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04-17-2010, 10:50 AM   #1
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Any recommendations for Std Zoom Lens?

I'm about to purchase a K-7 and wondered if anyone has any recommendations for a std zoom lens in the range of 17/18mm-70/75mm?

I already have an old Pentax 28-70 F4 AL FA which gives pretty good results but was considering something new that would stretch a little wider.

I also have a Takumar 70-210 F to cover telephoto so I could go a little shorter on the telephoto end with a 18-55 WR. But I'm thinking this kit lens, although good, would be going backwards regarding IQ compared to my old 28-70 FA.

I'm open to consider 3rd party offerings from Sigma or Tokina etc, but would prefer to stick with Pentax.

Any recommendations?

Thank you!

04-17-2010, 12:04 PM   #2
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DA* 16-50mm F2.8 is my favorite because it starts from very wide and goes to just beyong normal which covers over 80% of my photography. The quality is awesome and it is fully
weather-sealed.

The next choice would be the DA 17-70mm F4 which also has very good image quality, only longer, one stop less of light and is not weather-sealed. It is also noticeably cheaper, at
least here in Canada.

- Itai
Digital Camera Buying Guide, Photography Articles and Reviews | NeoCamera.com
04-17-2010, 12:08 PM   #3
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I can second the DA*16-50mm, and ... it's weather sealed!
Sharp, fast, quiet, smooth.

A shot with the 16-50, made today:

04-17-2010, 02:58 PM   #4
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An alternative is the Pentax DA18-250mm (or its brother Tamron 18-250mm). An excellent all-rounder lens that is one of the best in its class and range among all brands, and used by a number of professionals. For example, read the stories K-7 and Steve Kroeger climb Aconcagua (6962m) and Pentax DA 18-250mm Lens.

If you want only one lens, the DA18-250mm will be your best option since there is no 18-105mm yet in te Pentax line-up. With the camera, it is relatively small package that fits easily in a small top loader bag and can be carried quite easily, with to need to swap lens.

There are talk that a 18-250mmWR or 18-270mmWR might come out, but I would not wait for rumour. On the other hand, Steve Kroeger's experience showed that the 18-250mm with some TLC (tender, love and care) can do a great job outdoor.

Hope that the comment will help...

04-17-2010, 03:45 PM   #5
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Original Poster
Thanks for the responses. I'll def check out the DA 16-50. I didn't know others beyond the kit lens were weather sealed so that's an added bonus. I'll put that top of my short list so far but the 18-250 also sound interesting and I'll take a closer look.

Thanks again!
04-17-2010, 03:50 PM   #6
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For a good all purpose lens the pentax DA 18-250 is a great lens to start off with. However, know that if you use that lens you will be giving up some image quality for the convience of such a big zoom range. The 16-50 is also a good lens but it is much more expensive then the other lens and you don't get all the range like the other lens as well.
04-17-2010, 03:58 PM   #7
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Telling the story once again: Before I bought my first dSLR two+ years ago, I asked myself: Where do I want to go, what will get me there, what can I afford? What do I want to do that my very capable Sony DSC-V1 can't? Its weaknesses: ultrawide shots, ultralong shots, and better low-light. Olympus had a good ultrawide, but problematic bodies. Pentax had the ultrawide I wanted and the body I could afford. So I bought (and still mostly use) the K20D, DA10-17, DA18-250, FA50/1.4, and AF-360. Many lenses have joined me since then, but those tidily fit most of my needs.

I investigated all the walkarounds and superzooms I could, and chose the DA18-250. It's on the K20D most of the time I'm out. It's been indispensible on long drives across Mexico and Central America. It covers *almost* everything, given enough light. It's just the most flexible tool I have, and it's THERE, just about the perfect street lens IMHO. You can carry better lenses, but more of them, and spend more money, and spend time changing them. I use the DA10-17 in tight places, and the FA40/1.4 in dark places, and the DA18-250 about everywhere else. As mentioned above, it's used by pros. Consider it carefully.

For more evaluations, see the lens review database here.

PS: Shouldn't this be over in the SLR LENS or BEGINNER'S sections?
04-17-2010, 04:14 PM   #8
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I will repeat my normal advice here.

You should consider overall how to cover from 10mm to 200 mm. Longer if wildlife is of interest.

Depending upon importance to you much of this may ultimately need to be at f2.8.

I cover from 28mm. To 200 mm with a sigma
70-200f2.9 and a tamron 28-75 f2.8. I cover the wide end with a sigma 10-20mm lens

you can cut the weight by going with slower lensas and relying on the high iso performance of the newer cameras, or by getting a 50-135 if long range is not Important

but you should consider this range

04-17-2010, 04:17 PM   #9
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My two cents is that my wife would roll her eyes if I packed more that one lens in my pack when I fly. I can hide the 50/1.4 in a pocket, but the 18-250 is my bread and butter. I have serious LBA and have used most lens out there, but I have sold most of them, even some of the more famous LTDs and such, just because for 99% of the photos I take the 18-250 is good enough. the 50/1.4 is great in the near dark, and EVERY other lens I own is just for show, and I don't really need.... but shhh don't tell my wife! (Except when my 10-17 and 500 show up in the mail next week, I need those )
04-17-2010, 05:04 PM   #10
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The 18-250mm is probably a really safe bet too, because it's such a sturdy and great lens for the focal length that it covers. In fact, I think its one of the best superzooms that I've ever seen, and isn't it just a rebadged Tamron? I think that it's kind of funny that Tamron's version of the lens gets so many more bad reviews than the Pentax one, considering that they're the exact same lens other than a little body reshaping and such.

But yeah, go with the 18-250mm, great wide angle quality and telephoto quality for a superzoom style lens.
04-17-2010, 05:25 PM   #11
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It is interesting how these things go in waves: today's recommended lens is forgotten tomorrow. And vice versa. A year ago no-one would have recommended the DA18-250mm if this question came up, and yet today no fewer than four people choose it!

The one and only advantage of the long zoom is that you will not need to change lenses to get this range. But in every other way there are better lenses, lenses that let in more light, have less distortion, more resolution, better handling, are more compact and so on. So how did this end up being today's choice? I have no idea. Solar flares perhaps.

This is not to say that one cannot take great photos with it. One can take great photos with anything. And I have seen professionals using this lens, professionals who lived in hot countries with lots of light at all times. And who never used it down to the 18mm end.

Otherwise, to get better quality, just change lenses for goodness sake. It's not that hard and it is the reason you have an SLR in the first place. To cover the range you asked about, the DA 17-70mm F4 is often recommended. I have instead the older DA16-45mm f/4 which is incredible value for money. This is a constant aperture lens that gives you 2mm more in the wide end than the super-zoom (and that is a significant increase in field of view) while being very low on distortion and good even out to the corners. It covers the entire focal range you need for landscapes, streetscapes, etc.

If you need longer focal lengths just change to the Takumar you have, or consider at some point the DA 55-300mm, which no zoom can touch for good IQ at a reasonable price while covering a wide focal range.

But before even that I'd recommend a fast prime so you can experience what you are missing by using only slow zoom lenses.

QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
You should consider overall how to cover from 10mm to 200 mm. Longer if wildlife is of interest.

Depending upon importance to you much of this may ultimately need to be at f2.8
This is an interesting way to look at it. For me, I am happy covering the range 12-77mm which I can do with two primes and one zoom, all of which fit in pretty well any camera bag. Of course I do own other lenses but they are not necessary. Maybe for one shot in 100 do any need any longer focal length.

But I am not happy unless carrying a lens at least as fast as f/2.

Last edited by rparmar; 04-17-2010 at 05:34 PM.
04-17-2010, 05:29 PM   #12
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One consideration when travelling is that a lens like an 18-250 has a lot of unusable range.

If I am not going to shoot wildlife I leave my 80-200 and tc at home and just take my 10-20 and my 28-75 F2.8.

If I want maedium tele as well I take my SMC135F2.5

these lenses are a lot faster and more useful than an 18-250
04-17-2010, 07:31 PM   #13
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[/argument]

Asking, "What lens (or camera) should I buy?", the responses will be opinions based on each member's experiences and preferences and styles, colored by financial and emotional investments. We will disagree on the merits of specific items, sometimes hotly. There's an old saying that academic debates are so vicious because the stakes are so low. Are we trying to convince the questioner, or justify outselves?

Some see no use for long lenses in urban settings. I like to shoot architectural detail and unreachable locales. Some take only the highest-rated lenses, beyond what I can afford. Some think that 'better' equipment makes them better at the craft. Some deride manipulation. As a former working photographer, I will do whatever it takes to produce a desired image. Some will defend TO THE DEATH their favorite whatever.

The statistical difference between some candidate lenses may be rather less than one standard deviation. Different camera bodies in various price ranges will have different features, qualities, problems. Nothing is perfect. Reality is lumpy. The arguments can be bitter. Question all advice, especially mine.
04-17-2010, 08:02 PM   #14
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I use my zooms out of convenience. They are pretty handy for walkarounds. My zoom range is close to Lowells list but I do have a gap between 55-70. I will have to say that many of my best shots come from my old manual focus primes, even with my crappy, aging eyesight. I usually bring my primes along anyhow, especially the 135/3.5 and 55/2. They aren't that heavy and I almost feel like I'm half dressed if I don't have them along, even if they don't get used. An 18-250 would be nice but I would probably the rest of the stuff along anyhow.
04-17-2010, 08:39 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
It is interesting how these things go in waves: today's recommended lens is forgotten tomorrow. And vice versa. A year ago no-one would have recommended the DA18-250mm if this question came up, and yet today no fewer than four people choose it!

The one and only advantage of the long zoom is that you will not need to change lenses to get this range. But in every other way there are better lenses, lenses that let in more light, have less distortion, more resolution, better handling, are more compact and so on. So how did this end up being today's choice? I have no idea. Solar flares perhaps.

This is not to say that one cannot take great photos with it. One can take great photos with anything. And I have seen professionals using this lens, professionals who lived in hot countries with lots of light at all times. And who never used it down to the 18mm end.

Otherwise, to get better quality, just change lenses for goodness sake. It's not that hard and it is the reason you have an SLR in the first place. To cover the range you asked about, the DA 17-70mm F4 is often recommended. I have instead the older DA16-45mm f/4 which is incredible value for money. This is a constant aperture lens that gives you 2mm more in the wide end than the super-zoom (and that is a significant increase in field of view) while being very low on distortion and good even out to the corners. It covers the entire focal range you need for landscapes, streetscapes, etc.

If you need longer focal lengths just change to the Takumar you have, or consider at some point the DA 55-300mm, which no zoom can touch for good IQ at a reasonable price while covering a wide focal range.

But before even that I'd recommend a fast prime so you can experience what you are missing by using only slow zoom lenses.



This is an interesting way to look at it. For me, I am happy covering the range 12-77mm which I can do with two primes and one zoom, all of which fit in pretty well any camera bag. Of course I do own other lenses but they are not necessary. Maybe for one shot in 100 do any need any longer focal length.

But I am not happy unless carrying a lens at least as fast as f/2.
I've always been told that the 18-250mm was a great lens for it being a superzoom on this forum. I'm not sure who told you it wasn't, but I've always heard great reviews about it. Even check the review database, it has a 7.something, not sure what because I haven't looked at the database lately, but that's a pretty good score for a lens like that one.
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