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03-25-2008, 10:19 AM   #1
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Newbie needs some lens advice

Hey everybody,

I made the switch to my DSLR (k100d) from a 35mm Pentax ZX-30. I tried to do it on the cheap, so I only bought the K100d body and have been using my ZX-30 kit lens (35-80mm) and a Tamron 80-300mm from my film days.

I'd consider myself somewhere between a point-and-shoot photographer and advanced. I know a few things, feel like I can put together a decent composition... but generally feel more comfortable with the auto settings on the camera. I'm slowing learning and trying to morph into more of a manual photographer, it's just taking some time.

Given my background, I tend to shoot far more architecture and landscape shots than people, or anything else. On my last trip to Europe there were several times when I really wished I had a wider angle lens.

So here's the question: What should I get?

1. I've read a bunch of positive things about the Sigma 10-20mm. I'm sure it would work perfectly for my subject matter of choice, but given my limited experience... it's somewhat hard to justify dropping $500 for one. Hard, but not out of the question. This is my current first pick.

2. I like the idea of a single lens 18-250mm solution, but wonder if the difference between 18mm and 35mm will really make enough of a difference.

3. If an 18mm will work for me... than should I really just be looking for a used K100d kit lens on the cheap?

4. Maybe you have a better solution, not found above???


Thanks,
Scott


Last edited by 91FE; 03-26-2008 at 05:41 AM.
03-25-2008, 10:50 AM   #2
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18 to 35 is a huge difference. Some find 16 to 18 a significant difference.

It all depends on budget. I don't think you can get by with just a 10-20mm zoom. At least I know I couldn't. I don't care for the super zooms (18-250) as I think the image quality suffers...but that totally depends on what you're looking for and how critical your needs are. I think the 16-45 is a great "compromise" lens. Better image quality than the kit lens and a useful range.
03-25-2008, 11:02 AM   #3
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honestly if you're just starting out in the wide world o' dSLR, I'd say pick up a real cheap 18-55 kit. It has its issues, but at under 50 bucks used it's hard to beat.

The Sigma 17-70 2.8 is an oft-recommended lens, cheaper than the 10-20 by a good degree, but still gives you a nice range from wide angle to moderate telephoto.

I don't know as much about the superzooms, but I'd suspect there is some degree of image quality loss. And that 80-300 (manual? AF?) should serve you well on the long side of things for now.

I just got a tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 (woohoo). It ain't high class or fancy pants, but it seems to get the job done and clocks in at just 130.00. If you need to upgrade your tele end, I'd recommend it, but that's from others' recommendations. The sigma 70-300 apo also seems to get a lot of recommendations.

If you can consider 500 on a 10-20, I'd figure out first how wide angle you really need. If the 17-70 will also serve your needs, it seems like it would be a much more versatile lens for you. With the leftover cash you could look at a new tele, or macro, or a new flash, etc
03-25-2008, 11:27 AM   #4
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If you want to keep your costs down, a cheap used 18-55 kit lens really isn't a bad choice. Compared to your 35-80 kit lens from the ZX-30 on film, the ~27mm with crop factor of the 18-55 will feel a lot wider.

I don't have much architectural stuff online and the perspective isn't phenomenal, but here's a shot from the 18-55 at 18mm of a relatively large building from across the street (the doors give a good sense of scale): Building in Sandwich Town on Flickr - Photo Sharing!


Last edited by Steinback; 03-25-2008 at 11:35 AM. Reason: Spelling correction
03-25-2008, 11:33 AM   #5
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at least 18mm is a "must have" option I believe. I own the sigma 17-70 & can highly recommend it, great lens. If you intend taking any landscape photographs the difference between 18-35 will be enormous

simon
03-25-2008, 11:53 AM   #6
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I would encourage to go the manual focus path. You'll learn much faster that way. As for the lens, I have to say the 18-55 kit lens is suitable for the learning process. Don't spend too much too early, then you will regret later. In addition, buying super zoom would hardly help you to identify what your favorite focal would be. For your purpose, the wide end of the kit would do. Good luck.
03-25-2008, 01:12 PM   #7
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The advice about stick with the kit lens initially is a sound one. The Pentax 18-50mm is consistently reviewed as one of the best kit lens of all the DSLR makers. I have the 16-45mm and find that it suits my needs quite well. I'm just starting myself and will say that letting LBA hit too early is, as said, not always good. I have several lens that I've purchased and have not used as much as I anticipated. For example, I sent to shot wide so my longer zooms don't get as much use as they should.

See what kind of pictures you enjoy taking and buy lens accordingly.
03-25-2008, 03:52 PM   #8
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Look through this post about the Kit lens. https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/20471-kit-lens-photos.html I use mine all the time for outdoors stuff, and for the money it is a no brainer as far as I'm concerned. There are usually some for sale here in the market place, for about $50-$60, a real steal if you ask me. I am thinking about getting another one so i have one for both of my Pentax DSLRs.

03-25-2008, 04:34 PM   #9
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I didn't opt for the 18-55 kit lens, buying right off, the 16-45. I haven't regretted it. However, if I was unsure that I would need such a lens, I wouldn't have hesitated in buying that 18-55. I agree with the others, buying the kit lens is a smart choice.

The Sigma 10-20mm is a great lens from what I have read. There is a huge difference between 18 to 16, and an even bigger difference between 16 to 10mm. Just remember to factor in the crop factor of your digital camera when considering lenses. 18mmx1.5 =27mm (wide angle). 10mmx1.5=15mm (ultra wide angle). Your film lens with the wide end of 35mm gives you a 53mm normal lens with that cropping factor included.

I also have a Pentax 18-250mm. I will say that it is a fantastic lens. It does suffer from slight distortion at both ends, but they did a great job in eliminating much of it. Likewise, it is a rather slow lens that suffers zoom creep when the barrel is pointed up or down. IQ is great and so is the convenience. If you plan on doing a lot of travel and plan to carry a light load, this lens should be on your must have short list. But for now, it might be best to get the cheaper kit lens unless you don't mind spending quite a bit more for the convenience factor that this lens provides (Pentax or Tamron version)..
03-25-2008, 06:43 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the advice guys! I guess my next purchase is going to be the kit lens. Give me a heads-up if you come across any deals.
03-25-2008, 06:51 PM   #11
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Keep an eye on the marketplace here, seems a lot of them are sold through the marketplace, and usually at great prices
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