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08-08-2016, 03:52 AM   #1
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Newbie seeking lens advice

Hi, I'm wanting to get a decent lens or two for my K5 ii s . I've been using a Sigma DC 18-200MM 1:35-6.3 (all purpose for most eventualities, lazy?) and am discovering limitations in sharpness. On the forum, someone suggested a Pentax 18-85 or 18-135 might be a good option. Started browsing through lenses, and am confused by their descriptions! What are DA, SMC, DC WR, SDM ED, D-FA, DC-WR etc etc etc? Sorry if this is a stupid question!

Also, I'd be looking for a longer lens for action shots,(sporting activities, animals, etc) My budget wont extend to something like the DA 560, unfortunately... Maybe Pentax 55-300? I ask tentatively, having virtually no idea what I'm talking about

Advice would be greatly appreciated!




08-08-2016, 04:15 AM - 1 Like   #2
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For an overview of the different Pentax lens series and what all the letters mean, try this article.

I would recommend the HD DA55-300 for the longer telephoto end - there's really nothing else comparable at the price. Many people here on the forums have taken outstanding shots with this lens, or variants of it.

For the wide end... if you don't need weather resistance, the Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 or Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 are both excellent value and are optically very good (I have the Sigma and it's a great lens). The beauty with either of these (as well as the more expensive but weather resistant Pentax DA*16-50) is that they're capable of letting in quite a bit more light, so they're great for use indoors or in less than ideal lighting (which can be handy here in the UK!!). The Pentax DA16-85 is also a good choice, and weather resistant, but the variable aperture means it's not such a good choice for lower light photography. It depends on your needs as to which would be the better lens for you.
08-08-2016, 04:55 AM   #3
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18-135 and the 55-300 should keep you happy for quite some time.

Cheers
08-08-2016, 05:29 AM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
For an overview of the different Pentax lens series and what all the letters mean, try this article.
Thanks, that's a brilliant article. A great help, cheers!

08-08-2016, 05:40 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by KPsplash Quote
Hi, I'm wanting to get a decent lens or two for my K5 ii s .

Also, I'd be looking for a longer lens for action shots,(sporting activities, animals, etc)

Advice would be greatly appreciated!
Using the excellent search feature, 300 threads were returned:

Lens advice - Search Results - PentaxForums.com
08-08-2016, 07:52 AM - 1 Like   #6
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If you want a quite inexpensive choice, the first-generation Sigma 17-70 has a lot to offer. I recently acquired one, and even though I have much better lenses, I quite like the 17-70. It has better image quality overall than the 18-135, but the 18-135 is WR, so that's why I keep one of those around, too. I suppose I should sell them both and get the 16-85, but where's the fun in that?
08-08-2016, 04:50 PM   #7
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See what a helpful place this is @KPsplash?

For the wider zoom (what people call a walkaround zoom), start with this question: do you mainly shoot indoors or outdoors? If the answer is indoors, or in low-ish light, you might want a lens with a wider maximum aperture (say f2.8), like those @BigMackCam and @Kozlok mentioned. If you mainly shoot outdoors in good light, the wide aperture isn't so important. Then weather-resistance becomes a handy feature. Some models of the kit 18-55 or 18-50 are WR, and are probably the cheapest option, but probably no better than your current superzoom for image quality. The DA 16-85 and DA 18-135 will give better images and are more versatile. The 16-85 seems like an excellent lens, but it is still fairly expensive, so if you are on a budget the 18-135 might be the better choice. You should still find the image quality a significant step up from your 18-200. See examples here:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/179869-da-1...at-can-do.html

For sports and wildlife, as Mike says, the 55-300 is the best budget option. Get the current version with HD coatings and WR if you can afford it. If not the earlier DA and DA-L versions are widely available second hand, and they are optically identical to the current version (apart from the coatings).

For telephoto lenses, it is a big step up in price, weight and bulk from there to lenses like the F/FA*300 f4, DA*300 f4, DA*60-250 f4, DFA 150-450 or the Sigma 150-500 or 50-500.

In the 300+ lens advice threads that @jlstrawman refers to, you will probably find the DA 18-135mm and 55-300mm (in one form or another) the most recommended two-lens combination. Many people would add a recommendation for one compact prime lens (that is, a lens with a fixed focal length) for portraits, low-light use and for the subject-isolation that you can get with a fast maximum aperture. I'd suggest one of the plastic fantastics: DA 35mm f 2.4 or DA 50mm f1.8, depending on your preferred focal length. Each is amazingly cheap, light-weight and compact and has excellent image quality. But there are plenty of other options, especially if you don't mind manual focus and/or manual aperture.

Last edited by Des; 08-08-2016 at 05:10 PM.
08-09-2016, 01:55 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
See what a helpful place this is @KPsplash?

For the wider zoom (what people call a walkaround zoom), start with this question: do you mainly shoot indoors or outdoors? If the answer is indoors, or in low-ish light, you might want a lens with a wider maximum aperture (say f2.8), like those @BigMackCam and @Kozlok mentioned. If you mainly shoot outdoors in good light, the wide aperture isn't so important. Then weather-resistance becomes a handy feature. Some models of the kit 18-55 or 18-50 are WR, and are probably the cheapest option, but probably no better than your current superzoom for image quality. The DA 16-85 and DA 18-135 will give better images and are more versatile. The 16-85 seems like an excellent lens, but it is still fairly expensive, so if you are on a budget the 18-135 might be the better choice. You should still find the image quality a significant step up from your 18-200. See examples here:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/179869-da-1...at-can-do.html

For sports and wildlife, as Mike says, the 55-300 is the best budget option. Get the current version with HD coatings and WR if you can afford it. If not the earlier DA and DA-L versions are widely available second hand, and they are optically identical to the current version (apart from the coatings).

For telephoto lenses, it is a big step up in price, weight and bulk from there to lenses like the F/FA*300 f4, DA*300 f4, DA*60-250 f4, DFA 150-450 or the Sigma 150-500 or 50-500.

In the 300+ lens advice threads that @jlstrawman refers to, you will probably find the DA 18-135mm and 55-300mm (in one form or another) the most recommended two-lens combination. Many people would add a recommendation for one compact prime lens (that is, a lens with a fixed focal length) for portraits, low-light use and for the subject-isolation that you can get with a fast maximum aperture. I'd suggest one of the plastic fantastics: DA 35mm f 2.4 or DA 50mm f1.8, depending on your preferred focal length. Each is amazingly cheap, light-weight and compact and has excellent image quality. But there are plenty of other options, especially if you don't mind manual focus and/or manual aperture.
Thank you so much, that's very comprehensive! I have actually got some Pentax lenses from my old Pentax film camera that I haven't tried. Can't remember what they are offhand, probably a 50mm, 28mm and a 135. I'm assuming I could use these if I enable the aperture ring setting and use manual focusing?
I also have a cheap Sigma telephoto 70-300F4-5.6 Macro DG, Not great, but I got some reasonable swimming competition shots with it.
Quite excited at improving my image quality, just wish I was able to afford something of real quality. I've looked at pictures taken with the DA18-135 on this forum and they look pretty good, have got my eye on a couple on eBay!

08-09-2016, 04:15 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by KPsplash Quote
Thank you so much, that's very comprehensive! I have actually got some Pentax lenses from my old Pentax film camera that I haven't tried. Can't remember what they are offhand, probably a 50mm, 28mm and a 135. I'm assuming I could use these if I enable the aperture ring setting and use manual focusing? I also have a cheap Sigma telephoto 70-300F4-5.6 Macro DG, Not great, but I got some reasonable swimming competition shots with it. Quite excited at improving my image quality, just wish I was able to afford something of real quality. I've looked at pictures taken with the DA18-135 on this forum and they look pretty good, have got my eye on a couple on eBay!
The 28mm, 50mm and 135mm are quality lenses regardless which versions they might be, they should prove themselves useful to you. Yes, you can and should use them.

Seb
08-09-2016, 06:10 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by KPsplash Quote
have actually got some Pentax lenses from my old Pentax film camera that I haven't tried. Can't remember what they are offhand, probably a 50mm, 28mm and a 135. I'm assuming I could use these if I enable the aperture ring setting and use manual focusing?
If the lenses are from the Pentax A series, just set the aperture ring to A and the camera can set the aperture. If they are earlier ones (such as K or M), generally speaking you need to meter for exposure and set the aperture on the lens manually. Here's the lowdown: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/54-pentax-lens-articles/216154-how-use-ma...slr-video.html (There's a text version linked in this thead too.)

QuoteOriginally posted by KPsplash Quote
Quite excited at improving my image quality, just wish I was able to afford something of real quality.
As @Bassek says, your primes will be do very well. And the Sigma will do quite well for telephoto on the cheap.

One suggestion: if you are not already shooting in RAW, try RAW + jpg and learn the basics of post-processing. That will help you get the best from your shots whichever lens you use.

08-09-2016, 06:24 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
If the lenses are from the Pentax A series, just set the aperture ring to A and the camera can set the aperture. If they are earlier ones (such as K or M), generally speaking you need to meter for exposure and set the aperture on the lens manually. Here's the lowdown: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/54-pentax-lens-articles/216154-how-use-ma...slr-video.html (There's a text version linked in this thead too.)


As @Bassek says, your primes will be do very well. And the Sigma will do quite well for telephoto on the cheap.

One suggestion: if you are not already shooting in RAW, try RAW + jpg and learn the basics of post-processing. That will help you get the best from your shots whichever lens you use.

Many thanks, yes I am shooting in RAW or RAW+
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