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01-05-2020, 03:23 PM   #1
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Lens choices

Looking for a bit of advice over which secondhand lens to buy.

I have a budget of around 300.

I'm looking at 3 lens, all of which are well regarded within the pentax community.

I currently have a a KP with the following lenses.

DA 10-17mm
DA 18-135mm
DA 55-30mm PLM
DA 35mm f2.4mm
DA 50mm f1.8mm

The lenses I'm thinking of are

DA 15mm
DA 12-24mm
DA 16-85mm

Most of my photography is outdoors, either landscapes or transport. I really like the 18-135, but I find it lacks sharpness, hence my looking at the wider end of the range.


Are there any other lenses I should be looking at that I haven't considered?

Thanks for your assistance.


Last edited by bigyinn; 01-05-2020 at 03:37 PM.
01-05-2020, 03:32 PM   #2
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new or used?

AF or MF?
01-05-2020, 03:36 PM - 1 Like   #3
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I did say secondhand and I'm after an AF lens.
01-05-2020, 03:39 PM   #4
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Well I don't have it but the DA 16-85mm is highly regarded if you are not happy with sharpness of the 18-135. Also a bit wider which is a plus.
Of course the DA 15 is good too if you like primes (I have one in my K-01 kit) and does lovely light stars at night.

01-05-2020, 03:49 PM   #5
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I find the 55-300 plm great and the 18-135 thought of the same. Do you find one better? It might qualify your standard.
01-05-2020, 03:52 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by bigyinn Quote
i did say secondhand and i'm after an af lens.
da 14/2.8
01-05-2020, 03:52 PM - 2 Likes   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by kiwi_jono Quote
Well I don't have it but the DA 16-85mm is highly regarded if you are not happy with sharpness of the 18-135. Also a bit wider which is a plus.
Of course the DA 15 is good too if you like primes (I have one in my K-01 kit) and does lovely light stars at night.
I don't have the 16-85 but I hear nothing but good about it, and if you've go a bad 18-135, the16-85 would replace it nicely. I have the HD DA 15 and it is a superb lens with excellent rendering, only limitation is that it's not a WR or AW lens.. I have a good copy of the 18-135, but I don't use it that much, preferring to use the 55-300 PLM or the DA 20-40.
01-05-2020, 04:32 PM - 1 Like   #8
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Having owned an 18-135 and replaced it with a 16-85 I found it to be a good upgrade in terms of IQ (especially edge to edge sharpness)and the extra 2mm at the wide end more than compensated for the loss of range at the long end.

01-05-2020, 05:00 PM - 1 Like   #9
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I can't not recommend the DA 21 Ltd for outdoor and landscape shots. It's an amazing little performer, and my favourite by far! The compactness also makes it a great walk around lens for hikes or around town. They say a picture speaks a thousand words, so I'll let some shots with the 21 Ltd and my K-50 do the talking (click to see larger):

01-05-2020, 05:05 PM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by bigyinn Quote
Looking for a bit of advice over which secondhand lens to buy.

I have a budget of around 300.

I'm looking at 3 lens, all of which are well regarded within the pentax community.

I currently have a a KP with the following lenses.

DA 10-17mm
DA 18-135mm
DA 55-30mm PLM
DA 35mm f2.4mm
DA 50mm f1.8mm

The lenses I'm thinking of are

DA 15mm
DA 12-24mm
DA 16-85mm

Most of my photography is outdoors, either landscapes or transport. I really like the 18-135, but I find it lacks sharpness, hence my looking at the wider end of the range.


Are there any other lenses I should be looking at that I haven't considered?

Thanks for your assistance.

Sigma 8-16 (I have both 8-16 and DA12-24/4... and I have almost zero use for DA12-24 since I bought 8-16. DA15/4 makes no sense. Worse than DA12-24 in image output and not even wide. Its only advantage is size&wight)

Sigma 17-50/2.8 (You are missing FAST zoom lens. DA18-135 and DA16-85 are not very different in use.. one is longer, other is a hair wider and has a hair better image output, but both are nowhere near constant F2.8 lens usability)
01-05-2020, 05:20 PM - 2 Likes   #11
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Well, your DA 18-135mm is actually quite fine at the usual landscape focal length range, that is its shorter end, but best stopped down a little. For example instead of wide open at say f/4, even stopping down as little as f/5.6 will improve sharpness at frame edges. Central area sharpness is rated as excellent throughout in lab tests, remarkable for a lens of such zoom range. It is also amazingly compact, in keeping with the KP's design concept. And stop-down apertures are usually preferred for landscape use anyway to obtain greater depth of field (DOF). At around 70mm on, the DA 16-85mm will perform better in general at frame edges, when needed at telephoto range.

In analyzing your remarks as to your desire for wide angle shooting, your DA 10-17 is a good lens for widest angle, but it is a fisheye design, so that comes with some expected distortions, which can to some degree be compensated for in post-process.

I also shoot with a KP, and for a rectilinear ultra-wide zoom lens I've had the very fine Pentax 12-24mm f/4 lens for numerous years now, used on several camera bodies. Excellent lens, but it does still use the old screw-driven AF technology, and it s quite costly. However, I have no idea as to your location-could be anywhere in the UK?, but not long ago I purchased yet another super-wide zoom lens from B&H, brand new, at a very reasonable price, with which I am very pleased. It is the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM which is exceptionally well made and well-designed, with very fine optical performance and 1/2 stop faster aperture. Getting out to that 10mm width does make a difference too. As to distortion, at 12mm is extremely low, good enough for linear subject shots, architecture, etc. and virtually zero at 15mm. A beautiful lens at a bargain price. The 15mm Limited has low distortion, but not that low.

The DA 15mm f/4 LTD is a very nice lens, but its main attribute is its extreme small size. To get good edge-to-edge sharpness, stopping down is needed. I have one of those also, in silver to match my KP (nice) and I love its size , as I can slip it into the front accessory pocket of my holster-style camera case and let it live there, handy when needed.

Last edited by mikesbike; 01-05-2020 at 05:52 PM.
01-05-2020, 05:32 PM - 2 Likes   #12
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I've had the sold and repurchased the DA 12-24. Both my copies have performed as well as or better that the DA 15 Limited green ringed version that I have. The 15 does do better star bursts (if you have the green ringed version) and is lighter. The 12 to 24 covers a very useful range, so it can be wider than the 15 when needed. It also takes filters. i used it extensively on a trip to Arizona and Colorado and am very happy with the results.

I've heard good things about the 16-85 but do not own copy

If wide is your desire than the 12-24 fits the bill.

The biggest advantage of the 15 is it's lighter weight ,but it wont be much wider that the 16-85 and the 12-24 beats it in field of view. as far as my experience goes its a bit better that the 15 in image quality.
01-05-2020, 05:39 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by bigyinn Quote
I really like the 18-135, but I find it lacks sharpness
Do you have specific conditions under which you find this? I have never had sharpness issues except at the long end along the far edges with either of the two that I own - and done fairly large prints.


In general, you have a very capable set of lenses already. Out of the ones that you listed, the (HD) DA 15mm would be an addition which provides you a fairly wide rectilinear option with almost absolute immunity to flare, which is extremely helpful in some landscape situations. It's tiny and beautifully built. If your 18-135mm doesn't perform to your satisfaction, the 16-85mm might be the most logical choice though, if size/weight isn't bothering you on the KP.
01-05-2020, 05:41 PM   #14
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If you are looking for more sharpness, consider the DA21mm. Its right ion your price range, would be good for landscape and transport and finally has good reviews.
01-06-2020, 12:59 AM - 1 Like   #15
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Personally, I prefer the Pentax 12-24mm over those on your list for the wider end of things.
I also own the Sigma 8-16 and the Pentax 15. Both have their uses. However, the rendering and colors of the Pentax 12-24 are what I prefer most of the time. There are reviews on PF stating that it is near Limited or Star quality as far as images and I tend to agree (although there may be a bit of enthusiasm involved ).


The Pentax 15 takes wonderful images, but is less flexible (there's an enormous thread in the Forums about the 15 "Blows mu mind" or something similar and yes, that sentiment is real.

The Sigma 8-16 goes farther in width than the Pentax 12-24, for when that is desired or required. Images just don't have "that Pentax look" to my eye, although there is nothing wrong with them.

I do not have the Pentax 16-85, so I can't give an opinion there. I do have the 18-135 and find it fairly sharp when stopped down a bit and not at the longest end. Since we're talking mostly about wider... my recommendation comes down to the Pentax 12-24 .
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