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02-02-2010, 07:16 PM   #1
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Moving beyond the basic lenses, which would you choose? Or, spending the tax return

I've had my K10D for about 2 years now. I've got the kit 18-55, a Tamron 70-300, and an F 50 1.7.

Tax season is upon us and it looks like I'm getting a substantial (for me) refund (yes it was already my money and yes I should save it, and I will, but there should be enough for a lens, right? :] ).

I'm primarily interested in landscape/nature/wildlife photography and I've recently started dabbling in portraits and strobe lighting.

The question is: which lens to add to the lineup? What lenses did you guys add once you had your initial bases covered?

I could grab a Tamron 10-24 and spice up the UW side of things. I could upgrade the kit and grab something like the Sigma 17-70 or a 28-70 f/2.8. Upgrading the long end is likely out of the question financially (or is it?). If I were to upgrade the long telephoto side of things, I'd want more reach rather than faster/better/sharper glass (i.e. not a DA* 300).

If I knew which one I needed most I wouldn't be asking . I can't see a clear deficit in my gear. I guess I could also add another strobe/umbrella, buy the new Lightroom when it comes out, or any number of things. I am willing to buy used to save a buck or two. Whadday say?

02-02-2010, 07:22 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikem Quote
If I were to upgrade the long telephoto side of things, I'd want more reach rather than faster/better/sharper glass (i.e. not a DA* 300).
Sharper is equivalent to more reach. 100% crops of shots done with DA* 300 look better than shots done with some of the contraptions I've seen on these boards. But don't listen to me...

Last edited by asdf; 02-02-2010 at 09:55 PM.
02-02-2010, 07:35 PM   #3
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Hmmm... I hadn't thought of that. However, no matter how sharp it is, it looks like the DA* 300mm will be disqualified on price!
02-02-2010, 08:54 PM   #4
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If you don't see a clear deficit, why spend money on it?

I bought a K10D with 18-55 just over a year ago knowing that I would miss the tele range that I was used to. So within a month I bought the 55-300 and had the focal range covered.

I also knew that I wanted something faster as an alternative to the 50mm/1.7 on a film body that I was used to and that I needed a flash when money would be available. Both were added last month (FA31 and 540 flash).

02-02-2010, 08:59 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by sterretje Quote
If you don't see a clear deficit, why spend money on it?

I bought a K10D with 18-55 just over a year ago knowing that I would miss the tele range that I was used to. So within a month I bought the 55-300 and had the focal range covered.

I also knew that I wanted something faster as an alternative to the 50mm/1.7 on a film body that I was used to and that I needed a flash when money would be available. Both were added last month (FA31 and 540 flash).
Ouch! Maybe that's my answer eh? I just wonder what I'm missing if anything. I suppose I was wondering if anyone might say "I didn't realize how much I was really missing lens X, now it's my favorite and I don't know how I got along without it before."
02-02-2010, 09:16 PM   #6
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In the evolution of my lens collection, I started off with about what you have. My first real purchase was the DA 10-17 fisheye. It is such a fun lens and also covers some of the UWA range with minimal fisheye effect. Along the way, I picked up the Tamron 18-250 lens for a travel lens and have had good result from it. However, early last year I went with the DA*16-50 f2.8 lens. This has been a main stay lens and is such an upgrade from the kit lens. You could go to the less expensive Tamron 17-50 f2.8 lens too, my daughter uses the Cannon version and it's a great lens too but I prefer the Pentax. I've added others including the DA 17-70 f4 and DA 55-300 as well as some older manual focus lenses for fun. One last thought is that if you really do landscapes the Pentax 12-24 f4 lens is just amazing. As much as I like the DA 10-17 the 12-24 length is a lot better for landscapes and buildings.

In thinking back on this, I think my preference would be to try to up grade to constant aperture lenses where ever I could. It's just one less the thing to worry about with zooms.

Don't know how far your tax return will take you but, you could always go for one really expensive lens and fill in with some older manual focus primes/zooms for a lot less money. There are so many good ones out there. Good luck.
02-02-2010, 09:50 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by blackcloudbrew Quote
In the evolution of my lens collection, I started off with about what you have. My first real purchase was the DA 10-17 fisheye. It is such a fun lens and also covers some of the UWA range with minimal fisheye effect. Along the way, I picked up the Tamron 18-250 lens for a travel lens and have had good result from it. However, early last year I went with the DA*16-50 f2.8 lens. This has been a main stay lens and is such an upgrade from the kit lens. You could go to the less expensive Tamron 17-50 f2.8 lens too, my daughter uses the Cannon version and it's a great lens too but I prefer the Pentax. I've added others including the DA 17-70 f4 and DA 55-300 as well as some older manual focus lenses for fun. One last thought is that if you really do landscapes the Pentax 12-24 f4 lens is just amazing. As much as I like the DA 10-17 the 12-24 length is a lot better for landscapes and buildings.

In thinking back on this, I think my preference would be to try to up grade to constant aperture lenses where ever I could. It's just one less the thing to worry about with zooms.

Don't know how far your tax return will take you but, you could always go for one really expensive lens and fill in with some older manual focus primes/zooms for a lot less money. There are so many good ones out there. Good luck.
Thanks! Just the type of information I was looking for.
02-03-2010, 01:27 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikem Quote
The question is: which lens to add to the lineup? What lenses did you guys add once you had your initial bases covered?
I started off with K100DS, DA 18-55mm, and DA 50-200mm. A few months later I bought FA 50mm f/1.4 and AF360 flash. I think that was when I was in a similar situation as you are now. Well, I bought Sigma 10-20mm a half year later. Unfortunately, ultrawide is not my style so far, and I only use this lens much less than 5% of time. Personally, FA 35mm I bought several month after the Sigma was a huge hit, and I used this lens for most of the time until it was replaced by FA 31mm just 2 months ago. If you know your favorite focal length, you could be better off by getting a top notch glass for that length (something like FA limited or DA limited). However, since you seem to really want to try an ultrawide angle lens, why don't you try it first and decide whether to keep it or not later.

02-03-2010, 04:42 AM   #9
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Hi, I think I'm in the same situation as you, although I had already spent the tax return.

Instead of the FA50, I had gotten a manual 50 1.4 and then later purchased a pancake 40mm 2.8. I think next up for me is either a fisheye or more distance.

I would suggest that you take a look at Pentax 1.7x AF adapter, it's a telephoto converter thats also able to auto focus manual lenses. See it in action on youtube: http://tinyurl.com/ybjrbko

That's probably my next purchase. And then I can buy a manual 300/4 or use the tamron 70-300 with it to go really long distance. or pick up a few cheap fast manual lenses from ebay to play with it.

Edit* Oh yeah, if you got it let me know how it goes so i can decide what to do with my tax return next year.
02-03-2010, 04:49 AM   #10
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I think clearly what you're "missing" is one of the Limited series.
02-03-2010, 06:00 AM   #11
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I would suggest you look at the focal length you use most of the time to shoot (softs like apertureplot can help for that) and improve your kit in that range. If your pics are mostly at 50 mm or near that, you're already well covered. Otherwise, it will give you a starting point.
02-03-2010, 06:16 AM   #12
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you need to really plan out the entire ultimate lens system you think you would want, and start adding peices that fit that plan.

for me, assuming you have interests that are across the entire spectrum, you need to cover some how, the range from 10mm to 400mm, and ultimately want F2.8 for most of this.

you can let the short, i.e. below 20 be a little slower because at that focal length shutter speed is not an issue usually, and beyond 200mm unless you are wealthy, f2.8 is not realistic.

If you look at your system, you have 18-300 covered. Your bes first step, would I think, be to expand range, and a 10-20, or similar ultra wide zoom would make sense.

Then you can look at upgrading the middle to F2.8 by either a 16-50 and 50-135 or go to a third party maker and get something in the 24-28mm to 60-75mm range plus a 70-200F2.8 zoom.

By this I mean sigma 24-60 F2.8, 24-70 F2.8 or tamron 28-75 F2.8, to fill the middle,

My basic kit is sigma 10-20, Pentax 18-35, tamron 28-75 F2.8 ad sigma 70-200F2.8 plus sigma 1.4x and 2x TCs which get me to 300 and 400mm respectively.

The F2.8 lenses get you low light performance and in the tele end the ability to add a high quality TC to get length.

the decision of 16-50 and 50-135 vs the more traditional focal length zooms is a question of shooting preferences, if you don't do wild life, go for the shorter combo, it is lighter, then if you want length go out and specifically get a 300 or 400mm lens
02-03-2010, 07:50 AM   #13
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mikem

The first thing I'd do is get Exposure Plot (free download, or at least was free several years ago) and check out where you really like to shoot. Exposure plot goes thru the exif of your photos and give you a breakdown. X% at this focal length Y% at that focal length etc. That will give you a good idea of where you really like to shoot. Once you figure that out you can make a better informed solution. Other than that, I echo mattdm's recommendation of a limited lens. The five lens purchases I've been most happy about are Pentax 12-24mm F4.0; FA 43mm ltd; Tamron 28-75 F2.8; Tamron 90mm F2.8 macro; and Pentax FA 77mm ltd.

NaCl(hope that helps)H2O

Last edited by NaClH2O; 02-03-2010 at 07:52 AM. Reason: spelling
02-03-2010, 08:14 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by NaClH2O Quote
mikem

The first thing I'd do is get Exposure Plot (free download, or at least was free several years ago) and check out where you really like to shoot. Exposure plot goes thru the exif of your photos and give you a breakdown. X% at this focal length Y% at that focal length etc. That will give you a good idea of where you really like to shoot. Once you figure that out you can make a better informed solution. Other than that, I echo mattdm's recommendation of a limited lens. The five lens purchases I've been most happy about are Pentax 12-24mm F4.0; FA 43mm ltd; Tamron 28-75 F2.8; Tamron 90mm F2.8 macro; and Pentax FA 77mm ltd.

NaCl(hope that helps)H2O
Good point on exposure plot.

One observation I would make about it, however, is if you are with a high number of shots at one end of the range on your present zooms, it might suggest extending the range. If you find you stay within your existing range but have a lot of shots at maximum aperture, that may support either a faster zoom or a prime at a favourite focal length

I would be willing to bet for example the OP shoots a lot at 18mm suggesting something wider.

NaClH2O, I note you have the 12-24 in your favourites list. THis fits nicely with extending the range of the present kit with a quality lens.

the 28-75 F2.8 is also a great lens, but the decision to replace existing range as opposed to extending the range would also come out of exposure plot
02-03-2010, 08:21 AM   #15
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I would agree wiith the general thoughts above, try and understand where you are limited with the kit you have got... and then expand/improve to fill that gap.... if you really dont feel limited then save yourself some money.

I got my K20D early last year with kit lens and immediately felt I needed something for lower light situations so got a K50 1.4. Needed something longer so got the DA*50-135 and then recently replaced the kit lens with the DA*16-50. In 'my' case I feel I need something longer (DA*60-250) as I will likely do a safari this year and would also like at some point to replaced the K50 with a AF lens.. maybe FA31. Thats my plan, but its personal for my needs. definately worth trying to define your personal roadmap... and again, if you are happy with what you have save the money.
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