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07-18-2014, 01:08 PM   #1
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1st DSLR (pentax) and lens choice problem ;(

Hello everyone!

Recently I have sold my Fujifilm Finepix X20 becasue I wanted better quality images and more possibilites which comes from various lenses.

I have read/watched tons of articles, tests, clips about cameras.

Finally I have decided that my 1st DSLR camera will be Pentax k-30 (I am still checking other posibilites but so far k-30 beats all)

I am planing on getting k-30 kit with DA 18 - 135 mm ED AL IF DC WR lenses. The problem is I am getting second thoughts all the time :/

I am in pursue for crisp sharp photos and I hate fuzzy,painty quality

I am afraid I may hate the kit lenses and I will be unhappy from the purchase :/

For few last days I am reading about lenses and checkign my local market (Poland) if some lenses are avaible.


k-30 kit with 18-135 will cost me around 1000$ usd

I was thinking maybe I can get something much better for this price; 2 different lenses? other camera perhaps?

I mainly go for a walk and shoot everything that I like (or may sell on stock sites ;p)

I love macro and my x20 was doing quite ok with it. I also had a chance to photograph a sneaking stray cat and my compact zoom was barely enough... most of the times cat was runing away from me... and I was slowly after him to get a good shot...

I guess 18-135 or some other lense would be enough for that.


Anyways the way I see it, a good option would be:

1- walkaround zoom lenses
2- nifty fifty or some other prime lense for crisp tack sharp photos (street photograpy, building, locations, city etc.)

I am still confused about all these lenses and about which one is for what...


Now, first of all thank you for reading all that,

so what would you guys recommend? is my camera choice is good enough ? would you recomment something else? brand/model

What about lesnes, do you think these DA 18 - 135 mm ED AL IF DC WR would be enough for me? (I saw exampel photos on this site in review section. Some of them were ok, some looked like from mobile phone...)


There are also different kit option for almost same price with k-30

- DA 18 - 55 mm AL WR and DA 50-200 f/4-5.6 ED WR in one package
- DAL 18 - 55 mm, DAL 55 - 300 mm f/4,0 - 5,8










07-18-2014, 01:30 PM   #2
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Hello!

I was also in the same boat... Likewise I opted for the K-30 (got it in white! ). I bought the body-only and then seperately purchased a kit 18-55mm. After a lot of research, I did want to get the 18-135mm but the price was a little too much for me just starting off - unsure how much I'd use it and such... I really had fun playing with the kit lens and was very pleased with it. I really liked everything about the camera also (it is a bit noisy, but most DSLRs are). After a couple weeks and much more lens research I purchased the DA 50mm f1.8. I use that lens a lot now. Hardly use my kit lens, though I'll be happy to have it, if it starts raining on me when I'm out photgraphing things.

I can't talk about the quality of the 18-135mm, but I haven't read much about people being disappointed with it, for what it is. It seems to be about as good as kit lenses go! I'm really enjoying shooting with my 50mm prime and am hoping to buy more prime lenses!

As far as affordable alternatives go, the K-50 can be found a little more affordably than the K-30. While I prefer the K-30's feel (my sister bought a K-50 shortly after she fell in love with my K-30) over the K-50. K-50 feels a bit more matte and has a more beefy feel also. K-30 I think has more of a shine (in the good sort of way!). Both are white. Internally though, it sounds as if the K-30 and K-50 are virtually identical, and as far as shooting goes, I don't notice any difference between the two!

Best of luck! For as short as I've been with Pentax, all roads really did point here for me and I don't regret purchasing the K-30 at all, or the K-50 for my sister!

Q
07-18-2014, 01:43 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Hey, welcome! The K-30 and 18-135mm is a great place to start. A WR package, with modern sensor, lens with a lot of flexibility, reasonably compact.. I think anyone could recommend that
The K-30 and K-50 are essentially the same camera, the K-50 being slightly newer, with a more classic body appearance. Get the one that you like better (looks, handling, cost)

For the OP.. if you want brutally sharp photos, just get the DFA 50mm f2.8 macro lens. Maybe even a used one. Or the DA 35mm f2.8 macro limited. These will allow you really really sharp photos with a lot of contrast. The 18-135mm lens is great, very useful due to its wide zoom range and WR, it has decent quality, especially considering the price, but it is not as sharp as prime lenses. And macro primes are generally sharpest of all. The 1:1 magnification is just an extra feature that can come in handy.
07-18-2014, 01:46 PM - 2 Likes   #4
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The k30 (or k50, which is current and probably cheaper) is a fine camera choice.

Here's a nice deal on the k50: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/94-pentax-price-watch/267034-pentax-k-50-...a-special.html

You shouldn't have to pay more than $850 for the 18-135mm kit, and if you wait to use the gift card, you could get it for even less.

As for sharp and clean images: the secret is to use prime lenses. Bundle a da 50mm ($119) and/or a da 35mm ($149) and use them instead of the zoom when you want to maximize image quality or get nice bokeh


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07-18-2014, 02:28 PM   #5
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I bought my son a K50 + 18-135 kit a while ago, and he's very happy with it. I also have the 18-135 which I got for an excellent price as a kit with the K3 when I upgraded from the K5. It's a very satisfactory WR kit lens that is terrific when travelling light or for inclement weather. I find it sharp and contrasty, with good bold colours. It's weaknesses are toward the long end, where it's a bit soft and prone to chromatic aberration at the edges, but this is neither unexpected for this class of lens nor overly troubling. The CA is easily cleaned up in post processing.

I agree with Adam though about bundling a decent mid-range prime with your kit if you can get a good price. My son has access to my primes when he needs them, and often borrows the DA 70 or Tamron 90 Macro. The very affordable DA 50 or DA 35 would be great choices. I would bypass the 18-55, and if 135mm isn't long enough for you, save up for the 55-300 in the future. The SMC version is still available at reduced price, though it's not WR.
07-18-2014, 02:36 PM   #6
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Adam is absolutely right. I got mine from adorama and when you buy a body, you can pick out a low cost prime to bundle and save a good amount of money (not sure if they ship to Poland). I got the 18-135 and the DA 50mm prime and the prime was only $120. If I did it again I would get the 35mm. Another lens I like is the Sigma 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC Macro HSM which sells for around $350 US and has been seen as low as $250 during flash sales on Ebay (Beach camera). It's not WR so if that's important forget the Sigma. But if weather is not an issue, I find myself grabbing the Sigma rather than taking the 18-135 and 55-300 because it's one lens and has the advantage of close focus which I use often. Good luck!
07-18-2014, 03:16 PM   #7
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Thank you very much guys for such quick replies and very helpful informations. I am from Poland so buying from Adorama would be a little troublesome not to mention I would have to deal with taxes :/

Anyways it looks like I will go with that 18-135 deal and in later time will equip myself in some prime lense
07-18-2014, 03:22 PM   #8
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The 18-135 is an excellent lens for the price especially stopped down just a bit. Add a nice prime such as the DA 50mm f/1.8 and you should be good for quite awhile.

QuoteOriginally posted by tgchan Quote
(or may sell on stock sites ;p)
18-135 is more than good enough for this.

07-18-2014, 03:51 PM   #9
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I have the DA 18-55 WR and the DA 50-200 WR, and they are not a bad combination. Under the right conditions, even the lowly 18-55 can produce a shot that looks pretty good. This one is at 21mm, f8, ISO 100, 1/180 with my K-7. I have printed it at 20"x30" and it looks great.



So if you have to get that combination for cost reasons, it still can take decent shots. Both these lenses are best at f8 to f11. I try to stay between 21mm and 40mm on the 18-55, and 70mm to 150mm on the 50-200.

That is why the DA 18-135 is a better choice if you can afford it. It has fewer weak areas and you don't need to change lenses as much. It also has a better, quieter focus mechanism.
07-18-2014, 04:38 PM   #10
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My understanding is that the x20 is capable of very high quality, sharp images. So I really don't think that the solution to your quality issues lies with buying a marginally higher-resolution camera with a somewhat larger and lower-noise sensor. There's always higher resolution body and a larger sensor, but we all settle for some compromise. From most reports, the x20 isn't that bad of a compromise. What it can't do is extreme wide-angle or telephoto, but an 18-55 or 18-135 can't do those things either. On the other hand, the kind of large apertures the x20 offered are going to cost you serious money to replicate with modern-era k-mount lenses. So, if you weren't getting high quality images from the x20, before choosing a replacement camera you might want to post some examples of the results along with exif data. Were you using raw, at low iso? What kind of noise reduction, sharpening, and highlight/shadow recovery were you using? You really should have been getting some impressive results from that x20, so knowing why you weren't may help you in selecting the replacement.
07-18-2014, 09:44 PM - 1 Like   #11
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I can't comment on the Fuji X20 but I do have a K-30 (in red) and a DA 18-135. The combination can provide excellent IQ. I use it from wide open down to f/6.3 and I rarely, if ever stop down further. Colors are crisp without being saturated. Sharpness is definitely there and is plenty enough for prints. I never notice any aberrations severe enough to make me frown when post processing my RAW images.

Some people are hesitant with this kind of lens because it is a wide ranging zoom vs. a prime and because it is a fairly slow lens as are many zooms. Don't let that dissuade you. It's a great walk-around lens and I am discovering on my trip to Legoland with my family that it is a great vacation lens. The weather resistant seals are great for water parks, pools, and beaches. My K-30 should also get a nod for the seals.

The only "downside" if you could call it that is the lens is not a macro design. I'll add to Na Horuk's recommendation of the D-FA 50mm f/2.8 macro. It is a a ridiculously sharp lens!! I use it for camera-scanning my film negatives and my K-30's 16 MP sensor does not stress the optics. It's a full frame design so you can use it on film and ready yourself for a Pentax FF DSLR body if one ever becomes available.

I also recently purchased a DA 40mm XS f/2.8 pancake lens from a fellow forum member here. It's not a macro and it's not a nifty-fifty but the lens is very nice. I like the sharpness. A real downside is the 27mm filter threads. There are not a lot of accessories for 27mm compared to 49mm.
07-18-2014, 10:08 PM   #12
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I bought my K5 with the 18-135 and couldn't be happier. Later picked up the 55-300 and that's also been excellent at the long end.
I've got a 28 sigma which is nice but I find I shoot much more at the long end and the 18-135 takes care of the rest.

Now I'm thinking about what to go for that's longer than 300mm. Maybe the bigma 50-500 or maybe the DA*300 9 (flexibility vs the next level of IQ). For now, I am satisfied with what I have. A 15mm is also in the back of my mind for those really wide landscapes.
07-18-2014, 10:28 PM - 1 Like   #13
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Like other people here has suggested I second K-30/K-50 + 18-135mm. Save up money for it. It's worth it. Later down the road you can add the DA 35mm F2.4 or DA F1.8 as your first and second prime. Those are damn good prime lenses for a good price.
07-18-2014, 11:51 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by tgchan Quote
I am in pursue for crisp sharp photos and I hate fuzzy,painty quality
Carry and use a tripod. Focus carefully with live view. Stop down to f8. You will be happy no matter what lens you buy.
07-19-2014, 02:33 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by tibbitts Quote
My understanding is that the x20 is capable of very high quality, sharp images. So I really don't think that the solution to your quality issues lies with buying a marginally higher-resolution camera with a somewhat larger and lower-noise sensor. There's always higher resolution body and a larger sensor, but we all settle for some compromise. From most reports, the x20 isn't that bad of a compromise. What it can't do is extreme wide-angle or telephoto, but an 18-55 or 18-135 can't do those things either. On the other hand, the kind of large apertures the x20 offered are going to cost you serious money to replicate with modern-era k-mount lenses. So, if you weren't getting high quality images from the x20, before choosing a replacement camera you might want to post some examples of the results along with exif data. Were you using raw, at low iso? What kind of noise reduction, sharpening, and highlight/shadow recovery were you using? You really should have been getting some impressive results from that x20, so knowing why you weren't may help you in selecting the replacement.

x20 was my first camera and I loved it, I really did. I am also getting second thoughts if I should sell it or just stay with it for longer time...

After few first shots as an amateur photographer I have learned about RAW files and started shooting in RAW only + only in manual mode and later only through veiwfinder which I liked.

Viewfinder was only like 85% coverage so framing shots was a little tricky.


Anyways as you can see I liked shooting in RAW + manual mode + viewfinder + one moment when I wanted to shoot a sneaking cat and I couldn't because of short zoom no matter how good I was sneaking on him

It all added up for a reason to think about getting DSLR.

I really hated grass/trees quality on x20 though and I am saying it openly. It sucked big time! (maybe it was me, maybe me+camera, but I had feeling and read somewhere it is mainly becauce of small sensor) Or maybe my expectations were too great?




tgchan's photos taken with fujifilm x20 <---- click me (sry for all these watermarks but I put my photos on microstock sites. Not that I sold any... lol )
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