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05-27-2011, 02:27 AM   #1
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Advice on a 3-4 Lens-Kit for a beginner needed

Hi all,

i'm new to the forum and to DSLR Photography and i'm looking going to purchase a Pentax K-5. So i'm looking for a bit of advice from the Pros here regarding lenses.

What i'm planning to do:

- Time Lapse

Both, in bright day light and at night, Night Sky, Astro, Sun set, Landscape, Urban.
My best guess:
Pentax SMCP-FA 50mm f/1.4 Standard Auto Focus Lens
or
Sigma 20mm f/1.8 EX DG RF Aspherical Wide Angle Lens

- Landscape

My best guess:
Pentax SMC DA* Series 16-50mm f/2.8
or
Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC IF Macro Lens

- Party & People

Indoor, low light outdoor, Urban, somewhat of a all purpose lens
My best guess: also the
Pentax SMC DA* Series 16-50mm f/2.8
or
Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC IF Macro Lens

- Macro

Insects, small objects, Aquarium, extreme Macro (additional lens accessories ?)
My best guess:
Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX "DG" AF Telephoto Macro
or
Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC IF Macro Lens

- Aero

Photos from high altitude (i'm a Paragliding Pilot), capture flying objects from ground in bright day light, a fast Tele seems best to me.
My best guess:
Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG HSM II Macro Zoom Lens
or
Tamron 70 - 200mm f/2.8 DI LD (IF) Macro


So here again, the lenses i would consider to buy:

- Sigma 20mm f/1.8 EX DG RF($629.00 )
or
- Pentax SMCP-FA 50mm f/1.4($368.90 )

- Pentax SMC DA* Series 16-50mm f/2.8($820.62)
and
- Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX "DG" AF Telephoto Macro($472.71)
or
- Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC IF Macro Lens($362.71)

- Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG HSM II Macro($769.00)
or
- Tamron 70 - 200mm f/2.8 DI LD (IF) Macro($769.00)

The smilies represent my tendency so far. It would also be the cheapest option.
Any suggestions ?
Which lenses would you pick ?
Would you replace any of those and what would you take instead ?

Your opinion is highly appreciated !

Thanks!

05-27-2011, 02:37 AM   #2
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Grabbing the 17-70 and the 70-200 sounds like a solid Idea, and then I'd throw in a 50mm for low-light photography and maybe a macro.

The DA* is nice because it's weather sealed, but I personally don't like the way it handles, and also the AF is slow.

It's a shame that the tamron has gone up, as it used to cost $699: Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD (IF) Macro AF Lens AF001P-700 B&H

Adam
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05-27-2011, 05:49 AM   #3
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if I look at your lens list of possibles
- Sigma 20mm f/1.8 EX DG RF($629.00 )
- Pentax SMCP-FA 50mm f/1.4($368.90 )
- Pentax SMC DA* Series 16-50mm f/2.8($820.62)
- Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX "DG" AF Telephoto Macro($472.71)
- Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC IF Macro Lens($362.71)
- Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG HSM II Macro($769.00)
- Tamron 70 - 200mm f/2.8 DI LD (IF) Macro($769.00)
here are my thoughts.

I would consider either of the 70-200F2.8 zooms, and if you want to do a little wild life as well, you might wish to add a teleconverter int he future. That makes the sigma lens (although the HSM II has a great reputation) a chance purchase, as there is not yet a pentax HSM Teleconverter from sigma.

I think the 16-50 would be a better purchase than the 17-70 for 2 reasons, you are giving up a stop at 70mm, and the extra 1 mm does make a difference in Field Of View at the wide end. You will not miss the gap between 50 and 70 in my opinion.

these 2 zooms make a backbone, where you can then add in speciality lenses as needed. The 70-200 has a "macro" or close focus capability that can be used in a pinch, but if you want to do macro get a dedicated lens, as it will be a better performer in the long run.

For macro there are tons of options including one from pentax also, and you can consider manual focus lenses as well, because with macto DOF is so limited that sometimes autofocus can hinder getting the shot.

the 50mm prime and 20mm prime are both very fast, compared to the zooms, gaining 1 1/2 to 2 stops and would offer some creative and low light shots that the other lenses would not give.

to pick one or the other is a tough call.

what I would recommend is start with the two zooms. See where you get with these lenses forst, and then make decisions based upon where these lenses leave you restricted in shooting.
05-27-2011, 08:54 AM   #4
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Original Poster
Thanks for the quick answer guys !

I very much like the idea with the Teleconverter since it opens up new options in zoom and macro, ... and it's a cheap solution too.

As you said, there is no compatible TC for the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 HSM II Macro i would have to go for the Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 DI LD (IF) Macro.

I found two 2x TC's with Pentax mount, good ratings and a nice price tag:

- Pro-Optic Multi-Coated 2x Tele-Converter for Pentax Autofocus SLR Cameras ($109)
- VIVITAR AUTO FOCUS CONVERTER - 4 ELEMENTS FOR PENTAX - 2X4P ($99)


I also found this Macro Extention Tube Set for just $10.95:

Fotodiox Pentax K (PK) Macro Extension Tube Set Kit for Extreme Close-up

Think that would cover most of my Macro and Zoom needs.

If you guys would confirm compatibility i'd be certain of the first lens+TC in my shopping cart
(Pentax K-5/TC (Pro Optic or Vivitar)/Tamron 70-200) <--- does it work together ?

Thanks!

05-27-2011, 10:31 AM   #5
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... or does the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 HSM II Macro work with a Tamron TC ?
Is it might worth to buy this Sigma lens and wait for Sigma to bring out an appropriate TC ?
05-27-2011, 10:45 AM   #6
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... just found out the combination Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 HSM II Macro and the Sigma 2x TC works on every other Brand, ... but Pentax:
Lens - Teleconverter Compatability Chart

What a pity !
05-27-2011, 11:17 AM   #7
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I think the lenses you are mentioning are all fine lenses, but I'm not sure they really are the best choices for the *specific* purposes you mention. For instance, whey would "time lapse" photography require a super fast lens? And unless you are paragliding at night, why would you need a fast lens for that? I can't imagine that 200mm at f/2.8 would be more useful than 300mm at f/5.6. On the other hand, if you're really wanting to do "insect" or "extreme" macro, no quasi-macro zoom is going to cut it. You want a real macro lens.

So looking at your list in totality, I'd be going with the DA*16-50 (or cheaper Sigma or Tamron equivalents), Sigma 105 macro (or Tamron or Pentax equivalents), and DA55-300, and expect to be hit all your points better than the lenses you are actually considering, and for less money overall.
05-27-2011, 11:45 AM   #8
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Thanks Marc,

... that was the info i was waiting for !

I'll go with ...

DA*16-50
Sigma 105 Macro
DA 55-300

I might add a Teleconverter anyway. Can't wait to try out whats possible with it.
Any recommendations which TC would go along with these lenses ?

05-27-2011, 06:28 PM   #9
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There is unlikely to be any TC that performs better with any of these lenses than simply cropping. Well, maybe the macro would be an exception. But overall, while TC's were useful in film when cropping wasn't so easy, the only advantage they provide for digital is they make the viewfinder image larger. Which could indeed be nice when using the camera as a substitute for binoculars - not to take the picture, but just to see things in real time. but in that case, it really wouldn't matter what TC you chose; no TC is likely to degrade IQ enough to be visible in the viewfinder.
05-30-2011, 09:43 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ragnar Quote
DA*16-50
Sigma 105 Macro
DA 55-300

I might add a Teleconverter anyway. Can't wait to try out whats possible with it.
Any recommendations which TC would go along with these lenses ?
Those lenses aren't really good candidates for a TC. I think you'll find that most quality TC work (often birding) involves specific TC's that are matched to some specific longer lenses. You have chosen all AF lenses. AF TC's are not cheap, and as mentioned, they won't really provide better IQ than if you just shot and cropped.

A-type TC's cost less but don't support AF. M-type TC's are dirt-cheap but support neither AF nor aperture automation. If you think you'll want a TC, try a dirt-cheap one first. Then it won't hurt so much financially when you discover that it is useless.

NOTE: I have a couple M-types that I don't use, and an M-type macro-TC that I may use someday, when I'm bored. I have a couple A-types from which I've removed the glass, so they function as extension tubes, good for flash work. And I have a bunch of M42 TC's, two each 2x and 3x. One of these days, I'll put all those M42 TC's on my Rubinar Makpo 1000/10 mirror and have a 10,000mm f/100 lens! Hmmm, I wonder just what I will DO with that...
_____________________________________________________________

ObTopic: For a lens kit, think about what you want to do that you can't do with what you already have. My first Pentax kit was the K20D, DA10-17, DA18-250, and FA50/1.4, because I wanted ultrawide / fisheye, superzoom / walkabout, and FAST. (I later added macro.) The Tamron 10-24 now supplants the DA10-17 for most wide shots. The DA18-250 is my basic lens; all my 200+ other lenses are for specialty work. I shoot a lot between 35-70mm and find that swapping lenses at ~50mm is intolerable, so I very much dislike 16-50 or 18-55 plus 50-200 or 55-300 kits.

So your lens choices should reflect what you want to shoot, and where you want to swap lenses. An 18-250 or 16-135 or something in those vicinities will be a good walkaround. An 8-16 or 10-20 or 10-24 will be very useful in small spaces. The 100WR macro is excellent for macros, headshot portraits, general short tele work. A Fast Fifty will be great for other portraiture and for low-light in general. Those are the 4 lenses I would start with.

And then I started buying cheap manual primes, and met my doom. Argh!!

Last edited by RioRico; 05-30-2011 at 09:59 AM.
05-30-2011, 12:43 PM   #11
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Original Poster
Thanks for the advice Rico and Marc!
I just ordered these lenses:

Pentax SMC P-DA 16mm - 50mm f/2.8
Sigma 105 f/2.8 Macro
Pentax SMC P-DA 55-300mm f/4.0-5.8

Think thats enough to start with and to keep me busy for a while.
Curious how the 55-300 will serve me capturing shots from high altitude while paragliding.

I might add a wide, fast lens soon for my night shots (Astro time lapse). Something like a prime 30 or 50 f/1.4.
If anyone got experience with night sky time lapse i'd appreciate advice on lens and adjustments!

I have absolutely no experience in DSLR and i expect to be amazed by the IQ of the K-5 and those lenses.I also expect to be frustrated by my lack of knowledge and the failing attempts to get the picture i want.But i'm willing to learn and i'm quite persistent when fascinated by something.
So wish me luck

In the last days i did some research about Macro and gathered a lot info.
Think a reversed lens and a ring flash is key to good extreme macro shots.
But thats on my list for later, after i know how to use the equipment i just bought.

Think i found the right place here to find the answers to my million questions and i really appreciate you guys are willing to share your knowledge!

Last edited by Ragnar; 05-30-2011 at 01:20 PM. Reason: Wanna test my signature
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