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10-20-2010, 07:12 AM   #1
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Lens Tech clear up

So what the biggest difference in a 16-45mm lens over the standard 18-55mm kit? I gather the biggest will be the f/stop capability of the lens, which appears to go bigger than 3.5 in the kit.

However, it seems that in focal length you only get the 2mm wider advantage from the kit, which can still do 45mm.

Am I on point here or way off base? Feel free to enlighten me!

Thanks.

10-20-2010, 07:46 AM   #2
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The main difference, as you pointed out, is the fixed aperture. The 2mm difference is actually quite significant at the wider end, but so is the 10mm at the wider end. If you do a long of wide-angle photography, the 16-45mm is likely the better choice.

Despite the fixed aperture and more expensive construction of the 16-45mm, the kit lens definitely holds its ground, as it only scores 0.4 points lower in the lens reviews. For its price, I think that's great. Your best bet for more information is to check the lens reviews:

SMC Pentax-DA 16-45mm F4 Lens Reviews - Pentax Lens Review Database
SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL II Lens Reviews - Pentax Lens Review Database

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10-20-2010, 07:49 AM   #3
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The results from a the 16-45 will be much better than the 18-55.
10-20-2010, 09:52 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Despite the fixed aperture and more expensive construction of the 16-45mm, the kit lens definitely holds its ground, as it only scores 0.4 points lower in the lens reviews.
QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
The results from a the 16-45 will be much better than the 18-55.
And here is the basic conflict: data that shows close equivalence VS testimony that one is much better. I tend to trust data over anecdotes. That's part of what led me to a Pentax dSLR: I analyzed and charted DPReview.COM user ratings VS prices of cameras, giving a satisfaction:cost index. You can do something similar with the more-reviewed lenses in the forum's review database.

In fact, maybe Adam can tweak the software here to display such an index per lens. What about it, Adam?

10-20-2010, 10:48 AM   #5
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That is what I suspected. I merely ask because I am searching for the next great purchase for myself. I have yet to master the kit lens, let alone the camera. There are just times where I can't get enough zoom on wildlife shots, but can always walk backwards for the wide landscapes.

As a beginner it is hard to determine what lens one should buy when you aren't sure exactly what ones are best for what you like to shoot.

For me Wildlife, Landscapes, and either street/architecture are definitely the subjects I do the most. I am leaning toward a 70-300mm lens possibly with a Macro option. That seems to be what I would use the most. For the first two genres at least.

Thanks for the clear-up on the original question, appreciate it.
10-20-2010, 11:04 AM   #6
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The apparent sharpness of the 16-45 beats the 18-55 by a good bit IMHO. I think a lot of it is the far superior contrast of the 16-45. It's a visible improvement although the odd direction of zooming takes some getting used to.

When I review something I usually take into account the cost. I might rate the 16-45 an 8 at 300.00 but a 10 if I could get it for 100.00. I've had both and the 16-45 is a noticable improvement on the kit lens. I think that one of the best bang for buck combos is the 16-45 and 55-300. Moderate budget lenses with excellent performance for the money.
10-20-2010, 11:10 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by ProfessTheFresh Quote
.............There are just times where I can't get enough zoom on wildlife shots, but can always walk backwards for the wide landscapes.

.........
For me it's the exact opposite. For probably 80% of the pictures I take, I could get closer if needed, but getting farther away if I didn't have a wide lens ranges from really inconvenient to impossible. For a zoom lens, i have the Sigma 18-250 OS HSM. I took 591 photos on a recent cruise to Alaska using it and my FA 31. PhotoMe shows that for that group of pictures, 71% of my shots were at 50mm or less.

Last edited by Parallax; 10-20-2010 at 12:38 PM.
10-20-2010, 01:13 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Parallax Quote
For a zoom lens, i have the Sigma 18-250 OS HSM. I took 591 photos on a recent cruise to Alaska using it and my FA 31. PhotoMe shows that for that group of pictures, 71% of my shots were at 50mm or less.
As I've said elsewhere, on a recent long (2-month) drive around the SouthWest USA, my DA18-250 did about 80% of the work at a wide distribution of focal lengths. Many of those were in the 35-70 range, which is why I don't use an 18-55 & 60-300 kit much -- I'd be swapping them too much. My next busiest lens was the Zenitar 16/2.8 (especially indoors), then the FA50/1.4 and Nikkor 85/2. I took 25 lenses but those were what I actually used.

@OP:
You have a fine camera, and the kit 18-55 is no slouch, as attested by zillions of brilliant images posted in galleries and the Kit Lens Club here. Get comfortable with those. To shoot longer, consider an inexpensive manual tele, like almost any 135/2.8. There are also many decent-to-great manual zooms in the 60-300 or 70-210 range, CHEAP! Feel free to ask for recommendations.

I'm among those who happen to think that an 18-250 AF is the most flexible single-lens solution, but I supplement it with a good selection of manual primes. Of my 110+ lenses, only 6 are AF. Well, #7 should arrive in a few days. But manual glass sure is fun and cheap. I like cheap.

10-21-2010, 08:34 AM   #9
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Rico,

I also Love cheap!! I'm always open to suggestions from anyone. I haven't mastered the art of exposure and such, but there are times when I can't get the zoom close enough to my subject with the kit lens. This is why I was thinking something that went up to 300mm would be enough for my needs.

Prime example of a time would be a trip to the zoo. Many shots I couldn't get the image I wanted because the subject just wasn't close enough.

Thanks.
10-21-2010, 09:24 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by ProfessTheFresh Quote
Rico,

I also Love cheap!! I'm always open to suggestions from anyone. I haven't mastered the art of exposure and such, but there are times when I can't get the zoom close enough to my subject with the kit lens. This is why I was thinking something that went up to 300mm would be enough for my needs.

Prime example of a time would be a trip to the zoo. Many shots I couldn't get the image I wanted because the subject just wasn't close enough.

Thanks.
PTF, first of all welcome to the forums. Secondly, there are two (relatively) inexpensive telephotos I can recommend. The first is the afore mentioned DA 55-300. I don't own this lens, but I have borrowed it and it has excellent "bang for the buck" quality. The second lens I can recommend is the Pentax A 70-210 F4.0.
I own this lens and IMO it is one of the best 70-200ish lenses out there. It is quite sharp, contrasty, and has very good color rendition. It's bokeh (out of focus areas) are nice and smooth. In addition it has a "macro" feature at 70mm, tho to be truthful I would characterize it as close focus rather than true macro. It's only downsides are that its a manual focus lens and being an older lens, quite a bit heavier than the DA 55-300. Second hand they go for about $50 to $150 depending on condition.

NaCl(good luck in your hunt)H2O
10-21-2010, 05:07 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
For its price, I think that's great.
QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
And here is the basic conflict: data that shows close equivalence VS testimony that one is much better. I tend to trust data over anecdotes. That's part of what led me to a Pentax dSLR: I analyzed and charted DPReview.COM user ratings VS prices of cameras, giving a satisfaction:cost index. You can do something similar with the more-reviewed lenses in the forum's review database.

In fact, maybe Adam can tweak the software here to display such an index per lens. What about it, Adam?
Here's the problem: the price is already factored into the ratings. That's because the score isn't an absolute scale based on some quantitative scale. It's just rate from 1 "poor" to 10 "excellent" (with 5.5 apparently being labeled "good"). As you can see if you scan the pros and cons of cheap and expensive lenses, reviewers naturally factor that in.

If you chart score vs. price, you're just inflating that factor.
10-21-2010, 10:09 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by mattdm Quote
If you chart score vs. price, you're just inflating that factor.
Some one did a while back, but I'm not going to dig it up :-) I had minor issues with the choice of axes and values being used, though I appreciated the effort.....
10-22-2010, 06:39 AM   #13
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I've been looking at the 70-300mm lens options for the past few months, and I keep seeing two brands show up often. That being Sigma & Tamron.

70-300mm F4-5.6 DG Macro - Telephoto Zoom Lenses - SigmaPhoto.com
AF70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD Macro Zoom; Tamron USA, Inc.

Anyone have experience with theses lenses? One brand better than the other?

Thanks.
10-22-2010, 07:47 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by ProfessTheFresh Quote
I merely ask because I am searching for the next great purchase for myself. I have yet to master the kit lens, let alone the camera.
I have both 18-55 II and 16-45 and I can say both are very good lenses. I use 18-55 II with *istDS and 16-45 with K10D. I like excellent portability of DS+18-55 combo, which is lost if I mount 16-45 on my DS (the same would apply to your K-x). Since you are still learning, it's better to have good and portable kit more often with you. You can not practice and learn with your heavy lens+camera combo sitting in a camera bag at home (and heavy cameras with big lenses tend to stay at home more often, everyone could tell you that).

So my advice would be: stick to 18-55 for now and master photography.

Also, you may consider 55-300 instead of 16-45 for now.
10-22-2010, 08:41 AM   #15
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Tamron 17-50mm 2.8 is also worth checking out as it is relatively cheap given the constant, fast aperture, and fine IQ. As for a longer focal length zoom the Pentax 55-300mm would seem to be the best offer in its price class. I have both, and I'm very pleased with them.

Be sure to check out the reviews on this site (Comprehensive Pentax Lens Listings - Pentax Lens Review Database), they are invaluable in finding "the best bang for the buck" kind of lens, as I believe to have done with the above (for what I believe I need, of course). This is another place I highly respect for lens reviews: All Tests / Reviews.

While the above can be bought second hand for significant savings, the real bargains are usually older MF or more manual lenses, where top IQ can be had for a really modest price. These require quite a bit of work for research and finding a good deal (the marketplace in this site, Ebay, etc.), but that can be considered a rewarding pursuit in its own right :-)
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