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12-03-2009, 09:03 PM   #1
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Not Sure Which Way Is Up?

Hey Guys,


Firstly, I am definitly an amatuer photographer(i.e. strictly for personal use). I currently have the Pentax *ist DL with the 18-55 lens (came with the body). But I am ready to upgrade the lens.

However, my dilemma is that I have no clue where to begin my search!!! I would like to keep my new lens somewhere in between $100 - $200. I hope to get a better zoom and hopefully better quality lens within that price range. I have no preference on the brand, as long as it is better than my current lens, I will be happy!!!

Thanks in Advance!!!


12-03-2009, 09:11 PM   #2
Ash
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Welcome to the forum.
First question is why do you want to upgrade? i.e. what is 'better' for you?
$200 will not get you any new autofocus lens better than the kit lens unfortunately.

If you're looking for a 'faster' lens (larger maximum aperture), you'll be looking at something like the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 or Sigma 18-50 f/2.8

If you're not too concerned about large apertures, the best bang for your buck will be the Pentax DA 16-45.

None of these lenses go for less than $200, new or used, though. If you're interested in manual focus lenses, that would be another story, but from what I gather you're after an autofocus lens.
12-03-2009, 09:16 PM   #3
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Okay, thanks for the reply. Yes, though an autofocus would be prefered. Manual is always an option.

How high do both the Tamron and Sigma normally run?
12-03-2009, 09:20 PM   #4
Ash
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Depends where in the world you are.
In the US, prices for a new Tamron start from about $460 and a new Sigma from $420.
You could get lucky, though, and fine something that suits you on this forum's marketplace for much cheaper.

12-03-2009, 09:26 PM   #5
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Okay Thanks so Much!!!
12-04-2009, 11:08 AM   #6
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It's very difficult to know exactly what to buy for a second lens, because everything sounds useful and better. And of course there's massive sticker shock when you find out what they want for some lenses.

A lot of people want more telephoto range beyond the kit lens. Two popular budget choices are these:

Tamron | 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro Lens | AF017P700 | B&H

Sigma | 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro Autofocus Lens | 509109 | B&H

Both of these are autofocus, with very similar specs. They were built to be the second lens choice, and they do a decent job.

Pentax has some lenses for the same purpose. The old choice was the DA 50-200. This lens has two other variations, the DA-L with a plastic mount (possibly only available used) and the WR (weather resistant) version. They recently released the DA 55-300 to compete with the above Tamron and Sigma lenses. The Pentax is better but it's around $350.

Another popular path is to get one lens to cover every possible need. I tried this myself, but be aware that the cheaper lenses in this category will compromise image quality. Pentax had the DA 18-250 for a while, but stopped making it. It's harder to find now, and may be out of your budget at $450. Expensive, but everyone likes its image quality.

All of the above lenses will only open to f3.5 or f4, and then only at the wide-angle end. Some people find that really limiting, so they look for "faster" lenses that open to f2.8. Ash mentions some good choices above. The only way you can get faster lenses on your budget is to look at used prime lenses, often manual focus ones. That's what I did, but it's not for everyone.

Another direction you could take is to get better wide-angle coverage. I don't think it's worth pursuing this on your budget. The kit lens is pretty good at this end. Better lenses are out there but costly. A used DA 16-45 for $250 will be an improvement, but not as big a step up as you could get in other areas.

For some reason, getting a flash is always a low priority with beginners. There are a few possibilities within your budget, like the Pentax AF360FGZ or Metz 48. Although flash requires some technique to get decent results, it can reduce your need for a super-fast lens and is much cheaper. My brother has your exact camera, and he found the flash way more useful than all of the lenses I offered him. He even uses his camera professionally, producing web content for Tribune Media.
12-04-2009, 12:02 PM   #7
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I agrewe, you need to define "better". What does "better zoom" mean? I'm guessing you mean, you want a longer focal length. Something that goes to 200 or 300, say. OK, but then, the main lenses you would be considering wouldn't be an *upgrade* to (in the sense of "replacement" for) your kit lens - they would be to use *in addition* to the 18-55. That, lenses like the 50-200, 55-300, or the various 70-300's. None of these can replace your current lens, since they don't cover the 18-50 range at all. There used to be an 18-250 and you can probably still find them especially used, but they'll be outside your budget, it won't be "better quality" - just longer.

If you want better quality, you can get that - but it won't be any longer than what you already have. Quite the opposite - most better lenses are shorter, only going to 45 or 50, or indeed not being zooms at all. The 17-70's are somewhat better and somewhat longer, but are again more expensive.
12-04-2009, 03:36 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
... My brother has your exact camera, and he found the flash way more useful than all of the lenses I offered him. He even uses his camera professionally, producing web content for Tribune Media.
Some of his shots from yesterday at the LA Auto Show:

2009 LA Auto Show Pictures - WTIC

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