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08-31-2008, 07:51 AM   #1
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Would I notice the extra sharpness?

There have been several threads recently discussing the relative merits of lenses such as the DA 16-50, DA 16-45, Tamron 17-50, Sigma 18-50 etc, which I have read with interest as I am thinking of upgrading myself.

All of these are said to be "so much sharper than the kit lens". But the question is, would I really notice that extra sharpness? For my usual purposes, i.e 7x5 prints, and resizing for the web, I'm sure the answer would be no.

But suppose one day I do manage to take a photo that I would really like to see printed large, e.g 12x18 or bigger, to hang on my wall, but it was "only" taken with the kit lens. How likely would I be to say, "I wish I had a much sharper lens, then I could get it printed even larger"? Given that I "only" have the 6mp K100D, would the extra resolution of a better lens really make a big difference?

The extra mm or two on the wide end of these lenses would be nice. A constant F2.8 would also come in handy sometimes, too. But most of the time, e.g outdoors, when the kit lens is stopped down to F8 - F11 anyway, it seems that none of these lenses would really do anything over and above what the kit lens can do.

Am I therefore better off spending my money on something that does do something really different?

Aidan

08-31-2008, 08:18 AM   #2
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I've blown up a couple of pic's taken with the 18 - 55 version 1 Kit lens, and they actually look quite good.

However since then I've upgraded lenses, and it isn't the sharpness that I notice the most.
It's the colours, contrast, and just the detail in the photographs.
And yes. In my opinion the differences are worth the $
08-31-2008, 08:44 AM   #3
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I would have to agree with Stu above. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of the 18-55 kit lens. Probably the best "bang for the buck" lens I own. However, there are better lenses out there. I think the one thing I find most critical on the 18-55 is that it is slow. That 3.5-5.6 max aperture limits things a lot. Yes, outside on a sunny day everything is bright enough but what if you want to shoot something in the morning and it's cloudy? Or inside?

NaCl(great lens for the money but a bit too slow)H2O
08-31-2008, 09:01 AM   #4
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having that extra speed is awesome. not only for gathering light, but also for much more control in the DOF. it's nice blurring out the background for portraits.

and the build of the 16-50 is fantastic, no worries about using it in the rain with my k20d

only downside is the weight

08-31-2008, 09:31 AM   #5
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I did a comparison with the kit lens and a couple of 50s. Perhaps not a fair test, but...

There was a definate fall off in the IQ toward the edges & corners of the kit lens. Would the typical person notice? Not unless the pix were side by side. Would the typical person care? Nope.

Kit lens is good stuff. Keep it close to 35mm and near f/8 and you're golden. If you're ready to hit the next level in your photography skills & are considering going pro, spend the money. Otherwise, learn the strengths & weaknesses of your existing gear to use them to best advantage, and learn the art of photography. Good composition & a unique perspective will give you a HUGE boost on every level. That is something you can't get no matter how much resolution you pump into a picture.

'Course, if you come across a good bargain, snatch it up.
08-31-2008, 09:35 AM   #6
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Consider though this: SR has the "R" and not an "E" for Elimination. Often the ultimate performance of a lens will depend on conditions when the photo is taken... and very large prints are not looked at from 10 inches away, unlike pixel peeping on the computer.

I find that ANY and ALL zooms lose some definition when compared to primes. This is that last couple of levels of resolution and contrast and tonality that can - not always though! - enhance a photograph's gestalt. But making photographs isn't only about the nth degree of resolution and contrast and tonality. Therefore zooms can make excellent photographs, at some points better than a prime (say, at 45.8mm or 19.2mm)...

I bought a 16-45 before I bought the K100D, mainly on its rep. In retrospect, I'm not sure I'd have been better of just getting the kit anyway.

OTH, some of the older film era kit zooms are truly dreadful, and perhaps that was at the back of my mind.

Otherwise what the three above note is good stuff, and I agree.
08-31-2008, 09:35 AM   #7
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I'm having a similar dillema here. I would really like to upgrade to a new lens for the 18-55 range but I'm kind of ashamed that my images are not yet as good some that have posted with the kit lenses. I feel that I haven't even tried to experiment with lighting; I already feel that the kit lens won't cut it anymore for me, though.

Would it be better for me to just keep working on my skills first or get a better lens? =/ I would really like to gain money from photography from selling prints so I don't know if I would regret not getting a good lens earlier. The DA16-45 seems cheap enough at 275$. I was thinking that I should get the FA 50 instead but various posts about it makes me think that I should get the 35mm instead for a wider view indoors (but it's twice the price)
08-31-2008, 09:39 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andi Lo Quote
I'm having a similar dillema here. I would really like to upgrade to a new lens for the 18-55 range but I'm kind of ashamed that my images are not yet as good some that have posted with the kit lenses. I feel that I haven't even tried to experiment with lighting and that I'm learning at a way too quick of a pace.

Would it be better for me to just keep working on my skills first or get a better lens? =/
Depends on your aims. If you get joy out of equipment, the answer is sure go ahead. If your aim is to be a better photographer, in any way you want to define it for yourself, I'd say: don't replace with something similar, add to it, with a prime or a wider zoom or macro or whatever it is you are pining to do but can't with just the kit.

It's good you're looking at photos, that's where the education of the eye starts. It is good to be conscious while shooting (all that automation doesn't help there!) But also remember that I see things in my own shots that remind me of me and my limitations, while looking at someone else's I don't see that stuff. In other words, we tend to be our own worst critics.

08-31-2008, 11:18 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andi Lo Quote
I'm having a similar dillema here.... my images are not yet as good some that have posted with the kit lenses. ...

...Would it be better for me to just keep working on my skills first or get a better lens? =/ I would really like to gain money from photography from selling prints ...
Hey, I'm in the same boat! All the other people have given really good advice. Let me add something my old art teacher told me. "Buy the best equipment you can afford - if you create something wonderful, you want it to last." At the time, we were talking about a different medium. I think the same concept applies here though.

As an aspiring photographer, who plans to sell prints, we are building our skills and at the same time, need to be building a portfolio. An portfolio-level or gallery-level (for him) quality shot, created by an amateur who gets a one every 1000 clicks is no less important than than that from a pro who succeeds once out of a 100 clicks or less. It's probably more important, for the rarity.

When you decide to pull the trigger and start selling - what are you going to sell? Are you only then going to start a portfolio?

Consider also that, traditionally, quality lenses last a long time (they don't lose their quality). Because of this, they also maintain their resale value... if you aren't happy, you can always re sell it on the marketplace and recoup at least 70% your initial investment.

Good Luck!
08-31-2008, 11:52 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
I'd say: don't replace with something similar, add to it, with a prime or a wider zoom or macro or whatever it is you are pining to do but can't with just the kit.
I agree. The kit lens *does* do quite well at what it is able to do. But it can't do everything. Rather than looking for another 18-55 or a substitute that does the same thing but with more sharpness, look for a lens that does something else entirely: like, as many have mentioned, a prime that has a wider maximum aperture for low light performance and DOF control, or does true macro, or something that covers focal lengths you don't already have covered, etc.

FWIW, I have printed an image at 12x18 taken with the DA50-200 at 200mm where it is not normally considered to be all that fabulous - and the print looks just great at 12x18. You have to look quite closely to see any softness, and that's just not how 12x18 prints are normally looked at.

But it's worth nothing I shot at f/8, not f/5.6. The 18-55 is also at its best around f/8. If you're going to shoot at its widest aperture, it's nowhere near as good, and that's one reason to consider supplementing it with a "faster" lens. not only would, say, the FA50/1.4 give you the option of f/1.4, but it's also *much* sharper than the kit lens at f/5.6.
08-31-2008, 01:08 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by MrTea Quote
But the question is, would I really notice that extra sharpness? For my usual purposes, i.e 7x5 prints, and resizing for the web, I'm sure the answer would be no.
Yes, you would notice the difference. Small prints do mitigate the sharpness somewhat but contrast and color differences are there nevertheless.
08-31-2008, 01:55 PM   #12
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QuoteQuote:
I've blown up a couple of pic's taken with the 18 - 55 version 1 Kit lens, and they actually look quite good.

However since then I've upgraded lenses, and it isn't the sharpness that I notice the most.
It's the colours, contrast, and just the detail in the photographs.
And yes. In my opinion the differences are worth the $
I agree there with Littlelaker


Mr Tea... can you rent the lens you have in mind and try for yourself?

In the end it is your self satisfaction with results that matter most



good luck anyway


Neil
08-31-2008, 04:34 PM   #13
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Whith Color, Contrast, and Sharpness, are you guys saying that these are the improvements that's not attainable with PP? As in a pp'ed 18-55 and pp'ed 16-45 would look significantly different?
08-31-2008, 04:41 PM   #14
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I am sure you would not notice the sharpness difference. The reason you pay more for lenses like the Tamron 17-50, etc. as compared to the DA 18-55 II is the f/2.8. If you don't need that speed, I recommend you spend your money on something else. The DA 18-55 II is a really good lens.

Last edited by PentaxPoke; 08-31-2008 at 04:46 PM.
08-31-2008, 05:29 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andi Lo Quote
Whith Color, Contrast, and Sharpness, are you guys saying that these are the improvements that's not attainable with PP? As in a pp'ed 18-55 and pp'ed 16-45 would look significantly different?
That's what we're saying Andy, it's really these areas where a good lens shines.
Although in reality the 18 - 55 does an excellent job at everything, for it's price.

There are several members living close to you. I've met a few myself.
I wouldn't be surprised if you could meet up with some of them, and possibly even try another lens or 2.
You'll be surprised what that one simple change can do.
A good quality, manual focus prime can often be bought for next to nothing. Just watch the yard sales.
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