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02-02-2009, 10:56 PM   #1
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Please suggest a 2nd lens

I'm looking for something to complement the DA 18-55 AL II kit lens for my K20D....

I'm a noob and a total amateur so my main concern is budget for the time being.

I'd like something that would give me some telephoto reach and macro capability.

I see a Sigma and a Tamron lens for under $150.

Any comments on these or specific recommendations?

Thanks,

Ken

02-02-2009, 11:05 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Javaslinger Quote
I'm looking for something to complement the DA 18-55 AL II kit lens for my K20D....

I'm a noob and a total amateur so my main concern is budget for the time being.

I'd like something that would give me some telephoto reach and macro capability.

I see a Sigma and a Tamron lens for under $150.

Any comments on these or specific recommendations?

Thanks,

Ken
I honestly don't think that you can get another lens for less than $150 that you would be happy with. That Pentax 2nd generation DA kit lens you own, is actually a well-regarded lens. Since you say you are a "noob," my suggestion would be to stick with the lens you have and learn about exposure, as well as the capabilities of your excellent new camera, while you are saving your pennies. Once you learn more, you will really be in a better position to know what direction you want to go with a new lens, and you will have the funds to buy it!

Enjoy the journey.
02-03-2009, 04:26 AM   #3
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I have to re-iterate PentaxPoke's comments above and to suggest you hang on to the $150 you're considering spending.

put a ring of barbed wire around it and add $5/$10 whenever you can. you'll be able to get a far better lens which will have so much more clarity and punch.

I have cheap Tamron 70-300 (less than £99) which has no comparison with the DA50-300 (£200) I can appreciate so much more the difference it makes in waiting and investing in a better lens.

Difficult I know, but sometimes good things are worth waiting for.
02-03-2009, 04:46 AM   #4
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For something like 200-250 dollars you can get the Sigma 70-300 APO with 1:2 macro which is a real nice lens for the money. I like mine a bunch. It was my second lens after the 18-55 and I've never regretted getting it.

The Sigma you see for $150 is likely the one without the APO designation -- no apochromatic element = worse image quality. People who know stuff about lens design (not me) say the APO version is definitely worth the extra money.

02-03-2009, 04:59 AM   #5
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Yep, your next lens should be either the Sigma 70-300mm APO or the DA 55-300mm.
02-03-2009, 05:27 AM   #6
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I know how you feel. Yeah, It'd be nice to wait, let the pile of money grow until you can get a better lens, and learn more about shooting. Sounds great. However, when you have the itch to be able to shoot something and can't because of a known lens limitation, maybe less than a top lens can satisfy that itch, and teach you something as well.

A couple of thoughts: Don't forget about the used market. You can find some great lenses here about 75% of new, sometimes better. It may have a few battle scars, but if something is wrong with it, you are sure to be informed of it. Also, check craigslist, and local thrift stores. If you don't need autofocus/AE, don't pay for it.

Get a 50. Can be freeing to not have do deal with zooming.

I have seen the DA50-200 for as low as $120. That is not the best, but it is a start.
02-03-2009, 05:49 AM   #7
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I say either get the Tamron 70-300 or the Pentax 55-300, both of which I own. The Tamron is amazing bang for buck and the 1:2 macro feature is a lot of fun. The only downsides are occasional purple fringing and a very slight cast with certain colours. I agree that the non-APO Sigma should be avoided, it has no advantage over the Tamron and is not as sharp. If you're going to spend more, skip the Sigma 70-300 APO and go all the way to the DA 55-300mm for its punchier contrast and sharpness advantages.
02-03-2009, 06:18 AM   #8
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lens kit design 101

time to get to basics here.

over the long term, as you mature and try different forms of photography, you will want to have a kit that goes from 10-12mm at the short end, to at least 200mm at the long end (400 or more if you really go for wild life)

your objective is, map out a strategy that gets you there with the fewest number of trade ins possible, because each time you trade, you loose.

I would normally say that you also need to consider having F2.8 from the mid 20's (mm) to 200 mm, but with the improved ISO performance of the K20 perhaps that is no longer an absolute necessity.

the suggestions of a 50/70-300mm zoom is a good one, and you cuold also go wide with a 10-20 or 12-24.

Look at your photos, even use a data-miner to look at yoour distribution of focal lengths. (I use exposure-plot). If all your shots are at the wide end go wider, if they are at the long end, go longer.

Macro capability is also a good idea expecially if you go longer.

02-03-2009, 06:53 AM   #9
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I agree with the majority, you don't wanna a 1.4L 4cyl in your Corvette do you? Rhetorical question, the answer is no, you don't. If i were you I would do one of two things,

1. Get a new/used FA50 1.4 or
2. Get a used manual M or A 50mm and learn how to use your camera.

You cannot rush photography, it is not as easy as some of the people on here make it look. But it is a lot like golf, one good shot and it will keep you coming back, the trick is learning how to hit that shot over and over again.

Learn about exposure and lighting and read your EXIF data to know what all those numbers mean when it comes to taking a picture. Build up your skills in composition and creativity. Buy a couple books and learn even more.

Then after the 6 months it takes for you to understand what is going on, you should have enough money saved up to put some quality glass on that bad boy.
02-03-2009, 08:01 AM   #10
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Consider buying a used fast fifty lens, like an SMC-F 50/1.7. You should be able to find one within your budget. Such a lens will greatly expand your possibilities in the low light direction rather than the distance direction.

See: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/photographers-marketplace/49462-pentax-sm...m-f-1-7-a.html

If you are willing to try semi-automatic focusing (you twist the lens & the camera tells you when it is in focus or snaps the photo when focus is reached - called "focus trapping"), buy yourself any SMC-A lens*. That would be a highly cost-effective approach with little downside. I'd look for a prime lens with low f-number.

Look at the marketplace on this forum first, then maybe KEH, Adorama, Ebay, etc.

Dave

*you give up a little more with earlier Pentax lenses but they are all highly usable; see the lens review section on this forum.
02-03-2009, 09:16 AM   #11
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Based on the specific desire for something telephoto and macro, I would recommend the DA50-200 plus the Raynox 150 close up lens, which together could still be under $200. I like the 50-200 range more than I like 70-300 range, I like quick shift, and I like the smaller size/weight of the 50-200. And the Raynox combined with the 50-200 gives *far* greater macro capability than the 70-300's.

The 55-300 seems ncie too, but that's a step up in price, and might not work as well with the Raynox (vignetting) for macro capability. I'm sure it's better in image quality, buit m not dissatisfied enough with my 50-200 to spend more on another slow zoom.
02-03-2009, 09:47 AM   #12
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What Mark said but more in keeping with your budget is perhaps an SMC-A 70-210/f/4 Macro zoom (ebay $85) plus a Raynox 150..
PENTAX SMC -A 70-210mm F4 MACRO ZOOM -Excellent - eBay (item 150323791799 end time Feb-04-09 12:28:30 PST)

Last edited by newarts; 02-03-2009 at 10:13 AM.
02-03-2009, 10:00 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
The 55-300 seems ncie too, but that's a step up in price, and might not work as well with the Raynox (vignetting) for macro capability. I'm sure it's better in image quality, buit m not dissatisfied enough with my 50-200 to spend more on another slow zoom.
There's a definite vignetting issue with the Raynox DCR-250/55-300mm combo. The Raynox 150 used with a 55-300 only shows mild vignetting at the wide end, which isn't where you want to be with a diopter anyway. The long working distance and less extreme macro make the DCR-150 pretty easy to handle. The Raynox 150 is what I'd recommend to partner any of the lenses being discussed in this thread (even the so-called "macros" from Tamron and Sigma).
02-03-2009, 10:21 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Based on the specific desire for something telephoto and macro, I would recommend the DA50-200 plus the Raynox 150 close up lens, which together could still be under $200. I like the 50-200 range more than I like 70-300 range, I like quick shift, and I like the smaller size/weight of the 50-200. And the Raynox combined with the 50-200 gives *far* greater macro capability than the 70-300's.

The 55-300 seems ncie too, but that's a step up in price, and might not work as well with the Raynox (vignetting) for macro capability. I'm sure it's better in image quality, buit m not dissatisfied enough with my 50-200 to spend more on another slow zoom.
I agree with this, the DA50-200 is fairly cheap right now. There seems to be a lot of sample variation with this lens, but a good copy seems to perform pretty well. I bet the average user would be very satisfied with it.
02-03-2009, 10:33 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by GaryM Quote
I agree with this, the DA50-200 is fairly cheap right now. There seems to be a lot of sample variation with this lens, but a good copy seems to perform pretty well. I bet the average user would be very satisfied with it.
I never had a problem with my 50-200. I had the Sigma 70-200 APO and it was massive compared to the 50-200. I wanted something that would work for travel/vacation and the Sigma wasn't going to do it for me.

I just recently upgraded to the 55-300 and it's the same speed as the 50-200, and only longer, and not much bigger in diameter. It does have better image quality, and the extra range is why I upgraded.
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