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02-05-2009, 02:34 PM   #1
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Need standard zoom and flash

Hey fellow Pentaxians,
I am new to the forum, but I am coming from . I recently just bought a used FA 100mm f/2.8 macro, but once summer comes, I will be buying a flash and a standard zoom (hopefully). As a all honors high school student, I don't have much money to spend, so if I was to purchase an expensive standard zoom, I wouldn't be able to afford a new body next year and/or the 70-200mm f/2.8. Now moving to the point:
1. I do know the major differences between the 540FGZ and 360FGZ flash is power and swivel head, but considering I do take a lot of orchestra concert and portrait pictures, would the extra power and swivel head be used or needed considering I should be about 20-30ft away from the orchestra.
2. I am leaning toward the 16-45mm, but the second I buy the 16-45mm it'll be with me for the next 5 years or so. I have seen reviews of the 16-50mm and they tend to be bad, where borders are smeared. Does this affect your pictures when you blow it up to a 16X25 poster? (Lenses I have considered are the 17-50mm Tamron, 16-45mm Pentax, 17-70mm Pentax, 16-50mm Pentax)

I am currently $100 in debt, but plan on getting $800-$1440 this summer. All comments, suggestions, or opinions are appreciated!

02-05-2009, 03:30 PM   #2
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Just a brief rant: flash prices tick me off. The camera does all the hard work anyway. Some extra power and a swivel tacks on another $100! Unfortunately, those features are very useful especially at 20-30 feet. I hate to say it's worth it, but it's the best of the limited choices. (Unless there is nothing to bounce the flash off - like the orchestra is in a pit in front of the stage. In that case swivel doesn't matter.)

I can only muddle the lens situation further by mentioning the Sigma 17-70. I never felt like I could gain that much over the kit lens or my mix of primes to upgrade to a good standard zoom.
02-05-2009, 03:43 PM   #3
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I can't really help with your lens situation, but there are other flash options that are cheaper like the Metz 48 or 58, or the sigma options. Some of which have a swivel head as well.

Check out one of the forum members flash guide as it is really helpful. Good luck!
02-05-2009, 04:19 PM   #4
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I have the Sigma 530 ST (not the super) and I love it. It sort of falls between the Pentax 360 and 540. The Sigmas tilt and swivel, and the guide number is more than the 360 but less than the 540. I just couldn't bring myself to buy a 360 and then not have swivel. I knew I would spend another $100 on a bracket.

The big thing with the Sigmas is price...only $150 for the 530 ST (at B&H). If you know that you would like to do wireless one day, then you might want the super, but I knew that I would not need that. The flash works great on my cameras and it left me with more money for lenses.

I hope that helps!

02-05-2009, 05:59 PM   #5
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what camera do you have?

That might have a lot to do with the flash specifically if you have an older *istD or DS.
02-05-2009, 06:03 PM   #6
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I'm with Allison.....I use the EF500 super and it has tilt and swivel and triggers wirelessly, works great...probably pick one up for less than $200.

On the zoom, I don't own the 16-45, but many posts on this forum suggest it kicks ass if you get a good copy......though seems much less talk lately of 'bad copies' of this lens. It strikes me that there is a nice Sigma in this range too. I'm pretty pleased with the Sigma gear I own.....especially the 10-20, wow what a FOV!

02-05-2009, 07:52 PM   #7
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I have the Sigma ST 530 Super. It tilts and swivels, and allows wireless operation with the K20. All these features are vitally important to me. The nicest feature is that it's priced close to the 360 and has features comparable to the 540.

I also have the 16-45 and I love that lens. IQ is head and shoulders above my 18-55 and 18-250, especially at the wide end where I value it most.

Here's a sample at 16mm, wireless flash:

Link for those who can't see Picasa photos:

Last edited by audiobomber; 02-05-2009 at 10:03 PM.
02-05-2009, 09:12 PM   #8
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Look for a flash unit that has an AF assist beam and perhaps an option to turn off the flash but keep the AF assist beam on (like the flash in my sig.) I'd shower DA 18-55 II with praises, since I'm thinking of selling it.

02-06-2009, 01:28 AM   #9
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I'm not much of help with flashes (I have old AF280T myself, swivel, tilt but no AF beam or P-TTL, and I'm not using it that much...)
With lenses, it depends what do you need/want. The biggest difference between 16-45 and 16-50 isn't the 5mm but f4 against f2.8, weather sealing and SDM.
SDM could be handy, but not necessity, weathersealing ditto (it really comes down to what kind of photography are you into). Now 2.8 vs 4! if you want to always use flash you'll get away with f4, if you want to be doing flashles concerts 2.8 would do muuuch better!
And just to confuse you bit more, look at third party options! there are some great choices indeed. Tamron 28-75 and Sigma 24-60 and 24-70. They all have pros and cons, and all are f2.8
good luck choosing
02-06-2009, 02:19 PM   #10
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Original Poster
I have looked at other options and have considered the Tamron 17-50mm (Sigma 18-50mm is not wide enough for me). The 17-50mm is a great option, but for only $100 more, I could get the 16-50mm which is wider, weatherproof, better build, and of course SDM. Thanks for ALL your posts, as I have decided on a flash unit(s) (Pentax 540FGZ and then the 44 Metz). I guess I have to wait and see how much money I make over the summer.
02-07-2009, 11:31 AM   #11
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If you're not stuck on having to have a constant aperture lens, then another lens worth considering is the Sigma 17-70/2.8-4.5. Pricewise, it's in the same general range as the 16-45, but you get more FL range and quasi-macro (1:2.3) capability. I currently have the 16-45, but used to have the Sigma 17-70 and I miss it. I'm thinking about possibly trading the 16-45 for another 17-70. Nothing wrong with the 16-45, I just miss the 17-70's FL range.

On the flash, once you get the money and are ready to buy, check out Prodigital2000 on Fleabay; as of late, 540 flashes have been going for around $250.


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