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12-29-2015, 01:48 AM   #1
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Replacement Kit Lens? K-3

Hi,

I was just looking for some recommendations for a replacement kit lens as I've started to notice more and more distortion, purple fringing and softness at the edges when using the 18-55 DA L kit lens that came with my K-r.

My main goal for a new lens is improved IQ (sharper edges, no fringing, better contrast?) at the same focal lengths and aperture ranges, but wider options (<18mm) and/or faster options (<3.5) would also be great as I don't have anything wider than the kit at the moment, and I could always use the extra speed. I'd mainly be using this for indoor event photography and maybe some landscaping or street photography in cramped spaces (i.e. Melbourne laneways)

Price wise, I'd be hoping to keep it as low as possible (would be fine looking/waiting for a good second hand deal), but anything over $500 would probably be out of my budget.
Weight and size isn't too much of a concern for me, as long as its not at the extremes.

Thanks!

12-29-2015, 02:03 AM - 1 Like   #2
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As far as Pentax lenses are concerned, I'd look for the 16-45 lens. It is not too expensive and - provided you get a good copy - can be very satisfying. On the 'con' side there are the maximum aperture of 4 at the 'long' (=45mm) end.
The 16-85mm Pentax lens is a more modern design, but also is a bit slow and will (even the used ones) exceed your limit.
12-29-2015, 02:06 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by ADN Quote
Hi,

I was just looking for some recommendations for a replacement kit lens as I've started to notice more and more distortion, purple fringing and softness at the edges when using the 18-55 DA L kit lens that came with my K-r.

My main goal for a new lens is improved IQ (sharper edges, no fringing, better contrast?) at the same focal lengths and aperture ranges, but wider options (<18mm) and/or faster options (<3.5) would also be great as I don't have anything wider than the kit at the moment, and I could always use the extra speed. I'd mainly be using this for indoor event photography and maybe some landscaping or street photography in cramped spaces (i.e. Melbourne laneways)

Price wise, I'd be hoping to keep it as low as possible (would be fine looking/waiting for a good second hand deal), but anything over $500 would probably be out of my budget.
Weight and size isn't too much of a concern for me, as long as its not at the extremes.

Thanks!
I'd look at the Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 "C" (an excellent balance of versatility, speed, and image quality), Pentax 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 (very good image quality, but slower aperture), or Sigma/Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 (best image quality, but lowest versatility). All should be a big upgrade over your 18-55mm, and your K-3 certainly deserves a better walkaround lens You should be able to get all of these for under $500, especially if you import from the US.

Here are links to our reviews of each lens:
HD Pentax-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews
Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 Contemporary Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews
DA* 16-50mm vs. Sigma and Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 Comparison Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews

Adam
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12-29-2015, 02:09 AM   #4
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I recommend you to read two series of detailed reviews on relevant lenses: Pentax 16-50mm, Sigma 17-70mm, Tamron 17-50mm, Pentax HD20-40mm, Pentx 17-70mm:

DA* 16-50mm vs. Sigma and Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 Comparison Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews

HD Pentax-DA 20-40mm F2.8-4 Limited Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews

Pentax 17-70mm Lens Comparison Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews

The Tamron 17-70mm and Pentax 17-70mm would be within your budget.

PS: Adam posted almost at the same time some very complete info.

12-29-2015, 03:02 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by ADN Quote
Hi,

I was just looking for some recommendations for a replacement kit lens as I've started to notice more and more distortion, purple fringing and softness at the edges when using the 18-55 DA L kit lens that came with my K-r.

My main goal for a new lens is improved IQ (sharper edges, no fringing, better contrast?) at the same focal lengths and aperture ranges, but wider options (<18mm) and/or faster options (<3.5) would also be great as I don't have anything wider than the kit at the moment, and I could always use the extra speed. I'd mainly be using this for indoor event photography and maybe some landscaping or street photography in cramped spaces (i.e. Melbourne laneways)

Price wise, I'd be hoping to keep it as low as possible (would be fine looking/waiting for a good second hand deal), but anything over $500 would probably be out of my budget.
Weight and size isn't too much of a concern for me, as long as its not at the extremes.

Thanks!
My 2 cents : yes, replace that kit lens ASAP and you'll have better results for sure. I've had great luck and excellent results with the DA16-85 throughout the focal length with very nice corner/edge resolution. Really no complaints whatsoever on this lens. The DA18-135 is also very good and versatile, a bit cheaper these days but not below 18mm. Have never used it but many people swear by the Tamron 17-50. I never went for it due to it being just 1mm wider than the various 18mm offers and a bit short at 50mm. I think when you own this lens it just performs as an excellent kit lens, albeit excellent, but short and limiting. Adam's and hcc's posts above offer other alternatives looking into. I also think your Aussie pricing is still much better than the murderous pricing levels going on in Europe. Have fun...
12-29-2015, 03:04 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by forest_bear59 Quote
As far as Pentax lenses are concerned, I'd look for the 16-45 lens. It is not too expensive and - provided you get a good copy - can be very satisfying
+1
12-29-2015, 03:23 AM   #7
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I also agree with the 16-45; although it is not fast at a constant f4 across the range, it's better all round than the 18-55 kit. It's on my K-5 now as my 20-40 Limited lives on my K-3II - and what a lens that is. Upsides - solid, sharp, very good contrast due to HD coating, DC autofocus, WR, and a dream to handle. Downsides - not cheap, and not as wide as you're looking for. On the occasions when I want wider than 20, I take two or three side-by-side portrait shots and stitch them.
12-29-2015, 05:26 AM   #8
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Go to the big camera stores on Elizabeth Street and see what they've got for you to try. Last time I was there (late February 2015), bothMichael's and DigiDirect had a fair few Pentax or Pentax-compatible things, and if I hadn't been so intent on a fast prime I probably would have seen more. Ask them (politely) if they'll let you stand at the door and take a few photos out into the street, and offer them your kit lens to hold as security while you do this. I've never been turned down, even when I looked like I'd just come straight off the tail end of a 36-hour multi-stage halfway round the world flight (which was in fact the case).

First take a picture of the lens you are about to mount, sitting on its box. Then go out in the street. Zoom all the way out. Take one shot at maximum aperture, one at minimum (ramp up the ISO if you have to), one at f/8 (which will be constant at all focal lengths for any lens, and will ensure the lens is closed down a bit if its maximum aperture has become f/5.6 or f/6.3). Repeat at mid range and at full zoom. Go back, take a picture of the next lens you intend to try. Repeat as above.

Then go home, or if you've got a laptop go to the nearest coffee shop. Review all the pictures over a cuppa or two. You will have on your card an image of every lens you tried, followed by its test shots. It's not exactly science in that the images aren't standard or repeatable, but you WILL get an idea of how the lens performs in the street, both at the extremes and in the middle ground.

Looking at DigiDirect's website, I believe they actually rent lenses, and the rates are not hideous. Whether the Melbourne store does this, I do not know. If it does, that would be the next step. Consider a day's rental of one or more of the lenses you tried. Walk around and shoot the blazes outta that sucker, making sure to expose all its weak points as well as its strengths.

When this process is complete, you should have a far better idea of what you want. Now is the time to start shopping for the best deal, remembering that support from a bricks-and-mortar store that you can take a faulty lens back to in person, and the warranty support that comes from buying within Australia, may be worth a price premium, not to mention building up a rapport with the store staff and creating goodwill with the sale.

I would have recommended the 18-135, which I have found from experience to be an excellent lens, but you have already stated you need more at the wide end.

There are quite a few Melbournian or at least Victorian Pentaxians about on this site, whom you could PM and ask for advice, maybe even meet up with over a coffee and get some advice firsthand. Good luck in your search!

12-29-2015, 03:25 PM   #9
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I own the Sigma 17-50 F2.8 and I have been very happy with it; it is the lens that spends the most time on my camera. I would recommend it to anyone, and although it doesn't offer you much extra width, it does give a speed boost.
12-29-2015, 10:33 PM   #10
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i used to own a Tamron 17-50 f2.8 .. great great lens.. IQ, sharp, and focus are really nice.. you can find that one at around $300 +/-
12-30-2015, 11:24 AM   #11
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You'd be hog crazy not to consider the 16-85
12-30-2015, 03:17 PM   #12
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Just got a 16-45 for my K3. Great upgrade!
12-30-2015, 03:54 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by timb64 Quote
You'd be hog crazy not to consider the 16-85
OP is Australian, and by the time you consider currency conversion, shipping, customs fees as & if applicable, it's probably well beyond his 500 (presumably Australian) dollar budget. Granted he might find one used, but statements like this that don't take into account some people's overtly stated upper budget limits and the possibility of other people's unstated limits being (of necessity) lower still strike me as somewhere between ill-thought and insensitive. For some of us, the consideration of anything other than a fifty dollar Craigslist kit lens is like asking a Pacific island navy to consider a nuclear-powered carrier battle group.
12-30-2015, 04:37 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
OP is Australian, and by the time you consider currency conversion, shipping, customs fees as & if applicable, it's probably well beyond his 500 (presumably Australian) dollar budget. Granted he might find one used, but statements like this that don't take into account some people's overtly stated upper budget limits and the possibility of other people's unstated limits being (of necessity) lower still strike me as somewhere between ill-thought and insensitive. For some of us, the consideration of anything other than a fifty dollar Craigslist kit lens is like asking a Pacific island navy to consider a nuclear-powered carrier battle group.
Sorry,consider me suitably chastened.(I wasn't the only one though)


Edit.Having reread your post I feel you have rather over reacted.You have made assumptions as to the OP's financial status,currency used and access to retailers beyond their immediate location(they might, for instance, travel to Asia or the US).Furthermore saving a bit more for a better lens is hardly comparable to International Arms Budgeting!Looking at your equipment list(personally I find such an ostentatious display of ownership vulgar,whether you bought them for $50 or full retail price) you hardly fall into the Pacific Island Navy category in terms of photographic armoury!
If I caused the OP any offence(which I doubt)I stand by my apology but I think you need to get over yourself!

Last edited by timb64; 12-31-2015 at 12:39 AM.
12-31-2015, 12:33 AM   #15
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Pathdoc,have reconsidered my earlier reply to you which I have edited above!
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