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02-21-2012, 09:19 PM   #1
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Lens Advice for K-5


I'm new to the forums and have a decision to make so any advice would be appreciated. Over the last 20+ years I have owned a Program A,
SF10, and the *ist D and all of them are functional. I have finally decided to purchase a K-5 to add to the collection. I debated long and hard on whether to switch to Nikon but decided that Pentax hasn't let me down since 1988, why abandon them now.

I have three lenses and am wondering what kind of lens (or lenses) to purchase with the K-5.
Here is what I have:
So I'm looking to purchase a lens. I was considering the kit lens plus the Pentax-DA 35mm F2.4 AL but have also considered the Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM. I would consider myself an advanced amateur, but not incredibly talented. I have been shooting off an on since I was 15. I'm mostly shooting friends, family, some macro work, lots of travel and vacation. The usual stuff.

Any advice you can give me will be greatly appreciated and considered before I make the purchase. Oh, did I mention I'm on a time crunch....kind of have a life event that is due in or around 34 days.


02-21-2012, 09:30 PM   #2
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If you have the extra cash, I would go ahead and skip the kit lens and go for the Sigma 17-50mm as you mentioned, or the Tamron 17-50mm, which is about $150 cheaper. You can see our comparison of it here:
DA* 16-50mm vs. Sigma and Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 Comparison - Introduction -

Another lens that's worth considering is the 18-135mm, as it's very versatile, focuses incredibly quickly, and is weather sealed.
Pentax SMC DA 18-135mm F/3.5-5.6 ED AL (IF) DC WR Lens 21977 B&H

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02-22-2012, 01:08 AM   #3
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You haven't mentioned budget.

As you mentioned the kit lens, quite a few people upgrade to either the older DA 16-45 or the newer DA 17-70.

The 16-45 has no SDM; the 17-70 rotating front element and SDM only. Both are well regarded.

Although hopefully now fixed, the 16-50 did suffer SDM failure.

All that said, the 18-55 kit lens has its fans, and is available in the WR version.
02-22-2012, 01:50 AM   #4
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I have just bought the Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 EX DC OS HSM. You could do worse.
You could sell the 28-105 to help cushion the higher price.

02-22-2012, 07:07 AM   #5
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I'd go for the WR verision of the kit lens with the 35mm you mentioned (unless you can afford the 35mmLtd macro)
02-22-2012, 07:22 AM   #6
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For shooting your companions etc indoors or out, the Tamron 17-50/2.8 is a favorite. For shooting all sorts of stuff whilst wandering around, you can't beat the older DA18-250 or its Tamron twin -- just boost your K5's ISO a couple EVs.

The DA18-250 is my basic lens, especially for travel. I'm on the road right now, in Las Vegas for a couple days before I continue on down to the Arizona-Sonora border, and that's the lens that lives on my K20D. (Got some nice shots out at Valley of Fire yesterday!) My most minimal kit is the Tamron 10-24 for tight spaces, the FA50/1.4 for action and dimness, and the DA18-250 for almost everything else, with a Raynox DCR-250 for macros. Toss in a Vivitar 24/2 or 28/2, and a modded Nikkor 85/2, for shooting in special situations, and I'm set.
02-23-2012, 12:38 PM   #7
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Thanks for all of the advice. Still weighing options.
02-23-2012, 06:57 PM   #8
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What is your budget eware? That is the crucial bit to me. I see you don't have much at the shorter end and the Tamron, Sigma or Pentax 17ish-50s would all fit this bill - but what about investing in a great portrait lens that will serve you well for the next 20 years? If I understand you correctly you are expecting a child?? soon. I would pull out all stops and invest in a Pentax 50-135. It will take beautiful portraits of your children for years and years to come and you wont be dissapointed particularly teamed with the K-5 - you will love the combination!

Good luck with the life event!

02-23-2012, 10:09 PM   #9
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2 roads to consider: WR vs IQ. Either the DA 18-55 WR or the 18-135 WR will allow you to shoot in somewhat lousy weather, or unpleasant conditions. I found this useful at Yellowstone, for instance, with threat of rain from above or geyser action from below. The 18-55 is nothing special but capable; if you sold your 28-105 you might be able to swing the 18-135, which is supposed to be better.

On the other hand, the DA 16-45, Tamron 17-50 or Sigma 17-50 should all give you an IQ boost over the kit lens. The 35/2.4 too, but might be harder to squeeze that in there except maybe with the DA 16-45.

Best options: 18-135WR; 16-45 + 35/2.4; Tamron or Sigma 17-50/2.8

Keep the 50/1.7, in any case - you'll have a hard time doing better IQ wise, provided you can still focus it yourself.
02-23-2012, 10:27 PM   #10
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Pretty much all been said well above.

However I don't think you are going to notice an increase in IQ from the 35/2.4 over shots from any of the three 16/17-50 zooms (four if you include the 17-70) though it should be better than the 18-135 which IQ-wise is not quite as good as the other zooms.

WR - over-rated unless you are into adventure sports or trekking in the desert/mountains. I've almost never needed it (that I've noticed - maybe it's done it's thing unseen) ! Certainly plastic bags and rubber bands can give you some rain protection.

If you are are going to need a low light demon when your child is born then consider anything from the M 50/1.7 or assortment of other fast fifties (I assume from your previous cameras you are comfortable with MF), Sigma 30/1.4 through to the 77 Ltd. But we are talking about a much larger budget there.
02-24-2012, 08:16 AM   #11
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Wow, lots of great advice. I'm inclined to select IQ over WR because a vast majority of the time I will not be shooting in the rain, snow, hail, etc. I suppose I can be classified as a fair weather photographer. This morning I decided I definitely need to expand into something with a wider angle than I have now; the 28mm field of vision is too limited on a digital SLRs (old news for most of you, I'm sure).

So that combined with my budget narrows the selections down to either the Sigma or Tamron 17-50 mm zooms. I'm sad, though, because I've only ever owned the one Pentax 50mm lens. Maybe I can sell some other lenses and come up with enough cash (i'd have to really pinch my pennies) and buy the Pentax 50-135 later this year. That thing is a beast...I would love to own one.
02-24-2012, 08:41 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by eware Quote
So that combined with my budget narrows the selections down to either the Sigma or Tamron 17-50 mm zooms.
The new Sigma 17-50 is the better Sigma, not the older 18-50), but it is more expensive than the Tamron and the only real gain is the whisper-like HSM AF. I find the Tamron is 95% of the Sigma for 70% of the price. Check out the Tamron thread on here - it is a really sharp lens and there's some stellar shots in that thread.
02-29-2012, 11:38 AM   #13
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Hi eware,
I was in your same situation, just 2 week earlier. I purchased a K5 after K10D, and kept the fisheye 10-17 and the 18-250. I agree you can do all with that as someone wrote, but the quality is not that great for the zoom. To be honest, I never noticed until a friend with Nikon started comparing his shots with mine, done in the same conditions. The 18-250 is not that sharp unless in specific combinations of focus and aperture and distance. Sometime (10%) is perfect but 60% is average and 30% really poor. Anyway maybe it was me... so I decided to improve sharpens at least in a range often used. I wrote here as a new member asking advise about the tamron 28-75. Many people suggested to switch to primes for good quality. They told me 35mm, 40mm (Pancake), 50mm etc. I cannot afford to buy all these lens and with the doubt that was me, I selected the cheapest option, the tamron 17-50 which covers all those primes focal lenghts. Before, I read 100 comments about this, the sigma, the pentax 17-70 and even tested the pentax with little improvement honestly.
Bottom line, yesterday I got from amazon the tamron 17-50 and tested against the 18-250. I can assure the sharpness is better at 100% crop, and even better at 50%. I think that at 100% maybe all the pictures looks not perfect. For sure are not perfect with tamron, but better that the 18-250. Maybe a prime would be perfect, I will find out when I have the next 500 euros. The tamron I paid 275 euros, alterinatives were at 500! So added IQ with little expense. I have to say that I under estimated other parametres looking only at sharpeness. I red about distorsion and color "yellow" but I didn't care. I have to say that the distorsion is really there at 17-20mm, on the side everything is curved and is annoying. And the color is really yellowish. I did only few click, so maybe was the bad weather or something... On the other side everybody complains about being "poor plastic". For me look solid and tough, don't know what they complain about. I did a correction of front focus of -3 on the K5 after testing with a focus test chart. But I don't trust too much this test, maybe I will go back to zero. Anyway, again, there is improvement, but do not expect a WOW effect. I have to compare pictures side by side to see differences at 50%, mainkly I hope to get a more consistent good shot percentage (eliminate the 30% poor pictures, not really improve the 10% perfect). But the pentax 17-70 was exactly the same, only small improvement. Remember I am not an expert, but I did test shooting the same subject with all focal lenghts and apertures to compare.
Hope this helps

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