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05-23-2008, 08:58 AM   #1
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Help with versitile lens purchase

I am looking at buying a new lens and I was hoping I could get some recommendations and advice. I have a k200d with the 18-55 II lens but although I'm happy with what it can do, it's also limiting.

Can I get a single lens that can do all of these things well, or passable- indoor sports and school events(plays, ceremonies, concerts), outdoor sports events, wildlife(bird photo).

I've searched the forums and I couldn't find a lens for all.

I don't need professional quality just family album type shots.

Any suggestions would be great from $bare min, to mid to top of the line.

Thanks Paul

05-23-2008, 10:03 AM   #2
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sounds like you need a midrange telephoto zoom. i'm not really too knowledgeable about the more expensive telephoto zooms for pentax and there aren't that many

but for cheap options
if you want to go cheap, you can get a used Tamron (but it has bad purple fringing) or Sigma 70-300 (possible unsharpness). i believe both of these lens have some close focusing capability as well if you need it
the Pentax DA 50-200 is available around $149 new and is nice and compact
Pentax also has the DA 55-300 available for $400(??) which appears to be better than both the Tamron and Sigma
05-23-2008, 10:12 AM   #3
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Hi Paul and welcome to the forums. Unfortunately, I don't think there is a "do it all" lens. There are some "super zooms" out there that are pretty good, but AFAIK they are all rather slow, which means their low light (read indoor sports/school events) is pretty poor. Generally the faster lenses good for low light don't have enough reach to do the wildlife/bird shots you want. One of the main benefits of a DSLR is the fact that you CAN change lenses to meet conditions. You could probably get by with possibly two lenses, a super zoom and a good low light lens like the FA 50 1.4; the FA 43 1.9 ltd or even the 77 1.8 ltd.

NaCl(but then again I'm weird. I LIKE changing lenses)H2O
05-23-2008, 10:14 AM   #4
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Unfortunately I'm probably not the best one to give advice, since I've got lens decision issues too.
It seems that many owners like the DA 18-250 or the Tamron 18-250(I don't own either, although I wouldn't mind to one of them), but you will probably find yourself have to max the ISO setting in many indoor situations due to its slow-ish maximum aperture. If it were possible for me to afford it, I would buy either the DA* 50-135 or the upcoming DA* 60-250 as a companion to the DA* 16-50, and despite the cost would have a fairly reasonable amount of coverage and speed, especially with the 50-135.

The best lens for this would probably be a DA* 10mm-400mm f/2.8 zoom that was as sharp at every aperture and zoom setting, center and edges, as a good prime lens. I've been looking for one too, but I haven't been able to find it. Even if they did make one it would probably cost 15,000 USD.

I can tell you what I often find myself using indoors if I've gone to some event to take pictures.
Either the DA* 16-50 or a 50mm f2 manual-focus lens and a manual focus 135mm f3.5. I usually take my Sigma 70-300 although I don' use it that often.

For outdoor use, it depends:
- a Sigma 50mm f2.8 macro and the DA 16-45(it's lighter than the DA* and I'm often carrying the equipment around more)
- and either a Tamron 28-200 (originally for 35mm film) zoom lens or a Sigma 70-300 f4-5.6 depending on where I'm going.

If I could start from scratch and had no budget I would probably get the DA* 16-50, DA* 50-135, DA 10-17 for zooms, and I also would own several of the Limited and DA* primes(like the 200mm f2.8, the upcoming 55 f1.4, 15mm and 30mm lenses). But unfortunately I didn't start from scratch, I have a limited budget and my lens selection is a hodgepodge of 35mm and digital zooms and primes(I'm sure I had a good reason for buying all of them at the time). I'm currently in the process of a sort-out, where if I'm not using a lens much(or at all) I'm going to get rid of it, maybe trade it at the local shop or sell it, to raise money so I can buy something different!

05-23-2008, 10:21 AM   #5
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One lens to do it all? I don't think it exists yet. You will always need one a little longer,a little wider, a little faster..................This is what you did to yourself when you bought a DSLR.
05-23-2008, 10:32 AM   #6
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I was in a big bind before buying all kinds of lenses trying to find a good walk around kit. In the end I use my lenses this way.

My 50-135 is almost ALWAYS with me. I carry a Tamron 1.4x TC to go along with it So I can cover about 50-189 with it. It's an amazing lens and worth the money.

For wide end i'll either take the 18-55 kit or 16-50 depending on what conditions and situation I am in with them.

After all the things I've read though I think an 18-250 partnered with a good low light prime will cover almost all of your needs.
05-23-2008, 10:39 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by riotsquad Quote
Can I get a single lens that can do all of these things well, or passable- indoor sports and school events(plays, ceremonies, concerts), outdoor sports events, wildlife(bird photo).
All of these things are generally far away, so you want a long focal length. For the first two, speed is a necessity, and for last two, it's still nice.

The DA★ 50-135mm f/2.8 will get you the speed and is a moderate telephoto lens and is by all accounts extremely top-of-the-line superb. That's what $750 will get you.

Alternately, the DA 50-200mm f/4-5.6 is less than a third of that price. It's not as good optically and doesn't have SDM or weather sealing, and it's (depending on where you're zoomed) one or two stops slower. But for $220, I think it'll fit the bill for "passable" for the things you've listed.
05-23-2008, 10:51 AM   #8
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Thanks for the suggestions.

I guess the problem I've been trying to solve is that if I buy say a da50-200 which seems to be enough zoom for the outdoor activities, it won't be fast enough for the indoor low light shots will it. Has anyone use this indoors at say a play or concert recital? When the only light is coming from the stage. Is it possible to use 4-5.6 and if so how?
Most of the zooms around the sub 200.00 price are at that speed. I've got a fast 50mm prime but I generally need more zoom.

Thanks

05-23-2008, 12:57 PM   #9
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It's way too slow. I was a Canon user and their 70-200mm F4 at ISO1600 can't stop motion for indoor performance. To shoot good indoors, you'd need a F2.8 or some camera with good high ISO performance, say at ISO3200 or ISO6400.

QuoteOriginally posted by riotsquad Quote
Thanks for the suggestions.

I guess the problem I've been trying to solve is that if I buy say a da50-200 which seems to be enough zoom for the outdoor activities, it won't be fast enough for the indoor low light shots will it. Has anyone use this indoors at say a play or concert recital? When the only light is coming from the stage. Is it possible to use 4-5.6 and if so how?
Most of the zooms around the sub 200.00 price are at that speed. I've got a fast 50mm prime but I generally need more zoom.

Thanks
05-23-2008, 01:21 PM   #10
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A few weeks after I got my K10D I went to a small concert (basically in the group's home). The only lens I had at the time was a Pentax DA 16-45mm /4. With the ISO set at 1600 and the lens wide open and IS I still could not stop motion effectively and the photos had tones of noise (still need to rework the photos). Reflecting back I would shot it differently, but it was the best I could do at the time with my equipment and knowledge. Get the faster glass for indoor if you can't use a flash. My solution is to use fast primes, but that's just me.

05-23-2008, 02:14 PM   #11
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If you want indoors, you're going to need speed.
-----

Just this past week I shot some random sports using either a FA50mm f/1.4 or the kit 18-55 AL II (forgot to bring my 70-300).

Even in a large sports gym with lighting from the ceiling and diffused from two rather large banks of windows, the kit lens was just too slow to shoot satisfactorily. The 50mm fared a lot better, but even then I was up to 1600 ISO the whole time, in order to freeze action (dodgeball / basketball games) for the most part. I kept the FA50mm at around f/2.4-2.8 to get max sharpness while still retaining around 1/300 shutter times.


From my limited shooting experience, you're going to want a mid-tele for "events", like watching local baseball / football games, indoor events, etc.

For larger stadium events, you might want something longer. For birding you definitely want something longer. Many birders will say you want to start at 300mm and go from there.

------------------

Also, remember, you get what you pay for (usually) when it comes to lenses. Take my Tamron zoom for instance -- It's cheap and goes to 300mm, but I'm picky and never use it past 220mm or so, as I cannot stand to see the drop in sharpness. Also, it's sharpest when stopped down to about F/8 or so....shooting wide open gives me a noticeable drop in sharpness.

So, while my lens is specced for 70-300 f/4-5.6, what I use it for is a 70-220mm F/8 and macro. This doesn't bother me, though, as it was only $129 U.S.


Of course, I may be more of a pixel peeper than most, so take what I say with a grain of salt

A "do it all" lens (something like a 18-250mm) is going to be convenient, but you'll sacrifice speed and quality to get that convenience.

----

Personally if I had the cash, I'd have a DA* 300 for larger sporting events, I'd then add a 1.4x TC for birding, and the DA* 50-135 for smaller events or indoors. Throw in a fast ~16-45mm lens for most wideangle shots and you're set.

I plan on definitely getting the 50-135 here real soon, as I think it will fit most of my shooting style. It's pretty sharp even when wide open, so it'll probably end up being my indoor lens, portrait, and event lens.
05-23-2008, 02:42 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by riotsquad Quote
I am looking at buying a new lens and I was hoping I could get some recommendations and advice. I have a k200d with the 18-55 II lens but although I'm happy with what it can do, it's also limiting.

Can I get a single lens that can do all of these things well, or passable- indoor sports and school events(plays, ceremonies, concerts), outdoor sports events, wildlife(bird photo).

I've searched the forums and I couldn't find a lens for all.

I don't need professional quality just family album type shots.

Any suggestions would be great from $bare min, to mid to top of the line.

Thanks Paul
Hi Paul,
I am looking at your quote (above) where you say "I don't need professional quality just family album type shots"

I would be looking at the Pentax/Tamron 18-250...BUT...make yourself aware of the limitations of this type of superzoom lens. There are many shots from this lens posted on this site. If you cant find them, I'm sure forum members who have this lens would gladly post some more.

I have the Sigma 18-125 and its a good "all purpose / walk about lens", but it doesn't like lowlight situations without some help in the form of a mono pod (or tripod...but bulkier to move around) and get to understand iso speed so as you can get the absolute maximium out of your camera in dodgy light situations.

If the $$$ will allow it you could add the 50mm f1.4 to your kit and then you will have most situations pretty well covered.

Other options are (as previously stated): IF you are comfortable carrying and changing lens', Pentax 50-200, Tamron 70-300 etc (new Pentax 55-300).

Good luck.
05-23-2008, 03:57 PM   #13
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Hi Paul (riotsquad)

Re your query, try the link below which contains further links to some of the photos I've taken with my Tamron 18-250mm.....

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/171724-post3.html

I have found that as a general 'all-in-one-solution' walk-around lens, this 18-250mm lens (or it's Pentax derivative) takes some beating. However, hand-held stage-shots in dimly-lit theatre interiors naturally require a slightly larger aperture than the 18-250mm lens can reasonably be expected to provide. By their very nature, super-zoom designs often involve certain compromises such as the one described above, but what this lens is capable of achieving in most other respects makes it worthy of consideration in my book. The expression "horses for courses" springs to mind and surely one of the main reasons that you purchased a DSLR in the first place was for the ability to select alternative lenses on different occasions.

Best regards
Richard
05-23-2008, 05:00 PM   #14
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I don't recall seeing it mentioned here yet, but if you can hold off a little until it's released, the upcoming 70-200 f/2.8 combined with a 1.4x TC when needed should cover the long end pretty well and is probably the best compromise of speed and range.
05-24-2008, 07:28 AM   #15
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Thanks everyone for the input.

I was hoping that I could just buy one lens instead of two even if I had to spend a little more. It looks like I'll be getting on for the outdoor events, kids sports etc and wildlife and one for the indoor events.

I tried the kit lens indoors at graduation and quickly realized I needed a faster and longer lens. My long term plans are to save up for a fast zoom and my short term, now that it's summer is to buy a slower outdoor zoom.

've been looking at the lenses that everyone has suggested and price wise i've narrowed it down to the sub 200.00 lenses. Sigma 70-300, Pentax DA 50-200, and tamron 70-300. Are there any others I should consider. The performance of the sigma and tamron, eventhough they are lonnger seem to put them in the 200 range.

Paul
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