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02-27-2014, 02:42 PM   #1
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Can a lens be too good?

I have a K-30. All is good, I love the camera and I have slowly found myself leaving my Nikon behind now. I'm going to invest....

For my earlier Nikon kit, I had a range of lenses that covered the 18-300 range, but I took most within the 20 - 50 range.

With my Pentax, I have the 18-55mm kit lens and the DA 50mm f1.8. I'm looking to build a full range and am considering (not all at once), the Sigma 10-20mm, the Pentax Limited 20-40mm, and the new Pentax WR 55-300mm. Eventually perhaps a Ltd 43mm also. I would be hoping at some time in the future to upgrade the K-30 body, but not for a while yet.

By my reckoning, this SHOULD give me all the coverage I might need, with the best glass in my favoured range. However, I recognise that the k-30 is not top of the range. Am I wasting money with the 20-40mm? Will I get the best out of it? Or should I stick to something cheaper?

02-27-2014, 02:51 PM - 3 Likes   #2
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I've only had a K-30 for a couple months - actually bought for my wife to use. My regular body is a K-5IIs which I find to be fantastic.

The K-30 is now slouch at all. The lens she uses most of the time is the DA* 60-250 which is a great lens. Once I fine tuned the AF adjustment, the images will rival those from my K-5IIs. From what I understand the K-30 has a very weak AA filter (a good thing). Here's an example when I got done with the fine tune - this was shot hand held through 2 panes of glass @250mm:

Image is clickable for a larger version:

I was very impressed - she continues to get fantastic images with this combo. I see nothing at all standing in the way of good glass working very well on the K-30.
02-27-2014, 02:55 PM - 1 Like   #3
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I don't think you're wasting your money in that sense. The K-30 has a 16MP sensor, same as the K-5. I use a 70mm 2.4 Limited on that, and I appreciate the increase in sharpness when going from f/2.4 to f/4. Also, according to this review, the 20-40 isn't actually as sharp as maybe it should be (price and specs-wise). So maybe you are wasting money, but not in the way you meant, and it's yours anyway.

Sorry, I'm not a big fan of the 20-40. But if you want to buy it, I say go ahead.
02-27-2014, 02:57 PM - 1 Like   #4
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Well I don't think a lens can be "too good", but you want to buy lenses that are so good that they'll still look great in a few years when sensor technology is even more advanced than it is now. Right? So even if any of the lenses you buy outresolves the K-30 sensor (which most probably won't), they're still an investment for your future... that's the beauty of ILCs - the investment in lenses is not money thrown away

02-27-2014, 02:59 PM - 1 Like   #5
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Lenses are always a better investment than bodies! 16mp has almost the same pixel density as a D800, so you'll be using every bit of what is capable of an APS-C lens. Diffraction kills resolution, so try and keep things at f/5.6-f/8 when you don't need all the DOF to get maximum sharpness. You'll notice huge improvements over your kit lens if you have a keen eye. Even an ancient Super Takumar 35mm f/3.5 totally owns the kit lens in the sharpness and IQ department.
02-27-2014, 03:00 PM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by kentishrev Quote
I have a K-30. All is good, I love the camera and I have slowly found myself leaving my Nikon behind now. I'm going to invest....

For my earlier Nikon kit, I had a range of lenses that covered the 18-300 range, but I took most within the 20 - 50 range.

With my Pentax, I have the 18-55mm kit lens and the DA 50mm f1.8. I'm looking to build a full range and am considering (not all at once), the Sigma 10-20mm, the Pentax Limited 20-40mm, and the new Pentax WR 55-300mm. Eventually perhaps a Ltd 43mm also. I would be hoping at some time in the future to upgrade the K-30 body, but not for a while yet.

By my reckoning, this SHOULD give me all the coverage I might need, with the best glass in my favoured range. However, I recognise that the k-30 is not top of the range. Am I wasting money with the 20-40mm? Will I get the best out of it? Or should I stick to something cheaper?
The K30 actually has superior AF and faster image processing than the K5iis. I have a K30. Not much escapes this camera. I have upgraded to the K3, but only because I wanted the latest and not because of failings in the K30. Only weakness is AF in total darknesss, where the K5iis and K3 excell at -3 EV. The K30 is very capable of handling the Limited lenses' resolution. My kit has the 15, 21, 35 macro and 70 Limiteds. The K30 loves those lenses.
02-27-2014, 03:22 PM - 1 Like   #7
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Can a lens be too good?

Yes, but only because it monopolises time on the camera and prevents you from using other lenses that, while maybe not as good, are different and fun to use.
02-27-2014, 03:42 PM - 1 Like   #8
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The K-30 has an amazing sensor. IF anything the 20-40 doesnt match it's capacity.

02-27-2014, 03:46 PM - 1 Like   #9
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that is a pretty sweet pic!
02-27-2014, 04:12 PM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by kentishrev Quote
I have a K-30. All is good, I love the camera and I have slowly found myself leaving my Nikon behind now. I'm going to invest....

For my earlier Nikon kit, I had a range of lenses that covered the 18-300 range, but I took most within the 20 - 50 range.

With my Pentax, I have the 18-55mm kit lens and the DA 50mm f1.8. I'm looking to build a full range and am considering (not all at once), the Sigma 10-20mm, the Pentax Limited 20-40mm, and the new Pentax WR 55-300mm. Eventually perhaps a Ltd 43mm also. I would be hoping at some time in the future to upgrade the K-30 body, but not for a while yet.

By my reckoning, this SHOULD give me all the coverage I might need, with the best glass in my favoured range. However, I recognise that the k-30 is not top of the range. Am I wasting money with the 20-40mm? Will I get the best out of it? Or should I stick to something cheaper?
To answer your question, no, a lens can't be too good really. The best L lens on a Canon Rebel will beat the crap out of a 1D with a 28-300mm, just to give one example.

The 20-40mm will give you better image quality than the 18-55mm, but so would something like a Sigma 17-70mm, which I highly recommend.

Adam
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02-27-2014, 04:22 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
To answer your question, no, a lens can't be too good really. The best L lens on a Canon Rebel will beat the crap out of a 1D with a 28-300mm, just to give one example.

The 20-40mm will give you better image quality than the 18-55mm, but so would something like a Sigma 17-70mm, which I highly recommend.
thank you to all for comments so far. I did look at the Sigma 17-70, but would like the WR that comes with the 20-40, as this is my most popular range for use. I know the 10-20 isn't weather-proofed, but less likely to use it so often. I toyed with the 18-135 WR, but reviews all suggested to me that it wouldn't be long before I was looking for something better.
02-27-2014, 04:31 PM - 1 Like   #12
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If you're looking for the best image quality without spending a ton, it's hard to go wrong with older primes, too. It's often useful to supplement a zoom with a couple faster primes at your most used range. Personally, a 28mm, 35mm, and 58mm usually go with me, as they're superior to almost all zooms, and all 3 were about $180 total. Just sold the 18-55 as it's IQ was only so-so, and I found I never went wider than about 24mm. Same thing on the longer end, sold the 50-200 since I end up using the 58mm, 135mm, and 200mm primes that I have that are far sharper.
02-27-2014, 04:53 PM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by kentishrev Quote
Can a lens be too good?
No...but a high-priced lens may not be very good value for many uses or skill levels. Your camera is capable of quite adequately supporting any of the lenses that can be mounted to it, but that doesn't mean you can't get very, very rewarding results at the lower end of the price spectrum.

As noted above, the various manual focus primes offer very good to excellent optical quality at a fairly low price point. The trade-off is convenience. My personal strategy has been to operate primarily in that space and those lenses suite my work flow and creative style very well. In fact, almost all of my lenses are manual focus and over thirty years old.

A couple rules of thumb:
  • Wide zoom range generally involves compromise in quality and/or distortion
  • The Pentax kit lenses (18-55, 50-200, 55-300), while not particular fast, are quite capable performers for many, many subjects.
  • Using a well-built vintage lens is a sensual experience
  • Manual focus coupled with an appropriate focus solution (focus peaking and/or properly calibrated split-image focus screen) is superior for accurate focus over any AF system.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 02-27-2014 at 05:00 PM.
02-27-2014, 07:14 PM - 1 Like   #14
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For the price of the 20-40, you would be better off getting the 16-50. Better images, and still WR. Personally, I think a better way to spend your money would be to get the 18-135 for wet days, and a nice fast prime (or 2). The 18-135 will be $400, another $500 for the new version of the Sigma 30/1.4 (in a month or so). Add in the DA50/1.8 for another 180, and for $1080, you've got a set of lenses that will absolutely be better than the 20-40.
02-27-2014, 07:25 PM - 1 Like   #15
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Or the 18-135 + 35 2.4 and 21 ltd, and you're laughing. OK, it might take a while to get the 21 ltd. After that the 15 ltd and you have one of the nicest most compact walk around set ups you could ever want.
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