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08-13-2012, 04:23 PM   #1
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Better lens?

Hello Folks,

This summer I acquired a Pentax K-5, 18-50mm DAL lens, and a50-200 WR lens. I’m taking the bestphotos of my life, but I wonder how much better they could be with a “super”lens? As an inexperienced amateur, can Isubstantially improve the quality of my photos by buying an expensive lens?

Thanks, Tom

08-13-2012, 04:53 PM   #2
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What is the "quality" that you want to improve? Contrast? Resolution? Fidelity? These can be improved by "expensive" lens for sure, and most prime lens will bet the zoom lenses you have. If the "quality" refers to exposure, composition & essence. Learning "how to do it" is more important than "what to use". Your current zooms can produce remarkable images when you know how to maximize their potentials (i.e. do not point to the light source, stop down to their optimal aperture, use the appropriate shutter speed. . .) .

I use L***a & Z***s lenses as well, and I can attest that majority of the images I saw from many owners are no better than from those captured by a P&S compacts!!

Last edited by MJL; 08-13-2012 at 05:27 PM.
08-13-2012, 05:27 PM   #3
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Many will say that you can improve your shots by improving your technique. This is definitely true.

In my case, I found that a 'good' lens will improve my 'keeper rate'. This is important when you take dynamic shots which canot be repeated.

I found that I learned very much when I had my first prime. With a prime lens, you cannot sit back ad relax. You need to move around and in turn you get better shots IMHO.

This is my experience and I hope that the comment may help.
08-13-2012, 05:59 PM   #4
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Better Lens = Better Photos?

Hi Tom,
Better glass usually results in slightly better photo quality. Not substantially, slightly.
Say your kit lens is rated overall at an 8.0.
You could spend $1000 on a similar-range high-end zoom and improve it to a 9.
Is it worth it? That's between you and your wallet.
But another way is to look carefully at the photos you've taken, select ones that YOU like the best. You may notice a certain focal range that appeals to you, more photos shot at this range seem "right". Let's say it's around 28mm.
That's the way you see the world. We all have a certain focal length that works for us. When we have an immediate choice within a scene, and we're using a zoom, that's where we go. Someone standing right next to you, wouldn't dream of shooting the same scene with anything more narrow than a 16mm. Another photographer would reach for a telephoto.
Over time, you'll find this focal "range" and hone your skills within it. Oh, you'll take some photos at other lengths, it's not written in stone. But you'll have a base, for lack of a better word.
When you find it, buy a good prime in that focal length. It will take slightly better photos. The resolution, sharpness and I.Q. will be improved. You may have to enlarge the photo 300% to see it, but it will be there.

08-13-2012, 07:46 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tatume Quote
can Isubstantially improve the quality of my photos by buying an expensive lens?
I see that the 2 lenses you have are basic kit lenses.

I cannot guarantee that you will take better pictures, but if you buy a fast lens, i.e something that is an f2.8 or lower lens, you will suddenly be able to take pictures where the main subject is in focus and the rest is blurred. This works best for portraits. When you are new, this difference itself will seem to "substantially improve the quality". try the DA 70mm f2.4 or DA 55mm f1.4 or tamron 28-75 f2.8 etc.

Fast lenses are also great for taking action shots; you will more likely be able to take better pictures then. Especially if the light is not great, like in stage performances.

In some cases, this is simply because you have the right tool for the right job. If you have a screw with a phillips head and you use a plain screw driver, its a lot harder to do the job, than if you have a phillips screw driver to begin with.
08-13-2012, 07:52 PM   #6
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Don't buy another lens unless you know what quality you're trying to upgrade--and only then buy a lens because that lens meets your criteria.

For me, there are four reasons for you to buy a more expensive lens. 1: Faster. 2: Smaller. 3: Wider or longer. 4: Weather resistance.

Faster lenses are a revelation. Being able to shoot at f/2 makes a lot of things more possible. But if you don't find f/3.5-5.6 limiting, then you don't need it.

Smaller lenses are easier to carry. If you're more likely to carry the camera, you're more likely to capture the image. But, then you'll be using a prime and will be losing out on other abilities.

Wider or longer lenses are easy to be attracted to, but I haven't found them necessary for me. But, if you find yourself pinned at 18mm, or at 200mm, then you might consider a new lens to captures those images more to your liking.

Weather resistance is nice. You already have a telephoto WR, though, so unless you're looking at shooting outside during a storm, you're probably covered.

Other than those things, will the photos of an inexperienced amateur substantially improve with a new lens? No. Photographic equipment, even at the consumer level, is better than what most professionals have been working with over the history of photography. Will they make you happier with your hobby? Possibly. Possibly. If so, go ahead--but, be warned, that rabbit hole is deep and costly to pass through.
08-14-2012, 03:51 AM   #7
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As I just have understand for this forum cheapest way for U is to get Tamron 17-50 f2.8 and DA55-300. I not have both yet but will have both very soon
08-14-2012, 07:49 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tatume Quote
Hello Folks,

................ As an inexperienced amateur, can I substantially improve the quality of my photos by buying an expensive lens?

Thanks, Tom
My advice to you is to keep on using what you have until some point in time, where you will begin to ask yourself questions and begin to feel needs such as:

"If only i could get closer"
"I wish I could capture more light in this situation"
"Why do I have to change lens all the time whenever I am photographing XXX"
"I´wish I had just more reach/a wider field of view for this"

Then, at that point - or rather: at those points - you can begin to look for other/complementary/better/better suited lenses. If you spend a fortune now on more costly lenses, you might discover, that those lenses weren't exactly what you needed most right here and now.

And as you have discovered: You can take excellent pictures with the kit that you have. Perhaps not in each and every (im)possible situation but probably enough to keep you happy for a few more months......

08-14-2012, 09:44 AM   #9
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I can only say the advice above is great, and essentially what I read when I was making that decision (as we all have).

I made the following purchases:
FA100 Macro - I like to photograph insects like bees. Any of the 100mm Macros are very good.
DA 55-300 - the best long zoom for the money. Much less purple fringing than the bargain Tamron zoom I was using.
16-45 - the first lens I bought, much better than the old 18-55 from my K-10 kit. It's light, inexpensive, and pretty nice. Is it better than the new kit lens? I don't know. I would not buy it over the 18-135 if I had a limited budget.
18-135 - my only WR lens, but I think it's a very convenient and quickly-focusing lens. I rate it as very accurate as well, and now is my default walkaround lens.

I also bought the 10-17 Fisheye after renting it. This is a very fun lens.
I rented the 21mm lens and didn't really like it - though it was small and convenient.
I rented Sigma's 28mm Macro, and really liked it. I may buy it. I didn't think I'd use it wide-open, but I did and must say I was quite impressed in low light situations.
I have also bought some older manual focus primes - some good, some not, but they're interesting to play with.
I rented the 60-250 for an airshow, but the weather sucked and I never used the lens to its full potential. It's one heavy beast, too, so bear that in mind. With my old K-10 it was nearly 5lbs worth of camera kit which is fatiguing.
08-14-2012, 04:03 PM   #10
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Good advice from everybody. Thank you fellows.
08-14-2012, 05:23 PM   #11
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OK. I am going against the grain here but would better lenses improve the IQ of your shots ? Yes. Of course they will. They will improve sharpness, clarity and contrast, they can give you lower DoF - if that is appealing to you and of course to many it is because that is what gives photos of certain subjects much of their oomph, and of course certain lenses are liberally sprinkled with pixie dust to produce magic

What they can not do is improve your technique, composition or 'eye' for a shot, but shot for shot they will give you a better image. The Pentax kit lenses are good but if someone were to seriously suggest that a lens costing ca.$100 new can produce the same IQ as a lens costing many times that ......well enough said.

Just be aware that there is no direct correlation between price and image quality. For some lenses you will be paying more for the build quality, WR, SDM, HSM, name, focal length or other features. A $500 lens won't give you 5 times better images than your 18-55 but they will be noticeably better in the right hands.

I would go along with the advice given to get the most out of what you have now until you feel you are ready for the next step and then decide, based on what you feel is lacking and on your preferred focal lengths and maybe on advice given on this forum, on your next lens.
08-14-2012, 07:27 PM   #12

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I've noticed that especially with Pentax lens' that (more so) aperature really directly effects focusing sped and ability - in automatic or even manual.

Case in point... If one were to purchase any lens of any focal length range, then... the f5.0 (best aperature) would not be as fast as an f3.5, also both not being as fast as the f2.8. I can think of only one exception to this rule; the Pentax macro's. But then again there are also the lens' with the sdm electronic focus feature - which is an entirely different issue.

Oddly enough the entire market of PK mount manual lens' don't seem to sell very well - even considering that the Zeiss variety are optically some of the best lens' ever made.
08-15-2012, 08:34 AM   #13
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Don't buy any more lenses or LBA will consume you!!

You've been warned!!!
08-19-2012, 06:06 AM   #14
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I would just bite the bullet and get either the DA35-2.4 or the new DA50-1.8... Not being able to zoom will increase your compositional skills quickly (forcing you to think a little more before hitting the shutter button) and the increased IQ over the kit will be very noticable...

If you just want improvement of IQ then the Tamron17-50-2.8 'is' very good... But also nearing twice the size of the kit-lens... I now often go out without mine and it only really gets used when I need something wider than 28mm (currently my widest prime)... Once I've saved for the DA's 15&21 it will be getting sold (most likely along with the FA28)

At some point you'll be saving for another lens , trawling ebay for cheap glass (often just to try out a focal length) and pining over Ltd's you really can't afford... Just be ready for it...

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