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08-04-2011, 11:20 PM   #1
Caro
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Pentax K-r with DA twin lens kit or Sigma?

Hello! I'm new to the SLR world and wondering if I could please ask advice.

I'm about to purchase a Pentax K-r but not sure which lens to purchase. I have seen one offer for the DA twin lens kit (18-55 & 55-300) or a Sigma 18-200. Given the price difference is marginal, which may be the better option? I have read that it's best to chose first party lenses if possible but have also read that the Sigma is a better option.

Many thanks.

08-04-2011, 11:57 PM   #2
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I hate kits with 18-55 and 50-200 or 55-300 because I do much shooting in the 35-70 range and swapping lenses around 50mm is a royal pain. (I have such a lens pair and don't use them together.) IMHO the best wide-range solution is the DA18-250 or its Tamron twin; those are no longer produced, but are still widely available on the used market. You should do well with the Sigma 18-200 superzoom, to get acquainted with the wonderful world of dSLRs.

My story: My first kit with my K20D just 3+ years ago included DA10-17 fisheye, DA18-250 superzoom, and FA50/1.4 Fast Fifty. Over 200 lenses later (and another 100+ sold to help pay for the keepers) those are still among my most-used, although I've supplemented the fisheye with the Tamron 10-24 ultrawide. An ultrawide, a superzoom, and an ultrafast, cover an awful lot of needs. Throw in a Raynox DCR-150 or -250 for near-macro shooting, and there's a good basic kit. Oh yeah, most of my lenses are cheap old manual primes. I like cheap!
08-05-2011, 12:09 AM   #3
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I believe that the general rule is the broader the focal range, the less sharp the lens is. I got the 18-55mm and 55-300mm kit with my K-x and have been very satisfied with it. Swapping lenses is something that I've had to deal with, but I do believe it's worth it in the long run.

In terms of manufacturer, I think that Sigma is a very reliable company, with many lenses on par with or even superior to Pentax lenses. In this case, manufacturer shouldn't affect your decision.

Also, be sure to check out the lens reviews for the lenses you mentioned in the PentaxForums database:
Sigma 18-200mm
DA-L 18-55mm
DA-L 55-300mm
08-05-2011, 03:25 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Hi Caro

From what I am following in the forum from my day 1 here, I would suggest you to go with kit lens DA 55-300 and for the lower end of the zoom you can go for either Tamron 17-50 f2.8 or Tamron 28-75 f2.8 (the latter has a big fan following).

If you prefer to own a few primes instead in the mix, you can drag in DA35 f2.4 and but then if you need a wide angle as well - in primes they are expensive. So it really depends on how much of work you will do in Landscape or portraiture.


Last edited by sany; 08-05-2011 at 04:17 AM.
08-05-2011, 06:03 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by First Poster Quote
Hello! I'm new to the SLR world
If you are NEW to the SLR world, the sigma 18-200 is a pretty nice lens. When I bought my first dSLR, the sigma 18-200 was my first lens. I chose it over the kit lenses so you are talking to somone with experience in this situation.


However you will outgrow the lens after a while.

Here are some sample pics from the Lens Sample Photo Archive in this forum:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/lens-sample-photo-archive/153333-sigma-18...3-5-6-3-a.html

If you don't mind changing lenses, the kit lens with the 55-300 is usually recommended. However it is a real pain to change lenses, and you will get dust in the sensor etc. You are also more likely to learn to shoot at different focal lengths if you dont have to change lenses. Most people with kit lenses wind up with one of the lenses on and rarely change due to the hassle of it.

Another option is to get the Tamron 28-75f2.8 lens. This is not as wide or as long as the sigma lens. However it is a lens you can also use in low light and also to shoot moving objects since it is what people call a 'fast' lens. However if you like to zoom in to a long distance or like really wide angle shots this will not do. Most people though stick to the middle range and the 28-75 lens is sharp. But it is heavier than kit lenses.
08-05-2011, 06:28 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by sany Quote
From what I am following in the forum from my day 1 here, I would suggest you to go with kit lens DA 55-300 and for the lower end of the zoom you can go for either Tamron 17-50 f2.8 or Tamron 28-75 f2.8 (the latter has a big fan following). If you prefer to own a few primes instead in the mix, you can drag in DA35 f2.4 and but then if you need a wide angle as well - in primes they are expensive. So it really depends on how much of work you will do in Landscape or portraiture.
Exactly.

I don't understand why would changing lenses be a royal pain, that is why we have DSLR's so we can change lenses and get breathtaking results .

One thing about the Sigma is that is a very dark lens. The 18-55 kit is much brighter, even though they both are f3.5 at the wide end (my own experience). Indoors the sigma gave me trouble with focusing sometimes. I would suggest the 18-55 & 55-300 kit, and figure out your shooting preferences as far as focal length, portraits or landscapes, etc and then you can go for a better, brighter glass as it was mentioned before, choosing the one that matches your shooting habit the best.

The Tamron 28-75 is an awesome lens and it does well indoors, portraits and pretty good macros too. The 17-50 does well for landscapes and also indoors.

Welcome to the DSLR world, and before you know it, you'll join the LBA club .
08-05-2011, 06:37 AM   #7
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I'll second Psychdoc's comments, the Sigma 18-200 is a better option than two kit lenses,
I purchased one 6 month's after I got my K200d and it's still the lens I go for when I wan't to travel light
08-05-2011, 06:54 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by agsy Quote
I don't understand why would changing lenses be a royal pain
Not so much changing the lenses as it was that I got tired of using the blower to get rid of dust. In any case some people seem to have no issues with dust. I remember having this persistent dust particle that even the local camera shop could not get rid of. They finally said that it was on the focusing screen or something and not on the sensor and that I should just live with it since it would not show in the picture. However you could see it as a large particle in the view finder and it drove me crazy...

Although for whatever reason, the dust redcution mechansism on the K5 seems to be much better. Or maybe I am being careful with the newer camera...

08-05-2011, 07:10 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by psychdoc Quote
However you could see it as a large particle in the view finder and it drove me crazy...
Yeah, I hear you on that. I gave up on cleaning my focusing screen (did it once very carefully with warm soap water but it did not get rid of all particles) so I learned to live with the dusty viewfinder...
08-05-2011, 08:50 AM   #10
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Good Morning,

In that your new to SLR, you really do not have a lot of experience to base you selection on. Both options are very good, however for different reasons. Most of these reasons have been posted here. Here are a few items that may help knit some of the remarks together.
  • You are looking at zoom lenses. The rule of thumb for zooms is a zoom range of 4x. That is the ratio from the bottom to the top (for the 18-55 its 55/18=3.05). The reason for 4x, it that its a usable range for the photographer, and the optical design is not too radical or manufacturing too difficult. So the kit lenses fall into this range.
  • The wider range "all in one" lenses, like the 18-200 (zoom range of 200/18 =11) is that you have one lens that does just about everything, pretty well. It is a jack of all trades, but a master at none of them. It does have good quality and servers a very good purpose - or it would not sell. However, other than covering a wide focal length range, it is not going to be the best at any one particular use - nor are there any expectations of that. You can look here on the Forum and find great images from the lens.
  • Size - The kit lenses - either set be it with the 50-200 or the 55-300, are pretty small, however you are carrying around an additional lens (usually). The kit lenses are pretty small and light. In comparison the 18-200 is a tad larger, its always on the camera, however you are not carrying around an extra lens. Its a trade off of how you want to operate.
You are going to find that there are very few pure absolutes in photography - its always a compromise on something. What it comes down to is what is important to you. If small and light is the most appealing feature - the Pentax set. If one lens - that it - philosophy is a strong point, then Sigma. If image quality is high on the list, I would probably lean towards Pentax because of the zoom range, however - I would really believe, that you would have a very difficult time of detecting a real difference between the two options for quite a while (if you had access to both the Pentax and Sigma).

The solution that appeals to you - is the best solution for you.... Also, don't second guess yourself, just go out and shoot.

08-05-2011, 09:04 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
You are going to find that there are very few pure absolutes in photography - its always a compromise on something.
Like every photograph, every choice of camera and lens is a problem to be solved. Our solutions are based on our expectations and some damn realities (budget, availability, suitability). Working through the compromises helps us create better photos: Every limitation and trade-off is a challenge, a contest. If great photography was easy, everyone would be doing it! And some toggers *do* manage to make a living (or at least attain happiness) with just a kit lens and a big flash. There's always another solution...

Last edited by RioRico; 08-05-2011 at 09:10 AM.
08-05-2011, 10:00 AM   #12
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I would go with the 55-300 option. 200mm just isn't enough when you want reach. It is only slightly less convenient than having a catch all get everything type of lens.

08-05-2011, 03:29 PM   #13
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I would suggest the twin kit lens because the IQ on those lenses is a bit better than on the 18-200, but one argument for the 18-200 would be the convenience of being able to keep one lens on the camera all day long. Personally for me I am willing to change lenses a few times if it means I get better IQ. So do you want a bit better IQ or the convenience?
08-05-2011, 04:29 PM   #14
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And I'll repeat my argument that the 18-55 plus 50-200 or 55-300 kit is disruptive, breaking up a vital focal range. 17-70 (or thereabouts) would be tolerable;18-105 is better; 18-135, even better. But I've used an 18-55 plus 60-300 pairing and for me, it sucks. There's just too much happening out there that's best seen in the 17-70 range, which is luscious territory for 'scapes, portraits, groups, you name it.

And more reach is sometimes vital. Some stuff can only be captured with a 200-250-300mm lens. A non-disruptive pairing might be the DA17-70 plus DA55-300. But that's expensive. That's why I love the DA18-250, the whole range all in one swoop. If I'm somewhere new, I'll get context shots at 18mm, grab details at 250mm, and do whatever I want in between. Then the next day I'll be back with a fast 28 or 50 or 85 or 135, whatever seems appropriate for what that place has to offer.

IMHO such a superzoom is the best way to get a feel for the kinds of photography that grab our interest. I vote for the Sigma 18-200.
08-05-2011, 08:54 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by psychdoc Quote
....However you will outgrow the lens after a while.....
Do you mean here, that it will become redundant with a new zoom lens that will acquire in the future, that you will not be satisfied with the reach? is that what you mean by outgrowing here? - I am just trying to understand as even I am trying to make up my mind for a zoom (super zoom like RioRicco suggests or 55-300)
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