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01-01-2009, 05:42 AM   #1
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I just got the kit lens, now what?

I just got a K20 with the 18-55 II kit lens. This is my first DSLR. I have shot film rangefinders for the past 35 years. A big change for me. But I have a big question? What in the world would I want this very slow zoom lens for? 3.5 -5.6? I am inclined to put it away somewhere and start my amassing prime lens arsenal. Between Pentax, Zeiss and Voigtlander, I think this should be no problem. Any suggestions for starters?

BTW I tried out my wife's old pre AIS Nikkor lenses last night and although they will work, it is just a little to clunky for me.


Last edited by kshapero; 01-01-2009 at 05:50 AM.
01-01-2009, 05:57 AM   #2
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Clearly the 18-55mm is considered a starter lens for new shooters. It's an excellent lens, particularly for the price and very good for brighter light shooting.

The 'Limiteds' is a great place to start looking as well as a few of the older lenses.
I'd first consider:
Limited series, 21, 31,35,43,55,70 and 77. You just need to decide on which FL's work for you and choose the lengths. IMO the 31,43,and 77mm are the best of this group.

I'd also look at the FA50mm f1.4 and the FA35 f2
If you have the money and find either an A*85mm f1.4 or FA*85mm f1.4 then just close your eyes, hit the pay button and enjoy. Probably the nicest lens Pentax ever built.

Next I'd give some serious consideration to a few Takumars which are available used. Lenses like the 28mm f3.5, 35mm f3.5 and 105mm f2.8. Not speed demons but very nice glass on the K20D.

For macro theres a number of very good choices, Sigma 105mm f2.8, Tamron 90mm f2.8 or Pentax DFA 100mm f2.8 plus the voitlander 125mm and older Kiron/Vivitar 105mm f2.8

Check out this thread:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/31601-takumar-club.html

Also look at the review databases on the forum. Every Pentax lens and most Asahi variants are there to read reviews, plus many 3rd party lenses as well.

Congrats on the new camera!
01-01-2009, 06:14 AM   #3
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That slow zoom is actually pretty usable on the K20D. Sensor performance at ISO 400 is very good and shake reduction allows for reasonable results at some absurdly slow shutter speeds. The lens itself is a very good performer except for softness at 55mm and vignette at 18mm. (See the review at photozone.de for a complete discussion.)

Probably the main strength of the kit lens is that it provides a reasonably-priced wide angle solution that yields very usable results. Once you feel the APS-C "wide-angle pain", you will at least have something to use until you can save up for a faster/sharper/better corrected/bank-breaking wide-angle alternative.

Peter's suggestions above are pretty complete. There are also the various "club" threads in the lens discussion forum with comments and example photos for many varied and wonderful optics.

Steve
01-01-2009, 07:13 AM   #4
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Excellent, thanks for the suggestions.

01-01-2009, 11:47 AM   #5
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I personally don't notice this softness at 55 that they mentioned. Maybe they got a bad copy, I don't know.
01-01-2009, 01:56 PM   #6
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Beats me why anyone would buy that combo...(low-of-the-line lens on top-of-the-line body)...Like a 4-cylinder Camaro.

Many might argue it is "good for the money", which does not really help with image quality.

It's only perhaps a $50 difference with or without the lens, but I put that toward a different lens (or 3), even when I got the K100D.

If you are truly on a tight budget, this may not be the hobby for you :-)
01-01-2009, 02:20 PM   #7
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kshapero, you mentioned using rangefinders for a good amount of time but you didn’t say which system. If you’ve been shooting Leicas I would guess you’ll be pleased with the image quality produced by the better Pentax primes. I have the 18-55 kit zoom as well and I like it quite a bit but I wouldn’t use it at wider apertures for something I’d consider fine art. The out of focus areas can get busy. It’s great in the role it was intended though and I consider it a better lens than the 18-55 Nikkor I have for my D40x snap-shooter.

I haven’t shot with Leica or any of the older rangefinder lenses such as Nikon or Contax so I can only consider images I’ve seen, and I really like what I can do with my better Pentax primes. If I were starting fresh I’d grab an A50/1.4 and an A28/2, or the 31mm and 43mm Limiteds. I do like my K24/2.8 and I routinely use it as my “shoot first and crop later” lens. I’m curious about the Zeiss lenses because I’ve never thought of anything Zeiss as being Pentax-like. Thankfully for my wallet they’re pricey – the wide Distagons are tempting.

You also mentioned looking at pre-AI Nikon lenses. The metering pin and rabbit ears take awhile to adjust to but those Nikons were wonderful billets of alloy in the form of cameras and lenses, and I enjoyed shooting a Nikkormat FT2 for a brief time. Compared to my Pentax images I’d describe my Nikon shots as maybe too sharp. Sharp has its place of course.
01-01-2009, 04:08 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
Beats me why anyone would buy that combo...(low-of-the-line lens on top-of-the-line body)...Like a 4-cylinder Camaro.
What's wrong with that? You get the 'look' and fuel efficiency too.

Admittedly, I was of that mindset when I was younger. Now that I'm older & wiser, I wouldn't have a Camaro - no matter what engine was in it.

QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
Many might argue it is "good for the money", which does not really help with image quality.
The kit lens is by no means useless - especially the Mk II. It covers a very useful range, produces wonderful color, and though you can't cut your steak with the sharpness, it is a great lens for the dive into the world of Pentax DSLRs.

QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
It's only perhaps a $50 difference with or without the lens, but I put that toward a different lens (or 3), even when I got the K100D.
Great if you got the money for that. Some of us don't. Fortunately for me, I had some old Pentax manual glass that I could put to use.

QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
If you are truly on a tight budget, this may not be the hobby for you :-)
Been shown many times over on this very site - You don't need fantastic lenses to take great photographs. A great lens will give you technically good pictures, but a great photograph comes from the mind & eye behind the viewfinder.

If you must have the best in camera & lens to get good pictures, this may not be the hobby for YOU.


Last edited by TourDeForce; 01-01-2009 at 04:11 PM. Reason: Details & grammar
01-01-2009, 05:40 PM   #9
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"I just got the kit lens, now what?"

I would attach it to your camera and start shooting.

Gateway to the New




Barrier 0904: Fence

01-01-2009, 06:04 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
Beats me why anyone would buy that combo...(low-of-the-line lens on top-of-the-line body)...Like a 4-cylinder Camaro...
I think that is I opted for when I got my K10D. The additional cost was practically nothing, the lens was well-reviewed, and alternatives were more than I was willing to pay having already gone over-budget for the body.

I guess that means I am cheap or at least low class. In fact, I guess I am particularly low class since what I have spent on lenses in the last 40 years is less than the price of a new FA 31/1.8 Limited. (Owning a "*" or limited lens being the ticket to the upper realms...)

Now that I am properly identified as cheap, low class, and possibly stupid; I can stand on my chair and shout proudly that the 18-55 is not the same as the insipid "Iron Duke" 4 cylinder. It is more like the V-6 that was more commonly spec'd on the Camaro. Adequate power, smooth delivery, low cost, and reasonable fuel economy. It is a pretty good lens...not just at its price point...no, it is a pretty good lens, period.

Steve

(Not really taking offense...just very fond of my cheap plastic kit lens...)
01-01-2009, 06:12 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
"I just got the kit lens, now what?"

I would attach it to your camera and start shooting...
Excellent advice to anyone with a new Pentax dSLR and the kit lens. Shoot with the kit until you are clear on where the path lies.

Thanks too for the great examples of what the kit can do.

Steve
01-01-2009, 08:13 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
It is a pretty good lens...not just at its price point...no, it is a pretty good lens, period.

Steve

(Not really taking offense...just very fond of my cheap plastic kit lens...)
See and here I was reading your post and was thinking you were defending the camaro My advice is enjoy the lens you have and maybe pic up a cheaper telephoto there will be plenty of time for LBA to hit no need to rush it
01-06-2009, 09:48 AM   #13
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Well I have starting shooting with the kit lens Mk II (cost $39 over the body). And it has a lot of appeal for daylight shots. I even pulled out a nice B&W.

But still I lust for a lens that can go wide open. Sigma 30mm/f1.4, Pentax FA 50mm/f1.4, 55mm/f1.4 or Voigtlander 58mm/f1.4. Any thoughts?
01-06-2009, 10:18 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andi Lo Quote
I personally don't notice this softness at 55 that they mentioned. Maybe they got a bad copy, I don't know.
...or maybe it's due to shaky hands or a fingerprint in the center of the lens.
01-07-2009, 11:40 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andi Lo Quote
I personally don't notice this softness at 55 that they mentioned. Maybe they got a bad copy, I don't know.
I notice it is not as sharp at focus distance less than a meter or two as it is when focused a bit more distant.
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