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03-26-2012, 07:08 AM   #1
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kit lens upgrade for K20

I'm looking to upgrade my kit lens, i looked over the threads that popped up in searching and are mostly from 2008 with the last from 2010 so i'm hoping for some current reviews on a couple i had in mind

after taking pictures of my sons 2nd birthday over the weekend i was very dissapointed in the low light perfromance of my kit 18-55. the K20 is big enough in body alone and i really dont want to add a flash.

I'm looking at the Sigma and Tamron 17-50 or 17-70 lenses over on B&H. seems hit or miss with the copies though with focusing issues. I have the latest firmware updated into my K20.

03-26-2012, 07:13 AM   #2
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We've got a nice comparative review of the 17-50mm options posted, and one of the Pentax 17-70mm vs Sigma 17-70mm should be coming soon. As far as I can see, all these options will be an upgrade over the kit lens; the main question is what's your budget and whether or not you want to sacrifice focal length for F2.8.
03-26-2012, 09:15 AM   #3
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i'm really leaning towards the tamron 17-50mm 2.8. or i cheap out and get the DA35 for indoors but then i lose my wide angle
03-26-2012, 10:37 AM   #4
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It's worth noting that a better zoom is going to be significantly larger and heavier than the 18-55. Also, the 17-70 isn't really faster than the kit zoom until 45mm or so.

03-26-2012, 01:24 PM   #5
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A constant aperture f/2.8 lens gives you between roughly 1 stop (at the wide end) and 2 stops (at the long end) advantage. Will that be enough? Now and in the future when your kid moves around faster?

If you consider the DA35, you can also consider a Sigma 30/1.4 (roughly the same price as the Tamron). Same problem that you might miss the wide angle, but it will give you 2 additional stops over the Tamron. I suggest that you put your kit lens on 30 or 35 mm for a while and see how that works for you from a field-of-view perspective.

Lastly, in my humble opinion, it might be wise to reconsider your view regarding flash. It adds a lot of flexibility to your kit.
03-26-2012, 01:32 PM   #6
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Almost everyone wants to replace the poor old kit lens. (I bought other lenses first, so there was nothing to replace.) Go ahead, get one of those fat f/2.8 zooms. I take different tacks. When I do use the DA18-55, I don't hesitate to bump my K20D's ISO range up to 2000. High-ISO noise can be fixed in PP; motion-blur can't. And if I really need more speed, I use faster MF primes: 24-38-35mm f/2s and 50-55mm f/1.4s. And indoors, I don't hesitate to bounce flash.

A story: Our father shot we rapscallions in ambient light with old slow MF TLRs with slow film (and won prizes). The lenses were 75/3.5-4.5. The film was ASA100. His secrets? Making sure there was *enough* ambient light. Careful timing. Social engineering: He'd say 'Hey' and we'd stop for a moment; he'd shoot; we'd resume. And practice practice practice. That's all it takes, eh?
04-02-2012, 10:58 AM   #7
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I figure in a few weeks i'll be getting the new lens, i'll have about $500 for it. Just not 100% on what to get, 90% of my photos are indoor kids and outside landscape. I have a smc 50/f1.4 but can't use it to save my life, the kit 18-55 lens and a tamron 70-300. I'm going to Wells Maine again in June and hope to have something good by then.
04-02-2012, 08:55 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by no694terry Quote
K20 is big enough in body alone and i really dont want to add a flash.
QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
And indoors, I don't hesitate to bounce flash.
For family doo's at my mums house placing a flash with a trigger on the mantelpeice (shelf above the fireplace) and on the oposite bookcase (she has a massive front room!) is the first thing I do when I get there... Using bounce flash indoors can dramatically improve your shots!!
In a big room I'm happy with a fast fifty but in smaller rooms it does get tight...
I use the Tanron 17-50 a fair bit and it's a (bloody huge and intimidating) bloody good peice of glass! VERY sharp and pretty quick at 2.8...
I also use an FA28-2.8 which I think the nephews (nearly 2 and 5 years old) find a lot less intimidating...
Ideally I'd reach for a 35mm-f2 lens... but I don't own one... yet...

My suggestion would be to consider flash and look at some small fast prime lenses...


Last edited by DaveHolmes; 04-02-2012 at 08:57 PM. Reason: 0 instead of 8
04-06-2012, 09:40 AM   #9
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ok, i have made up my mind. I will soon own a Tamron 17-50. The deciding factor was th new price increases on Pentax lenses. I tried to buy the DA35 a few weeks ago but was on back order so i wait,then the price went up like 30% now its $50 higher!!! So Tamron it is.
04-06-2012, 10:36 AM   #10
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I just got my kit.lens replacement yesterday -- well, the second half of the replacement, anyway. I already had the F35-70/3.5-4.5 (KAF mount). Now I have the Vivitar Series 1 19-35/3.5-4.5 (PK-A mount). No AF there at the low end, but who needs it?

Last edited by RioRico; 04-06-2012 at 10:47 AM.
04-06-2012, 09:28 PM   #11
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123jippo, I hope that you are as happy with your Tamron as I've been with mine. The increase in sharpness, contrast and saturation was dramatic.
04-12-2012, 03:10 PM   #12
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new dilemma, i think i want a flash first. a metz 50 perhaps?
04-12-2012, 05:27 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by no694terry Quote
new dilemma, i think i want a flash first. a metz 50 perhaps?
If you want to save lots of cash and don't mind a small learning curve you could go for a manual flash such as YN560 (yongnuo)...
Manual flash is really not as difficult to get to grips with as many seem to think... With the added cash you could get some Cactus-V5 triggers and still have lots of change to go towards your next lens purchase...
04-12-2012, 05:53 PM   #14
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I have a Sunpac Auto 131 I played with one night. it doesn't tilt but i think its triggered by a wire anyway and can be taken off the hot shoe. It came with a ME Super and a Vivitar 28-85 when i bought the M50/1.4. But i am pretty sure all my pictures were OVER exposed while i was playing with it. In constant light conditions i probably could have dialed it in but in kids chasing it didn't have a chance.
04-12-2012, 07:19 PM   #15
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Manual flash take a day of solid practice to get your head round... Then it's as quick as doing anything else... I normally have correct exposure 1st time round these days, and always within 1 stop...
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