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03-04-2009, 04:03 PM   #1
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New to Pentax.. Lens advice

Well, I am making my way over from Nikon, going with the K20D.. and would like some general opinions on starting lens selection on a budget.

First, I want to say that image quality is my biggest preference.. not autofocus speed, and manual focus is OK with me ( I will get the Katz eye split screen installed if need be ). I enjoy street photography, landscapes, and shooting portraits... down the road will add a macro. For now I am just trying to cover my basis from moderate wide ( 16mm or 18mm'ish ) to moderate tele ( 150mm ish ). If I had all the money right now.. I would get all primes...

Dream Setup would be -
Sigma 10-20, 16-50 2.8, Fa-31mm Limited, Fa-43mm limited, Fa 77mm limited, 100mm Macro, Pentax 50-135 2.8, Pentax 200mm 2.8, and Pentax 300mm F4.

Ok.. now that you know what I WOULD get.. what gives me the best range, with great quality ( I am not a super zoom kinda guy ).. at a fairly low budget... say $800-$1000 ?

I was thinking about the Fa 16-45 F4, and the 50-135... and then down the road add in some cheap primes ( manual focus ones ) for portraits... to get me started... then I can gradually start adding in some of the Fa-limited's as money becomes more available?

When I was with Nikon I had the Tamron 28-75 XRdi 2.8 ( mine wasn't that great ), and the Nikkor 80-200 2.8... Nikon 50mm 1.8, and was getting close to purchasing the Sigma 10-20.

Any suggestions?

Thanks for sharing your opinions...
Chris

03-04-2009, 04:21 PM   #2
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Chris,

For $1000, the DA* 50-135 and DA 16-45 is a great kit. You could also consider getting the Tamron 17-50 2.8 with the 50-135.

Good idea to supplement the AF workhorses with sharp, fast, inexpensive manual primes - you'll find yourself able to handle any photographic situation, and you won't have broken the bank getting there. The green button and MF focus confirmation feature makes shooting MF on Pentax easy and accurate - and enormously fun.

Check out the M Club, A Club, K Club, and Takumar Club threads for ideas.

Welcome, and good luck!



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03-04-2009, 04:31 PM   #3
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The DA16-45 is a great lens, but since you mentioned eventually wanting to pick up a macro, another good choice to consider would be the Sigma 17-70, that has good close-up capabilities. While it's not a 1:1 macro, you'll get a 1:2.3, which is almost half life-size. The focal length range is great and makes for a great walkaround lens that stays on my camera most of the time while I'm traveling.

Another good cheap macro option is to pick up one of the Raynox macro adapters that will fit onto the front of either the 16-45 or 50-135 (and any other lens with a filter thread of 52-67mm). If you do a search here in the lens forum, you'll find many great examples of what this inexpensive gem can do.
DCR250 Raynox DCR-250, Macro-Scan 2.5x Super Macro Conversion Lens, with Snap-on Universal Mount for 52mm to 67mm Filter Diameters.

HTH,
Heather
03-04-2009, 10:57 PM   #4
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I will second the 17-50 + 50-135. I dont have the 50-135 but it is definitely my next lens purchase. The 17-50 is also a very useful moderate wide to normal zoom. As for cheap MF primes, I'd say go for the A50 1.7 as it can be found for about 50 bucks. Has the A setting allowing you to shoot in Av and Tv mode and is unbelievably sharp. If you favor build quality over the A setting then probably the M50 1.7 will suit you well.

03-04-2009, 11:18 PM   #5
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Just to add to a previous poster's comment about old A and M lenses: With an A lens you will be able to use most of the camera's features, including wireless flash. With an M lens, you won't be able to use wireless flash (EDIT: also, you'll have to adjust the hot-shoe flash manually) and you'll be stuck in Manual mode--although the green button will do auto-exposure for you. What's interesting is that the focus indicator (at least for the center point) still works with MF lenses.

BTW, the constant aperture A 35-105 f/3.5 (http://forum.manualfocus.org/viewtopic.php?id=9599) zoom is highly praised IQ-wise, although it has its own drawbacks.

Finally, check out Welcome to Bojidar Dimitrov's Pentax K-Mount Page

Last edited by asdf; 03-04-2009 at 11:46 PM.
03-04-2009, 11:33 PM   #6
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for the budget,
Pentax 14mm f/2.8 DA ED (IF)
+
Pentax DA 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 ED AL IF

useful for just about everything a traveller may want to shoot. next would be DA*300mm for a complete set.
03-04-2009, 11:36 PM   #7
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A few more money-saving ideas:

-- Replace the FA31+FA43 with the FA35 (+ maybe A50/1.7)
-- Replace the FA77+DFA100 Macro with a Tamron 90 (or perhaps Sigma 70) macro
03-05-2009, 11:13 AM   #8
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I am using the combination of
And Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 is another choice to consider for faster speed. Having tried the Tamron 17-50 and the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 , I prefer the Sigma for the close up in 1:2.3 and the longer range to cover 50mm to 70mm and I find greater versatility in the Sigma zoom for frequent usage and I can count on the quality.

I am surprised that you don't like Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 as I find it as the best zoom among all the three zooms that I mentioned and I use it on portraits, fireworks and wedding.

03-05-2009, 11:28 AM   #9
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Don't forget about the oh-so-cheap DA 40mm Ltd.
03-05-2009, 11:39 AM   #10
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Sorry, but I don't get the suggestions for Tamron or Sigma lenses.

There is no doubt that they make some fine lenses and fill some niches that Pentax lenses miss.

If you already are tied into a Pentax system and a particular Sigmaron can fill a gap, then that is one thing. However, what is the point of switching from Nikon to Pentax, only to start off by using 3rd party lenses? That's a rhetorical question, the answer is already known to be: 'none'.

Therefore you should focus on Pentax lenses.

In primes, there is a glut of options new or used in the 28~100mm range. Pentax users are spoiled in this regard. There are almost no wrong choices and you can get used MF primes very cheaply.

The hardest part of your equation is the wide (16~18mm) end. There is a huge hole in the prime options here, either new or used. The DA15/4 is supposed to be available in April, but the price will be high until initial demand is met.

I am a prime-lover myself and frustrating the few options in this range. I would hope for one day a compact DA16~18mm f/2.8 prime.

Conversely, there are many excellent zoom options that cover this range:
DA12-24/4
DA16-50/2.8
DA16-45/4
DA17-70/4
DA18-55 II

To me, the otherwise desirable and decent 16-45 has an unforgivable quirk, it's most extended at the widest focal length (see here). Since I would be buying this lens mostly for the wide-end, it would be very awkward to carry around. It also blocks the built-in flash. All in all, it's not much smaller than the 17-70 or 16-50.

Compared to the 16-45:
- 16-50 has the advantage of being a stop brighter and having SDM.
- 17-17 has a slightly greater range and a SDM.
- 18-55 II has the disadvantages of being less wide-angle and variable aperature. On the other hand it is extremely economic and very lightweight. It's quite good optically, except for some vignetting wide-open Definitely the most bang for the buck in the <24mm focal length range.

All these zooms have the advantage of a pseudo-macro funtion, they do between 1:5 to 1:3 depending on the model.

The "disadvantage" of all those zooms is that the other ends of those zooms cover ranges that are already adequately covered by the plethora of Pentax primes. So, if you are thinking of getting some primes in that range, then the DA12-24 is nice in that it doesn't overlap. (Every image that I have seen from the 12-24 has been stunning.)

In the "150mm" range, the DA55-300 has the most bang for the buck of new models, but there are many decent options used /MF in both zooms and primes. New, there is the 100mm macro to consider.

There is no right answer to your question. Depends where you want to weight your priorities including size, weight, usability

You could go

DA15 + a couple of good used primes (MF 28, 50, 135)
or
DA12-24 + a couple of good primes (MF 28, 50, 135)
or
DA14-50/2.8 + DFA100/2.8 Macro
or
DA18-55II + many very very good primes (FA35, DA70)
or
DA18-55II + one very very very nice prime (FA31) + 55-300
or
DA17-70 + a nice used long prime (MF135)
etc.
etc.
etc.
03-05-2009, 11:56 AM   #11
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I think for your budget, the 16-45/50-135 combo is a very good one. If you want 2.8 throughout, the Tamron 17-50 gets good reviews (as some have mentioned). If we haven't given you enough options to make your head swim yet, here's another possibility:

DA 16-45
DA 55-300 (really a step up from most consumer xx-300 models in terms of IQ, and if AF speed isn't an issue...)
FA 43 Ltd.

This gives you 16-300mm plus a fast prime for street (and a jumpstart on the FA Ltd quest). These can all be had for less than $1000 combined.

Todd
03-05-2009, 01:42 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by dave9t5 Quote
If you already are tied into a Pentax system and a particular Sigmaron can fill a gap, then that is one thing. However, what is the point of switching from Nikon to Pentax, only to start off by using 3rd party lenses? That's a rhetorical question, the answer is already known to be: 'none'.
Actually, the other obvious reason potential answer: so you can get them stabilized.
03-05-2009, 02:27 PM   #13
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A Tale of Two Digis

QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Actually, the other obvious reason potential answer: so you can get them stabilized.
Then the question becomes:

I am switching from Nikon to Sigmaron, what 3rd party back () is recommended for Sigmaron?
Canon, Pentax, or Sony is the best 3rd party?


You heard it here first, Pentax is 3rd party to Sigmaron!!

Pentaxian aristocracy is dead, send their lenses to the guillotine. Hail the Sigmaronian republic!
03-05-2009, 02:59 PM   #14
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Pretty silly argument there, Dave. You should buy the best lenses that fit within your budget, regardless of manufacturer.
03-05-2009, 06:32 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by dave9t5 Quote

If you already are tied into a Pentax system and a particular Sigmaron can fill a gap, then that is one thing. However, what is the point of switching from Nikon to Pentax, only to start off by using 3rd party lenses? That's a rhetorical question, the answer is already known to be: 'none'.
At the risk of answering a rhetorical, one answer has already been given (SR). Another is the UI of the cameras in question along with other handling issues (weather sealing, etc). I don't really "get" your rant - a "camera" is a combination of body and lens (at least for dSLR). In a perfect world all bodies would work with all lenses. But they don't. So you pick and choose given your needs and desires and factor in all of the necessary compromises.

Most pick a body, then lenses. Others go the other way around. If one does choose a "brand" according to glass, things still aren't so clear cut. Let's say I love Voightlander primes. I can get an SLII in 40 and 58mm (and soon 20mm). Great...now lets see...oh, I can get Nikon or Pentax mount. So if I were choosing glass first and Voigt was my reason for shooting, then I'd pick the body that was the best "fit" given my needs.

The more realistic situation is that someone will pick a body based on the available lenses. But even that has subtlety. With Canikon I have a huge body of currently shipping lenses to choose from. More than Pentax. And with Nikon I can use legacy glass. Conversely, Pentax allows one to use legacy glass *and* get SR.

In addition, Pentax arguably doesn't have a ton of world-class zooms (though the 50-135* is as good as I've seen). Nor do they have macros that are in the high-end Nikon league. But they do have limited primes which don't really exist in the other systems. So now what do I do? What is more important to me?

imho having 3rd party lenses is gravy. And in some cases they outperform the equivalent Pentax lens. There is no downside to that...

As for the OP question, I think 16-45 and 50-135* is a good combo. I have that, though they are almost never on my camera. Instead it is either 31ltd/35ltd/43ltd or 77ltd. But different strokes, and I do have the zooms for times that I need them.
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