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12-28-2013, 12:29 PM   #1
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Buying another lens

Hello all,
so I saved up some money and want to buy a lens, but now I don't know which one!
So I own a Pentax K5 with its stock 18-55mm lens and a Pentax A 50mm f1.8 as well as a Sigma 18-50mm f2.8-f4.5(bought that one because I thought I had purchased a camera body only package) and a Sigma 50-200mm f4.5-f5.6.
So I do take photos of landscapes, abandoned buildings and in general interesting places, day and night. I also like to do some long exposures.
Anyway, I also want to get more into portraiture and motorsports photography(actually macro too, but not that much).
So right now I have trouble deciding between wide-angle, standard and tele.
The lenses I have are rather cheap, so on the wide 18mm end the lenses it's super soft and has terrible CAs which is quite annoying when shooting landscapes and tight places and the long 200mm end is almost as bad, just that the CAs are not so bad but you need a lot of light due to the small minimum aperature, that costed me some wild life shots. The 50mm f1.8 I have is just fine, it's only manual focus but I'm ok with that, it's sharp and there are almost no CAs.


So what would be the best option for me? I looked at several lenses and a good prime with weather sealing would be nice but really the issue is I can't really decide which end of the focal length spectrum I should get.


Thanks in advance!

12-28-2013, 12:48 PM   #2
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Hmm.. my opinion is just that, as I've only had a few lenses myself.

If I'm primarily going on your last statements, about the close and far ends being soft or CA/PF, then I'd look into either short/wide zooms/primes and a telephoto prime/zoom.
Of course, I don't know your budget, but here's my 2 cents - assuming budget isnt' an issue.

Zoom option - should cover both short and long
Tamron 17-50 f/2.8
Tamron 70-200 f/2.8

Prime Option:
Sigma 20mm f/1.8 (assuming that's where you're shooting)
Pentax 200 f/2.8

Primes at the long end are expensive.
12-28-2013, 12:56 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by pfannkuchen_gesicht Quote
but really the issue is I can't really decide which end of the focal length spectrum I should get.
People can advise you on a particular lens but only you know what focal length you would use the most. So if you say "I'm looking for a wide angle zoom" then you can get good information, but your question is too broad.

Think long term, if you are in this to stay then think about what you want to have in 2-3 years. Make a wish list or road map for what you need, then you can start filling things in as funds allow. You have a fair range of focal lengths from 18 to 200 and a 50mm prime so you have things covered but those are mostly consumer lenses. If you intend to end up with a good collection of glass then you will likely end up replacing all of those.

You also need to decide if you want zooms or prefer primes. And if zooms, how many lenses to use to cover the range.
For example here are two logical sets:
1) DA 18-135 plus DA 55-300 - covers 18 to 300 with better glass than you currently have at a reasonable price in two lenses.
2) DA 12-24 plus DA*16-50 plus DA*60-250 - covers 12 to 250 with excellent glass in three lenses, but at much higher cost and weight.

Curious about the Pentax A f/1.8 AFAIK there is no such thing, could it be f/1.7 or f/1.4?
12-28-2013, 01:09 PM   #4
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For the wide end I'd say DA 21 ltd or DA 15 ltd. Both are nice for landscapes and buildings. No WR, though.

A DA 18-135 would give you WR and replace a bunch of the zoom lenses you have (everything from 18 to 200). Supplement with a fast prime for low-light (in addition to your fast fifty).

For the long end I would go for a DA 55-300, the new one is even WR. It's not very fast but the best zoom in this range. A DA*300 is better but also twice the weight and thrice the price.

Edit: ...and what jatrax said!

12-28-2013, 01:11 PM   #5
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ah, yes, f1.7, sorry.

Well, most probably the lower range would be used the most as it's far easier for me to get to landscapes or abandoned buildings than to a race track. doing motorsports would be like 1-4 times a year then I would probably use the lens for other things like wild life(given it's good enough for dull lights like in the woods).

That's the thing, I really would love getting into motorsports and portrait photography but the amount of time doing these would probably be far less. So technically I would sway more into a good wide angle zoom or prime. Primes are still the best by far in that range right?

btw my budget is about 400-800€, with a lot of squezing and a bit of waiting maybe 900€, even though 800€ is already quite a lot for me.
12-28-2013, 01:18 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by pfannkuchen_gesicht Quote
So technically I would sway more into a good wide angle zoom or prime. Primes are still the best by far in that range right?

btw my budget is about 400-800, with a lot of squezing and a bit of waiting maybe 900, even though 800 is already quite a lot for me.
Good zooms tend to be bigger and more expensive than primes of a similar quality, but good zooms are really good these days.

800 will get you a long way if you buy used lenses. No reason not to IMO.
12-28-2013, 01:20 PM   #7
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Well, the best option might be to get a tripod and learn the sweet spots of the lenses you already have. The DA L 18-55mm can be quite good at around 35mm f8-f11. But on the other hand, the DA 35mm f2.4 still beats it.
Seems like wide angle will meet more of your needs, so start there. There are many threads about UWA and wide angle on a budget and at higher tiers. The main contenders are the Sigma 10-20mm and Samyang primes (if you don't mind the Samyang being manual focus only). Tamron also makes a lens in the 10-24mm range, but I dont think its quite as beloved as the Sigma. Then in the higher tier you have the Pentax 12-24mm, Pentax 14mm and 15mm ltd. These will really give you top notch image quality, but they cost a bit, too. Keep in mind that there is a learning curve, and each lens takes getting used to, until you find the angles and apertures and framing and processing that looks good.
For telephoto a Pentax 70mm or 100mm might be a great place to start. The DA* 50-135mm is a beloved zoom rivaling primes, but costs a lot.
I got a Samyang 14mm (you can see some samples of in the link in my sig, just scroll down a bit) quite some time ago, but Im still learning to squeeze the most of it. Wide angle, especially ultra wide (under 15mm) is very tricky, but can get you some stunning shots.
But generally, wide angle and telephoto are the most expensive lenses, at least with a decent image quality. This is also why their perspective is the rarest to see, and therefore the most stunning and dramatic.
12-28-2013, 05:46 PM   #8
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The Tamron 10-24 was my first UWA lens and I liked it a lot. Its also within your budget.

12-29-2013, 02:19 AM   #9
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For portrait work I'd say your 50mm should be a rather good lens. I have the M version of the lens and while it now gathers dust after I got (among others) the A50 F1.2 and the Takumar 50 F1,4, there is nothing bad to say about it.

On the wide end I personally will never let go of my DA 15 Limited, but it's the only lens I own in that length, so other people here can probably give you better advice.

If you are okay with manual focus (and maybe even green button metering) you might try an A,M or K prime at the long end. The reviews on the forum give a really good overview of what's available and if you are lucky you can get some of these older primes for a really good price. So if you're unsure about how much you will use the long lens, you can try it for a moderate amount and, if you get something more modern later on you can often sell older lenses with little or no loss.

If the budget allows, the 55-300 others already mentioned is a really good option for it's price. As also mentioned the recently released version is WR, which of course means that you might get the non-WR version used at a good price now.
12-29-2013, 05:53 AM   #10
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Well alright, I think wide-angle it is then.
I had a look at a few and so far the Sigmas tend to have a better price/performance ratio.
So far the Sigma 10-20mm f3.5 and the Sigma 18-35mm f1.8(I know it's not quite wide angle on crop, but 18mm so far worked for me so why not?) look interesting too me.
What do you think?

I had a look at the Pentax lenses but they are a bit expensive for what they do imo.

oh and where would I buy used lenses? I tried ebay once but the lens I got was just full of dust and barely usable...
12-29-2013, 06:16 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by pfannkuchen_gesicht Quote
Well alright, I think wide-angle it is then.
I had a look at a few and so far the Sigmas tend to have a better price/performance ratio.
So far the Sigma 10-20mm f3.5 and the Sigma 18-35mm f1.8(I know it's not quite wide angle on crop, but 18mm so far worked for me so why not?) look interesting too me.
What do you think?
They are both good (although the 18-35 isn't out in K-mount yet). What I don't like about them is the size and weight. After I got the DA 15 Ltd I have hardly used my 10-20. Not because the 10-20 is a bad lens, but because it is too big for me to bother lugging it around. That's me, though.

QuoteQuote:
I had a look at the Pentax lenses but they are a bit expensive for what they do imo.

oh and where would I buy used lenses? I tried ebay once but the lens I got was just full of dust and barely usable...
Our "local" Marketplace is a good starting point for a fair deal.
12-29-2013, 06:37 AM   #12
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Oh, didn't see that the lens wasn't out yet, just noticed that amazon only takes pre-orders right now. Any known release date yet? Couldn't find anything on Sigmas website.

Alright, will have a look at the marketplace. Do you think I could sell my Sigma 18-50mm there for a reasonable price?
I bought it for 170€ a year ago, so it's obviously far less worth now, but how much?

EDIT: oh and about the size and weight, I don't mind so much, I like bigger lenses more because I just need something I can grab to focus and balance to hold still.

Last edited by pfannkuchen_gesicht; 12-29-2013 at 06:42 AM.
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