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06-23-2008, 02:51 PM   #1
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Pentax Lens Opinions/Options

Hello,

I'm new to the forum, and recently got a K20 that was bundled with the 18-55mm and 50-200mm Pentax zooms. I am an old time film guy that used to have Nikon 35mm's and 4x5's, so I'm not really so new to photography and optics. So far, I am just amazed with the K20, but these lenses don't seem to perform as I want. I have noticed that neither of them are really too sharp, and seem to have chromatic aberration. Needless to say, I'm a little disappointed, but considering the price of both, I guess they are not so bad.

I am now looking at the 14mm prime since I like landscape scenes most, but would also like to get something in the 200mm range. I would really appreciate opinions on what lenses others have truly found to be best in sharpness and other optical characteristics in these focal lengths. I have not ruled out a zoom, however I've never been real keen on them, at least back in the old days...

Thanks Much.
Brian

06-23-2008, 03:13 PM   #2
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Welcome to the site Brian, I am not much of a prime user so I don;t know much abou the 14mm, but I do have the DA*200mm and it is a definite winner, a stellar perfomer and will match up quite well with the K20D. If there is a zoom that I would recommend you trying out it would have to be the DA*50-135mm, it is my favorite lens, super shart wide open at both ends and for what I like to shoot, perfect focal length for me.
06-23-2008, 03:16 PM   #3
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Welcome to the forum, Brian. Where in Arkansas are you located? There are 3 of us on the forum located in NW Arkansas. I don't have the K20, but a K100 and have both of those kit lenses and have not had any issue with them. I've read on this forum that the K20 is a bit too much camera for some lenses, this may be the case here. I'm sure someone will chime in and help you out.
Nick
06-23-2008, 03:29 PM   #4
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Welcom to the forum.

If you are looking for high quality lenses, and to some extent wanting wider than the existying kit lens and faster (i assume) than the 50-200 you have a couple of options.

you have noted the 14mm prime, but what about the 12-24 zoom, or the sigma 10-20mm? Both are excellent, not as good probably as a prime, but the extra flexibility and width make them interesting. Also note that 14mm on the DSLR is a field of view of 21mm on a 23mm film slr so it is not as wide a s you may be thinking.

On the long end, the pentax 200mm F2.8 is reported to be ecellent. I use a sigma 70-200 F2.8 zoom, which is very very good through out the range of focal lengths. The zoom is heavier than the prime (obviously) but might be a good all round performer and replacement for the longer of the kit lenses.

I use both sigma lenses on a K10D, and while not as high a resolution as the K20, I believe you will find them excellent performers.

06-23-2008, 05:07 PM   #5
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Camera Lens Rentals

Hi Brian - welcome to the "club" - everyone is really nnice and helpful.

I am in the (many years) process of converting from film to digital, and still have MANY more manual lenses than auto. I'm planning to try a few lenses, though, by renting them, since I don't have a commercial account with any local camera stores.

If you think you'd like to try that, here is a link to place a few here have used, or at least looked at - they actually carry Pentax and reported are to be very friendly.

Online Camera Lens Rental for Canon, Nikon, and PENTAX Cameras
06-23-2008, 06:00 PM   #6
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Since you have a preference for primes, I highly recommend the DA35/2.8 macro. With the crop factor, it's about as close to the 50mm standard prime of film cameras as you can get and has excellent IQ, along with 1:1 macro.

Although I don't have it at this point, another good one to consider is the DA21/3.2. Obviously, it's not as wide as the 14, but the IQ is excellent.

HTH,
Heather
06-23-2008, 06:15 PM   #7
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Welcome to the site and to Pentax digital. On the wide end you may also wish to consider the DA12-24 and DA16-45 zooms. Both are very capable but a stop slower than the 14. I haven't used the DA*200 but have used its predecessor, the FA*200 and highly recommend either. On the prime front, any of the "Limiteds" (DA21, DA40, DA70) and their predecessors (FA31, FA43, FA77) will hold their own with pretty much any glass. Dave
06-23-2008, 06:19 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by wa5am Quote
Hello,

I'm new to the forum, and recently got a K20 that was bundled with the 18-55mm and 50-200mm Pentax zooms. I am an old time film guy that used to have Nikon 35mm's and 4x5's, so I'm not really so new to photography and optics. So far, I am just amazed with the K20, but these lenses don't seem to perform as I want. I have noticed that neither of them are really too sharp, and seem to have chromatic aberration. Needless to say, I'm a little disappointed, but considering the price of both, I guess they are not so bad.

I am now looking at the 14mm prime since I like landscape scenes most, but would also like to get something in the 200mm range. I would really appreciate opinions on what lenses others have truly found to be best in sharpness and other optical characteristics in these focal lengths. I have not ruled out a zoom, however I've never been real keen on them, at least back in the old days...

Thanks Much.
Brian
Before you toss the two zooms, do go to the trouble of ensuring they are focusing correctly using the focus adjustment on the K20. Chromatic aberration is something you will have to live with, especially if you like shooting high contrast stuff like backlit tree branches. DSLR sensors are very prone to showing off every fault a lens could possibly have, and the ability to put the file under the equivalent of a 20X Loupe makes a lot of people post apparent problems with their equipment that they wouldn't have if they made prints rather than just looked at 100% magnifications on their computer screens.

You can, if you see the need, use the RAW converter packed with Photoshop to tame down a lot of chromatic aberration if you need to.
I rarely need to.

Having said that, remember that you are using inexpensive consumer glass, not the best that Pentax makes. I think my 18-55 came to the princely sum of Can$100.00 when I bought my K20. For this price, if it resolves anything, it's a miracle.

I quite like the 14mm lens, it is sharp and contrasty and makes nice pictures.
The 12-24 is also good, though the 14mm prime has an edge in sharpness, and is a stop faster as well.
The new DA 200/2.8 is reputed to be very good. I don't own one, but a number of photographers that I correspond with are using it, and are happy

06-24-2008, 12:45 AM   #9
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I'd like to recommend a manual 20mm. Super Takumar or SMC-M. For landscape I believe they are excellent lenses, and due to the overly expensive 24mm (in terms of manual lenses), the 20mm somehow are extremly cheap. If your lucky on ebay you can get it for a dollar per mm.
06-24-2008, 02:14 AM   #10
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What a great group of people!!

Thanks for all the useful opinions, comments, and suggestions. This will give me a lot to go on now. One thing I'm not real clear on yet is what lens designations indicate, such as DA, FA, etc. I'm fairly certain this has something to do with how they work with auto-focus, aperture, etc. With the K20, are there certain ones I should stay away from for one reason or another?

Thanks Again All!

Brian
06-24-2008, 02:16 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nick1946 Quote
Welcome to the forum, Brian. Where in Arkansas are you located? There are 3 of us on the forum located in NW Arkansas. I don't have the K20, but a K100 and have both of those kit lenses and have not had any issue with them. I've read on this forum that the K20 is a bit too much camera for some lenses, this may be the case here. I'm sure someone will chime in and help you out.
Nick
Nick, I am North Central AR. About 45 miles north of Little Rock. Glad to hear there are some other Arkys on here...

Brian
06-24-2008, 02:37 AM   #12
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Pentax Lens Terminology

The types of lenses from oldest to newest:

K, M
manual focus
constant metering (no multi-segment)
no program mode or shutter priority
A
manual focus
constant metering (no multi-segment)
support all modes
F
auto-focus
plastic body
FA, D FA
auto-focus
DA
auto-focus + Quick-Shift
no aperture ring
cropped frame only (except a couple)
Lens designations:

AL
Aspherical eLements for flat field and corner sharpness
ED
Extra-low Dispersion elements for less color aberrations
IF
Internal Focusing
SDM
Supersonic Drive Motor for faster and quiter focus
*
high-performance and compact
Limited
all-metal, compact, high quality, limited production runs
06-24-2008, 02:53 AM   #13
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Limited

all-metal, compact, high quality, limited production runs


Try this ones! LBA on HIGH!
06-24-2008, 05:55 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
The types of lenses from oldest to newest:
You left out the Wonderful World of Takumar....grandaddy of them all, and still much loved and used by a great many of us.
06-24-2008, 09:24 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
You left out the Wonderful World of Takumar....grandaddy of them all, and still much loved and used by a great many of us.
Yes, I'm sorry, I did. Is there a short description others can add to make the list complete? Basically they are like the K lenses, right? But how to quickly identify them?
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