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02-25-2010, 09:44 AM   #1
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What lens should I buy next?

Currently I just have the kit lens for my K20D (18-55mm) and a Tamron 70-300mm. I hate the purple shading I sometimes get with the Tamron, but otherwise like the lens okay.

Anyway, if I were to buy another lens what would you recommend? I will primarily be taking pictures of landscapes and animals (domestic and wild). Also, how much should I expect to pay for whatever lens you suggest?

It seems like Pentax doesn't offer as much choice as Nikon and Canon, insofar as lenses you can find to try out beforehand. That kinds stinks.

02-25-2010, 09:59 AM   #2
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Some suggested questions

We cannot advise you on your next lens, honest. If you try to answer these questions, perhaps it will help you decide what to do.
  • Have you tried a program such as Exposure Plot to see what your mosts commonly used focal lengths are?
  • Do you commonly find that 18mm just is not wide enough?
  • Do you often find that the lens is too slow - you have to use high ISO to get the shot?
  • Is the purple fringing in the Tamron really, really bad all the time, or is it just annoying in certain circumstances like my M 400's purples?
  • Do you often run out of magnification at 300mm?
  • Do you find that your lenses don't focus closely enough? Do you need a macro lens next?
Without analyzing your shooting patterns, I don't think we can honestly suggest your next lens.
02-25-2010, 10:25 AM   #3
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I'll take a stab based on what you already said. Just upgrade your current lenses, and add a 50mm prime.

Upgrade your 18-55 to DA 16-45mm f4 (about $250 used). It has far better IQ and in my opinion, offers about 90% of the DA* 16-50mm f2.8 ($600+ used).

And get a Pentax DA 55-300mm ($275 used), which has done wonders for me in decent light without much fringing although I've never compared it with anything else in that focal length.

But do get a 50mm prime for indoors. The most popular being FA 50mm f1.4 ($250 used). They are going out of production, if not already, but they do pop up quite frequently in the Market Place.
02-25-2010, 10:40 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Naturenut Quote
Currently I just have the kit lens for my K20D (18-55mm) and a Tamron 70-300mm. I hate the purple shading I sometimes get with the Tamron, but otherwise like the lens okay.

Anyway, if I were to buy another lens what would you recommend? I will primarily be taking pictures of landscapes and animals (domestic and wild). Also, how much should I expect to pay for whatever lens you suggest?

It seems like Pentax doesn't offer as much choice as Nikon and Canon, insofar as lenses you can find to try out beforehand. That kinds stinks.
Laurie,

Yes, it's annoying but not insurmountable. Pentax has made 100s of different types of lenses, it's just that only a few are still available new. I think you're about to move into the Used market.

You've selected a pretty wide subject matter too, at least for a single lens. Truthfully, IMO, there is no single lens short of the Bigma (sigma 50-500) that will come close to fulfilling such a need and you would still require a wide angle lens for the landscapes. The bigma weighs about 5 pounds and will run you 800-1000 dollars. This is with the K7 wearing the Bigma. That's fully retracted at 50mm and it extends to nearly twice that at 500mm.

A useful answer to your question will require more information about what you want to do. Do you want to go on an African safari to shoot your wildlife or are we talking about birds, deer, and other such animals? 300mm is a good range to start at but most wildlife shooters suggest something longer. The faster the lens (widest aperture) the better. Wide angle, people are swooning over the DA12-24. I'm not a big fan of zoom lenses but that is one I'd like to have.

I'm kind of babbling here so how's this. If I were to go out on an urban safari (not the african wild, but some place local) hoping to photograph the wide range you've asked about I would take my:

Camera(s)
Tripod or Monopod
The DA*300 (I sold the bigma a month or so ago)
The Vivitar 105 macro
The DA*55
The DA35
The DA15 or DA14
and just for some fisheye fun, the Zenitar 16mm f2.8

Another kit I could roll with is the DA*16-50 and DA*50-135 (and of course, a camera). It would really depend on what I was after though.

None of them are cheap, even used. To cover your range I would expect to spend $1500 - $2000 realistically.



02-25-2010, 10:48 AM   #5
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I'll repeat my usual chant - ask yourself these questions: 1) Where do I want to go? 2) What will get me there? 3) How much will I spend to be happy? Answering those questions led me to the K20D -- I wanted certain types of lenses, ultra-wide and fast and superzoom walkabout, and later, a macro and specific primes.

So, my choices (which are nobody else's) were the DA 10-17, FA 50/1.4, and DA 18-250. Later, an old Vivitar 90 macro (US$3 on eBay) and much more. My favorites are still those, and the much-underrated FA 100-300, Vivitar 21/3.5 and 24/2, and a Nikkor 85/2 I can press-fit onto the K20D. The Vivitars and Nikkor (all quite cheap) are manual focus, which is fine for how I use them. There may be a DA 18-55 WR in my future.

You say, "I will primarily be taking pictures of landscapes and animals (domestic and wild)." Choosing the appropriate lens(es) depends on distance and patience. If you don't want to get close to animals, get a long fast expensive lens. If you can anticipate where animals will be, your Tamron is fine -- and if you don't like the color cast, eliminate it in post-processing. Your kit lens is fine for landscapes. If you want a wider lens, note that ultrawides are best for getting CLOSE to a subject, not for making distant stuff look even further away.

Don't ask us what you should buy. Ask yourself what you really need, while learning.
02-25-2010, 11:36 AM   #6
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I think Pentax offers "everything" Canon/Nikon offers, for hobbyists, like me.

I'm a prime shooter so I'd recommend the 15mm for landscape and the 40mm for day-to-day, animals, etc. ~500 and 350, respectively, try Adorama/BHP/Amazon for latest prices. For zooms you can add in an ultra wide for landscape I imagine.

Have fun,
Shawn
02-25-2010, 11:59 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Naturenut Quote
Currently I just have the kit lens for my K20D (18-55mm) and a Tamron 70-300mm. I hate the purple shading I sometimes get with the Tamron, but otherwise like the lens okay.
I am very new to the whole DSLR community and can someone either verify or correct me if I am wrong but isn't there a function on the Kx (I also have a Kx, not even arrived in the mail yet) that can correct the purple fringing on the images? I thouht I read somewhere that there is when I was doing my research on cameras.
02-25-2010, 12:30 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by shawnxji Quote
I think Pentax offers "everything" Canon/Nikon offers, for hobbyists, like me.
I'll second that. Although I admit that the selection might not be everybody's preference. That also applies to my preferences but I can work around it in the current Pentax line-up

02-25-2010, 02:21 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by KxBlaze Quote
I am very new to the whole DSLR community and can someone either verify or correct me if I am wrong but isn't there a function on the Kx (I also have a Kx, not even arrived in the mail yet) that can correct the purple fringing on the images? I thouht I read somewhere that there is when I was doing my research on cameras.
Only for DA lenses, unfortunately. The camera needs to know what lens is on it to correct aberrations. It also slows down the recording of the image by quite a bit - quite understandably. I know the K-7 has the function, but I am not sure about the K-X. Perhaps someone else will chime in here.
02-25-2010, 03:18 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Canada_Rockies Quote
Only for DA lenses, unfortunately. The camera needs to know what lens is on it to correct aberrations. It also slows down the recording of the image by quite a bit - quite understandably. I know the K-7 has the function, but I am not sure about the K-X. Perhaps someone else will chime in here.
Actually I am glad you brought that up because that is another question I had. What does "DA" stand for? Because I hear DA lenses and FA lenses. What's the difference? Are there more than those 2 kinds?
02-25-2010, 03:49 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by KxBlaze Quote
Actually I am glad you brought that up because that is another question I had. What does "DA" stand for? Because I hear DA lenses and FA lenses. What's the difference? Are there more than those 2 kinds?
This link will get you started:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/
02-26-2010, 07:29 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by KxBlaze Quote
What does "DA" stand for? Because I hear DA lenses and FA lenses. What's the difference? Are there more than those 2 kinds?
DA lenses are Auto Focus lenses made for Digital cameras.

DFA are kind of the same but apparently they work with Pentax automatic film SLR cameras also.

F and FA lenses are very similar, both were made for Film with Auto Focus.

FA-J lenses are apparently cheaper version of the FA with plastic bodies and probably not as high-quality optics as the FA lenses.

Then there are the original "K" lenses, followed by the second generation of "M" lenses. Both these are Manual Focus lenses with no aperture control from the camera body.

"A" lenses were the 3rd generation of Manual lenses but their aperture can be managed from the camera.

And there are a few elite groups of lenses such as A*, DA Limited, DA* (weather sealing and built-in motor), F* and FA*, FA Limited lenses. These brands all have better quality build/optics or both.

That's all in a nutshell.
02-26-2010, 10:28 AM   #13
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Thanks everyone, for your input. Lots to consider in making a choice!
02-26-2010, 10:36 AM   #14
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The F in a lens designation stands for FULL-FRAME. These are made for Pentax film cameras. They work on current digital cameras, and should work on any future Pentax full-frame digital camera bodies also.

Full-Frame [FF] refers to a standard 35mm/135 film frame, which is 24x36mm. Some film cameras were Half-Frame [HF], or 24x18mm, which is about the size of an APS-C sensor in modern dSLRs (digital Single-Lens Reflex cameras).

The A in FA or DFA stands for AUTOFOCUS. These will work in any digital (all of'em) or film camera that supports autofocus, or they can be manually focused on older film camera bodies.

In FA-J, the J stands for JUNK. Hah. They have no aperture ring, so you can only set the f-stop from a camera control. Thus they can only be used on automatic cameras.

The D in a lens designation stands for DIGITAL. All Pentax dSLRs (so far) use APS-C sensors. The image produced by most DA lenses will not fill a full 35mm frame, nor a Full-Frame sensor. The corners of the picture are cut off. This is called vignetting. Most DA lenses can thus only be used on current dSLRs, not on film cameras nor any future Pentax full-frame digital camera bodies.

I think the other designations have already been adequately described.
02-26-2010, 10:51 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
The F in a lens designation stands for FULL-FRAME. These are made for Pentax film cameras. They work on current digital cameras, and should work on any future Pentax full-frame digital camera bodies also.

Full-Frame [FF] refers to a standard 35mm/135 film frame, which is 24x36mm. Some film cameras were Half-Frame [HF], or 24x18mm, which is about the size of an APS-C sensor in modern dSLRs (digital Single-Lens Reflex cameras).

The A in FA or DFA stands for AUTOFOCUS. These will work in any digital (all of'em) or film camera that supports autofocus, or they can be manually focused on older film camera bodies.

In FA-J, the J stands for JUNK. Hah. They have no aperture ring, so you can only set the f-stop from a camera control. Thus they can only be used on automatic cameras.

The D in a lens designation stands for DIGITAL. All Pentax dSLRs (so far) use APS-C sensors. The image produced by most DA lenses will not fill a full 35mm frame, nor a Full-Frame sensor. The corners of the picture are cut off. This is called vignetting. Most DA lenses can thus only be used on current dSLRs, not on film cameras nor any future Pentax full-frame digital camera bodies.
A useful if not entirely historically accurate assessment. Eg, "F" doesn't *really* stand for full frame, but that's the most relevant way to think about it these days - except that K, M, and A lens are *also* full frame. More problematic, "A" definitely does *not* mean autofocus - it means auto *exposure*.

Here's my quick summary:

A or F anywhere in the name = auto exposure
F or D anywhere in the name = auto focus
D but no F anywhere in the name = APS-C only (all others full frame or ASP-C)
no A, F, or D anywhere in the name = fully manual
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