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01-10-2013, 04:16 PM   #1
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New Member looking for lens advice

Hi all, new member (Nova Scotia) joined to ask for advice.

I'm leaning towards buying a K30 to get back into SLR (had an old Minolta SRT-200, and X-700). I was competent with my old film SLRs, but lately I've just been using a point-n-shoot, which I'm starting to find limiting. I prefer outdoor/camping photography, and I spend a lot of time simply messing about in boats, so weather resistance is an important feature drawing me to the K30. My debate is between getting one zoom (the 18-135WR) or two (18-55 and 50-200, both WR).

Both options cost the same, and the trade-off seems to be between slightly better image quality in the two-zoom system (especially at longer ranges), vs slightly more convenience, and protection in not having to change lenses.

I realize the answer to the lens question will be 'it depends what's important to me'. I'm just trying to figure out how much weight to place on the competing considerations. So here's the long introduction background:

Having two lenses means changing them, possibly in damp conditions. I'm not going to do anything stupid like change lenses in a downpour, But if I'm, say, under an overhang on a drizzly or foggy day, how risky is it to change lenses and break the WR seal on the camera? I got pretty used to changing lenses in less-than-ideal backpacking conditions with the old film gear (hunched over with the lens under my raincoat, that sort of thing). But I get the impression that the electric sensors of dSLRs are much more sensitive to moisture than old film cameras. If so, that leans me towards the one-zoom option (18-135).

On the other hand, when I pixel-peep the test shots (e.g. slrgear.com), I definitely notice that the 18-135 doesn't do quite as well as the other two zooms. I just can't translate these differences into practical results for real photos, since I haven't used dSLR before. Am I right to think that both lenses will be far better than my current point-N-shoot? And neither option will be as good as the the DA* 16-50 that some have raved about (and that I can't afford). So how big is the IQ difference between the lenses I'm considering in the larger sweep of lens quality? Am I worrying about minutiae to even consider it an issue?

Sorry for long post. Hopefully I'll get the K30 and be around for a while. Here's some flava from my past lives.

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01-10-2013, 04:39 PM   #2
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For all practical purposes I think you can consider the IQ to be roughly the same. The 18-135 should be better than the 18-55 throughout the range- at least that's been my experience. The 50-200mm is also not the sharpest tool in the shed at 50mm, but at longer focal lengths it'll outperform the 18-135mm.

Two great things about the 18-135mm are the silent AF and the fast AF speed, which is noticeably better than that of either of the other lenses. If you want image quality, I'd supplement your lineup with a prime later on and you should be all set!

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01-10-2013, 04:45 PM   #3
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Very few pictures suffer due to a lack of resolution quality in modern or classic old lenses. So many other factors overide the final result, that only when you specifically seek ultimate detail as a priority, do I think the marginal improvement of more expensive lenses is worth pursuing. By the way, I think the Minolta SRT is a splendid piece of gear - I have four versions of it.
01-10-2013, 05:03 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by blzbob Quote
Having two lenses means changing them, possibly in damp conditions. I'm not going to do anything stupid like change lenses in a downpour, But if I'm, say, under an overhang on a drizzly or foggy day, how risky is it to change lenses and break the WR seal on the camera? I got pretty used to changing lenses in less-than-ideal backpacking conditions with the old film gear (hunched over with the lens under my raincoat, that sort of thing). But I get the impression that the electric sensors of dSLRs are much more sensitive to moisture than old film cameras. If so, that leans me towards the one-zoom option (18-135).
You won't break the WR for sure. But common sense we know water can go in if you change your lens in down pour, thats for sure
From your description, 18-135 seem like a good option. But if you lean towards one lens solution, have you look into those fixed lens camera like those from Fujifilm?

I would suggest you buy the K30 + the WR 18-55 kit lens to start with, the kit lens in this combo is like just $50.
PENTAX should have a new DA* lens roughly in the 18-135 (or 16-85, not sure) range this year and you can wait for that if you plan to put in the money for the 18-135 WR. I am pretty sure this new DA* lens will be better than the 18-135 WR lens, and maybe couple hundred more.

01-10-2013, 05:42 PM   #5
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Despite what you may have seen with online tests the 18-135 is noticeably better than the 18-55 in the real world. I don't have a 50-200 so I cannot speak to that but it is not really considered all that great. For what you are describing as what you want to do I would go with the 18-135 kit. My wife just upgraded the kit lens on her k-x to the 18-135 and it is obvious even with a quick look which images are from which lens.

If you feel the need for more length later on look at the 55-300 in either DA or DA L forms. It is not WR but then who is using 300mm in the rain anyway?
01-10-2013, 06:03 PM   #6
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I would get the 18-135 and then a 50-200 to cover the WR range.
01-10-2013, 08:07 PM   #7
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I just got my k-30 body only. I am now looking at adding the 18-135 WR to my collection for a walk around lens. that way I don't have to change lenses as often.The less changing ,the less chance of dirt and missing the shot I want because I have the wrong focal length on at the time.
01-11-2013, 03:30 AM   #8
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The 18-135 is definitley better choice.

01-11-2013, 06:09 AM   #9
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I got the 18-55 kit lens and regret it. Wish I got the 135 and now have to fork out cash for it (not that this kit isn't dearer anyway). But I just bought my first lens (sigma 10-20mm) so the other walk around lens will have to wait. Maybe if there is a DA* on the way I might splurge on it?
01-11-2013, 06:40 PM   #10
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Thanks

Hi All,

Thanks for the feedback, looking like the one-zoom option when I finally take the plunge. More hunting on the fora and I've found a few other closely related threads that tilt to the same conclusion. I did think I was overanalyzing the test patterns, and there's little doubt that the 18-135 will be on my camera in my hand in the field. But since I was comparing similarly priced options, it seemed like a good idea to make sure I spend that money the best way possible.

I'm still trying to 'calibrate risk' to a dSLR compared to a film SLR where moisture (as opposed to actual water) is concerned. I wasn't worried about damaging the water seal changing lenses, just breaking the seal in the sense of opening it such that humidity, fog etc can get in. With film cameras you just did-yer-best. With digital, I wonder is my best good enough?
01-11-2013, 07:05 PM   #11
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https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/mini-challenges-games-photo-stories/10402...ml#post2089919

These pictures are with the 18-55. I really can't see what objective reasons there are to consider this an inferior lens.
01-12-2013, 10:43 AM   #12
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Bob, I have the K7 with an assortment of lens and I am tending to stay loaded with the DA 18-135 WR as it covers most shooting situations. Quick and quite focus. Search on, DA 18-135 WR, show what it can do. Many pics and comments from users of said lens. Welcome to the forum. Your pics at the beginning of this thrread are a good start. Looking forward to seeing more of your work soon. Cliff

Last edited by usn ret; 01-12-2013 at 10:46 AM. Reason: Correct grammar
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