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01-07-2014, 04:37 PM   #1
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Upgrade from K-X or just get a 18-135 lens?

Hi, all,
I'm a hobbyist, and bought myself a K-X three years ago as a retirement present. I wasn't good at retirement (life intervened...) and I'm now working so I don't get to use the camera as much as I'd like. However, I decided I wanted to have it more readily available so I went looking at "walk around" camera cases.

That led to a, "gee, maybe it would be nice to get a walk-around lens"--I LOVE my Tamron 10-24 and like my Pentax kit 55-300, but switching between them can be a pain. So I started looking at the Pentax 18-135 because of its versatility.

Then I saw good stuff about the K-30 (though I can't find paired with the 18-135 that except through Amazon retailers that have questionable repute) and the K-50.

I really love the K-X and am sure I haven't fully exploited its capabilities. However, if the indicators in the view-finder are easier to see in the K-50, and the AF/MF switch works all the time, I am sorely tempted to go for the K-50.

Questions: would you make the plunge, or just get the lens and deal with the K-X idiosyncrasies?
How heavy/bulky is the K-50 compared to the K-X?

Thanks in advance,

01-07-2014, 07:50 PM   #2
ScooterMaxi Jim's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2009
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You have a lot here to consider regarding the issues raised.

First, if the Amazon merchants are unknown, but the item is "fulfilled by Amazon" you have nothing to worry about on that front.

I suspect you understand that the 18-135 won't replace either of the other two lenses mentioned, as it does not begin to cover the extremes of either one. Given the ranges of those two existing lenses and your desire for compactness - the 18-55 WR would give you a smaller package and better optics at a lower price. (The 18-135 has a fine following here, but the specs and images yielded - especially away from center of frame - don't support an honest, cold comparison.) Photozone gives the 18-55 WR 3 stars, vs. 1.5 stars for the 18-135.

The K-X is a small camera with very good image quality and is entry-level in most other ways such as viewfinder quality. The K-50/K-30 (very similar to each other in most ways, but the K-50 is newer and more conventional in style) is marginally larger and heavier to accommodate mid-level amenities such as a high-quality viewfinder (prism not mirrors), and two control wheels for quicker manual adjustments. The size and weight difference is about equal to the difference between the 18-55 WR and the 18-135 WR (ie the K-X with the 18-135 probably would be just a tad larger than the K-50 with 18-55 WR; the K-X and the 18-55 WR would be a noticeably smaller package).

Not sure if WR is a real important consideration for you. The K-X isn't weather sealed, but the K-30/K-50 are - and are best coupled with one WR lens at least to give you weather resistance. If you are planning to keep the K-X, don't need WR, and want to spend a few dollars instead on getting an optically better lens than the two discussed above - your best options are the Tamron 17-50 (fast but small), Pentax 17-70 (nice range, solid and sharp), or the Sigma 17-50 (solid, quiet, fast, but rather large). Any of these three will be optically very good comparatively. Good optics trump a body upgrade as a long term investment.
01-09-2014, 01:17 AM   #3
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Normally I would suggest keeping the body and get better lenses, but, as good as the K-x is, I would think it's worth upgrading for the AF and viewfinder enhancements alone. Those are features you always use no matter how novice or professional you are.
01-09-2014, 08:27 AM   #4
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Buying a new body won't take care of your need/want of a walkaround lens. IMO, you're gonna get more bang for your buck from a lens purchase than a body upgrade.

If you want the best superzoom, I'd pick up a Pentax DA 18-250 on the used market. It's around $250 used, and widely regarded as the best overall walkaround superzoom. It's optically better than the 18-135, and covers more tele range. The 18-270 is also well-regarded, but a lot more money.

Personally, I use this Tamron 18-200 for a walkaround, and I'm happy with it. I've used a few superzooms, and while any superzoom is a compromise, this one is pretty good. (or at least my copy is.) I've gotten some good shots with it. You can pick one up for around $125. It may not be as good as the Pentax DA 18-250, but for me, it's good enough.

A couple taken with an *ist DS & the 18-200 Tamron:

Good luck & have fun!
Bob :-)

01-09-2014, 08:36 AM   #5
seventysixersfan's Avatar

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check out this thread from earlier this year. It helped me convince myself to sell my K-x and get a new K-50:

also, I think the 18-135 is an excellent lens, but the WR feature is a bit wasted on a non-WR body like the K-x. Plus I think you'll enjoy being able to mico-adjust the focus for individual lenses that the K-30/50 offers.
01-10-2014, 06:07 AM   #6
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Original Poster
Thanks for the thoughtful posts, everyone! I think, after reading several other forums, that I'll hold off for another couple of years (unless the AF/MF switch really dies--but I've found some ideas that seem to be helping it be more reliable) and then get whatever the successor to the K-30/K-50 may be, along with a mid-range WR walking-around lens.

Best wishes,
01-10-2014, 07:52 AM   #7
seventysixersfan's Avatar

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The K-x is still a very capable and excellent camera that should serve you well for at least a few years. I probably could/should have kept shooting with mine but the urge to upgrade was too great for me to resist.

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