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09-27-2013, 06:23 PM   #16
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I'll offer a different perspective and options based on my experience when I started with a DSLR. As you will learn, there are many options but no single right answer. The 18-135 zoom is certainly a good choice

During my first year with a K-7, I used only a DA 35mm Limited (f/2.8) and a DA 50-200 WR. After several years, I still consider the DA 35 Ltd to be my trusted "go to" lens. It's a good general-purpose focal length for indoors, nature (except for animals/birds), landscapes, and street. Also, I've used the the macro capability many times. The f/2.8 aperture is useful indoors or in other low-light situations. With the fixed focal length, I learned about composition and perspective, positioning and walking about one's subject, and also the limits (which led me to smartly choose other lenses later on). And, it's compact and lightweight. It retails for $500-600 new but a good used copy should be available for less. The DA 35mm f/2.4 (i.e., not 'Limited') is another option at this focal length - around $200 new.

The DA 50-200 is not the sharpest lens in the line, but it served me well, especially in wet weather. It can be obtained at a modest price (~$250 new), perhaps $150 used. It will give you decent image quality (but inferior to the other lenses mentioned in the other responses) out to 200mm.

- Craig

09-27-2013, 08:10 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peckols Quote
what would be a good starting lens to buy?
Get the DA 35mm f/2.4, master that first, and then you will be able to answer your own question about what to buy further.

Last edited by wildman; 09-28-2013 at 08:39 AM.
09-28-2013, 02:15 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peckols Quote
I take a lot of different types of photos, from street photography, to portraits to landscapes, I'm just wondering what would be a good starting lens to buy? I have around a 700 dollar (tops) budget. Not really looking to spend that much though.
The usual suggestions that you'll get will be the DA18-135 plus the DA55-300 and maybe the DA35 f2.4. Not a bad choice, but both of these zooms are physically quite large, especially with their hoods attached and the lenses zoomed out. This may not matter to you, but it bothers me.

For street photos you want to remain inconspicuous and for that the DA21 is ideal, especially for those sneaky 'from the hip' people shots. The DA21 hood even makes it look as if you still have your lens cap on

For me 35mm is a bit too narrow for landscapes, architecture or street photos. I have the DA35 Macro Ltd and I don't use it as much as I thought I would.

Also, do not dismiss the old kit DA18-55 WR and DA50-200 WR pair. They are cheap, small and actually quite good.
09-28-2013, 04:37 AM   #19
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I love my 18-135; a great choice. With $700, you can add the Sigma 30/1.4 (used) for low light work, or the DA55-300 for a great telephoto. The 50-200 is an even cheaper/lighter tele, and certainly a fine lens.

09-28-2013, 03:54 PM   #20
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I'd definitely start with some sort of zoom that covers Landscape to portrait. Sigma 17-70 is great with close focus, Pentax 18-135 has more range, weather sealing, and probably better colour (My original sigma 17-70 produces a yellow tint, but newer versions may not).
Street photographers here definitely seem to recommend the 21ltd which is a little pricey at this point if you wan't more than one lens.

So the next question is will you be able to spend more money in the future, if yes then take your time to figure out what prime lenses (if any) you might want in the long run.
At some point you are probably going to wan't a fast(ish) normal prime of which Pentax currently makes many, none of which are bad. You have cheaper options, 35/2.4, 40/2.8xs, 50/1.8, then a selection of shiny options, 31/1.8 Ltd, 35/2.8Ltd macro, 40/28Ltd (same optics as XS), 43/1.9Ltd, 55/1.4 Da*, and then older lenses Fa 30/2 of 50/1.4 ect.
Choosing is the difficult part, I recommend looking at the lens club forum to see how the lenses render images, rather than relying on scientific sharpness test. You might just find you prefer a cheaper lens over something much more expensive!
09-28-2013, 04:03 PM   #21
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... and then there are all those old legacy lenses to be had for next to nothing on eBay
09-29-2013, 05:36 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by robjmitchell Quote
I'd definitely start with some sort of zoom that covers Landscape to portrait. Sigma 17-70 is great with close focus, Pentax 18-135 has more range, weather sealing, and probably better colour (My original sigma 17-70 produces a yellow tint, but newer versions may not).
Street photographers here definitely seem to recommend the 21ltd which is a little pricey at this point if you wan't more than one lens.

So the next question is will you be able to spend more money in the future, if yes then take your time to figure out what prime lenses (if any) you might want in the long run.
At some point you are probably going to wan't a fast(ish) normal prime of which Pentax currently makes many, none of which are bad. You have cheaper options, 35/2.4, 40/2.8xs, 50/1.8, then a selection of shiny options, 31/1.8 Ltd, 35/2.8Ltd macro, 40/28Ltd (same optics as XS), 43/1.9Ltd, 55/1.4 Da*, and then older lenses Fa 30/2 of 50/1.4 ect.
Choosing is the difficult part, I recommend looking at the lens club forum to see how the lenses render images, rather than relying on scientific sharpness test. You might just find you prefer a cheaper lens over something much more expensive!
Yeah, in the future I'll be able to spend more. Right now I'm just looking for something that will suffice for the moment.
09-29-2013, 10:25 AM   #23
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Echoing the 18-135mm. If I was starting out that would be my choice (heck, I sill want one even though I've been shooting a while).

Then after a few months (or... days) when the lens buying addiction kicks in, go back and see what your favorite focal lengths tend to be and maybe hunt down a decent prime in that range.

09-29-2013, 01:17 PM   #24
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Yep, the 18-135 would be my first choice if I were to start over. I got one not too long ago, actually, to replace the 18-55 as my do-it-all lens. I prefer primes when I can, but need an allrounder for wet/dusty/dirty/restricted/time pressing conditions.

That, and a 35/2.4 for low light.

And a 55-300 for wildlife

And a... Well, you get it
09-29-2013, 03:02 PM   #25
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If you want to spend more then go for the 35mm limited macro. It will be about as versatile of a prime as you can get. If you don't want to spend that much then the lens to go for would be the 40mm xs. Its so small and light and it has 9 aperture blades (the limited version has less). I find 40mm to be the sweet spot for my shots
10-01-2013, 12:42 PM   #26
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I decided to go with the Pentax 16-45mm f/4.0 SMC PDA ED AL Zoom Lens and the Pentax 16-45mm f/4.0 SMC PDA ED AL Zoom Lens.
What do you guys think?
10-01-2013, 01:31 PM   #27
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I still use the 16-45 for indoor use, if I want a zoom. It's good, but I wanted a weatherproof walkaround which led me to the 18-135. But for years my zoom combo was the 16-45 and 55-300 (after I got that to replace the Tamron 70-300).

It's a good performer, certainly for the price.
10-01-2013, 02:18 PM   #28
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Oops. For the second one I meant Pentax DA 50-200mm f/4-5.6 ED Lens.
10-02-2013, 03:27 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by dms Quote
Its so broad--do you have past experience, do you want auto focus (AF) or not, are you more into zoom or not, ...

If someone starts out w/o knowing I would suggest a zoom and one fixed focus. I suggest the 28-70mm FA f4 (as a good cheap lens--about $70. used from KEH) and a 50mm non AF lens--e.g., 50mm f1.7 (A lens). I haven't looked at prices lately/I use the M version--maybe another 70. to $100. Both used/I suggest KEH.com.

Or if you want new--I think the suggestion of a 35mm is good and will not break the bank. I think I would suggest the FA f2.0, or the newer DA one.

The kit lens (18-55mm) is often spoken highly of--I personally think it has too many compromises in quality. handling/speed etc. to be a starter lens. That's my impression but I haven't used one (only held it/looked through it). The other new zooms are too costly to get till you know what direction you will go in.

Point is don't spend a lot till you see what's important to you. Unless money is immaterial--but you said $700. Better to spend 1/3-1/2 that and spend rest/slightly more than 1/2 later on a particular lens that meets your needs.
I just bought the new Pentax DA35mm 2.4 AL lens. I would DEFINITELY urge you to buy one of those for under $200. new on Amazon. I just got mine in the mail today and I can tell you it belongs right up there with my Pentax DA16-45 lens. I still like my DA50-200 lens for some medium range shots. You will surely need a zoom lens but follow the advice of others on the forum as to which one, because I have never tried any of the new zooms..
For low light use the 35mm is beyond outstanding. It is amazing. It's light weight, it is quick focusing , sharp as a tack and just all around great for 50% of my shooting. Freddy

P.S. Just about my favorite of all lenses I have used is my SMC Takumar 55mm 1.8 However, it is strictly a manual lens and needs an M42 adapter for the Pentax automatics, so I keep it on one of my spare camera bodies for a quick grab when
I want to do some special shots, utilizing its marvelous color, bokeh, and that indefinable something that distinguishes it from modern lenses. It is 50 years old and only costs $56. used, if you can find one. Truly a gem among lenses.
10-02-2013, 04:17 PM   #30
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I started out some years ago with K20D with DA*16-50mm and DA*50-135mm, because I had a little more to spend at the time. Great set!

I bought a few months after that just in a spur, i was in a shop, the DA 40mm/f2.8 Ltd. That was a great thing, since your camera shrinks in size and delivers you great images. I can recommend to even just start there and don't spend any money on lenses before you know how to handle your camera properly in all situations.
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