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04-21-2013, 10:06 AM   #1
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Recommendation wanted on 1st lens for K-5IIs

I finally have the money put together to get a new camera. I was tempted by the new Nikon D7100 with 16-85 mm lens, but ultimately decided the Pentax K-5IIs was a better fit for me. What would you recommend for a high quality lens for general use? I am looking for something similar to the 16-85mm Nikon lens, but could perhaps buy two different Pentax lenses to cover the range if the performance was better that way.

04-21-2013, 10:20 AM   #2
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Currently there isn't a comparable all-in-one lens that I know of, but according to Pentax's lens roadmap, a 16-80mm (ish) premium lens is on the horizon. It has yet to be announced.

The Sigma 17-50mm + Pentax 50-135mm F2.8 would have you covered pretty well, I'd say. That's the combo that I'd recommend.

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04-21-2013, 10:57 AM   #3
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The DA 17-70 would probably be the closest to the Nikkor 16-85.
04-21-2013, 11:09 AM   #4
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Having owned a Nikon D300 along with the 16-85 VR lens, I would suggest the Sigma 17-50 f2.8. It is of course not quite the same coverage but you get a constant f2.8 as opposed to the Nikon's variable aperture and the Sigma 17-50 f2.8 is VERY SHARP as is the Nikon 16-85 VR. You could compliment it with Pentax 50-135 f2.8 (really wonderful rendering) or he Sigma 50-150 f2.8 which lucky for you can be found right now on the Pentax Marketplace.

04-21-2013, 11:10 AM   #5
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In my opinion, you need a top quality lens to take full advantage of the K5ii/s sensor. I would think, myself, that a prime lens would be best. One of the Limiteds or DA* depending on what you prefer to shoot.

I personally would stick my DA 12-24 on the camera first when I win the lottery and buy a K5ii/s.
04-21-2013, 09:17 PM   #6
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Hi Kberg, A few quick comments:

Although there may not be a single-lens competitor to your target Nikkor… as others have already mentioned, or yet will, there are some very good (kit level) to excellent (beyond kit level) lens offerings in Pentax mount.

Give some thoughtful consideration to where your preferred priorities are… e.g. Construction, cost, focal length range, F-stops, handling, physical dimensions, rendering qualities, resolution, weather sealing, weight. And of course your personal preference by order of priority in regards to subject matter.

Take the opportunity to view some images taken by the lens prospects that most catch your attention by using google and ‘flickr’ or ‘pixel peeper’.

I purchased the Sigma DC 17-50mm F2.8 EX HSM purely based on specifications. At the time there were no quality images to be found on the web (this worried me a bit). However, consistent with the results from ‘’ this lens delivers higher resolution than both my Pentax FA 43mm F1.9 Limited (prime) and my DA* 50-135mm F2.8 SDM. Technically its rendering is very true to what the eye sees. Its drawback is that it is not weather sealed, the zoom ring rotates the opposite direction of Pentax/Nikon, and the short focus rotation makes manual focus difficult (all pretty minor with exception of sealing).

I purchased the FA 43mm Limited and the DA* 50-135mm based on their very consistent qualities in image rendering that I observed across the web. Although neither of these lenses quite have the resolution of the Sigma- I wouldn’t trade them for anything and I will make my next purchase based on rendering qualities as well.

The DA* 16-50mm F2.8 SDM is weather sealed. Its overall resolution performance is variable (so I didn’t dare settle on it for my landscape or wide-angle work). Although I’ll admit that I’d love to have its weather sealing. Also noteworthy is that the fact that in spite of its weaknesses it continually delivers excellent images- especially with portraiture (my personal observations).

I believe that the above two paragraphs define Pentax lenses (beyond kit) quite well.

In regards to general usage lenses… check out a feature article here comparing the ‘Sigma 17-70mm’ vs Tamron 17-50mm vs Pentax DA 17-70mm lenses’. The Tamron is reported by many to perform higher than the Sigma 17-70mm (making it near the Sigma DC 17-50mm F2.8 EX HSM) at a more budget price.
04-22-2013, 02:23 AM   #7
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See my signature for the types of lenses I use for the K5/K30. The DA18-135 is good for a walkabout lens while the DA*16-50 is a good all rounder too, including as a portrait lens.

I use the DA18-135 as my holiday lens with the K5 as I just got the K30 only last week.
04-22-2013, 05:42 AM   #8
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Sigma 17-50 f2.8 EX HSM and Sigma 70-200 hsm variant. Everything else is suffering from neglect sadly!

04-22-2013, 05:52 AM   #9
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Lenstip / Photozone both rate the DA17-70mm F4 very highly. The 18-135mm received a notoriously bad review on Photozone - I'm sure you've read it already. I've owned the 18-135 and found it unremarkable - for price / performance I reckon you'd be better off with the Sigma 18-250mm HSM. I currently own the 17-70mm and it performs well at all focal lengths and apertures. The only criticism I'd offer is size and weight, but even that's quite manageable. I've also owned one of the Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 lenses (the second model) and it was perfectly decent. The latest model looks as though it's lost a lot of weight which would remove my principal criticism of the earlier model (together with bad vignetting / CA at the wide end - that stated F2.8 max aperture wasn't really very useful).

If you're in the market for an F2.8 zoom, I've owned both the Tamron 17-50mm and the Pentax DA* 16-50mm. I liked the Tamron very much but sold it to help fund the more expensive Pentax, which I didn't like at all (too big, unwieldy and unbalanced).

One piece of advice: don't get too hung up on getting a weather resistant lens (which led me to the DA* lens that I didn't enjoy). They tend to be very expensive indeed. If needs be, keep the 18-55 WR as an emergency "pissing-down-with-rain" backup.

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