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12-17-2012, 10:35 PM   #1
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K-30: 18-135mm or kit lens and 55-300mm?

I'm going to be getting a K-30 during the post-christmas sales, and am having a tough time deciding between getting the K-30 with 18-135mm, or the kit 18-55mm and then an additional lens, possibly the 55-300mm.

I am primarily going to be photographing nature (birds, maybe some other animals, trees, rocks. probably not landscapes) and the walkaround versatility of the 18-135mm is really appealing. Also, it seems to be a better investment than the 18-55, because I hear a lot of people don't use their kits lens anymore once they get a couple good pieces of glass. The only thing really holding my back is the lack of a true telephoto. I'm worried that I won't have the reach that I will want if I try to take a shot of a bird or something that I might not be able to get too close to. What should I do?

Also, I have a bit of interest in macro photography, but I'm thinking that will need to be a different lens later down the road, maybe I'll pick up a used or vintage lens for that.

12-17-2012, 10:44 PM   #2
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The 18-135 is weather resistant, so I'd probably go for it and then get something longer to compliment it.
12-17-2012, 10:45 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by ShallowJam Quote
I'm going to be getting a K-30 during the post-christmas sales, and am having a tough time deciding between getting the K-30 with 18-135mm, or the kit 18-55mm and then an additional lens, possibly the 55-300mm.

I am primarily going to be photographing nature (birds, maybe some other animals, trees, rocks. probably not landscapes) and the walkaround versatility of the 18-135mm is really appealing. Also, it seems to be a better investment than the 18-55, because I hear a lot of people don't use their kits lens anymore once they get a couple good pieces of glass. The only thing really holding my back is the lack of a true telephoto. I'm worried that I won't have the reach that I will want if I try to take a shot of a bird or something that I might not be able to get too close to. What should I do?

Also, I have a bit of interest in macro photography, but I'm thinking that will need to be a different lens later down the road, maybe I'll pick up a used or vintage lens for that.
Why not get both? The 18-135mm would be for general shooting, while the 55-300mm would be for birds. The quiet AF in the 18-135mm is really nice! See this lens guide, BTW:

Pentax K-30 Lens Guide - Pentax Camera News & Rumors - PentaxForums.com

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12-18-2012, 12:28 AM   #4
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I'm not sure that I have the budget to buy both at the same time, so I'm trying to choose

12-18-2012, 12:36 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by ShallowJam Quote
I'm not sure that I have the budget to buy both at the same time, so I'm trying to choose
Go for the 300mm first, then you can always replace the 18-55 with the 18-135mm once you can afford it Make sure you get the WR 18-55, though, so you can enjoy the K-30's weather sealing.

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12-18-2012, 02:15 AM   #6
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I have a K-5II and the K-30. I bought the K-30 two lens kit because I have the 18-135mm WR on the K-5II. I wasn't too impressed with 18-55mm that came with K-30 but 55-300mm lens that was included was way beyond expectations for a kit lens. The kit lenses don't come with the front lens petal hoods, and the 55-300mm does really need one, so keep that in mind. If you're thinking of a macro check out DA-100mm WR, it is a lot of lens for the buck, and nasty weather doesn't keep you grounded. I find myself putting the 55-300mm on my K-5II on a regular basis because sometimes I need that extra zoom. Just have to remember it is not weather resistant.

Last edited by lynx426; 12-18-2012 at 02:24 AM.
12-18-2012, 08:37 AM   #7
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if you're trying to maximize your money, I would get the DA 18-135 bundled with the K-30 since that way, you save a lot of money on the lens. Then when you have saved up more money, buy a used DA 55-300 form the PF Forum marketplace, usually sold for $250-300 U.S.
12-18-2012, 08:59 PM   #8
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I bought the K-30 with the 18-135 because of the saving and WR and I love the lens, it is a very versatile lens, but not a bird lens. I have had the DA55-300 for quite a while and it is a really good lens. If you get a 55-300 I would highly recommend the DA version. Not only does it have the hood but it has quick shift. The 55-300 has a noisy auto focus and long focus throw, causing it to tend to hunt. I scared off many a bird with the noisy auto focus until I learned to manually focus close with the quick shift, them nail it with auto focus. I wish it were WR but I've been in many a rain with it protected by a cheap Optec rain sleeve. I would get the 18-135 first because of the price break as a kit, Then swing the 55-300 when you can. In the meantime you could buy a cheap used Tamron or Sigma 70-300 until you have the funds for the DA55-300, they won't have the IQ of the 55-300, but can get you by for a while.

12-18-2012, 09:14 PM   #9
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Get the kit with the 18-135.

The 18-135 new is around $500 (not worth it)

When it comes in a kit, it's usually priced around $300 (compared to just a camera body without the lens)

Used 18-135's never sell for below $400. Minty fresh ones can go for even more than that.

So get the kit with the 18-135, sell off the 18-135, make profit/lower the cost of the body, buy better lenses.

The DA 55-300 is a fine lens, and a true bang-for-buck all-star in the Pentax lineup. Get an 18-55 WR or other similar wide/normal lens to complement it (spend between $100-200) and you're all set to go. You might even have room to get a cheap, fast prime (DA 35 2.4 is another B4B all-star).
12-19-2012, 06:16 AM   #10
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For what it's worth, I got the 18-135 and plan to keep it and buy a WR zoom lens, 55-200 or 55-300. I live in the tropics and vacations are in the snow. If the 55-300 where WR, no brainer. List your needs and proceed accordingly.
12-19-2012, 05:49 PM   #11
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if you are doing animals, you need 200mm minimum! Pentax 55m-300mm, cheaper si the same optically as weatherproof version. 135mm is wayyyyy too short. I like prime 35mm + 55m-300m combo. Meets post of my needs, good quality. If you are buying 18-55mm, then you can get the cheapy kit lens on ebay for like $70 last time I checked. If you want wider, I'd wait for a deal on an ultrawide 8-13mm range sigma, etc.
12-20-2012, 04:58 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by bob13bob Quote
Pentax 55m-300mm, cheaper si the same optically as weatherproof version.
Could you explain?
12-20-2012, 03:38 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Maromero Quote
Could you explain?
There is no weather resistant 55-300. There are two versions, DA, and DAL. The DA comes with a padded storage pouch, a hood, metal mount, and has quick shift. DAL has a plastic mount, no quick shift and does not include a hood. I own the DA and could not live without the quick shift on this lens once I found out how to use it. The optics are supposed to be identical, the specs certainly are.
12-20-2012, 03:51 PM   #14
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I am in the same boat and have wavered back and forth on what to get as well. In the end, I will be purchasing the 18-135 simply because of the price break and for the WR. I do a lot of hunting and fishing in harsh climates and I need the WR so I can be comfortable bringing the camera along. For other situations I will pick up the necessary lenses as I find the need.
12-20-2012, 04:52 PM   #15
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With my K-x I have the Tamron 17-50, Pentax 55-300 and a Sigma 50-150. My next body upgrade will probably include the 18-135 because I sometimes feel limited on the short or long end of my Tamron and Pentax. I would use the 18-135 as my walk around lens and use the Tamron for lowlight or where I want sharper images (if the 18-135 falls short in that regard).

If I was starting out I would get the 18-135 and the 55-300.
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