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03-22-2014, 10:51 AM   #1
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Upgrading from kit lens??

Hi guys, first time poster here. Starting to considering making the step up from the kit-lens level. Currently have a k-01 and k-50 with the 40mm xs lens and the 18-55m f3.5-5.6 kit lens. Had the k-01 for about a year now and so far i've done a lot of different kinds of shooting. (live music, landscape, portraits, etc...) I've had fairly pleasing results for the most part in my first year of hobby photography. Having said that, I know theres a whole world out there i have yet to explore and am taking interest in expanding, or improving my gear. I guess my question is; when is it time to step up your lens game and what advantages can i gain? and at what cost?

03-22-2014, 11:10 AM   #2
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Lenses are more important than the body - they collect the light. Lenses also last longer than bodies - much longer. I have a 50 year old lens that I use. Lenses tend to hold their value, as bodies depreciate pretty quickly.

As to when to upgrade - your checkbook, your timeline. Then the question of what lenses, is actually the most difficult. What do you want to shoot? - land and city 'scapes, portraits, concerts, architecture, street, everything? - using wide, normal, and/or telephoto? Type of lens, manual, AF, zoom or prime?

Price is the great discriminator. Given enough dollar$, you can acquire just about anything you can find. It$ a combination of what you want, coming acro$$ it and then being able to afford it.

Personally, I would start to make a list of what your desires are and list a lens type with it. As you find out more, refine the lens selection, while you are hunting. It is particular galling to see one lens, while you are looking for another, only to find out later that now you are interested in that particular focal length. The point is run some parallel searches across items, rather than a very specific serial acquisition approach.

03-22-2014, 11:11 AM   #3
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So what, specifically, do you want to accomplish with photography that your current lenses don't do?

For me, I wanted shallow DOF and low-light indoors, so I got the Sigma 30/1.4. I had experimented with an old Pentax A 50/f2, and found it much too long for indoor use, which led me to the 30. I wanted to dip my toes in the limited pool, so I got the 40, which is the same basically as your 40. Wonderful, and I loved it. My next priority found me wanting starbursts and the special rendering of the DA15, so I got that. And so on and so forth.

From here out, you need to buy lenses for a purpose. The kit lenses "do everything", with nothing terrible, and nothing great. From here on, lenses have more "great" but more "terrible" too. The Sigma 30 is terrible in the corners and the minimum focus distance is also terrible. The center is amazing, and the 1.4 aperture is, for some shots, stunningly beautiful. Not an all-around lens in any way. I love some of my old manual focus lenses, mostly for portraiture. They just render beautifully. Read the reviews, look at the samples, decide what you want to accomplish, buy that lens.
03-22-2014, 11:22 AM   #4
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A good upgrade to the kit lens is the Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4 (c). You'll gain a few things with it, it is pretty much one stop faster making it better in low light and giving it a bit less depth of field. It is also HSM, it tends to be a bit slower than the screw drive of the kit lens but it is silent and gives you full time manual focus control (quickshift in pentax terms). It is also of much higher quality than the kit lens, it'll show in your pictures, you'll get a bit more of a 3d pop and the overall IQ will be better. It is wider at 17mm (1mm at the wide end is significant) and you will also gain a bit of reach up to 70mm agains the kit 55, this will be handy. It'll cost you ~$200-300 used and maybe $400-$500 new. The Pentax DA 18-135 is also kind of an upgrade to the kit lens, it's not really faster but IQ is a bit better and it gives you a very nice range. And it is WR matching your K-50.

When should you upgrade? Well, whenever you have money for it. Whenever you feel your lens is holding you back. Whenever you feel like you need a faster lens, or a longer lens... A better lens WILL take better pictures (but only regarding image quality). For me, when I started getting quality lenses and ended up with sharper and overall better photos, it pushed me to try to become better until I got to the point where I felt like a picture was great but if it would be just a tad sharper it would be amazing... needing yet another lens...

It's a vicious circle Some call it LBA. I call it "the money black hole of doom".

03-22-2014, 11:40 AM   #5
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I personally am in love with my 55 1.4. A lil soft at 1.4, but but I shoot some indoor stuff, I also am using my friends 35 2.0 FA lens... That is an awesome lens for indoor use but u can't be to close to a subject or causes subject distortion. But I fell in love with primes when I switched to pentax. I do like the versatility of zooms tho. It all depends what u shoot
03-22-2014, 11:57 AM   #6
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You already have a cool starting kit. I would suggest you try lenses that open new venues for you. For example, an ultra wide lens (wider and better than the kit lens) or a tele lens (55-300mm) or a macro lens..
03-22-2014, 12:52 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by dan.Lerz Quote
Hi guys, first time poster here. Starting to considering making the step up from the kit-lens level. Currently have a k-01 and k-50 with the 40mm xs lens and the 18-55m f3.5-5.6 kit lens. Had the k-01 for about a year now and so far i've done a lot of different kinds of shooting. (live music, landscape, portraits, etc...) I've had fairly pleasing results for the most part in my first year of hobby photography. Having said that, I know theres a whole world out there i have yet to explore and am taking interest in expanding, or improving my gear. I guess my question is; when is it time to step up your lens game and what advantages can i gain? and at what cost?
This 17-70mm lens from sigma gives you a bigger zoom range, better image quality, faster aperture, and silent AF. I consider it the next step up after the kit lens. Well worth it!

Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 Contemporary - Introduction - PentaxForums.com

In addition, you might want to add some sort of telephoto lens to your kit, such as the 55-300mm, or another prime depending on what types of pictures you usually take.

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03-22-2014, 02:18 PM   #8
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Wow thanks everyone for the responses. I'll definitely take look at those couple lenses.

03-22-2014, 04:28 PM   #9
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Since you have the K50 I'd also look at the 18-135WR. Also, the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 is good too.
03-22-2014, 05:10 PM   #10
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I don't think there is a solid line you need to cross that indicates when you are ready to upgrade. The 40mm and even the kit lens (when used for its strengths) are good lenses. There is never an end to the pursuit of a "great" lenses. Every year there is always some technical improvement, however incremental it may be. Then you'll see some awesome sample photos only to discover that they were taken with a 30-50 year old lens. The best lens, like the best camera, is the one you have on you when you have to take the shot.

If you find yourself unable to take the best shot you thought you could then it may be time to consider upgrading. Perhaps you were hoping for more zoom but maxed out. Maybe you were hoping for a wide angle shot but your lenses weren't wide enough. Could you have done something differently to make the shot (i.e. reposition yourself, use a flash, etc)? If the answer is no then that could be an indication of readiness for a new piece of gear. Be careful though, lens buying addiction is a slippery slope down!

I'm a big fan of older Pentax F, FA, and FA-J lenses. Nearly all of them are discontinued so buying used is your only options. I enjoy the 28-105mm designs and the 50mm lenses are very, very sharp! eBay and this forum's marketplace are your friends. I also get great results from my DA 18-135mm as VoiceOfReason mentioned before me.
03-22-2014, 05:12 PM   #11
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I am going to go against the flow with my recommendation, mainly because you already have two bodies, and an adequate range of short focal lengths. My lens map for you would be

First get the 100 WR macro, because it extends your options, both in terms of length and versatility.
Second get the 21 f3.2 because it gives more quality at the wide end. I expect it would go well with the K01, too.
Third, get the 18-135 or 17-70, because after using the above two you will see the need for a step up in your zoom quality. Or go crazy and get DA* 50-135 if you can afford it, but in my opinion it is heavy and unbalanced on the K-50.
03-22-2014, 05:19 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bagga_Txips Quote
but in my opinion it is heavy and unbalanced on the K-50.
Don't know about the K-50 but it makes the Kr very unbalanced, almost uncomfortable. I even dug out my battery grip for my K5 because without it, it is nose heavy.
03-22-2014, 06:13 PM   #13
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The "step up your game" request is a little vague. It depends on how you use the lens and how you view the images. There are some amazing photos on the forum made with all varieties of the 18-55mm.
03-23-2014, 01:39 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by fgaudet Quote
Don't know about the K-50 but it makes the Kr very unbalanced, almost uncomfortable. I even dug out my battery grip for my K5 because without it, it is nose heavy.
I don't think I ever gave the balance of the DA*50-135 a second thought (I first had it on my K-x, IIRC); I was just happy to have the Image Quality and functionality.

---------- Post added 03-23-14 at 02:33 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by dan.Lerz Quote
I guess my question is; when is it time to step up your lens game and what advantages can i gain? and at what cost?
Pick up an M or A 100/2.8. That will tell you where you may want to go from here. That lens, as a precursor to the FA77 and DA*50-135, told me what I wanted, and I was able to figure out where to go from there.

Here are images from these lenses (but you need to actually use one yourself to get the idea):

PENTAX : Select a PENTAX interchangeable lens camera or a lens model
PENTAX : Select a PENTAX interchangeable lens camera or a lens model
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