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02-19-2014, 04:33 AM   #1
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Kit lenses - are they good enough for the K3?

I have a DA 18-55 lens that came with the original ist DL that I bought 8 years ago. I also bought a DA 50-200 about six years ago.

I have now bought a K3 body. I am happy with the results I am getting using these old lenses, but I have no basis for knowing how good the results would be with different, up-to-date and maybe non-Pentax lenses.

My mate who "knows all about photography (!)" tells me that these lenses are just not good enough for the K3 sensor.

Do these old lenses do the K3 justice?

02-19-2014, 05:01 AM   #2
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Probably not, but if you're satisfied, then what's the problem? Stay away from pixel peeping.
02-19-2014, 05:08 AM   #3
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Hi,
(I'm not the mate who knows all about photography, but I wanted to reply anyway.

I think that if you are happy with results, it should be enough. I have shot with original DA 18-55 +K-3 and images turned out ok.

But with some lenses with more quality I can have even better overall sharpness, or contrast that 'kit' lens cannot do even with my K-7 or *ist Ds. Or some lenses that are made for different usage. Macro, ultra wide, portrait...and can give different effect on picture.This all depends on what you prefer for of an image.

cheap pentax primes like, DA 35 or DA50 are quite nice way to begin and see what will change, or good zoom like tamron 17-50/2.8. K-3 can really take some serious quality glass, and you can see difference. I have come up with conclusion that good class really helps. And to add for what I said, K-3 focus system can make fast lenses sing in environments, where they are most useful like dim light, subject isolation ect.

just my thoughts.
02-19-2014, 05:10 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by regislea Quote
I have a DA 18-55 lens that came with the original ist DL that I bought 8 years ago. I also bought a DA 50-200 about six years ago.

I have now bought a K3 body. I am happy with the results I am getting using these old lenses, but I have no basis for knowing how good the results would be with different, up-to-date and maybe non-Pentax lenses.

My mate who "knows all about photography (!)" tells me that these lenses are just not good enough for the K3 sensor.

Do these old lenses do the K3 justice?
Yes, they are good enough, but what is your definition of good enough? Are you satisfied with the results? If you would put the more expensive glass on the K3, you will notice better image quality in certain types of photography (Marco shots for sure). Yes, the old DA 18-55 is definitely a bit aged (I had it as a kit lens with my Pentax *ist DS back in the day) and a bit louder when auto-focusing, but I did get pretty nice results with it back then. However, if I put the newer DA 18-55 WR on it you may get slightly better results (less noisy autofocus noise for sure), but I'm not sure it would be light years ahead. Just my two cents.

Ed

02-19-2014, 05:25 AM - 2 Likes   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by regislea Quote
I have a DA 18-55 lens that came with the original ist DL that I bought 8 years ago. I also bought a DA 50-200 about six years ago.

I have now bought a K3 body. I am happy with the results I am getting using these old lenses, but I have no basis for knowing how good the results would be with different, up-to-date and maybe non-Pentax lenses.

My mate who "knows all about photography (!)" tells me that these lenses are just not good enough for the K3 sensor.

Do these old lenses do the K3 justice?
They are good enough. 35 year old Takumars are good enough.

There are some threads on this around, and the kit lenses actually seem to do relatively better on the K-3 than they do on older cameras compared to the top glass. Of course, better lenses will always be better. But:

1. If you're happy with the results, don't listen to your know-it-all friend
2. The photographer will always, always, always be waaaay more important than either the camera or the lenses

I'd say stick with what you have until you (you, not your friend) feel limited in some way by your lenses. I used the kit lenses for quite a while before I started to feel there were things I wanted to do that those lenses wouldn't let me. By the time you get there you will also have an idea of what kind of lens you want/need. Buying new lenses "blindly" will help very little and quickly become very expensive.

Of course, if you have cash to spare go ahead. If not, sit tight, wait until you yourself see what you need to get further.
02-19-2014, 05:33 AM   #6
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Thanks all - boy, you sure get a fast response on this forum! It's funny - my other great interest is the saxophone and the equivalent forum there would have given similar results if I had written, "I'm a beginner - will I play better if I buy XXX mouthpiece?" - the saxophone equivalent of my question.

But you have reassured me - I am happy and would rather spend any money (it was a bit of a stretch to go for the K3!) on a different lens, e.g. a 10-20 or a 30 f2.8 rather than replace lenses that I'm getting good results from.

Thanks again.

PS: last week's UK Amateur Photographer did a piece on using the ist DL with its original 18-55 but with modern software and - you know what - it cane out pretty well!
02-19-2014, 05:35 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by regislea Quote
My mate who "knows all about photography (!)" tells me that these lenses are just not good enough for the K3 sensor.
Yes, they are good enough. A modern camera like the K-3 may be more merciless in revealing flaws in the optics, (but usually only if you pixel-peep, and why would you do that?!?). You can surely take great images - although not in each and every situation - with these lenses on your K-3. If images were great with your *ist DL, why should they be 'bad' on your K-3??? ALL lenses have some limitations and that's why we usually have more than one.

QuoteOriginally posted by regislea Quote
Do these old lenses do the K3 justice?
Well, that's a different story. The K-3 has great potentials and to do it "full justice", you would need more lenses and other gear than I could ever afford.....
02-19-2014, 06:02 AM   #8
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I found the 18-55 passable but often a little disappointing on the K-5. On the K-3 it really doesn't do the camera justice as far as resolution is concerned. On the other hand, the DA 18-135 WR, which has become the de facto kit lens for the new camera, is a much better match. It's a little soft at the edges, and produces some edge CA at the long end, but overall I'm very happy with it.

I have a good array of quality primes that also do well with the K-3. But if I could only afford one "cheaper" lens to use on the camera, I would probably go for the DA 35mm F2.4 AL instead of the 18-55.

02-19-2014, 06:04 AM   #9
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Ditto to what savoche said.

Another option is to rent some better glass (if you have a local company that does this) and check out the difference yourself.
02-19-2014, 06:31 AM   #10
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"good enough" is very subjective. I would say that it is good enough, since it produces photos of usable quality. But its not a top notch lens, so if you need a lot of detail, sharpness, or beautiful rendering.. there are better, more specialized choices out there.
As others have said, if you like it, if it works for you, its good enough. If you find that it is limiting you (if you want a different zoom range, more brightness/low light performance, more sharpness), then you should think about lenses that would fulfill that need.
If you see photography as a hobby and are under no pressure, I would suggest you eventually get some different lenses, as they will let you grow and take different photos, photos that might not be possible with the kit lens.

That being said, you have a K-3, which can make full use of the best lenses, so if the budget permits, try a higher quality lens. You can even buy something like a relatively cheap prime lens (DA 35mm f2.4, DA 40mm XS, DA 50mm f1.8), just so you can compare lenses that produce higher image quality, see if you find it worth it. Then you can move on to better zoom lenses and the legendary primes

Btw, lots of photographers used to say that the lens is more important than the camera. This might not hold as true in the digital era, but there is something to it
02-19-2014, 07:12 AM   #11
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If you're happy with what you have, great. You'll be happier with better lenses.
02-19-2014, 07:46 AM   #12
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There's a simple way to find out - buy or borrow a cheap 50 and then test all three lenses at similar conditions at 50mm. This doesn't do justice to the full range of the zooms, but it will show you whether they are comparable to an old prime or just not in the same league. They will also show you how different glass renders colors differently - one advantage of any new lens will be newer, and in some cases designed with digital in mind, coatings.

Since you are musician, I'd also frame the question this way. If you listen to a stereo with $300, $500, $1000, or $5000 speakers, you should hear an improvement as you move up the price range. But at some point you go from hearing some of the recorded sounds to hearing all of the recorded sounds and you don't need the most expensive speakers for this. So the really cheap ones are going to keep you from hearing the full frequency range, and the most expensive ones will play every frequency to perfection, but what you need to figure out is which ones manage to play almost the entire range reasonably well.
02-19-2014, 10:10 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by regislea Quote
But you have reassured me - I am happy and would rather spend any money (it was a bit of a stretch to go for the K3!) on a different lens, e.g. a 10-20 or a 30 f2.8 rather than replace lenses that I'm getting good results from.
That's the best way to do it. If your only reason to replace the 18-55 is that better lenses exist, that's just a way to spend money. If you wait until you see a lens limiting your photos, then the money is well spent. A lens that does something completely different, like the 10-20, can be bought on its own merits.

If you decide to upgrade the 18-55, you have a lot of choices and directions to go.

Technically your mate is right. Even Pentax has upgraded the 18-55 formula slightly as they started using higher resolution sensors.
02-19-2014, 12:59 PM - 1 Like   #14
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Kit lenses are underrated in my opinion. Every lens has its strengths and weaknesses. Once you learn them for your lens then you can play it like a musical instrument. Get a hood for your lens so errant light won't illuminate the front lens element. That should increase contrast a bit. If you zoom into any photograph at 100% or beyond you will find something that looks wrong no matter what lens you use. Remember that when you look at an image on your monitor you are essentially looking at 20" diagonal photo print. Consider doing the same with film. It would be very difficult. The kit lens is just fine. Don't feel compelled to buy a new lens because you think you're missing out on something. Go out and shoot instead!

Now I have to confess that I sold my kit lens and upgraded to something with a bit more zoom range. I am also a big fan of older film era lenses like the Pentax F and FA lenses and I wanted to follow that path.
02-19-2014, 05:13 PM   #15
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Thank you all again.
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