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03-31-2011, 08:10 PM   #1
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Best walkaround lens under $150

Just want to ask if you have any recommendations for a general zoom lens (that goes beyond the kit's 18-55 reach, but not necessarily reaching into the tele range). Maybe from 28-90/100... I already have an FA 100-300(silver) and the DA 55-300 for tele.. haven't used a lot of lenses yet so I have no idea which is a good normal zoom...

I'm planning to get this for general use, like portraits and small indoor events (I got a flash so it's ok even if it's not that fast) so I wouldn't have to swap lenses much. However my biggest problem is my budget - just got the flash so I'm left with just around $150

Any ideas? It will be much appreciated, really need advice on this


Last edited by Alizarine; 03-31-2011 at 08:11 PM. Reason: added details
03-31-2011, 08:22 PM   #2
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I use a MF RMC Tokina 35-105mm as my walk around lens, older lens but produces really good results. If you don't mind the lack of auto focus and no A setting, and also don't mind purchasing an older used lens, then this, imo, is a good choice.
03-31-2011, 08:24 PM   #3
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I haven't personally used one, but the FA 28-105/4-5.6 is a pretty well regarded lens (link to reviews) that you can pick up for under $100 (link to one for sale at KEH).

If you like MF, and don't mind something a little heavier, the A35-105/3.5 is an excellent choice as well.
03-31-2011, 08:54 PM   #4
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I see one sigma 18-125 is selling at here right now for just 150..

03-31-2011, 09:20 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by dgaies Quote
I haven't personally used one, but the FA 28-105/4-5.6 is a pretty well regarded lens (link to reviews) that you can pick up for under $100 (link to one for sale at KEH).
That's what I settled on. You can find cheap ones with broken power zoom switches, which won't matter except cosmetically. I use this with a flash probably 80% of the time at family events. It's heavier than I like for travel but I like weight with the flash on the hotshoe for balance. AF works well on my K-7. There are two other Pentax FA 28-105s that are worth consideration too. I would not call this lens the best but it fills in the slot for me.

QuoteQuote:
If you like MF, and don't mind something a little heavier, the A35-105/3.5 is an excellent choice as well.
I would call this one the best. None of the 28-105s have the same reputation. The only downside that I see is starting at 35mm, which may or may not work for you. Note that there is no AF version of this lens; the F model is slower and doesn't have the same number of fans.

The FA 24-90/f3.5-4.5 used to be mentioned sometimes. Don't get the 28-90 instead, like I did. The price might not fit your requirements - I don't know what these go for.

Lenses that I tried and sold:

SMC Pentax-F 35-135mm f3.5-4.5 - The biggest problem was the focal range didn't work for me. I didn't need the longer end and there was no wide end. Slightly faster, that's nice, but I think the IQ is not as good as my FA 28-105.

Vivitar Series 1 28-105mm f2.8-3.8 - This is a KA mount manual focus lens made by Cosina. It has a 67mm filter. The Cosina Series 1s aren't supposed to be that great but the only IQ complaint I had was the coatings gave everything a yellow tint. I used to have a side-by-side comparison with the Pentax but can't find it any more. Processing can remove it, but I thought if I ever shot JPG it would be annoying. The camera thinks this lens is constant f2.8 because the KA system had no way to tell it about variable aperture zooms. Minor issue.

SMC Pentax-A 28-135mm f4 - Actually have not sold this one, there's still an expired listing here. I bought it out of curiosity. I take it out infrequently and it does not have any image quality flaws. But it is huge and heavy - 820g and 77mm filter. (Bring along the K300/4 for a workout!) Hauling around that weight, my walkaround would be short.
03-31-2011, 09:43 PM   #6
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I have a Sigma 28-105mm F2.8-4.0 that is unusual to find, but definitely a pleasure to use. Here's a review. I paid about $100 for it used from Adorama (I believe).

It's the equivalent of about 42-152mm, so wide-angle is out. However, it's light, modestly sharp (and very even across the image plane at that), and the telephoto reach is handy. It makes a nice impromptu portrait lens for the price.
04-01-2011, 01:59 AM   #7
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The F35-135 is the lens that introduced me to the F series. The focal length works perfectly for me as it is equivalent to 50-200 on full frame. The only downside is the long minimum focusing distance when not in "Macro" mode.

My F35-70 and F70-210 arrive today. Hopefully FedEx will ring the doorbell and not just leave them out in the rain like they did my S-M-C Takumar 35/3.5.
04-01-2011, 08:06 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alizarine Quote
Just want to ask if you have any recommendations for a general zoom lens (that goes beyond the kit's 18-55 reach, but not necessarily reaching into the tele range). Maybe from 28-90/100... I already have an FA 100-300(silver) and the DA 55-300 for tele.. haven't used a lot of lenses yet so I have no idea which is a good normal zoom...

I'm planning to get this for general use, like portraits and small indoor events (I got a flash so it's ok even if it's not that fast) so I wouldn't have to swap lenses much. However my biggest problem is my budget - just got the flash so I'm left with just around $150

Any ideas? It will be much appreciated, really need advice on this
I agree with some of the earlier posts that point to a 28-105.

I have a Tamron (IF) 28-105 f4/5.6 zoom lens, it has great Image Quality, Colors and Sharpness. It's a relatively inexpensive lens if you can find one. It is a bit on the slower side but more than makes up for it with excellent images. The 28- wide end, I think, is just a little more useful than a 35- wide. I got mine with the Original hood and should be used outdoors...

Tamron AF (IF) 28-105mm 1:4-5.6 Lens Reviews - Pentax Third-Party Lens Review Database

04-01-2011, 08:46 AM   #9
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Nobody has mentioned the Pentax-F 35-70mm f3.5-4.5...

With the 1.5 sensor crop you get a field of veiw around 50-105mm (I find this good for street photography) and it's pretty small and unobtrusive...

Combine the above with a fairly decent auto-focus, good sharpness and IQ and lovely contrasty-ness...

Not sure on the exchange rate in the states... but in the UK I could buy 2 and get change for 150...

Last edited by DaveHolmes; 04-01-2011 at 08:47 AM. Reason: spelling
04-01-2011, 08:59 AM   #10
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Pentax "A" 35-105 f/3.5

If you don't mind manual focus this is a great walk around lens. It even has a "macro" (read close focus) function for the entire zoom range. I would say that it's main claim to fame (besides being sharp thru out the entire zoom range) is it's exquisite color rendition. It does all colors exceedingly well and is just miraculous with reds. Check it out in the lens database here.

NaCl(highly recommended)H2O
04-02-2011, 02:16 AM   #11
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Since you plan to use flash, you will want a lens with aperture automation (AA), which for Pentax are in the A or F or FA or DA series, or their equivalents from other makers. A-series are manual focus (MF); the others are autofocus (AF). Except for DA-series lenses, which have no aperture rings, you can tell if a lens supports AA because it will have an A setting on the aperture ring.

Alas, the need for AA excludes many fine MF lenses, so I won't recommend those. And I don't use many zooms in the 18-150 range, so I won't mention those either. I *can* say that your FA100-300 (silver) is very good, if you want to stay away from subjects! The F35-70 was mentioned above, and it is very good also. It can often be found for very little money, when attached to an old camera. I got my SF-1 SLR and F35-70 for US$22 together, shipped!

If you are comfortable with MF, look at the Pentax A-series zooms. If not, look at the F- and FA-series zooms. Check the lens review database here to weed-out the turkeys. You may also find A-series equivalents from Vivitar or Sears, or F-series equivalents from Quantaray-Sigma or Promaster-Tamron. Again, check the reviews. Good luck!
04-03-2011, 01:16 PM   #12
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another vote for the 28-105

If you can find the F3.2-4.5, that's the one I'd go for (I had to wait around awhile and got one from eBay for around your asking price). Assuming you want AF, otherwise the A 35-105 has a sterling reputation (I've not shot it myself).

Good luck!
04-03-2011, 01:22 PM   #13
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I just picked up a Tamron adaptol SP 70-210 f3.5 Macro that I'm going to be using for a walk around when its nice out, I'll put the 18-135 WR on in poor weather.
04-03-2011, 09:13 PM   #14
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I just won a Quantaray (Sigma) AF LD 70-300 Macro for ten bucks. I'll see how it walks around, when it arrives.
04-03-2011, 10:18 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
I just won a Quantaray (Sigma) AF LD 70-300 Macro for ten bucks. I'll see how it walks around, when it arrives.
hehe you sound like my grandfather, whom is an ebay addict.. you don't WIN things on ebay.. winning would indicate you get a prize.. as in for free. By bidding more than others were willing to pay at the time.. does not really mean you "won". None the less, that is a heck of a price for any piece of glass that isn't damaged.
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