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6 Days Ago   #1
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K-30 alternate lenses and firmware update

Hi all. I have a Pentax K-30 with a 18-5mm kit lens. I have a few lenses I'm looking at and am wondering what your opinions are for each and what they are best used for. I am mostly interested in family/people CANDID shots for now. But I'm also looking at Prime lenses for better pics of my kids.

Also, I'm seeing that there is a firmware update. I have no clue how to update what I have... can someone shed some light on that for me?

Please and Thank you for both issues.
Here is a list of the lenses I have that I would get used from a Camera shop.

1. Pentax DA 50-200 4-5.6 WR

2. Pentax DA 50mm F1.8

3. Pentax AF 80-320 F4.5-5.6

4. Pentax MF SMC-A 50 F2

5. Pentax MF SMC-M 50 F1.7

These 2 are new on Amazon.ca:

1. Pentax-DA 22177 50mm F1.8

2. Pentax DA Lens L 50-200mm Interchangable for KAF3 cameras

I'm wondering what the DA, AF, MF, SMC-A and SMC-M all mean...

6 Days Ago   #2
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You might do some reading here: Useful Pentax/Photo Resources, About - PentaxForums.com
And here is the firmware update guide: Pentax DSLR Firmware Update Guide - PentaxForums.com

DA - A lens designed for an APS-C camera such as your K-30. Generally will not work on Full Frame cameras like the K-1
AF - autofocus. Note that the K, M, and A series lenses for Pentax predate autofocus and are manual focus only
MF - generally manual focus but can also mean medium format (but in your case most likely manual focus)
SMC-A - SMC = Super Multi Coated a Pentax patent way long ago. The A designates the 'A' series of lenses

Unless you want to try vintage manual focus film era lenses stick with the DA series for now. The DA 50mm f/1.8 and the DA 35mm f/2.4 are both good quality glass at very reasonable prices.

---------- Post added 10-17-20 at 12:34 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Cavelle Quote
3. Pentax AF 80-320 F4.5-5.6
This is an FA series lens and though slow is not bad. It is auto focus but it is vintage film era. The DA 55-300 is better in my opinion but the FA 80-320 does work with full frame digital cameras like the K-1. Not an issue for your K-30
6 Days Ago   #3
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I assume you want autfocus AF, so go with the digital aperture DA lens 50mm 1.8

If you do not mind having to manual focus MF, The best prime chose of those you listed is the 50mm f1.7, but you have to also manually set the aperture A .

Otherwise get the SmC-A 50mm f2, which is still manual focus, but allows you to control the Aperture from the camera, rather than on the lens focusing ring.
6 Days Ago   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cavelle Quote
1. Pentax DA 50-200 4-5.6 WR
This is available in DA and DA L versions, the DA L is usually cheaper. It is the short telephoto often sold with a camera kit. The DA 55-300 is in my opinion a better buy even though it will cost more.

6 Days Ago   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cavelle Quote
Hi all. I have a Pentax K-30 with a 18-5mm kit lens. I have a few lenses I'm looking at and am wondering what your opinions are for each and what they are best used for. I am mostly interested in family/people CANDID shots for now. But I'm also looking at Prime lenses for better pics of my kids.

Also, I'm seeing that there is a firmware update. I have no clue how to update what I have... can someone shed some light on that for me?

Please and Thank you for both issues.
Here is a list of the lenses I have that I would get used from a Camera shop.

1. Pentax DA 50-200 4-5.6 WR

2. Pentax DA 50mm F1.8

3. Pentax AF 80-320 F4.5-5.6

4. Pentax MF SMC-A 50 F2

5. Pentax MF SMC-M 50 F1.7

These 2 are new on Amazon.ca:

1. Pentax-DA 22177 50mm F1.8

2. Pentax DA Lens L 50-200mm Interchangable for KAF3 cameras

I'm wondering what the DA, AF, MF, SMC-A and SMC-M all mean...
I see you mentioned Amazon.ca in your post, beware if you are buying in Canada about warranty, Canadian sellers on Amazon.ca will list their warranty for Canadian buyers.. ( Camera Canda) is one.
6 Days Ago   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cavelle Quote

1. Pentax DA 50-200 4-5.6 WR
2. Pentax DA 50mm F1.8
3. Pentax AF 80-320 F4.5-5.6
4. Pentax MF SMC-A 50 F2
5. Pentax MF SMC-M 50 F1.7
These 2 are new on Amazon.ca:
1. Pentax-DA 22177 50mm F1.8
2. Pentax DA Lens L 50-200mm Interchangable for KAF3 cameras

I'm wondering what the DA, AF, MF, SMC-A and SMC-M all mean...
QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote

Unless you want to try vintage manual focus film era lenses stick with the DA series for now. The DA 50mm f/1.8 and the DA 35mm f/2.4 are both good quality glass at very reasonable prices.[COLOR="Silver"]
Numbers 2 and 5 on your list are the best in my opinion, they are nearly the same lens, one autofocus the other manual. But jatrax throws another one in for you, the DA 35 f2.4, and that's the one I would recommend. The 50 just might be a little long for thoe people shots, but if you are shooting more of portraits, it will be better. With the 50 you would be better able to isolate the subject with a blurred background or bokeh.
6 Days Ago   #7
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People shots = close range so shorter focal length. 28-55 is a good range on the k30. People shots translate to indoors in bad light = fstops from 1- <4 preferably.
All those f4.5-5.6 will require people to stay still longer than kids will.
AF or MF is up to you. AF is nice but if your camera happens to get aperture block, the MF lens will still work.
5 Days Ago   #8
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Welcome to PF.

QuoteOriginally posted by Cavelle Quote
Also, I'm seeing that there is a firmware update. I have no clue how to update what I have... can someone shed some light on that for me?
1. Check which firmware version is installed. To do that:
- Press the Menu button.
- Press the Four-way controller to the right to bring up Setup Menu 3.
- Select "Firmware Info/Options", then press the Four-way controller to the right.
The current version is 1.06. If you have anything older, you should update.
2. To update, start by downloading the firmware from here: Latest K-30 Firmware Update : Software Downloads | RICOH IMAGING The download button is at the bottom of the page.
3. Follow the installation instructions on that page. Tips:
- Make sure your battery is fully charged.
- You need to use an SD card. The card needs to be formatted and that will wipe all the images/videos on it, so be sure you have them backed up before you start.
- Essentially you extract the installation file (Fwdc215b.bin) from the file you downloaded, copy it to the formatted SD card and put the card in the camera with the camera turned off. Then turn the camera on and go back to the "Firmware Info/Option" entry in the Menu, as described above. Go to the option there to update the firmware and press OK. DO NOT TURN OFF THE CAMERA while it is updating. It will tell you when the firmware update is complete, then turn off automatically.
- Once the update is complete, you can reformat the SD card for use in the camera.

On the subject of lenses, you will probably use the 18-55mm the most of those in the list. You use it when you want a wide angle of view (18mm) through to a slightly magnified angle of view (55mm). When shooting from further away from the subject, use one of the telephoto lenses (e.g. DA 50-200mm or FA 80-320mm, or better still one of the DA 55-300mm f4-5.8 lenses). They will give you more magnification.

As you say, one of the prime lenses will be better for portraits. They have a wider maximum aperture (the f number), which allows for short depth of field (DOF) - that means blurry background and foreground and a smaller area in focus. Don't get too carried away with this - you need enough DOF to get the whole subject that you want in focus. For example, if you are fairly close to the kid you are photographing, you might want say f3.5 or f4 to be sure to get the whole kid in focus. DOF depends on the aperture, focal length and distance from the subject. Search for online DOF calculator to get details.

If you are comfortable with manual focus, the A 50 or M 50 are amongst many vintage options. (The M series lenses require that the aperture be set manually as well.) But you might find an autofocus lens like the DA 50mm f1.8 more convenient - especially for kids moving around.


Last edited by Des; 5 Days Ago at 01:38 PM.
5 Days Ago   #9
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I'm really surprised for that camera more people aren't recommending the DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6ED AL [IF] DC WR.
5 Days Ago   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Oldbayrunner Quote
I'm really surprised for that camera more people aren't recommending the DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6ED AL [IF] DC WR.
I understood the OP to be confining the selection to those lenses available from a camera shop. But since the OP mentions the possibility of buying from Amazon maybe I am wrong about that.

Yes, I agree that the 18-135 would be an excellent choice (much more versatile than the 18-55). It often comes up in the PF marketplace: The Pentax Marketplace | Buy & Sell Pentax Cameras and Lenses - PentaxForums.com

It's a very popular lens with Forum members. See this thread for samples: DA 18-135 WR, Show us what it can do - PentaxForums.com

If the lens is to be used a lot indoors, I would suggest getting a PTTL flash that can tilt and swivel, so the beam can be bounced off walls and ceilings.
4 Days Ago   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cavelle Quote
1. Pentax DA 50-200 4-5.6 WR
This one has WR, i.e. is water-resistant. If important, you need to know but as another member wrote, the
DA55-300 is even better and if you install the firmware 1.10 then
you can use the DA55-300 PLM which is great in any respect and even could replace this one:

QuoteOriginally posted by Cavelle Quote
2. Pentax DA 50mm F1.8
because the 55mm's are almost 50mm of the DA50/1,8

But: the DA50/1,8 is a great prime-lens, i.e. just 50mm's and very sharp, light, fast and very good at low light

QuoteOriginally posted by Cavelle Quote
3. Pentax AF 80-320 F4.5-5.6
Very careful with this one. Allthough 320mm would be nice to have, this lens often makes problems, i.e. goes damaged.


QuoteOriginally posted by Cavelle Quote
4. Pentax MF SMC-A 50 F2
Not worth it, get the DA50/1,8!


QuoteOriginally posted by Cavelle Quote
5. Pentax MF SMC-M 50 F1.7
A nice manual lens, you need to know about how to use the green button method, otherwise useless!
And again, the DA50 is as good


QuoteOriginally posted by Cavelle Quote
These 2 are new on Amazon.ca:

1. Pentax-DA 22177 50mm F1.8
The number 22177 is misleading, this is the DA50/1,8


QuoteOriginally posted by Cavelle Quote
2. Pentax DA Lens L 50-200mm Interchangable for KAF3 cameras
The standard DA50-200, not as good as #1 of your first list!
Not so recommened.
The DA-L 50-200 was mentioned as well by another member, the Kit-Version, cheaper ... all Kit lenses have the L after the DA,
i.e. DA-L.... not that good!
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