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07-04-2008, 08:08 PM   #1
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Next lens(es) for K10D

I am set to add a lens or two to my current setup with my K10D and I am looking for some advice. I am not that happy with the 18-55 kit lens (not very sharp, flat images, underexpose), so that focal range will be replaced sooner or later. I am using the surprisingly good Tamron AF70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD Macro 1:2 and am greatly enjoying the reach and the macro capabilities - though perhaps not surprisingly, I await the days of a dedicated fixed focal macro and a faster/sharper telephoto.

Most of my shooting is outdoors (i.e., landscapes, wildlife, macro of plants) with limited capacity to carry equipment (i.e., all hand held for now). I am also traveling to Japan in the fall, which has me interested in getting wider angle (for architecture and tight spaces) and faster/higher IQ lens capabilities.

The simple choice seems to be a fast standard zoom as the convenient next step (and selling the kit lens). I tried both the Tamron 17-50 2.8 and the Pentax 16-50 2.8. For me, they were pretty much a tie in quality, with a slight edge to the Pentax in weather sealing and the extra mm wide (it actually made a difference in my test shots) and a slight edge to the Tamron in closer focusing abilities and price.

However, I am tempted to go WIDER and have my eye on the Sigma 10-20. I am also tempted by primes, and the FA50mm 1.4 felt great.

Now for the short-term dilemma. I could spend more than I'd like in the short-term and get both the Tamron 17-50 and Sigma 10-20. But this would leave my current camera bag bulging and more weight than I want for traveling around Japan (I am definitely carrying the 70-300 with me too). So here are the two options I am considering, and would like some advice on which option (or another option) folks recommend based on my current needs and potential upgrade path:

Sigma 10-20 AND Pentax 50 1.4
Tamron 17-50

I know that the first option is more expensive, but my real concern is long-term value and not re-tracing my steps too often.


07-04-2008, 09:22 PM   #2
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For your type shooting your first choice of the 10-20 and 50 does not seem the best. The Tamron 17-50 is a great choice I would also recommend the Sigma 17-70mm, its a good one and matches your Tamron 70-300mm. The reason against the Sigma 10-20 is you say you want better than the kit, I was also in your exact shoes and decided I did not want to switch lens so much as I would have to with the 10-20. Get something with more range like 16/17-50/70mm, and believe me the difference between the kit and Sigma 17-70mm is huge in the IQ department. But again all your lens choice are fine just do you think you would want to always carry that chunky and heavy 10-20mm and then switch to the kit or 50mm and the Tamron 70-300mm, especially walking around in Japan, not really. The 10-20mm would be a great lens down the road, and I would like to get one down the road but for my bag and everyday walk around I choose the Sigma 17-70mm and now have the Pentax 55-300mm a great combo, as would any lens you are thinking of and own.
07-05-2008, 02:40 AM   #3
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The 10-20 may or may not be useful in Japan. It would depend on what parts of Japan you are visiting as well as your visual style.

OTOH, I visit the Van, Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton area a few times a year... the 10-20 is a wonderful lens for those vistas!
07-06-2008, 06:08 PM   #4
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In the cities of Japan, you will have very narrow street with large buildings and a very wide angle would be a good thing to have.
But, if you go with your first option, you have three lenses to carry around, and you need to use the kit lens from 20mm on to 50mm.

I think that another good idea would be to go for the DA 16-45 and the FA50. The 16-45 can be found for cheap, it is sharp wide open, and is quite an improvement in IQ from the kit lens. Also, 16mm should be enough for most situation. And then, you can just leave the kit at home, take two lenses with you, one for the day and one for the night.

I also wanted to say that I am very jalous! Japan is an amazing place, a total culture shock, and a wonderful country to visit, with some awesome people. Just don't spend too much time in Tokyo, there is much more to see in other places!

07-06-2008, 08:28 PM   #5
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Tamron 17-50 2.8 for now

Thanks all for the great advice. I am going to start by replacing the kit lens with the Tamron 17-50 2.8. It was a tough choice between the Pentax 16-50 2.8, Sigma 17-70 2.8 and Pentax 16-45 4.0 but the Tamron seemed to have the right combination of speed and sharpness, while also having pretty good performance at the wide end. I also made the mistake of trying out the Pentax 70 2.4 - it was excellent, but something for later on...

If all goes well, I might have the Sigma 10-20 and Pentax 50 1.4 in my bag for Japan, but even if I don't I know I'll be happy with the pics I do get.

07-07-2008, 04:06 AM   #6
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That sounds like a good combination for your trip. One thing you'll find as you travel will be that even though you may take several lenses with you on the trip, you won't necessarily need to carry all of them with you on your day excursions, as you can select one or 2 lenses to take with you that will work for what you'll expect to be shooting that day. For example, when I go to a zoo, I'll take my 55-300 and 35 with me, as I need more tele than I do wide. If I'm out and about in the city during the day, the 17-70 goes with me.

Since you're not going to Japan until the fall, the sooner you get your new lens or lenses, the more time you'll have to get familiar with them using them closer to home. Once you get used to your new gear, then you shouldn't have a real problem with getting images once you go to Japan. Another suggestion I would make along these lines is that you might consider shooting in RAW and getting a good RAW converter/editor software program for your computer, so it'll be easier to make any adjustments to those pics that turn out just a little too dark, for example.

07-07-2008, 05:49 AM   #7
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get a bigger bag

No matter what you select, you will ultimately get both a 16(approx) to 50-70mm zoom at F2.8, and something like the Sigma 10-20.

As a result you wil need a bigger bag at some point.

As to what you get first, that is up to you.

I normally promote expanding the range before replacing what you already have (i.e. the kit lens) but perhaps the kit lens is really not that good? (I can't say, my last kit lens was the FA-J 18-35 on my *istD which I found to be quite good)
07-07-2008, 08:29 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I normally promote expanding the range before replacing what you already have (i.e. the kit lens) but perhaps the kit lens is really not that good? (I can't say, my last kit lens was the FA-J 18-35 on my *istD which I found to be quite good)
The kit lens isn't bad, but when you upgrade to the 16-45, and can shoot at f4 at 16mm with no vignetting and have it sharp, it makes the kit lens look like a lesser lens.


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