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12-10-2010, 05:52 AM   #1
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Best Starter lens under $550 Aus

Already have my Body was needing some opnions on the best allrounder starting lens and I have a budget of under $550 AusD Thanks.

12-10-2010, 06:01 AM   #2
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Not sure what you are looking for, but for that price, I think the options that would be reasonable would be: Sigma 17-70 (there are two versions, a newer version that has HSM and OS and an older version that has neither of these), Tamron 17-50 f2.8, and the Pentax 16-45 f4. I have seen good photos with all of these, but the Tamron 17-50 seems to have some of the best results, although it may be prone to front focus/back focus issues.

Not sure what prices are like in Australia, but the other thing is to watch the marketplace for lenses in your price range. I have been very satisfied with my purchases through there and often you can find older, gently used equipment for decent prices.
12-10-2010, 06:24 AM   #3
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Depeds what kind of pictures and conditions you have in mind really. To suggest something general purpose to build around: a second hand copy of the newer version of the 18-55mm kit lens would seem like a great budget piece to get started with, you could probably fit in a similarily obtained DAL 55-300mm too. The latter is quite well regarded, and the kit lens is actually very decent for its price. These give you a comprehensive focal range to try things out and determine what you like / need in that regard to feed future buying decisions (if any, some might find this combo in itself perfect for their needs :-)
12-10-2010, 07:15 AM   #4
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How much is the Pentax DA 17-70 F4 down under? If it falls within your budget, this is one of the best walk-around lenses. It has a nice wide angle coverage and is long enough for classic portraits.

- Itai

12-10-2010, 07:47 AM   #5
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What type shooting do you do?
Do you need the extra stop (f4 to 2.8) for lowlight situations?
What body do you have?
I know some bodies have the ability to adjust front/back focus such as the K20D, and the K-7.
And I would assume the K-5 as well.
I've never used the DA 17-70 f4 or the Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4 but currently have both the DA 16-45mm and the 17-50mm Tamron.
Out of this bunch, the 16-45mm is the best price bargain IMO.
I personally have both the DA 16-45mm and the Tamron 17-50mm.
One thing to keep note of is that the 16-45mm is longest at it's wide setting and shortest at it's long. The 16-45mm has quick shift. Tamron does not.
I purchased the Tamron mainly for indoor shots and so far, it's great!
The 16-45mm might be just a tad sharper but it just might be me.
Outdoors, these two lens deliver equally.
I would say go for the Tamron if you absolutely need the extra stop and have a body that can adjust front/back focus problems.
Hope this helps!
12-10-2010, 10:12 AM   #6
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I've owned both the 17-70mm/2.8-4.0 sigma (non-hsm) and the 24-60/2.8 with excellent results. The 17-70mm is quite newbie friendly with great reach into the wide-angle. The close-focusing ability is also extremely helpful - it is able to focus at objects only a few cm from the front lens element (1:2.3 macro ability IIRC).
12-10-2010, 10:49 AM   #7
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Your interests should dictate where you go but if you are not yet sure, the 16-45 is a great start. Should have enough change for a few filters out of 550 aussie.

The 16-45 combined with a square filter system is a killer starter set up for landscape .... excellent image quality throughout the focal range.
12-10-2010, 12:23 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by jolepp Quote
Depends what kind of pictures and conditions you have in mind really. To suggest something general purpose to build around: a second hand copy of the newer version of the 18-55mm kit lens would seem like a great budget piece to get started with, you could probably fit in a similarily obtained DAL 55-300mm too. The latter is quite well regarded, and the kit lens is actually very decent for its price. These give you a comprehensive focal range to try things out and determine what you like / need in that regard to feed future buying decisions (if any, some might find this combo in itself perfect for their needs :-)
Agreed on two points:
1. I would suggest the greatest coverage of focal lengths you can afford (maybe even an "all-in-one") and then shoot with it for a few months to see what focal lengths you are using the most. The camera will record this for most lenses, and then you'll have a basis for what you might need in a step-up lens.

2. Used lenses can certainly save you a LOT of money if you find a reputable seller. The marketplace here on PF is a good place to start. Do a little research, and you'll probably find something good. In my life, I think I've only purchased one lens brand new.

Good luck!

12-10-2010, 01:06 PM   #9
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'An all rounder' infers one single lens that can do it all.
I agree that buying second hand will give you a decent lens well within your budget, such as the Pentax DA 18-250 or Tamron 18-250.

A twin lens kit may be good for starters also, if you don't mind changing between 2 lenses, like the 18-55 and 55-300.
Any better and you're going down the road of a 16-45 or Sigma 17-70 or DA 17-70.
Have a look at the forum's lens review database.
12-10-2010, 02:43 PM   #10
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You already received some good advice.

I think that you need to consider carefully what you want to shoot. Another decision will be what series of lesnes to you intend to purchase over the next few years: prime lens, zoom lens, or both.

The prime lenses have typically better IQ for the same price than a zoom, because a zoom lens is a compromise over the focal length range.

An all-around lens is a nice idea, but the prices are not cheap since the Pentax DA18-250mm was discontinued. A 2nd hand Tamron 18-250mm would be a nice all-around lens. (The DA18-250mm is a rebadged Tamron 18-250mm. The Tamron 18-250mm with K-mount tends to be cheaper than the DA18-250mm but the lens is basically identical.)

In terms of prime lenses, within your price range, I have the Tamron 90mm Macro, and the Voigtlander Nokton 58mm: I can recommend both and each one does match your cash flow.

Another option would be the DA40mm. The small size package of the DA40mm is very appealling and the user reviews are good. (In my case I have a Nokton 58mm and a FA31 mm, and the DA40mm would be redundant).


Since you are based in Australia, you may find that the local lens prices are pretty high and you should compare with overseas prices from reputable photo shops. In my case, I purchased 3 out my 4 lenses overseas (Adorama, B&H, Keh). With UPS freight, the prices were 30 to 45% cheaper than in Australia. Food for toughts...

Hope that the comment will assist.
12-11-2010, 05:54 AM   #11
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Thankyou all for your help very much appreciated,
The 2 lenses that seem to be mentioned a fair bit here are both the sigma 17-70 and the pentax 16-45 ill probly go with the sigma as it has a slightly longer range and $90 cheaper.
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