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02-03-2014, 03:59 AM   #1
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How to build a K-5 IIs lens portfolio?

I have an ancient but much-loved ME Super with a variety of M lenses and a K-r with a variety of eBay sourced lenses of the FA (80-320) FAJ (18-35) and F (35-70) variety. Recently I acquired a Sigma 10-20 (splendid lens) and an A 28mm. With this collection I have been taking over 2000 shots a year of the usual mixture of holidays (landscapes), family (lots of grandchildren) and various interesting locales. With Lightroom 5 and a decent printer I have been getting some good shots for screen shows, photobooks and prints.


At Christmas I splashed out on a K-5 IIs and am wondering how to develop my lens collection (I suffer gladly from LBA and find it impossible to sell any of my twelve lenses!). My first move was opportunistic - SRS here in UK was offering ex-demo 18-55mm WR lenses for peanuts, 59, so this is now a general workhorse and companion on mountain walks and so on - I realize this lens does not receive the highest accolades.


So what next? My current plan is to have a set of zooms reinforced by selected primes. My immediate budget is about 500 (say $700-$800 US) with maybe another similar tranche later this year. Immediate thoughts are (i) a Px 55-300mm WR supported by 35mm f2.4 - somewhat over-budget but the WR combo is good for tougher environments;
(ii) settle for my present FA 80-320 which is quite good on school sports and reasonable but not great on wildlife and go for a DA 40 Ltd although the 35 macro ltd, the 7o ltd and the 21 ltd all look attractive. The 40 is attractive because it can be a standard lens - the 70 because it has portrait strengths but also can be very useful as a landscape lens. Taking a longer view the 40, 70 and 21 (or 15) as a collection would be excellent. The FA ltds look really expensive - but there must be other possibilities around.


I would be grateful for any comments and help. After 2 years of rewarding experimentation with a K-r I felt there was more and better to be done hence the K-5 IIs and this question.






02-03-2014, 04:09 AM   #2
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I would get a used 16-45mm DA first. It will be probably around 150-180 pounds in the UK and it is a very good lens with a very useful range. I liked the images a lot more than those from 18-55 WR. Another one to look into is one of the 50mm F or FA series. They are good portrait lenses but are still not too long if you wanted to take a medium to small landscape shot.

In general, with a smaller budget, I would buy used lenses from a reputable merchant, like KEH, if it ships to UK. I think Pentax overcharges for the new lenses by quite a bit.
02-03-2014, 04:09 AM   #3
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I have three DA limiteds: 15, 35 and 70 and can recommend them all. The 35 gets the most use - it's a normal lens on APS-C and I love to use it for walking around and have the possibility to shoot some closeups or macros whenever I see something interesting. The 15 is my newest requirement and is a wonderful lens, I really love the flare resistance and the colors. However, it can be a bit tricky in some situations with its curved focus field. The 70 is no doubt also a wonderful lens, very sharp and with great bokeh. But depending on your budget, you may also want to consider the FA77!
02-03-2014, 04:13 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by rrstuff Quote
I would get a used 16-45mm DA first.
Yes, the 16-45 is a much better lens than the 18-55. When buying a used one, be aware of the known weakness of wobbly barrels, though. My 16-45 has gotten increasingly wobbly over time (partly due to once being dropped, albeit in a bag) and the images now look visibly decentered at 16 mm in portrait direction if I don't push it lightly from below with a finger (!!) while shooting.

02-03-2014, 05:37 AM   #5
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Your K-5IIs is too good for the mentioned kit zoom. I would at least look at the Samyang offer of 15/2.8 or 16/2 and 85/1.4, which offers quality optics for reasonable price. Generally speaking K-5IIs was rather born for the precious 55/1.4 and limiteds! You might want to check the following link when considering building lens portfolio for your 5IIs (it's not going to be cheap though):

Best prime lenses for the Pentax K-5 IIs - DxOMark

I would never recommend this, but if you really, really struggle with generating cash to splash on photography, but still need decent glass badly, take 18-135. More decent options are 50/1.8 or Samyangs.

Last edited by Dariusz; 02-04-2014 at 04:31 PM.
02-03-2014, 06:26 AM   #6
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If you want a longer zoom, that 55-300 is hard to beat for its cost.
02-03-2014, 06:35 AM   #7
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The holy grail would be 16-50 + 50-135 or 16-50 + 55 + 60-250. I'm not a fan of screw drive for zooms.
02-03-2014, 08:05 AM   #8
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I keep a pretty close eye on second hand Pentax prices in the UK and it seems to me that the DA Limited series are amongst the best value for money (and quality) at present. I suspect this is due in part to the release of the DA Limited HD series, increasing availability of the non-HD versions and thus forcing the prices downwards.

It seems as though you have a reasonable selection (and coverage) of zooms, so adding some of the Limited lenses would give you a different perspective (no pun intended) and taste of the IQ that can be delivered by the K5iis. I would look out for the DA35, DA70 and the DA21 and/or the DA15 - you won't get all of these for your money but you may get 2 if you're lucky.

Enjoy hunting

02-04-2014, 02:00 PM   #9
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Many thanks for all the useful comments and observations. As a result I have changed my mind - a little. First I think I will put to one side the idea of buying yet another (although much better) zoom. Second, I have been impressed by the quality of comment on primes and am now thinking of a "prime portfolio" starting with the 35mm ltd macro - it seems to be a highly useful lens in all situations with superior image quality. I am really tempted by the Sigma 30mm/1.4 but its sheer size and weight is putting me off. The other possibility is the DA*55mm - perhaps this is too long to be as useful as the 35mm ???? I see a lot of very positive comment about the FA 43mm - an odd size for a DSLR (?) and there a few second hand examples around.
Isn't decision-making exciting!
02-04-2014, 03:24 PM - 2 Likes   #10
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Here's my plan:

1. Buy the WR kit lens
2. Buy a cheap AF prime (DA35, DA50)
3. Buy a fast normal zoom (Tamron/Sigma 17-50)
4. Buy the DA55-300
5. Sell the WR kit lens
6. Buy your first DA Limited (DA35 or DA40)
7. regret that you sold your only WR lens
8. Buy more Limiteds
9. Buy a DA55 or DFA100WR to have a WR lens again
10. Regret that you didn't buy the FA instead of the DA Limiteds
11. Buy the FA43 or FA77
12. Buy the FA77 or FA43
13. Wonder why you're broke
14. Sell the DA40 or DA70
15. Sell the DA70 or DA40
16. Rejoice that you're not that broke anymore
17. Sell the cheap primes
18. Sell your liver a kidney (for *bleep*'s sake, keep your liver!)
19. Buy the FA31

Last edited by Boris_Akunin; 02-05-2014 at 05:21 PM.
02-04-2014, 04:20 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by manstanox Quote
Second, I have been impressed by the quality of comment on primes and am now thinking of a "prime portfolio" starting with the 35mm ltd macro - it seems to be a highly useful lens in all situations with superior image quality
The DA35 Macro is wonderful for close-up and distance if you are careful. There is a thread running at the moment on its possible shortcomings in that situation.
02-05-2014, 05:08 PM   #12
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Decision made! A new DA 35mm macro ltd is arriving tomorrow - can't wait. I don't know whether to tell my wife tonight or to-morrow. I feel a family of primes is being born in our house - good thing the children have fled the coop.
02-05-2014, 05:24 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by manstanox Quote
Decision made! A new DA 35mm macro ltd is arriving tomorrow - can't wait. (...) I feel a family of primes is being born in our house
Good choice but I have bad news for you: You're infected now.
02-07-2014, 10:26 AM   #14
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Not only infected but a carrier - just like you guys!
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