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6 Days Ago - 1 Like   #1
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55-300 PLM and... Help me spend my money?!?

I used to shoot K10D some time ago. I sold it, bought another about a year later, then sold that one too, when other interests demanded more of my time and money. I haven't held a Pentax in my hands in almost a decade! So now, after waiting most of 2018 to see if a K3 iii was actually coming to market, I've given up waiting and I'm quite literally buying a new kit sometime in the next two days.

I live on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state, only a few minutes walk from the Pacific Ocean. I work in the woods, building logging roads. It's cool and wet, ranging from "damp" to "torrential downpour... sideways sometimes" and when it isn't, it can get quite windy and dusty. So WR Pentax it is! (I need advice on an inexpensive but rugged camera bag that seals well against dust and rain too)... I plan to shoot a lot at work, in my bits and pieces of "free time". I'm in love with what I've seen and read on the 55-300 PLM and it looks like it will fit my new personal challenge; collecting at least one quality photo of every bird species in my region; and should be a good fit for the environment as well. Of course the PLM demands either the K-70 or KP (I haven't decided yet between the two.) I imagine some other wild life will get their photos taken too but it's mostly birds I'm after. That will make up the majority of my photography time. Sure, there will be the occasional sunrise (or sunset), landscape, etc. and maybe I'll wander down to the beach with it once in awhile too. That said...

The holidays are coming! Family and friends! Portraits! And I have a couple of cats, whom I at least, think can be quite photogenic. And I'm sure, sooner or later, I'm really, REALLY going to wish I had something(s) to fill the lower end of the focal range too. So here are the options I'm considering. Other suggestions are fine too?

-- 18-55 WR Seems like a decent companion to the PLM, for occasional use, and they seem to be just about giving them away with some K-70 bundles now, and I've even seen it with the KP. This is probably the cheapest option.
-- 18-135 WR I like this one a LOT and have gotten to try it briefly myself a time or two. I've seen a pretty good bundle price on this one with the K-70 as well. But is it overkill at it's price point (higher price than the PLM in many places!)? My ideal kit, but at the very top end of my immediate budget, would be the KP + PLM + 18-135
-- Just go with a cheap prime or two? I've read many pages of lens reviews here and both the DA 50 f/1.8 and the DA 35 f/2.4 make me drool a bit, seeming like great IQ for the $$$.

I'm not opposed to spending a bit more, perhaps down the road, on a 20-40 Limited or the like, but the more expensive it is, the more I'm going to wish it has weather sealing.

Thanks in advance!

6 Days Ago - 1 Like   #2
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Welcome to the forums, and welcome back to Pentax!

I think your idea of camera (K-70 or KP) + 55-300 PLM + 18-135 makes an awful lot of sense. That's a complete weather-resistant (not weather-proof ) setup, covering a wide range of focal lengths. I think you'd be better served by the 18-135 rather than the 18-55, as it offers a lot more versatility without having to change lenses (it's handy to have some crossover of focal length ranges with zoom lenses, IMHO). When you're not photographing birds, you could well find that the 18-135 is pretty much all you need.

As for the choice between K-70 or KP... I would go with the KP, personally, but both cameras have different things going for them. The KP is arguably built to a higher price point and might therefore take a little more abuse, but I have no evidence of my own to confirm this.

I'm sure you'll get plenty of responses, so I'll be interested to see what other folks have to say
6 Days Ago   #3
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Thanks for the reply!

In fact that IS my "ideal" setup, but it's far at the end of my budget, primarily because I'm having a hard time finding the same sort of bundle savings with the KP + lens(es) VS. the K-70, many of which offer a sizable savings when bundled with the 18-135.

I think the KP has many things going for it... the extra stop (?) of SR may be very handy, as I'll probably be doing a lot of my bird shots at telephoto length and handheld, as would be the usable higher ISO. Last but not least, I loved using a battery grip with the K10D. No such offering for the K-70!
6 Days Ago - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Oktyabr Quote
Thanks for the reply!

In fact that IS my "ideal" setup, but it's far at the end of my budget, primarily because I'm having a hard time finding the same sort of bundle savings with the KP + lens(es) VS. the K-70, many of which offer a sizable savings when bundled with the 18-135.

I think the KP has many things going for it... the extra stop (?) of SR may be very handy, as I'll probably be doing a lot of my bird shots at telephoto length and handheld, as would be the usable higher ISO. Last but not least, I loved using a battery grip with the K10D. No such offering for the K-70!
Yes, I like to shoot with a grip too... Not all the time, but a lot

Is your budget based on new or used prices? You can save a chunk of cash buying used. We have a very active Marketplace here, and you'd likely pick up an 18-135 at an attractive saving. Possibly a KP too. I don't recall seeing anyone selling the 55-300 PLM yet, but that's not an impossibility.

If you've already considered that and it still pushes you right to the top end of (or beyond) your budget, you could probably pick up a used 18-55 or 18-50 WR at a very good price, use that while you save up a little more, then sell it pretty much for what you paid and buy the 18-135 when you can afford to. WR lenses - even the basic kit models - tend to sell quite easily, for obvious reasons...

6 Days Ago   #5
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Yeah, I've been considering used too. The PLM is still a bit of unicorn, used, but there are several 18-135s out there. Similarly with the K-70 (several) vs the KP. If I could find the KP bundled with either, at a good discount, I'd buy it. As it is I'm tempted to get the K-70 just because I found a huge savings bundled with the 18-135. If I buy new, I'd be somewhat temporarily confined to the KP + PLM (about US$1300) or I could have the K-70 + PLM + 18-135 for about the same amount.

And again, I go back to the idea of an affordable prime or two. I could have both the 50mm and the 35mm for less than half what either of the bigger telephotos go for. I wonder if, given both a prime and the 18-135 to play with (when the PLM wasn't mounted), if I could still easily justify the added expense of the 18-135?
6 Days Ago - 1 Like   #6
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The 55-300 plm is a nice lens. I pair mine with the 16-85 or with a couple of limited primes (15+21 or 40). I got my 16-85 when it was on sale and closer in price to the 18-135. If I were buying a new camera too and didn't have the 16-85, I'd probably go with the 18-135 since I have the 15mm for wider shots and there are kit discounts (?). 16mm vs 18mm is significant, but only if it matters to you.

Last edited by aaacb; 6 Days Ago at 02:02 PM.
6 Days Ago - 2 Likes   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Oktyabr Quote
Yeah, I've been considering used too. The PLM is still a bit of unicorn, used, but there are several 18-135s out there. Similarly with the K-70 (several) vs the KP. If I could find the KP bundled with either, at a good discount, I'd buy it. As it is I'm tempted to get the K-70 just because I found a huge savings bundled with the 18-135. If I buy new, I'd be somewhat temporarily confined to the KP + PLM (about US$1300) or I could have the K-70 + PLM + 18-135 for about the same amount.
I've not shot with the K-70 or KP other than to try them at photography shows. I liked them both, and both produce superb quality images. I don't think you could be disappointed with either one.

I have seen a few KPs come up on the Marketplace - not many, but they appear from time to time. So, depending on how patient you can be vs how quickly you want to get started, you might still find one there. The last one I saw was just at the start of this month, and it sold for $650 - mint condition with less than 2,000 shutter count, and a couple of extra genuine Pentax batteries.

QuoteOriginally posted by Oktyabr Quote
And again, I go back to the idea of an affordable prime or two. I could have both the 50mm and the 35mm for less than half what either of the bigger telephotos go for. I wonder if, given both a prime and the 18-135 to play with (when the PLM wasn't mounted), if I could still easily justify the added expense of the 18-135?
The DA35/2.4 and DA50/1.8 are great little lenses (the DA35/2.4 is actually one of my favourite K-mount AF lenses). They feel plasticky because... well... they're made from plastic But the glass is really good, and image quality is excellent from both. I've had mine for several years now, I shoot with them quite often (especially the DA35/2.4), and they look and feel as good as new. A few people aren't so keen on them, but I think they're in the minority. Of course, neither model is WR - not at all. I would pick both of them over the 18-135 for better image quality at those specific focal lengths, especially at wider aperture settings. Indeed, the 18-135 - being a variable aperture zoom - can't compete on maximum aperture at those focal lengths.

However...

A 35mm lens on an APS-C sensor camera is like shooting with a 50mm lens on "full frame". It's not at all wide, and if even a small portion of your shooting would benefit from wide angle fields of view, I think you'd be better off with the 18-135 (or 18-55, or 16-85). I'm a little unusual in that I tend to shoot between 28 and 75mm most of the time on my APS-C cameras. I'm not that interested in wide angle - or, rather, I don't find I need it very often for what I want to shoot. That said, even I would find it limiting to have a 35mm lens as my widest. I have a Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 for those times where I might need wider angle shots, plus the DA15 and DA21 when I know what I'm going to be shooting

IMHO, you'd be better off with a two zoom set to get started. See how you get on. If you find you're never shooting below 35mm, you can always sell the 18-135 (it's a popular lens, so you won't have much trouble moving it on) and pick up the DA35 and DA50.
6 Days Ago - 3 Likes   #8
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Only way to go is the 18-55 WR & 55-300 PLM

18-55 WR indoors & occasional Landscapes
55-300 PLM Walk about Out Doors
$$$$ Best Combo
I Q " "

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6 Days Ago - 1 Like   #9
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18-55 is not as good as the 18-135, and a combo with more "overlap" is generally more useful - mine is an old Sigma 17-70 (after getting that I sold the 18-135) and the PLM, which works, in most cases, on all the bodies which can use it.
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Oh, and let's not forget.... "Black Friday" isn't all that far away, so there may well be deals on the K-70 and KP plus lenses. If not Black Friday, then on the run up to, or just after, Christmas...
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
Oh, and let's not forget.... "Black Friday" isn't all that far away, so there may well be deals on the K-70 and KP plus lenses. If not Black Friday, then on the run up to, or just after, Christmas...

That's true but I guess this is where I insert a bit more background information.... My birthday is two days before Black Friday. My son's is the day before mine. My ex-wife (we are still great friends) is a few days after. In total, between friends and family, I have no fewer than six birthdays landing in the last half of November... and THEN there is Christmas shopping!

This month I have money saved up and would like to buy ME my birthday present (a new camera setup!) BEFORE the demand on my bank account really kicks in
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QuoteOriginally posted by Oktyabr Quote
That's true but I guess this is where I insert a bit more background information.... My birthday is two days before Black Friday. My son's is the day before mine. My ex-wife (we are still great friends) is a few days after. In total, between friends and family, I have no fewer than six birthdays landing in the last half of November... and THEN there is Christmas shopping!

This month I have money saved up and would like to buy ME my birthday present (a new camera setup!) BEFORE the demand on my bank account really kicks in
Ha ha Well, in that case "Black Friday" simply isn't an option. I understand completely - you must strike while the iron's hot

Look at it this way... For the extra time you'll have the camera and lenses by buying them now, it's worth paying the slight premium over Black Friday. You couldn't rent the equipment for that length of time for such a small amount (I'm a glass half full kind of guy)
6 Days Ago   #13
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Hmmmm.... buy me MY birthday present... leave cheap primes for others to buy me?!?!
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QuoteOriginally posted by Oktyabr Quote
Hmmmm.... buy me MY birthday present... leave cheap primes for others to buy me?!?!
Great idea

Of course, you could buy the primes and ask everyone else to buy your camera and 55-300?? No? Pushing it a bit too far? OK...
6 Days Ago - 2 Likes   #15
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OK, I am a newbie to digital but will throw in my few months of experience. I am VERY happy with the K70 although I don't have experience with other models for comparison. I have the the 18-55 kit. It works but it works best, at least the one I have at about 35mm. THEREFORE, if you are "serious about sharp" a prime 35 might also fit the bill. The 55-300 PLM is great if your proximity to the subject is right. I have had good and bad experience shooting birds. It seems that their shyness varies with location. Yes, these are weasel words but I have had shorebirds that will sit on your feet and forest birds daring you to climb the tree. Lately I have wished for a 500-5000mm but of course those are out of the price range of mortals. The 55-300 is relatively affordable and very versatile.
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