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01-09-2016, 04:39 AM   #1
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Chasing lenses and places to get them!

Hiya!

It's been a while since I last visited the forums - every time I do it seems I'm in some sort of dilemma needing help lol!

Anywho, now that I'm acquainted with my k-50 I'm chasing new lenses as the old kit lenses that came with my k-x have had a pretty hard life and I'm looking to retire them (to put it nicely)
I had intended to get all new lenses when I got my new body but a few minor disasters meant I had to can the idea at the time.

Currently I have a Prime 35mm which is quite new so no need to replace that little sucker (I find I don't use it as much as I should, I keep going back to the next lens I list)
My favourite lens has been the kit 18-55 which is still going pretty good but it's done some hard miles in the outback so it's a little tired.
Last and least is the kit 50-200.... I'm not overly fond of it but use it to get that 200 zoom which I often need every little bit of with active horses, it's pretty well buggered.

I'm only looking at getting a couple of lenses for now, these will have to last me a fair while as I am on a budget.... I chose to mitigate this by getting a few good lenses rather than a lot of not so good ones, I'm aiming for the best aperture I can get my hands on within reason and weather proofing is a bonus.


Now, what the new lenses will be used for.
I love getting out and about in the bush, so a landscape lens is a must, for this I've been using my rather tired 18-55 as I love the versatility of the zoom and play with effects a lot, but I am open to suggestions or strong recommendations

Campdrafting.
If you haven't heard of it, it's a horse sport which is very fast pased, dusty, starts early in the morning and finishes around dusk, the subject will be 10 metres away from you one minute then across the arena (60 metres away) within a matter of seconds - weather proofing at campdrafts is a must... I'd like more zoom than I have but it's not essential, less than 200 zoom is a deal breaker.

I have just started to tackle portraiture after persistent um.... "urging" from my friends! This isn't high on my priority list though as I'm not a people person lol, I prefer to photograph animals!

Something I'm REALLY getting into is nighttime photos, this is a newly discovered obsession. so this is something I'll be keeping in mind as I select new lenses.

Obviously I dream of a big ass lens to make sneaking up on little birdies and wild animals easier, but it's not urgent....unless I win lotto or forgo getting the other lenses I'm looking at lol.

My main bug bear is where to get them from! I know there are a few really dodgy sites around, and I absolutely don't trust ebay for anything more than a few bucks..... plus it's a nightmare to navigate lol, I've been snooping around Ted's and Pentax Australia so far.


Any help is, as always, much appreciated, I guess what I'm asking is if there are any really bad ones to avoid, or any particularly good ones to snap up, it's difficult to track reviews for everything out there...
If anyone is after pics that better explain what I'm trying to say when I mention playing with effects or campdrafting, sing out and I'll post them

Cheers, and thanks for reading,
Pen



Last edited by kurrawinya; 01-09-2016 at 05:48 AM.
01-09-2016, 05:31 AM   #2
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Campdrafting sounds like a good sport for a weather resistant zoom -------------- 18-135 might be a good candidate here.

Portraiture needs at least 50mm of focal length on APSC and possibly closer to 70mm; it's no secret that the 70 and 77mm Limited primes are preferred for this in focal length terms, but they are pricey. I have the 70, and the limited use I've made of it so far (I only got it at Christmas) tells me it's excellent for this.

Can't help you at the long end, I'm afraid; my only long lens is a very secondhand and very second rate third-party lens from the screwmount era.
01-09-2016, 05:41 AM   #3
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Thank you all good! I really appreciate you taking the time to help!
Given that portaits are low 9n my priority list (I hate doing them but get conned into the occasional one by friends) I'll probably be a little less inclined to spend big bucks there.
With campdrafting I probably won't go below 200 as I find with the distances involved that even with my current 200 I have to crop a lot to get rhe horse filling the frame nicely.
01-09-2016, 05:57 AM   #4
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With your limited budget I'd do 18-135 and 55-300.

01-09-2016, 06:04 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by VoiceOfReason Quote
With your limited budget I'd do 18-135 and 55-300.
Thanks!

Last edited by kurrawinya; 01-09-2016 at 06:20 AM.
01-09-2016, 07:29 AM   #6
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I'm not familiar with the 18-135 or 55-300 Voice of Reason suggests, but have heard good things about them and given how rough and tumble your needs seem to be, their relatively low cost makes those lenses a very good suggestion.

If you need a little faster aperture, want a little higher quality and are willing to make a little bigger investment, you might consider the DA*16-50 and DA*60-250 tandem. These occasionally come up for sale on this forum. The DA*16-50 often gets lackluster reviews, but mine's been a work horse and you can take a look at the DA* club on this forum to see sample shots (Rondec gets some great photos from this lens). Bear in mind these are heavier.

Like pathdoc, I'm a fan of the DA70 limited. There may be better portraiture lenses, but this will serve you very well and it's small enough to carry in a pocket (not that you should).

Good luck with your decision. BTW, I really like your signature photo.
01-09-2016, 09:26 AM   #7
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depends on your budget, and whether you'd be willing to get one lens now, and leave the others until later? Having acquired almost all of the Pentax lenses over the years, in hindsight, just buying one good lens instead of 3 upgrades over time would have been a cheaper option :/

At the wide end, the 18-135 is probably the best bang for the buck (and goes some way to replacing both of your zooms).

If however your 50-200 is in reasonable condition, I might be tempted to suggest the DA20-40 instead? If your 18-55 has taken a beating, then the 20-40 will take a bigger beating, is WR, and has better IQ (and would replace the 18-55 and 35). Whilst the focal length is limited compared to your 18-55, it would have low light performance closer to the Da35 than your current zoom.

I'd probably look at a portrait lens next. The DA50 is the low cost option. For the price it's great, but suffers from more purple fringing than the 70 or 77, and the autofocus is a bit skittish in low light. The DA70 is much better imo, I'd personally recommend that!

I'd leave the telephoto lens until last. If you seriously want to go hunting for wildlife, nothing comes close to the DA* 300. I picked mine up on Black Friday for a reasonable amount. It's a beast, but by far the next lens Pentax make for k mount. The next best option is the 55-300, which is probably a no brainier...
01-09-2016, 09:35 AM   #8
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I also recommend, if your budget allows, the 16-50 and 60-250. You can buy these used here on the forum for reasonable prices Those two give you good speed and good range. For a budget, the new HD WR 55-300 has good reviews, as does the 16-85. They are both slower lenses though, and that may be a consideration for your needs.

Buy the best glass you can afford.

01-09-2016, 11:34 AM   #9
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Since you are going to be in a dusty environment I would say AW or WR lensess would be preferred. So that eliminates a lot of the older film lenses that might be recommended.

I think you have two choices:
1) 18-135 and the WR version of the 55-300 which would be the budget choice. An upgrade from your current kit but not too expensive, especially if you go used.
2) DA*16-50 and DA*60-250 these are high end premium lenses and well worth the current pricing. But they are not budget lenses by any means. The 60-250 can be found used but holds it's value quite well. The 16-50 is also available used and the price has come down a lot on this. You could get one that has been converted to screwdrive for not much more than a new 18-135.
01-09-2016, 01:29 PM   #10
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Where from?

Hi Pen,

I'm not really into zooms so I'll leave the feedback on those to others. From my little experience with the zoom options though I think the most logical solutions mentioned are the 18-135 and the WR version of the 55-300 from what I've seen online. The image quality is way better than the price of these lenses would suggest. Reviews are okay but use resouces like the forums here and Flickr to check out samples taken with the lenses that will be recommended. Here's some to start with:
https://www.flickr.com/groups/1952853@N24/pool/
https://www.flickr.com/groups/952636@N24/pool/

For portraiture I'd suggest trying the longer zoom and using it at 100-135mm. Think that's a bit long? There's some portraits at the following link taken of performers on stage using the DA*300: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kentfreeman/

Just try to counteract the slower aperture by selecting a more distant background which will separate the person from what's behind them. Something like the 70/77 is easier and more appropriate, but budget as a priority means you should try working with what you will have. Even better maybe to consider portraiture as capturing people in their environment, this will give you portraits with context of where they are and what they're doing. Considering the topics of campdrafting etc this would be way more interesting than 'here's a photo of a person's head' (IMHO, YMMV etc). Another option is one of the Samyang/Rokinon 85mm manual lenses, a great focal length for portraits and suprisingly flexible when you train the eye to 'see scenes in that focal length'.

One last bit on the lenses I'd like to raise is the landscape / night photography comment. I'm not sure what you mean by 'night photography'. Are you talking night landscapes or people? Flash or no flash? Faster lenses are more flexible at night, particularly if you want to freeze action without getting into compromising ISO levels. If you want landscapes with big starry nights, then I'd suggest considering going wider than the 18mm you currently get. I still love my old Sigma 10-20 f4-5.6. It's plenty wide/flexible for landscapes and big starry skies, cloudscapes etc. And if you're used to getting close to horses you will be surprised at just how many image options a lens like that can create. The 10-20 has been around a while so a good quality used copy should be floating around. Just thought I'd mention that to flame some LBA.

So far as locations to buy as you know in this country there's few options to choose from and you're pretty much best going online. I'd love to sugest a particular bicks and mortar store with a good range of Pentax kit to consider but I don't know of any myself. Maybe some suggestions will come your way soon.

Two outlets come to mind for consideration. The first one is the eBay store for CR Kennedy called dcxpert. Here's a link to their page: dcxpert on eBay

The other option you might consider is Digidirect for two reasons. First is they have a good range of Pentax kit in their store, the second being this outlet was suggested to me by a representative at CR Kennedy when I was looking at buying into 645 last year. The prices for some items are cheaper here than from the Pentax Store on the CR Kennedy webpage too. They can be found here: Cheap Digital Cameras, SLR Cameras & Video Cameras - Canon, Sony, Nikon, Olympus, JVC | DigiDIRECT Australia

Another option for a new lens outlet is B&H in the US. Great service and prices, though you have to factor in the exchange rate and postage. If you want to look at lenses for Pentax, here's a link: SLR Lenses, DSLR Lenses | B&H Photo Video

Anyhoo, good luck with whichever way you go. The price will drive your best options and to be honest I'd start on the forum here for a better quality used WR/AW lens. Buying new is nice but it will be more expensive. If you're happy with the kit zoom, you could pick up the WR version of the 55-300 and update the kit zoom to the WR version later.

Whichever way you go I hope you find what suits you best.

Hooroo for now,

Tas

Last edited by Tas; 01-09-2016 at 01:30 PM. Reason: Typo
01-09-2016, 02:03 PM   #11
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One thing to keep in mind about the WR lenses is that they are not sealed against dust. They are drip resistant and no more.

The AW lenses (those marked AW and the DA* lenses) are sealed against dust as well as moisture.
01-09-2016, 02:16 PM   #12
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As others have mentioned, the 18-135 and 55-300 WR are good choices. I don't have the 18-135, but do own the 55-300 WR and it's a fantastic lens for the money. It will cover most of your portrait needs too, with the short end being roughly equivalent to the revered 85mm on full frame.

Another choice for the shorter lens would be the 16-85 - this is also WR and has had rave reviews, although I had problems with two copies so unfortunately don't now own one. But those that get a good copy are rightly impressed by it. It would cover your short end range very nicely and offer considerable extra field of view at 16mm, whilst also having a useful crossover with the 55-300.

As boriscleto mentions, WR doesn't mean dust-*proof* or water-*proof* - it means the lenses are more resistant to these than a non-WR lens. Specifically, you don't want to be zooming in or out in very dusty or wet conditions - but if you preset the focal length in a cleaner, drier environment (your car, for instance) before shooting, you should be OK unless the conditions are extreme. Truly "All Weather" lenses are, as you'd expect, more expensive.
01-09-2016, 03:30 PM   #13
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Okay, based on what I said earlier for a budget combo (18-135 and 55-300) if you could afford it I'd get the DA*16-50 and DA* 60-250 along with the DA 1.4x AW teleconverter.
01-10-2016, 06:24 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by kurrawinya Quote
My main bug bear is where to get them from! I know there are a few really dodgy sites around, and I absolutely don't trust ebay for anything more than a few bucks..... plus it's a nightmare to navigate lol, I've been snooping around Ted's and Pentax Australia so far.
As for buying new, I agree with what Tas said. I've bought often from dcxpert and highly recommend them. (They aren't actually C R Kennedy, the official distributors for Pentax and Sigma, but they use CRK for fulfilment.)

Pentax Australia will price-match sale prices at Pentax US, so that is worth watching for.

To find the best prices on new lenses from online sellers, try one of these price comparison sites:
http://www.staticice.com.au
http://www.shopbot.com.au

Buying used lenses has its risks, particularly when you don't get a warranty.

Of course stores like Michael's and Camera Lane provide a warranty with used lenses, but there don't seem to be any stores in Australia that carry much second-hand Pentax stock, and what they have is often pricey.

C R Kennedy sometimes clear demo and excess stock through their ebay site (Survey Supplies) - there are excellent buys to be scored there, but you have to be lucky.

I've bought second-hand cameras, lenses and other photography gear from various private sellers: through the PF marketplace, ebay, Camera Market ( http://www.cameramarket.com.au/ ) and Gumtree and (touch wood) I've had a lot of good experiences. It's amazing what good gear you can get for reasonable prices if you are careful and patient. There are certainly risks, but in fact the only problem I've had was buying SD cards from an ebay retailer overseas - even then when they didn't arrive I complained to ebay resolution centre and got a full refund. It's worth paying with Paypal wherever possible because they also have a dispute resolution mechanism.

It's true that ebay searches are hit-and-miss because sellers describe items in different ways, and lenses turn up under "film cameras" or "digital cameras" as well as under "lenses". But if you know what you are looking for you can find most of that item - e.g. a search for "Pentax 18-135" will find most of the DA 18-135s for sale (albeit with some dross).

Gumtree ( http://www.gumtree.com.au ) is also worth searching. Sellers' descriptions are even more idiosyncratic than on ebay. I don't mind baleen feeding, so I tend to search for "Pentax" in all categories throughout Australia. That will typically turn up about 400-500 results. If you want a more targetted search it's still worth leaving it a little wide - e.g. "Pentax 135" or "Pentax 300" in the cameras category, rather than "Pentax 18-135" or "Pentax 55-300". Most sellers on Gumtree will ship their items, and most will accept payment by Paypal.

Buying from overseas was more viable when the $A was high a couple of years ago, but you are better off looking within Australia now.

Certainly damage in transit is a risk, but I have found that people will generally pack things carefully for postage - I've got stuff sent from the NT, Perth, northern NSW and from Brisbane without any issue. It's worth insisting on Express Post for the tracking - and it is only a little more expensive (about $15 for a satchel up to 3kg).

I've looked at some of your photos Pen and you've got a great eye. If your budget can run to DA* lenses, I think you could make them sing. The DA*60-250 is heavy (1100g), bulky and relatively expensive (about $A1350 new, about $A900 used), but it is made for tough conditions, has stellar image quality (that's what the star means) and those who have it regard it as one of the great Pentax lenses. See this review: https://www.pentaxforums.com/reviews/pentax-da-60-250mm/introduction.html?src=lrdb

But if the budget won't go that far, the 18-135 and 55-300 combo mentioned above will do very well - I've got both and I can say that each is great value and can produce excellent results in the right hands. Each is a mile better than the kit lenses you have been using.

Only comment I'd add to those above is that if you are shooting at dawn and dusk, the extra speed of the DA*60-250 f4 (or perhaps even one of the 70-200 f2.8 lenses) would be a significant advantage over the DA 55-300 (which is only f5.6 from 200mm-275mm and f5.8 above 275mm).

Here is another out-there suggestion. Dust is the bane of DSLR cameras. Changing lenses always carries the risk of dust, no matter how careful you are. In the bush it's inescapable. That leads to two other thoughts.

First thought: maybe a superzoom lens (a zoom range greater than 10x) would suit your needs. One lens on the camera all the time. There are good 18-250 lenses from Tamron and Sigma in K-mount; the Tamron was also rebadged as the Pentax DA 18-250. There is also the Pentax DA 18-270 (another Tamron design) which is available new, and features silent autofocus. If you got the Pentax DA 18-250 or 18-270, your K-50 can apply in-camera correction of distortion and chromatic aberration to jpgs. None of these superzooms is weather or dust sealed, but at least you would minimise the opportunity for dust in the sensor - and you won't miss photo ops while changing lenses. The downsides of these lenses are that they are slow (ie widest aperture isn't very wide, like f6.3 at the long end) and the image quality - although better than the kit lenses - isn't quite as good as the 18-135 or 55-300.

Second thought. Consider getting a second camera body, so you can leave the wider zoom on one and the longer zoom on the other. That's what the pros do. A second-hand K-30, K-50 or (perhaps better still, because of its more rugged construction) a K-5 can now be bought cheaply. In fact you might find one bundled with a decent lens (like the 18-135 or 55-300) as well.

Good luck Pen.

Last edited by Des; 01-21-2016 at 05:02 PM.
01-21-2016, 05:06 PM   #15
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What did you decide Pen?

I have to say, on reflection, that if you buy anything but a DA* lens, it will quickly end up like your current kit lenses, given the tough conditions you are using them in. They are pricey, but if you buy cheap you'll buy twice.

There's a DA*60-250 on sale on Gumtree Australia at the moment. They don't come up often. I'd snap it up if I were you. There are also several DA*16-50 lenses at around $600 each.
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