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09-18-2008, 12:34 PM   #1
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DA 18-55mm Mark II vs original DA 18-55mm

I have limited funds and would like to buy a better lens than the KIT lens first generation. Is the DA 18-55mm Mark II substantially better? Or should I keep saving and then buy the 16-45 f/4 or the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8?

Thanks in advance for the comments.

09-18-2008, 01:59 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by jjdgti Quote
I have limited funds and would like to buy a better lens than the KIT lens first generation. Is the DA 18-55mm Mark II substantially better? Or should I keep saving and then buy the 16-45 f/4 or the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8?
In my opinion the difference is *not* worth spending money on. I've got both and have tested side by side at a variety of focal lengths and apertures, looking at corners as well as center. The II wins in some of the comparisons, the original wins in others, but in all cases differences are *tiny*. As compared to the *GIGANTIC* difference between either of these and a good prime. So if I were you, I'd be spending my money to get something I didn't already have, not just a tiny bit of improvement in some cases.

Your profile shows you have the kit lens and a 28-200. The latter means your telephoto needs are covered (assuming you like the lens). Most obvious thing missing to me - and indeed, I couldn't possibly live without it - would be a "fast" lens. Something with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 or better for low light and for depth of field control. The "obvious" choice here being the FA50, but the DA40 would certainly be worth a look, as would perhaps a couple of older manual focus primes like an M or A 50, or a 100 if you think you'd want more telephoto, or a 28 if you think you'd want something wider. Certainly the 17-50/2.8 is worth considering, but that's more expensive than all three primes I listed put together.

But maybe the idea of shooting macro appeals to you more than low light or shallow DOF. In which case, that's the direction to look.

Basically, ask yourself what you wish you could do that you cannot now, and that will help make the decision.
09-18-2008, 02:05 PM   #3
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To answer original question. I have to agree with Marc. I don't really think getting 2nd version of 18-55 would be wise spent money if you already have the 1st ver. Apparently the 2nd doesn't uderxpose that much, but otherwise they shoudl be fairly similar.
As for what to get. if you like 28-200 then go for either fast lens as described by Marc, or dedicated macro (you can combine those two and get either 35 f2.8 macro, or 50 f2.5 macro, or 70 .... I thin you get me). If you think 200 is short, go for longer telephoto lens. Think what you shoot most, and what lens would you really use the most.
Choose wisely, LBA may be lurking around the corner, and it's a pretty nasty thing
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09-18-2008, 02:25 PM   #4
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I too have used both, (my daughters II) and feel the difference is so slight as to be insignificant.

09-18-2008, 02:36 PM   #5
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Can't agree more with both Marc and axl. The kit zoom in both versions are so good for a kit zoom so it is really questionable if the first goal for someone with your lens set up to replace it with another short zoom. Go get a prime! A dedicated tele, macro, portrait, wide-angle, high speed lens... There is also primes that combine two of these: for example the FA50/1.4 is both a fast lens and a good portrait lens, and there are lenses that are both good macro and good portrait lenses. And sure, the new 35/2.8 ltd macro is great, and a good normal lens as well, and I understand Pentax DA100mm macro is also excellent, but auto-focus is not of that much help in macro, so if macro is what you want, consider manual focus and used lenses. And if you eventually buy a second house, you are likely to get the 2nd (or third?) version of the kit zoom almost for free. That's why I have both. Would never have bothered to buy the 2nd version despite the improvements. Having both, I think it is a bit better, without formal tests, but it might be imagination, and it is not worth the money you pay for it if you buy it without a body.
Go get a prime, zooooms are always compromises.
09-18-2008, 08:11 PM   #6
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I respect all of your observations and expertise.

I would like to know why Pentax would spend time to redesign this lens if the improvements are to be insignificant in real usage.

Also, the K20d review @ digitalcamerareview.com compared the kits and mentioned the new kit lens had better resolving power at edges or something.
09-18-2008, 09:14 PM   #7
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Yup, am curious about the difference also... why did Pentax go through the trouble of releasing a 2nd version for the K200D and K20D?
09-18-2008, 10:01 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by mazdamazda Quote
Yup, am curious about the difference also... why did Pentax go through the trouble of releasing a 2nd version for the K200D and K20D?
They managed to achieve ~5% improvement; worthy enough in marketing terms not to let it go unnoticed

Seriously, if Pentax had released K20D with an old 18-55 it would devalue the significance of the 14.6Mpix sensor.
With a few tweaks and a Mark II stamp they can imply ... see, lens has to keep up with the higher resolution.

09-18-2008, 10:08 PM   #9
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Hahahahaha.

Was just thinking about this since a few weeks back, I could have "upgraded" from old lens to the new one for just around USD 10.

09-19-2008, 05:41 AM   #10
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Thanks Mark, Peter and Douglas. I like the sugestion of getting a prime. I am very inclined to get the FA 50mm 1.4. I have to save some more money.

John
09-19-2008, 06:57 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by jjdgti Quote
Thanks Mark, Peter and Douglas. I like the sugestion of getting a prime. I am very inclined to get the FA 50mm 1.4. I have to save some more money.

John
Recently there was the Sigma 24-60 f/2.8 on Amazon @ $200, would have been a good recommendation for you but I think it has sold out at this price. Cameta on ebay may still have it @ $230 plus shipping.
09-19-2008, 08:56 AM   #12
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As an option to the FA 50/1.4, you might want to consider the FA 35/2. It is a more reasonable "normal" focal length on the APS-C format and is a very, very good lens. The FA 50 and the FA 35 are the Pentax lineup's value queens. Reasonable prices and wonderful performance. Both the FA 50 and the FA 35 are no longer in active production, but there appears to be plenty of dealer stock at this time.

Steve

(FA 35/2 fanboy...)
09-19-2008, 09:43 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by mk19 Quote
I would like to know why Pentax would spend time to redesign this lens if the improvements are to be insignificant in real usage.
I think the main issue is that the limitations of the 18-55 were kind of holding back the image quality of the K20D a bit. Really, the K20D is not that different from the K10D - *the* big difference was the sensor. And the limitations of the original 18-55 were not showing off the new sensor quite well enough, so they tweaked it some.

So I'm not saying there are no improvements. I'm saying they are pretty hard to see, especially if you aren't using a K20D. The new kit lens will take pretty much exactly the same pictures as the old, just maybe with a little better corner resolution at some focal lengths and apertures, etc. Whereas the FA50/1.4 would let you take pictures neither kit lens could *possibly* take - both because of it much wider maximum aperture, and because it is a *very* noticeably sharper lens.

So if you already have a perfectly good 18-55 and are looking to spend $100 to improve your photography, replacing the 18-55 with the 18-55 will make a *tiny* difference in your photography. You'll take the same picture,s but corner resolution will be marginally better. Whereas if you get the FA50/1.4, that could easily make a *huge* difference in your photography. Ditto with any other lens that is more, well, *different* from the original 18-55 in either speed, focal length, macro capability, etc.

Here's another way of putting it: if you are currently using a UV filter on your 18-55, the improvement you get simply by taking that off are probably at least as big as the improvement you'd get with an 18-55 II.
09-19-2008, 09:46 AM   #14
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Thanks Mark.
Point well taken.
John
09-19-2008, 11:45 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kguru Quote
Recently there was the Sigma 24-60 f/2.8 on Amazon @ $200, would have been a good recommendation for you but I think it has sold out at this price. Cameta on ebay may still have it @ $230 plus shipping.

This lens is still available on Amazon from Cameta for $199. I was quite tempted by it, but chose the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 instead, which is a great lens as well.



QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
As an option to the FA 50/1.4, you might want to consider the FA 35/2. It is a more reasonable "normal" focal length on the APS-C format and is a very, very good lens.
Agreed--I use my FA 35/2 much more often (in general) than my FA 50/1.4, but I love both lenses and they are great values. I find the 35mm to be a more versatile focal length when compared to the 50mm. YMMV.

Last edited by jeffrey r; 09-19-2008 at 11:56 AM.
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