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11-26-2008, 10:11 AM   #1
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New to Pentax- Seek help with lens choice

GDay folks. I have just joined the forum and want to say hi and give a big thanks to the moderator and all who have contributed to this very informative and friendly forum. I am very close to deciding on buying the Pentax K20D (a histogram would have been nice), as my first digital camera. I have been waiting for years to jump in, and the last 6 months or so for the release of the Sony Alpha 900. I have Minolta glass and thought that I could keep it and use it on the new DSLR but it seems that my old glass may not due justice to the a900, and the cost of buying new Sony glass would break the bank. Besides, the reviews for the a900 have been mixed, especially at high ISO levels. My local pro-photo store suggested I look into Pentax, something that I had not previously considered. And here I am, asking for any advice that you folks may have, especially on lenses. Any comments on Tamron alternatives are welcomed. My rough selection of lenses is listed below. (Prices in $US as quoted from B&H)

I had a brief stint as an earning photographer many moons ago, doing mostly wildlife and industrial. It was the best gig of my life. Now Im looking for new gear to get back to shooting. My focus will be on photographing paintings of various sizes (for catalogue and gyclee), and general travel, portraits, nature, etc. Once again, I thank you folks and look forward to any suggestions or comments you may have. Cheers from Vancouver B.C..

Choice 1- Pentax -Zoom Fisheye to Super Wide-Angle SMCP-DA 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5 ED (IF) Autofocus Lens for Digital SLR $390

Choice 2 (instead of Choice 1) Sigma - Zoom Super Wide Angle 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC J Autofocus Lens for Pentax Digital SLR Cameras $455

Choice 3 - Pentax - Normal SMCP-FA 50mm f/1.4 Autofocus Lens $ 200
Choice 4 (Instead of Choice 3) Pentax SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.7

Choice 5 Sigma - Zoom Super Wide Angle 18-50mm f/2.8 EX DC Macro Autofocus Lens $400

Choice 6 - (instead of Choice 5, this will leave me with no 50-70mm coverage)
Sigma - Zoom Super Wide Angle AF 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC Macro Autofocus Lens for Pentax Digital SLR Cameras $350

Choice 7 - Sigma - Zoom Telephoto 70-300mm f/4-5.6 APO DG Macro Autofocus Lens for Pentax AF $200

I welcome your comments.

11-26-2008, 10:29 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Squeeze Quote

Choice 3 - Pentax - Normal SMCP-FA 50mm f/1.4 Autofocus Lens $ 200
Choice 4 (Instead of Choice 3) Pentax SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.7

I'd go with the 1.4 I use it and it's an amazing low-light lens. And it focuses relatively fast in low light conditions.

Choice 5 Sigma - Zoom Super Wide Angle 18-50mm f/2.8 EX DC Macro Autofocus Lens $400
Choice 6 - (instead of Choice 5, this will leave me with no 50-70mm coverage)
Sigma - Zoom Super Wide Angle AF 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC Macro Autofocus Lens for Pentax Digital SLR Cameras $350

I love my sigma 17-70. It's a great lens for macro work and it covers a wide focal range. Plus you get f/2.8 at 17mm and 4.5 is usually fast enough when shooting at 70mm

I welcome your comments.
Hopefully this helps. I've only commented on lenses that I've used. You've got a pretty good lens line-up. I would save on the zoom and try and get a 2.8 constant. (Tamron or Sigma) They run expensive but are well worth the investment. It's a very flexiable lens, I've used mine for both indoor shooting and for sports shooting. My Tamron 70-200 almost lives on my K10.

Welcome to Pentax.

-Yale
11-27-2008, 08:21 PM   #3
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Thanks Yale

Hi Yale. Thanks very much for your suggestions. I may also look at a 31 or 43mm or something in that range instead of the 50mm. Once again thanks and good luck.
11-27-2008, 09:05 PM   #4
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Don't forget the best lens Tamron SP 17-50 f2.8 LD Di II

11-27-2008, 09:39 PM   #5
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I have used a borrowed Pentax 10-17 fisheye and liked it, but have not had a chance to try the Sigma 10-20 yet. You might want to see if you can try both out at a store, or possibly look through some sample photos here on the forum as there is quite a difference in field of view between them. The fisheye effect is fun to play with and lets you capture some incredibly wide objects from short distances, but it doesn't really replace an ultra-wide rectilinear lens.

This thread: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/33549-fisheye-...ye-photos.html has some excellent samples from the 10-17 fisheye to show how its distortion can be used at different focal lengths.

I have the FA 50mm f/1.4 and like it a great deal, but to be honest I think that I would have been equally happy with the 50mm f/1.7 if I had found one in good shape for the right price. I usually use the lens between f/2 and f/4 indoors in low to moderate light because I find the depth of field to be a bit shallow for regular candid shots wide open.

The Pentax 55-300 might be a good substitute for the Sigma 70-300 if you are willing to spend a bit more money, as with the fisheye I've only used a borrowed version but it performed quite well for its price range and flexibility.
11-27-2008, 09:57 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Squeeze Quote
I am very close to deciding on buying the Pentax K20D
Amazon has the K20D body, A40 Optio point-and-shoot, and Pentax backpack combo special for $750, for a few more days. (I paid $250 more for just the K20D...:-(

QuoteQuote:
Choice 1- Pentax -Zoom Fisheye to Super Wide-Angle SMCP-DA 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5 ED (IF) Autofocus Lens for Digital SLR $390
Good one. Must like curved lines, though not too much at 17mm.

QuoteQuote:
Choice 5 – Sigma - Zoom Super Wide Angle 18-50mm f/2.8 EX DC Macro Autofocus Lens $400
Cameta Camera has the older (non-macro) version for about $279. I can get 5 keyboard keys in the shot with it. Oh, its not really "superwide".

QuoteQuote:
Choice 6 - (instead of Choice 5, this will leave me with no 50-70mm coverage)
Sigma - Zoom Super Wide Angle AF 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC Macro Autofocus Lens for Pentax Digital SLR Cameras $350
This seems like a great focal length, and the lens has good reviews, despite the variable aperture.

QuoteQuote:
Choice 7 - Sigma - Zoom Telephoto 70-300mm f/4-5.6 APO DG Macro Autofocus Lens for Pentax AF $200
I had that one. Aperture blades broke :-( It has pretty low contrast and lifeless-looking shots unless you increase the contrast a lot. I stopped using it after getting the Pentax 55-300.

I would strongly suggest getting the Pentax 55-300 which is only $100 more but much better. It also solves your "gap" from 50-70. The extra cost here offsets the savings on the older 18-50, so moneywise you break even but with better equipment.

The K20D will make average lenses not so average, anymore...

Last edited by SpecialK; 11-27-2008 at 10:07 PM.
11-28-2008, 12:10 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Squeeze Quote
Choice 7 - Sigma - Zoom Telephoto 70-300mm f/4-5.6 APO DG Macro Autofocus Lens for Pentax AF $200
I have this lens and like it quite a bit. It's sharp enough, built solidly, and very worth the low price tag. Then again, I have not tried out the Pentax 55-300 so my opinion might not be worth much


This is the Sigma at 300mm, f/5.6
11-28-2008, 09:38 AM   #8
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I recommend you have a look at the combo of DA 16-45mm, FA 50mm 1.4 and DA 55-300mm. Pentax is famous for its colour rendition, and these three lenses will show those colours gloriously.

The 16-45mm is very strong at the wide end and by most counts is sharper than the Sigma 17-70 in their common range. I was amazed at how many pro shooters on the Pentax boards use the 16-45mm as their bread and butter lens.

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