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09-18-2013, 05:13 PM   #1
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An impossible ask? Best lens/lens combo for new K-30 user

Hi all,
I have had much delight trawling these forums and their incredibly generous posters in preparation for my K-30 purchase! Despite all the information, I think I may be suffering from "paralysis by analysis"!
Photography is an intensely personal experience, so i would like to call upon yours by answering this 'simple' question:

What is the best lens/lens combo for a new K-30 user?

I am hoping to still use my dependable Sigma 28-80mm F3.5-5.6 Macro, although am very partial to replacing it with a new lens or two.
When I first joined recently Adam was kind to suggest his preference for the Pentax 18-135 WR for its versatility. I must say that I am leaning that way, although would like some extra reach for my 'twitching'. Which is why the Sigma 18-250mm F3.5-5.6 Macro HSM is also an option.

My local dealer (Melbourne, Australia) has some good specials on, so am in the mood to let those moths out of the wallet.

Uses: travel, wildlife, beaches, critters (legacy of being a biologist). Currently a father of some very mobile and motile children, so partnering a walk-around with a fast prime (Pentax SMC DA 35mm F2.4 maybe?) sounds good too!

Thanks to all in advance for any advice

John

09-18-2013, 05:23 PM   #2
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The suggestion for the DA18-135mm is an excellent one. The DA18-135mm is WR like your K-30 and this does make sense.

Personally I have both DA18-250mm and DA18-135mm. My wife prefer the DA18-135mm because it is more quiet and not as long (when extended). I tend to prefer the DA18-250mm for the extra reach, but I always enjoy the DA18-135mm when I use it.

For a prime, a fast prime is the likely choice IMHO. The DA35mm is well regarded. The DA50mm f1.8 is another option in my opinion: faster (f1.8) and more portrait oriented.

I hope that the comment may help.
09-18-2013, 05:30 PM   #3
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Let's start with fact there is no "best" :-)

What do you like to shoot, how much do you want to spend, and how particular are you about image quality? do you want to stick with zooms?

The 18-55 and 50-200 are inexpensive options. The 55-300 has better IQ than the 50-200 and is still reasonably priced. Better and faster (and heavier/larger) zooms are the Tamron or Sigma 70-200. I don't tend to recommend Pentax SDM lens such as the 50-135 and 60-250, though they produce nice images, and are relatively expensive.

For ultra wide angle the 12-24 is excellent, though pricey. Sigma and Tamron make similar UWA's for little less money. The 16-45 is much cheaper though not as wide, obviously.

The Tamron 28-75 is a nice medium zoom that can focus fairly close, but it is not quite wide enough as a single-lens option. Sigma now has a few varieties of the 17-70s which I find to be a bit better focal range-wise, though not quite as good optically or as fast at the long end as the 28-75.

Oh, the 10-17 fisheye is fun.

Almost any macro lens is good these days. 70 or longer will give a bit more working room between you and your lights and the bugs than a 35 or 50.

The marketplace is a good place to hunt down some good bargains.

Your lens collection will usually evolve by selling off some to buy others - unless you collect them like some people.
09-18-2013, 05:30 PM   #4
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Hard to beat the DA 18-135 for general use. My wife uses it 90% of the time and also has a DA 55-300 for when she needs a little more reach. That's a two lens lineup but it is light weight and doesn't take much space.

09-18-2013, 05:31 PM   #5
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Hi hcc,
thank you for your prompt reply! There was a similar thread running at the start of this year re: K-30 and Sigma 17-70 lens, so apologies for duplicating.
But great feedback hcc. Furthermore, how do you find the DA 18-250mm as a wide-to-mid range lens?
09-18-2013, 05:36 PM   #6
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Thanks Special K,
I understand that including the phrase 'best' was optimistic (at best!). And I agree, the marketplace has been useful - although I never seem to be quick enough! Having used the Sigma 28-80 and 100-300 on older film bodies I am used to doubling up and carrying a couple of lenses, so the suggestion of the 18-55 and 50-200 WR kit lenses are definitely worth consideration. Laziness with a point-and-shoot over the last couple of years steers me towards a walk-around, although I am sure that my quick-lens-change skills will reappear!
Thanks again!

PS: I have heard something about the affliction of lens collection!

Last edited by JPE; 09-18-2013 at 05:41 PM.
09-18-2013, 05:40 PM   #7
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Hi Jatrax,
nice call on the DA 55-300 - must admit I hadn't thought so big.
In response to Special K, AUD $800-1000 seems about right as a budget. As a regular traveller and day-walker, objects of desire include, but are not limited to, the ubiquitous landscape, juxtaposition of people in the environment, pretty flowers, birds and beaches. Must also add that I became quite fond of my Hoya polariser over the years - nothing like the rich blues and aquas of a marine scene.
09-18-2013, 06:20 PM   #8
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Hi JPE
As SpecialK has written, there is no best unfortunately. I have the DA 18-135, Tamron 28-75 and new Sigma 17-70 C and can offer opinions on these.

DA: WR to match the K-30, silent fast AF. Produces typical rich Pentax colours. Sharp in the centre, but crappy corner sharpness beyond 70mm at any aperture. The slowest apertures of the three.

Tamron: Produces very sharp corner to corner images at all focal lengths stopped down a little. Colours similar to the DA. Noisy, but fast AF. Not WR. Not as wide as the other two, but my favourite of the three (for the landscapes I shoot).

Sigma: Silent fast AF. Colours not as rich as the other two (not a problem to fix PP). Sharp images, but doesn't match the extreme corner sharpness of the Tamron. Can focus closer than the other two. Much better than the DA IMO. Has the widest diameter 72mm which makes filters expensive, but overall a very nice versatile lens.

Choices, choices...

Looking at your uses:
Travel - Sigma 17-70 C
Wildlife - none (but I would recommend the DA 55-300 as a good alternative)
Beaches - DA 18-135
Critters - Sigma 17-70 C
Kids - I don't have the DA 35 (only have an FA 35/2, which is similar and which would be fine for this use)

Sorry I can't offer you advice on the Sigma 18-250 or compare the above three to your 28-80.

09-18-2013, 06:29 PM   #9
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Gray,
wow, great feedback - very comprehensive. Thanks for offering suggestions to match my hobbies! I have no problem with 3rd party lenses, so will investigate the contemporary Sigma and the Tamron at my local shop soon.
As you say, choices, choices...
09-18-2013, 06:54 PM   #10
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If you want to go to 250, just get the 55-300. The 18-250 is just too much zoom range to keep the quality where you want it. At that point, buy a bridge camera. You have the 28-80 already. It's not the best regarded lens in the world, and I'd guess the 18-250 is similar in IQ. I love my 18-135, it's my foul weather friend. I live in Florida, so that's important to me. A fast prime is also nice to have-I like my Sigma 30/1.4, but choose whichever you like/can afford. The 35/2.4 takes nice pictures too.

Here's my best advise to you: browse the lens reviews, read what owners think. Look at sample photos. Just pick whichever one appeals to you. Buy it used, preferably here on the market place. If you don't like it, sell it and choose something else for a minimal loss. Even if you like it, and can't afford something else too, just keep selling and buying until you come across one that you love. You'll know it when you have it. All the pictures will come out just like you wanted them to. Then just keep selling/buying until you are happy. Which is never.
09-18-2013, 07:02 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kozlok Quote
If you want to go to 250, just get the 55-300. The 18-250 is just too much zoom range to keep the quality where you want it. At that point, buy a bridge camera. You have the 28-80 already. It's not the best regarded lens in the world, and I'd guess the 18-250 is similar in IQ. I love my 18-135, it's my foul weather friend. I live in Florida, so that's important to me. A fast prime is also nice to have-I like my Sigma 30/1.4, but choose whichever you like/can afford. The 35/2.4 takes nice pictures too.

Here's my best advise to you: browse the lens reviews, read what owners think. Look at sample photos. Just pick whichever one appeals to you. Buy it used, preferably here on the market place. If you don't like it, sell it and choose something else for a minimal loss. Even if you like it, and can't afford something else too, just keep selling and buying until you come across one that you love. You'll know it when you have it. All the pictures will come out just like you wanted them to. Then just keep selling/buying until you are happy. Which is never.
Kozlok,
you say true! I have enjoyed the lens reviews and watching the marketplace, and the must remind myself that I can't have it all, first go! Or can I? A philosopher I am not. Still learning, so thank you all for the advice.
09-18-2013, 07:21 PM   #12
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Can you rent or borrow lenses?
09-18-2013, 07:59 PM   #13
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Hi Action Jackson,
I could look in to that definitely. Perhaps it's the company I keep but colleagues seem to favour the Canikons, and one has totally swapped over to the OMD revolution. There are some websites in Aus that do lens lease, so perhaps that is another viable option.
Thanks again.
09-18-2013, 08:46 PM - 1 Like   #14
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The best lens is the one that gets 99% of your work done.The Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM had a good review on Dpreview. I havea Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 II DC HSM (the Pentax version is no longer marked “OS”)which lives on my K-01. I have a review of it on this site, with images andlinks to reviews. It has been called “best in class”. The 18-250 is probablymuch the same performance-wise. The current Sigmas are a new optical formula which is a step upfrom the older generation. Personally, I find 200 mm all I can handle shootinghand held and “on the fly” in the bush. I have tried 135 mm and find it too shortfor most “critters”. I also have some album shots on this site comparing the Sigma 18-200 with the Pentax 18-55 in the 18-55 range. The Sigma came up well in my opinion.
09-18-2013, 09:13 PM - 1 Like   #15
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I have the 18-135 and had the old Sigma 17-70. I gave a fairly detailed response with my thoughts on the 18-135 in another thread recently. The summary is similar to what others have said here. I love the versatility, focus and WR but do find myself doing a lot of sharpening and boosting clarity in PP. I don't see myself getting rid of it though.

I miss the 17-70 quite a bit though. I now realise that it was definitely sharper than the 18-135 and the close focus was really handy. It is quite large and heavy though. Straight off the camera with the 17-70:



One option in Australia is the old version for $230 from Digi Direct. This has f4.5 as max instead of 4 and no HSM.

This would leave you enough left for something a bit longer for birds like the 55-300 and a faster prime for indoor portraits.
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