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02-05-2012, 02:04 PM   #1
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Pentax Lenses?

Hello everyone, as you all know I'm still a newbie to the SLR world..lol..I have a Pentax K-x I have the 18-50mm lens on it the one that came with it, what I'm wanting to know is what's the next step up for a lens, I want to upgrade my lens next week and was wondering which one to get, I'm not looking to spend a big amount thinking around $300 but I'm clueless when it comes to lenses still..so any help will be appreciated.

02-05-2012, 02:14 PM   #2
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The most natural option is to extend your kit with this lens:
Pentax-DA 55-300mm Review - Introduction - PentaxForums.com ($349 new, DA version, ~$200ish used, DA L version. optically, they are the same.)

If you want a flat-out better walkaround lens, then I would recommend the Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 ($414, but well worth it).

Read our review here: DA* 16-50mm vs. Sigma and Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 Comparison - Introduction - PentaxForums.com

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02-05-2012, 02:30 PM   #3
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You may spend $100 on an used M50/1.4 and see if you can stand manual focus. There are many affordable good old primes worth trying.

M 50/1.4
02-05-2012, 02:46 PM   #4
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Depends on what you want to do, but to echo wlachan, a bright 50mm prime is always a good complement. In this case you can get the miriad of used lenses around in the market for cheap, and you'll have a pretty diferent lens to play with, which is sharper than the kit lens and, if used wide open, will let you control bokeh.

02-05-2012, 02:56 PM   #5
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A cheap pair of a fast 50mm and a 135mm will let you test how much you would use fast lenses and longer lenses, at the same time as it let you try primes compared to zooms.
Taking a look at what focal length you use most (after a while) can give a good hint where to go. Is there any particular focal length you prefer (in practice)? Are you often at the shortest end of the zoom (buy a wide angle) or at the longest end (buy a tele).
Beware of the LBA.
02-05-2012, 03:04 PM   #6
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Amie,

With your budget and intentions, there are two distinct paths IMHO:

(a) prime lens(es) or

(b) zoom lens(es).

You need to think carefully of your needs. Do you want convenience? Do you aim for IQ? What focal length range do you need? Do you want to shoot in low light conditions?

The zoom lens choice is for convenience and Adam pointed you to the obvious: 55-300mm to complement your 18-50mm lens, or upgrading your kit lens to a 17-70mm f2.8 zoom lens. Both options are worthwhile to consider depending upon your needs.

The first path (prime lens) will bring you a major enhancement in image quality (IQ). Pentax offer a broad range of new and older (compatible) prime lenses which are outstanding. Often the first prime would be a fast 50: i.e., 50mm f1.4. Such a focal length (50mm) is great for portrait while the large aperture (or low f, f1.4) allows to shoot in low light conditions without flash. Great for indoor portrait for example, of for shooting outdoor at dusk and dawn. The FA50mm f1.4 is a good choice for a AF lens and you may find cheaper MF lenses on the market place. Generally most prime lenses will give you better IQ than a zoom lens for the same price.

Zoom versus prime? The choice is challenging. I have 2 zoom lenses and 5 primes. My first lens was a zoom and my second lens was a fast 50 (VL 58mm f1.4). Everyone if different and I hope that the comment may help.

Last edited by hcc; 02-05-2012 at 05:32 PM.
02-05-2012, 08:21 PM   #7
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What do you expect your new lens to offer you over the kit lens?
  1. If you want to extend your options in reach, add a telezoom like the DA55-300; good for birds in the garden, wildlife and so on.
  2. If you're battling in low light, a f/2.8 zoom (Tamron 17-50 second hand might be within budget) or a DA(-L)35/2.4 prime.
  3. If you often find that you have to do a few steps back to take the photo, you need to look at something wider; either add an UWA zoom like a Pentax DA12-24 (just as reference, all of them are probably outside your budget) or replace the kit lens with a DA16-45 (wider but sacrificing a bit at the long end) or DA17-70 (a little wider and a little longer).
If you want better image quality (replace kit lens), you can consider the underlined options above.

So many options. Not to mention that you might also want to consider a flash or tripod instead of a lens.

Good luck in the decision making.
02-05-2012, 09:48 PM   #8
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Thank you all for all your comments it has helped me, I think I have came to a conclusion on what lens I'm going to get.

I've decided on the 35mm F2.4 prime lens because it's totally in my budget ( would you say that's a good choice?) I've seen pictures taken with that lens and fell in love.

Also was thinking of getting the DA L 50-200mm F4-5.6 lens is that one any good, I'm just asking because Blacks has it on sale and it is also in my budget, so was thinking of buying that one aswell.

02-05-2012, 09:56 PM   #9
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DA 35mm f/2.4 is a very good choice, nice image quality. The FA35 f/2.0 is better but then it's ~ 2 or 3 times the cost. I own the FA31 f/1.8 which better still, in fact it's just unbelievably good, but then it's $1k. This is the problem though, even cheap prime are good, and to get better IQ costs a disproportionate amount of money. The FA31 might be "30% better" (whatever that means) than a DA 35, but it's 5 or 6 tmies as expensive.

DA L 50-200 is so-so, there's low demand for it because the DA L 55-300 is a better lens and not much dearer. I'd suggest you save a little more for it rather than buy the 50-200.

Happy shooting
02-05-2012, 10:10 PM   #10
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Thank you so much Twitch, I was eyeing the 55-300 lens my hubby really wants that one..lol..but then I seen the 50-200 for quite abit less and was thinking "is that one any good" and it gets you excited because it was in my budget. The thing is I'm still a newbie to DSLR's and the lenses so any advice and information on lenses is a huge help to me I want to make a smart decision on purchasing a lens since they are quite abit of money and I want to be happy with it.
02-06-2012, 03:37 AM   #11
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Hello Fellow Canadian. You will be happy with the DA35 F2.4 for sure. It is a really good lens bang for the buck wise. However, a word of warning if this is your first fixed focal length lens. You will be severely limited in terms versatility. If you live with that I would say you will be quite happy with it.

Also I would just like to say you shouldn't get a lose for the sake of getting a lens it is a slippery slope to LBA. I would really find out what focal length you shoot with a lot and go from there. You may find that your money may have been better used with a focal length longer than 55mm. The 35mm is great and all but if your trying to shoot wildlife you'd only get so far. In my opinion, you should determine what you maybe interested in shooting and come back and post for options.
02-06-2012, 05:03 AM   #12
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The 35mm is a very good prime, and designed for people just like you who want to try a first prime. It also gives you close to what would have been called a fast normal in film days.
For the tele zoom, I second what others said here. Optically it is worth saving for the 55-300mm, which also give more reach. Only you can decide if you can wait.

Neither of these rule out the idea that you could look for some cheap manual glass. A fast 50 or 55mm lens, with an max aperture like f2, f1.8, f1.7, built to be a fast normal in film days, would on a digital APS-C act like a fast portrait lens. The large aperture (small aperture value) allow you to get all of the background out of focus, while still keep a face in focus, which helps isolating the face, which is good for portraits. I'd say that among Pentax glass in this category, the best bang for the bucks would be the SMC Pentax 55mm f1.8 (of f2...same lens actually), or the SMC Pentax-M 50mm f1.7. But there are others. Non should cost you very much (as long as you are not looking for f1.4 or f1.2), and be a lot of fun. And a good thing with Pentax is that with their backward compatibility you can both meeter with these old lenses and get focus confirmation.
02-06-2012, 05:28 AM   #13
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When I got my K-x, It was the twin lens kit, with the DA L 50-200mm. Although the 50-200mm is a lot sharper than my 18-55mm, I still regret not getting the 50-300mm, especially for my kids sports, like rugby and cricket. It is nice to have a prime, but have a look at the EXIF info of the photo's you've taken since you got the K-x, and IMO, that will give you an indication what focal length you should get in a prime
02-06-2012, 06:46 AM   #14
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What you need depends what you will be doing with the longer lens. If you are snapping wildlife or sporting events at a distance, then the 55-300 is your lens. If you are traveling and need to frame a distant person, building or landscape, or you need a weather resistant model, the 50-200 may be a better choice. Keep in mind that not only is the 50-200 cheaper, it is also much smaller--not much bigger than the 18-55. The 55-300 is not heavy, but it is quite long in comparison, and it won't fit well in my smallest travel bags.

I own a lot of primes, and if you don't mind changing lenses, or you need low light performance, you will see a big difference between the primes and the consumer zooms. However, I own both the 55-300 and the 50-200, and I honestly don't see a huge difference in the photos. I'm not bowled over by either of them wide open, and both can produce quite nice results down a stop or two. We obsess a lot here about sharpness of the lens (especially at the corners), but when out and about shooting handheld, subject and camera motion, atmospheric haze and so much more affect the apparent sharpness more than the lens.

BTW, one other option for a bit more reach than the 18-55 is the DA70. It is one of the sharpest lenses Pentax has made; it is tiny and well-hooded, reasonably fast and you can often crop it on today's sensors to match be performance of the consumer zooms at 140ish lengths. The DFA100 can be used in a similar way and adds macro.
02-06-2012, 07:11 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by epqwerty Quote
Hello Fellow Canadian. You will be happy with the DA35 F2.4 for sure. It is a really good lens bang for the buck wise. However, a word of warning if this is your first fixed focal length lens. You will be severely limited in terms versatility. If you live with that I would say you will be quite happy with it.

Also I would just like to say you shouldn't get a lose for the sake of getting a lens it is a slippery slope to LBA. I would really find out what focal length you shoot with a lot and go from there. You may find that your money may have been better used with a focal length longer than 55mm. The 35mm is great and all but if your trying to shoot wildlife you'd only get so far. In my opinion, you should determine what you maybe interested in shooting and come back and post for options.
Hello epqwerty, I'm just wondering what you mean about being severely Limited in terms of versatility?? as this will be my first lens purchase I don't know too much about lenses, I've been reading and reading trying to let all this SLR info soak in my brain..lol..But from what I've seen from the 35mm lens I love it, I'm sure the 50mm is alot better but brand new is alittle out of my price range right now Does anyone know where I can find the 50mm cheap and can I use an older one??

thanks for the advice, I have decided to wait and save for the 50-300mm I think it's probably my safest bet, since listening to what you all had to say.
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