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07-31-2008, 11:11 PM   #1
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The "best" ~18-55mm lens?

I am looking to replace my 18-55mm kit lens with a one having approximately the same zoom range, but with better image quality (shaper, better color, contrast, etc.). Currently, I have a K10D, kit lens, and a DA 50-200. The 18-55mm stays on my camera 95% of the time and this level of zoom seems to work well for me. The new lens will be my every day, walk around lens; eventually I may get primes and grow my collection, but that is sometime in the future. My shooting is a mixture of indoor family style events and outdoor nature/travel photography.

I have spent a lot of time looking through this forum and other websites on possible options. Here are the ones I am currently considering (though I am open to other suggestions):

Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX DC SLD ELD Macro
Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC IF Macro
Pentax DA* 16-50mm F2.8 ED AL [IF]
Pentax DA 16-45mm 1:4 ED/AL
Pentax DA 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 ED AL [IF] (I know this is not ~18-55mm, but if its IQ was on par with the others it would be a great choice)

Each lens seems have its positives and negatives, but all of them have the basic features that I am looking for and have got good reviews. Again, my goal to get the “best” quality lens possible in this zoom range. I realize buying 3 or 4 primes to cover the range would get me the best IQ, but cost and the hassle of changing lenses (which annoys my travel partners, particularly my wife) make buying a good zoom a better choice for now. I would appreciate input, particularly from those that have used more than one of the lenses.

Thank you.

07-31-2008, 11:35 PM   #2
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I would also consider the following lenses:

Tamron SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di-II LD Aspherical [IF]
Pentax-DA 17-70mm F4 AL[IF] SDM

I'll leave the recommendations to the people who know more.
07-31-2008, 11:42 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by wenz Quote


Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX DC SLD ELD Macro
Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC IF Macro
Pentax DA* 16-50mm F2.8 ED AL [IF]
Pentax DA 16-45mm 1:4 ED/AL
Pentax DA 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 ED AL [IF] (I know this is not ~18-55mm, but if its IQ was on par with the others it would be a great choice)


Thank you.
Based on the list you provided, below are my recommendation:

DA 18-250mm - i don't own it (yet) but i have tested one. it gets a good review as an all-around lens
Sigma 17-70 - owned it and loved it

As for the other lenses on the list, I have not done my research nor even tried one.
08-01-2008, 12:14 AM   #4
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Check this thread out

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/25085-photos-happy-16-50-buyers.html

08-01-2008, 01:54 AM   #5
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I'd get the Sigma 17 - 70.
They're affordable, and offer very good image quality.
I've never owned one, but I've tried one and wish I'd bought it.
08-01-2008, 08:45 AM   #6
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Pentax 18-55 II

QuoteOriginally posted by wenz Quote
I am looking to replace my 18-55mm kit lens with a one having approximately the same zoom range, but with better image quality (shaper, better color, contrast, etc.). Currently, I have a K10D, kit lens, and a DA 50-200. The 18-55mm stays on my camera 95% of the time and this level of zoom seems to work well for me. The new lens will be my every day, walk around lens; eventually I may get primes and grow my collection, but that is sometime in the future. My shooting is a mixture of indoor family style events and outdoor nature/travel photography.

I have spent a lot of time looking through this forum and other websites on possible options. Here are the ones I am currently considering (though I am open to other suggestions):

Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX DC SLD ELD Macro
Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC IF Macro
Pentax DA* 16-50mm F2.8 ED AL [IF]
Pentax DA 16-45mm 1:4 ED/AL
Pentax DA 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 ED AL [IF] (I know this is not ~18-55mm, but if its IQ was on par with the others it would be a great choice)

Each lens seems have its positives and negatives, but all of them have the basic features that I am looking for and have got good reviews. Again, my goal to get the “best” quality lens possible in this zoom range. I realize buying 3 or 4 primes to cover the range would get me the best IQ, but cost and the hassle of changing lenses (which annoys my travel partners, particularly my wife) make buying a good zoom a better choice for now. I would appreciate input, particularly from those that have used more than one of the lenses.

Thank you.
Just bought one; small, light, cheap, sharp as heck if you stop down a bit and very contrasty.

And this from an FA* lens snob.

Wonder if there's any comparisons out there between the old 18-55 and the new one? Anybody owned both?

I'll be putting some shots in my gallery soon taken with this little gem. Very impressed, and $169.00! I think I paid about that for a circular polarizer for my FA* 28-70 2.8 once.

Cheers,
Cameron
08-01-2008, 09:13 AM   #7
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SMC-P DA* 16-50 f/2.8

I am a very happy owner of the DA* 16-50 f/2.8. There are a number of images on my Flickr site that used the lens. Check out the Bar U Ranch series, for examples of this lens doing what it does best.
08-01-2008, 03:09 PM   #8
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I've been happy with my Sigma 18-50 macro. It's a bit on the heavy side, but it's comparable to other lenses of same focal range and constant 2.8 aperture. Sharpness overall is quite good indeed, though it is softer at 2.8 and wide open (no surprise, that's typical). By 5.6 it is sharp at all focal lengths. Macro works well, though is not a true macro (it's a "marketing macro" as is the case with most of these kind of lenses). Bokeh is quite good, and color seems just fine.

Build quality is very good. The zoom ring goes in the opposite direction to Pentax's (and my intuition), which is one of my downsides about it. Also the hood and lens cap are rather finnicky to put on.

The new Pentax 18-55 seems quite good, but is too slow for me. 16-50 is twice as much, and was in the midst of its QC crisis when I got my Sigma, things seem to have calmed down now. Tamron has only just become available, and from what I've read it and the Sigma have some pluses and minuses each, are roughly comparable.

Hope that helps!

08-01-2008, 03:52 PM   #9
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go pentax DA 17-70mm SDM! It's for winners!
08-01-2008, 03:58 PM   #10
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I'm happy with the DA 18-55 II. Good contrast. Some minor distortion at 18mm, but good value for money if you don't need a fast lens.
08-01-2008, 06:03 PM   #11
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2.8

Tamron 17-50 f2.8 is as good resolution as Photozone had tested. I have had for 3 months and AF is dead on and sharp at 2.8 at all lengths. Love it. Great walk around lens.

Ray
08-01-2008, 06:13 PM   #12
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QuoteQuote:
I've been happy with my Sigma 18-50 macro. It's a bit on the heavy side, but it's comparable to other lenses of same focal range and constant 2.8 aperture.
The non-macro version (which I like and own) is still available through Cameta Camera for $279.99, about $100 less than the macro version.

Though I rarely "do macro, I can get 5 keyboard keys in the frame, or about one flower.

Funny thing about Sigmas, some types zoom clockwise, other counterclockwise...
08-01-2008, 08:37 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by wenz Quote
I am looking to replace my 18-55mm kit lens with a one having approximately the same zoom range, but with better image quality (shaper, better color, contrast, etc.). Currently, I have a K10D, kit lens, and a DA 50-200. The 18-55mm stays on my camera 95% of the time and this level of zoom seems to work well for me. The new lens will be my every day, walk around lens; eventually I may get primes and grow my collection, but that is sometime in the future. My shooting is a mixture of indoor family style events and outdoor nature/travel photography.

I have spent a lot of time looking through this forum and other websites on possible options. Here are the ones I am currently considering (though I am open to other suggestions):

Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX DC SLD ELD Macro
Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC IF Macro
Pentax DA* 16-50mm F2.8 ED AL [IF]
Pentax DA 16-45mm 1:4 ED/AL
Pentax DA 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 ED AL [IF] (I know this is not ~18-55mm, but if its IQ was on par with the others it would be a great choice)

Each lens seems have its positives and negatives, but all of them have the basic features that I am looking for and have got good reviews. Again, my goal to get the “best” quality lens possible in this zoom range. I realize buying 3 or 4 primes to cover the range would get me the best IQ, but cost and the hassle of changing lenses (which annoys my travel partners, particularly my wife) make buying a good zoom a better choice for now. I would appreciate input, particularly from those that have used more than one of the lenses.

Thank you.
My vote for you would be the Pentax 18-250mm. I own it along with about 15 other lens and keep coming back to it over and over as my every day workhorse lens. Fantastic value for the money. Not only will you cover your 18-55mm range with better IQ but gives you that long reach that you occasionally wished you had available for special opportunities. Great contrast, good sharpness, fine color rendition. It keeps on amazing me every time I use it. I also have the Tammie 18-75mm & the 70-300mm and although they are both good, I think on the whole the 18-250mm Pentax is better to my eye.

Best of luck.

Shutterbob
08-02-2008, 07:56 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by paparay Quote
Tamron 17-50 f2.8 is as good resolution as Photozone had tested. I have had for 3 months and AF is dead on and sharp at 2.8 at all lengths. Love it. Great walk around lens.

Ray
Agree!! Great walk around.
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