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03-15-2016, 12:29 PM   #1
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K3 or Recent Pentax DSLR_Optimum Lens Equipment Package

I was recently accessing my camera equipment and considering what I should add/remove to give me the optimum mix and flexibility while at the same time eliminating redundency. Following is the inventory of my equipment package (major items); I would be interested in feedback on gaps in the listing that, from your experience, would be strong supplements. I realize that this type of exercise is in the eye of the beholder and the venues of most interest, but it would be interesting to see what others are doing and why. Following are the cameras (newest to oldest), lens (widest to telephoto) and miscellaneous items. The subject matter in which I have the most interest are: expansive scenery (water, mountains, forests), macro (flowers, insects, animals), very little involving people or high population venues. In summary, from what I have listed I would be interested in constructive suggestions to supplement what I currently have that will add to my overall flexibility. Thank you in advance for your input and by submitting your suggestions you will get feedback on your own equipment from others.

Cameras
K3, K10D, Pentax ZX-M, Pentax ZX-5N (latter 2 not used at this time)

Lens
Sigma 8-16mm 4.5-5.6f, Sigma 17-70mm 2.8-4.5f macro, Sigma 18-250mm 3.5-6.3f macro, SMC-FA 28-200mm (not used or working properly),SMC-FA Pentax 43mm 1.9f, SMC-DA 50mm 1.8f, SMC-FA Pentax 77mm 1.8f, Sigma 50-500mm 4-6.3f (Bigma), Quantaray Teleconverter 2X (hardly ever used)

Filters
Vivitar 52mm UV, Circular Polarizer, Florescent; Hoya 62mm UV, Polarizer, ND; Cokin system filter (most colors,configurations and effects)

Miscellaneous
Slik Pro 700dx tripod, Manfrotto monopod w/quick release head, Reticam Mini-tripod, Lowepro Slingshot case, Tamrac Extreme case, Promaster FT1700 flash


Last edited by MRCDH; 03-15-2016 at 12:34 PM. Reason: addition to submission
03-15-2016, 01:00 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by MRCDH Quote
The subject matter in which I have the most interest are: expansive scenery (water, mountains, forests), macro (flowers, insects, animals), very little involving people or high population venues. In summary, from what I have listed I would be interested in constructive suggestions to supplement what I currently have that will add to my overall flexibility. Thank you in advance for your input and by submitting your suggestions you will get feedback on your own equipment from others.
To me this list of activities and subjects says wide angle (expansive landscapes), macro (flowers, insects, animals). Are you using the Telephoto lenses to capture animals at a distance? Are you using them much at all?

QuoteOriginally posted by MRCDH Quote
Cameras
K3, K10D, Pentax ZX-M, Pentax ZX-5N (latter 2 not used at this time)

Lens
Sigma 8-16mm 4.5-5.6f, Sigma 17-70mm 2.8-4.5f macro, Sigma 18-250mm 3.5-6.3f macro, SMC-FA 28-200mm (not used or working properly),SMC-FA Pentax 43mm 1.9f, SMC-DA 50mm 1.8f, SMC-FA Pentax 77mm 1.8f, Sigma 50-500mm 4-6.3f (Bigma), Quantaray Teleconverter 2X (hardly ever used)
Gear to Keep;
Camera: K3 Primary / K10 backup
Sigma 8-16, 17-70
Pentax FA 43, 77

Mothball:
Film Cameras
FA 28-200

On the fence:
SIgma/Bigma 50-500 Versatile but huge - do you use it much?
Sigma 18-250 Nice one lens walkabout solution for travel but 17-70 is much better.
2x - could be used with the Macro if it is very good - otherwise mothball.

Gaps:
14-20mm prime? You have this focal range covered quite well but might want something slightly different, smaller wide angle, etc.

True Macro lens. Given your lenses and subjects I would suggest the DA 35 Limited, but the DFA 50 or DFA 100 or any variant of these would also work.
03-15-2016, 02:02 PM   #3
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I pretty much think along the lines of UncleVanya.

If you use the 50-500, I would keep it. Plus, it's just a cool lens.
Your 18-250 is redundant when you have the 17-70 and 50-500 that will get you better images. (Unless you want a simple 'do-it-all' lens for when you want to travel light or if you use it for macro.)

I also can't help but notice you have no WR lenses!

My suggestion is to replace the 18-250 with a DA 18-135 for a light do-it-all one lens option that you can use if you ever want to take a landscape or other outdoor shot when the clouds are ominous. The DC AF works amazingly with the K-3 and it's the lens I would pick if I could have only one lens.

Alternatively, if you use the 18-250 for macro rather than an all-in-one lens I'd suggest looking into a dedicated fixed focal length macro lens at the focal length you use most. With macro you usually want sharp lenses, and primes give much better results than zooms, especially a super-zoom that probably makes a few compromises to achieve the large range.
03-15-2016, 02:03 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
To me this list of activities and subjects says wide angle (expansive landscapes), macro (flowers, insects, animals). Are you using the Telephoto lenses to capture animals at a distance? Are you using them much at all?



Gear to Keep;
Camera: K3 Primary / K10 backup
Sigma 8-16, 17-70
Pentax FA 43, 77

Mothball:
Film Cameras
FA 28-200

On the fence:
SIgma/Bigma 50-500 Versatile but huge - do you use it much?
Sigma 18-250 Nice one lens walkabout solution for travel but 17-70 is much better.
2x - could be used with the Macro if it is very good - otherwise mothball.

Gaps:
14-20mm prime? You have this focal range covered quite well but might want something slightly different, smaller wide angle, etc.

True Macro lens. Given your lenses and subjects I would suggest the DA 35 Limited, but the DFA 50 or DFA 100 or any variant of these would also work.
UncleVanya, thank you for your suggestions and I do use the 50-500mm quite a bit for capturing animal photos (zoo, birds, anything with a distance factor). My copy of the 50-500mm provides excellent detail and I am very happy with the results. The mothballed items are being treated that way. The 18-250 as you mentioned is being used as a walk around lens in conjunction with the 17-70 and primes. Thank you again for your input.

03-15-2016, 02:33 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by MRCDH Quote
UncleVanya, thank you for your suggestions and I do use the 50-500mm quite a bit for capturing animal photos (zoo, birds, anything with a distance factor). My copy of the 50-500mm provides excellent detail and I am very happy with the results. The mothballed items are being treated that way. The 18-250 as you mentioned is being used as a walk around lens in conjunction with the 17-70 and primes. Thank you again for your input.
Anytime! The DA 35 Limited is really my gut level reaction to your current setup - the DFA 100 WR would be an alternate suggestion since it is WR and it is longer than any primes you have otherwise. The DA 35 on the other hand is a nice small prime that will do landscapes and bugs and flowers easily. It is not weather resistant however.
03-15-2016, 02:54 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by TheOneAndOnlyJH Quote
I pretty much think along the lines of UncleVanya.

If you use the 50-500, I would keep it. Plus, it's just a cool lens.
Your 18-250 is redundant when you have the 17-70 and 50-500 that will get you better images. (Unless you want a simple 'do-it-all' lens for when you want to travel light or if you use it for macro.)

I also can't help but notice you have no WR lenses!

My suggestion is to replace the 18-250 with a DA 18-135 for a light do-it-all one lens option that you can use if you ever want to take a landscape or other outdoor shot when the clouds are ominous. The DC AF works amazingly with the K-3 and it's the lens I would pick if I could have only one lens.

Alternatively, if you use the 18-250 for macro rather than an all-in-one lens I'd suggest looking into a dedicated fixed focal length macro lens at the focal length you use most. With macro you usually want sharp lenses, and primes give much better results than zooms, especially a super-zoom that probably makes a few compromises to achieve the large range.
One and Only, thank you for your input and I concur with your observation on the 18-250. In retrospect I should have gone with the 18-135 and I may add it to the collection. The 50-500 is a go to lens for wildlife and when I want to reach out and touch a distant object with excellent results. I like your observation on adding a prime lens for macro work; do you have anyone you like for close photos of flowers and insects etc? For the latter I have been using the Sigma 17-70. I have heard good things about the Sigma 35mm 1.4f.

---------- Post added 03-15-16 at 02:57 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
Anytime! The DA 35 Limited is really my gut level reaction to your current setup - the DFA 100 WR would be an alternate suggestion since it is WR and it is longer than any primes you have otherwise. The DA 35 on the other hand is a nice small prime that will do landscapes and bugs and flowers easily. It is not weather resistant however.
UncleVanya, I just responded to another about the Sigma 35mm 1.4f and I assume the Pentax 35mm would be in the same ballpark; however I will probably use my 43mm since it is close and give some study to the 100mm. Thanks for your input.

Last edited by MRCDH; 03-15-2016 at 03:00 PM.
03-15-2016, 03:08 PM   #7
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@MRCDH - UncleVanya already described pretty much exactly what I'd have suggested. The only thing I would add is that, from personal experience, it can be invaluable to have a "do-it-all" lens like your Sigma 18-250. I have a couple of them - a Pentax 18-270 that I keep for friends to use on my older body and occasionally use myself as a "focal length estimator" (to try out different takes on a particular scene before picking the prime or zoom that will work best), and a recently-acquired Sigma 18-300 as a daylight walk-around lens when photography isn't the main focus of my day. For me personally, there are times where I just don't know what I'll be photographing and don't want to be changing lenses (or holding other people up by doing so). On days like that, I really wouldn't be without a super-zoom lens, even though I'm well aware that image quality and low light performance are compromised. If that's not a requirement for you, then it's not relevant, but I find there are many uses for a lens you can conveniently zoom from wide to long tele.
03-15-2016, 03:48 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
@MRCDH - UncleVanya already described pretty much exactly what I'd have suggested. The only thing I would add is that, from personal experience, it can be invaluable to have a "do-it-all" lens like your Sigma 18-250. I have a couple of them - a Pentax 18-270 that I keep for friends to use on my older body and occasionally use myself as a "focal length estimator" (to try out different takes on a particular scene before picking the prime or zoom that will work best), and a recently-acquired Sigma 18-300 as a daylight walk-around lens when photography isn't the main focus of my day. For me personally, there are times where I just don't know what I'll be photographing and don't want to be changing lenses (or holding other people up by doing so). On days like that, I really wouldn't be without a super-zoom lens, even though I'm well aware that image quality and low light performance are compromised. If that's not a requirement for you, then it's not relevant, but I find there are many uses for a lens you can conveniently zoom from wide to long tele.
BigMackCam, thank you for your input and your thoughts mirror exactly my thought process when I purchased the Sigma 18-250. Thanks again for your thoughts.

03-16-2016, 02:13 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
@MRCDH - UncleVanya already described pretty much exactly what I'd have suggested. The only thing I would add is that, from personal experience, it can be invaluable to have a "do-it-all" lens like your Sigma 18-250. I have a couple of them - a Pentax 18-270 that I keep for friends to use on my older body and occasionally use myself as a "focal length estimator" (to try out different takes on a particular scene before picking the prime or zoom that will work best), and a recently-acquired Sigma 18-300 as a daylight walk-around lens when photography isn't the main focus of my day. For me personally, there are times where I just don't know what I'll be photographing and don't want to be changing lenses (or holding other people up by doing so). On days like that, I really wouldn't be without a super-zoom lens, even though I'm well aware that image quality and low light performance are compromised. If that's not a requirement for you, then it's not relevant, but I find there are many uses for a lens you can conveniently zoom from wide to long tele.
I agree completely, which is why I started out with the 18-135.

Just to clarify what I said before, I'm suggesting the 18-135 over the Sigma 18-250 only to fill the void of a WR lens. If you really don't need WR, there isn't any real advantage to trading in your 18-250 for an 18-135. I don't think there is much of a difference in image quality, and what you have already gives you greater reach. The HSM in the Sigma 18-250 should also be similar to the DC motor in the 18-135.

When I started out I decided that in addition to having decent optics, my do-it-all one lens should be light, small-ish, and weather resistant (or else it isn't really doing-it-all) which is why I chose the 18-135. The 18-200, 28-300, etc. lenses I looked at were more expensive, larger, heavier, and weren't weather sealed, so that made my decision extremely easy. Even so, I'm still keeping my eye out in case I see a good deal on another superzoom with greater reach to give me another option in my collection (though I will still keep my 18-135).
03-16-2016, 02:17 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by TheOneAndOnlyJH Quote
I agree completely, which is why I started out with the 18-135.

Just to clarify what I said before, I'm suggesting the 18-135 over the Sigma 18-250 only to fill the void of a WR lens. If you really don't need WR, there isn't any real advantage to trading in your 18-250 for an 18-135. I don't think there is much of a difference in image quality, and what you have already gives you greater reach. The HSM in the Sigma 18-250 should also be similar to the DC motor in the 18-135.

When I started out I decided that in addition to having decent optics, my do-it-all one lens should be light, small-ish, and weather resistant (or else it isn't really doing-it-all) which is why I chose the 18-135. The 18-200, 28-300, etc. lenses I looked at were more expensive, larger, heavier, and weren't weather sealed, so that made my decision extremely easy. Even so, I'm still keeping my eye out in case I see a good deal on another superzoom with greater reach to give me another option in my collection (though I will still keep my 18-135).
WR is a great feature on the 18-135, and oh how I wish the Siggy 18-300, or even my Pentax 18-270, were weather resistant... Still, not too much of an issue with the fantastic weather we get here in the UK... er...
03-16-2016, 02:22 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by MRCDH Quote
I like your observation on adding a prime lens for macro work; do you have anyone you like for close photos of flowers and insects etc? For the latter I have been using the Sigma 17-70. I have heard good things about the Sigma 35mm 1.4f.
I don't own any good macro primes yet, but I'll say that macro is very subjective. If you mainly use the 17-70 for macro work you'll probably be happy in that range, but perhaps you'd be happier at 100mm and just don't know since you haven't tried it yet.

I'd suggest looking at all the macro shots you've taken and figuring out what focal length you usually use. That should help you narrow down what kind of macro distance you like to work with. If you're okay with manual focus you could also look up older lenses on eBay and cross check them on the Pentax Lens Reviews database to see how they perform. You can get some pretty good vintage manual macro lenses relatively cheap if you keep your eye open!
03-16-2016, 09:59 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by TheOneAndOnlyJH Quote
I don't own any good macro primes yet, but I'll say that macro is very subjective. If you mainly use the 17-70 for macro work you'll probably be happy in that range, but perhaps you'd be happier at 100mm and just don't know since you haven't tried it yet.

I'd suggest looking at all the macro shots you've taken and figuring out what focal length you usually use. That should help you narrow down what kind of macro distance you like to work with. If you're okay with manual focus you could also look up older lenses on eBay and cross check them on the Pentax Lens Reviews database to see how they perform. You can get some pretty good vintage manual macro lenses relatively cheap if you keep your eye open!
One and Only, I will try your suggestion and see what I come up with. Thanks again for your suggestion and comments
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