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07-16-2013, 05:41 PM   #1
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Soon to be K-30 owner, need lens advice

First time poster. Before I ask my question I just want to say thanks to all the people of this forum asking and answering questions. It's been very helpful as I researched slrs.

Iím getting ready to buy a used K-30 from a coworker who is upgrading to a K5ii. This will be my first SLR, but since I'm getting the body only I'd really like some of your thoughts with regards to the lenses. A couple of point about my situation.

1. My goal is to photograph my family, and the memories that come with it in a more compelling way than I can with my old bridge camera. So while I would like to take an occasional artistic shot it certainly isnít my motivation.
2. Iím not planning on selling my photos or even posting many on the internet, this is really just for me and my close family. As a result I think Iím going to care more about versatility than quality.
3. Given the reality of traveling with a family, or just going around town is that I canít imagine carrying more than 3 lenses. So thatís really my target number of lenses.
4. I see people ďoutgrowingĒ their initial gear, which I donít really think is an option for me. My wife sees this as a money pit (sheís probably right) and I donít plan on attempting to justify why a 17-70 lens is better than the 18-50 kit lens even though they take the same picture. Iíd rather get the gear once and not worry about it again until the technology is significantly different.
5. My budget is $1200, although one lens will need to last me until the holidays when Iíll get the other two. It also reinforces that 3 lenses it probably the right number.

So I wanted to ask you guys, which 3 lens types would you recommend?

My thought is to get a Sigma 18-250 for starters. Later bring in a 50mm for portraiture and low light situations, and a 10-20mm UWA for ďstorytellingĒ pictures.
I havenít ruled out dropping the 50mm lens and going for a 17-70, 70-300, and a 10-20. Iíd gain a little quality, but Iíd sacrifice low light/portraiture, as well as the convenience of having a single walkaround lens.

07-16-2013, 05:49 PM   #2
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IMO go for this one: Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 Contemporary - Introduction -

And the Pentax 55-300 and the 10-20. That'll have you covered well. The 17-70mm is good enough for close-ups and portraits to the point where it might be justifiable to use it in place of a prime.

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07-16-2013, 06:35 PM   #3
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I agree with Adam get the new Sigma 17-70, BUT indulge yourself and get an outstanding prime portraiture lens for the kids. Something like the FA 77, or FA 43 or one of the DA limited series. You will not regret it. They are that good. And remember to tell your wife, its for the kids honey....not me
07-16-2013, 06:45 PM   #4
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I will offer a completely off the wall suggestion. Get an M42 adaptor and build an M42 kit

I am about $1200 into M42 lenses so far, here's what that got me

Zenitar 16mm/2.8 fisheye
Tamron adaptall 2 24/2.5
Vivitar 28/2.5
Smc tak 35/2,
super tak 50/1.4. Eight element version
SMC tak 50/5 macro
SMC tak 55/1.8
Helios 58/2
Sup tak 85/1.9
Vernon edonar 105/2.5 preset
Tele lentar 135/2.8 preset
SMC tak 135/3.5
Sigma 180/3.5
SMC tak 200/4
Takumar preset 200/3.5
Nikkor H 300/4.5 converted to k mount

What else do you need.

07-16-2013, 06:49 PM   #5
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I concur with the Sigma 17-70. I bought a used one recently and it has quickly become my most used lens. Previously, despite some of my other specialised lenses, the SMC 18-135 WR was my general purpose lens but I am really liking the Sigma's results despite the absence of WR and lower zoom range. I also find that, as much as I love my 10-20, if the Sigma 17-70 is already on the camera I just go for that as it really is beautiful at the wide end.

As versatile as "superzooms" such as 18-250mm you suggested might seem, I personally find you outgrow them quickly in that search for better IQ. As a little extra challenge, my M50 1.7 is my favourite portrait lens by a long-way. I'm now saving my money and selling what I can to get a decent, fast tele lens - perhaps DA* 200mm f/2.8.
07-16-2013, 07:01 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
What else do you need.
A Dictionary comes to mind
07-16-2013, 07:19 PM   #7
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Thanks for dropping in to Pentax Forums.

Does the budget of $1200 cover all lenses or camera and lens(es)?

With a (growing?) family to photograph, you might think about all-weather situations - rain, snow (?), etc. (Kids like to play outside!). The Pentax 18-135 WR would be useful. It has gained a good reputation. Not the very best high-end image quality, but decent and very versatile. Excellent travel lens, according to many users.

Or, as mentioned by others, the Sigma 17-70 will help you to produce excellent images that your family will ooh and ahhh over.

You should definitely also consider a faster (wider aperture) lens for indoor use. Pentax 35/2.4 or 50/1.8.

While there are many superb manual focus lenses, such as those in Lowell's kit, I think you'd be better off going with autofocus lenses - your family will thank you.

- Craig

07-16-2013, 07:33 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by c.a.m Quote
While there are many superb manual focus lenses, such as those in Lowell's kit, I think you'd be better off going with autofocus lenses - your family will thank you.
- Craig
I have to agree. If you're willing to persist and suffer frustration (as I have), the old manual focus lenses provides fantastic image quality for a very low cost. But trying to get sharp, well-focused images on hyperactive children has proven a challenge that at times, deters me away to a quick auto lens.
07-16-2013, 08:08 PM   #9
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My suggestion would be to get the 18-135 because of its versatility and extra range over any 17-70 and I believe it's IQ is much more than decent and this suggestion is coming from a diehard prime user. If IQ was the only consideration, I would suggest a Tamron 17-50 2.8, and if range is a concern going to 135 trumps 70 plus you have a silent, WR, nice size lens. I would add the 55-300 for good IQ and great versatility. I would then choose a 35 and/or 50 for lowlight and portraits.

Personally I have a fleet of Primes (8) covering 15 to 200mm which I love using. The 18-135 and 55-300 still get good usage because some situations make a zoom more practical. I have had several zooms including the 16-50 , 17-70 and the Tamron 17-50 but found the 18-135 the best combination of versatility, weight, and IQ. If I want the best that I can produce then the primes win hands down. Given your $1200 budget, the DA 50 1.8 is a reasonable choice for portraits and low light work for kids concerts or sports. If budget allows adding the 35 2.4 would make a nice addition as a nice normal focal length. A good used DA 70 Limited would be another good portrait/ indoor sports alternative but would likely result in LBA since Limiteds are addictive and it is hard to stop at one.
07-16-2013, 08:35 PM   #10
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+1 on the Sigma 17-70. I don't own it, but have seen many photos with it, and they are very nice. Much better than one of the super zooms like the 18-250. The only reason I went with the DA18-135 is it was in the kit with my K30. The DA L 55-200 can be had for very little money, since it's the cheap, so that takes care of the long end of the 18-250. The DA L version of the 55-300 isn't a lot more.

A nice, very cheap, starter prime lens is any Pentax 50mm. I got the Super Takumar 55 for something like $20 or $30. It is an amazing lens, and the f2 aperture is great in low light. The Sigma 17-70 is 2.8 on the wide end, so it's not half bad in low light.

My take: Sig 17-70 for $500 (new), or the first generation without SDM for ~$300, add a DAL 50-200 used for $100, (or the DA L 55-300 used for $250) the Sigma 10-20 4-5.6 for $430 (new at B&H) or $350 used, and add in the Takumar 55 for $20 plus another $10 for a cheap M42 adapter. Another $150 for a used 35mm f2.4, and you now have a great 5 lens kit for $930 to $1360, depending on finding good used buys. At the high end, you get the new Sigma, and the 55-300. Maybe tack on another 5 for a cheap 49mm rubber hood for the 35 and 55.

Non-SDM lenses don't really wear out, so buy used when you can find good deals, especially if you are on a budget. Three zooms/two primes would make a really fun, really flexible kit.
07-17-2013, 06:31 AM   #11
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Thanks for the advice. I'm definitely leaning towards the 17-70, I just wish I knew more about how I'll be shooting and if I'm going to find that range limiting for a general lens.

I know I don't want to be constantly flipping lenses or carrying more equipment than I can fit into a small messenger bag, which is why the 18-250 or 18-135 were appealing. I really like the idea (especially while learning) of going back and forth between closeup portraits and wide angle compositions. But I've also got another voice in my head (and implicitly echo'd on this board) saying the point of an SLR is quality not convenience..... anyway its just something I need to sort thru.

Thanks again for your suggestions and all the advice across the forum.
07-17-2013, 10:04 AM   #12
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one option, although I know you said you don't want to outgrow your gear, is to have a 'trial period'. Buy a 18-250, use it regularly for a month or two, then see what focal length you're in most often. If it's a real spread, keep the lens; if there's a cluster, sell the 18-250 and buy the best lens for that cluster plus a cheap lens for the rest.

Having just been on a 2 week trip with the (old) Sigma 17-70 and DA-L 55-300, I can tell you that the 17-70 stayed on the camera most of the time, and when I did want to switch, it took about 20 seconds. Changing lenses isn't as big a deal as it looks like: camera off, remove body cap from new lens, pop old lens off camera, attach new lens, put body cap on old lens and back in the bag. Practice a few times and it becomes easy. [note: traveled by myself, so can't speak to kid photos]

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