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11-24-2012, 05:11 PM   #1
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Christmas Gift

First, I'm new here ... I'm not a camera guy, but my wife is. I bought her a Pentax K-x Digital SLR Camera about two years ago, and this year I'd like to get her a wide angle lens. Being as I don't have a clue what I'm looking for, and I don't want to screw this up for Christmas day, could anyone give me any sort of idea on what I should be looking for? My budget is limited, so I was thinking ebay or something used if possible. I realize some of these lenses can cost 500+, that isn't something I can afford sadly. She would be delighted if I could get her one though. I'm not sure what brand or model I should be looking for. Obviously I'd want something that is going to work well, and not be junk in the end. Anyone wanna give me a hand? Thanks much.

11-24-2012, 05:26 PM   #2
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It really depends on how wide you want to go. There are to categories of lens choices - prime (one focal length fixed) and zooms (a range of focal lengths that you change). Primes produce, generally speaking, better image quality but are more limited. Zooms are more versatile but are a bit of a compromise in image quality - can't be great for the whole range.

If you got her the 2 lens kit then she has an 18-55 and either a 50-200 or a 55-300 (both zooms). To go wider than 18mm you would need either a zoom in the 12-24, 10-24, or 12-20 range OR a prime lens <18mm. You probably want a regular lens, as opposed to a Fish-Eye lens that gives a lot of curve and is creative and all but less broadly useful.

With a limited budget, and only the 2 kit lenses, I might consider a prime lens that is relatively inexpensive but would add a LOT of image quality and lower light performance for your wife's camera kit. The Pentax DA35 f2.4 is a very well thought of, inexpensive, prime lens that is fairly wide (but not a genuine wide angle lens). It runs $175 used, or so.
https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/SMC-Pentax-DA-L-35mm-F2.4-AL.html

On the genuinely wide angle front there are only a few choices in modern lenses (Pentax cameras can use older K mount lenses that are not auto focus). Unfortunately the Wide-Angle Zooms run $400-600 and the primes generally are in that range too. Here is an article posted here on this topic:
DA 12-24mm vs Sigma and Tamron 10-24mm Comparison - Introduction - PentaxForums.com

Among the Primes the 15mm has an almost cult following. It's mid-$500 though new and not much less used. Primes in the wide-angle range are here:


DA
14mm
F2.8
7.5
DA
15mm F4
Limited
8.8
FA
20mm F2.8
8.2
DA
21mm F3.2
Limited
8.5
FA
31mm F1.8
Limited
9.3
Black Friday pricing is really good but still they're expensive. Here is the link to the pricing guide:
Black Friday: Pentax Lenses up to 60% Off! - Pentax Camera News & Rumors - PentaxForums.com

If your wife would go with Manual Focus lenses then a huge array opens up that are far less expensive.
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-lens-articles/59245-pawnshop-lense...ers-guide.html
11-24-2012, 05:47 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
It really depends on how wide you want to go. There are to categories of lens choices - prime (one focal length fixed) and zooms (a range of focal lengths that you change). Primes produce, generally speaking, better image quality but are more limited. Zooms are more versatile but are a bit of a compromise in image quality - can't be great for the whole range.

If you got her the 2 lens kit then she has an 18-55 and either a 50-200 or a 55-300 (both zooms). To go wider than 18mm you would need either a zoom in the 12-24, 10-24, or 12-20 range OR a prime lens <18mm. You probably want a regular lens, as opposed to a Fish-Eye lens that gives a lot of curve and is creative and all but less broadly useful.

With a limited budget, and only the 2 kit lenses, I might consider a prime lens that is relatively inexpensive but would add a LOT of image quality and lower light performance for your wife's camera kit. The Pentax DA35 f2.4 is a very well thought of, inexpensive, prime lens that is fairly wide (but not a genuine wide angle lens). It runs $175 used, or so.
SMC Pentax-DA 35mm F2.4 AL Reviews - DA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

On the genuinely wide angle front there are only a few choices in modern lenses (Pentax cameras can use older K mount lenses that are not auto focus). Unfortunately the Wide-Angle Zooms run $400-600 and the primes generally are in that range too. Here is an article posted here on this topic:
DA 12-24mm vs Sigma and Tamron 10-24mm Comparison - Introduction - PentaxForums.com

Among the Primes the 15mm has an almost cult following. It's mid-$500 though new and not much less used. Primes in the wide-angle range are here:


DA
14mm
F2.8
7.5
DA
15mm F4
Limited
8.8
FA
20mm F2.8
8.2
DA
21mm F3.2
Limited
8.5
FA
31mm F1.8
Limited
9.3
Black Friday pricing is really good but still they're expensive. Here is the link to the pricing guide:
Black Friday: Pentax Lenses up to 60% Off! - Pentax Camera News & Rumors - PentaxForums.com

If your wife would go with Manual Focus lenses then a huge array opens up that are far less expensive.
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-lens-articles/59245-pawnshop-lense...ers-guide.html
Lots of information here. I'll look over it. I just wanted to give you what she currently has. The camera came with one lens (I don't even know what it is right now, I'd have to check - but I'm pretty sure it's the "generic one" that comes with the camera). Last year I got her this: "SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 Lens - K-Mount" .. then I got her a zoom lens from ebay: "SMC PENTAX-F K-Mount f4.5 100-300mm". If that makes any sense - I hope it does because again - I'm pretty stupid when it comes to cameras.
11-24-2012, 05:54 PM   #4
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This normal prime is on special right now ($175 new) and people love it. It would make for a great gift!
Pentax 35mm DA L F2.4 AL Lens 21987 B&H Photo Video

See also the 50mm F1.8.


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11-24-2012, 06:07 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by deklar Quote
Lots of information here. I'll look over it. I just wanted to give you what she currently has. The camera came with one lens (I don't even know what it is right now, I'd have to check - but I'm pretty sure it's the "generic one" that comes with the camera). Last year I got her this: "SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 Lens - K-Mount" .. then I got her a zoom lens from ebay: "SMC PENTAX-F K-Mount f4.5 100-300mm". If that makes any sense - I hope it does because again - I'm pretty stupid when it comes to cameras.
Thanks, that makes perfect sense. She has a Manual focus (the camera does not mechanically change the focus, your wife does so by hand) in the A50/2 you got her and an Auto Focus (the camera focuses it when she pushes the shutter button halfway down) in the F100-300.

A "normal" auto focus lens might be a good choice. The DA35 f2.4 that I mentioned is on sale new for $175 until Monday and it is wider than the A50 that you gave her.
Pentax 35mm DA L F2.4 AL Lens 21987 B&H Photo Video

Good luck.
11-24-2012, 06:07 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
This normal prime is on special right now ($175 new) and people love it. It would make for a great gift!
Pentax 35mm DA L F2.4 AL Lens 21987 B&H Photo Video

See also the 50mm F1.8.
I guess when I think "wide angle" I think of yesterday ... when she was trying to fit the entire Christmas tree in one photo ... which was hard to do without backing into the wall. Would this lens do what she would want? In other words ... for say, a family gathering, where you have 12 people standing side by side, and the current lenses that she uses, she would have to step back a bit ... or even take it outside to get everyone in the picture. I know she'd like something that would capture more of what is in front of her compared to what we have today.
11-24-2012, 06:44 PM   #7
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Pentax 12-24mm or Sigma 10-20mm
Neither are cheap.
Might be worth somehow checking with her first what lens she wants.... Photographers can be a fussy bunch. Better to ruin the surprise than get the wrong thing.
11-24-2012, 07:34 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by deklar Quote
I guess when I think "wide angle" I think of yesterday ... when she was trying to fit the entire Christmas tree in one photo ... which was hard to do without backing into the wall. Would this lens do what she would want? In other words ... for say, a family gathering, where you have 12 people standing side by side, and the current lenses that she uses, she would have to step back a bit ... or even take it outside to get everyone in the picture. I know she'd like something that would capture more of what is in front of her compared to what we have today.
No, the kit lens that came with her camera goes to 18mm, the 35 focuses tighter than that and would not get as much width-height into the picture. You would need to go with a 15mm Prime or a 10-24 Zoom - roughly $450-600 in lens.

11-24-2012, 08:08 PM   #9
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The suggested lenses are all fine, but not all of them are wide angle. If wide angle is what you really want, then I think the less expensive end of the list is pretty short:

Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 I've linked to a new one from a reputable dealer. There's at least one other version of this lens that's about 45% more, that you don't need. This lens or one with similar specs has been around for a while so you may find a used one on eBay. Just make sure it has a Pentax mount and it should work on a K-x.

Tamron 10-24mm f3.5-4.5 This one has only been around for a few years and may be tougher to find used. The specs look a little better and it has a bit more range, but those aren't going to matter a lot because your wife already has something to cover that range. It may be harder to find used.

Bower 14mm f/2.8 This is a single focal length lens. It's still a wide angle but can't be zoomed to adjust its focal length. It's also manual focus. I think a zoom lens like the above two are more generally useful, this one is more specialized. Samyang makes it, but it's sold sa a Samyang, Bower, Rokinon, Vivitar and maybe some other names, all the same lens. This one is also newer so maybe less available used.

Wide angle lenses for DSLRs are just not cheap.
11-24-2012, 08:40 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
The suggested lenses are all fine, but not all of them are wide angle. If wide angle is what you really want, then I think the less expensive end of the list is pretty short:

Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 I've linked to a new one from a reputable dealer. There's at least one other version of this lens that's about 45% more, that you don't need. This lens or one with similar specs has been around for a while so you may find a used one on eBay. Just make sure it has a Pentax mount and it should work on a K-x.

Tamron 10-24mm f3.5-4.5 This one has only been around for a few years and may be tougher to find used. The specs look a little better and it has a bit more range, but those aren't going to matter a lot because your wife already has something to cover that range. It may be harder to find used.

Bower 14mm f/2.8 This is a single focal length lens. It's still a wide angle but can't be zoomed to adjust its focal length. It's also manual focus. I think a zoom lens like the above two are more generally useful, this one is more specialized. Samyang makes it, but it's sold sa a Samyang, Bower, Rokinon, Vivitar and maybe some other names, all the same lens. This one is also newer so maybe less available used.

Wide angle lenses for DSLRs are just not cheap.
Good list. Another point is that the Tamron is faster over its range than the Sigma.
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