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01-13-2014, 03:50 PM   #1
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Want one... but do I need one?

I have had my K-50 with 18-135WR a little over a month now and am really enjoying it but I'm starting to get that craving for a new lens. I've definitely got Lens Research Addiction (is that a new acronym? ha).

A big part of me is saying to just stick with the 18-135 for a while since I'm new to photography but wanted to get some opinions. Looking at the data for my keepers in Lightroom about 20% of my shots are at 18mm, 25% at 135mm, with the rest evenly distributed throughout the rest of the focal range.

When I purchased my K-50 my intention was to shoot mostly landscapes and architecture and I have been pleased with the results from the 18-135 in those areas. However, I'm developing an interest in wildlife/birds, and sports which is where I'm soon-to-be/already running into some limitations with my kit lens. As far as sports I'm interested in hockey, football, and being on the coast I have the opportunity to shoot surfers and some surf competitions.

I'm definitely in need of more focal range because I'm having to heavily crop most of the shots from 135mm to get them how I want which is sacrificing a lot of IQ. Until I get a better idea of what focal lengths I will like and use the most I'm going to stay away from primes.

Some of the lenses I've been looking into are Pentax HD 55-300WR, DA*50-135, DA*60-250, and Sigma 70-200. My thoughts are that if I'm going to spend $400-500 on a consumer level lens I would rather go ahead and spend the extra money and get a nice lens that I won't outgrow quickly. I don't have the disposable income for multiple lenses at this point so I'm looking for something that's versatile and can reasonably cover all my shooting interests for now.

I'm open to any suggestions or advice you guys have but right now the DA* 60-250 seems to tick a lot of the check boxes I'm looking for:

-Not a super tele but significantly longer than my current lens
-A wide focal range so I can continue to experiment with different lengths and not have to change lenses out as much, I'm the kind of guy who is just going to grab my camera and a single lens and go most of the time
-Seems to get universally good reviews on IQ
-Constant f/4 aperture, although I'm a little concerned that I will still be limited with shooting sports, especially indoors. Can I get away with it or will I need f/2.8 for sports?
-Excellent build quality and the infamous DA* weather sealing, almost a must have on the coast and one of the main reasons I came to Pentax in the first place
-Quiet focusing; I am mildly concerned with the cases of SDM failure but from my research it seems like this hasn't been as big of a problem with the newer lenses or the 60-250 compared to the other DA*s. Not going to let this be a major deciding factor
-Decent AF speed, reportedly much faster than 50-135 but obviously not as good as the 70-200 f/2.8s
-Can be hand held but probably right on the line of being able to be used as a walk around lens

Thoughts or opinions? Thanks guys.

01-13-2014, 03:55 PM   #2
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The 55-300 is noisy on my k-50 but i doubt birds/wildlife would hear that from afar.
01-13-2014, 04:06 PM   #3
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My wife's kit is the 18-135 and the 55-300 which makes a good combination of focal ranges without too much lens changing. She also seems to have adopted my 35mm Limited, but that's another story.

That combination gives you 18 to 300 in fairly good consumer zooms. Nothing fancy, and fairly slow but not all that expensive either.

My work kit is: DA 12-24, DA*16-50 and DA*60-250. Covers a little wider, not so long. Better quality glass, faster, much heavier and much more expensive.

If you are OK with the 18-135 then get the 55-300, it is a good combination. But if you intend to gradually upgrade your glass then go for the 60-250 with the intent of also replacing the 18-135 at some point. Just remember that big glass is heavy and expensive.
01-13-2014, 04:07 PM   #4
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+1 the 55-300WR is a great second lens to mate with your 18-135. You will spend considerably more on the 60-250 but I would suggest it if you are willing to go that much.

01-13-2014, 04:10 PM   #5
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Just look through the sample archive. I take pictures of birds from 15 feet away and they don't even notice the focusing noise...

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/130-lens-sample-photo-archive/153150-pent...d-samples.html
01-13-2014, 04:12 PM   #6
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I have had my 55-300 since June '08....one of the first ones. It's a great lens....quite sharp throughout it's range...including 300mm.
01-13-2014, 04:17 PM   #7
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I can also vouch for the 55-300mm being excellent value. It rarely leaves my K-7 body.
BTW, it makes no noise at all in MF
01-13-2014, 04:22 PM   #8
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Go For It!

Hello V.rider,
Since I don't own any of the lenses listed, this will be completely objective; Well, sort of.
The DA* 60-250mm f/4.0. And don't look back.
You've stated your objectives and options clearly and the 60-250mm fits best, IMO. Regarding your point about the f/4 max aperture, it boils down to living with a 1-stop higher noise level, probably a good trade-off. You might shoot at ISO 6400 @ f/4, but with an f/2.8 and the same shutter speed, you could use 3200.
Unless you're making large prints, not much difference.
For the sports and outdoor style you seem to enjoy, W/R and a high-quality mid-tele zoom, with fast A/F sounds perfect.
Go for it!
Ron

01-13-2014, 04:27 PM   #9
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I have the 55-300, and lust over the 60-250. Your budget (and mine) dictate which one I am using.
01-13-2014, 04:43 PM   #10
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I think the lenses you mention are in very different leagues. The DA DA 55-300mm is well liked, but it is a kit lens. The DA* 60-250mm should be a much better lens.
Oh, and there is also a Tamron 70-200mm if I remember right, which is very highly regarded.
But only zoom lenses? Sniff, I wanted to suggest one of the 35-50mm primes
01-13-2014, 04:55 PM   #11
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Tamron 70mm-200mm f/2.8 DI LD (IF) Macro AF Zoom Lens USA f/Pentax #AF001P700 AF001P700

I'm seriously contemplating one for my Daughters Track meets this spring.

Or I'll just go for a different eco-system for sports......And keep the K-5 IIs for my other stuff
01-13-2014, 05:12 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
I think the lenses you mention are in very different leagues. The DA DA 55-300mm is well liked, but it is a kit lens. The DA* 60-250mm should be a much better lens.
Oh, and there is also a Tamron 70-200mm if I remember right, which is very highly regarded.
But only zoom lenses? Sniff, I wanted to suggest one of the 35-50mm primes
35-50mm for wildlife shooting?
01-13-2014, 05:34 PM   #13
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One more difference between the 55-300 and the 60-250 is magnification. Like most consumer zooms, the 55-300 has a semi-macro ability (0.28x), while the 60-250 has a magnification more typical for a portrait lens (0.15x). The 55-300 would be much much better for butterflies and such (or any similarly sized object).

If you think 200mm might be long enough, I'd vouch for the Tamron. It really is an impressive lens (optically). It's built like something from Fisher-Price, but the images are just stellar. I originally bought it for an event with the intent to sell it afterwards. I fell in love. It has a 0.32x magnification, so superb for butterflies.

Here's a sunset from last night, just amazing, beautiful flare resistance, Mmmmm, I just love this lens. (cross posted from the Single In January)


01-13-2014, 05:47 PM   #14
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I don't have an 18-135, but if that was my only lens and I wanted longer - I was looking in the above-kit price range - I might consider the sigma 120-400.
01-13-2014, 05:53 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by V.rider Quote
I have had my K-50 with 18-135WR a little over a month now and am really enjoying it but I'm starting to get that craving for a new lens. I've definitely got Lens Research Addiction (is that a new acronym? ha).

A big part of me is saying to just stick with the 18-135 for a while since I'm new to photography but wanted to get some opinions. Looking at the data for my keepers in Lightroom about 20% of my shots are at 18mm, 25% at 135mm, with the rest evenly distributed throughout the rest of the focal range.

When I purchased my K-50 my intention was to shoot mostly landscapes and architecture and I have been pleased with the results from the 18-135 in those areas. However, I'm developing an interest in wildlife/birds, and sports which is where I'm soon-to-be/already running into some limitations with my kit lens. As far as sports I'm interested in hockey, football, and being on the coast I have the opportunity to shoot surfers and some surf competitions.

I'm definitely in need of more focal range because I'm having to heavily crop most of the shots from 135mm to get them how I want which is sacrificing a lot of IQ. Until I get a better idea of what focal lengths I will like and use the most I'm going to stay away from primes.

Some of the lenses I've been looking into are Pentax HD 55-300WR, DA*50-135, DA*60-250, and Sigma 70-200. My thoughts are that if I'm going to spend $400-500 on a consumer level lens I would rather go ahead and spend the extra money and get a nice lens that I won't outgrow quickly. I don't have the disposable income for multiple lenses at this point so I'm looking for something that's versatile and can reasonably cover all my shooting interests for now.

I'm open to any suggestions or advice you guys have but right now the DA* 60-250 seems to tick a lot of the check boxes I'm looking for:

-Not a super tele but significantly longer than my current lens
-A wide focal range so I can continue to experiment with different lengths and not have to change lenses out as much, I'm the kind of guy who is just going to grab my camera and a single lens and go most of the time
-Seems to get universally good reviews on IQ
-Constant f/4 aperture, although I'm a little concerned that I will still be limited with shooting sports, especially indoors. Can I get away with it or will I need f/2.8 for sports?
-Excellent build quality and the infamous DA* weather sealing, almost a must have on the coast and one of the main reasons I came to Pentax in the first place
-Quiet focusing; I am mildly concerned with the cases of SDM failure but from my research it seems like this hasn't been as big of a problem with the newer lenses or the 60-250 compared to the other DA*s. Not going to let this be a major deciding factor
-Decent AF speed, reportedly much faster than 50-135 but obviously not as good as the 70-200 f/2.8s
-Can be hand held but probably right on the line of being able to be used as a walk around lens

Thoughts or opinions? Thanks guys.
I love my 18-135. But, and this is The But, I love my Pentax 15mm, 35mm Macro, and 70mm Limiteds more. And I love my Sigma 1.4 55 mm a lot. The zoom deserves a bit of love. These primes deserve adoration.
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