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04-22-2009, 11:31 PM   #1
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Recommend me a lens combo for K20D


Just canvassing some lens advice for a K20D.. I haven't bought this camera yet, but I am considering it seriously once I have a handle on the right lenses to go with it.

Whilst I have been neglecting my SLR skills for the last few years I do like to buy good quality, so I have dismissed the K200 and KM after reading a few reviews.

I mainly take 2 kinds of shots, the usual family and friends fair, and then landscapes, particularly bush/mountains, so large distances often involved and the need for good zoom performance. I am planning some large prints so this doubly so.

My current thinking is to get hold of the kit 18-55mm lens, since it's reasonable priced with the body, and supplement that with the Pentax 55-300mm. This is affordable without compromising on quality too much, nor buying more camera than I can use.

Any thoughts on this combination? Would it meet my needs now and for the forseeable future (5+ years would be nice).


04-23-2009, 12:48 AM   #2
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Sounds a reasonably ok start, I have the 55-300mm and it's pretty decent for birds and other tele photo usages. I'm assuming the 18-55mm is the Pentax one and not the Sigma which rates quite well in the user reviews.
04-23-2009, 03:34 AM   #3
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It really gets down to what you are willing to spend, or what you have budgeted for

Planning for 5 years ahead will be more easier said than done if especially if your interest in glass grows.

Will it be zooms or primes that suite your needs?

There is a section here on lenses with reviews that I often spend a lot of time in there reading up before making a decision on a new lens

I actually went the same way you are to start with... great combo, but I soon got the LBA bug and found the need or desire for better glass

04-23-2009, 03:57 AM   #4
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Another option: the DA 18-250mm for all around versatility and a fast, compact prime (FA 50mm f1.4?) for situations where you need the speed and resolution. That was my approach (actually, the Tamron zoom and the FA 43mm ltd) and it worked pretty well, I think.

04-23-2009, 09:39 AM   #5
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I also did the DA18-250mm super zoom and the FA50mm f1.4 fast fifty. It's proved to be a solid combination for me. Going the kit lens route along with the 55-200 or 55-300 offer basically the same range only with two lenses.

I would suggest looking at a fast f/2.8 wide angle prime for your landscapes to get better photo quality.
04-23-2009, 11:23 AM   #6
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Not sure what review made you discount the K200D or K-m - both are excellent cameras. Of course, the K20D is generally a little better in almost all respects, so choosing it over the others makes perfect sense if you've got the budget. However, while the 18-55 is a fine lens for a cheap consumer zoom, if you are so concerned about quality as to not consider the K200D or K-m, the 18-55 really shouldn't be on your list either. The lens makes more of a difference to the quality of the image than the camera - at least when dealing with cameras of this sort of (high) quality level.

Put another way, if you're willing to compromise in quality on the lenses - and again, the 18-55 is hardly a bad lens (I'm actually a big fan of it) - then you aren't really gaining much if anything by getting a somewhat better body.
04-23-2009, 03:20 PM   #7
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I agree with Marc's thinking. I think you should consider a cheaper camera body and more or (more expensive) lenses as an alternative. Your prices are going to vary considerably from mine since you're in Australia. Here, the difference is $150, almost an FA50/1.4.

I know you're thinking, 40% more megapixels, I want that. And it's better, but it's not 40% better. Since the good lenses should last much longer than 5 years, and may allow you to take photos impossible with other lenses, acquiring those lenses first is a good option.

Unfortunately instead of simple lens advice, I am suggesting revisiting the camera decision and adding several hard-to-quantify factors to the mix, making the decision far more difficult. I went with the cheaper/slightly less capable camera in the beginning. It has lasted me almost 4 years and there's no reason I can't go 5.
04-23-2009, 04:31 PM   #8
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Well, I was basing a lot of my decision on the camera body down to the dpreviews. The auto-focus is what is really dissuading me from the K2000. With mountain shots I often want to be specific with which section is in focus. Not only that but it seems like the choice of AF system was cost-driven not customer-driven!14MP is a factor for longevity of the camera and doing the large prints, but not the only thing I am looking at. I actually like the menu system of the KM a lot, and that would suit my better half.

I should have mentioned that I am not looking at primes, since I'll be hiking with my camera and 2 lens will be plenty to cart around! This is why I have been making do with a point and shoot for the last few years, but I want to start taking the photography side more seriously.

On the 28-250 vs 70-300, I read a few reviews indicating the 70-300 was a significantly better lens at least at full extension, and I am thinking it could give me that extra bit of range when focusing on a feature several km away.

I have an old, but very nice Tokina 17mm (26mm on APS-C?) that I will use for really wide shots. Also a Tokina SZ-X 28-105mm that will probably still take reasonable shots. Both are MF. But perhaps I should forget about the kit lens for now (will check out the sigma too)? It seems like kit lens are being sold at cost with bodies, so it's a tough one.

04-23-2009, 04:36 PM   #9
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The kit lens is still worth it if you're not planning to upgrade soon. I had upgraded to Tammy 28-75. When I mounted the kit lens again today and took it for a stroll and I remembered how light and compact the combo was... If you do decicde to upgrade and get rid of the kit lens, it still sells for close to your wallet damage. (90 USD for DA vII / DA L, 50 USD for DA). The 18-250 suggestion is a good one though, especially if you want to go hiking.

Your Tokina 17mm would be a good prime to carry too if it's relatively small. You won't gain much over 18mm but it might make you want to go full prime set one day
04-23-2009, 09:29 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by niobe Quote
With mountain shots I often want to be specific with which section is in focus.
Sure, but center point works fine for that.

Not only that but it seems like the choice of AF system was cost-driven not customer-driven!
Customers don't like to pay less money?

Anyhow, not trying to talk you into the K-m - it would be third on my list behind the K200D and K20D . Just pointing out that all three cameras *are* actually capable of taking great images, so taking you concern about "quality" at face value, I'm just pointing out that it is a bit misdirected. It's kind of like, oh, rejecting the *second-best* Pinot Noir in the world because of concerns over its quality compared to the *best* Pinot Noir in the world, but then saying you want to save money so you'll be drinking it out of an old shoe instead of a wine glass.

Disclaimer - again, I do like the 18-55; it's considerably better than an old shoe :-). But it is definitely the limiting factor here, not the camera body.
04-23-2009, 09:47 PM   #11
Damn Brit

No matter how good the 18-55 is, it is still only a 'kit lens' and that definition of good is based primarily on comparison with other brands kit lens. If you take that comparison out of the equation, the 18-55 is still more than adequate and will take great shots but something like the 16-45 would be better all round, especially when accompanied by the 55-300.
Don't forget, if you aren't happy with the 18-55, that reasonably priced lens does become a compromise of quality and a liability because it has quite a low resale value compared to other lenses. You would also appreciate the constant f/4 of the 16-45 when it comes to photographing the younger members of the family. Picking up a used one shouldn't up your budget too much.
04-23-2009, 10:18 PM   #12
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I would highy recommend the K20d with the DA 16-45. 55-300?...I can't say since I don't have one. I love the DA* 50-135 but it's $$. I also love many older primes.... Start with the k20d and a 16-45.....
04-24-2009, 02:14 AM   #13
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When I bought my K20D just over a year ago, I based my purchase decision on the available lenses that did what I wanted for what I could afford. Pentax offered the most bang for the buck. I wanted REAL wide and REAL long and REAL fast. So I got the DA 10-17 (wide), DA 18-250 (long), and FA 50/1.4 (fast) -- and despite having accumulated WAY too many other (mostly cheap) lenses since then, those are still what I use most, and the 18-250 is what's on the cam most of the time. I'd expect to move to a FF body if/when Pentax releases one, so I won't buy more DA lenses (my only other is the underrated DA 100-300), but if I could only have one lens for the K20D, the 18-250 would be it.

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