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12-09-2009, 06:30 PM   #1
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Good complement to 18-55mm kit lens?

I'm looking to buy either a K2000 or K-x before the year ends, and I was hoping for some advice about the second lens. I want to buy a second one that'll complement the 18-55mm kit lens, particularly for longer distances. My original candidate was the 50-200mm that comes with the two-lens K2000 kit, but that seems to have become a little rare all of a sudden.

So if it's not that, I'll probably get a zoom lens that goes up to 200/300mm or so. So far I've identified four possibilities. Right now I have four candidates, from cheapest to most expensive:

- Tamron AF75-300mm F/4-5.6 LD
- Tamron AF70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD Macro
- Pentax SMC P-DA 50-200mm
- Pentax SMC P-DA 55-300mm

The two Tamrons are pretty close price-wise based on my browsing. The Pentax 50-300mm seems to be very nice, but the price scares me off. I'm looking primarily for three things: overall flexibility (i.e., the standard lens and this second lens must, ideally, be able to handle as many situations as possible), build quality (I want these lens to last a long, long, time), and no major gotchas in their performance.

So, any suggestions among my four choices, or are there alternatives I've missed, etc.?

12-09-2009, 09:24 PM   #2
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The K-x is available with a 2 lens kit, the DA-L 18-55mm and the DA-L 55-300mm. The version sold in this kit is a slightly cheaper build than the one sold separately, but it looks like it only adds about $100 to the price. The cheaper build includes a plastic mount, not metal, and no Quick-shift Focus, the ability to easily adjust focus manually at any time. All these lenses are labeled DA-L. The optics are the same. The lens itself is generally thought to be a step up over the Tamrons you list. There's also a Sigma 70-300 that's the same price as the Tamron.

The K-m and K-x will likely both come with the DA-L 18-55mm, which has the same plastic mount/no QSF, unless otherwise specified. The K-m two lens kit included the DA-L version of the 50-200mm. I think the plastic mount is reasonably durable, and older versions seem to have held up OK. But there's no denying that metal feels better.
12-09-2009, 09:38 PM   #3
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my vote goes for the 55-300. it's a great lens and I believe you won't feel the need to get another lens again, ever. unless you catch the LBA bug !


for starters, the 18-55 II or 18-55 WR and the 55-300 is a great lens combo for learners.
12-09-2009, 11:10 PM   #4
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I know that the Pentax 55-300mm lens is simply outstanding. That price tag, however, is really giving me some pause. The K2000 kit together with the Tamron 70-300mm will set me back around $600. The 55-300mm lens would raise the price to about $800 if paired with the K2000; the K-x dual kit is about $840. I'm not really sure than for a relative newbie like me, it's worth that much money.

And buying just the 18-55mm now and buying the 55-300mm lens later isn't really an option. I'm in the US now, but I'll be going back home to the Philippines early next year. I'd rather not deal with the costs of shipping, customs, local distributors, etc. It's not exactly an ideal situation.

12-09-2009, 11:16 PM   #5
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Jonathan,
Going to dSLR means going for a slightly larger budget than your P&S and bridge/hybrid cameras.
By far the best value kit available is the K-x + 18-55 + 55-300. With this, as said, there is no need to upgrade any further for a long time, and the telephoto range will come in very handy for you.
Save up for it and go for it - there is no better.
12-09-2009, 11:22 PM   #6
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well if that's the case, the Tammy 70-300 would do just fine. although I would advice you to learn or study alot of post-processing, coz those purple-fringing that the Tammy causes are really a pain in the neck. otherwise, go for the 55-300. it's a step above the Tamron, thus justfying it's expensive price over the Tamron.
12-10-2009, 12:08 PM   #7
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If your main concern is IQ, find a way to get the 55-300.

If you'd rather save money and get a lens almost as good if a bit shorter but a lot smaller and lighter and fasdter focusing, get the 50-200.

Get the others only if price is the only concern and/or if you know that 200mm won't be long enough for you (eg, you plan to do a ton of wildlife photography).

if you want more details, do a search and check out the other hundred or so threads on this exact same topic over the years.
12-10-2009, 12:44 PM   #8
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Adorama has the K-x + DA-L 18-55 + DA-L 55-300 for $800 (have to add it to the cart). I didn't go through all the other possibilities; there might be a cheaper price out there. I think if I could afford it, I would buy this two lens kit even if I wasn't sure I needed it. If the 55-300 remained unused, it would be easy to sell it for what it cost to add to the kit. Like you said, it would be expensive to add later. If I couldn't spend $800 at all, I would look hard for a deal on K-m kit. It should be cheap, it's an older model.

12-10-2009, 12:47 PM   #9
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I simply suggest the Pentax SMC P-DA 55-300mm.
It is a relatively slow, budget tele zoom with an excellent price to performance ratio.
A perfect companion to the kit lens.
I am happy with mine.

Last edited by bc_the_path; 12-11-2009 at 01:44 AM.
12-10-2009, 04:46 PM   #10
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I have the K2000 with the kit 18-55 and purchased the DA 55-300. I've been very happy with the 55-300. If I were buying now, however, I would choose the Kx over the K2000. I think if you can swing the Kx and the 55-300 you will be very happy. Even if you're new to photography, you'll notice the difference a better lens can make.
12-10-2009, 04:54 PM   #11
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The K-x with the two-kit DA 55-300 lens is probably your best bet.

The DA L is although plastic, is still optically the same as the supposedly "better" ones that are sold separately. Also there is nothing wrong with the plastic mount at all, it still operates the almost the same as the metal mounts. There is already enough plastic on the original DA 55-300 anyways and with that much amount of plastic and build quality not being a DA* or Limited, they might as well make the mount plastic.

For the quick-shift it's not really a big problem for me, some like and some don't really care. I don't find the quick-shift to be that useful, but at the same time I don't manual focus a lot either and rely a lot on auto focusing to do the job for me alone. The quick-shift is just to be able to quickly re-adjust your focusing after the AF if the object moves out of focus or you are hunting a bit at night.

But I do have a K-7 with AF assist lamp which the K-x doesn't have so that could be my excuse but I used to own a K2000 without one also and my DA L 18-55 without quick shift served me fine.
12-10-2009, 05:52 PM   #12
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I admire you greatly for knowing the difference between "complement" and "compliment".
12-11-2009, 08:30 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
I admire you greatly for knowing the difference between "complement" and "compliment".
The OP "ensured" he used the right word, or did he "insure"? It bugs the crap out of me when these 2 are misused.
12-11-2009, 07:33 PM   #14
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I've given it some thought... I'm going with the K-x two-lens kit. If I'm going to do this, I might as well do it properly.

Does anyone know where the kit seems to be in stock, though? A lot of places seem to have it backordered or out of stock.
12-11-2009, 07:50 PM   #15
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Jonathon, first off where do you live? I only know places in the US because I live in the US.

There are B&H Photo Video | Digital Cameras, Camcorders , Digital cameras, all other cameras and everything photographic from Adorama Camera , Amazon.com: Online Shopping for Electronics, Apparel, Computers, Books, DVDs & more , Newegg.com - Computer Parts, PC Components, Laptop Computers, Digital Cameras and more! , Welcome to Abes of Maine , and those are about the only places I know and use, you could definitely check there.
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