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03-28-2014, 02:45 AM   #16
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Good advice

There is lots of good advice here. I would not turn my nose at the 18-55 WR just because it is included as a kit lens. You can pay a whole lot more and do worse than this lens, though the Tamron 17-50 2.8 is a worthwhile alternative for low-light applications, but not WR. I generally use the Tamron unless I feel like walking around in the rain.

03-28-2014, 03:10 AM   #17
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M's and A's

Hello again!
Since you asked for older lens recommendations, here's one, with price comparisons to a modern counterpart.
DA 70mm f/2.4 Ltd- $400-$450 used, $750+ new.
Smc M 85mm f/2.0- Used $250. SMC Pentax-M 85mm F2 Reviews - M Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

A no-brainer is the smc M or A 50mm f/1.7, less than $100. 'M' means it is fully manual, focusing and aperture; Read up on the green button! 'A' means it's manual-focus, auto-aperture with the aperture ring set to 'A'. SMC Pentax-A 50mm F1.7 Reviews - A Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
Bear in mind, Legacy lenses have a specific rendering, an image quality that is different from modern glass. Whether that quality is better or worse for your use is completely up to you. Look at the images posted on these reviews. Does this lens possess qualities you like? Also, they take more time and experience to use properly, mainly because of the lack of auto functions. Another potential drawback to be aware of.

For the wide-angle prime, from photos I've seen, the DA 21mm Ltd is the best choice especially if you find a clean used version, about $400 or so, $600 new. SMC Pentax-DA 21mm F3.2 Limited Reviews - DA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
I honestly don't know of an equal-quality lens in this range any cheaper, but it might exist. There's a few older 24mm f/2.8's around you could look into.
Again, good luck with your choices!
03-28-2014, 03:42 AM   #18

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All depends on your experience. If you are sure a prime will suit you, this is the most compact solution with great IQ. I personally love the FA43/1.9 and consider this the most flexible focal length among the choices you present. But of course that's derived from my own preferences. You will "miss" quick shift focus, but it has an aperture ring should you even want to use techniques that require this? The same goes for the FA77/1.8 BTW.

If you're not even sure which focal length you need, best go with a zoom to start with. I can understand why you wouldn't want a kit lens like the 18-55 (I never got one either, but that's a different story), but its low cost is the best and cheapest way to find out your personal preferences from your *own* experience. The DA*16-50/2.8's cost might be a bit excessive should you decide you're a prime lens person. As an alternative zoom solution you might consider the DA18-135? Since you seem to be leaning toward the longer focal lengths in your choices, this may allow you to better explore this range?

03-28-2014, 04:23 AM   #19
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The kit lens (18-55) is a good lens. Not a great one but still a bargain. Yes I have sold mine. I might buy a WR version back later.
The M50/1.7 is a compulsory buy and a trigger to future LBA. Worked for me at least. The F35-70, F35-105 and F35-135 are cheap and generally a good buy in your desired focal lenght. If you are lucky you could end up with the A35-105.

A fully manual one will teach you the basics of photography, any K or M-series prime will do just fine. Pick the suitable focal lenght and price for you.

Good Luck!


03-28-2014, 10:23 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by JaggedZenMonkey Quote
I'm interested in the older manual lenses now. I could potentially cover the needed focal lengths and get the new K-3 instead of the less desired K-5 II. However, I know nothing of these lenses or where to find them, or the focal lengths offered. I'd very much like the focal lengths to cover 15-20 mm, 35-50 mm. and up to 70-85 mm. These will meet my needs until football season comes around. A good leading would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks ya'll!
Have you used legacy glass and modern glass and compared them? I have, and find myself ALWAYS reaching for the modern lenses. So much easier to get the focus and exposure when you don't have a lot of time too frame the shot! If you have a modern DSLR, might as well enjoy all it has to offer. I guess everyone is different and maybe you have more skill than I focusing a moving subject on the fly. It can be hard! But the cameras you listed can do it very fast and very well IF you have modern glass. I'll manual focus in certain situations like low light, buy still, AF is a wonderful tool that you shouldn't be without.

Why get a camera that powerful, then go out of your way to not use some of its capabilities?

For lenses... Pentax's DA and FA limiteds are incredible quality, small, lightweight, and one of the main reasons to invest in a Pentax system. They also hold their value, but you won't want to sell them. These are my faves and recommended to start:

FA 43 Ltd.
DA 70 Ltd.

And for wide angle it depends on what you like to shoot. Everyone needs a wide angle lens!
DA 21 which is maybe a little more versatile, or
DA 15 -more wide, more dramatic

I also use zooms and can recommend some of those as well but for just getting started, the primes are fantastic.
03-28-2014, 10:40 AM   #21
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I would get something like the K-50 first, or maybe the K-5 II if you really need that, and invest in better glass first, rather than start off with the top of the line APS-C DSLR. A great camera and excellent glass will always be better than an excellent camera with average glass.

The K-50 + 18-135 lens combination will cost you 900 dollars right now from B&H or Adorama, and you would have a very useful walkaround lens in a WR package. (and follow the link from this site to support it...)

Then you'd have money left to buy something for your other needs. It seems like portraits would be your first priority, and you already seem to have your eyes on the FA 77... this would allow you to get a new copy of that and stay within budget. And you could even add another cheap, high quality prime - the DA 35 2.4, which to me is the perfect walkaround and indoor lens!

K-50+DA 18-135mm = 900.00
FA 77 f/1.8 = 980.00 (Amazon price, 3rd party vendor but fulfilled by Amazon)
DA 35 f/2.4 = 150.00 (Amazon price, 3rd party vendor but fulfilled by Amazon)
Total: 2030.00

So once you get going with that setup, you'll also be able to evaluate what's more important - to have a top quality prime, or just keep a versatile zoom on the body to make sure you won't miss any shots. Your experience with your subjects, of course, will determine this. Everyone's needs are different because we all do different things.

Later you can upgrade the body to a K-3 or even keep the K-50 as a backup body, and you will have a better idea of what your needs are, before you buy any more lenses. And don't be surprised if that lowly 35mm lens ends up being the one you reach for more often
03-28-2014, 08:26 PM   #22
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I have very limited experience with legacy glasses, and so far, I ended up with this conclusion that Legacy glasses are good for what you pay! But if you don't have budget issue, go for modern glasses (specially the limited DA or FA or star) Those glasses are definitely better quality with better coatings for digital.
03-29-2014, 12:16 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChristianRock Quote
I would get something like the K-50 first, or maybe the K-5 II if you really need that, and invest in better glass first, rather than start off with the top of the line APS-C DSLR. A great camera and excellent glass will always be better than an excellent camera with average glass.
your post reminded me of this video:

03-29-2014, 03:07 AM   #24
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After doing a fair amount of research, some pixel peeping, and taking to heart what's been advised here, I've decided on the 77 mm Ltd as my first lens. I want the pixie dust! I may miss out on the wider angle, but this lens will fill my needs perfectly until i'm able to afford a 21 mm Ltd for wider shots. I can always stitch landscapes if/when needed . This seems to be a perfect portrait lens, it'll shine for candid shots, and I can get some great nature shots this Autumn as well. I don't shoot indoors that much so this is not a concern. While I also like architecture, it's not top priority. That can come later ... much later for that matter.

I shot Canon for a few years. I had a 50 mm prime, an 18-135 mm, and a 35 mm prime. The only time I used the zoom was for wider landscape shots and when I needed a little extra reach. The 50 mm rarely left my camera, however. Even so, I always felt like I needed a little extra reach when taking portrait and candid shots. The 50 mm was too short, which is one reason the 77 mm is so appealing. I would like a lens comparable to my old 35 mm also ... like the 31 LTD or the 18-35 f/1.8 Sigma, but again, not top priority. It can come later. First things first! Lens selection, then camera body, then next lens in line, which will either be a longer zoom upwards of 200-250mm or a wide angle like the 21 mm Ltd. this will be determined by my budget come football season. If I can afford a zoom, then a zoom it will be. If not, I'll have to wait till next season and I'll purchase the 21 mm Ltd instead. Baby steps, right?

Now it's time to decide on a camera body. K-5 II/s or the K-3. One body and one lens to start me off. I'll work my way up to more gear as my budget allows. I can get the 77 Ltd for around $1000, which leaves me between $600 to $1000 for the camera body. Although I can get the K-3 and stay within actual budget, I'd love to see some images taken with both the K-5 II/s and the K-3 using the 77mm ltd lens. It will help me make a more informed decision. If the images taken with the K-3 are significantly better, then I can justify buying the K-3. If not, then I'm certain the K-5 II/s will work just as well for my needs ... Including a year (maybe two) of high school football. Anyone care to share a few images for comparison purposes?

I appreciate everyone contributing to this thread. You have all been extremely helpful! Thank you for that, eh?

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