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10-30-2008, 11:22 AM   #1
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If you could do it all over?...

As I continually try to establish my own personal lens road map, I find that my needs/wants often change. When I first started with the DSLR, I was drawn primarily to focal length, now I find many desires are based on lens speed. I like the idea of a great macro, but realize that most of my shots are of the kids, therefore a macro is not needed. I find the Fisheye to be a fun, creative lens, but it's use is (as is probably to be expected) infrequent.
From the begining, I've felt that I should probably only have 4 lenses, maximum. Although I am very happy with the performances of the few lenses that I have, I have had second thoughts on where the lenses "fit" in my ever changing roadmap. For example, I love the versatility of the 18-250. While it is a great outdoor zoom, it is not fast enough for indoor shots such as the kids music concerts. Therefore, if I could do it all again, I would probably not choose this lens.
As a result, I thought I'd ask the question...If you could do it all over again...starting from scratch...which 4 lenses would you choose?

10-30-2008, 11:37 AM   #2
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This is my choice of lenses at the moment:

Sigma 10-20mm for wide shooting and landscapes (have it already)
Pentax DA* 55mm 1.4 SDM (waiting...for review and availability) as the fast action hero!
Sigma 70mm macro (purchased already, waiting for shipment)
Pentax DA* 60-250mm SDM (provided that it does not suck etc.)

Should work.
10-30-2008, 11:40 AM   #3
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Actually I arrived at the same point as you. Dumped everything on eBay. Basically all my AF lenses (DA Ltd's included) and started all over with the basics.
Eventually I want the following prime line up: A 20mm, A24mm, A 1.4/50 and the APO Lanthar 3.5/90mm CF. The last two I have already. And the first two could change to the Carl Zeiss PKA variants. ( if I can afford it , of course)
Just plain simple high quality MF.

Last edited by Malo1961; 10-30-2008 at 11:44 AM. Reason: Typo
10-30-2008, 11:49 AM   #4
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I find in my thinking that I divvy up the lenses into actual users vs. play things.

If I'm smart and control my LBA, the play things cannot cost a lot. Actual users can.

In practice, I've discovered the above is BS

In theory my 16-45 suffices for the ultra wide, and a 70-210 for my infrequent tele needs. In AF, the 43 is the fast small lens... so what am I doing with a DA70 in addition?

In practice, I'm having too much fun - and using - my motley crew of cheap MF lenses as to make the first list less 'actual users' than 'backstop coverage' lenses. Once I figured out that great quality can be cheap, I threw out any 'lens road map'!

I play with macro, and like the ability of close focus at least. The 16-45 is pretty good with that... but I have several MF macro or close focus lenses, plus a bellows, plus extension tubes... which means I can get pretty serious about macro before I'm tempted to spend big bucks.

Of course, I'm a wierdo nerdy trad pentaxian, and I freely admit this. The main reason I went to Pentax digital is the ability to near-seamlessly do this vintage lens stuff. I fully admire and admit the benefits of modern lens obsession

10-30-2008, 11:59 AM   #5
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I have been buying lenses left right and center on Ebay since buying my first DSLR 6 months ago trying to do it on the cheap (but not buying particularly cheap lenses) and have ended up with all sorts of different focal lengths.
I have decided to sell the lot and with the proceeds (plus adding a small amount) I reckon I could just about scrape up enough for a DA* 16-50mm, DA* 60-250mm and a DA* 300mm.
If I keep just my Vivitar PKA mount 100mm (Kiron) f2.8 macro lens to go with that little lot I reckon I would just about be set.
10-30-2008, 12:16 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by beaumont Quote
As I continually try to establish my own personal lens road map, I find that my needs/wants often change. When I first started with the DSLR, I was drawn primarily to focal length, now I find many desires are based on lens speed. I like the idea of a great macro, but realize that most of my shots are of the kids, therefore a macro is not needed. I find the Fisheye to be a fun, creative lens, but it's use is (as is probably to be expected) infrequent.
From the begining, I've felt that I should probably only have 4 lenses, maximum. Although I am very happy with the performances of the few lenses that I have, I have had second thoughts on where the lenses "fit" in my ever changing roadmap. For example, I love the versatility of the 18-250. While it is a great outdoor zoom, it is not fast enough for indoor shots such as the kids music concerts. Therefore, if I could do it all again, I would probably not choose this lens.
As a result, I thought I'd ask the question...If you could do it all over again...starting from scratch...which 4 lenses would you choose?

I too found myself in this delima last year.I decided to start over. i sold everything , did some research and went to samy's camera in L.A , i explained my goal and this is how i ended up with the K10D, A*16-50 and DA*50-135 both fast at 2.8 and good quality glass. this covers focal range from 24-200mm , which from my experience, is all i, a casual photographer with a passion for it, needs.
I laughed when i read Thom Hogan review on buying a tripod, as this goes the same.
We know what we should buy, but watch the price and by something cheaper, then we are not pleased, so we go and buy what we should have bought the first time. by that time, we spent moore.

Food for thought, if you are in a position to start over, think about your needs, and experience, then purchase.

Dave
10-30-2008, 12:18 PM   #7
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Easy...

Pentax DA 12-24mm f/4

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8

Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8

and a fast fifty...any one will do really and they come in many variants.


Has me covered very well from 12-200mm and the fifty for low light situations.
10-30-2008, 12:46 PM   #8
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Right now I've basically got a lens for almost any situation, and I feel I got here in a good progression.

I started with the kit lens, plus a tamron 28-300mm from my film days. These were okay, but left me crippled if I needed to shoot in low light, or if I wanted to do macro stuff(which is probably my favorite shooting style).

So when I got some expendable cash I bought the Sigma EX DG 50mm Macro. This was a great lens, but when a Lester A. Dine came up in the marketplace I sold it to buy the Dine, a simply amazing lens. From there I got the FA 50mm 1.4(great choice), 2 Adaptall-2 wide angles(good, but didn't get much use), the FA 35mm 2.0(another great lens, but one I don't use much), the DA* 50-135mm(superb; great choice), a Sigma 100-300mm 4(indispensible; great choice), a Tamron Adaptall-2 200-500mm 5.6(very nice lens, but I prefer my Sigma 100-300mm even though it's shorter), and finally the DA* 16-50mm(very nice except for PF; good choice).

My purchasing of new lenses has come after realizing my selection was lacking in areas, inso I could take care of where I was lacking. This has lead to me getting the lenses I needed, when I needed them.

I would change a few things up though if I knew how I would be shooting once I got all the lenses I have now. I would have never gotten the FA 35mm. It's a great lens, I just hardly ever use it. Instead I would have saved the money a purchased the DA 35mm 2.8 macro. I don't need 2.0 very often, and a wider macro than my 105mm would be nice.

I also would have bought the Sigma 1.4 and 2.0 TC's instead of the 200-500mm Tamron. The Tamron is great but it's huge, heavy and manual focus. I can handhold the Sigma relatively well for long periods of time, even down to about 1/60th of a second at 300mm(with SR). The Tamron is just so heavy that using it without a support is tough for more than short bursts of shooting.

Overall, I haven't lost much in buying and then selling lenses I didn't use, and the lenses I do use often I bought at the right time. Now I have a stable of great lenses that fill 95% of my needs. Really the only lenses I want now to get my dream kit are a really good wide prime(hopefully the DA 15mm limited will fill this spot), the DA 35mm Macro, and a high speed, AF super-telephoto(I drool over the Sigma 500mm 4.5).

10-30-2008, 01:19 PM   #9
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Of my massive collection of not many lenses...
I would choose
135mmf3.5 Takumar preset (with ext tubes)
50mmf1.7 A
DA14
DA18-55

It's a moving target
Pete
10-30-2008, 01:36 PM   #10
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Back in the film days, zooms were either too expensive and /or too bad quality image. Beginners settled with basic kits composed of a 28/2.8, a 50/1.8 (or 1.4) and a 135/3.5. Some others with a bit more purchasing power, went for a 24/2.8 and a 135/2.8. Then came Vivitar Series 1 zooms, that made affordable and IQ reasonable with their 70/210 zooms, which also were capable or close focusing (called macro on those days).

I understand fast glass (2.8 or wider) has become more and more expensive, but also, during the film days, we had to work with ASA's from 25 to 125 If we wanted some decent pictures and not grain truckloads with films from ASA 400 and up (pushed).

With todays DSLR's, we are now getting kit cheap lenses that produce very decent images (18-55 mm), equivalent to a 27 to 82 zoom. I remember the first "wide to short tele" zoom I had. It was a Tokina 35/70 f/4-5.6 which was heavy, built like a tank but seemed like a marshmallow bag under the sun (anything softer than that?). Besides, now the digital performance of sensitivities well above ISO 400 makes the need for fast glass a lesser quest.

What I mean with my rant, is that many people today is aiming fingers at the gear for bad results, when the truth is, It is ourselves to blame for such bad results. The digital era es making us lazy and more demanding of features that if used properly, could give amazingly good results "all the time".

As for me, I recongnize that after 35+ yrs into this great hobby, I am still learning. The difference is that some experience now can tell me where to point fingers when bad things result. Most of the time, at myself of course.

Robert B
10-30-2008, 01:49 PM   #11
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Sometimes it is more important to identify what focal length is most frequently used instead of having the whole collection of lenses.I think most of my pentax collection is now gone and this had not affected my shooting habbits.
10-30-2008, 01:57 PM   #12
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My Lineup Would be Prime

If I had to do it again from nothing:

FA31
FA50
DA21
M100 F4 Macro

In that order. This is assuming that the Kit lens is a given.
10-30-2008, 02:00 PM   #13
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I'm a sheep. I just follow Pentax's instructions and buy the DA* lenses.

For my non-star lenses, I have the 10-17, the Tamron 18-250, the Tamron SP90 Macro, and the Bigma (plus a couple of manual primes that I just don't use much anymore).

I'm perfectly happy with the DA* lineup, though.
10-30-2008, 02:47 PM   #14
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Interesting question. Looking back on my own 3.5 years with Pentax, with my own needs and my own circumstances, there really isn't a heck of a lot I think I should have differently, as the lenses I bought early and don't use so much now still made perfect sense at the time, even in retrospect. Eg, even though I hardly ever use the Quantaray (Tamron) 70-300 I bought with my camera, it cost me only $100 and got me some great shots at a time when there were no few other options (the DA50-200 and 55-300 were not out yet). And so on for other choices I made that still appear to have been the best choices for me at the time.

On the other hand, if I were starting *now*, I suppose I could jump straight to the "finish line". Knowing what I know now about what is available and my photographic habits, I'd cut to the chase and pick up the 4 lenses that account for over 80% of my shooting. This isn't in the order I actually use them in (the M100/2.8 is actually my most-used lens right over the last few months, by a pretty large margin, it turns out), but its the order I think would make most sense to buy them in:

1. DA18-55
2. M100/2.8
3. DA40
4. M28/2.8

Actually, although I use my M28 far more than I use my DA50-200, I might still pick up the latter first, because I would probably regret not having longer telephoto more than I'd regret not having the "fast" 28.
10-30-2008, 04:04 PM   #15
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there are a couple of things to consider, first of all, ISO capabilities of cameras are improving, so what is a problem now may not be next year.

Having said that, my approach has been to have basically 2 sets of lenses.

I have 4 zooms and 2 TCs that take me from 10mm to 400mm

Sigma APO 10-20 EX DG
Pentax FA-J 18-35 F3.5-4.5
Tamron 28-75 Di F2.8
Sigma 70-200 F2.8 EX Plus 1.4x and 2x TCs.

This is my bas travel kit, and it works well.

For special things, I have FAST manual focus primes,

24mm F2.5 35mm F2, 50mm F1.4 105mm F2.8 135mm F2.5, 300mm F4 and an old 400mm F5.6 (it does not get any more use since I got the sigma 70-200 plus 2x)

I always maintain that you need to cover the 10-400mm range some how, and should have zooms from the mid 20mm to 200 mm at F2.8. I have overlap with all lenses, and can (and usually do) drop the 18-35

map it out, buy quality and have fun with the lenses, they last much longer than cameras any way
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