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10-10-2013, 12:00 AM   #1
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Narrowing my final lens choices!???

After much debating and digging into all the wonderful responses in my earlier post, I may have my lens options narrowed.
I think I will need to go with 2 separate lenses rather that a "do all" , not very realistic I guess.
That said, I need a lens for country scenery and wildlife/birds
One for great portraits/ great Bokeh
And one for in the city/architecture/scenery
I am open to 3 lenses I suppose but with travel I would like to cut back. The front runners are the 50-135, 18-135, and I kind of looked at the spendy DA 55 1.4 , Also the DA 70 2.4. Do any of these seem overboard? For my 3 main needs, can't figure which would be best for me.
Still need a lens for kids sports too?!
As you can surely tell, I really don't know what I am talking about, but I am trying! Thanks all!!

10-10-2013, 12:03 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by northmole Quote
After much debating and digging into all the wonderful responses in my earlier post, I may have my lens options narrowed.
I think I will need to go with 2 separate lenses rather that a "do all" , not very realistic I guess.
That said, I need a lens for country scenery and wildlife/birds
One for great portraits/ great Bokeh
And one for in the city/architecture/scenery
I am open to 3 lenses I suppose but with travel I would like to cut back. The front runners are the 50-135, 18-135, and I kind of looked at the spendy DA 55 1.4 , Also the DA 70 2.4. Do any of these seem overboard? For my 3 main needs, can't figure which would be best for me.
Still need a lens for kids sports too?!
As you can surely tell, I really don't know what I am talking about, but I am trying! Thanks all!!
I dislike the bokeh from the 50-135mm personally, but it can certainly be used for portraiture and wilflife, so you could get that one and perhaps a 15mm or 21mm for the city?

The 55mm is also a fantastic portrait lens if you want corner-to-corner sharpness and great bokeh, but it overlaps with the 50-135mm so IMO it's either or.

Adam
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10-10-2013, 12:29 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Good luck with your 'final' lens choice! First sign of LBA is thinking you can control it... :-)
10-10-2013, 12:42 AM   #4
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I would organize your desired a bit differently. For each category there are lots of choices that also include third parties such as Sigma and Tamron.
  • city/architecture/scenery and country scenery - This would use the focal lengths of 12 to 35 or 40. For this category there are lots of choices DA 16-45/f4 is pretty nice as a somewhat cover all the bases lens. There are also the DA 15, DA 21, DA 35 to consider.
  • great portraits/ great Bokeh - As Adam posted the DA 55 and others have observed that the DA 70 also does extremely good. Pretty much up to personal choice.
  • wildlife/birds - the DA 55-300 would be a choice here. Depending on your budget the DA 60-250 may be a better choice. Birding usually goes with faster long and longer lenses.
All of this comes down to personal choice. How large of lens, weight of the lens, how many lenses, what you really want to carry, and then there is the co$t$.



10-10-2013, 12:46 AM   #5
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I think if you start with either the DA*50-135 or FA77 it will give you clarity on where you need to go from there. Save the money for the other lens(es) for a few weeks or a couple of months, until after you've tried one of these. Then you'll know what to spend it on. Compare FA77 photos to those from the DA70 and see which one is really what you're looking for. There's no question either the DA*50-135 or FA77 makes a great portrait lens. I think you'll be very happy with the images your K-30 creates using either one of these.

The A100/2.8 (non-macro) got me started, and then when I got the FA77 it changed my whole perspective on what I wanted/was looking for photographically.


And no, I don't think any of the lenses you mentioned are overboard. The DA*55 is a fantastic lens. As you've probably already discovered, the other Pentax AF 50mm lenses can't even compare to its performance at f/1.6. The only other lens I've used that's this good at f/1.6 is the FA*85. This is the mark of a good lens - near optimal performance when stopped down only 1/3-2/3 stop. The other two lenses that can compete in this respect are the FA77 and FA31 - both great wide-open at f/1.8, and both producing smooth backgrounds. And the DA*50-135 performs very well at f/3.2. This is why I think either the FA77 or DA*50-135 is the place to start.


Be aware that the DA*55 is probably the sharpest of all these lenses near wide-open, but the bokeh ranges from fantastic to noticeably harsh or distracting, depending on the background. Take a look here:

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Last edited by DSims; 10-10-2013 at 01:03 AM.
10-10-2013, 03:41 AM   #6
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I would start with a DA16-45 + DA55-300. Two excelent quality zooms that get you covered from 16 to 300mm, thatīs quite a range! They are also cheap when bought second hand. Both of them can get you excelent portraits, cityscapes, landscapes, etc. Then you can add some primes but learn what you like / want / need first.
10-10-2013, 05:22 AM   #7
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I'd look at something wide if you're going with the 18-135 as your standard zoom. It's nice and good for travel, but there are probably times when you'll want a wider-angle lens. You have a bunch of good wide choices from the 10-17 fisheye to Sigma's 8-16 and the various 10-20 lenses. Or just a nice prime in that range like the 21mm or 15mm. Those aren't cheap, it might be worth renting them for a few days to see if you like them.
10-10-2013, 05:57 AM   #8
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Personally, my kit when I'm travelling light is DA12-24, DA 55-300 and FA31 for low light, indoor stuff. I like the 31 more than a 50 for indoors as too often you don't have enough room to move around and the extra width helps. Besides, it's a great lens.

10-10-2013, 06:19 AM   #9
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I'm pretty much the same with that 28mm Sigma. I bought it for indoors, shooting models (planes, etc) at shows but find it very pleasant to use as a walkaround. It gives a good "eye-view" vantage. I did rent a Sigma 8-16 last year and still think about it a lot. My wife liked the images I captured with that lens, so maybe for my birthday next year....
10-10-2013, 06:43 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by northmole Quote
After much debating and digging into all the wonderful responses in my earlier post, I may have my lens options narrowed.
I think I will need to go with 2 separate lenses rather that a "do all" , not very realistic I guess.
That said, I need a lens for country scenery and wildlife/birds
One for great portraits/ great Bokeh
And one for in the city/architecture/scenery
I am open to 3 lenses I suppose but with travel I would like to cut back. The front runners are the 50-135, 18-135, and I kind of looked at the spendy DA 55 1.4 , Also the DA 70 2.4. Do any of these seem overboard? For my 3 main needs, can't figure which would be best for me.
Still need a lens for kids sports too?!
As you can surely tell, I really don't know what I am talking about, but I am trying! Thanks all!!
knowing your budget would help a lot with making recommendations

I like my line-up: the 17-70 is my all purpose walk around lens, the 55-300 for wildlife/zoom, and the 40 for family events or street scenes when I don't want a big heavy lens. For example, I'm going to an Oktoberfest this weekend and I'll just put the 40 on so a big lens isn't making me obvious or banging into things. There are definitely other lenses that are better at certain lengths, but for a reasonably affordable all purpose collection this works well for me.
10-10-2013, 06:57 AM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by carrrlangas Quote
I would start with a DA16-45 + DA55-300. Two excellent quality zooms that get you covered from 16 to 300mm, thatīs quite a range! They are also cheap when bought second hand. Both of them can get you excellent portraits, cityscapes, landscapes, etc. Then you can add some primes but learn what you like / want / need first.
Good suggestion...

Consider the new DA 55-300 WR. I'll be very surprised to learn that it is less than the current versions which are excellent. The 16-45 is a very good lens, too. It's frequently overlooked, so you should be able to find one for a fair price.

Once you get your kit in hand, may I suggest that you dedicate the next (say) six months to becoming a post-processing wizard? Do not expect your camera to do it all.

Instead, shoot everyday. Get a copy of Lightroom (plus NIK add-ons) and a computing/storage system that runs things with ease. Using their free on-line tutorials, develop a work flow that fits your eye/design style/personality with an emphasis on speed. With a little experience, you should be able to easily take an image from so-so (with potential) to a drop-dead killer photograph in less than 4 minutes. Cull out and delete any image that may take more time.

With a little discipline and in almost no time, you'll be there, You will know your gear and you'll be able to make good buying decisions when you feel the need to adjust things.

Easy... peasy...

Best of success... M
10-10-2013, 07:31 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Michaelina2 Quote
Good suggestion...

Consider the new DA 55-300 WR. I'll be very surprised to learn that it is less than the current versions which are excellent. The 16-45 is a very good lens, too. It's frequently overlooked, so you should be able to find one for a fair price.

Once you get your kit in hand, may I suggest that you dedicate the next (say) six months to becoming a post-processing wizard? Do not expect your camera to do it all.

Instead, shoot everyday. Get a copy of Lightroom (plus NIK add-ons) and a computing/storage system that runs things with ease. Using their free on-line tutorials, develop a work flow that fits your eye/design style/personality with an emphasis on speed. With a little experience, you should be able to easily take an image from so-so (with potential) to a drop-dead killer photograph in less than 4 minutes. Cull out and delete any image that may take more time.

With a little discipline and in almost no time, you'll be there, You will know your gear and you'll be able to make good buying decisions when you feel the need to adjust things.

Easy... peasy...

Best of success... M
I second the lightroom suggwestion. It's a critical part of every photographers toolbox imo. I'd say 50% of the quality comes from postprocessing!
10-10-2013, 08:06 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by dagaetch Quote
knowing your budget would help a lot with making recommendations

I like my line-up: the 17-70 is my all purpose walk around lens, the 55-300 for wildlife/zoom, and the 40 for family events or street scenes when I don't want a big heavy lens. For example, I'm going to an Oktoberfest this weekend and I'll just put the 40 on so a big lens isn't making me obvious or banging into things. There are definitely other lenses that are better at certain lengths, but for a reasonably affordable all purpose collection this works well for me.
I am hoping for under $1000 or so with the possibility of two lenses.
10-10-2013, 09:22 PM   #14
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I own both the DA70 and the FA77. Even though the DA70 is a very fine lens I greatly prefer the FA77 much in the same way I most assuredly prefer the FA43 over the DA40 XS. Now that I've experienced what the FA Limiteds have to offer I don't think I could ever go back. Just my two cents...

I will also eventually be picking up the 31 for these very same reasons. They are worth every penny IMO especially when purchased used from trusted members of this forum

Oh and I totally agree with Michaelina2 about becoming a PP wizard. LR and Nik plugins highly recommended!

Last edited by LeRolls; 10-10-2013 at 09:49 PM.
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