax 18-135mm, Pentax 18-270mm (also a rebadged Tamron), or the Sigma 18-250mm. More info about all of these lenses can be found on our homepage (in the review section, just search) or in our lens databases.

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07-16-2013, 03:09 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
P is for Pentax, lol The DIII Macro is the same lens with Tamron branding.

Here's the official lens name:
SMC Pentax-DA 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 ED AL [IF] Reviews - DA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

BTW, if you don't want to buy second-hand, get the Pentax 18-135mm, Pentax 18-270mm (also a rebadged Tamron), or the Sigma 18-250mm. More info about all of these lenses can be found on our homepage (in the review section, just search) or in our lens databases.
No wonder I couldn't find what P meant...

I've looked into those 3 options as well. The Pentax 18-135mm doesn't quite have the reach I'm looking for. The Pentax 18-270mm is out of my price range. The Sigma 18-250mm has OS which isn't necessary because the K-30 has IS so it just bumps up the price tag ($400)...though the used Tamron/Pentax 18-250mm lenses seem to go between $320-$380, which is not much cheaper.

Value wise the Tamron/Pentax 18/250mm does seem to have the best reviews so I still think I want to go that direction if I can find a decent deal...

Thanks for the clarification, that stuff was messing with me...
07-16-2013, 03:37 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by blueturfbronco Quote
I'm pretty comfortable with the purchase as a camera I can grow into.
There´s no thing as a camera you can grow into... You can use a disposable cam as long as you can do what you want.

Look at this recent thread:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/visitors-center/231551-should-i-purchase-...tter-lens.html

Though if you are decided on the 18-250, then a camera with better high iso performance will help a lot

07-16-2013, 04:08 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by carrrlangas Quote
There´s no thing as a camera you can grow into... You can use a disposable cam as long as you can do what you want.

Look at this recent thread:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/visitors-center/231551-should-i-purchase-...tter-lens.html

Though if you are decided on the 18-250, then a camera with better high iso performance will help a lot
I feel comfortable with the K-30 as a camera that I can learn the finer points of photography with. I'm sure the K-5 II would provide better performance but it's just not in my price range. As far as the 18-250mm lens goes I wanted a reliable lens that offers a wide range of zoom so I won't have to change lenses for distant shots. I'm going rafting on the Grand Canyon in September. This is a 20 day trip and I wanted a single lens that I can pull out of a case and not have to worry about switching out on the river. I'm aware the pairing of the K-30 and 18-250mm lens may not be perfectly ideal but it should provide quality shots during good light which is most important to me at this point. In the future when I've learned more about photography I'll delve more deeply into the finer aspects of the optics.
07-16-2013, 04:17 PM   #6
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I mean, A homemade pinhole camera, film SLR, old DSLR, P&S, rangefander or brand new DSLR, any will do to learn photography. K5II or D800 or K-30 or K10d or the oldest Canon rebel, they all fit the bill.
If you are going rafting well, then you´ll want a weather sealed camera, like the K-30. But you also need a weather sealed lens. The DA18-135 for example.. Good range and IQ. If the lens isn´t weather sealed you can still get water in through the lens mount so it is said the system must be Weather Sealed (WR in pentax world).
07-19-2013, 07:19 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by blueturfbronco Quote
...but it should provide quality shots during good light which is most important to me at this point.
Correct.

The 18-250, whether you get the Tamron or the rebadged Pentax flavour, is impressively good considering the range it covers.

I wouldn't worry about weather-resistance too much.

I've used my Tamron 18-250 in spray and light rain and it survived well. The camera wasn't WR either. I just gave both regular wipes and made sure they weren't stored while still being moist.

You've made a good choice and I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun with the camera and lens.

If you really want to shoot in adverse conditions then you'll have at least only the lens to worry about which is easier to protect with a plastic bag than it is to protect the whole camera/lens combo.

Last edited by Class A; 07-19-2013 at 07:48 AM.
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