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09-30-2009, 12:21 PM   #1
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Going on vacation and need advice on lenses

Hello All

I've recently decided to make the step up from a compact to a SLR. Photography is something I'm interested in and something I would like to get good at. I've spent the past weeks reading reviews and decided that weather sealing is important so it's either the K20D or K200D body for me, depending on what deal I can find.

I'm going on vacation on Monday so I don't have time to fully read up on all the different lenses so I need some help!

I'm looking for 1 weather sealed lens for hiking/cycling/etc and general touristy stuff so I would want this one to be an "all rounder" since I'd use it the most often. Any suggestions?

What other lenses should I consider for landscape and city type photos? I'm thinking a telephoto (70-300mm?) and a wide-angle zoom (28-80?). If that sounds good, which ones do you recommend?

My budget is flexiable at the moment (as long as it's not crazy prices) but I would not print large photo's all that often so obviously I don't want the top of the range ones.

Can someone offer advice? Would be greatly appreciated since lenses are a completely new concept to me!

09-30-2009, 01:06 PM   #2
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Welcome akira,

The K20D is still available new, but the K200D isn't (has been discontinued).
Deciding on lenses takes longer than deciding on a body! But since you already know the focal lengths you'd like, and the fact that you want weather sealing, it basically limits you to Pentax's DA*, which are expensive but well built and excellent in results, and the cheaper, newer DA WR lenses.

My suggestions would be the DA* 16-50 and the DA* 50-135 - a little less pricey than having a longer weather-sealed telephoto, but also a lot less range at the long end.

But if you can afford it, a more versatile combination is the DA* 16-50 and DA* 60-250 - more expensive and larger/heavier, but you have that much more range. Bear in mind the 60-250 has a maximum aperture of f/4 while the 50-135's is f/2.8.

The 50-135 is better suited to portraiture and is acclaimed as one of the best mid-range telephoto zooms available anywhere.
The cheapest option would be to settle for the kit lens (DA 18-55 WR) and its soon to be mid-telezoom buddy, the DA 50-200 WR.
But this would not be my recommended choices if image quality and speed are more of a priority.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by Ash; 09-30-2009 at 01:19 PM.
09-30-2009, 01:31 PM   #3
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Is the k20 still available? I think it is largely gone new...
09-30-2009, 01:59 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by krs Quote
Is the k20 still available? I think it is largely gone new...
Yeah, several places (via are showing it for just under $700.

To the OP, if you want weather sealing, then the DA*16-50 plus DA*50-135 is a very nice set. However, it's big and expensive. The new kit lens pair (18-55/50-200) are weather resistant and not that much money. That would definitely be a cheaper option, and if the IQ is the same as the older (non-WR) versions, then they would be good bargains. Plus, they're smaller and lighter, so should travel a little better.

If you're willing to give up WR, the 18-250 is a really good travel lens and generally gives you the same IQ as the kit lens pair. I use it as my vacation lens and I've never felt constrained by it.

09-30-2009, 03:47 PM   #5
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Thanks for the fast replies. I'm still an amateur to this so if you think different focal lengths would be better suited, I'd gladly consider it. I didn't know the K200D was discontinued! What replaced it?

I was only wanting the "all rounder" weather sealed but having both weather sealed would be nicer since I do long outdoor activities where the weather often turns quickly. So I would probably always carry one WR lens.

I saw the prices of the DA* and they're over 800? Getting two lenses at that price would kill my budget. Even one DA* and a cheaper lens would severely stretch it.

I mean I'm often sceptical of kit stuff, but a 600 body + 2x800 lenses is a lot of money to spend, especially since I am still an amateur. Is it really a good idea to get something of that level?
09-30-2009, 04:09 PM   #6
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Nothing has really replaced the K200D. The K-m and now K-x are the newer low-end models that are offered alongside the K-7 and K20D. The K-m and K-x are not weather-sealed where the K200D was - so you may be looking at getting a K20D.

You don't *need* to get the DA* lenses, but as I mentioned there is a clear performance difference between the kit setup (a lot cheaper) and the pro-range DA* lenses. For starters, I'd say stick with the kit lenses (but make sure you're getting the weather-sealed ones, with WR in their name!). You'll then see what you may need beyond what these can offer and go from there...
09-30-2009, 06:55 PM   #7
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As a beginner, get the 18-55mm Weather Resistant lens. I strongly suspect that will be all you need for your vacation ,and for learning on for a good long while. If you can find a K200, it has some easy "dial modes" that can help you if you get confused while you are learning.
09-30-2009, 08:06 PM   #8
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Mate,if your happy to wrap some plastic around your lens,then maybe look into a FA 28-200mm.They're not WR,but they are reasonably cheap and cover a good range of distance,which makes it a good travelling lens.You should be able to pick one up secondhand somewhere.

10-01-2009, 01:27 AM   #9
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I can only recommend the line up I used on my last vacation:
Sigma 10-20 (DA12-24 "would do")
Pentax FA31ltd
Pentax DA* 50-135

With these trhee lenses and 2 bodies (K10D + GX20) I could cover just about anything I wanted, less wildife though I didn't plan to shoot that anyway. If you think 135 is tad short, you have plenty of pixels to crop.

10-01-2009, 04:15 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the replies guys!

Even if it was raining, I would still want to take photos so weather sealing is important. I don't like the idea of wrapping the lens in plastic and risk having water enter the body. Rather spend a little now and save on the possibility of grief later!

I think I will get the kit 18-55 (maybe the 50-200 too) and then wait till I get a bit better and invest in the DA* 50-135 or 60-250. Or should I just forget the kit 18-55 and invest on the 16-50?
10-01-2009, 04:41 AM   #11
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I would start off with the WR kit lens combo and move up when you feel like you are wanting more. I guess I would suggest getting a prime in addition for lower light shooting. Most of the primes out there aren't weather sealed, but I don't think that is really important for the places you'd be using it.
10-01-2009, 05:34 AM   #12
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The 18-55 WR lens does seem to be the best choice under the circumstances. With just a few days to decide, a person new to a DSLR won't have the time to determine the focal lengths he or she wants and needs. One common suggestion is to review your photos upon your return and see what focal lengths on the zoom were used most frequently. The most commonly used focal length would be a good choice for a prime lens with which to experiment.
10-02-2009, 05:18 AM   #13
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Yeah, I think I will just stick with the kit lenses. Thanks for the advice people, very helpful!

One last question though, I'm going to buy this camera when I am in Hong Kong (hopefully cheaper). I speak the language so I should be able to haggle for a good deal or some freebies at least.

I'm assuming the shop assistant can spot an amateur a mile away and might try to pull a fast one on me. How can I tell the kit lenses are the Weather Sealed ones and not the normal ones?
10-02-2009, 05:50 AM   #14
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look for the letters "WR" engraved on the ring around the front of the lens
10-02-2009, 06:32 AM   #15
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great, thanks!

Think I'm all set to join the world of SLR Photography Now if I was only better at PhotoShop

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