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03-08-2020, 04:24 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by flute215 Quote
Hello All,

I am a beginner photographer (however, I feel like I have a good eye -- I love doing graphic design, etc.). I have been using a Nikon Coolpix B500, but finally convinced my husband to let me buy a DSLR. After much research, I bought a Pentax K-3 (used body in "excellent+" condition from KEH). I can't wait to try it out, but I obviously need some lens(es). Based on the research I did, I chose not to get a kit and instead bought a body separately from the lenses. I thought I knew what lenses I wanted to get, but now I'm second-guessing everything--there are SO many options! So, if you were in my shoes, what lenses would you buy??

Here is what I plan to photograph:
-- My kids (this is the primary purpose for buying a dslr) -- ages 2 and under right now. Both indoor and outdoor -- everyday life, special occasions, etc. I was planning to get a 50mm 1.8 prime lens, but some people say this can be a little tight indoors??
-- Also, family portraits (most likely using a tripod and remote control).
-- Wildlife in our yard. We have lots of deer (especially a beautiful albino) foxes, raccoons, birds, etc. that frequent our yard. The furthest I usually need to be able to shoot is about 150 feet away.
-- Sporting events. Specifically, we have a Pinewood Derby race (in a gymnasium) coming up that I need to take photos for. Also, sporting events as our kids get older.

Most importantly, my budget is a firm $350 for lenses! What lens or lenses would you buy?? I am happy to buy quality used lenses, so feel free to suggest lenses that may be out of my price range when new.

Thanks in advance!
flute215--
Just to concur with the others, for an initial tight-budget kit you can't do better than the 18-135mm. It was my first lens, and is still one of my favorite walk-arounds.
If you can push it a bit, consider the "plastic fantastic" DA 50mm f/1.8 as your second lens. That will let you play in lower light and works well for portraits (but the FoV is too narrow to use it as a first general purpose lens).
After that, your own needs and experience will start to make your lens needs clear, whether that's in the direction of faster, longer reach, macro capability, etc.
Welcome and enjoy!
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03-08-2020, 07:08 AM   #17
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Very funny.....

But you make a good point. Many many people warn folks to stay away from lenses that others have used successfully for years.
If you want to be soundly and boldly contradicted, tell someone why they shouldn't own a lens because of this that or the other. Someone who successfully uses the lens will chime up. It happens every single time.

There is no quicker way to be proven wrong than to advise people not to use a particular lens. This is made worse by those who read all about people's problems with a particular lens without realizing that if you did random sample of various owners, those who have problems would be a very small minority. But the ones who do have problems are loud enough to completely drown out the silence of the successful. It's even worse when it turns out the criticism is from someone who never learned to use the lens to it's strength. So many end up believing it's the lens that's the problem.

Such people buying a new lens may solve the problem in that the new lens works in a way more in sync with their own personal style, and there's nothing wrong with that. But it's not usually a reflection on the lens. Its reflection on the shooter who couldn't alter his shooting style to make the best use of the lens.

Last edited by normhead; 04-19-2020 at 05:34 AM.
03-08-2020, 09:36 AM   #18
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flute215, you mention you want to shoot wildlife. Do you have a tripod? The reason I mention this is that I have a Vivitar 400mm f5.6 lens that I've been thinking about putting up for sale on the PF marketplace. Here's the thing, it's not a great lens. At least, I haven't been able to coax great images from it. But it would make a good starter lens for wildlife. Here's its review:
Vivitar TX / fixed / t-mount 400mm F5.6 Lens Reviews - Vivitar Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database

My copy is the Tokina-made 8 element version with 8 iris blades (picture #1 on the review page). It is manual focus, and has the Pentax K-mount adapter and its original carry case. The hood is built-in. I have used it hand-held, but it really needs a sturdy tripod. It's in great shape cosmetically and optically, with just a tiny bit of dust inside. If you are interested, and willing to pay the shipping (it weighs 4.2 lbs.) and maybe kick in a little something extra for my upcoming trip to Newfoundland, it may serve you until you get something better. Send me a PM. However -

I would still suggest an all purpose walk-around zoom as your first lens. I replaced my original Pentax 18-55mm kit lens with an early version of the Sigma 17-70mm DC Macro for about $200 USD used and have been very pleased with it. Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4.5 DC Macro Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database Several of my album photos were taken with it, including these:
From the front yard - Apet-Sure's Album: Nature-K10D - PentaxForums.com
IMGP4964 PFcrop - Apet-Sure's Album: Nature-K5IIs - PentaxForums.com

Last edited by Apet-Sure; 03-08-2020 at 09:40 AM. Reason: need to clarify
03-08-2020, 07:00 PM   #19
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The Op wrote:

"Hello All, I am a beginner photographer .....Here is what I plan to photograph:

-- My kids (this is the primary purpose for buying a dslr) -- ages 2 and under right now. Both indoor and outdoor -- everyday life, special occasions, etc.
-- Also, family portraits (most likely using a tripod and remote control)."


Here is what the men on this forum saw

"-- Wildlife in our yard. We have lots of deer (especially a beautiful albino) foxes, raccoons, birds, etc. that frequent our yard. The furthest I usually need to be able to shoot is about 150 feet away.
-- Sporting events. Specifically, we have a Pinewood Derby race (in a gymnasium) coming up that I need to take photos for. Also, sporting events as our kids get older."


Kodak figured this out as early as 1890





She needs a constant, relatively fast aperture zoom - Family Picnics, Park, Backyard, Auditorium, Dance Studio, Gym, etc. Where the light doesn't change much but the camera meter will change exposure depending on what its pointed at. Show me an event photographer using an auto or semi auto mode and I'll show you an out of work event photographer.


Young Moms are at least half of the students in my Basic Photography classes. The husband buys them a box of kit from a warehouse club. Pretty soon Mom discovers the promises on the box aren't so.
And she's not only looking after little people but generally working a full time job plus looking after the big kid she married who's out making bird pictures. Not much time to unearth buried basics in the manual.

So I make each a one pager from their camera manual and explain and demonstrate shutter, aperture and ISO and the consequences of each. They get Sunny 16, why meters get fooled and back button focus with single center point.

And almost without exception, tell me they get better pictures.

She doesn't need a weather resistant wildlife lens. She needs and wants purposefully and properly exposed pictures of her children. Because that's why she's making them.
It s why Moms and some Dads pay me to make pictures of their children. Not birds or deer.


Last edited by BigMackCam; 03-09-2020 at 02:10 PM. Reason: Removed unnecessary post title
03-09-2020, 12:48 PM   #20
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Just to add my 2cents worth, I own a K3ii, almost permanently attached is the 18-135, it does most close up work. My camera doesn't have pop up flash, but I've found Auto ISO works great in reasonable light. I do own a 50 and a 35mm lens, the fifty is too long unless you live in a mansion, the 35 works well.


I'd buy the 18-135 and see where that takes you, then move on from there.
03-09-2020, 01:31 PM   #21
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I'm with Apet-Sure on the early 17-70 Sigma f 2.8 -f 4.5 DC (read my review in the lens review thread to which he posted!) as it's been my walkaround lens of choice for the last several years, and will probably be for the foreseeable future. IMHO, IF you can find one, it will be cheap and so buy it .

PS: and the later versions aren't "that bad" either - but will be more expensive

Last edited by jeallen01; 04-05-2020 at 02:04 PM.
03-09-2020, 01:41 PM   #22
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May I suggest a old Sigma 30 1.4 EX in combination with a cheaper tele lens. Either a 55-300 or a F70-210. The plm lense will be outside your budget and I think the prime will enable much more possibilities with its wider aperture than a 18-135. If I had to choose for the pictures you plan to take, I would prefer a 30mm prime over any zoom.
The 30mm is a good kid indoor length, slightly below the "standard" of 50mm FF and imho the lens is much better than its reputation.
A problem may be big group pictures where you need to go wider than 30mm. Imho any old 18-55 will be ok for that, they are often accessible very very cheap.
Generally speaking, lenses are the expensive part when buying camera gear, but the lenses also last much longer than the body, at least in most cases.
03-09-2020, 01:46 PM - 3 Likes   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Frank Back Quote
The Op wrote:

"Hello All, I am a beginner photographer .....Here is what I plan to photograph:

-- My kids (this is the primary purpose for buying a dslr) -- ages 2 and under right now. Both indoor and outdoor -- everyday life, special occasions, etc.
-- Also, family portraits (most likely using a tripod and remote control)."

Here is what the men on this forum saw

"-- Wildlife in our yard. We have lots of deer (especially a beautiful albino) foxes, raccoons, birds, etc. that frequent our yard. The furthest I usually need to be able to shoot is about 150 feet away.
-- Sporting events. Specifically, we have a Pinewood Derby race (in a gymnasium) coming up that I need to take photos for. Also, sporting events as our kids get older."
With respect, Brooke, I disagree. I think your summary of the requirements is inaccurate, and your assessment of the respondents a little unfair.

Folks here saw exactly what the OP posted, which was all four of those requirements listed above. It may be that some of the recommendations were better suited to the wildlife and sporting events, and it may be that you disagree with some or all of the recommendations, but they were well-intentioned and not without merit.

QuoteOriginally posted by Frank Back Quote
Kodak figured this out as early as 1890
Specifically, Kodak didn't consider wildlife and sports. At least, not in the examples you posted. Those are two of the OP's four requirements.

QuoteOriginally posted by Frank Back Quote
She needs a constant, relatively fast aperture zoom - Family Picnics, Park, Backyard, Auditorium, Dance Studio, Gym, etc. Where the light doesn't change much but the camera meter will change exposure depending on what its pointed at. Show me an event photographer using an auto or semi auto mode and I'll show you an out of work event photographer.
...
She doesn't need a weather resistant wildlife lens. She needs and wants purposefully and properly exposed pictures of her children. Because that's why she's making them.
Suggested focal length range(s)? I mean, to cover the kids (indoor and outdoor), family portraits, wildlife up to 150' away and sporting events (indoor at first, but potentially outdoor too)?

QuoteOriginally posted by Frank Back Quote
It s why Moms and some Dads pay me to make pictures of their children. Not birds or deer.
Sure, they're not paying you to take wildlife and sporting event photos, but those are two of the four requirements being discussed here. We're trying to cover all four requirements specified in the original post, with a budget of around $350 - aren't we?

Ideas? Options?

I'm going to suggest two used lenses. The first, a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 for $200 or less. This will cover the kids and family portraiture, as well as "general" photography. With a fast f/2.8 constant aperture, it'll be quite decent for indoor work. Secondly, a screw-drive DA55-300 for $150 or so (alternatively, a Tamron 70-300 - not my preference, but pretty decent, and even cheaper). This will cover the outdoor wildlife and sports. It's not ideal for low light / indoor sports, but an acceptable compromise given the K-3's fairly decent high ISO performance (in any case, anything faster is going to use up all of the budget and more).

So, those are my recommendations - a fast, constant aperture 17-50, and a decent, low-cost, variable aperture 55-300 or 70-300. They may not match your suggestions, or those of others here, but they should nicely address all four requirements the OP has listed within the specified budget


Last edited by BigMackCam; 03-09-2020 at 02:56 PM.
03-09-2020, 01:51 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuggie76 Quote
Just to add my 2cents worth, I own a K3ii, almost permanently attached is the 18-135, it does most close up work. My camera doesn't have pop up flash, but I've found Auto ISO works great in reasonable light. I do own a 50 and a 35mm lens, the fifty is too long unless you live in a mansion, the 35 works well.


I'd buy the 18-135 and see where that takes you, then move on from there.
If you don't start with the 18-135, how do you even know what focal lengths you might like?

An 18-250 might be even better for a bigger lens. After your first hundred pictures stop and write out what focal lengths you used, and look at primes in the length you use most. But, I'm guessing the 18-135 will do until you want something longer or a faster aperture.

People seem to forget, 135mm on APS-c is the equivalent of 200mm on FF. It's actually a pretty decent telephoto.

I always recommend learn by shooting and finding out what you like for beginners. There's a reason there are kit lenses. I have 600 keepers taken this year, not one is 35mm on APS-c. My DA 35 2.4 is easily my least used lens.

I'm not every body and I'm not saying everyone shoots like me. What I am saying is, if you start with a prime, it may take you years to discover what FL you really like shooting. And that's the real question you should be asking, how do I figure out what FL suits me best?


Having someone else tell you what to buy could work out, but it's not a given.
03-09-2020, 02:24 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
If you don't start with the 18-135, how do you even know what focal lengths you might like?

An 18-250 might be even better for a bigger lens. After your first hundred pictures stop and write out what focal lengths you used, and look at primes in the length you use most. But, I'm guessing the 18-135 will do until you want something longer or a faster aperture.

People seem to forget, 135mm on APS-c is the equivalent of 200mm on FF. It's actually a pretty decent telephoto.

I always recommend learn by shooting and finding out what you like for beginners. There's a reason there are kit lenses. I have 600 keepers taken this year, not one is 35mm on APS-c. My DA 35 2.4 is easily my least used lens.

I'm not every body and I'm not saying everyone shoots like me. What I am saying is, if you start with a prime, it may take you years to discover what FL you really like shooting. And that's the real question you should be asking, how do I figure out what FL suits me best?


Having someone else tell you what to buy could work out, but it's not a given.
I agree on many parts, but for children photography a wide aperture may open different worlds of photography the same way different focal lengthes do.
I know quite a few people being very hindered by the fact they never had the opportunity to shoot at wide aperture and do not know its possibilities.
Of course the same is true with the focal lengths, as you mentioned.

The OP has to decide at which part she wants to "cripple" the lens collection. At the given budget, there is no possibility to get all.
Although the more I think about it the more I would prefer a cheap 18-55, cheap tele (the Tamron you mentioned has one of the slowest af available, optically it was a good lens for its price, I prefer the F70-210 over it though, which is priced in the same region. If af speed is not an issue, the Tamron may be the better choice. I did shoot bees in flight with the k10d and the Tamron, it is possible, still nothing I want to do again) and a single fast prime. Fast would be the key imho, just to be able to do all.

$200 30 1.4
$70 70-210
$25 18-55

A F50 1.7 may be an option instead of the 30mm too. But on aps-c it is more of an portrait lense, which does not seem to be the major concern to me after reading her text.

However, many in this forum like the 18-135 as a do it all lense.
I decided for a 16-85 as aps-c zoom instead and for me it is a very rarely used lense. Most times I take it I regret not haven taken one of the primes instead. Photography is very different for different people.
03-09-2020, 02:43 PM - 1 Like   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Frank Back Quote
Here is what the men on this forum saw"-- Wildlife in our yard. We have lots of deer (especially a beautiful albino) foxes, raccoons, birds, etc. that frequent our yard. The furthest I usually need to be able to shoot is about 150 feet away.-- Sporting events. Specifically, we have a Pinewood Derby race (in a gymnasium) coming up that I need to take photos for. Also, sporting events as our kids get older."
A very droll and lively post, but I think this is unfair. Every poster in this thread has suggested lenses in the wide-normal range. I said more about the tele lens because fitting one into a tight budget is the hard part IMO and little has been said about it.
QuoteOriginally posted by Frank Back Quote
She doesn't need a weather resistant wildlife lens. She needs and wants purposefully and properly exposed pictures of her children. Because that's why she's making them.It s why Moms and some Dads pay me to make pictures of their children. Not birds or deer.
With respect I think it is patronizing to tell the OP that she doesn't want what she said she wants. I agree with what Mike (@BigMackCam) has said.

Choosing the wide-normal lens isn't so hard: a Tamron (or maybe Sigma) 17-50 f2.8, Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4, Pentax DA 17-70 f4 or DA 18-135 would all be within budget (with room for a cheap tele lens as well) and any of them would do fine for the intended uses. The choice is a matter of balancing the priority between aperture width and focal length range, and deciding whether WR is important. Most of us who have suggested the 18-135 have done so on the assumption that the OP will get to experience a wide range of uses and add another wider aperture lens later, once she settles on preferred focal length(s). If that is not the case, the argument for the f2.8 lens is stronger.
QuoteOriginally posted by WorksAsIntended Quote
I decided for a 16-85 as aps-c zoom instead and for me it is a very rarely used lense. Most times I take it I regret not haven taken one of the primes instead.
I get this - I am now using the DA 15 Ltd, DA 20-40 Ltd and DFA 100 much more as a walkaround kit rather than than the 18-135, because I am now prepared to make lens changes more often to try for the optimal shot. But it does test the patience of your companion! In a family situation, convenience counts for a lot more.

Last edited by Des; 03-09-2020 at 04:11 PM.
03-09-2020, 02:47 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
Suggested focal length range(s)? Ideas? Options?
Already suggested these in a previous post. Especially the pentax 17-70/4


Here's a nice 17-70 for $178 and 180 day warranty
Here's a nice 28-75 for $228 with 180 day warranty


For Deer and Birds in the yards, this will do, $50 delivered SMC PENTAX-A Zoom 200mm f/4 1:4 70-210mm Telephoto Lens K Mount | eBay

And I bet you couldn't trade her 1,000 great Deer or Bird pictures for one great picture of her children.

Last edited by Frank Back; 03-09-2020 at 03:03 PM.
03-09-2020, 03:04 PM - 1 Like   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by Frank Back Quote
Already suggested these in a previous post. Especially the pentax 17-70/4

Here's a nice 17-70 for $178 and 180 day warranty
That's a nice choice indeed More versatile in focal length range than my 17-50 f/2.8 suggestion... though a stop slower, which might be significant for indoor use. But the longer end is definitely useful, no doubt about it. Still, given that f/4 maximum aperture, I might just go along with other folks' recommendation of the 18-135 instead... it's not that much slower in the same range, and offers even more reach and versatility.

QuoteOriginally posted by Frank Back Quote
Here's a nice 28-75 for $228 with 180 day warranty
The Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 is my favourite zoom, bar none It's the lens I shoot with more than any other, despite owning much "better" glass. It's potentially limiting for indoor family photos, though... 28mm on APS-C doesn't provide a particularly wide field of view. Perhaps the OP has big rooms and can stand back, or doesn't need to fit the whole family into shots? Perhaps not. Still, a nice lens for sure.

QuoteOriginally posted by Frank Back Quote
For Deer and Birds in the yards, this will do, $50 delivered - SMC PENTAX-A Zoom 200mm f/4 1:4 70-210mm Telephoto Lens K Mount | eBay
With respect, this really highlights the emphasis you're giving to the kids and family portrait photos over the wildlife and sports...

QuoteOriginally posted by Frank Back Quote
And I bet you couldn't trade 1,000 great Deer or Bird pictures for one great picture of her children.
... as does this

Forget about the deer, why don't we? How about the OP's children playing sports, Brooke... would those pictures be worth trading? Those are once-in-a-lifetime events... am I right? I'm not sure the OP would want to be focus tracking the kids using a manual focus, push-pull zoom. Not really the time and place to develop one's manual focusing technique, IMHO

Last edited by BigMackCam; 03-09-2020 at 04:03 PM.
03-09-2020, 03:43 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
How about one of the children playing sports,
"-- My kids (this is the primary purpose for buying a dslr) -- ages 2 and under right now"

I bet manual focus for sports right would be okay right now, like teething, first steps or potty training. In a few years, maybe when they are six, her budget would allow for lightning fast AF!

I give up
03-09-2020, 04:00 PM - 1 Like   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Frank Back Quote
"-- My kids (this is the primary purpose for buying a dslr) -- ages 2 and under right now"
Primary... but not only. Four requirements were specified, and I'm trying to cover them all to a decent level, rather than nail one or two of them and treat the others as "also ran"...

QuoteOriginally posted by Frank Back Quote
I bet manual focus for sports right would be okay right now, like teething, first steps or potty training. In a few years, maybe when they are six, her budget would allow for lightning fast AF!
If the OP was one of your paying students, I assume you'd spend time honing her manual focus skills before she misses any important moments in the gym or on the field. But since that's not the case, I'm suggesting AF (lightning fast or otherwise) would be prudent for all the requirements she listed - primary and secondary.

QuoteOriginally posted by Frank Back Quote
I give up
If nothing else, our exchange goes to show neither of us can say definitively what the OP "needs"... we can only offer subjective opinions

Last edited by BigMackCam; 03-09-2020 at 05:06 PM.
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