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09-27-2013, 09:36 AM   #1
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Starting lens?

Okay, so I just bought a Pentax K-5 (body) and I haven't ordered a lens yet. 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.

09-27-2013, 09:58 AM   #2
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You cannot beat the Pentax DA 18-135 for a good all around general purpose lens. Well within your budget. That's if you want an all around zoom. You could add a nice prime like the DA 40mm Limited or DA 35mm f/2.4 and still be very close to your budget especially if you buy used.

The equivalent in higher end lenses would be the DA*16-50 and DA*50-135. Same range, but with two lenses, better IQ, considerably more weight and a lot more money, probably over $2,000.
09-27-2013, 10:08 AM   #3
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One of the 17-70 variants might suit you, sigma or pentax. The sigmas are f/2.8 below 20mm, can focus very close and are well liked; I know little about the pentax.
09-27-2013, 10:09 AM   #4
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Tamron 17-50mm F2.8

09-27-2013, 10:14 AM   #5
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Add 100$ and you can get used (very good condition) 21 and 70 mm Ltd's.
09-27-2013, 10:16 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
You cannot beat the Pentax DA 18-135 for a good all around general purpose lens. Well within your budget. That's if you want an all around zoom. You could add a nice prime like the DA 40mm Limited or DA 35mm f/2.4 and still be very close to your budget especially if you buy used.

The equivalent in higher end lenses would be the DA*16-50 and DA*50-135. Same range, but with two lenses, better IQ, considerably more weight and a lot more money, probably over $2,000.
Out of the first 3 you mentioned, what would produce the best picture. I've heard that it's better to have good glass with a okay body, then a cheapo glass and a super expensive body.
I'm sorta new to this..
09-27-2013, 10:46 AM   #7
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The DA 18-135mm (WR, decent IQ, long zoom range. Probably most versatile Pentax zoom atm) or DA 16-45mm. In the 17-70mm range, I think Tamron or Sigma makes a better lens? Not sure, I remember reading a review about that, I dont have experience with these lenses.

Or, if you are hardcore, just go straight for a fixed focal length (prime) lens. With your budget you can get two nice primes. DA 35mm, DA 40mm (ltd or XS), DA 50mm f1.8.. Top notch quality at the cost of zoom flexibility. This is a great choice if you want to grow your skills quickly, and dont mind a learning curve and some missed shots at first.
09-27-2013, 11:05 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peckols Quote
Okay, so I just bought a Pentax K-5 (body) and I haven't ordered a lens yet. 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.
If you want the best image quality but not as much versatility, look at the Sigma 17-50mm F2.8:
DA* 16-50mm vs. Sigma and Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 Comparison - Introduction - PentaxForums.com
Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC HSM Zoom Lens for Pentax DSLRs 58C109

If you want excellent image quality and a bit more versatility, look at the Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4:
Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 Contemporary - Introduction - PentaxForums.com
Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro HSM Lens for Pentax 884109 B&H

If you want very good image quality and a lot of versatility, look at the Pentax 18-135mm:
Pentax-DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 Review - Overview - PentaxForums.com
Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL WR Zoom Lens 21880 B&H Photo

The latter is a very nice lens, but it's not as good as the other due, so I'd recommend adding a prime such as a 50mm F1.8 to your kit for when you need the faster aperture.


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09-27-2013, 11:25 AM   #9
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And remember to watch the Marketplace here for used lenses. You don't have to pay retail, save yourself a little money. And you don't need to acquire a whole kit at once. Get something versatile and then target capabilities you want.
09-27-2013, 12:29 PM   #10
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Because the 18-135 is so versatile, I would start with that. After a few months, look over your shooting habits to see what your preferences are. Then will you know if you want a longer zoom, wider zoom, faster zoom, and/or decide if you want to get some primes, and what focal lengths.

Even after you get other lenses, you will still use the 18-135 for its versatility and WR.
09-27-2013, 12:44 PM   #11
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35mm normal angle lens. Nothing beter to teach your eye. Who needs a zoom lens when having two feet? Less expensive, smaller combo, makes you think, saves money for a zoom lens alteron...
09-27-2013, 01:15 PM   #12
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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.
09-27-2013, 01:20 PM   #13
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Oh--the 35mm FA f2.0 is too expensive ($400 at B&H) as a starter lens--but otherwise I think my suggestions are valid.
09-27-2013, 01:22 PM   #14
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Welcome to Pentax.

If you're looking to buy new, with warranty, then I think the three primary suggestions made so far are good, and well explained.

If you're the sort of person who likes to buy used to save some cash, I would recommend looking at picking up a set of three lenses:

First, get a good constant aperture zoom. Something like the Tarmon 28-75/2.8. They're about $300 used. This will work for portraits, street photography, and many others things. It might not be absolutely perfect for those things, but it's an 8/10 for nearly any use that falls in a "normal" focal length range (i.e. not wide angle, and not very telephoto). The Tamron 17-50/2.8 is also well liked, if you need the wide end more than the long.

If you do a lot of street photography and landscapes (two things you mentioned), you may want to look at a wide prime. I'd lean toward the DA 15, but it's about $550 used in good condition. The Rokinon/Samyang/etc 14mm is only about $300 (new) if you don't mind manual focus (and who needs autofocus on an UWA)? If you don't get something like this, you'll either want your zoom to go wide, at least 18mm, or you can pick up a used kit lens for CHEAP (if you don't need WR) just to have something in this range.

Finally, you'll want some reach. The simple choice is the DA 55-300 (roughly $300 used), but you won't be able to afford all three lenses I'm recommending on your budget. You could wait for it, or tide yourself over with a cheap 75-300, they're about $50.

EDIT: I'll second the recommendation for KEH.
09-27-2013, 03:37 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by thornburg Quote
The simple choice is the DA 55-300 (roughly $300 used)
Or you could buy a brand new DA L version (same lens but without quick shift) and frankly I've never had a need to use quick shift for $229.
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