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03-18-2007, 06:10 AM   #1
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Lens suggestions for *ist Ds

I just purchased my first DSLR, a used Pentax *ist Ds on ebay. It comes with the
Pentax DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL lens. Is this a good starter lens and can anyone suggest 2 or 3 "must have" lenses for this camera? Thanks!

03-18-2007, 07:52 AM   #2
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Hi Glenn,

The 18-55mm kit lens is a great starter lens, and arguably better than the other starter lenses from other makes. Brian Wahl (who I haven't seen here for a while) posted some really nice examples in this thread here:

Post your household shots

As for other lenses, what type of shooting do you do most often? That will narrow down the list of lenses to choose from
03-18-2007, 10:42 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alvin Quote
Hi Glenn,

The 18-55mm kit lens is a great starter lens, and arguably better than the other starter lenses from other makes. Brian Wahl (who I haven't seen here for a while) posted some really nice examples in this thread here:

Post your household shots

As for other lenses, what type of shooting do you do most often? That will narrow down the list of lenses to choose from
My 10 year old daughter is going to play her violin at Heinz Hall in April, where the
Pittsburgh Symphony plays. I'd like a zoom lens capable of capturing her in detail on the stage with good clarity from a distance in this indoor setting. What kind of lens would I need to do this without using a flash?
03-18-2007, 11:17 AM   #4
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I googled the venue--looks like you could get stuck with seats further from the stage than you might like. You'll probably want a lens with a good reach then, with a relatively large aperture if you must handhold.

Assuming you can get these before April, a few good prime (not zoom) lenses might be the DA70 f/2.4, FA77 f/1.8, FA100 f/2.8 macro. These aren't cheap ($450 and up), but are good. There are also third party options in these focal lengths to be found at B&H, Adorama, etc. You could find older (especially manual), and third party options as well on eekbay, or KEH (.com, I think).

As far as zooms, there is a Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 if you want to go that route. There are also zooms (if you can find them) that cover a walk-around range of about 28mm to low 100's+, but image quality tends to suffer with super-zooms. There aren't that many f/2.8, but you could find some f/2.8-4s/3.2-4's. If you can take a smallish tripod into the venue to set up at your seat (it could be pretty inexpensive if you aren't going to hang a monster lens off the camera, and are prepared to get a cable or wireless shutter release as well) you might be able to stretch these "slower" lenses. A DA55-200 f/4.5-4.6 is a good all-around option (great for shooting outdoors), but you might struggle in a low light venue without some sort of camera support (+external release to eliminate camera shake).

I'd expect you'd find some motion blur in your subject though. Motion blur can be creative, and cool sometimes, but that may not be what you want. Then again, the stage light could be really friendly --but you'll still probably want the reach.


Last edited by bdavis; 03-18-2007 at 11:23 AM.
03-18-2007, 11:34 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Glenn Quote
I just purchased my first DSLR, a used Pentax *ist Ds on ebay. It comes with the
Pentax DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL lens. Is this a good starter lens and can anyone suggest 2 or 3 "must have" lenses for this camera? Thanks!
It's a great starter lens to get you looking for other lenses.

The Sigma 18-50 f2.8 non-macro version can still be found for $300. The macro version is about $100 more. They are good, but fairly heavy (as are all faster lenses due to the extra glass).

I think the Pentax 50-200 is a good inexpensive zoom. Image-wise, I prefer it to the Sigma 70-300, which is also well regarded for the most part and has the extra length and a 1:2 macro mode - though twice the bulk as the Pentax.

For your low-light needs, it will cost you :-( Perhaps a manual focus 200mm or 300mm used from KEH Camera: Used Cameras, Digital Cameras, Film Cameras, Laptop Computers and More. can be had.
03-18-2007, 07:02 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Glenn Quote
My 10 year old daughter is going to play her violin at Heinz Hall in April, where the
Pittsburgh Symphony plays. I'd like a zoom lens capable of capturing her in detail on the stage with good clarity from a distance in this indoor setting. What kind of lens would I need to do this without using a flash?
I'm guessing that Heinz Hall will be fairly well lit, but a low light specialist lens will help more as these places discourage use of flashes. As long as the aperture is kept at or below 4.5 using ISO 1600, you will come out with some half decent 8x10's.

Here's some samples. The violinist was about 5-7 metres (IIRC) from me with somewhat ok stage lighting coming from the right side. No flash used. Both lenses I have here are used.

1. $10 CDN Sears K-mount Manual Focus 135/2.8 at f2.8, ISO 800, 1/50 sec shutter.

2. $40 USD Pentax FA 80-200/4.5-5.8 at 80mm. f4.5, ISO 1600, 1/80 sec.
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Last edited by Alvin; 03-18-2007 at 07:10 PM.
03-19-2007, 06:52 PM   #7
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If your not hung up on auto focus, I would suggest you seriously look at one of the older Pentax 135mm telephoto lens, at f2.5, or f2.8. They can sometimes be had for well under $100 on ebay or even your local camera shop.
Bill
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