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06-22-2015, 08:12 AM   #1
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The right lens...

Picked up my new K5iis the other day, with a 35mm DA lens. Got the last one from Jessops for £345... not bad for a camera that retailed at over £1000 a couple of years ago!

Anyway, zoom lenses...

I'm thinking of a 55-300mm rather than the 18-135mm because that's a duplication of the 35mm focal length.

Am I correct in this assumption?

Or am I missing a trick?

I will, when I can afford to, get a quality wide prime. I've a 28mm Pentax-A I can use, as well as a 50mm Pentax-M prime.

Thoughts anyone? Thanks in anticipation!

06-22-2015, 08:26 AM   #2
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A lot depends on what you are missing in your photography. If you're finding yourself too short then the 55-300 will bring you closer. If you're too tight then a wider focal length is needed. In any case you'll likely duplicate your prime lenses with a zoom so I wouldn't let that sway you. Just my 2d.
06-22-2015, 08:31 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by wtlwdwgn Quote
A lot depends on what you are missing in your photography. If you're finding yourself too short then the 55-300 will bring you closer. If you're too tight then a wider focal length is needed. In any case you'll likely duplicate your prime lenses with a zoom so I wouldn't let that sway you. Just my 2d.
thanks. Am trying to cover all the bases I think!
06-22-2015, 09:30 AM   #4
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Personally, I'd go 18-135. I suppose the extra reach might be useful if your planning on doing a lot of wildlife, but I'd sure miss the wider focal ranges more than the extra reach! I wouldn't worry about duplication of the focal range... The Da35 will smoke the 18-135 in picture quality, wider aperture, small size and "shooting discipline." The 18-135 will be really useful for weather sealing, flexibility and silent focusing.

06-22-2015, 09:38 AM   #5
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Yeah, it really comes down to what you shoot, as they are both good value for the money, and will give quality results. The way I found out was by keeping track of the focal lengths I was using. It took me a little while, but outside of trips to the zoo, I found that I never really used anything over 100mm, and the 100mm was mainly used for macro distances on tougher to reach flowers. The good news is that you can find a lot of people selling the DA L 55-300 for $150 or less. I just bought one from the Marketplace for $125. It's in great shape, and I used it for a few shots this weekend, and was pretty happy with it. The 18-135 is a pretty attractive lens to me, as well, but it's more expensive, so not as easy to take a flyer on.
06-22-2015, 09:41 AM - 1 Like   #6
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When I started with photography about 30 years ago I bought a camera with the standard 50mm kit lens. I was very much into railroads, stations and trains. On the first holiday, I quickly found that 50mm was not wide enough and for the holiday a year later I bought a 28mm and was happy. Next came a flash for indoors use. A few years later I felt the need for something longer and bought a 70-210. And many years later I got a bit tired of swapping between 28 and 50 for indoors and added a 35-105.

Based on that, I suggest that you shoot for a while with what you have and determine and ptioritise your needs.
06-22-2015, 09:50 AM   #7
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Choosing the right lens can be tricky but it is very important IMO. Especially, at an early stage, you must think in terms of your lens road map. What do you want to shoot? what will you need in the future?

On a very personal note, my first three lenses were (in that order) the DA18-250mm, Voigtlander 58mm f1.4 and FA31mm f1.8 Ltd. As you can see, the focal lengths overlap, ... but these lenses are all very different.

It makes a lot of sense to start with an all-round zoom lens: the DA18-135mm WR is a great choice; the older DA18-250mm is a viable alternative IMHO. Such a lens will serve you well and for a long time. (I still use my DA18-250mm a lot, although I have also the DA18-135mm now.)

Since you have already the DA35mm, I would suggest to invest next in an all-around zoom, and later in a fast fifty (DA50mm f1.8, or FA50mm f1.4).

Hope that the comment may help.
06-22-2015, 09:51 AM   #8
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Great catch! What's the "right lens" depends on how you think and how you shoot.

I think of zooms as something to conveniently cover a large range of focal lengths, which is what I have the 18-135 and 55-300 for. And which they are really good for. I use them mostly on holiday or situations where I'm not master of my timetable.

Primes I have for more special needs, such as for low light photography, very narrow depth of field, macro, etc. And for small, lightweight lenses with great quality They are what I prefer to use when I can, just because I enjoy using them more.

I suppose it's the nerd in me preferring the slower, more technical use of primes. My wife has no interest in fussing over what lens to use - she just want to get good pictures. Which she does very well with zooms.

There's no right or wrong. Just preference.

And yeah, shoot for a while with what you've got. After a while you'll know what lenses you "need" - if any at all.

06-22-2015, 10:14 AM   #9
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Congratulations on the great new camera and lens! Take some time to play with those, and you will soon figure out which FoV you want next.
QuoteOriginally posted by savoche Quote
Great catch! What's the "right lens" depends on how you think and how you shoot.
This is good advice. Some people are natural with wide angles, others prefer telephoto, and some like in-between. The 18-135mm covers a little bit of each, which is why its a good first choice.

The 18-135mm is very different from the DA 35mm. The DA 35mm has faster aperture (better for low light) and really great image quality. The 18-135mm doesn't have quite the same image quality (in terms of sharpness, detail, colours), but it is far from "bad", and it has a very useful zoom range plus it is WR (keep in mind the camera and lens both need to be WR if you want to use them in poor weather). The 18-135mm is a great zoom lens to start, so I wouldn't ignore it just because of some primes you might have.The prime still has its place! But again, all of this depends on your needs and wants. I you want telephoto, photographing animals and birds, then the DA 55-300mm might be a better choice!
06-22-2015, 10:21 AM   #10
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My current preference wold be SImga 8-16/ Pentax 10-17- DA 18-135, D FA 150-450 and the rest primes for special occasions. I want my primes fast and sharp. Currently I have the 21 ltd. DA 35, 40XS, FA 50, Sigma 70 and Tamron 90, and I'd like to add the 31 ltd, 15 ltd and 77 ltd.

So. from my perspective, from where you are, my next choice would be the 18-135. It would fill the biggest gaps in your line up. the 55-300 has only a little more than 2x as much range.

Starting from 8.. there are 8-16, 16-31, 31-50, 50-70, 70-100, 100-150, 150-200, 200-300, 300-500. 9 gaps you practically want to fill. The 18-135 covers 5 of them. At least that's the way I'd look at it. The 55-300 covers 4. It would be my next choice. After that, unless you want to go UWA as well, I'd be looking at the 15, 21 ltd, your 35, a 50, a 70 and a 90 to 135 with one of the longer primes a macro. If you have a 55-300 I'd consider either the or both of the DA 200 or DA 300 as well.

There, your whole life is planned for you. Start with the 18-135. If you're lucky, you'll be able to stop there.

Last edited by normhead; 06-22-2015 at 11:11 AM.
06-22-2015, 11:08 AM   #11
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The 18-135 is a nice walkaround lens, and features a very quick focus motor. It's a pleasure to use, and weather resistant.

Use it to see what you want to do better, or discover what you can't do. Take your time.

Also remember the used market. The Marketplace here is a great resource. You can buy used lenses and if you take care of them you can sell them for the same price if they don't serve your needs.
06-22-2015, 12:11 PM   #12
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Take look at the 18-135 thread to see what a versatile lens it is:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/179869-da-1...at-can-do.html
06-22-2015, 01:45 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
My current preference wold be SImga 8-16/ Pentax 10-17- DA 18-135, D FA 150-450 and the rest primes for special occasions. I want my primes fast and sharp. Currently I have the 21 ltd. DA 35, 40XS, FA 50, Sigma 70 and Tamron 90, and I'd like to add the 31 ltd, 15 ltd and 77 ltd.

So. from my perspective, from where you are, my next choice would be the 18-135. It would fill the biggest gaps in your line up. the 55-300 has only a little more than 2x as much range.

Starting from 8.. there are 8-16, 16-31, 31-50, 50-70, 70-100, 100-150, 150-200, 200-300, 300-500. 9 gaps you practically want to fill. The 18-135 covers 5 of them. At least that's the way I'd look at it. The 55-300 covers 4. It would be my next choice. After that, unless you want to go UWA as well, I'd be looking at the 15, 21 ltd, your 35, a 50, a 70 and a 90 to 135 with one of the longer primes a macro. If you have a 55-300 I'd consider either the or both of the DA 200 or DA 300 as well.

There, your whole life is planned for you. Start with the 18-135. If you're lucky, you'll be able to stop there.
And I am much in your debt for the life planning! Seriously though, I appreciate you taking the time to give me the detail. I think you're onto something with the 18-135...
06-22-2015, 01:49 PM   #14
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I think you could spend some time with the 28mm, 35mm and 50mm before you buy anything. Then consider:

. If your most used lens is the 50mm and you wish you had something longer, get a tele.
. If your most used lens ends up being the 28mm and you wish for something wider, get a wide angle.
. If you find your lenses give you what you need, but you are annoyed that you have to change lenses all the time, get yourself a zoom.
. If you find yourself using the 35mm all the time and zooming with your feet and getting great results, use the money going to places where you can take beautiful pictures, and take the 28mm and 50mm just in case
06-22-2015, 01:52 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by timb64 Quote
Take look at the 18-135 thread to see what a versatile lens it is:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/179869-da-1...at-can-do.html
I've just had a quick look and I think there are some amazing shots there- Norm's flowers were particularly sharp. Looks like the 18-135 is going to the one that'll arrive at my door in the next few days.
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