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05-24-2009, 02:48 PM   #1
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18-250/Help me choose my next lens

Hey All,
I have a pentax K20D, and at the moment, all I have is the 50mm prime f1.4. I'm looking for a new lens.

My initial thoughts were to get the 18-250 to find what range I shoot the most, and then get a better lens for that range eventually. The 18-250 is also an awesome lens for just a single lens solution when hiking etc.

However, I now am noticing it's been discontinued. I can get my hands on one still, but the question is should I? Or Should I be looking in another direction?

I thought the super zoom would be good for just an all around all purpose lens. Does anyone have recommendations on a this lens of another lens instead (pentax or otherwise)?

Thanks!

05-24-2009, 03:24 PM   #2
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You can get the Tamron version of the lens. I did and I like it a lot.
05-24-2009, 03:25 PM   #3
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Would I be better off with the Tamron version over the pentax Version? Also, should I be looking to get a single lens solution like the 18-250, as I see some people talk about it being a bit soft wide open. Am I better off covering the range with a couple lenses? Back to the age old question I guess haha.
05-24-2009, 03:33 PM   #4
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The Tamron lens is optically the same. I think the only difference is the coatings. If you decide to go with this lens you MUST be aware of it's short comings and how to compensate for them. Stop down the lens, shoot with good light and you will get good shots. You will be able to get better optics if you go with a two lens solution but you will again have a two lens solution. It's all about compromise.

05-24-2009, 03:58 PM   #5
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I've had two copies of this lens and both suffer from asymmetric vignetting; e.g., at 21mm, when shooting a blue sky the upper-left corner is clear by f/5.6 but the upper-right corner retains a noticable dark fleck until f/11 (second copy).

The range is astounding and otherwise I would recommend the lens. My advice is to thoroughly test the lens before the return period expires to ensure that the vignetting is acceptable for your tastes.

Edit:
Since you seem to be new here (welcome!), spend some time poking around the lens reviews database.

Many people like the Pentax and Sigma 17-70s, and the Sigma 18-125 is nearly as zoomy as the 18-250's and costs far less, but it's hard to find. You could also pick up a used kit lens, as they're pretty dirt cheap, especially the version I.
05-24-2009, 03:59 PM   #6
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If I wanted to make the compromise what would be some good lenses to go with? I don't know if I want to jump into some high end lenses at this point, so what would be on par or better then those lenses, without breaking the bank? Ideally, a nice wide angle, then something like the DA* 16-50 and then the 50-135 would be nie, but that's a lot of money to spend haha. I have heard good things about the 17-70 though.
05-24-2009, 04:15 PM   #7
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I have the Tamron version...great lens...perfect for the "all in one" use...traveling, when you cant have your bag o' lenses, etc...I recommend it.

Is it the "best" lens in my bag, probably not, but a VERY very useful lens. I have gotten some fantastic results using this lens. No, it's not the fastest lens, no, it's not the sharpest in my bag, but again, very useful and in the right conditions, definitely is a keeper.

Keep in kind I am comparing "fast" and "sharp" to some pretty stiff competition...but it works, does what it is supposed to do and the range coverage is great for my needs.

Jason
05-24-2009, 04:27 PM   #8
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Yeah, my concern about it is that I won't be happy with the picture quality. That being said, I'm just starting out, and something tells me that I would be better served learning what ranges I want to shoot at and getting a better lens for those ranges later on.

I like to do landscapes, and wildlife. So that's 2 completely opposite ends of the spectrum haha. The 50mm is tough for some of the wildlife and general walking around stuff, because you just can't get close enough. On the other hand, the 50 is "ok" for some of the landscape stuff, but is still limiting. This camera stuff isn't always an easy decision!

Of course, having that one lens, might be great for middle of the day walk around the park type scenarios? That way you aren't worried about switching lenses too, and might be good for hiking, etc.

05-24-2009, 06:48 PM   #9
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The 18-250 was the first lens that I purchased outside of the kit lens. Picked it up prior to a Disney vacation. If proved to be, and has since reaffirmed, a great do-all outdoor lens (and I stress "outdoor lens"!)
It sounds like a great fit for yourself, as well as the proper methodology to track the focal length that works best for you. You are absolutely on the right path. Once you determine the focal length, you will have a wide range of lenses to go with. I have both the 31 ltd and the 77 ltd. Both are fantastic, fairly fast lenses, which is great for the indoor shots (that the 18-250 doesn't stand a chance with.) An option that most go with is the 50 1.4. If this focal length works for you, it's a no-brainer. In my opinion, it all boils down to your own personal focal "sweet spot". Best of luck
05-24-2009, 06:59 PM   #10
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I am eagerly awaiting the 18-50 and 50-200 water resistant lenses comming out in July. Nicely priced and a perfect match for a water resistant camera. Currently, I am using a Pentax 18-250 lens on my K20d and I love it. Indoor results , I find, are surprisingly good...aided perhaps by the 20d having the best indoor white balance of any camera I have ever had. If your'e looking for a really cheap and somewhat underrated lens, look for a Sigma 28-80 mini zoom with macro. Wolf has been blowing them out for under $20.
05-24-2009, 07:24 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by IronWolf Quote
Yeah, my concern about it is that I won't be happy with the picture quality. That being said, I'm just starting out, and something tells me that I would be better served learning what ranges I want to shoot at and getting a better lens for those ranges later on.
The 18-250 has great image quality. The key drawbacks are: (1) slow, (2) distortion (correctable in software), (3) vignetting, and (4) quality control problems I mentioned above.

QuoteOriginally posted by IronWolf Quote
Of course, having that one lens, might be great for middle of the day walk around the park type scenarios? That way you aren't worried about switching lenses too, and might be good for hiking, etc.
Not switching lenses is a huge time saver that enables you to take the camera to places and events you simply couldn't otherwise. For me, it's hiking; I want to keep moving, and others on the trip won't have the patience to wait for me to muck with lenses and such.
05-24-2009, 08:02 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by rpriedhorsky Quote
The 18-250 has great image quality. The key drawbacks are: (1) slow, (2) distortion (correctable in software), (3) vignetting, and (4) quality control problems I mentioned above.



Not switching lenses is a huge time saver that enables you to take the camera to places and events you simply couldn't otherwise. For me, it's hiking; I want to keep moving, and others on the trip won't have the patience to wait for me to muck with lenses and such.
This is true. The newer kit lens lenses coming out with the weather resistance seems nice as well! Hmmmm 18-250 vs. those 2 WR lenses vs. something else!

It's such a tough choice!
05-24-2009, 08:56 PM   #13
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For a short time, I had the Tamron 18-250 and while it was a pretty decent lens, I really wasn't crazy about it's performance at the wide end--it had a tendency to vignette, so I got rid of it. To make a long LBA story short, I now have the Sigma 17-70 and the DA 55-300 and I'm happy with both, particularly for the type of shooting that I do, which is mostly outdoor. Once you figure out which focal lengths you like to shoot most, you'll find one or the other spending the most time on your camera, minimizing lens changes. At the same time, you'll have the other handy for whenever you need to shoot wider or longer.

On the subject of WR lenses, if Pentax would come out with WR versions of the DA17-70 and DA55-300, I'd be tickled.

HTH,
Heather
05-25-2009, 07:10 AM   #14
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The Pentax 18-250 is still available new on ebay.
05-25-2009, 07:47 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by rpriedhorsky Quote
The 18-250 has great image quality. The key drawbacks are: (1) slow, (2) distortion (correctable in software), (3) vignetting, and (4) quality control problems I mentioned above.



Not switching lenses is a huge time saver that enables you to take the camera to places and events you simply couldn't otherwise. For me, it's hiking; I want to keep moving, and others on the trip won't have the patience to wait for me to muck with lenses and such.
I don't think this shows a balanced view of this lens.
I've done a three week safari through Tanzania with only the Tamron 18-250mm mounted. Yes, it is not very fast, it suffers from vignetting and it shows more purple fringing than my 16-50mm.
But.... the vignetting and purple fringing is easily corrected in PP with Lightroom, AND, the advantages of this lens are:
- Light weigth,
- small package,
- cheap,
- very long range,
- no dust on you sensor due to frequent lens changes and
- you will not miss that shot because you had the wrong lens mounted.

It was definitely worth the money I paid for.

- Bert
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