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12-30-2010, 12:24 PM   #1
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Overwhelmed about lens choices

I am letting myself get overwhelmed with making the right choice for purchasing my first lens for my kx. I have the kit lens but want something with more artistic range without breaking the bank. The tamron 28-75 and 55-300 have both been suggested and am fairly certain I have narrowed it down to these. I just don't know which will serve better with exploring the capabilities of my camera. I want to do some low light shooting, interior and outside as well as landscape. Help?

Cjb

12-30-2010, 12:41 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by cjbroadwell Quote
I am letting myself get overwhelmed with making the right choice for purchasing my first lens for my kx. I have the kit lens but want something with more artistic range without breaking the bank. The tamron 28-75 and 55-300 have both been suggested and am fairly certain I have narrowed it down to these. I just don't know which will serve better with exploring the capabilities of my camera. I want to do some low light shooting, interior and outside as well as landscape. Help?

Cjb
The two lenses serve totally different purposes.
The DA55-300 is not the fastest (max aperture f/4-5.8) so not really suitable for low light (yes, you can increase the ISO). Its focal range also doesn't make it the preferred lens for indoors. This lens is intended to get things closer if you can not get closer to the subject yourself.

Not sure which Tamron you're talking about, I assume one with a constant max aperture of 2.8. With the above 'negatives' of the DA55-300, it sounds as the better choice for you. Disadvantage might be that it's not as wide as the kit lens (for landscape overview shots). Set the kit lens to 28mm and check if you can take the shots that you want to take without zooming.
12-30-2010, 12:49 PM   #3
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Tamron has a deal right now for their 18-200mm 3.5-6.3 (? i think) not the best arp' to say the least, but after the $100 rebate its only $189... I just picked one up to try out. Im not a person to buy cheap just so I have it, but 3.5-6.3 is better than no lens at all.
Tamron 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di-II Macro Lens AF014P700 B&H

<<< White Kx here.
12-30-2010, 12:56 PM - 1 Like   #4
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If you are using Window$, use ExposurePlot to analyze which focal lengths you are using the most.

ExposurePlot (former Focalplot)

12-30-2010, 12:59 PM   #5
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What's artistic about these? lol
Go for FA 50/1.4
12-30-2010, 01:14 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by climit Quote
What's artistic about these? lol
Go for FA 50/1.4
You make a fair point.

Everyone has a different idea of what image styles they like and want to emulate. For some, it is ultra-wide or fisheye. For others, macro. Some like portraits and extremely thin depth of field.

The kit lens doesn't really do any of those very well, so here are some good options for interesting lenses that could change your approach:

Ultrawide: something in the 10-20mm zoom range, or a prime of 14 or 15mm.
Macro: available in a number of focal lengths, the most versatile are probably the Tamron 90, Pentax 100, and Sigma 105. All very good, and useful as portrait lenses.
Portrait: a fast zoom in the 50-150 range, or even better a really fast prime such as the 50mm F1.4 suggested above.

An interesting starting point would be a ~100mm macro lens, as they are both faster than your kit lens and suitable for closeups and portraits.
12-30-2010, 01:26 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by cjbroadwell Quote
I am letting myself get overwhelmed with making the right choice for purchasing my first lens for my kx. I have the kit lens but want something with more artistic range without breaking the bank. The tamron 28-75 and 55-300 have both been suggested and am fairly certain I have narrowed it down to these. I just don't know which will serve better with exploring the capabilities of my camera. I want to do some low light shooting, interior and outside as well as landscape. Help?

Cjb
The tamron 28-75 f2.8 will be the ticket for indoor and outdoor versatility and it is a fast lens. As noted by others the 55-300 is too long for indoors and would not do well in low light. The 28-75 is not very wide but the kit lens should be fine for beginning with landscapes.
12-30-2010, 01:55 PM   #8
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Thanks.... I really appreciate your replies.... Even the artsy "climit" ;} I do have a pretty creative eye! I love being able to give others a "new perspective" on the simple.... And ordinary things in life!

12-30-2010, 05:07 PM   #9
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Avoid the $tupidity and keep simple...

Look at the top image here: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/31955-tammy-cl...ml#post1216500 - notice the sharp colors and contrast! It was taken with this... http://www.amazon.com/Tamron-18-250mm-3-5-6-3-Aspherical-Digital/dp/B000IBLMHQwas

When I started out I bought an FA50 1.4 and then a whole slew of other primes. Now I'm pairing it down to a few choice zooms with outstanding image quality. Much more convenient and practical than carrying around two pockets full of primes and switching lenses in the field.
12-30-2010, 05:10 PM   #10
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Avoid the $tupidity and keep simple...

Look at the top image here: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/31955-tammy-cl...ml#post1216500 - notice the sharp colors and contrast! It was taken with this... Amazon.com: Tamron AF 18-250mm F/3.5-6.3 Di-II LD Aspherical (IF) Macro Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras: Camera & Photo (but you need to find one in the Pentax mount)

When I started out I bought an FA50 1.4 and then a whole slew of other primes. Now I'm pairing it down to a few choice zooms with outstanding image quality. Much more convenient and practical than carrying around two pockets full of primes and switching lenses in the field.
12-30-2010, 07:49 PM   #11
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The Pentax 12-24 and Tamron 28-75 would make a nice pair. But used, both would set you back $900.
12-30-2010, 08:31 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by cjbroadwell Quote
I am letting myself get overwhelmed with making the right choice for purchasing my first lens for my kx. I have the kit lens but want something with more artistic range without breaking the bank. The tamron 28-75 and 55-300 have both been suggested and am fairly certain I have narrowed it down to these. I just don't know which will serve better with exploring the capabilities of my camera. I want to do some low light shooting, interior and outside as well as landscape. Help?

Cjb
55-300 is a telezoom, not sure what you wanna do with that... i rarely use tele lens (don't need to)...

the 28-75 is more usable. but you can't really do landscape with that, it's 28 X 1.5 = 42 ish? that's close to a regular 50mm... it's not wide enough. In fact getting wide for landscape is quite hard because of the crop factor (super wide lens cost an arm and a leg).
12-30-2010, 08:49 PM   #13
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A lot of information... I appreciate it all. I believe I will just play with the kit lens for a few days.... Set up the tripod and see the scope of it. Then I will decide what I absolutely MUST have. Is there somewhere/somehow I can get critiques of my work here?
12-30-2010, 09:07 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by cjbroadwell Quote
I am letting myself get overwhelmed with making the right choice for purchasing my first lens for my kx. I have the kit lens but want something with more artistic range without breaking the bank. The tamron 28-75 and 55-300 have both been suggested and am fairly certain I have narrowed it down to these. I just don't know which will serve better with exploring the capabilities of my camera. I want to do some low light shooting, interior and outside as well as landscape. Help?
You already received some good advice. I may add a few comments. Think of

- prime versus zoom lenses

- quality lens versus quantity of lenses

- versatility versus specialised lenses

You may need to consider carefully your lens line-up to optimise your profile. Look at the lens collection of a few Pentaxians. You will note that their lens line-up:
- always including some prime lenses,
- encompass quality lenses (rather than numerous low-quality lenses), &
- combine some versatile lenses (eg zoom) with more specialised lenses (eg fast primes).

Since you are starting to invest into lens(es), let me share share my own experience. My first two lenses were the DA18-250mm and the Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4. Two very complementary lenses. An all-around zoom lens (18-250mm) that is very versatile, and a fast prime that is MF, large aperture & superb IQ. The 18-250mm is an excellent versatile lens but in low-lights. The Nokton is a fast prime that is very well suited for low light conditions. Since I added a macro lens and FA lens.

All in all, a well-thought combination of zoom and prime lenses may fullfill nicely your needs.

I hope that the suggestion will help...
12-30-2010, 09:19 PM   #15
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I have a big pile of lenses. (I don't carry them all at once.) My current count is 180, of which 20 will be up for sale. Of those 180, just 10 are autofocus, average cost US$282 each. The non-autofocus lenses average US$22 each. Think about that difference. Just 20 of those 180 are zooms, a mix of AF and MF. And what do I usually carry around? A couple moderately expensive AF zooms and one cheap one, and a couple moderately expensive primes and some cheap good ones. Each of those is there because I find it useful in enough situations.

You already know what you want to shoot. That's good. Now you get to decide 1) how much you need autofocus, 2) how much you need zooms, and 3) how much you want to spend. Note that most new zooms and ultrawides are rather better than their older counterparts. Also note that ultrawides are often overused for landscapes, since they tend to shrink anything distant -- that majestic mountain range becomes a line of low hills. If you look at published landscape images, you'll see that they're mostly shot in the same range as your kit lens. But if you gotta go ultra, the Tamron 10-24 is still the best deal -- for ONE MORE DAY!! Buy one before midnight 31 December 2010 and the US$100 rebate brings it down to $375.

Low light demands fast glass. Money money money. Except that some Fast Fifty's are still pretty cheap. As mentioned above, these are good portrait lenses -- depending on how you define 'portrait', which can be anything from a formal sitting to a grabbed casual shot to a surveillance photo. Some very good manual 50-55-58mm lenses in the f/1.4-1.7-2.0 range can be had for US$10-50 if you search eBay a bit. Look for a Sears 55/1.4 or a Helios-44 58/2.

A simple kit can be good. I started with a DA10-17 fisheye zoom, DA18-250 walkaround superzoom, and FA50/1.4 Fast Fifty. Then I went nutz, but those are still my most-used lenses. Add a Raynox DCR-250 macro strap-on and you've got a decent utility kit. The 18-250 is THE basic lens; all the rest are essentially specialty items. (My Tamron 10-24 just arrived two days ago; I might promote it to a carry-always lens.) But an ultrawide, a superzoom, a Fast Fifty, and a Raynox will take you far.
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