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10-06-2013, 03:58 PM   #1
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Need a versatile all around lens!

Yes, I am new to this and slowly learning my k-30 so bear with me! I am looking for a great lens under $1000 (if that's possible) or close to it.
Here's what I have needs for:
portraits of kids- great boket,
some sports, lots of landscape,
and an upcoming trip to the England-unavoidable showers I am sure,
and portability/lots of travel is a definite concern.

I am worried about the SDM failure, and would like AF as well.
New to this, do I need a wide angle, a telephoto? I really don't know what I should be after...
What are your thoughts? Thanks for bearing with me!!!!

Ok, yes, I knew this was ambitious but my initial goal was to have less baggage in London. But maybe I'll have to bring 2 lenses. If I have one for closer architecture and another for country landscapes, maybe that will be good? And a completely different one for my kids close ups? So now what ones? Thanks a ton guys!
Oh, I only have the basic 18-55 kit lens. It's just ok.


Last edited by northmole; 10-06-2013 at 06:38 PM. Reason: Adding more
10-06-2013, 04:10 PM   #2
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What lens/lenses do you have that foot the bill for any of your wide extremes of wants. Wide angle 10-20, Portraits with good bokeh and then sports - usually long focal length. No one lens IMHO will give the best for varying reasons for all 3.

Good reports on the Pentax 18-135 but this may not fit the wants.

Other Superzooms will also be a compromise.

Sometimes when starting out a superzoom can be good, you can then review just what focal lengths you actually use, and then buy a good lens to fit around that length.

hope that helps
Kevin
10-06-2013, 04:18 PM   #3
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I'd say a 18-55
10-06-2013, 04:22 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by northmole Quote
I am looking for a great lens under $1000
With that budget youŽll be better off getting several lenses, for each need.
DA55-300 is awesome
DA40 XS / DA35 are both cheap, small and light
DA18-55WR is also good... DA16-45 is cheap and good.Sigma 17-70 is another option
Perhaps still some spare for a F50 or DA50 or M50 or A50/1.7

10-06-2013, 04:27 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by northmole Quote
I am looking for a great lens under $1000 (if that's possible) or close to it. Here's what I have needs for: portraits of kids- great boket, some sports, lots of landscape,
Based on what you wrote I understand you to want a great all around single lens that will do most everything. You don't say what lens you currently have so it is hard to recommend a lens without some knowledge.

The short answer is take a look at the DA 18-135, it is weathered sealed, has a focal length range from wide angle to short telephoto, does not have SDM, is not particularly heavy and produces quite good images. It is an excellent all around and travel lens. Another option would be the DA 18-270 but keep in mind that the more focal length range a lens covers the harder it is to get good image quality.

The longer answer is that the reason, well one of the reasons, that DSLR's are popular is that they are configurable. So you can change lenses to suit the purpose at hand. So one lens is not really going to cover every possibility. My go bag has DA 12-24mm, DA*16-50 and DA*60-250 in it. Depending on what I will be shooting I might also have a bag with various primes or a 400mm or 500mm lens.

A suggestion for a three lens kit that you might get for $1,000 is DA 18-135, DAL 55-300 and a fast prime such as F 50mm f/1.7 or DA 50mm f/1.8. This covers focal lengths from 18 to 300, gives you a WR lens if weather is bad and a fast prime for low light and special shots. You might have to shop carefully to get that within your budget but it is possible.
10-06-2013, 05:16 PM   #6
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First you need to be clearer about your needs. An all-around lens is typically a zoom lens with a wide range of focal length to cover all your needs. One lens for all.

If we look at the broader range of focal lengths, there are several options:
Pentax DA18-135mm WR
Pentax DA18-270mm SDM
Pentax DA18-250mm
Sigma 18-250mm HSM OS

The DA18-135mm is well-liked. The lens is WR as your camera and it would make sense to consider it as your first choice (since your K-30 is WR).

The Pentax DA18-270mm SDM covers a broader range of focal length. It is based upon the Tamron 18-270mmm. The lens is not WR and it has SDM.

The Pentax DA18-250mm (and Tamron 18-250mm) is discontinued but you can find it regularly on the second-hand marked (Keh.com, PF market place) between $250 to $450. The lens is very sturdy and well-liked by Pentaxians. It has excellent reputation beyond Pentax, and it was regarded as one of the best all-around lens across all brands.

The Sigma 18-250mm HSM OS has in-lens optical stabilisation (OS) and the Sigma's SDM (called HSM). The lens has good reputation, but it is bulky and heavy. (Heavier than the DA18-250mm for example.)

Personally I have both the DA18-135mm and DA18-250mm. I can recommend both. My wife tends to prefer the DA18-135mm because the lens is smaller and WR, while I tend to prefer the DA18-250mm for the longer focal lengths.


There are however some who prefer all-around lens with shorter focal lengths: 17-70mm. There are some excellent in-depth reviews at PF:
DA* 16-50mm vs. Sigma and Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 Comparison - Introduction - PentaxForums.com
Pentax 17-70mm Lens Comparison - Introduction - PentaxForums.com
DA* 16-50mm vs. Sigma and Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 Comparison - Introduction - PentaxForums.com
DA* 16-50mm vs. Sigma and Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 Comparison - Introduction - PentaxForums.com
Pentax 17-70mm Lens Comparison - Introduction - PentaxForums.com
Pentax 17-70mm Lens Comparison - Introduction - PentaxForums.com
Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 Contemporary - Introduction - PentaxForums.com


In summary, your need to consider the range of focal lengths that you want to consider. If you travel and want one lens for all, you will want a small, lightweight, sturdy lens. The DA18-135mm and DA18-250mm both "fit the bill". IMHO the DA18-135mm WR is likely to be your best option, but you may consider alternatives.

I hope that the comment will help.
10-06-2013, 06:33 PM   #7
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The DA 18-135 WR seems to be what you're asking for, and it is WELL under your budget. Then you can top it off with eh 55-300 WR when it is released.
10-06-2013, 06:52 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by northmole Quote
Yes, I am new to this and slowly learning my k-30 so bear with me! I am looking for a great lens under $1000 (if that's possible) or close to it.
Here's what I have needs for:
portraits of kids- great boket,
some sports, lots of landscape,
and an upcoming trip to the England-unavoidable showers I am sure,
and portability/lots of travel is a definite concern.

I am worried about the SDM failure, and would like AF as well.
New to this, do I need a wide angle, a telephoto? I really don't know what I should be after...
What are your thoughts? Thanks for bearing with me!!!!

Ok, yes, I knew this was ambitious but my initial goal was to have less baggage in London. But maybe I'll have to bring 2 lenses. If I have one for closer architecture and another for country landscapes, maybe that will be good? And a completely different one for my kids close ups? So now what ones? Thanks a ton guys!
Oh, I only have the basic 18-55 kit lens. It's just ok.
I was in a similar situation this summer. I had the 18-135 and sold it to buy the da*16-50. I took that plus the da100 wr macro to Europe last summer and it was a great combo! So far the 16-50 has been flawless. No SDM issues so far. I really like the constant 2.8 across the range.

10-06-2013, 06:52 PM   #9
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Tamron 17-50, will let you do landscape at wider end and portrait at longer end. Very sharp, beautiful colors and no worries of SDM failure.
10-06-2013, 07:28 PM   #10
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I'll also second the 18-135 option for all the reasons stated. I think it would be the best one-lens solution for all your stated needs. I do not have this, but reviewers like it and the photos I've seen from it are very nice. For sports, depending on which sports, the length may be a little short, but with the excellent perforumance of the K30 I believe you could crop extensively and still have a great photo. For a second lens, and still remain within budget, I'd suggest one of the excellent 50's or the fabulous DA 40 Limited. Though not weather sealed, bokeh would be best and give you more aperture opening to work with at night or other low light times. My kit is DA 17-70, DA 55-300, and DA 40 limited. Two of those were bought used and the total cost of all 3 was $965. Pretty good kit, but not weather sealed.
10-06-2013, 08:59 PM   #11
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Another vote for the 18-135. Get a DAL 55-300 (cheaper than the DA 55-300) to go long. If you want more wide, The Sigma 10-20 or Tamron 10-24. For a cheap, fast prime, look for an A 50 f1.7 (though even the f2 is quite decent). For autofocus, the best values are the new DA 50 f1.7 or the DA(L) 35 f2.4.
10-06-2013, 10:45 PM   #12
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The best lenses for around $1000 are the Tamron 17-50 and DA*50-135 combo. Combined with the K-30, it's actually the best value going from any DSLR manufacturer. You may be concerned about SDM failure, but if you want IQ the DA*'s the one. You could also get the DA16-45 in place of the Tamron, if you like.

I realize I may get an SDM failure on my DA*50-135 some day, but if you need the lens - well, you need it. I had the DA55-300. It's a great lens for the money. The DA*50-135 is a great lens. When I realized I didn't like any of the photos I got with the DA55-300 over 135mm, I sold it and got the DA*50-135.

Honestly, I've had so many worse problems in my life that I can't spend much time worrying about whether my SDM will fail. It's the best zoom you can get for your Pentax, and it's WR too. It's great for portraits, and it's good for some sports too.


Judge for yourself, if you haven't already:

http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/photos/gallery/query?camera=&lens=30#/grid
http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/photos/gallery/query?camera=&lens=4068#/grid

Last edited by DSims; 10-06-2013 at 11:11 PM.
10-07-2013, 01:05 AM   #13
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Best do all lens imo is the DA 35mm f/2.8 Macro Limited. Very compact and light with good build quality. Great versatility shooting scenes at a distance and being able to shoot up close. Use your feet to zoom.
10-07-2013, 11:25 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
The short answer is take a look at the DA 18-135, it is weathered sealed, has a focal length range from wide angle to short telephoto, does not have SDM, is not particularly heavy and produces quite good images. It is an excellent all around and travel lens.
I second that. I have taken some beautiful images with this lens. Once you understand its' limits, it is a great tool, and WR as well. Between that, and a fast 50 manual focus (M50 1.7, Super Tak 50 1.4 come to mind, and each can be had for well under $100 if you are patient), and perhaps a 200 F4 (or something longer depending on your budget), you can have a pretty full kit for well under $1000.
10-07-2013, 02:22 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by toukan Quote
I second that.
Third plus. I'm finding the DA18-135 very versatile and quite satisfactory as a carry lens. I have better lenses but none as versatile for my typical purposes.

It's slowly replacing a pair of excellent Tamron 17-35 and 24-135's as my ready kit -- and I was very pleased with them. The high ISO capability of the K5 does make a difference though as I loose a useful stop however. I still prefer the Tammy's with the K200 and K10.

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