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02-11-2009, 09:46 PM   #1
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Best Economical Walkaround Lens for a Casual Photohobbyist

I understand that there are a lot of factors that go into choosing a lens, so I'll try to explain most of the factors applicable to me in detail so I could gather good responses.

Existing Gear - I'm using a K100D and I still don't have a hotshoe flash (although I'm trying to see what would be a good one via this thread). The only two lenses I own right now is The Pentax 40/2.8 and Sigma 10-20.

Speed & Sharpness - Not much of a priority for me in looking for a good walkaround lens, but it's definitely nice to have.

Overall IQ - Average overall image quality will do.

Price Range - I'm really not good with prices. My strategy is usually just to look for good candidates to buy and to decide if the price is worth it. Although if pressed to give a price, I would venture a guess of around $400 off the top of my head... Don't put too much premium on it though.

Focal Range - Top priority right now, since I'm looking for flexibility. However, I've heard that most "super zooms" suffer from poor IQ especially at the extremes, so a modest focal length will do. Maybe something that starts out at the 20's and reaches the low-hundreds will do. But again, I'm open to suggestions. I've been considering the 17-70, but I wanted to gather opinions first.

Shooting Style - I don't shoot people too much because I'm a generally shy person. I prefer shooting found objects... mundane things... people when they aren't looking... candid shots... very casual stuff.

I hope I'm not too vague. If any other info is needed, I'd be glad to provide more information. Just ask

02-11-2009, 10:22 PM   #2
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I have been using Sigma 17-70/2.8-4.5 in the last year or so and have been very happy with it. Given that you already have Sigma 10-20, I think it is a nice complement to your existing lens.

cheers
Kenny
02-11-2009, 10:54 PM   #3
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I recently got a DA 16-45 and find it to be pretty much perfect for most "walkaround" shooting. The price is great and the IQ is pretty solid.... many reviews here.

I tend to leave it long or just under most of the time as it's pretty close to "actual size" (which also happens to be this lens's shortest physical position).... I see it like this: most things I want a closer picture of, I can usualy get physicaly closer to, but most things I want a wider shot of are nearly impossible to get further away from. So, a lens that "starts" at a naked eyeish size and goes wide is ideal for my current needs.

I'll also add that I'm not that into tele's at the moment, but only shoot primes when I am. Huge swings in IQ and exposure have left me with a bad taste for tele zooms, but that may well just be me.

I can get behind anything in the 15 to 18-45 to 70 range (by Pentax).
02-11-2009, 11:40 PM   #4
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Shooting things, not people.....sounds like your 40 2.8 sounds like a pretty good walkaround lens for that already. Maybe look at the da*16-50 or 50-135, just to have some flexibility.

02-12-2009, 05:10 AM   #5
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A 28mm would work nicely as a standard lens on the APS-C body.
If you want a versatile zoom, the Sigma 17-70 is a safe and useful choice.
I got the Sigma 17-70 as my usual lens when I bought a K10D and it has been really good for just walking around making photos (which is what I do).
I also have a 50mm which I rarely use and find too long for most use and a 28mm which is a nice change from the zoom ocasionally.
The Tamron 17-50 is also well regarded.

Last edited by pw-pix; 02-12-2009 at 01:30 PM.
02-12-2009, 05:18 AM   #6
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Hmmmmm?

What's wrong with your 40?

If it's not a DA 40 limited, that's what I would suggest for you to consider. You know the focal length, so your learning curve is zero. The lens is so good you could grow old using it exclusively and never learn all of its tricks.

Cheers...
02-12-2009, 05:50 AM   #7
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do you have a kit lens? If it's casual photography, it will definitely hold it's own if you stop down. When you need higher quality, you already have the wonderful 40mm prime. Otherwise, i'd second the 16-45. I'm very close to getting one myself.
02-12-2009, 05:57 AM   #8
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Count me among those scratching their heads wondering why the 40/2.8 doesn't already fill the bill.

If you want a bit of a zoom with great optical quality that won't break the bank, consider picking up a used Tamron 28-75/2.8.

02-12-2009, 06:07 AM   #9
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i don't see a reason why you should not look into either pentax 18-250 or equal tamron. sure it is not a huge performer, but nothing can beat it when you are sightseeing - one body, one lens, no fuss
02-12-2009, 06:10 AM   #10
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For a prime i would have to choose the FA35/2, great normal FL on APS-C lens.

For a zoom, i like my FA28-70/4.
02-12-2009, 06:38 AM   #11
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Another vote for the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8. Sharp and fast, it's a solid piece of glass.
02-12-2009, 09:18 AM   #12
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I love the DA40 for this too, but I'm not someone who "needs" zoom much. I guess what you need to ask regarding focal length is how much longer or wider you *really* need to go.

If you really want to go to 250mm, I wouldn't rule out the 18-250mm just because some professional reviewer finds it lacking compared to the more "professional" lenses they use. It's really fine for most casual uses. But it is relatively heavy and expensive compared to other options. You dsave very little in weight or expense, and gain very little in image quality, by going with something like an 18-125, so I woulnd't recommend going that way. Also, I think that assuming 28mm is the widest you'd need in a walkaround zoom is a mistake - if you're going with a zoom, might as well get something that really goes wide - meaning down to 18.

So the options I'd be looking at would be an 18-250 (Pentax or Tamron), 17-70 (Pentax or Sigma) or simply the basic 18-55II. The 16-45 gets good reviews, but gives you practically no more length than the 40 you already have, so you'd have to accept that. It does, of course, go wider. the advantage of the 17-70 over the 18-55II is a little more length (and that 55-70 it's quite a useful range for shooting people, especially outdoors) and somewhat better IQ. But the 18-55II is a lot smaller/lighter and cheaper. Only you can make that call and part of that would have to be based on how limiting you find 40mm to be in terms of not being long enough. If it's *close* to being longer enough, go with 18-55II. If not close, go with 17-70, or 18-250 if you think you'll want real telephoto too.
02-12-2009, 09:45 AM   #13
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For "economical" lenses (and if you wanted to stay with Pentax lenses), I'd probably say try to find a used FA 28-70/F4 or look at the DA 16-45. Personally, I prefer internal focusing lenses so I'd look at the 12-24 for a walkaround.
02-12-2009, 07:08 PM   #14
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For those asking why the DA40 doesn't already do the trick, the thing is that as much as I LOVE the pancake, I'm still looking for a lot of versatility and flexibility.

I actually bought my K100D without the kit lens and got the DA40 as my first lens instead. Some people were saying that it was an unorthodox move for a beginner, but it eventually proved to be a good move since the DA40 is a great lens to have and I have a great time using it.

I eventually decided that I wanted a wide-angle lens though, so I bought the Sigma 10-20.

Recently, I borrowed a Tokina 28-200 from my friend and the flexibility of having such a zoom was quite refreshing. I posted several pics on this thread.

This is basically why I'm looking for a good walkaround zoom lens: Versatility and Flexibility.
02-13-2009, 02:01 AM   #15
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why don't you just use the kit lens? Seems you are describing it in your preferences listed.

Jason
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