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12-08-2008, 07:32 AM   #1
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Next lens?

Hello,

I am wondering what my next lens should be. I know this is a highly personal matter but I'm up for a few suggestions. I currently have three lenses: smc Pentax-FA 1.4 50mm, smc Pentax-DA 4.5-5.6 50-200mm and smc Pentax-DA 3.5-5.6 18-55mm AL II.

What type of photography do I do the most? Who knows! I am an amateur photographer and dabble in about everything. Christmas, New Years and about 5 birthdays are coming up (seems our family likes winter babies), so maybe a good portrait lens that can be used indoors? I really like landscape photography. I was also thinking of a macro lens, though it has much less "practical" consideration for me personally as I am right now taking mostly pictures of things to for family memories.

I have a general range (18-200 overall). My 50mm prime is much better in clarity than either of the kit zooms (of course). At this point, I want to purchase only high quality lenses, eventually probably making my kit 18-55 and 50-200 obsolete in my camera bag.

I guess I am hoping to draw on the experience of others who were in my same shoes. What would be the best next lens for me? I was at my nephews birthday party yesterday and my 50mm was not wide enough to take some larger family shots and my 18-55mm required the use of the flash with the indoor lighting conditions, so I was initially thinking of a wide angle prime, or maybe the 12-20mm zoom but I am totally open to suggestions.

Thanks,

Jeremy

12-08-2008, 07:54 AM   #2
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How much money do you want to spend? Are you looking for "Bang for the buck" or is money not an issue?

If you have about $400-$500 to spend a Sigma 10-20 would fill in the gap you have at the wide end nicely.
12-08-2008, 07:57 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentaxman Quote
How much money do you want to spend? Are you looking for "Bang for the buck" or is money not an issue?

If you have about $400-$500 to spend a Sigma 10-20 would fill in the gap you have at the wide end nicely.
Money is not endless, but yes, I was thinking max 600. Now, if you could get a lens rated 9.9 on scale of 1-10 for 600 vs. a different lens 9.8 for 400, I'd go for the $400 lens :-) Most bang for the buck is great and I'll always seek that, but I'll place a lot of emphasis on the "bang" being clarity and speed as a good part of the pictures I take are indoors.

Jeremy
12-08-2008, 08:34 AM   #4
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you and i seem to be on a similar track; i started with dual kit lens and i'm on my way to slowly acquiring primes. i personally like to shoot landscapes and portraits.

i purchased tamron 28-75mm to replace my dual kit. i found myself not using 50-200 that much so i didn't miss the tele side too much. the lens has served me well for about a yr. however, i did find myself missing not having wider angle. also, i realized i didn't like the size and how intimidating large zooms are for portrait subjects. so i'm on my way of trying to build a prime kit; i just purchased FA limited 77mm for portraits and planning to acquire FA 43mm limited, DA 21mm limited and possibly DA 15mm limited when it comes out.

take a look at the pictures you took with your lenses and see which focal length you used the most. based on that information you could try to pick out a lens/lenses that fit your needs. and also ask yourself whether you prefer zoom or primes (benefit vs. cost).

for primes, some choices for indoor photos i can think of are:

FA 35mm f/2 $300 - sharp wide open, smooth buttery bokeh, plastic exterior
DA limited 35mm f/2.8 $350-400 - nice colors, good contrast, macro, metal build, bit slower
FA limited 31mm f/1.8 $800 - ultimate lens, expensive, relatively large for prime

if you feel the need for versatility and don't mind the size and compromises of a zoom then Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 Di II would be a good choice. it can be had for about $300 from prodigital.

hope this helps!


Last edited by ikim002; 12-08-2008 at 08:46 AM.
12-08-2008, 08:43 AM   #5
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The FA35 seems like a lens most users could put to good use... otherwise, a fast zoom to replace the kit lens is the first thing that comes to mind. An f2,8 16/17/18 - 50 mm from Pentax/Tamron/Sigma, for instance. Or a less fast, but more convenient Sigma or Pentax 17-70.
12-08-2008, 08:55 AM   #6
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Jeremy,

You might want to consider the SMC P D FA 100mm f2.8 MACRO. It is dual purpose in that it is a great portrait lens and it is also a MACRO. You ca pick one up at B&H online for $440.00 with shipping included.

Ray
12-08-2008, 01:55 PM   #7
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Well, I've seen the advice I would have given already here in the last three posts.

One thing I think you should realize (and you may already) is that you shouldn't get an ultra-wide thinking that it will be good for group shots that your 50mm isn't wide enough for. If you want something for that, then get a fast lens somewhere in the 20-35mm range (or a fast zoom that covers that range). That's close to the limit of where perspective distortion would become a big issue with group portraits.

This isn't to say that ultra-wides can't be used for group shots; just be aware that it will be a creative/artistic shot whether you want it to be or not.
12-08-2008, 02:07 PM   #8
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The FA35 Limited will give you a bit more width and macro ability that is good for non-moving subjects (flowers not bugs). It's a good candidate for the "I have only enough money for one lens but I want it to be versatile and have incredible IQ".

On the other hand I find it is neither fast enough nor wide enough for all indoor use. For the sort of people shots you describe I would suggest an old Vivitar 28mm f/2. It's manual focus, but that's not such a problem for wide angle. Stopped down one it is sharp. And it's a good deal on eBay (though the prices are going up). The focal length is perfect normal on digital and distortion is minimal.

Suggestions for extreme wide angle and telephoto macro lenses seem to miss your requirements.

12-08-2008, 02:28 PM   #9
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I'd resist the temptation to run around with an expensive ultrawide-to-wide zoom, too, ...and upgrade the more versatile stuff. Maybe that Pentax 16-50 2.8, if you can get a good copy. Or the Tammie someone suggested.
12-08-2008, 06:24 PM   #10
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I have the 50mm FA 1.4 prime. Out of comparison, what does the recommended Tamrom 28-75 compare in IQ to the 50mm FA 1.4 prime? I know (hope) that the prime is better, but how much better? How much better IQ from the Tamron 28-75 to the lens it would be replacing, the kit 18-55mm AL II?

Thanks for any input here.

Jeremy
12-08-2008, 06:46 PM   #11
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Jeremy, my first suggestion would be to download exposurePlot. This is a freeware program that looks at all your photos and gives you a graph of what percentage of all your shots were shot at each focal length, f stop ISO etc. It will give you a really good idea of what focal lengths you like to shoot in. It's a great little program and a big help on deciding where to look next. Before I got it, I thought for sure that I liked long focal lengths better but imagine my surprise when I found out that most of my shots with the kit lens were below 30mm! (With a small spike at 55) Check it out. It's freeware so there is no reason not to. It can be found from a variety of different download sites, just google "Exposure plot".

NaCl(once you find out if you are a long, wide or mid, then you can make better choices)H2O
12-08-2008, 09:35 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by NaClH2O Quote
Jeremy, my first suggestion would be to download exposurePlot. This is a freeware program that looks at all your photos and gives you a graph of what percentage of all your shots were shot at each focal length, f stop ISO etc.
Actually, my DAM software does that for me, I learned :-) I use IDimager. It has an EXIF analyzer and one of the things it will do is paint a pie chart as well as a legend with %'s. Seems I use 46mm the most, then 50mm. That may be skewed though, because I walk around a lot w/my 50mm prime just because of clarity.

I still wonder, how much better is the Tamron 28-75 or the Pentax 16-50 DA* than the 18-55 in IQ. As a comparison, how far away are they from my smc 50mm FA 1.4 prime?

Jeremy
12-08-2008, 09:50 PM   #13
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I have the Sigma 10-20 but bought a Sigma 17-70

This is because I use the 10-20mm for landscapes because it distorts people shots if you are not careful with the angle of shooting. The 17-70 costs around $300 and starts at f2.8

Thanks

Tasha
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