Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
10-30-2017, 08:09 AM   #1
Forum Member




Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 60
How 'Bad' is DAL 18-55 vs Other Options?

I read a very insightful commentary recently regarding how it has reached the point in lens development that there are very few really bad lenses. Yes some are exceptional in the right hands, but that under most circumstances are not most lenses able to yield respectable pictures?

I don't have the luxury of having been able to try the various lenses side by side, but to be honest back 30 years ago with some pretty cheap lenses I was able to take very decent pictures.

My daughter is also picking up a new camera (likely a K50 as the price is right) and debating between a third party lens, a used lens and a kit lens. Only the Kit lens at the price point offers WR, which as she plans to use the camera on hikes and the like is beneficial.

If you followed my other thread, I was trying out a number of lenses... I have in just a day with the lenses decided I don't personally like short zooms. I prefer the two legged zoom with a fixed lens... but that is just me.

The kit lens and the Sigma are not that different on paper... only 1 stop difference, etc.

Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4.5 DC Macro
Weight: 455g
Max. Magnification: 0.43x
Horizontal FOV: 72 - 20 degrees
Autofocus: slotted screw drive
Water Resistence: No

Pentax DA-L 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 WR
Weight: 200g
Max Magnification: 0.34x
Horizontal FOV: 67 - 25 degrees
Autofocus: slotted slotted screw drive
Water Resistance: Yes

Plus there are other lenses available for around the same 'kit lens' price such as the Tamron 17-50 f2.8.

The kit lens is much lower weight than other options, plus water resistant on top of that. Are the 'optical' advantages of the 'better' lenses worth what has to be given up?

10-30-2017, 08:25 AM   #2
Seeker of Knowledge
Loyal Site Supporter
aslyfox's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Topeka, Kansas
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 13,467
pm sent
10-30-2017, 08:30 AM - 1 Like   #3
Senior Member
veato's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Nottingham
Posts: 197
A number of years ago I went from a kit 18-55 to the Tamron 17-50 (think I had a K5 at the time) and for me the difference was quite significant. In particular sharpness was immediately improved. I kept that lens until it died and replaced it (and my camera at the same time) with the Pentax 16-85 but only because it came as a bundle otherwise I'd probably have picked up another Tamron.
10-30-2017, 08:35 AM   #4
Forum Member




Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 50
Firstly, I cannot comment on the Sigma, not having encountered one yet. Did you look at the lens reviews on this site?

Secondly, while it may be true that really bad lenses aren't being made anymore, it is, alas, also true that of each given lens there are superb and awful exhibits and everything in between.

The 18-55 kit lens is actually quite decent if you get a good one. As with every lens you buy, test it immediately, and exchange it if you find it out of tolerance.

How to Check Your Lens for Decentering - Articles and Tips | PentaxForums.com

If you want a little more range, you could also look for a kit with the 18-135 lens which is also quite good, a bit better than the 18-55 (if you're lucky) and has a much smoother AF without that old time screw drive. It is more fun to use.

Something to have in mind regarding the K-50: it is prone to suffer from the infamous aperture block failure (see the longish thread in the K-30/50 subforum on this site), so it might be advisable to buy an extended warranty if the price is reasonable.

10-30-2017, 08:40 AM - 1 Like   #5
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
boriscleto's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: North Syracuse, NY
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 14,280
It's not a 'bad' lens at all.
10-30-2017, 08:58 AM - 3 Likes   #6
Pentaxian
normhead's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Near Algonquin Park
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 33,059
When I replaced my DA 18-55 lenses (I had 2) it was for more range (DA 18-135) , or a wider opening aperture (Tamron 17-50). IQ was never an issue with my two copies. The two lenses I bought are both better, but I never had cause to compalin about the 18-55s for the images i took with it. Mind you that was back in the days of 6-14 MP cameras. They never did that well on my pixel peeping tests, but most of the time I'm oversampling by at least 2x, and that's not an issue.

I'm guessing you can print to 16x20 before you really need to upgrade, from an IQ standpoint, but that's just a ball park based on experience. I'd guess it could be even bigger if anything.

16x20 is 3200 pixels by 4000 pixels at 200 DPI, and there's not a chance in the world images taken from with this lens are going to look soft at that size, even starting with a 16 MP camera.

I've sold 20x30 canvases ( landscapes) taken with that lens, if it's good enough for the buyer, it's good enough for me.

A kit lens is what you use until you find you need something better in some way. That being said, a 17-50 2.8, 16-85 or 18-135 or 17-70 makes it completely unnecessary.

Last edited by normhead; 10-30-2017 at 09:21 AM.
10-30-2017, 09:28 AM - 2 Likes   #7
Site Supporter
Site Supporter




Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: North Wales
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,997
I think the main arguement re the kit lens is more its limitations than its IQ. i've done a number of comparisons involving the DAL 18-55 against eg 28mm and 35mm classic MF primes, and more recently against a vivitar 17mm. Quite simply the DAL is better than average primes from the MF era, only the really good ones tend to surprass the DAL, particularly wide open DAL against the same f stop on the MF lens (the DAL being up to a couple of stops slower than the prime at the same focal length) and particularly image edges (the full frame primes benefitting from the apsc sensor only covering the centre of the projected image circle). However the DAL invariably has superior contrast, brighter colours and more often than not is better corrected for fringing (but not eg distortions).
The limitations then are the focal range and its slowness - its only f3.5 for 18-20mm odd then the f - stop rapidly drops. F5.6 for ~ 50mm is SLOW.
I can suggest two ways to go. One is to complement the DAL kit lens with eg a nifty fifty like the M or A 50mm f1.7. Very cheap, fast, great image quality, photographically interesting and educational. But obviously not AF etc. Or upgrade to something like the DA 18-135mm, or its sigma equivalent the DC or DC/HSM 18-125mm. I have the DC, it can be acquired for half the price of the DA 18-135mm, no significant difference in performance IMO (see my review), I have been really happy with it as my main AF go-to general use lens.

Update: a lot of pics are missing from my older posts. I was using a server run by my brother in law, he changed server providers suddenly Going to take me a while to sort out...

Last edited by marcusBMG; 10-30-2017 at 09:36 AM.
10-30-2017, 09:36 AM - 1 Like   #8
Pentaxian
E-man's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 565
I've never used the Sigma lens in question but I've had several of the Pentax 18-55mm lenses and like them quite well. I've had all three variants (DA 18-55, DA L 18-55 and DA 18-55 II) and honestly can't find any optical difference between them. I got rid of the DA L 18-55 very quickly because I don't like the plastic lens mount and they typically don't come with a lens hood. It just feels flimsy to me. At the moment, I'm contemplating getting rid of my Sigma-made Quantaray 28-90, which also has a plastic mount, along with one of my two DA 18-55's. If I were being completely honest with myself, I should probably be get rid of a bit more stuff than that. One that I won't be getting rid of is my DA L 50-200 lens. It's definitely one of the sharpest lenses I own and thus a total 'keeper' unless I someday find a metal mount DA replacement for it, but I'm content to put up with its plastic mount for now.


Last edited by E-man; 10-30-2017 at 09:42 AM.
10-30-2017, 09:36 AM   #9
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter




Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: SF Bay Area, CA
Photos: Albums
Posts: 614
Exactly, the kit lens is fine, compact, light weight, cheap, WR in this case.

Shoot it until you understand its limitations and those limitations start to get int the way of your photography. Then look at other options.
10-30-2017, 10:06 AM - 3 Likes   #10
Otis Memorial Pentaxian
Loyal Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 32,931
I did a lot of good work with the DA 18-55/3.5-5.6 (v1) on my K10D and know people who do good work with kit lens on the K-50. I bought the current-model Sigma 17-70/2.8-4 (C) (NOT the lens in the original post) when I got my K-3 and strongly prefer it over the DA 18-55 on that camera. Given the option of one over the other at the same price point for a K-50, I would opt for the Sigma, though with a few comments:
  • There is a penalty of both weight and bulk with the faster aperture
  • My 17-70 is heavy
  • Did I mention that it is heavy?
  • The Sigma generally costs over $400
  • The current 18-55 is WR

For examples, there is the "Kit Lens Club"... https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/122-lens-clubs/45425-kit-lens-club.html

I took this photo with the 18-55 v1. Current versions are reputed to have higher optical quality and definitely have better build quality.


Pentax K10D, Pentax-DA 18-55/3.5-5.6 AL v1

Ditto...



and this...




For a broader sampling on my Flickr stream...https://www.flickr.com/search/?user_id=28796087%40N02&sort=date-taken-desc&t...-55&view_all=1


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 10-30-2017 at 10:28 AM.
10-30-2017, 10:12 AM   #11
amateur dirt farmer / mod
Loyal Site Supporter
pepperberry farm's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: probably out in a field somewhere...
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 14,853
I used the 18-55mm as one of my Single In lenses a while back - within its comfort zone, you can produce very nice images with it..

it was the build quality that drove me nuts - the plastic on plastic feel of the focus and zoom rings....
10-30-2017, 10:13 AM   #12
Forum Member




Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 60
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by caliscouser Quote
Exactly, the kit lens is fine, compact, light weight, cheap, WR in this case.

Shoot it until you understand its limitations and those limitations start to get int the way of your photography. Then look at other options.
Thanks.

Personally, for her, that was my gut feel, which seems to be borne out generally in most of the comments.

The low weight of the DAL 18-55 is definately attractive, as it seems to be an ok lens. The options considered were:

DAL 18-55 (as part of a kit) cost $100
Sigma 17-70 would cost $150
Tamron 16-50 2.8 would cost $200

If had the money, would definately have suggested she go with the upgraded 'kit' lens.

DA 18-135 (as part of a kit) cost $350

---------- Post added 10-30-17 at 10:18 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I[*]The Sigma generally costs over $400
Prices seem to have plummeted recently on the older screw drive versions of the lens to half of what they were selling for.
10-30-2017, 10:29 AM   #13
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
Alex645's Avatar

Join Date: May 2015
Location: Kaneohe, HI
Photos: Albums
Posts: 2,458
QuoteOriginally posted by Steve Grosvenor Quote
My daughter is also picking up a new camera (likely a K50 as the price is right) and debating between a third party lens, a used lens and a kit lens. Only the Kit lens at the price point offers WR, which as she plans to use the camera on hikes and the like is beneficial.

The kit lens is much lower weight than other options, plus water resistant on top of that. Are the 'optical' advantages of the 'better' lenses worth what has to be given up?
Steve: The 18-55mm kit lens on the K50 is an exceptional value in terms of price, features, and quality. I see hundreds of student DSLRs and lenses as a photo teacher each year, and when it came to buying my son his first camera in college, I chose a K50 with the 18-55mm. I have been impressed with both that camera and lens.

On a study abroad in the Himalayas of northern India, he produced stunning images in low light with his K50 and 18-55mm that really impressed the Canikony classmates and the prof who were trying to get similar images but with "bad" results.
10-30-2017, 10:46 AM   #14
Otis Memorial Pentaxian
Loyal Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 32,931
QuoteOriginally posted by Steve Grosvenor Quote
Prices seem to have plummeted recently on the older screw drive versions of the lens to half of what they were selling for.
I was referring to my Sigma 17-70 which is the current version. I bought it on the basis of this review...

Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 Contemporary Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews

The next two previous versions were reviewed at...

Pentax 17-70mm Lens Comparison Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews

I would go for a new 18-55 over the old Sigma. BTW The DAL version does not include the very necessary hood. It may not be particularly clear which hood fits. It takes the same one as the DA 18-55/3.5-5.6 AL WR, the PH-RBC 52 mm. This is a different part than the hood for non-WR versions of the 18-55 kit.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 10-30-2017 at 10:52 AM.
10-30-2017, 12:32 PM   #15
Pentaxian
normhead's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Near Algonquin Park
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 33,059
QuoteOriginally posted by Steve Grosvenor Quote
DA 18-135 (as part of a kit) cost $350
That is my favourite hiking lens if I'm going with one lens. I never had an 18-55 when I didn't have a 70-300 (or 55-300) type lens to go with it. I bought my Sigma 70-300 with my *ist. Looking back, the Sigma 70-200 an 2x that was suggested to me would have saved me a lot of purchases over the years. At the time I didn't understand why the sales person was trying to sell me a $1000 lens when a $300 lens would do. Looking back, I have the 60-250, the DA*200 an A-400. The Sigma and 2x would have saved me a bundle.

But I digress.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
autofocus, browser, click, cost, da, da*300, drive, exif, fa, flickr, iso, k-mount, kit, lens, lenses, limitations, macro, options, pentax lens, pictures, post, price, screw, sigma, slr lens, water, weight
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
K-5 vs MZ-S vs LX vs PZ-1p vs ist*D vs K10D vs K20D vs K-7 vs....... Steelski Pentax K-5 2 06-28-2017 04:59 PM
For Sale - Sold: Dal 18-55 & dal 55-300 taiweitai Sold Items 9 02-29-2012 11:30 PM
Need suggestions for Hoods for DAL 18-55 Kit Lens and DAL 55-300mm Lens photoleet Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 4 09-20-2011 03:15 PM
kx w/ 18-55 & 55-300bdal for $643 or k20d W/ grip & 18-55 & 55-300 DAL for $850. tubey Pentax DSLR Discussion 6 01-10-2010 11:30 AM
DA 18-55mm AL II vs DAL 18-55mm (kit lens) vs DA 18-55mm WR rustynail925 Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 10 01-08-2010 02:06 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:49 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top