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10-13-2010, 08:08 AM   #1
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Lens for K-x, sample image from kit

Hello,
I recently bought the Pentax K-x. I like the camera so far and would like to buy a lens in addition to the kit lens. I've read some of the lens reviews on this site but am a bit confused. I want to buy a wide angle prime lens, probably an old manual because my budget is low. Judging from the kit lens, to my eye, it works better at 50 mm as seen in the second image below than at a wide angle in the top image- there, the images are not sharp enough. Any quick tips?
There seem to be so many acronyms- will any lens at all work on my K-x or do I need an adapter for, say, an M lens? I'd like to just purchase something on ebay as I'm going on a trip soon- I'll be in Israel and want a good, wide, sharp lens to take in landscapes that won't cost me too much. Thanks.

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10-13-2010, 08:27 AM   #2
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https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-beginners-corner-q/110658-using-ma...x-dslrs-f.html

Any K-mount lens will work without an adapter. Lenses without the A setting only work in M mode with stop down metering. With the K-x you don't need to use the Green Button in M mode with a manual lens, you can use the AV+- button to do the same thing. This lets you use the Green Button for something else.

An inexpensive wide angle, on APS, doesn't really exist for Pentax. The DA 16-45 would probably be what you are looking for.
10-13-2010, 08:37 AM   #3
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I am going to suggest something mildly heretical: buy an old K-mount 24mm manual focus, auto-aperture lens by a third party manufacturer, such as a Vivitar or a Sigma.

24mm is where the FOV will start looking wide; 28mm is still normal IMO. But 24mm is also about as wide as the old glass gets without being either obviously distorted or crazy expensive.

You shouldn't pay more than $100 for your off-brand 24mm. You would pay about the same for a Pentax A 28, which would be sharper, but not truly wide on APSC.
10-13-2010, 08:51 AM   #4
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Also consider forgoing wide angle at all and shoot at normal or telephoto and use panoramic stitching software.

Hugin - Panorama photo stitcher

edit photos | Adobe Photoshop Elements 9: features

10-13-2010, 08:54 AM   #5
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I don't know what do you mean by inexpensive. But the least expensive usable ultrawide lens may be more expensive than the camera itself, depending on a market.
Third party 24mm lens could easily be worse than the kit lens, I saw an example already.
16-45 could be great alternative and possibly a best solution. It is as wide as you can get without stretching the price too much or compromising the quality.
10-13-2010, 09:05 AM   #6
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Thanks for replies. Maybe my question is whether at a budget of, say, $150 or less I can go better than the kit lens- as I said the top sample was taken at the widest setting on the kit lens. I think it's OK but I'd like to get a sharper image. I want a prime because it's small and portable and I'm about to travel. Could someone explain the advantage of the DA 16-45? Isn't that too much like the kit lens which is DA 18-55?
10-13-2010, 09:32 AM   #7
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OK, this is a comment I should have made first thing: do you have a lens hood for your kit lens? If you don't, you could pick up a cheap 52mm wide-angle or wide-normal zoom hood, and see what difference it makes. It is a real shame that the DA L lenses ship without hoods, probably because it would be too expensive to make all the colours.

On the 16-45 -- this lens is slightly out of your price range (used, $250) but is better than your kit in three ways. i) constant f/4 aperture, ii) extra 2mm at the wide end -- a bigger difference than you think, and iii) just a better designed, "higher class" lens overall. If you don't have much to spend, and aren't especially interested in long glass or in prime lenses, then this would be a natural next step.

On wide primes: I have seen comparisons at 20mm setting the kit against other zooms to 20mm primes. From those comparisons I learned that a Voigtlander colour skopar or a Pentax M 20mm would be the first primes that represent a real step up from the kit at this FL, and they are expensive enough that I would rather save for a DA 15 Ltd.

But I thought the third-party lenses were stronger at 24mm. They are a stop or so wider in aperture, which should help for some applications. Can anyone point to a link that makes the comparison? I know this is near the kit lens' sweet spot, but I still thought a Sigma Super Wide, say, would do better.

That leads to my last tip: don't use your kit at 18mm. Back off even to 20mm, and the distortion should be mostly gone. Move to 24mm, and you should be getting pretty much the best your lens has to offer. So maybe try that and a hood, before deciding on an upgrade. :-)

Last edited by Impartial; 10-13-2010 at 11:35 AM.
10-13-2010, 09:42 AM   #8
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I think you need to learn how to use the k-x first. Both images you show have been improperly exposed and I know that kit lens can do better than that.

10-13-2010, 10:40 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ahab Quote
I think you need to learn how to use the k-x first. Both images you show have been improperly exposed and I know that kit lens can do better than that.
I agree. Learn the lens and camera first before you attempt Manual lenses or you will run into dissatisfaction when you don't understand why your pictures don't come out as expected.
10-13-2010, 11:21 AM   #10
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Your first picture has the focus plane too close to the camera (look at the closest electric pole on the left, it's in focus) and the picture is about 2/3 of a stop underexposed to make things darker to see . Besides, may be there was either some camera shake or you were not on a stable platform .
10-13-2010, 04:56 PM   #11
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This may sound a bit naive on my part, but what's wrong with the second photo? I thought that it looked pretty good. You're saying that it is underexposed, but to me that contributes to the mood.

In the first image I see what you are saying. The blue in the sky seems a bit dark. The focus point is not as evident to my eyes.

I would like to learn to how to have a "technically" critical eye when it comes to photos.

BTW, I just got a Kx last Friday and I've got a lot to learn.
10-13-2010, 05:12 PM   #12
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Thanks for the tips. I submitted the two pictures because I thought the second at 50mm looked a lot better than the first. I just checked the specs- the first was shot at 28mm at f8 1/650 and ISO 200. Is the f stop too low for sharp depth of field? Apologies for improper terms.
10-13-2010, 05:20 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by mbellovin Quote
Thanks for the tips. I submitted the two pictures because I thought the second at 50mm looked a lot better than the first. I just checked the specs- the first was shot at 28mm at f8 1/650 and ISO 200. Is the f stop too low for sharp depth of field? Apologies for improper terms.
How about "the wide aperture results in a shallow depth of field" -- except that f8 isn't really all that wide.

I wonder, though, what percentage of (unintentionally) "soft" DSLR shots are due to a combination of OOF and shallow DoF. I expect it is a high percentage . . .
10-13-2010, 05:34 PM   #14
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Several quick observations:

- don't use a UV or 'protection' filter on your kits lens. It can severely degrade your image quality and AF. It is just not worth it;

- always use a lens hood outdoors and even indoors if there is a lot of directional light about;

- learn the kit lens. According to all the reviews and tests (and personal experience), the lens is very good in general but is at it's sharpest when stopped down a tad to f5.6 - f9.

- make sure the lens correction features of the K-x (distortion correction and chromatic aberration) are turned on. This may help improve contrasty scenes and scenes shot at wide angle extremes.

- for easy (or extreme) wide angle without a wide angle lens, panorama or 'stitching' software, as others have suggested, is an excellent solution. I find the free Microsoft Image Composite Editor (ICE) is EXCELLENT for this:
Microsoft Research Image Composite Editor (ICE)
10-13-2010, 06:34 PM   #15
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Again, thanks. I'll make a go first with the kit lens- I know I have a lot to learn! Starting with the nice photo seller who made me buy a UV filter for my camera- I forgot that they can degrade the image and I've been leaving it on.
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