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04-19-2013, 11:13 AM   #1
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Need Lens help!

I need your advice on a lens purchase. I am looking at two lenses for Pentax:

SMC Pentax-DA 40mm F2.8 Limited Reviews - DA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
SMC Pentax-DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC WR Reviews - DA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

I am not sure what the better option would be. The 18-135mm gives more flexibility along with being weather resistant (my camera is too), but the 40mm has much better picture quality and a much wider aperture.

What would you choose based on those two (or should I be looking at some 3rd party lenses)? I have a Pentax K-30 as my DSLR and my current lens is the kit 18-55mm.

04-19-2013, 11:22 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by hatchtp Quote
I need your advice on a lens purchase. I am looking at two lenses for Pentax:

SMC Pentax-DA 40mm F2.8 Limited Reviews - DA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
SMC Pentax-DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC WR Reviews - DA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

I am not sure what the better option would be. The 18-135mm gives more flexibility along with being weather resistant (my camera is too), but the 40mm has much better picture quality and a much wider aperture.

What would you choose based on those two (or should I be looking at some 3rd party lenses)? I have a Pentax K-30 as my DSLR and my current lens is the kit 18-55mm.
If you just have the 18-55mm, I would recommend upgrading to the 18-135mm for everyday shots. You might want to add the prime later on, or look at the XS version, which is the same lens but cheaper (with no quick-shit manual focus).

Adam
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04-19-2013, 11:42 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by hatchtp Quote
What would you choose based on those two (or should I be looking at some 3rd party lenses)? I have a Pentax K-30 as my DSLR and my current lens is the kit 18-55mm.
Both of those lenses are outstanding, neither is 'better'. But they serve completely different purposes. 'Better choice' can only be defined by the purpose you intend to put them to. If you are looking for a versatile zoom with WR and good image quality to serve as an all purpose walk around lens then the 18-135 is the obvious choice. If you are looking for a very tiny prime (fixed focal length) with excellent image quality maybe for street photography, then get the DA 40.

If this is your only lens then I would suggest the 18-135, the 40mm is IMHO more of a specialist lens and while great, is not what I would choose as my only lens.
04-19-2013, 11:45 AM   #4
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Both lenses are pretty good at what they were built to do. That means the choice is mostly about how you will use the lens. I see the DA 18-135 as a default lens on the camera for quick unexpected snapshots, a vacation/travel lens, a lens for daylight, and maybe missing some low light shots. The DA 40 is about seeing the world at one focal length, compact size, carrying the camera more often, portraits, unusual light, different points of view, thinking harder about each shot, and maybe missing some shots that don't work at 40mm.

You can use your 18-55 to see what 40mm looks like for a few days for a test.

The 40mm is apparently what they used to call a "gateway drug", which will get you addicted to buying the DA 15/4, DA 21/3.2 and DA 70/2.4, then a little case to carry the whole set, then a set of lens caps for daily use...

04-19-2013, 11:46 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
(with no quick-shit manual focus).
I don't think I want that.
04-19-2013, 11:53 AM   #6
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I have both. Both lenses can expand your horizons/possibilities. Either of those are good starting points to expand. Depends on what you want to do, as others have noted.
04-19-2013, 12:30 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
or look at the XS version, which is the same lens but cheaper (with no quick-shit manual focus).
Right, only the LAX series has quick-shit, not the XS

Seriously though, I'd get the 18-135mm WR first. It's a fantastic main lens and you can even sell your 18-55 afterward if you want. It will extend your range tremendously whereas the 40mm will only improve one specific focal length. It's a great lens, but at this stage I think the versatility is better. Then you can pick up a nice prime for your third lens.
04-19-2013, 01:00 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
If you just have the 18-135mm
18-55?

Anyway, I'd get the 18-135. You can get really cheap 50/1.7-1.8-2 etc. lenses anyway.

04-19-2013, 01:05 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Giklab Quote
18-55?

Anyway, I'd get the 18-135. You can get really cheap 50/1.7-1.8-2 etc. lenses anyway.
Yup, that's what I meant. Corrected!

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04-19-2013, 01:35 PM   #10
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You are right about the 18-135mm. Its not a bad lens, offers great flexibility, and is WR. A lot of people keep it specifically for those reasons. But the 40mm is a really great lens. I don't shoot much in poor weather and I really just want max quality, so I would recommend the 40mm. If you are impatient and enjoy having a single lens "for everything", then the 18-135mm won't disappoint you. Maybe if you have no other lens, the zoom will be a better choice to get started and then the 40mm for a great IQ upgrade. A great thing with Pentax is that you can even buy an old manual lens, 30 years old, and it will still deliver great IQ and fit on your camera without adapters.
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