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07-24-2008, 10:09 PM   #1
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Taking a deep cash plunge and need advice

I've been thinking of purchasing a couple of lenses and need some suggestions now that some extra cash is coming my way.

I've been toying with the idea of adding the DA*16-50 and DA*50-135 to my measly lens lineup. To be sure I want them, I even went as far as renting them twice, for a week then for a month from the great folks at Camera Lens Rentals. And from my experience with them during two weddings, I really like these lenses.

I have two issues that make me doubt my decision to drop all that money on these lenses, specially when the price of these two lenses is more than the cost of a K20D I've been wanting to get:
a) all the posts with the positive and negative experiences with the 16-50 and possibly the 50-135. Once I buy them, will I have to deal with this, send them back to the store, repairs, etc... ugh
b) I don't know if there is a better option that would cover the range I want, with the same or better IQ (mostly for wedding and portrait work).

I currently have:
SMC 18-55mm 3.5-5.6
Vivitar SMS Close Focus Wide Angle 28mm 2.8
SMC Pentax-M 50mm 1:2
Sigma 70-300 APO DG 4-5.6
Sears Multi-Coated 135mm 2.8
Meade instruments 1000mm F11 (soon to be used once I get the Pentax Tmount adapter :-)

I've said it before, I would love it if the 18-250 came in a DA* 2.8 version, even if it meant its price meant the sale of a kidney.

What are my choices here? Any comments or suggestions are welcome

07-24-2008, 11:19 PM   #2
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First, I would ask why you feel the NEED to buy the K20. Notice I didn't say "want" or "desire" or "would like to."
07-24-2008, 11:34 PM   #3
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Primarily I need a second camera, so instead of buying down, I might as well buy up and go from there. The option of individualized lens focus adjustments is appealing, though not critical. The fact that it gives me more of what I love about the k10 is certainly a bonus.
07-24-2008, 11:37 PM   #4
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Ah, fair enough It's too often that people want the best and brightest, without the need.

I can't really be of any assistance, since it's your money. But I would say, buy the lens you'd use most first, then decide between lens and body later.

07-25-2008, 05:57 AM   #5
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Have you perused the Takumar Club thread? Get some very fine lenses and keep most of your money in your pocket.
07-25-2008, 06:07 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
Have you perused the Takumar Club thread? Get some very fine lenses and keep most of your money in your pocket.
Some guys here are too old for masochism or other … variations. We just want autofocus, autoexposure, auto this, auto that….
And just a little manual this, manual that when feeling playful
07-25-2008, 06:24 AM   #7
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there are lots of ways to get the range of 16 (or 18mm) at the low end to 150 mm at the high end within 2 lenses.

Why not look at some sigma? offerings or as someone esle proposed Tamron?
07-25-2008, 06:26 AM   #8
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For weddings both Pentax DA lenses are fine. There were many reports about problems with the DA 16-50, but I haven't read anything about the 50-135. But from more recent experiences I think, that the production/quality problems have been remedied by Pentax, so that should not hold you up from buying one.

I would never buy old manual focus lenses anymore, unless they offer very specific advantages over current AF lenses. For example I would long for the A* 135/1.8, but why buy old 50mm Talkumars, when the current 50mm lenses are optically superb? It is fun to use old lenses, but during a wedding, there is no time for fun for the photog. You need to get your images, fast, sure and as unobtrusively as possible. So, there is no better way to go, as choosing fast (fast focusing and fast max. aperture) lenses - you are going into the right direction. Also expsoure measurement and flash control are much more consistent with modern lenses.

There is simply no old MF equivalent to a 16-50/2.8 or 50-135/2.8.

As a alternative Sigma offers the 18-50/2.8, which is a very fine lens (I use the older non-macro version, the newer macro-version may be less sharp - including macro-capability is always a heavy compromise). The new tamron 17-50/2.8 might also be an alternative. But I think, in any case, you may get a lemon and need to service them...

That at least is my opinion.
Ben

07-25-2008, 07:21 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by gkopeliadis Quote
Some guys here are too old for masochism or other … variations. We just want autofocus, autoexposure, auto this, auto that….
And just a little manual this, manual that when feeling playful
And some of us are just too impoverished to buy all that new stuff but would like some quality lenses anyway.

And would rather go out and shoot with our lenses than be constantly exchanging faulty ones and/or sending them back to the factory to fix front-focus and back-focus problems.
07-25-2008, 07:55 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
Have you perused the Takumar Club thread? Get some very fine lenses and keep most of your money in your pocket.
Mike, I would love nothing more than to add some more manual lenses to my small, but in my opinion, decent mini-collection. I will probably add more primes, that's for sure.

gkopeliadis, I don't want to avoid manual at all. But as Ben_Edict correctly pointed out,
QuoteQuote:
It is fun to use old lenses, but during a wedding, <snip> You need to get your images, fast, sure and as unobtrusively as possible.
Lowell, I have looked at Sigma and Tamron too, just not sure there either. SDM is nice to have during the quiet moments, so I could also consider the Sigma APO 50-150mm F2.8 II EX DC HSM. The only 2.8 IF lens in the wide zoom range they have is the 18-50 HSM and it's not even made for Pentax. Tamron is the same problem at the opposite end - the only lens I would consider is the SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical [IF]. So I guess I could go with a Sigma/Tamron combo, without weather sealing.

Oy
07-25-2008, 08:26 AM   #11
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Frogroast – the SDM quietness is sure an advantage. I only tried some of the DAs recently (as I had pretty much covered every focal length already, long before those DAs were available) and am very impressed by their quiet operation. In the church I usually focus manually to keep the noise level low, but with SDM that is not necessary. So, from this aspect, it looks like the Pentax lenses are the real winners…

Ben
07-25-2008, 09:02 AM   #12
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If I was doing weddings I'd have the dosh to shell out for the DA*16-50 and DA*50-135. And I certainly would since that lens combo would rock the house (or church as the case may be). Add in a 50mm f/1.4 and that's all the lenses you need.

But in fact it is me who is getting married so I will not be affording any lenses or indeed the appealing K20D.
07-25-2008, 09:14 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ben_Edict Quote
For weddings both Pentax DA lenses are fine. There were many reports about problems with the DA 16-50, but I haven't read anything about the 50-135. But from more recent experiences I think, that the production/quality problems have been remedied by Pentax, so that should not hold you up from buying one.

I would never buy old manual focus lenses anymore, unless they offer very specific advantages over current AF lenses. For example I would long for the A* 135/1.8, but why buy old 50mm Talkumars, when the current 50mm lenses are optically superb? It is fun to use old lenses, but during a wedding, there is no time for fun for the photog. You need to get your images, fast, sure and as unobtrusively as possible. So, there is no better way to go, as choosing fast (fast focusing and fast max. aperture) lenses - you are going into the right direction. Also expsoure measurement and flash control are much more consistent with modern lenses.

There is simply no old MF equivalent to a 16-50/2.8 or 50-135/2.8.

As a alternative Sigma offers the 18-50/2.8, which is a very fine lens (I use the older non-macro version, the newer macro-version may be less sharp - including macro-capability is always a heavy compromise). The new tamron 17-50/2.8 might also be an alternative. But I think, in any case, you may get a lemon and need to service them...

That at least is my opinion.
Ben
I do agree and understand Mike Cash's point. But for events and weddings Ben is correct. You need all the help and speed available and a modern lens is the only choice. For the wide end I use a DA16-45. I love it. No QC issues of note from any user, great IQ and fast enough 95% of the time. Much better price as well.

For the mid to longer end the choices are tougher. I think the DA*50-135 is the best for this. I have the now discontinued Sigma 70-200/2.8 and if you could find one it will cost too much right now. The DA* is a more reasonable price and just about the perfect FL..

I don't know the budget but if the second body is for these events only. Find a *istD and it will do a fine job. Works almost the same as the K10D and takes great images even at higher ISO's. Added bonus is TTL flash. There are a ton of dedicated TTL's available for almost nothing. I like TTL better than P-TTl as well. If you look at my weddings web page in the sig below, more than half the shots are with this camera.
07-25-2008, 10:28 AM   #14
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The good news is, instead of relying solely on reviews and others' opinions, you have actually taken the time to rent and use these lenses and discovered that you like shooting with them, that they work for your intended purpose, and you like the images you have taken.

You said that your main concern was of the problems you might encounter. As far as the 16-50 goes, buy local from a authorized dealer, who has sufficient stock, who will let you try it out first and will let you swap it if needed. I found a place where I am for the summer who agreed to all the above.

I bought the 50-135 about 5 months ago and it is one of the nicest lenses and THE nicest zoom I have owned, and that includes other camera lines as well, I bought it from B&H and have not had any problems or issues with it (I am shooting with a K20D).

I don't think there is any better zoom in this range at all. Nicer than my Canon "L" zooms and the Nikons I had.

Before I bought the 16-50, I briefly owned the Tamron 17-50 (4th copy of that lens was the charm, it turns out) and the Sigma 17-70 and the Sigma 24-60, and the Pentax 18-55 kit lens MKII. The Sigma 17-70 was really no better, maybe just a little than the kit lens. The Sigma 24-60 was the better of those two when I got it. The Tamron even the best 4th copy, was not as good with shooting people as the Sigma 24-60, so that went. I kept the Sigma 24-60 until I got the Pentax DA*16-50, then sold the Sigma.

The 16-50 I bought a little less than 2 months ago. This time I went into a retail store and tried it and made sure I could exchange it if I needed to. So I spent a little more doing it that way, but I had some peace of mind in doing so (as I hate to have to send things in and I am too impatient to wait for the return). It turns out that the first copy I tried at the store seemed like a really good copy, and I spent my 2-week return period testing it ferociously. I have to say that I wish I had bought this lens sooner, as it is a really nice lens and it has exceeded my expectations of it.

I was at the Harbourfront here in Toronto last weekend and saw a group of 3 people visiting from Australia and all 4 of us had the 16-50 on our cams, we got to talking and all of us had really good copies (first copy tried) of the 16-50 lens. None of them were involved in this or other forums, but were part of some club down there. They said there was some discussion in their camera club about potential bad copies and that some were afraid to buy them, although no one personally knew anyone who had a bad copy. Anyway, I think it's really hard to tell exactly how many bad vs good copies of this lens there really exists. I was prepared to buy local and keep swapping til I got a good one. Just didn't need to.

I know it has frightened off others as it had myself, and it's obvious that Pentax has lost many sales due to this apprehension, and I hope that has brought attention to Pentax regarding their QC affairs.

Best with your lens choices/purchase
07-25-2008, 05:38 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
If I was doing weddings I'd have the dosh to shell out for the DA*16-50 and DA*50-135. <snip>
But in fact it is me who is getting married so I will not be affording any lenses or indeed the appealing K20D.
rpmar, first of all, congratulations on your upcoming wedding! And small town weddings don't come with a lot of dosh, that's for sure. I see what some photogs in the "big city" charge for a wedding and I would have to shoot 8 or so weddings to come close

Peter, augustmoon, and others,thanks for the great input. More excellent points to consider.
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