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02-28-2014, 03:48 PM   #1
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Lens Opinion

I know this is something asked before, but maybe not in the same way. At least I hope not. I am new to the DSLR world and bought a K-500 with the 18-55 kit lens. I want to get another lens and I have narrowed it down to

DA L 50-200mm f/4.0-5.6 ED OR
Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro.

The reason for this is mainly price. Being so new into DSLR I don't feel the need to sink money into it yet. The learning process is more important and these two cheep lens do not seem to come with bad reviews.

Anybody have some thoughts?

02-28-2014, 03:49 PM   #2
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I'd go with the Sigma because it has more reach, a metal mount, and is decent for a cheap lens. I have one!
02-28-2014, 03:54 PM   #3
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One thing that can help improve your photography, is to pick up a prime lens. It'll force you to frame better, get better perspective (you zoom with your feet, not your lens!), and you'll get better results with most primes as opposed to zooms.

Some of my favorites that I recommend to everyone

Super Takumar 135mm f/3.5-- for $35 you get a very nice focal length that works for many things, incredible colors, and very nice sharpness. MUCH sharper than the 50-200mm ED I just sold
Super Takumar 35mm f/3.5-- for $60, you get a very nice lens that's close to normal length on APS-C. It's my sharpest lens.
SMC-M 50mm f/1.7-- Classic high quality MF Prime-- very sharp, good colors.

Manual focus will force you to learn about exposure balance, and focusing by eye makes you slow down a bit and think. Pentaxes work better than any other brand with old lenses, so it's definitely worth it to try them out!

I've used the 70-300mm Sigma Macro, and it's on par with the Pentax and other affordable zooms in that price range. Pretty good IQ, a little slow, and affordable. With either, you'll likely want to upgrade pretty soon.
02-28-2014, 03:56 PM   #4
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I would go with a DA L 55-300mm. Basically the same quality as the 50-200mm, but offers more tele. People seem to like it, lots of bang for buck. Its practically the budget tele zoom for Pentax.

Btw, here are the forum user lens reviews:
SMC Pentax-DA L 50-200mm F4-5.6 ED WR Reviews - DA L Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
SMC Pentax-DA L 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED Reviews - DA L Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG Macro Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database
Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 APO DG Macro Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database

02-28-2014, 04:20 PM   #5
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+1 for the DA L 55-300 if your budget stretches that far. All the reviews (and I have one and love it) point to it being a bit better optically than the 50-200.

Otherwise the Sigma should do the job - until you feel the need for a prime ;-)
02-28-2014, 04:37 PM   #6
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Sigma unless you can get a DA or DA L 55-300mm within your price range.
02-28-2014, 04:43 PM   #7
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I'll vote for the DA or DA-L 55-300. Check the marketplace, I am sure one will pop up used very shortly. Great reach, decent optics, slow AF and noisy. DA is better than L only mechanically, the optics are the same. A budget is a budget.
02-28-2014, 04:54 PM   #8
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I got the WR version of the DA 50-200 to match with my 18-55 WR for travel. I like to keep the weight down, and the 50-200 is lighter (by half) and smaller than zooms that go to 300mm. I have a WR body so I can go out in lots of weather. And if I don't have a tripod, 300mm might be too long in lower light. I might not have enough light for a handheld shutter speed. For mostly travel, then, I prefer the DA 50-200.

The rest of the time, you probably want 300mm. The Sigma is decent here. If you are going to shoot a lot at 300mm, the Pentax DA-L 55-300 is better at the long end but of course more expensive.

02-28-2014, 06:49 PM   #9
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The 50-200 is certainly inexpensive. Does the Sigma 70-300 have an improvement in image quality? No sense in buying into something you're going to curse at.
I would second the vote for a prime. A manual 50mm F2 will give you beautiful pictures and a lesson in photography for $10.
02-28-2014, 07:51 PM   #10
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More or Better?

Hello sireddy, welcome to the Forum!
Looks like the vote is pretty evenly split, here's mine;
Neither. None of the zooms.
It really depends on whether you want to take MORE photos, because now you'll have a major telephoto reach, or simply, better photos.
Honestly, is another mid-quality full-auto zoom going to help the learning process? Not nearly as much as a 100mm manual prime, a Legacy lens. Or, a fast fifty, 35mm, 28mm, you get the idea.
Yes, we're a bunch of K-mount fanatics and always advise this M/F Legacy stuff. Because it works.
Maybe not right now, for you. In that case, get one of the zooms and enjoy it. Having fun with photography should be the main point, and if those photos are up to your standards, you're happy, we're happy.
But I agree with most here, one good legacy prime is a photography school in itself. When you first nail the exposure, focus and composition with no auto, it will turn your head around. The 'P' on the mode dial will collect dust.
And you will be on your way to becoming a photographer.
JMO, good luck!
02-28-2014, 08:24 PM   #11
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My first two lenses were the 18-55 WR (which I hardly use any more) and the 55-300, and that was a very good kit for quite a while till I felt comfortable enough to invest in some primes. I recommend the 55-300 highly for anyone starting out. You might even pick one up cheaply as people "upgrade" to the HD WR version.
02-28-2014, 10:30 PM   #12
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The 50-200mm is $100 where I live. I have never used this lens (have the 55-300) but the price is so nice that I'd call it a bargain.
03-01-2014, 06:31 AM   #13
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I've owned both the DA L 50-200 and the DA L 55-300.

The biggest pluses for the 50-200 is that it is almost the same size and weight as the 18-55 and uses the same filter size (different hood). This is an advantage when travelling light.
However, the 50-200 is a bit softer than the 55-300, and obviously doesn't have quite as much reach.

I sold my 50-200 to acquire other gear and still have my 55-300.

Since you indicate your other lens is the kit 18-55, buying the Sigma 70-300 is going to leave you with a gap in focal range. I can almost promise you that will periodically kick yourself for creating that gap.
03-01-2014, 08:45 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by JimJohnson Quote

Since you indicate your other lens is the kit 18-55, buying the Sigma 70-300 is going to leave you with a gap in focal range. I can almost promise you that will periodically kick yourself for creating that gap.
55-70 is such a small gap, it's not really worth noting. I use primes almost always, and have nothing between 58 and 90, and rarely carry anything even between the 58 and 135. I never miss anything in that range. I've never missed a shot because of it. It's easy to 'zoom with your feet' in that range. I can hardly imagine any scenario where a couple steps forward with the 55mm setting, or a couple steps back with the Sigma at the 70mm setting wouldn't be possible.
03-01-2014, 08:48 AM   #15
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My original digital "kit" was the DA 18-55 and Sigma 70-300, a package sold by the now bankrupt Ritz camera when I bought my K10D. It served me very well for years. A couple of comments on the Sigma. It's best stopped down to f/8 or more. F/11 seems to be the sweet spot and that's where I have had my best results on the long end of the zoom. It's very sharp on the shorter end of the zoom with decent results throughout the aperture range. The macro/close up range only works between 200-300mm and is very good. I think the 200-300 range is optimized for close ups and works very well from boats and kayak/canoes for insects, flowers, etc where you can't get very close. For the price, this lens can't be beat.

I don't have the 55-300 to comment about but it is well spoken of. It wasn't available when I bought the K10D. It costs a bit more. I would choose a zoom going to 300mm regardless, as a starting point. A kit with the 18-55 and 55-300 will give you full coverage with no gaps and will perform well. If money is tight, KEH has used Sigma 70-300's in the $60-$70 price range.

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