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08-02-2014, 01:40 PM   #1
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Hello! Building my K-3 kit - need you help!

Hi all!

I am recent convert from Canon to Pentax and I must say the activity on this site has blown me away!

I am planning to purchase a K-3 along with a new set of lenses and wished to seek your advise and expert opinion.

DXOMark has recently published their choice of best lenses for K-3 .. Best lenses for Pentax K-3: Recommended wide angle, telephoto and standard lenses - DxOMark

My goal is own a decent walk round lens and I am inching towards the 16-45 but would have preferred the higher reach of a 18-135 or perhaps even a 18-250. I am also looking for a good macro lens that wouldn't burn a hole in my pocket... preferably under 350 USD. In a nut shell, I am looking to cover the 16-200 range and don't wish to go beyond that (I don't do a lot of birding).

I look forward to your suggestions and any helpful links within / outside the market that would help me with my purchase.

Regards,
Vishal

08-02-2014, 02:07 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by vishalv Quote
My goal is own a decent walk round lens and I am inching towards the 16-45 but would have preferred the higher reach of a 18-135 or perhaps even a 18-250. I am also looking for a good macro lens that wouldn't burn a hole in my pocket... preferably under 350 USD. In a nut shell, I am looking to cover the 16-200 range and don't wish to go beyond that (I don't do a lot of birding).
One of the best walkaround lenses currently out there is the Sigma 17-70mm (Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 Contemporary - Introduction - In-Depth Reviews). The Pentax 18-135mm is also great, but it's a bit slower and nowhere near as good in the corners. Plus, the Sigma doubles as a hand-holdable macro lens.

As for macro, the most cost-effective option would be the Tamron 90mm F2.8:
Tamron 90mm Macro vs Pentax 100mm WR: Review - Introduction - In-Depth Reviews

If you want to go cheaper, you will probably have to sacrifice AF (which isn't a bit deal) and go second-hand. Still, 1:1 macro lenses tend to be rather pricey.

In addition to those lenses, I would also recommend picking up a nice prime like a DA 35mm F2.4 or a DA 50mm F1.8. Then, later on, you'll want to spoil yourself with some Limiteds

Adam
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08-02-2014, 02:58 PM   #3
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Thanks for your response, Adam!

Oh yeah, I totally have the 35mm 2.4 on my list... the 50mm offers a larger aperture and better sharpness, but on a cropped sensor 35mm looks more 'right' than an 50mm. I am sure there's a thread with great insights on this somewhere!

Regards,
Vishal
08-02-2014, 03:08 PM   #4
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I'd consider the da 35 f2.8 limited macro. The image quality it a little better than the f2.4, and it's insanely sharp (and does macro - although the focal length rules out chasing insects to some extent). It's one of those lenses that will make you really appreciate the strengths of pentax IMO.

08-02-2014, 03:09 PM   #5
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I've seen some pretty good images shot by folks here with the 18-135. Another plus is that it's weather resistant.

I think the DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 is a better bet than the 16-45. It's more expensive but I think it's worth the difference. Mine is rather stuck on my K-5.

You'll have to keep an eye on the Marketplace, eekBay, or KEH, for a good used macro lens. Except for my DA*s and Limiteds, all my lenses are used so I wouldn't worry about getting a used lens.

Just remember, we LOVE to spend YOUR money.

BTW, welcome to the forum!
08-02-2014, 03:30 PM   #6
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For a walk around lens, go with the 18-135. The WR is indispensable... and for IQ it's the best super zoom out there. By super zoom I'm meaning zooms with at least 5:1 zoom ratios. The 17-70 is a little over 3:1. It should be better, and it is, but used as an all around lens, I frequently have my 18-135 zoomed out to 135mm, Having the 17-70 means you need something to cover the extra length, and that means two lenses not one.

The 18-135 is soft at the border at the long end, but still has excellent centre sharpness, so great for close ups and macros. But if you're looking for a compliment with macro, I'd say put a Tamron 90 ƒ2.8 macro with it. 325 US from hess guys... New Tamron AF 90mm F 2 8 Di SP Macro Lens for Pentax DSLR 4960371004457 | eBay, I've bought several lenses from them. Add those to the 35 and 50 you're already considering, and all you need is the DA 15 ltd and DA 21 ltd and you are so laughing, although it sounds like you might also like something like the 55-300, which I'd recommend not because you are a birder, but because going beyond the 18-135, it just seems to be the best most reasonable choice. I also have a Sigma 18-250, which is handy.. but it's not WR, and while decent, it definitely suffers from superzomm syndrome (if you use it at it's worst focal length, you'll know you used it at it's worst focal length when you look at the pictures) far more than the 18-135.

To shave a bit off the cost of the 15 ltd and 21 ltd, you could also look at the new Sigma 18-35 ƒ1.8 which looks to be an awesome lens for fast plus wide angle.

Did I mention that the Tamron 90 is really sharp. Comparable to the Sigma 70 or Pentax 100 at a fraction of the cost. The build quality might not be up with the other two, but unless you're a lens basher, you won't ever wear it out anyway. I bought mine second hand for under $300. If you do need a telephoto shot sharp edge to edge and you have the 18-135, you can usually solve the problem by putting on the Tammy.

Last edited by normhead; 08-02-2014 at 03:40 PM.
08-02-2014, 03:56 PM   #7
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Start with the 18-135, it is an excellent all purpose lens, and just about all my wife uses. It is not perfect, but you will need to spend a lot more to get better with the same features.

QuoteOriginally posted by vishalv Quote
Oh yeah, I totally have the 35mm 2.4 on my list.
There is one for sale on the marketplace right now if you are interested: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/24-photographic-equipment-sale/268607-sal...m-f-2-4-a.html
08-02-2014, 05:18 PM   #8
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I second the 18-135. I picked mine up in March, and I've been pleased with it. I was shooting mainly primes before I acquired it, but now I spend about 50% of my shooting time with it. i've posted a review, and I tag all my photos on Flickr with the lens ID.

08-02-2014, 05:50 PM   #9
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If you have a fixed amount of money to spend, you would be way better off buying a K-50 and a couple of really nice lenses. The differences in the cameras is much smaller than the differences in great lenses.

The K-3 with 18-135 is around $1550, the K-50 with 18-135 is $850, leaving around $700 for nice lenses. For that kind of money, get the DA35mm Limited macro, used ($450) and the 50mm f1.8 ($180). Save up a little more and add something wide, too. The DA15 if you want really wide, the 21 if it's wide enough for you.

As for walk around, the 18-135 is ideal if WR is important to you. If not, the Sigma 17-70 has a nicer look to the images.

Last edited by Kozlok; 08-02-2014 at 05:57 PM.
08-02-2014, 06:28 PM   #10
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The WR on my 18-135 has saved me out in the aim a few times, plus my copy is pixel peeping sharp. I'd recommend it. If you want fast on the wide end the new Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 is nice, fast, and sharp as can be. I like mine. For the long end I and budget friendly I'd go the DA 55-300 which can be had WR, which with the K3 gives you a great range of weather resistance. If you don't mind big lenses on the long end the Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 is good enough to be able to crop from, and the Sigma 150-500 really reaches out there.
08-02-2014, 07:05 PM   #11
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Can you check your stats on the focal lengths you most often shoot at now when you're "walking around" - have a look at your keepers and also your favourite images. If most of those images are below 80mm, then get the Sigma 17-70. If, however, you find that you also like shooting at longer focal lengths, then start with the 18-135. I shoot a lot in the 60-130 range, so my 18-135 is my walkaround lens. I would also add that I frequently get compliments on the image quality of the photos taken with my WR 55-300 lens. I would recommend it (combined with the 18-135 or Sigma 17-70) over the 18-250.
08-03-2014, 04:41 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by vishalv Quote
Building my K-3 kit - need you help!
Welcome, you've come to the right place, we've all got Gold Medals here for helping folk spend their money.
08-03-2014, 06:55 AM   #13
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Vishal Bhai
Welcome from a fellow desi!
Since u r just starting out with pentax get a 18-135 used for abt US $300 from marketplace. The weather resistence and zoom range are more than good enough for the average user.
Also get the 50mm 1.8 used for US$ 120 again from marketplace.
I purchased the 35mm f2.4 as it was highly praised. It is not that great compared to the 50mm 1.8 for the money.
The wider aperture of the 50mm coupled with k3's AF means you can take awesome non-flash images where other cameras simply give up.
This certainly is one of the best online places apart from dpreview for photography!
08-04-2014, 01:37 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by frogoutofwater Quote
Can you check your stats on the focal lengths you most often shoot at now when you're "walking around" - have a look at your keepers and also your favourite images. If most of those images are below 80mm, then get the Sigma 17-70. If, however, you find that you also like shooting at longer focal lengths, then start with the 18-135. I shoot a lot in the 60-130 range, so my 18-135 is my walkaround lens. I would also add that I frequently get compliments on the image quality of the photos taken with my WR 55-300 lens. I would recommend it (combined with the 18-135 or Sigma 17-70) over the 18-250.
Excellent suggestion. I ran though my inventory and noticed that I tend to shoot mostly between 40 and 110. Quite surprisingly I do not have of wide angle shots nor do I shoot beyond 200. I do have a lot of keepers shot using a 50mm prime as well. I guess 18-135 with a 50mm prime is the way to go

I am getting what looks like deal for a 40mm 2.8 limited. How would you stack it up with the DA 50mm 1.8 ? Apart for the obvious different in the focal length, any advantages of one over the other?

Looking forward to your response.

Regards,
Vishal

---------- Post added 08-04-14 at 02:39 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by danny09 Quote
Vishal Bhai
Welcome from a fellow desi!
Thank you Danny bhai! I am glad to be part of this teaming and helpful groups of like-minded individuals.

Regards,
Vishal
08-04-2014, 03:01 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by vishalv Quote
I am getting what looks like deal for a 40mm 2.8 limited. How would you stack it up with the DA 50mm 1.8 ?
Jump on it. The autofocus is so much quicker (due to the tiny size), that only your composition will let you down. The number of keepers tends to be higher than with the 50. The bokeh is stunning (you don't get as much bokeh as the 50, but you get a real nice 3d pop to what you are shooting). It's sharp, real sharp. It's also wafer thin, which makes the k3+40 combo extremely portable. The build quality is exceptional. It's basically the smallest nugget of awesome you've ever seen.

The downside is that you'll realise why everyone raves about the limiteds, and before long the 40 will be reuinited with its 4 brothers, followed by its 3 older sisters. (Oh, and the lens hood/cap is a bit shit in real world use - although a 99p plastic cap will fix that problem!)

---------- Post added 08-04-14 at 11:42 PM ----------

Just to add to that....

The da 50 can be a little skittish with its autofocus. It's a good lens, but it has it's flaws. I don't trust it to autofocus properly in low light, so usually manually focus it. With care it can deliver good results, but between the 40 and 50, get the 40.

The 40 always delivers. The f-stop doesn't matter. The focal distance doesn't matter. It always focusses perfectly (which actually makes it quite usable in low light IMHO). It never flares. CA is non existent. Colour and contrast are amazing. It's just a brilliant lens.

I rate the 35 & 40 limiteds just as highly as each other. The advantage of the 35 is the added bonus of macro, the 40 has the advantage in focussing speed and a smoother bokeh.

The da 50 and da 35 f2.4 are low cost lenses that are very good. The limiteds are exceptional. You will notice the difference.
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