Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
05-05-2014, 08:11 PM   #1
New Member




Join Date: May 2014
Location: Oregon
Photos: Albums
Posts: 16
Only can take one lens - Advice?

Hi everyone,

I'm new here. Please forgive me if there is already a similar thread to this. I searched, but I couldn't find anything specifically answering my question, or at least my question within the same or similar context.

Anyway, I am trying to figure out what lens I should get.

I know, there are countless one lens should I get threads, but here is the situation- I am going to be going on a cruise to Alaska! Of course I want to be able to take great pictures. I have planned all my shore excursions around what I imagine will be the best picture taking opportunities. In anticipation of the trip, I have been planning on purchasing a new lens.

For a long time I have shot on a K100D. I planned on taking this camera on the Alaska trip with me, plus whatever new lens I got, but the camera recently failed. A couple years ago, while trying to take a picture, I kind of slipped off of a waterfall. The K100D broke my fall and has never quite been the same. A couple months ago it stopped working in any usable way altogether.

I was able to purchase a new K3 body, but I still don't have a good lens. Through a whole series of happenings the only lens I still had for my K100D was a Sigma 18-200mm. It was a very cheap lens, and it kind of sucks. It has horrible sharpness, contrast, autofocus, dirty bokeh, horrible CA... really I can't say anything good about it except it as a good zoom range. On my K3 the lens works, but its flaws are all the more obvious with the higher resolution of the K3. I really want something that is going to be a lot better for my trip.

In my dream world I would get two or three fast primes to take on the trip. Unfortunately I don't live in my dream world. To pack everything in such a way that is feasible, I really am only going to be able to take one lens.

Originally I planned on spending up to $1000 on whichever lens I was going to get, but then I had an unexpected financial setback that cost me $1600. Now, I think the most I can come up with for a lens is about $500.

I have been looking at the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8 - 4 HSM contemporary lens. I like its zoom range, that it is faster than a typical kit lens, and it seems pretty decent based on the reviews I've read. I am heavily leaning towards this lens and a circular polarizer for it.

So... I am wondering what you all think? What would you do if you were me?

05-05-2014, 08:50 PM   #2
Pentaxian
mgvh's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: MD
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 827
The Sigma 17-70 f2.8 would be a good choice.
The other one to consider is the Pentax DA 18-135 which is quite a nice lens. It will give you something a bit longer and is also weather resistant.
05-05-2014, 08:56 PM   #3
Pentaxian
mattb123's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Colorado High Country
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 7,049
It depends on what you like to shoot the most. Wildlife? Scenic vistas? Everything? How important is a single lens for everything?
If I was in your position I'd get a cheap kit lens to cover 18-55 and put what I had left (let's say $400) toward something longer like the 55-300 for wildlife and compressed landscapes. If you got the SMC DA L version used you'd still have something left. Maybe even enough for a fast fifty or the DA L 35.
05-05-2014, 08:59 PM   #4
Pentaxian
EarlVonTapia's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Vancouver
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,150
I would also recommend the Sigma 17-70.

Here's a good review of it. Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 Lens Review - Disney Tourist Blog

It's for a Disneyland blog, but I'm sure many of the same points apply to cruises, or any other trips/vacations of that nature.

They also recommend the Tamron 17-50, which is another excellent choice (I own one).

05-05-2014, 09:03 PM   #5
Forum Member




Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: left coast
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 73
I would suggest you give some thought to a vintage 50 or the DA 40 pancake. You'll be able to get great shots.....portraits and landscapes. Very compact and light weight, with great IQ. Of course the 18-135 would be a very good choice as well, with a larger size.

Also, perhaps consider renting lenses.
05-05-2014, 09:08 PM   #6
Pentaxian
Paul the Sunman's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Melbourne
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,124
QuoteOriginally posted by mgvh Quote
The Sigma 17-70 f2.8 would be a good choice.
The other one to consider is the Pentax DA 18-135 which is quite a nice lens. It will give you something a bit longer and is also weather resistant.
If only one lens on a trip, I would take the DA 18-135. Covers most of what you'll need and it is pretty sharp. Some CA toward the edges at the long end, but that's easily fixed in pp and is common to many lenses.
05-05-2014, 09:10 PM   #7
Emperor and Senpai
VoiceOfReason's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Nashville, IN
Posts: 5,134
18-135 for the range, sharpness, quick and quiet AF, and WR to go with your WR body.
05-05-2014, 10:04 PM   #8
Pentaxian
PPPPPP42's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Wisconsin
Photos: Albums
Posts: 845
At this point I am just adding my vote to the already stated advice. 18-135WR makes full use of your K3's capabilities and does everything reasonably well, and though somewhat slow on the long end it doesn't really have any glaring weaknesses.
It is also the only lens in your new price range to do that.
Working with just one lens is difficult. You will need at least 135mm on the ship since you can't get closer to things you will see from the deck of the ship or the many Alaskan critters on land that will try to gore you (moose) or eat you (bear), but you will also need the 18mm end in the cramped interior spaces for people and event shots and for the many Alaskan landscape shots. I do not feel that you would be happy with the amount of cropping you would have to do with the 70mm of the 17-70mm as your telephoto option, plus Alaska is one place I would not consider a WR lens and camera combo optional.

05-05-2014, 10:10 PM - 1 Like   #9
Site Supporter
jatrax's Avatar

Join Date: May 2010
Location: Oregon
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 10,289
I would go with the 18-135 without hesitation. I think the longer reach will be more useful than the 17-70 in Alaska. My trip there it seemed everything was too far away. If you could swing it I would also get a DA L 55-300. I know you said one lens, but sorry that is not going to cut it, you need some reach. Not sure you can get that for your budget but if you buy used I think it could be very close. There are a number of DA L 55-300 for sale on fleabay at around $200 and I think you should be able to get the 18-135 for $400 if you shop careful. Best combo you are going to get for that budget.
05-05-2014, 10:12 PM   #10
New Member




Join Date: May 2014
Location: Oregon
Photos: Albums
Posts: 16
Original Poster
Wow, thank you so much everyone for all the feedback. Since this was my first real post I didn't know what kind of replies I could expect, or how soon they would come in.

So, it seems like the 18-135 Pentax lens is a good choice. I am a little bit concerned with this lens though, here is why-

First, I have always heard that kit lenses aren't the best. They are okay, but most people outgrow them. The reviews I have read all seem to suggest that the Sigma 17-70 is a step up from most kit lenses. I am also concerned about the zoom range.

From what I understand typically lenses that offer such great range of focal lengths have to sacrifice something in the way of image quality to achieve this. I feel that when I got my current Sigma 18-200mm I was so impressed by the zoom range that I eagerly went for it. Seldom do I shoot anything much past 50 or 60mm. I wish I would have got a sharper, faster lens instead. It just seems seems like having a range of 18-135mm you have to be sacrificing something.

QuoteOriginally posted by w6wat Quote
I would suggest you give some thought to a vintage 50 or the DA 40 pancake. You'll be able to get great shots.....portraits and landscapes. Very compact and light weight, with great IQ. Of course the 18-135 would be a very good choice as well, with a larger size.

Also, perhaps consider renting lenses.
I used to have a nice, razor sharp 50mm f1.4 lens. My grandparents used it on their own film Pentax, but it worked great on my K100D. I can not find that lens anywhere recently, but I absolutely loved it. I hope I can figure out where I put it. The bokeh was beautiful, it was so sharp, and at 1.4 I could get a razor sharp plane of focus.

With the crop factor of the Pentax cameras though I really want something a bit wider than 50mm for this trip.

QuoteOriginally posted by mattb123 Quote
It depends on what you like to shoot the most. Wildlife? Scenic vistas? Everything? How important is a single lens for everything?
If I was in your position I'd get a cheap kit lens to cover 18-55 and put what I had left (let's say $400) toward something longer like the 55-300 for wildlife and compressed landscapes. If you got the SMC DA L version used you'd still have something left. Maybe even enough for a fast fifty or the DA L 35.
I am really not sure all what I will encounter on this trip. That is one reason why I want something that is somewhat flexible. I do realize though that I am not going to be able to get a single lens that is great for everything. After thinking about it, I think I would rather get a lens that is faster for low light shots, and sharp and wide for landscapes for this trip. I realize I might miss some wildlife opportunities, but I would rather get amazing scenic shots and miss the wildlife shots that may or may not materialize.

In July, if my budget is what I hope it is, I am hoping to get a really good telephoto lens for wildlife. For now though, I am hoping to get something that will be great for landscapes and walking around.
05-05-2014, 10:36 PM   #11
Pentaxian




Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Southern California
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 3,181
I don't think I'd do it. I don't think I could take just one lens.

I'd get one of these:

SMC Pentax-F 24-50mm F4 Reviews - F Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
Tamron AF 17-50mm F2.8 XR LD Aspherical IF SP Lens Reviews - Tamron Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database
SMC Pentax-DA 16-45mm F4 Reviews - DA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database


Plus one of these:

Takumar-F 70-210mm F4-5.6 Reviews - Non-SMC Pentax Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
SMC Pentax-F 70-210mm F4-5.6 Reviews - F Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
SMC Pentax-DA L 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED Reviews - DA L Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database


I have the first lens in each list, and had a DA55-300. Both F 70-210 lenses are the same except for the lens coating (and the price). Buy used if that's what it takes to meet your budget.

You need good lenses for your K-3. These are pretty good.

If you can't get good lenses for your K-3, then sell it and get this (I'm not joking). The IQ is good, it should all fit in one little bag, and probably no one would think to steal it: Pentax Q7 Premium Kit Announced - Pentax News - Pentax Camera Forums
05-05-2014, 10:41 PM   #12
New Member




Join Date: May 2014
Location: Oregon
Photos: Albums
Posts: 16
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
I don't think I'd do it. I don't think I could take just one lens.

I'd get one of these:

SMC Pentax-F 24-50mm F4 Reviews - F Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
Tamron AF 17-50mm F2.8 XR LD Aspherical IF SP Lens Reviews - Tamron Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database
SMC Pentax-DA 16-45mm F4 Reviews - DA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database


Plus one of these:

Takumar-F 70-210mm F4-5.6 Reviews - Non-SMC Pentax Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
SMC Pentax-F 70-210mm F4-5.6 Reviews - F Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
SMC Pentax-DA L 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED Reviews - DA L Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database


I have the first lens in each list, and had a DA55-300. Both F 70-210 lenses are the same except for the lens coating (and the price). Buy used if that's what it takes to meet your budget.

You need good lenses for your K-3. These are pretty good.

If you can't get good lenses for your K-3, then sell it and get this (I'm not joking). The IQ is good, it should all fit in one little bag, and probably no one would think to steal it: Pentax Q7 Premium Kit Announced - Pentax News - Pentax Camera Forums
I fully intend to get some good lenses. Like I said, when I ordered my K3 I thought I was going to have upwards of $1000 for a lens immediately, then planned on adding other lenses shortly thereafter. It was only because of a client-payment issue (the pains of being a freelancer) that my income from last month was suddenly $1600 less than what I thought. Most of that was supposed to be my lens money. Now I'm just trying to figure out what to do before the cruise.

I am starting to accept the need for having at least two lenses though, and the DA55-300 looks to be very doable used on eBay. So I am thinking I will probably get that, plus some other lens for this trip.
05-05-2014, 10:49 PM   #13
dms
Site Supporter




Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: New York, NY
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,556
As already mentioned you need to identify what kind of pictures you want most, and then figure out if 1 lens will do that, or if two lenses, and which one(s). As an example I think something like following would cover much of what you will need.
1. a zoom in the 70-200 mm range and a diopter to get to 0.5 magnification and 2x TC.
2. and a wide angle to normal FL zoom
For 1. to manage the cost--if you took for example the Vivitar series 1 f/ 2.8~4(version 3) in PKA you could likely get it for under $100 and have superb quality but no AF. Faster more recent zooms w/ AF if any good are very costly. But a longer FL zoom is fairly bulky/heavy.
If you really want 1 lens figure out what is the absolute most important activity and make sure the lens will do that--although i don't have it--a AF 35mm macro may be a good choice, or a wide to moderate FL zoom.
I think the 2 most important aspects of the lens on this kind of trip are moderate FL for landscapes and macro. Longer FL for wildlife is nice but this is specialized and depends on real luck unless you spend all the time on this activity.
FWIW personally I usually take (backpacking) something like a Takumar 28mm f/3.5, and a (K) 50mm f/4 macro or (M) 50 mm f/1.7, and a 2x TC.
05-05-2014, 10:54 PM   #14
New Member




Join Date: May 2014
Location: Oregon
Photos: Albums
Posts: 16
Original Poster
So after reading everything here and considering it carefully, I am coming around to the idea that I will need more than just the Sigma 17-70mm for the cruise. There have been some really good points made here, so here is what I am thinking now- I am going to really stretch my budget and live very frugally for the next couple months. I think I should be able to swing the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di-II LD new and a used DA L 55-300mm from eBay.

QuoteOriginally posted by PPPPPP42 Quote
At this point I am just adding my vote to the already stated advice. 18-135WR makes full use of your K3's capabilities and does everything reasonably well, and though somewhat slow on the long end it doesn't really have any glaring weaknesses.
It is also the only lens in your new price range to do that.
Working with just one lens is difficult. You will need at least 135mm on the ship since you can't get closer to things you will see from the deck of the ship or the many Alaskan critters on land that will try to gore you (moose) or eat you (bear), but you will also need the 18mm end in the cramped interior spaces for people and event shots and for the many Alaskan landscape shots. I do not feel that you would be happy with the amount of cropping you would have to do with the 70mm of the 17-70mm as your telephoto option, plus Alaska is one place I would not consider a WR lens and camera combo optional.
Not getting gored is a good thing. I do have my rain cover that I used with my K100D, though having a full WR system would be nice, I would rather put up with the rain cover and have the highest possible IQ. I will do my best to stay awayfrom anything that might gore me, or eat me, or rip me to pieces. That would completely ruin my vacation.

QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
I would go with the 18-135 without hesitation. I think the longer reach will be more useful than the 17-70 in Alaska. My trip there it seemed everything was too far away. If you could swing it I would also get a DA L 55-300. I know you said one lens, but sorry that is not going to cut it, you need some reach. Not sure you can get that for your budget but if you buy used I think it could be very close. There are a number of DA L 55-300 for sale on fleabay at around $200 and I think you should be able to get the 18-135 for $400 if you shop careful. Best combo you are going to get for that budget.
I really appreciate your advice, especially since you have been to Alaska before. Reading how you felt everything seemed too far away really helps me. Thank you :-)
05-05-2014, 10:57 PM   #15
Pentaxian




Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Southern California
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 3,181
QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Grunseth Quote
I am starting to accept the need for having at least two lenses though, and the DA55-300 looks to be very doable used on eBay. So I am thinking I will probably get that, plus some other lens for this trip.
Beware eBay, however - especially if you have limited time. In my experience, you have maybe a 65% chance of getting a satisfactory used copy there. The Marketplace here is probably about 95%. KEH, Adorama, B&H, and the like are probably near 90% (even if they're actually slightly less than 90%, returns are easy and you can quickly get a replacement).
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
camera, dream, k-mount, k100d, k3, lens, pentax lens, question, range, sigma, slr lens, trip, world
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Abstract Become an instant Highlander, "There can be only one" Kerrowdown Post Your Photos! 28 12-13-2013 02:17 PM
Which SLRs can take full advantage of Rikenon-P lens? Hamster Pentax Compact Cameras 2 04-30-2013 08:56 PM
One landscape lens only slip Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 28 02-24-2013 08:20 PM
Two weeks in Spain: Which ONE lens to take? treetop flyer Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 34 12-10-2012 10:33 PM
If only ONE portrait lens, which one? mhaws Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 99 06-30-2011 01:53 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:01 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top