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05-26-2011, 06:27 PM   #1
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(Almost) new K5 owner... but what lens?

Hi all, what a great forum this is - as such, I am sure this question has been asked a million times before, but can't find anything specific to my circumstances, so thought I'd put it out there in a new thread.

I've spent the last six months or so researching and deciding on which DSLR to upgrade to, and have made the firm decision now to go for the K5. That part of my mind is made up, and a recent circumstance has given me a budget to just about allow it. I have opted for body only, as a lot of the feedback on the kit lens hasn't been great. I would rather get a good lens I can get started with straight away while I have a budget, but was wondering what anyone would recommend. I like nature and landscape shooting, and my aim is to do more, and I am going to roadtest my rig at a wedding in a few weeks' time. But generally I want a first lens to be suitable for everyday general use first of all, with some flexibility to do more interesting outdoor and nature stuff in time. Another area I am keen to move into is food photography.

I'm thinking either the DA 70mm F/2.4, or the FA 50mm F/1.4. This is based on a lot of research, but on something (lenses) which I know nothing about, nor have had to grapple with in previous cameras. I have had various conversations (with photographer friends and shop assistants), as well as stayed up to stupid hours (as now) reading online.

Any suggestions as to which way I should go? Are these suitable lenses? I would like to keep it around £400, if possible. Their are other lenses I would like, but as they drift past £450, I am putting the breaks on for now. My budget for the camera and lens lies in the region of £1200.

I would love any suggestions, or even just assurances that these aren't completely stupid choices I'm making.

05-26-2011, 06:48 PM   #2
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the tamron 17-50 f/2.8 is a great lens to start with imo, it has a nice wide to short tele zoom range and a relatively fast aperture. The focal range it covers is pretty versatile and the fast aperture helps out a bit when you're either shooting low light or just want some sexy blurred backgrounds in your pictures. You can get em for pretty cheap and even cheaper if you buy a used one off the forums.
05-26-2011, 07:02 PM   #3
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DA 70mm: will be great for portraits and landscapes. But it is hard to use it indoors unless it is a large room...Also it does not have close focusing capabilities. As such it is not an all-around lens.

However you can combine it with another lens that has a wider angle: Both the tamron and sigma 17-50 are rated well.
05-26-2011, 07:57 PM   #4
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another option you can consider is the tamron 28-75 f/2.8 or the sigma 24-70 f/2.8
you give up a little on the wide end, but you get a bit more on the long end, giving you that extra bit of reach for portraits and whatnot

05-26-2011, 08:07 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by teamplayer Quote
I am going to roadtest my rig at a wedding in a few weeks' time.
This is more of an accessory rather than a lens suggestion. You may also want to consider purchasing an external flash especially for indoor photography, as with most wedding events. For small lenses, mostly wide angle primes or even the 18-55 kit, the internal flash would probably be adequate enough to start with. But if you choose to go for a “big” lens i.e. Tamron 17-50 or DA* 16-50, just to mention two, using the built-in flash at wide angle will produce a dark “lens shadow” below your picture. I have a DA 16-45 which is a great lens,IMO. But its physical size effectively renders the built-in flash useless.
Hope this helps. Cheers!
05-26-2011, 08:20 PM   #6
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An "everyday general use lens" is a 17-70. A decent prime could be the inexpensive DA 35 f2.4
05-26-2011, 08:54 PM   #7
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Portraiture is good with the DA 70. Weddings may require a zoom of similar low light capability, like a DA* 50-135 or Tamron 70-200.

Landscapes and general use would be fine with a Tamron or Sigma 17-50, but I really enjoyed shooting with the DA* 16-50. The Tamron 28-75 is an even better range for weddings in particular.
05-26-2011, 09:08 PM   #8
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Even if you skip the kit lens, there is a reason why it covers 18-55mm: that's the "everyday general use" range. You'll find a lot of situations where the lens quality is secondary to flexibility. The Tamron 17-50/2.8 is a good choice here, or the other lenses mentioned that cover approximately the same range. I have a ton of lenses within that 18-55mm range but I rarely leave my general-purpose zoom behind, just because it might be useful.

05-27-2011, 02:36 AM   #9
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Thanks!

This is great advice, and lightning fast too. I am going to look into the Tamron then. I had heard it mentioned before, but assumed it was a Canon fit. Keep them coming, though, as I will add all suggestions to my long list of considerations for the future.

Thanks for the flash suggestion too - any recommendations there?
05-27-2011, 08:50 AM   #10
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the way i see it, metz flashes are for pttl work, the yongnuo yn560 is great for manual work =)
05-27-2011, 09:43 AM   #11
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+1 on the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8. I find it really useful for both nature and landscapes, and portraits. I think zooms like this are a lot more versatile than primes.
05-27-2011, 11:32 AM   #12
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Nt sure where you got the impression that overall feedback on the kit lens is bad, but that is *not* the usual opinion at all. I'd get the kit lens, since it is quite good and adds almost nothing to the cost. Then when you are more sure of your own needs, you can always upgrade specific focal lengths later. Neither of the lenses you mention (50 and 70) make much sense as starter lenses - far too limited for that. And they aren't particularly useful for landscape in particular - the 18-55 is a much better choice based on focal length. Even if the IQ isn't *quite* as good, at f/8 or f/11 - where most landscapes are shot - you'd probably never be able to the difference. Except that the 18-55 would cover the focal lengths you actually want, whereas the 50- and 70 would be too long most of the time.
05-27-2011, 11:59 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by teamplayer Quote
Thanks for the flash suggestion too - any recommendations there?
Iíve been researching flash as Iím in the market for one. What Iíve learned down the road is to get the most powerful flash my budget can afford. So far, with regards to Features (i.e. P-TTL, Auto and Manual Modes, etc.), Power and Usability the Metz 58 is coming out on top followed by Pentax 540FGZ. Although few reviewers commented about the P-540ís flimsy battery door and a locking pin that may potentially cause the flash to get stuck on the body. I havenít come across anyone regretting the M-58. One thing about these two is their price point hovering around $400. I don't know about you but this is a little outside of my budget. Metz 48 and 50 also gets good user reviews and are in the low $200 range. What I am leaning towards on is Sigmaís EF-610 DG Super. At $255 it is within my budget range and supposedly as feature rich as both the P-540 and M58 but with more power, at least on paper.
Hope this helps...Cheers!
05-28-2011, 03:29 AM   #14
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Lens conclusions

Thanks again for the very helpful responses. So it sounds like the Tamron 17-50/2.8 or kit lens would be best as starters. One of my concerns, I hasten to add, is that my budget has been created through a redundancy, and so I am all too aware that I wouldn't actually be able to do buy this without those circumstances. So part of me is trying to take advantage of that fact by trying to get hold of the best available kit for the budget I've allocated myself, as I don't anticipate being able to upgrade for a long time after this. I'd read about people getting rid of the kit lens quickly to get something better, which is where my reservations came from. However, I acknowledge these people are likely to be pros or experienced amateurs, neither of which category I would put myself in, so I will definitely reappraise.

One thing about the Tamron is I assume it wouldn't be weather-proofed? I do actually travel with my camera, often to SE Asia (though nothing on the cards immediately): things like moisture and rainy seasons are an issue, and the need to try to minimise any potential damage therein did play a part in steering me towards Pentax initially. So are there any other lens options in the 18-55 range that are weather-proofed?
05-28-2011, 03:52 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by teamplayer Quote
. So are there any other lens options in the 18-55 range that are weather-proofed?
WR designation: SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR Reviews - Pentax Lens Reviews & Pentax Lens Database
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