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03-31-2011, 12:42 PM   #1
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Needs advice on which combo to get

I have a friend who is looking to get a Pentax Kr body but cannot decide on which lens to get. After much searching online, we came up with these 3 combos:

1. Pentax DA 15mm Ltd, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.0 HSM and Sigma 70-300mm f/4.0- 5.6 DG OS.

2. Pentax DA 15mm Ltd, Pentax 17-70mm f/4 and Sigma 70-300 f/4.0-5.6 DG OS.

3. Pentax DA 16-45mm and Pentax 55-300mm

Each combo will cover the range from 15mm (16mm) to 300mm. Which is a better setup? Or is there others we can consider? Any advice is welcome.

Thanks for your help


03-31-2011, 01:20 PM   #2

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The DA 15 is fantastic, but I'd go with the DA*16-50 and DA*50-135. If you insist on going to 300, get the DA 55-300 (nice IQ and the wider 55 is very useful). Probably the best value on the market is the Kr with the two DA* lenses - it covers most situations well. The DA 55-300 is quite good, but I hardly (if ever) got a great shot over 135mm, so I sold it and got the DA*50-135 - my most used zoom.

The only downside of my suggestion (assuming it's within budget) is that using primes instead can really help one develop his composition and overall photographic thought process. But the two DA* lenses will deliver more high quality photos (except at 15mm) than the above combos.
03-31-2011, 02:51 PM   #3
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Change the Sigma 70-300 to the Pentax 55-300 regardless.

Otherwise, #1.

I feel the opposite about lenses - zooms make you think about focal length as well as the composition. Choose the correct spot for the angle you want, adjust the lens accordingly. With primes, you conform to it, which can be fun or not.

I'd also take the 12-24 over the 15 - if you are partial to wide-angle.

Last edited by SpecialK; 03-31-2011 at 03:35 PM.
03-31-2011, 03:25 PM   #4
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When I got my wife her K200D, I got the standard 18-55 with it. Then I picked up a DA55-300. Then I upgraded her DA18-55 to the DA18-55WR. She loves her set up.

03-31-2011, 03:37 PM   #5
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Thanks for all the advices received. He is also considering getting only the 15mm ltd and the Pentax 18-135mm WR lens. He is thinking that if he upgrades the body to K5 later, the WR is a useful feature. Once he gets used to the Kr, then he will look for a lens to extent the range. He had tried my K7 + 15mm ltd combo and he liked it. Think that will work?
03-31-2011, 04:12 PM   #6
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Of those option #3 for me. If he can scrape up extra money to get a DA*50-135 rahter than a 55-300 that would be even better. From someone who owns both, the 55-300 is good, but the 50-135 is stunning
03-31-2011, 04:53 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
f he can scrape up extra money
If he can't he can always go off brand... to cover the tele part you can look for the Tamron 70-200 f2.8 and a Teleconverter (much better than the 55-300 and cheaper than the 50-135).

Pentax is revered for it's primes, so if your friend has enough dough he can get a fine lineup of primes (something like DA 15, 35 or 40, and 70 would be my dream, and if you throw in the FA you can go nuts making a dream lineup) and a third party fast Zoom for versatility.

I prefer constant aperture fast lenses even if i got a gap between them. So i would advice to make the lineup considering his interests and not triying to cover the 16-300 focal lenght.
-Is he into macro, or he likes it enough to give it a whirl? then the Tamron 90mm or the pentax 100 macro would make more sense
-Is he into architecture or landcape? he might want to consider a UWA zoom (the 12-24, a 10-20 or 8-16).
-is he into wildlife? maybe the Tammy and a TC or if he is serious about it, a Bigma.
(just examples...i know there may be better lenses for each category and that other lenses may fit those interests too.)

I really would lay down the focal range aproach and try to get the best lens within his budget that will fullfill the things that interest him the most.
03-31-2011, 06:53 PM   #8
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Thanks again for all the suggestions. His budget for lenses is around 2K (excluding the cost of the Kr body which he had already ordered). He is retired and is into travel photography and used to own a Panasonic FZ-35. After he tried my K7, he decided to invest in a Pentax system. He likes the Kr after we visited a local store to check it out. He likes the compact size compared to other brands.
He plans to use the 15mm ltd for landscapes and the 17-70mm as a walkabout lens when he travels. The telezoom is for the occassional distant shot. We did not considered the 50-135mm but would take a look at it now.
Again thanks for all the advices.

04-01-2011, 09:42 PM   #9

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Travel, and the FZ-35, suggest that size and weight may be important. Obviously some serious travel photographers would use something like a 70-200 f2.8, and maybe a 300/4, and a bunch of short, fast fixed lenses. But a lot of people might also leave that hefty 70-200 home for some trips, so each person has to balance what might be nice to have once he's arrived at his destination, with what he is likely to actually take with them when they travel.

So that might be a consideration when evaluating something like the 16-45mm vs. the 16-50mm.

04-02-2011, 12:17 AM   #10
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Suggest your friend downloads Exposure Plot and investigates what focal lengths he is using at present. Obviously they will be limited by what the current camera can do, but it should give a clue where to spend his money.
04-02-2011, 03:13 AM   #11
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I guess your friend prefers zooms (at this stage), else he would have picked more lenses from your collection

Option #3 would be my choice for starters.
But I would replace the 16-45 with the 17-70. It's just a little more flexible as a universal lens. It will already give him a wider view than the FZ-35 (25.5mm vs 27mm FF equivalent) and is very convenient if he decides to only carry one lens around. And the DA55-300 basically covers the same FOV at the long end as the FZ-35.

I would basically leave it with that. Possibly add a fastish 35mm like the DA(L)35/2.4. Leaves enough money for a tripod and other accessories and (possibly) software.

And from there he can decide (at a later stage) what else is needed. Flash, utrawide, ultra fast, ... ; the money is still there (hopefully )

Below some other options if he wants to settle for a 'more complete' kit straight away. I would opt for the DA12-24 instead of DA15Ltd for flexibility.

Option #4
DA12-24 for the wide side
DA17-70 as standard lens
DA55-300 for tele work

Depending on the flexibility that your friend wants, it might be an option to replace the DA17-70 by the DA(L)35/2.4. So that would be option #5

Option #5
DA12-24 for the wide side
DA(L)35/2.4 as standard lens
DA55-300 for tele work

This will work very well if one considers the 35mm as the 'standard' lens and the other lenses as specialist items. That is basically how it works for me. And a lens around 35mm might be more flexible than one thinks.

Option #6
DA12-24 for the wide side
28-75/2.8 as walk around lens; advantage is the f/2.8, but it is lacking at the wide side (compensated by the 12-24)
DA55-300 for tele work

I think all these will still leave money for other things (as mentioned before).
04-02-2011, 06:43 AM   #12
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The final choice is always a personal choice based on what you want to do with the camera. For most casual users a bag full of lenses is wasted money and a lot of weight to carry around. At my age I find the weight to be more of an issue than the money.

My approach to the situation was to pickup the kit lenses 18-55 and 50-200 and then see what focal length I preferred before I bought any primes. Those two will provide the casual user with most of what they need. I already owed some older A series glass for creative uses.

Based on the weight issue I recently added the DA 40mm limited. After a few days of limited play time I currently expect it to spend more time on the camera that all the other glass I own combined. Being reformed LBA I suspect that in time I will break down and add the 21 or 15 limited to the collection.

My choices may not be correct for your friend but I think the concept of not rushing is valid for all.
04-02-2011, 11:13 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by foong Quote
Thanks for all the advices received. He is also considering getting only the 15mm ltd and the Pentax 18-135mm WR lens. He is thinking that if he upgrades the body to K5 later, the WR is a useful feature. Once he gets used to the Kr, then he will look for a lens to extent the range. He had tried my K7 + 15mm ltd combo and he liked it. Think that will work?
This sounds like a real plan.

The 15 is magical, and the 18-135 covers a great range. (I'm trying to decide on getting this one myself based on my style of shooting.)

Unless he has experience with the field of view on APS-C sensors on DLRs, he may be thinking that 135 is too short as that relates to 35mm film. But it actually "becomes" around 200 on APS-C. In other words:

My 50mm is 50mm on my Spotmatic film camera, but gives a field of view of 75mm on my K-x. (1.5 times focal length.)

So unless he's shooting a lot of wildlife and REALLY has to pull faraway things in real close, 135 is more than sufficient than to get you a lot of those not-so-close shots.
04-02-2011, 06:08 PM   #14
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Thanks again for all the valuable advices.
I went with my friend to a local camera store today. He brought along his Kr and tested the Pentax 16-45mm, the Pentax 17-70mm and the Pentax 18-135mm. He liked the 18-135mm and decided to get it. Once thing the Ira pointed out was very right: 135mm = 200mm on the APS-C sensor and my friend felt that it was good enough for his "long range" needs at present.
He also picked up the 15mm ltd (which he fell in love with after testing my copy on his camera).
He is now a happy camper and will try out his gears this coming week.
Thanks again to all for your valuable suggesstions.

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