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12-16-2013, 05:34 PM   #1
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Hi guys. I'm new here, from Germany (inc. questions :)

Hi everybody,

So, I've finally registered. Started with Pentax something about 5 years ago with a quick buy and sell of the K200D. I wasn't ready for a DSLR yet. Almost 2 years ago then, I've brought the K-5 with the 18-135. I love it, and mainly use it for travelling.

To try new things, I've shot a cheap, old, but very nice M 50mm 1.7 some 1.5 years ago. Really like it, and use it for boring family occations. However, I more and more miss the AF.

I'm thinking in total of 3 options right now:
1) A wide angle lens, maybe the Sigma 8-16 or the Sigma 10-20 (any of both).
2) Replace the M 50 1.7 with the 'new' DA 50 1.8, due to the AF,
OR 3) get a 35mm, either the 2.4 AL or the 2.8 macro limited.

The whole problem is: I basically only have two purposes for my camera, which are travel (backpacking, to come is a trip through South America [hopefully]) and family events.

I'm simply unsure of several factors:
* How would I value a wide angle lens for travelling?
* I assume a 35mm AND a 50mm lens, together with the 18-135, are too much for travelling, so I would reduce to one. The 35mm macro 2.8 seems to be great, due to the macro. But I've never had a macro lens and I don't know whether or not I'll use that. If I don't, the 35 2.4 is the better deal.
* For family events, I really like the extreme bokeh of my M 50 1.7 -- I wouldn't want to buy a 35mm if I'd lose that fine potential for great family occation photos.

I'm not assuming there to be answers for me right away, but with more and more time in this board I hope to find a way of how to progress (e.g.: which lens to get first, or if I at all need another lens to my 18-135)..

All the best,
Haggis

12-16-2013, 07:15 PM   #2
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Hi and welcome

what lens depends on what you want to shoot.
have a look at the exif data on your photo's,

are they mostly at the wide end of your 18-135? if so, you might like a wide angle.
if they're mostly around one focal length, maybe get a prime close to that length.

you will probably want to look at the lens reviews and photos shot with each lens you are considering, that will give you an idea of their strengths and weaknesses

You should also look at the second hand lenses in the marketplace which can save you some money.

Good luck with your search (and post some photos too )
12-17-2013, 06:43 AM   #3
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The wide angle lenses - and moreso the ultra-wide-angle lenses (UWA) give a very different perspective. They'll have substantial distortion on the wide end. At the long end, they're probably still going to have a wider field of view than the 18mm on the 18-135.

I have a similar kit. the 18-135 for general walkaround, a 10-17 fisheye because it's REALLY fun, a Sigma 28mm f1.8 macro for close photo work and low-light work, some various 50mm manuals, and a 55-300 for longer work.

A 35 or 28mm or 24mm type lens will give you a good "eye view" perspective. Most are pretty nice lenses. You can set your 18-135 to that range then see whether you like the perspective. If you don't really need the very close focus of a macro you can look for the DA35mm f2.4 "fantastic plastic" lens which gets lots of nice press.

I have rented the Sigma 8-16. It's really nice and it's one I'd like to buy. It has an interesting forced perspective effect with a foreground subject.
12-17-2013, 09:37 AM   #4
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Thanks for your responses. Most of my (favorite) pictures are around 18-20mm, then gradually decreasing in number / focal length. Hardly one is at 135mm, that's why I ruled out anything above 135mm for me (although it might definitely be nice sometimes, but guess I'll just have to make compromises when travelling).

It is probably a good idea to check on christmas whether I'd prefer a fixed 35mm or 50mm... Having just observed a house fly landing on my desk, maybe the 35mm 2.8 Macro in combination with the 18-135 and an UWA would be optimal for my purposes. I'll have to see

12-17-2013, 04:04 PM   #5
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Welcome to the forum you've had loads of good advice already, but I would urge you to maybe reconsider keeping the 50mm F1.7 as it's a cracking wee lens.
12-18-2013, 06:32 AM   #6
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To me, 50mm indoors is too tight. Good for portraits, though.
28-35 is a good range indoors. If that's important, it's where to look. There are plenty of good options for short zooms and primes.

But if you really want to do insect macros, you should look longer - 100mm range.
12-18-2013, 02:51 PM   #7
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Thanks both of you. You've addressed two of the four questions that I can cover without having to buy a new lens and which are probably quite important for the decision:

1) Is the 18-135 at 135mm sufficient for my needs regarding macro?
2) If I fix the 18-135 to 35mm or 50mm for indoors, which do I prefer?
3) How much is the difference between the apartures of 1.7 and 2.4 to me? (I can check that with the M 50mm 1.7)
4) How do I like the 18-135 regarding sharpness? (If I compare it to the M 50 1.7)

Once I've answered those four questions, I should have a way better base.....
12-18-2013, 03:28 PM   #8
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Hi Haggis, welcome to the forums.

1: No, the 18-135 has a 0,24x magnification, which is nowhere near 1:1 like the DA35ltd macro.
2: I guess that will be 35mm because a: it`s wider, so you can get more in the frame and b: it`s likely that 35mm has a wider aperture than 50mm on that lens (that I don`t know for sure)
3: Allmost a stop slower, which means that if you shot your M50 at F1.7 on iso 100 needs 1 second, the DA35 2.4 needs either 2 seconds or iso 200 to get the same shutterspeed
4: Usually zooms are no match for primes regarding sharpness, and the M50 is really sharp.

I don`t know...if the majority of your shots is around the 18-20mm range, maybe a DA21ltd F3.2 or the new HD DA20-40 F4 combined with a DA50mm might be an option. You`re not gonna match the bokeh of the M50 with one of the 35mm`s.
There is also an all-in-one package, the DA*16-50 but that`s big and heavy and it`s AFreputation isn`t very good (but my copy works perfect en delivers very good IQ)

PS: Doesn`t your name resemble some obscure scottish dish?

12-19-2013, 06:27 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by haggis Quote
Thanks both of you. You've addressed two of the four questions that I can cover without having to buy a new lens and which are probably quite important for the decision:

1) Is the 18-135 at 135mm sufficient for my needs regarding macro?
2) If I fix the 18-135 to 35mm or 50mm for indoors, which do I prefer?
3) How much is the difference between the apartures of 1.7 and 2.4 to me? (I can check that with the M 50mm 1.7)
4) How do I like the 18-135 regarding sharpness? (If I compare it to the M 50 1.7)

Once I've answered those four questions, I should have a way better base.....

You're set to answer the right questions. Put the 18-135 through its ropes - check focus accuracy etc, check resolution at various lengths.
I use it as a walkaround lens. I'll try to get insect pictures in the neighborhood - bumblebees etc. so I can positively ID species. I've found it's really pretty good around 70-100mm. It doesn't have the macro capability of the 100mm macro, but that's not taking anything away from the 18-135, it's a general purpose lens. As such, it's tough to make big comparisons with prime lenses BUT you can figure out its sweet spots.

For instance, I bought a Promaster 28-105 along with a camera body for very inexpensive cost. At 70mm this lens is exceptionally good.
12-19-2013, 09:03 AM   #10
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Thanks! Well, I really like the 18-135 and especially for travelling -- which is the main purpose of why I bought my K-5 -- it is great. I'm overall looking for a good prime to get THE travel combination for my needs (light and versatile).

TenZ, that exactly is my problem. With 1) the 35 2.8 is >> 35 2.4 = 50 1.8, with 2) it is 35 2.4 > 35 2.8 >> 50 1.8 and 3) is 50 1.8 >> 35 2.4 > 35 2.8 ... It will all depend on how I value the different attributes if I choose only ONE lens to accompany my 18-135... I really have no idea yet, had no time to get on the questions yet, but will give an update once I'm so far

It will be like TER-OR said, I need to get to know my 18-135 better and it's boundaries.

QuoteOriginally posted by TER-OR Quote
I'll try to get insect pictures in the neighborhood - bumblebees etc. so I can positively ID species.
Do you use the 18-135 for that? Or were you referring to the 35 2.8 Macro?

PS: Yes, haggis is a scottish dish. Some people also say it's a certain animal ^^. I "discovered" that name years ago and really liked it. Don't really know why
12-19-2013, 09:08 AM   #11
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The best lens I have for insects is my FA100mm macro. All the Pentax 100mm macros are great. BUT the lens you have is the lens you use - and the 18-135 will suffice for these images. The shorter lenses (I have a Sigma 28mm macro) require you to get too close. I'll also use the 55-300, but have to remind myself the minimum focus is a bit farther. It's not bad for zooming in on butterflies etc, though.

I've taken images of the same subject - flowers, mostly because they don't move - with the 18-135 and the FA100. Yes, it's a totally unfair comparison and you can tell the difference. That said, the 18-135 at 100mm takes a nice image.

Identifying bumblebee species requires a good shot of the abdomen stripes, the back spot and if you can, the head. That should let you know the sex and species. Males are a little easier - they tuck in to sleep in mid-afternoon beneath leaves or on stems, and wake up later in the morning once the sun hits them. The worker females usually sleep in the nests. "Sleepy bees" are one of the best ways to spot and ID a species, since they don't move around.
12-20-2013, 06:35 AM   #12
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Great, thanks. I will check this out!
12-20-2013, 07:18 AM   #13
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One Good Prime?

Hello haggis, welcome to the forum!
My single favorite walk-around lens is the DA 35mm f/2.4 AL, aka the 'Plastic Fantastic'. There's a dedicated thread here;
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/122-lens-clubs/196639-da35-f2-4-plastic-fantastic-club.html
And if the first two pages don't sell you on the versatility of this lens, nothing will!
35mm on the APS-C format equates to roughly 52mm on a full-frame format, the focal length that was considered a 'normal' lens back in the 35mm film days. Although some will disagree, it was believed to match the normal human field of view, ie, how we 'see' the world, our field of vision. Perhaps, looking carefully at the photos on the linked thread will reinforce this theory, or you might prefer a wider angle, or longer FL.
There are very few lenses that are good for both scenics, portraits and can also be used for close-ups, low-light work, group photos or candid 'street' work. IMO, the DA35 comes closest.
No, it's not as razor-sharp at closeups as a dedicated macro lens would be. I've always maintained that a true macro lens is an essential purchase if you're serious about macro. The 100mm (roughly) f/2.8 1:1 Macro, made by several companies, is best for insects and flowers.
The other plastic fantastic, the DA 50mm f/1.8 has softer bokeh and a nice telephoto 'look' for tighter portraits, but is a bit long (in focal length) for indoor shooting and group shots.
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/122-lens-clubs/233786-fantastic-fifty-da-50mm-f-1-8-a.html
The DA 35mm f/2.4 bokeh is pretty good wide-open, but gets a little jittery stopped down past about f/4.0.
Hope this helps!
Ron
12-21-2013, 07:13 AM   #14
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Hi rbefly,
thanks for your input on the two lenses. It won't be an easy decision for me
Cheers,
haggis
12-21-2013, 07:46 AM   #15
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If you want "extreme bokeh" and close focusing in one lens, consider the Sigma 28mm f/1.8 DG EX Macro.

Brilliant lens whose only downside is its relatively big size. Not ideal for shy critters as you have to get very close, but great for flowers and other things that don't get away quickly.

Regarding wide-angle lenses: I wouldn't want to be without my Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 anymore. I love to use it indoors and outdoors.
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