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03-30-2014, 07:16 AM   #1
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Need help picking a lens!

So me and my wife have a K-30. We love it. The WR kit lens is pretty lackluster however. I got us a mint 1995 helios 44K-4 to get into manual shooting, and we take some pretty amazing photos. The quality of the helios glass vs the kit lens is just not even close.

This has led us to wanting an everyday shooter lens upgrade (auto focus, wide angle through portrait). We would love to be able to take portraits of the baby, as well as wide angle landscapes on vacation.

I've been reading this roundup DA* 16-50mm vs. Sigma and Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 Comparison - Introduction - PentaxForums.com

The sigma seems like a really good buy, but weather sealing is a very big plus for us. Is weather sealing available on any other lenses in this price category besides the Pentax DA*?

Any advice is appreciated. Obviously not trying to pick between the 3 in that article, but thats the kind of thing we are looking for.

some of my random photos https://www.flickr.com/photos/98838980@N05/with/12278138886


Last edited by djpattiecake; 03-30-2014 at 07:22 AM.
03-30-2014, 07:35 AM   #2
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Pentax DA 18-135WR is really good value. If you could possibly give up on the WR, by using your kit lens whenever it is absolutely necessary, you could get a lot of use out of the Sigma 17-70 f2.8-f4 Contemporary, which has a nice review on this forum.
03-30-2014, 07:38 AM   #3
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Thats a great idea. I was thinking of selling the kit lens to recoup some of the cost, but now that you mention it, we are going to keep it for pool days etc. then we arent tied down to picking a WR upgrade. The sigma 17-50 or 17-70 are looking really good right now.
03-30-2014, 07:54 AM   #4
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I am happy using the DA 18-135 WR for a good walk around, and the Tamron 17-50 for low light. There are threads on here that shwo what the 18-135 really can do. You might be amazed.

03-30-2014, 08:23 AM   #5
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I'll share some much needed love for the DA* 16-50. Great lens, just not worth buying new unless there's a massive sale on for Black Friday or something of the sort.
03-30-2014, 08:33 AM   #6
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The new 20-40mm F2.8-4 Limited Zoom is the closest option out there for WR.
03-30-2014, 08:53 AM   #7
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I'll second the DA 16-50. I haven't had it long but I think it's underestimated. You can find them 2nd hand for under $700.
03-30-2014, 08:56 AM   #8
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WR is pretty much only available on Pentax lenses. no other manufacturer is making any WR lens for K mount (or pretty much for any mounts).

It is a great feature but it is also a bit overhyped for most user. No other camera makers have WR bodies in the Pentax price range... Yet you see T4is and D5100s in everyone hands and in any weather conditions. Even my WR K5 gets the plastic bag treatment when it's raining or in dusty environment (read sand storm).

You got to ask yourself how often will you need the WR, how often will you shoot in the rain or with wet snow or in a dust storm? An umbrella and a plastic grocery bag will serve you just as well in most cases.

I have >25 year old lenses that have been around the world a few times, on beaches, rainforests, deserts and the such and none show any signs of weather related issues. But they've been well taken care of.

Here's a picture of my K5 and a non-WR Sigma 17-70 after a shoot in a snow storm... When I got inside, I dried the lens the best I could and stuck it in a box with lots of silica gel packs overnight... It's still working good now.

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03-30-2014, 09:05 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by fgaudet Quote
WR is pretty much only available on Pentax lenses. no other manufacturer is making any WR lens for K mount (or pretty much for any mounts).

It is a great feature but it is also a bit overhyped for most user. No other camera makers have WR bodies in the Pentax price range... Yet you see T4is and D5100s in everyone hands and in any weather conditions. Even my WR K5 gets the plastic bag treatment when it's raining or in dusty environment (read sand storm).

You got to ask yourself how often will you need the WR, how often will you shoot in the rain or with wet snow or in a dust storm? An umbrella and a plastic grocery bag will serve you just as well in most cases.

I have >25 year old lenses that have been around the world a few times, on beaches, rainforests, deserts and the such and none show any signs of weather related issues. But they've been well taken care of.

Here's a picture of my K5 and a non-WR Sigma 17-70 after a shoot in a snow storm... When I got inside, I dried the lens the best I could and stuck it in a box with lots of silica gel packs overnight... It's still working good now.
great advice fgaudet

Even if it says WR on it, im still going to be careful. So I guess it doesnt really matter if I am treating the equipment the same. You like that sigma 17-70? thats what I am leaning towards. or the DA 18-135.... The DA 16-50 is a little out of my price range.
03-30-2014, 09:08 AM   #10
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I'll throw a third option out there. The Tamron 28-75 2.8 zoom. I have that and the 16-50 and I almost never even touch the 16-50. The 28-75 is just a more useful range for me. It's wide enough for landscapes, it's a pretty nice portrait lens, and it's a great range for events. And it can close-focus. I think I paid $250 for mine, used. (a few of my early test shots with it here)

The Sigma 24-70 2.8 would probably be good, too. It's more expensive though.
03-30-2014, 09:22 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by djpattiecake Quote
You like that sigma 17-70?
I paid $250 CDN for it... it's a V1 (f/2.8-f/4.5) I wanted the DA* but couldn't afford it at the time. I love it, it's been my travel lens since I got it. IQ is not bad at all, not as good as a DA* and it's a bit slower but a used DA* is about three times the price of this puppy and I don't think it is three times as good. I wish it'd be a bit faster though... It feels like the f/2.8 is only between 17mm and 17.00001mm sometimes... The new 17-70 (c) is a tiny bit faster (f/4 vs f/4.5) it's not much but it's there.

I'd say it's an advanced amateur lens where your other options were more like advanced enthusiast (sigma+tamron) / Pro (DA*)

QuoteOriginally posted by djpattiecake Quote
So I guess it doesnt really matter
WR does matter but it's just not worth the premium on a DA* 16-50.
03-30-2014, 09:54 AM   #12
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To sum up the widest WR options:
DA 18-55 WR
DA* 16-50
DA 20-40 WR
DA* 55/1.4
03-30-2014, 10:03 AM   #13
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Reasons to buy the DA 18-135

The 18-135 has excellent centre sharpness through it's whole range 18-135 ƒ5.6
The Sigma 17-70 has "very good " center sharpness after about 50mm. It's not soft but it's not excellent.

The 18-135 has twice the focal range.

At 24mm the 18-135 is close to tied with the best available with excellent edge sharpness.
The 17-70 doesn't have excellent edge sharpness anywhere in it's range, but has very good edge sharpness through it's range.. the 18-135 is softer in the edges in the long end of it's range, most of which the 17-70 doesn't even cover. It's hard to criticize a lens for being weak in an FL another lens doesn't even have.

The 18-135 is Water Resistant.

Reasons to buy the Sigma 17-70
Better edge to edge consistency, not as centre sharp, but not as much difference between centre and edges.
A half stop better low light performance.

--------------------------------------------------------

If you look at what you give up for what you get I think you can assume the 17-70 is better if you shoot in doors in low light. Outdoors, the DA 18-135 single super zoom is simply the best there is unless you are shooting for narrow DoF.

Taken with a 17-70 this image would be half the size.. and pretty much half the resolution. Does it matter that the edges are soft? hardly, it probably is a plus in that it makes for softer more pleasing bokeh.


At 28 mm it's as good as it gets.. you can't do much better. At this focal length and @ ƒ5.6 andƒ8, better edge to edge than the 17-70 and better centre sharpness.


IN the long end, fairly close focusing for pseudo macros.


Safe to use out in the weather or where splash and spray might occur.




Good contrast , colour and flare control.


I understand people like their 17-70s.. I'm sure it's great lens, but there is a lot it can't do, if you're just taking one lens, and you're shooting mostly out doors.

Last edited by normhead; 03-30-2014 at 10:09 AM.
03-30-2014, 10:11 AM   #14
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I recently purchased the Sigma 17-70 and I must admit to being quite surprised with the results from it. (see below).
The IQ of the Sigma is equal to the Tamron 17-50 which I am quite happy with, is faster (f stop) than the DA 18-135 and just as quiet focusing. The main reason for acquiring the Sigma 17-70 was for the longer reach over the the Tamron when traveling.
As mentioned above there is a PF staff review on this lens which is right on the money.
Now if you excuse me I have a Mossberg to clean
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03-30-2014, 10:38 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by ak_kiwi Quote
I recently purchased the Sigma 17-70 and I must admit to being quite surprised with the results from it. (see below).
The IQ of the Sigma is equal to the Tamron 17-50 which I am quite happy with, is faster (f stop) than the DA 18-135 and just as quiet focusing. The main reason for acquiring the Sigma 17-70 was for the longer reach over the the Tamron when traveling.
As mentioned above there is a PF staff review on this lens which is right on the money.
Now if you excuse me I have a Mossberg to clean
Perfect example, if your pictures are like mine you want an 18-135, if you pictures are like this portrait, you want a 17-70, couldn't have said it better myself.
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