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03-27-2014, 08:42 PM   #1
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First Lens (Need advice)

I've narrowed the body down to the K-5 II or the K-3 ... The body will be determined by my first lens choice and/or budget. I'd like to start shooting again ASAP, but need (want) good glass from get go. I've been looking at the Pentax 77mm f/1.8 ltd, the 70mm f/2.4 ltd, the 43mm f/1.9 ltd, the 55mm DA* f/1.4, or the 16-50mm DA* f/2.8 as my first lens choice. I'm not wanting to spend more than $1600 + taxes for both body and lens, but I'm willing to spend upwards of $2000 and anywhere in between IF there will be noticeable differences in IQ, etc. I'm open to other lens suggestions also. Quality glass is a must. The lens will be used for nature shots, portraits, candid shots, and maybe (maybe) landscape shots.


I'm not interested in kit lenses, although they are VERY tempting given the prices. With the info I provided about my own wants/needs, which body/lens combo would you advise me to purchase and why? I'm just trying to weigh my options. I have a 2-3 months before I need to make a purchase. I plan on making an informed decision is all. $1600 to $2000 is a great deal of money for me. I want the best bang for the buck. I need real performance and exceptional IQ for under $2000. This will get me started doing what I love to do again. Is it doable?

03-27-2014, 08:47 PM   #2
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How about starting out with a manual lens? Takumar 50 1.4 or 55 1.8 are great

---------- Post added 27th Mar 2014 at 20:48 ----------

And they wont empty your wallet
03-27-2014, 09:02 PM   #3
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Sigma 17-50 2.8 HSM is on bargain!!! sale at the moment.
Only downside with that lens is that it's not weather resistant. But you didn't mention that, only image quality, which it certainly has.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=sigma+17-50+pentax&N=0&InitialSearc...op+Nav-Search=
but the offer ends on 31 March…

And at Adorama:
http://www.adorama.com/SG1750PX.html

You could just go K3 + that lens and you're under budget. Get a second hand 18-55wr for shooting in the rain. Done!

Last edited by calsan; 03-27-2014 at 09:11 PM.
03-27-2014, 09:07 PM   #4
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If you shop wisely, you should be able to get a K-5 II and both the FA43 and FA77 for under two grand. That would have you well on the way for what you want. You can always stitch for landscapes.

03-27-2014, 09:20 PM   #5
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For portraits and candid shots you need something in the 50 to 75 mm range. For portraits you need a lens with a wide max aperture to reduce depth of field, for candid shots you may also need a fast lens although high ISO can be a substitute here.

So I don't see the DA*16-50 fit that bill. The DA* 50-135 F2.8 would, and so would the FA 77mm F1.8 paired with one of FA 43mm F1.9, FA 50mm F1.4, DA 50mm F1.8, DA*55mm F1.4.

The suggestion of a 18-55 WR lens is a good one - that'll cover landscape and also be of use in rain or dust.
03-27-2014, 09:21 PM   #6
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I just want to butt in again, sorry. It's an unfortunate fact that you can't get one lens to do everything. But it is nice to have a 'general purpose' lens of decent quality. Then build a system around that - i.e. after you find your interests, such as macro or wide angle or bird photography….
03-27-2014, 09:39 PM   #7
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Pricing Out The Gear

Hello JaggedZenMonkey (is JZM OK? I'm a slow tapper), welcome to the Forum!
Your price range for a basic kit is a bit higher than the usual queries we get, but so are your expectations.
Probably the safest bet would be a K-3 and a high quality zoom in the mid-focal range like 16-50, etc. That still leaves a wide price range for the lens, from near $500 to over one thousand, as I'm sure you've seen. The best Sigma and Tamron being the lower-cost options; Hopefully users of those and the Pentax version, will chime in here.
Me? I'd get 2 or 3 primes and the best body that fit my needs for now and the near future. Probably a K-5IIs ($800 or so) and a used DA 70 Ltd, DA 21 Ltd and the best 40-50mm I could afford at that point. In my case a Macro would be on the list, but you didn't mention it, so....
And, being an old fart, manual Legacy glass (used, of course) wouldn't be drawback, no, no. Quite the opposite.
It sounds like you want either the Pixie Dust or a good zoom, both new. I'm suggesting another track. Legacy glass.
It's certainly not for everyone, but it's worth a thought, even as fillers between the new primes you're looking at.
JMO, Good luck!
Ron
03-27-2014, 09:50 PM   #8
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Honestly, i'd prefer the old Takumars over the new lenses. Sure, AF and zoom lenses are more convenient, but IMO, the old glass is just the same, if not better quality, for less than 1/3 of the price of the new lenses

---------- Post added 27th Mar 2014 at 21:51 ----------

Oh and they are made in Japan..no better QC..except maybe at the Leica factory

03-27-2014, 10:25 PM   #9
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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!
03-27-2014, 10:33 PM - 1 Like   #10
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here are the pages with the reviews for the different Takumar primes:

Pentax M42 Screwmount Extreme Wide-Angle Primes - Lens Reviews and Specifications - SLR and Interchangeable Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

Pentax M42 Screwmount Wide-Angle Primes - Lens Reviews and Specifications - SLR and Interchangeable Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

Pentax M42 Screwmount Normal Primes - Lens Reviews and Specifications - SLR and Interchangeable Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

Pentax M42 Screwmount Telephoto Primes - Lens Reviews and Specifications - SLR and Interchangeable Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

Look at the images in the reviews and also look at the thread "Takumar Club" for more examples of what kind of images these old MF lenses can take. and i'm sure you can get the 17/4, 35/3.5, 50/1.4, 55/1.8, 85/1.8, 105/2.8 for less than $1000 and still have money left over for filters and whatnot
03-27-2014, 10:39 PM   #11
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M42 lenses need the screwmount adapter, K mounts don't… older lenses than those with the 'A' setting on the aperture require stop down metering - back to the 1970s!

If you want a wide - such as 15-20mm, you probably need this to be a modern lens. The other ranges are easier.
03-27-2014, 10:41 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by calsan Quote
M42 lenses need the screwmount adapter, K mounts don't…
true, but I've heard that the M42 Taks are better quality than the K mount versions
03-27-2014, 11:11 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by JaggedZenMonkey Quote
This will get me started doing what I love to do again. Is it doable?
If I was starting my business again tomorrow, I'd buy a K5IIs body, a Tamrom 28-75/2.8 and and a monitor calibration device like a Spyder, Color Munki or Huey Pro. That leaves you some working capital for an extra battery, a good used bag, a couple of manual flashes and triggers, light stand and umbrellas.

I won't post customer portraits here but attached is an example of what the K5IIs and a well worn, 7 yr old Tamron can do. You don't need 24 MP for portraits.

Last edited by Brooke Meyer; 12-03-2014 at 09:17 PM.
03-28-2014, 02:26 AM   #14
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K5ii is unlikely to exist as new stock in 3 months… it's already no longer available in most countries… e.g. Australia it's just K3 or K50/30.
Advice seems to be heading to: buy what you want now!

Great photo, Brooke, by the way.
03-28-2014, 02:37 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by rbefly Quote
Me? I'd get 2 or 3 primes and the best body that fit my needs for now and the near future. Probably a K-5IIs ($800 or so) and a used DA 70 Ltd, DA 21 Ltd and the best 40-50mm I could afford at that point. In my case a Macro would be on the list, but you didn't mention it, so....
+1 to this suggestion.
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