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03-04-2013, 09:45 PM   #1
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K-r, which lenses for complete beginner

I am after a zoom lens and a Wide angle lens. As I am a complete beginner, I am only looking at entry level prices.
I think I have made up my mind for the Pentax SMC DA 55-300mm f4-5.8 ED over the Pentax SMC DA 50-200mm f4-5.6 ED. Is this a right choice?
I have no idea where to start with wide angle.
Any help would appreciated and I would prefer to get them in Australia.

Last edited by Shellz19; 03-04-2013 at 09:59 PM.
03-04-2013, 09:59 PM - 1 Like   #2
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At entry level prices, the good old DA18-55 kit lens offers a lot of bang for the buck. It should serve nicely as a starter wide-angle for very little cash, especially a used one. The DA50-200 is a pretty good lens in my experience, but if you have the extra cash, the DA55-300 offers improved IQ, and more reach. The DA L versions can save you some money, if you can do without quickshift, and don't mind a plastic mount instead of a metal one. They are optically the same as the DA's.
03-04-2013, 10:04 PM - 1 Like   #3
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DA 18-55 and DA 55-300 make a hard pair to beat at entry level prices. You would need to spend quite a lot more to get better.

Be aware that both of those come in DA and DA L versions. The DA L is usually sold in a kit with the body but they are often available either used or split off from the kit. The DA L has a plastic mount, no hood and no quick shift but is much cheaper. They are identical optically.
03-04-2013, 10:23 PM - 1 Like   #4
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I am also a beginner (with a K-r) and if you want to go really wide-angle I would start saving money for a Tamron 10-24mm which I am doing right now.
I also use the DA 18-55, DA 55-300 and I am happy with those but I want the Tamron for landscape and architecture shots
If you wanna try a AF prime I suggest the DA 35mm F2.4 which is great for street/everyday lens.


You might want to consider the Tamron 18-200mm lens which is not that expensive and you don't need to switch lens that often.
(That's my travel lens)

03-04-2013, 10:23 PM - 1 Like   #5
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The quality control on the 55-300 seems to be very good, problems with it are rare. Meanwhile the sale price in Australia is very expensive compared to overseas (eg $670 from cheap authorised retailers). I'd suggest then getting it off the marketplace here, or ebay as you will save hundreds of dollars and the likehood of a problem is low.
03-04-2013, 11:42 PM   #6

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Get the DA55-300 plus a DA17-70 or Tamron 17-50/2.8 if you can. I prefer the colors that come from the Pentax lenses (so I bought the DA17-70 when I was in your position), but the Tamron is still very good and it's faster as well. The Tamron 28-75/2.8 is also good, but it requires you to get a wider lens like the Tamron 10-24 as well.

I liked the DA55-300, but I like my F70-210 better (actually I got the Takumar version for well under $100), so that could save you money. The DA55-300 is still better than it has any right to be as an entry level lens. But I never got an image that was really compelling over 135mm, so I eventually sold it and got the much more expensive DA*50-135 instead. I also added the K200/2.5 and F*300/4.5, which really do produce compelling images. But all of those are down the road if you ever decide it matters that much. For now I'd get the DA55-300 or F70-210/4-5.6 and focus your money on the 17-70 or 17-50 range.

The F24-50/4 or A24-50/4 and FA28-105/3.2-4.5 (I really think it's the best 28-105, although apparently a few people got bad copies) are also great yet affordable lenses that can create compelling images. And while we're on the subject the Cosina 100/3.5 macro (available under many different brands with either AF or MF) is a great value, as is the A50/1.7 (each a little under or over $100, depending on whether it has AF in the case of the Cosina). Do your research and decide which ones you like by looking at the images:

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Pentax smc P-FA 28-105mm F3.2-4.5 AL IF Lens Sample Photos and Specifications
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03-05-2013, 06:57 AM   #7

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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
The quality control on the 55-300 seems to be very good, problems with it are rare. Meanwhile the sale price in Australia is very expensive compared to overseas (eg $670 from cheap authorised retailers). I'd suggest then getting it off the marketplace here, or ebay as you will save hundreds of dollars and the likehood of a problem is low.
We all have a limited range of experience, but mine is that quality control on the 55-300 (DA, not DA-L) is horrible. Don't buy one that you can't take or send back after testing. The first two copies I got were obviously soft on the entire right side on the short/medium end. The copy I've kept is much better, no issues at all on the short/medium end, but has some more minor issues in one corner past 200mm. Having previously owned a K100, I think the higher-pixel-count sensors have "broken" a lot of lenses. It seems from reading on other forums that the D800 has sent a lot of formerly-though-to-be-good nikon glass back for repairs, for example.

I don't have an F70-210, which has an excellent reputation, but do have an F100-300 (less good reputation.) It can clearly out-resolve the 55-300 past 200mm in that one corner. But the contrast is worlds apart - the newer lens, maybe due to the coatings, maybe due to the light from that bigger image circle bouncing around on the full-frame lens, produces a much snappier image (except in that one corner!)

03-05-2013, 01:44 PM - 1 Like   #8
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Aside from the kit DA L 18-55, my K-r field bag typically has the DA L 55-300.

That said, I also own the DA L 50-200, which has a couple advantages over the the 55-300 if you have to really travel light (like the camera around the neck and a lens in your pocket, light). The 50-200 is almost the same physical size and weight as the 18-55, and the two use the same filter size. I've done this on short walks in the neighborhood and when attending family events with no photographic obligations, but want to take a few shots anyhow. You need a pretty goodly sized pocket if you are going to try this with the 55-300, especially since all my lens have bayonet hoods.

03-05-2013, 01:45 PM - 1 Like   #9
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18-55 and 50-300mm are a good beginners kit. If you have the DA L versions, you should consider buying chinese lens hoods for them (just make sure it will fit on the filter or bayonet). You can pay a little more and get a WR 18-55, which might not be a bad investment in case you ever buy a WR camera. You can usually get a two lens kit with the K-r for a great price, at least that is how I got it back when I bought it new.
Next you will want to buy a prime lens and there are many threads on these. A great one to start with is a DA 35mm f2.4 or DA 40mm XS. If you are interested in learning how to use older lenses (which can be cheaper, but still have great IQ), you can try an M or A series 50mm f1.7. After some use of the kit lenses you will develop a feeling on what kind of lens you need/want next. The lens reviews database with sample images is a great resource on these forums. Just beware lba

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