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12-26-2008, 05:38 PM   #1
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Upgrading lenses...having trouble deciding:)

Just upgraded to the K20 recently. At this point, I'm still using the 18-55 kit lens from my K10. Have an older Promaster 28-200 that I rarely use, and a Sigma 50-500. I really like the looks of the Pentax 55-300, but I'd also like to pick up wide angle zoom. I'm not sure the 16-45 will provide enough upgrade from the kit lens - although I haven't had a chance to play with it either. It is probably the most affordable in that range, but I'm just curious if it will be that big of an improvement over the 18-55. I've read quite a few posts on this site and a couple others and it has gotten very good reviews. Any help or insight would be appreciated. Thank you.

12-26-2008, 05:42 PM   #2
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What do you shoot? I'm a fan of avoiding affordable, and would rather have a small number of great lenses than a bunch of so-so ones. I think the 16-45 is better than the kit, and for the money can't be beat (under $300 now). But if you don't shoot much in that range, no sense in putting your money there. What about a fast 50?
12-26-2008, 05:56 PM   #3
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You know, I've considered that 50 also. Most of the time I'm just shooting family stuff. However I like to get out a few times a year and do some lighthouse shooting. So I do have a need for a decent wide zoom. Might just have to bite the bullet. I agree with you about spending a little more money on a lens - much happier with it in the long run.
12-26-2008, 06:26 PM   #4
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if you're shooting family stuff and it is often indoors, I think a really fast prime is the way to go. Last night I was swapping back and forth between K20d, K200d, and D70 with an 18-70 on the Nikon, 16-45 and 31ltd moving between the Pentax. This was available light in my living room. As you'd expect the 31ltd blew the others away, but frankly it was literally night and day difference. We're talking a decent shot vs. unusable. You can get a fast 50 pretty cheaply, and the only problem is when you just can't back up far enough indoors.

Another lens to ponder is the 35ltd as that gives you macro as well and can be a very sharp lens. But it hunts more than the FA ltds (which surprised me) and when you're shooting available light there is a difference between 2.8 and 1.8 (or 1.4 with the 50).

If you want to stick zoom, the 16-45 is certainly a bargain for the IQ. f4 isn't fast though, so the 16-50* is better at 2.8 but a lot more money and there are some qc issues to worry about.

12-26-2008, 08:01 PM   #5
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How about a fast 35? The FA 35/2 is still available and the price (<$300) is certainly attractive. Here is a recent thread on this lens:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/44992-fa-35-f-2-gimme-shots.html

Steve
12-26-2008, 10:01 PM   #6
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I like the looks of the FA 35/2. I've found one for just under $300. If I can scrounge it, I'm tempted to buy both the 35/2 and the 16-45. We'll see. I'll sleep on it tonight, and when morning comes.... Thanks for the input guys.
12-27-2008, 05:13 PM   #7
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I picked up an FA 20-35mm lens with a body I bought, and the improvement over the kit lens is marked. I had really liked it, but now my 18-55 is back in its box awaiting resale. I imagine the 16-45 would be a similar improvement.
12-27-2008, 06:26 PM   #8
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I haven't shot the 35/2, but have shot the 16-45 back to back with 35/2.8ltd and 31/1.8. There is a *big* difference between f4 and both 2.8 and especially 1.8. Indoors in ambient light the 16-45 can be nearly unusable, forcing you to very slow shutter speeds.

There is no substitute for fast glass. But I agree that the 16-45 is a significant improvement over the kit lens.

12-27-2008, 06:39 PM   #9
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The FA 35/2 is an excellent lens. Very sharp. Very good colour rendition. Good contrast. Usable wide open and focuses well in low light. IMHO, the only Pentax lens in this FL that beats it is the 31 Limited which is at least twice the price and significantly larger. (I have not used the 35 Ltd which many people regard very highly.) Dave
12-27-2008, 07:04 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jnkinney Quote
Just upgraded to the K20 recently. At this point, I'm still using the 18-55 kit lens from my K10. Have an older Promaster 28-200 that I rarely use, and a Sigma 50-500. I really like the looks of the Pentax 55-300, but I'd also like to pick up wide angle zoom. I'm not sure the 16-45 will provide enough upgrade from the kit lens - although I haven't had a chance to play with it either. It is probably the most affordable in that range, but I'm just curious if it will be that big of an improvement over the 18-55. I've read quite a few posts on this site and a couple others and it has gotten very good reviews. Any help or insight would be appreciated. Thank you.
I would encourage you towards a fast prime....very definately. You have 18 - 500 covered adequately, but you have nothing fast in your kit.

I dont know the 35 f2...but I do know the FA 43ltd f1.9. and recommend it highly.

Cheers.
12-27-2008, 08:57 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by jnkinney Quote
I like the looks of the FA 35/2. I've found one for just under $300. If I can scrounge it, I'm tempted to buy both the 35/2 and the 16-45. We'll see. I'll sleep on it tonight, and when morning comes.... Thanks for the input guys.
The FA35 and the FA50 go well together if you can afford them both, they will serve you well. If you are going to get a wide angle zoom, you might as well save for a good one. In the meantime you'll have the 35 and 50 for your family stuff.
12-27-2008, 09:29 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by jnkinney Quote
You know, I've considered that 50 also. Most of the time I'm just shooting family stuff. However I like to get out a few times a year and do some lighthouse shooting. So I do have a need for a decent wide zoom. Might just have to bite the bullet. I agree with you about spending a little more money on a lens - much happier with it in the long run.
I have become extremely attached to my 16-50-F2.8.
Although as you can see from my SIG line, I own some outstanding primes within that focal range, they don't get used.

when I buy a camera I always buy a "Body only" so I don't find myself stuck with dilemma of what to do with the 'kit lens'.

I see the 50mm focal length as not very useful with digital cameras. You have plenty of resolution to crop a wide angle photo a bit but if you cut folks feet off in the photo, its really hard to photoshop them back on.
12-27-2008, 10:46 PM   #13
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I upgraded from the 18-55 to the 16-45 and it is well worth the upgrade (Year end deal at Amazon for $289)

It's noticeably sharper than the kit lens at all apertures, with no vignetting like the kit lens produces.

I've also got the 55-300 on the way as an upgrade to the 50-200.

For super-wide, the Sigma 10-20 is a great lens to play with.
12-29-2008, 07:04 AM   #14
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Just of our curiosity, what is the kit lens that comes with the K20d? 18-55 or 18-55II?
12-29-2008, 07:13 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by kshapero Quote
Just of our curiosity, what is the kit lens that comes with the K20d? 18-55 or 18-55II?
It would be the 18-55mm II. Sometimes they come with the 16-45mm as the kit lens.
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