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03-11-2010, 08:06 AM   #1
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Looking for some experienced advice :)

Hey guys! First i'll mention what i have at the moment.

- Pentax k-x
- Pentax DA L 18-55mm
- Pentax DA 55-300mm

I got the k-x and 18-55mm a few months back and the DA 55-300mm off a friend. My 55-300mm is quite an impressive lens and i am pretty happy with it for what i use it for (birds, add a raynox 150 as a macro attachment etc).

I will be making my first big investment in lenses and would like to hear some advice . When i use my 18-55mm lens i seem to almost always be shooting at either the long or short end.

I was thinking about the tamron 17-50mm.

OR

Going for primes.

I would really love the image quality and would think maybe a 43mm or 40mm limited as my first real lens purchase, followed by a 15mm/21mm limited for landscape.

Is going primes satisfying/necessary for great image quality? ? or will the tamron give me the image quality i desire. thanks!

03-11-2010, 08:14 AM   #2
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Primes are NOT required for great image quality. However, I prefer primes. I am not sure why really, but I like them....well, maybe because they make me think more about composition.

The Tamron 17-50mm is a great choice...especially if you cannot afford Pentax primes. But you seem to know what focal lengths you like to use so primes may be a good choice. You can always buy them and re-sell them if you don't like them. Every lens you mentioned is a good lens.
03-11-2010, 10:07 AM   #3
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repeat this mantra

Ask yourself: Where do I want to go? What will get me there? Will I be happy with what I can afford?

Look here Pentax Lens Review and Specification Database - Main Index for detailed info on many lenses. If you just ask, Hey Guys What Should I Buy? you'll get the opinions of whomever wants to answer. We all have our preferences. Ours may not match yours. Our preferences reflect our financial and emotional investment in what we each have. It's risky to base a solid analysis on the emotions of others.

Primes or zooms? I like primes. I carry zooms. I use both. New or old? New have AF, old can be used with Catch-In-Focus for a sort of slow manual AF. I use both. Pentax or third-party? Read the lens database user reviews. I use both. Long or short? Same thing. It all depends on what you want to shoot, on where you're going. Where are you going? What will get you there? What will make you happy?
03-11-2010, 12:10 PM   #4
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This thread repeats a good deal, so my answer does as well.

I say slow down. Take lots of photos with the lenses you have. They cover wide to tele very well. Do not treat the kit lens as though it might spread leprosy if you don't get rid of it. It is capable of excellent, sharp photos, especially a few stops down from wide open.

You've noticed that you are taking photos at the extremes of the 18-55, which was my experience as well, but it also tends to be true of every zoom I've owned when I first buy them. That means to me that you may not have settled down to photography rather than equipment envy. It was true for me. I went out and replaced the kit with two successive zooms which were better lenses, but did not really make that much difference in my results. Also, see whether you are using the lens wide open a lot. When you get a really good idea of the focal lengths and apertures you use most, then look for an addition to your equipment.

Based upon my own shooting habits, my first addition to the K-x kit would be the DA40 ltd. It adds sharpness and speed to your zooms, and is at a focal length that is a good place to start. The best thing about it is that it adds something neither of your zooms can add: an addictive compact package. The K-x with a DA40 is almost the size of an overstuffed point and shoot, but with outstanding quality.

Your mileage may vary, and you should find out for yourself what you really need.

03-11-2010, 12:27 PM   #5
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clipsed,

I think your present two lenses are an excellent choice covering, as they do, 18 t0 300 mm with no overlap.

There is little difference between the 18 - 55 mm and the 17 - 50 mm. Almost all of their focal ranges are identical.

Why not go for a 12 - 24 mm or even wider or else something longer than your 300 mm.

Mickey

Last edited by mickeyobe; 03-11-2010 at 12:36 PM.
03-11-2010, 03:10 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by clipsed Quote
I would really love the image quality and would think maybe a 43mm or 40mm limited as my first real lens purchase, followed by a 15mm/21mm limited for landscape.

Is going primes satisfying/necessary for great image quality? ? or will the tamron give me the image quality i desire. thanks!
I recommend a really fast prime for portraits, low light capability, improved bokeh and lower distortion. My first choice would be a fast fifty (DA*55, FA 50mm 1.4 or 1.7). The FA 50mm 1.4 doesn't get as much love as it deserves lately. According to Photozone, it's sharper at every common aperture than the DA 40mm and of course two stops faster. In addition, it is classic portrait length on APS-C and the DA 40 and 43 Ltd are a bit short.

After that, a 100mm macro, DA 14mm or 15mm Ltd for the wide shots and a cheap and dirty 28mm manual focus just for a bit of fun.

I'm not a big fan of the DA 21mm. I can see the allure and have considered getting one several times, but it's not fast, not that sharp and has high distortion for a prime. Most standard zooms cover the 21mm focal length pretty well. I'm mostly interested in primes that do what zooms can't.
03-11-2010, 03:27 PM   #7
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I have a manual focus 50mm 1.4, and the FA50/2.8 macro. Both are super performers. However, I just don't seem to use them or the Cosina 55/1.2 very much on a digital body. I still use them a lot on film. 70 or 77 mm seem to be my portrait length for APS-C. (Maybe I'm shy) I also use the DA21 a lot and like it.

Everyone is different. That is why I strongly suggest that rather than follow what one of us says, one use the zooms for an extended period to see what focal lengths one really uses. After I got over the new equipment rush and started using my first two zooms as tools, I looked over a few thousand shots and found that 18, 21, 35-40, 70-80 and 200 showed up as repeats in the EXIF panel, and I bought primes accordingly.
03-11-2010, 03:49 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
repeat this mantra
Do you have that reply saved in a text file or something? Seems like you use it a lot.

(but I agree with it wholeheartedly)

03-11-2010, 06:45 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by mickeyobe Quote
clipsed,

I think your present two lenses are an excellent choice covering, as they do, 18 t0 300 mm with no overlap.

There is little difference between the 18 - 55 mm and the 17 - 50 mm. Almost all of their focal ranges are identical.

Why not go for a 12 - 24 mm or even wider or else something longer than your 300 mm.

Mickey
+1... the difference between 18-55 and tamron 17-50 may not be great enough to justify the price tag. I got myself a DA prime because it's smaller, its easy to walk around town with, and it looks nice on the camera.

a tamron 10-24 is versatile and cheap enough to take on a tour if you hang with a group. great for outdoor and dinner table shots.
03-11-2010, 06:57 PM   #10
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If you find yourself frequently using the extremes of your kit lens' focal range (where it admittedly does not do terribly well), perhaps you should consider something with a little more range instead. The 17-70mm F4 lens would be a good choice, and would give you better results than the kit lens in most cases.
03-11-2010, 08:41 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by GoremanX Quote
Do you have that reply saved in a text file or something? Seems like you use it a lot.

(but I agree with it wholeheartedly)
Naw, I just have it memorized by now. It's simplified, uncluttered, and easily tailored for any specific question. Go with the flow...
03-12-2010, 04:15 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by GoremanX Quote
If you find yourself frequently using the extremes of your kit lens' focal range (where it admittedly does not do terribly well), perhaps you should consider something with a little more range instead. The 17-70mm F4 lens would be a good choice, and would give you better results than the kit lens in most cases.
I thought so, but when I got the 17-70, I just used 70 all the time--until the "new" wore off the lens. I find I mostly use the extremes on the 55-300 right now. It is the zoom I've acquired most recently. I think we (or at least I) just tend to use the extremes more when we first get it because we haven't had that capability before.
03-12-2010, 09:07 PM   #13
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It's nice to have a set of standard primes 28mm, 50mm & 135mm. Step away from these focal lengths and they begin to get pricy. Still, It's hard to go back to zooms when you get used to the spped and sharpness of primes.

That's just my opinion, they would compliment your line up.
04-08-2010, 12:33 PM   #14
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Here's my take on it - of course you don't need primes for great images... I use them because:

1) compact size
2) fast
3) fits my shooting style

To expand on #3: when I go out I'm typically very specific. I may go out to shoot landscape, in which case I'll take my 15mm. When I need to close in on something, I use my 70mm.

On other plus is that I can "see" through my lens, by that I mean I spot a beautiful scene and I know almost exactly how my prime will cover what I see, since I use the same focal length all the time.
04-08-2010, 03:28 PM   #15
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I agree with everyone else. You have two good zooms so get a lens that adds something new... faster apertures.

Get a prime and change your life!
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