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07-12-2011, 06:10 PM   #1
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zooms

I have two kit lenses that I've had since the late '90s. one is a SMC FA 28-80 and the other SMC FA 80-320. They work OK and I'll most likely keep them but I want to purchase some high quality pieces. What do you think might work for me. I don't mind spending up but I won't waste money.

Dudley

07-12-2011, 06:21 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dudley Quote
I have two kit lenses that I've had since the late '90s. one is a SMC FA 28-80 and the other SMC FA 80-320. They work OK and I'll most likely keep them but I want to purchase some high quality pieces. What do you think might work for me. I don't mind spending up but I won't waste money.

Dudley
DA* zooms are in theory at least high quality pieces when it comes to zooms. In reality though I think only 2 of the 3 deserve that title, and one of the DA zooms almost belongs in that company too. They would be the:

DA 12-24
DA* 50-135
DA* 60-250
07-12-2011, 07:17 PM   #3
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I would agree with the DA* 50-135. Have not tried the others. I also own the DA 55-300 which is great with enough light, and not very pricey at all.
07-12-2011, 07:26 PM   #4
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The 12-24 has a very versatile range, excellent IQ. Tamron 28-75 is very good, though you would also probably want something wider to complement it (such as the 12-24). Tamron 70-200 is very good, though like any long/fast zoom, a bit heavy after a while.

07-12-2011, 07:27 PM   #5
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For "non-Pentax" standard zoom the Tamron 17-50 f2.8 would be my choice. Something with longer reach and sacrificing the wide end, the Tamron 28-75 f2.8 is also a good option. I debated between these two and end up with the 17-50 since I mostly shoot on the wide end. For an even wider fl, as mentioned above, the DA 12-24 would be an excellent choice. If you're looking for an all-in-one lens then IMO the DA18-250/Tamron 18-250 would be tough to beat. Unfortunately, these two have been since discontinued and can only be found in the used market. Sigma does have an 18-250mm in their current line up. It's also worth mentioning the DA 18-135WR, Tammy and or Sigma 18-200mm. I guess it depends on your shooting style....Landscape, Portrait?
07-12-2011, 07:31 PM   #6
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I dream of having FA* 250-600mm :-)

The DA 16-45mm f4 at the lower end and DA 55-300mm at telephoto end are very good and affordable. You may also consider FA 100-300mm f4.7 (silver) lens also as it is gaining more following now in the lens reviews...

I feel the money invested in the high end glass is worth, both in terms of the joy you get out of it and also resale value they bring...but don't sell your house for the lenses ;-)
07-12-2011, 07:32 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
DA* zooms are in theory at least high quality pieces when it comes to zooms. In reality though I think only 2 of the 3 deserve that title, and one of the DA zooms almost belongs in that company too. They would be the:

DA 12-24
DA* 50-135
DA* 60-250
Agreed. I've hard all three DA* zooms and ended up keeping the two listed above. It's not that 16-50 is that bad, but I personally never liked it (or used it) enough to justify keeping it. The 50-135 and 60-250 are both excellent. Between them I'd just consider whether the extra reach/range of the 60-250 is worth the extra money and weight (and loss of one stop of light).

Tried the 12-24 but decided to sell it in favor of the 15. Mostly because I seldom shoot wide and figured I was more likely to throw the 15 in my bag since it's so much small.

QuoteOriginally posted by jstick Quote
I would agree with the DA* 50-135. Have not tried the others. I also own the DA 55-300 which is great with enough light, and not very pricey at all.
The 55-300 is a great lens, and an even better value for the money. As jstick said, if you have enough light then the 55-300 boasts an outstanding range and has great reach. It's also very light (given it's focal length range) and it won't break the bank.
07-12-2011, 07:42 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dudley Quote
...I don't mind spending up but I won't waste money.
The best way to avoid wasting money is to spend a lot of time shooting with the lenses that you have. Then figure out where those lenses fell short, which is where you need to invest.

If you start with a sum of money, it's easy to turn 100% of that into several well-regarded premium lenses, but then you still have to use them and figure out their strengths. You'd only get what you need by sheer luck.

07-12-2011, 08:58 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
The best way to avoid wasting money is to spend a lot of time shooting with the lenses that you have. Then figure out where those lenses fell short, which is where you need to invest.
I can say this is very true from the little experience I have. Even a bad lens will have a sweet spot that gives fine results...
07-13-2011, 02:14 PM   #10
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Everyone seems to be assuming you are talking about lenses to use on a SLR, as opposed to use on the camera you've been using since you got thoe FA lenses. Is that true?
07-13-2011, 02:33 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Everyone seems to be assuming you are talking about lenses to use on a SLR, as opposed to use on the camera you've been using since you got thoe FA lenses. Is that true?
Based on the OP's profile, I assume he's talking about lenses for a DSLR (K100D Super) as he refers to the two FA lenses in his "about me" as lenses from his 35mm days (or something to that effect).
07-13-2011, 05:41 PM   #12
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Yes, I've had these lenses on a Pentax 35mm SLR and am trying to improve my camera bag as my skills improve. I purchased a used ( really almost brand new) K100D Super and am having a lot of fun experimenting with it and some "A" primes I picked up and a Tamron 90mm macro. I'll upgrade the body when I feel confidant that its the right move. For now higher quality zooms have my interest.
Dudley
07-15-2011, 02:50 AM   #13
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Prime lenses pretty well ALWAYS beat zooms for outright IQ and speed. Obviously there are convenience aspects of a zoom, but you can ,of course,use your skills of getting in closer or a bit of cropping in processing. Generally speaking, the wider the range, the lower the IQ for zooms. The extra elements will also be a problem with flare and light falloff. Zooms that go from wide, through normal to telephoto also tend to be lower in IQ. Zooms are NEVER crash hot wide open, which is why I use manual exposure if at all possible to stop the camera going for fast shutter speeds an d leaving crappy aperture. Helps to have a steady hand to allow the equation to allow maximum IQ.
07-15-2011, 07:38 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dudley Quote
I have two kit lenses that I've had since the late '90s. one is a SMC FA 28-80 and the other SMC FA 80-320. They work OK and I'll most likely keep them but I want to purchase some high quality pieces. What do you think might work for me. I don't mind spending up but I won't waste money.

Dudley
what do you need?

If I look at your present lenses, I would imagine you may wish something wider. I would consider extending the focal length range first, perhaps a sigma 10-20 or pentax 12-24 would be a good addition, if you are pleased with the other lenses, this makes th emost sense.

Is there anything you find limiting with the present lenses, beyond the possible focal length that you are missing.

do you want / need more speed, remember faster lenses add a lot of weight.

do you like / want / need better macro? Perhaps a dedicated macro lens?

Think about your present lenses, where and how you use them, perhaps download a program called Exposure plot (its freee) and analyze the shooting apertures shutter speeds and focal lengths you use presently. If you never shoot wide open now, and are below 1/focal length in shutter speed, faster glass is not necessairly an answer.

you need to plan your kit out, and now is a good time.

For me, things to consider are:

your present lenses represent a focal length range that was typical for film, but 28mm is a little long (IMO) for digital ASP-C format. The biggest question you face is, do you add an ultra wide like a 10-20, or if you don't feel you need to go that wide, do you scale your lenses more to the digital format by getting a 16-50 and a 60-200, and forego the 300mm focal length?

My own kit, coming from film, has a 28-75 F2.8, a 70-200F2.8 and I added a 10-20 ultra wide for digital. I can add TCs onto the 70-200 to get 300 0r 400mm when needed, but I can get away with these 3 quality zooms for a lot of shooting.

If you are comfortable with zooms, there is no need for primes, but again that is a personal choice.
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