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10-01-2012, 08:17 PM   #1
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Help needed to chose a new lens

Hi all,
I need some help on choosing a new lens.

Currently I use the Pentax DAL 1:3.5-5.6 18mm-55mm AL which came with the camera. It's pretty good, but I feel I need/want something better.

I have a website that promotes tourism in Tokyo and do everything from trade shows, parks, cemeteries, museums, bridges etc. etc. The shots I've gotten so far with my K-30 and the lens are pretty good, but I feel the pictures need a little more.

I've looked at the lens reviews on the site here, but am still very, very unsure which would be good for what I want.

Due to my budget restraints I can't afford a number of lenses, just one. The things I'm looking for in a lens are:

1) budget of around 100,000 yen (maybe US$1200?);
2) provide sharp pictures,
3) I don't shoot in bad weather, so it doesn't need to be weather resistant,
4) a lens that can hopefully cope with a wide range of environments (as mentioned earlier I do pics in parks, museums, cemeteries, press conferences, trade shows etc etc.).

Two lenses I've looked at here and grab my attention are:

1) SMC Pentax-DA 17-70mm F4 AL [IF] SDM and;
2) SMC Pentax-DA* 55mm F1.4 SDM.

I've read the reviews and they look pretty good, but as I'm still quite a newbie at this I'm not entirely sure if I understood everything about them. I could be barking up the wrong tree entirely in looking at these lenses.

Anyway, any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks very much,

REGillett

10-01-2012, 08:41 PM   #2
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Zoom or prime?

Tamron 17-50 should give you good range. I don't have a lot of primes to compare with but its a really good lens and will give you variety to work with all in one lens.

And its a lot cheaper than $1200.
10-01-2012, 09:09 PM   #3
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for $1200 you can get a Sigma 10 - 20, DA 35 f2.4, DA50 1.8 or a F/FA 50 1.7

Or if you're okay with a second hand DA* 16-50 2.8 and a DA* 50 - 135 2.8 (DA* are weather resistant, with that said you can take advantage of your k30's WR capabilities)

I would also suggest that you take a look on what focal length you shoot the most and go from there.

And yes definitely, If you want to get the 17-70 and the DA* 55 1.4 go for it (: they are awesome lenses. I myself am specially interested in getting the DA* 55 1.4 for myself in the near future.

Last edited by kaiserz; 10-01-2012 at 09:22 PM.
10-01-2012, 09:14 PM   #4
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A used 12-24 and 17-70 may come in under your budget. If picking only one lens, I'd say the 17-70 as it is fairly wide for tight places, yet long enough to pick out some details or do head-and-shoulders.

10-01-2012, 09:26 PM   #5
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by alamo5000 Quote
Zoom or prime?

Tamron 17-50 should give you good range. I don't have a lot of primes to compare with but its a really good lens and will give you variety to work with all in one lens.

And its a lot cheaper than $1200.
Definitely not a prime. Sorry, I forgot to mention that in my original post.
10-02-2012, 02:03 AM - 1 Like   #6
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Hi / Konnichi wa
Really consider buying a circular polariser before considering a new lens if you're not already using one for landscapes and architecture. Difference will be amazing: green trees, blue sky, clouds that look like they're going to pop! Good thing about the 18-55 is that it has a little window in the lens hood to let you turn the polariser and the filter size is small enough not to be too expensive.
Otherwise, for that sort of scenery, then maybe consider a wider lens like the 12-24, as others have mentioned.
10-02-2012, 08:23 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the replies everyone, they are very much appreciated. Still not exactly sure of what I`ll buy, but I think I have enough information to make a decision over the next few days.

Calsan, I just checked out the polariser and it seems like a "must buy". Thanks for that tip. Some of the comparison shots I`ve seen on the net (polariser vs no-polarizer) and they look awesome!

Thanks again all
10-02-2012, 10:44 AM   #8
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And on that note, I have a question about circular polarizers..

Are there differences between different companys' CPs?

I ask because I have boughten 2 now, 1 for my old bridge camera, and one for my K-30's - and with both, I don't seem to notice too much difference when twisting them within the viewfinder - difference for sure, but not stark. I forgot if I noticed the difference on the image.

I recently did some tests of my new K-30 after arriving to a late sunrise, so I was shooting into the sun - perhaps that would be why? (I haven't gone through the test shots yet, and besides, I would have forgotten which ones were with the polarizer anyways.)

I'm wondering if there is more of a difference in the final images than via the viewfinders, or if it's just that I buy the cheaper polarizers - all that I could really afford without worrying about damaging a ~$70(or more) polarizer..


Thanks.

10-02-2012, 01:16 PM   #9
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As to the sky, the effect of polarizer is at its biggest when the shooting angle is 90 degrees from the sun.
10-02-2012, 04:06 PM   #10
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DA* 16-50mm vs. Sigma and Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 Comparison - Introduction - PentaxForums.com

shootout for replacement walk about lenses. I think the Tamron offers much more value for money than the pentax * lens. BUT ** I must stress that you really really really need to be 100% sure you have a good copy that has accurate focus at all zoom levels as lots of them are off one way or another (more than the in-cam adjustment can cope with).

For the money they're sharp, wide and fast - very good value that frees you up for a second lens if you desire. Especially since you aren't taking it out in the rain.
10-02-2012, 10:14 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hoggy Quote
Are there differences between different companys' CPs?
Most of the difference will be down to whether it's multi-coated or not and the overall thickness. For the 18-55, you don't need a so-called thin polarizer, just standard is OK. Some have slightly better light transmission too, but most involve a loss of around 1.5 stops of light.
If you have polarized sun glasses, you can 'preview' the effect, although they are normally less effective than a camera polarizer. Actually, on a clear and sunny day, you can even see the polarized band of light across the sky with your bare eyes - it looks darker and it's at perpendicular to the sun.
10-07-2012, 06:19 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by AroundTokyo Quote
Hi all,
I need some help on choosing a new lens.

Currently I use the Pentax DAL 1:3.5-5.6 18mm-55mm AL which came with the camera. It's pretty good, but I feel I need/want something better.

I have a website that promotes tourism in Tokyo and do everything from trade shows, parks, cemeteries, museums, bridges etc. etc. The shots I've gotten so far with my K-30 and the lens are pretty good, but I feel the pictures need a little more.

I've looked at the lens reviews on the site here, but am still very, very unsure which would be good for what I want.

Due to my budget restraints I can't afford a number of lenses, just one. The things I'm looking for in a lens are:

1) budget of around 100,000 yen (maybe US$1200?);
2) provide sharp pictures,
3) I don't shoot in bad weather, so it doesn't need to be weather resistant,
4) a lens that can hopefully cope with a wide range of environments (as mentioned earlier I do pics in parks, museums, cemeteries, press conferences, trade shows etc etc.).

Two lenses I've looked at here and grab my attention are:

1) SMC Pentax-DA 17-70mm F4 AL [IF] SDM and;
2) SMC Pentax-DA* 55mm F1.4 SDM.

I've read the reviews and they look pretty good, but as I'm still quite a newbie at this I'm not entirely sure if I understood everything about them. I could be barking up the wrong tree entirely in looking at these lenses.

Anyway, any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks very much,

REGillett
The other lens you can look at is the DA18-135 WR. Its a great walk around les for your style of shooting. I also have the DA*16-50 F2.8. The 18-135 is much lighter too. I have used the 18-135 for sunrise/sunset and landsces and look the output.

Last edited by felixkh; 10-07-2012 at 06:26 PM.
10-08-2012, 01:21 AM - 1 Like   #13
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by calsan Quote
Most of the difference will be down to whether it's multi-coated or not and the overall thickness. For the 18-55, you don't need a so-called thin polarizer, just standard is OK. Some have slightly better light transmission too, but most involve a loss of around 1.5 stops of light.
If you have polarized sun glasses, you can 'preview' the effect, although they are normally less effective than a camera polarizer. Actually, on a clear and sunny day, you can even see the polarized band of light across the sky with your bare eyes - it looks darker and it's at perpendicular to the sun.
Thanks Calsan, you have saved me a lot of trouble. I got a fairly cheap polarizer yesterday and tried it yesterday, but with limited results due to cloud. But today I went to an outdoor museum for my blog today and with some trepidation, I gave it a work out!!

Turning the filter around, I could see the effect it would have on photos. Took about 150 shots, and raced home to look at them. I`m no pro, but I was pretty impressed by what I saw. And I knew I was really on to something when my wife said she was impressed too. She rarely says boo about any pics I take, so something must have gone wrong today.

So, a huge thanks to you Calsan. You gave me a great solution to a fairly big problem. Now, I have no rush to get a new lens as this filter does an amazing job (on a sunny day at least). I`ll keep reading and asking questions here until I have a firm idea of what I really want.

Thanks Calsan and everyone else who has made suggestions, I appreciate it very much
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