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03-22-2009, 05:25 PM   #1
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A hard fall makes me reconsidere my lens buying.

Hi,
I just made a post trying to find a place to buy a part of a FA 50 that I broke on a fall while hiking. That has prompted me to rethink my next couple of lens purchases. I like so many have been caught up in the dialog of "best, sharpest, fastest" all factors making those lens really expensive. I has just now dawned on me that many of your posts refer to many Pentax lens that really do a very nice job of capturing light at a fraction of the price. Because 95% of my time taking pictures is in environments that are really dangerous to a camera I do not want be worring about my equipment more than enjoying the experience. Please, if you would, reccomend tough lens from 10 to 300 mm that do the job and do not break the bank either. Thanks

03-22-2009, 05:36 PM   #2
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The DA* lenses would be your best bet, because they are weather sealed and sturdy. They're fairly expensive, but I would consider them to be worth it.
03-22-2009, 05:45 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Votesh Quote
The DA* lenses would be your best bet, because they are weather sealed and sturdy. They're fairly expensive, but I would consider them to be worth it.
I don't think they would survive intact from a fall that broke an FA 50 filter ring, though. Not having used any of the four, I'm guessing that if the 16-50 and 50-135 can survive a particular fall, the 16-45 and the 50-300 would be able to survive the same fall. I get the point regarding weathersealing, but I'm assuming the op wants to worry less about the camera and more on the task at hand.

If you're still worried, just go with the combo kit lens, probably your cheapest option that there is imo. 500$ total (16-45+55-300) vs 150$ (kit zooms) total.

My 2c =)
03-22-2009, 05:48 PM   #4
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If you want a tough and relatively inexpensive lens with good to excellent optics then older manual focus glass is hard to beat. You will have to look at newer digital crop lenses to get the wider end of the range you are looking at, but older lenses 28mm and longer are readily available.

As an example, you could get 3 or 4 used M or A 50mm f/1.7 lenses for around the same cost as a single new replacement FA50 f/1.4 and the optical performance would be comparable. With the A series lens the only major trade off is that you lose autofocus. Many of the M42 mount Pentax and 3rd party primes also have excellent performance for their price, just take a look through the Takumar Club thread to see what people are doing with some of them.

03-22-2009, 05:58 PM   #5
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75-300 averages a hundred bucks brand new but big and somewhat heavy lenses.

expendable.

or you can get a bridge camera with good tele range.
03-22-2009, 06:42 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by tarponn22 Quote
reccomend tough lens from 10 to 300 mm that do the job and do not break the bank either. Thanks
70-300 - Tamron for about $140...some CA/PF that you can fix in post (next best option is the Pentax 55-300 for twice as much)
18-55 - kit lens II for $80
10-20 - Sigma...can't find anything cheap for ultra wide...see if you can live w/ kit lens

Those are pretty much the expendable but sharp list...
03-22-2009, 06:51 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steinback Quote
If you want a tough and relatively inexpensive lens with good to excellent optics then older manual focus glass is hard to beat...
As an example, you could get 3 or 4 used M or A 50mm f/1.7 lenses for around the same cost as a single new replacement FA50 f/1.4 and the optical performance would be comparable. With the A series lens the only major trade off is that you lose autofocus. Many of the M42 mount Pentax and 3rd party primes also have excellent performance for their price, just take a look through the Takumar Club thread to see what people are doing with some of them.
I glanced at eBay yesterday and saw at least one Takumar (M) 55/1.8 in the US$10 range - mine cost $7.50 (incl. shipping) last year. Pretty fast (f/1.8-2.8) manual Tak, Zeiss (Jena), Vivitar etc lenses in the 28-58mm normal-to-short-tele range (for an APS-C sensor) can often be had for under US$25, from what I've seen on eBay. For something longer, I've several Vivitar-Kiron, Takumar, and Sears-Ricoh zooms in the 60-200 range, variously PK and M42 mounts, that cost me under US$15 each. These are all somewhat expendable, at least such that I wouldn't weep bitterly if they were crunched. I'd just hope that *I* wouldn't be as damaged as the lens.
03-22-2009, 06:52 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steinback Quote
If you want a tough and relatively inexpensive lens with good to excellent optics then older manual focus glass is hard to beat. You will have to look at newer digital crop lenses to get the wider end of the range you are looking at, but older lenses 28mm and longer are readily available.
I second this advice. Remember that for landscapes and most nature shots, you really don't need AF. Wide MF primes are built like tanks, have excellent glass, resolution and IQ, they are light and a 20/24/28mm lens normally hits infinity by 6-7 feet. And most importantly, they won't break your wallet

A SMC K 24/2.8, 28/3.5, 55/1.8 and 135/3.5 is a great kit that's light and sturdy.

03-22-2009, 07:58 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andi Lo Quote
I don't think they would survive intact from a fall that broke an FA 50 filter ring, though. Not having used any of the four, I'm guessing that if the 16-50 and 50-135 can survive a particular fall, the 16-45 and the 50-300 would be able to survive the same fall. I get the point regarding weathersealing, but I'm assuming the op wants to worry less about the camera and more on the task at hand.

If you're still worried, just go with the combo kit lens, probably your cheapest option that there is imo. 500$ total (16-45+55-300) vs 150$ (kit zooms) total.

My 2c =)
Force = mass * acceleration.

Since the acceleration of gravity is constant, heavier lenses will hit the ground with more force when dropped (if all else is equal).

The lighter kit lenses should be very 'droppable'!!
03-22-2009, 08:02 PM   #10
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great advise

Nice job everyone thanks. I have used the kits with some success gave them to my daughter but now are rethinking them. Is the 16-45 a real step up from the 18-55 or for the money stay with the kit?
03-22-2009, 08:20 PM   #11
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Statistically, more people die in the shower than... [insert some obscure and/or surprising statistic here]

...and as one who dropped his camera & Tamron 28-75mm early in it's life -- with affect and damage to the camera but none the lens -- it still never entered into my mind to encourage or discourage me from buying one lense vs. another based on 'sturdieness'. Maybe it's just me, I'm just not going to change my buying of the best my money can buy no matter how fragile it might be if dropped and instead buy an armored laptop, or armored camera/lens(es) (both things I carry often) giving-up one thing for the other.

Just an opinion, take it or leave it. Interesting thread none the less and I'll be monitoring just to see other's philosophies.
03-22-2009, 08:22 PM   #12
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I got pulled away earlier, but the second half of my suggestion would be to look at manual zooms like the Vivitar Series 1 70-210 f/3.5 or f/2.8-4 (any of the first three generation of the lens) or the Pentax A 70-210. Depending on model and condition I've seen them sell in the $75 to $200 range and you could destroy 5 or more of them before you hit the price of a current production 50-135 f/2.8 or 70-200 f/2.8 zoom. Yes there are trade offs in terms of losing autofocus and around one stop of light, but on the other hand the optics are still very good and in rough conditions you won't be nearly as worried about damaging the lens.

The ~70-300mm consumer zooms suggested above (Pentax, Tamron, Sigma, etc.) also have their benefits in terms of more reach and autofocus at the cost of low light performance but there are certainly several possibilities there in the $100-$150 range.

I'm not quite at the point where I can justify a $1k+ lens yet, but as a hobbyist taking pictures for fun if I'm doing something crazy and taking my camera along for the ride I would much rather carry along a lens I can afford to replace for that particular trip.
03-22-2009, 08:26 PM   #13
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My philosophy is to get the best I can afford. So far, I have not wrecked a lens by dropping it, nor have I damaged a camera. I consider that really surprising, given that most people give me the nickname "Klutz" because I am always dropping something. Maybe I just love my camera and lenses way too much, and pay proper attention to them.
03-22-2009, 08:44 PM   #14
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i know what you mean - i am only 3 months into owning my first camera and i have already dropped and broke 2 lenses, my M 50 1.7 and my DA 16-45mm (which broke on the very first day i got it!). Both still work, but i ruined a mount ring and bent a filter ring.
I must be fairly clumsy and all the hard stone floors at home take away any doubt that a dropped lens will end any way but tragically.
On vacation last week I found myself switching between 2 lenses so often, i just knew i was going to drop one.
yeah, if i had any actual money tied into limiteds and stars and such, i would probably be super nervous all the time...at this point everything i have is relatively inexpensive to replace.
good luck.
03-22-2009, 10:00 PM   #15
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QuoteQuote:
I just made a post trying to find a place to buy a part of a FA 50 that I broke on a fall while hiking. That has prompted me to rethink my next couple of lens purchases. I like so many have been caught up in the dialog of "best, sharpest, fastest" all factors making those lens really expensive. I has just now dawned on me that many of your posts refer to many Pentax lens that really do a very nice job of capturing light at a fraction of the price. Because 95% of my time taking pictures is in environments that are really dangerous to a camera I do not want be worring about my equipment more than enjoying the experience. Please, if you would, reccomend tough lens from 10 to 300 mm that do the job and do not break the bank either. Thanks
I hike year round and have decided quality will come first. Of course this means lugging a significant amount of weight around in the form of glass. So far, I have been careful and lucky and have not broke or lost anything. But I can't see half-waying quality--take your best and be careful--some of the hikes you may never get to do again.

That said, you can get quality old glass in manual focus for bargain prices. cover you favorite shooting range with the least amount of older primes possible.

So, either go all the way or pick up one of the excellent, light-weight bridge cameras which cover amazing focal lengths. You can get very good ones for under $350. They are hard to break with common sense usage and return good quality.

There is, no matter what you are doing with your DSLR kit, always a certain amount of risk
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