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12-15-2015, 09:15 AM   #1
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New lens for beginner photographer

Hi all!

I bought my first DSLR camera a little over a month ago. It's a K-50 with a kit 18-55 lens. I'm really loving the lens, but I'm looking into new lenses. I'm extremely new at photography and, tho I've read a lot of the theory, I'm still struggling with a lot of issues.

The main reason I bought the camera (or so I told myself) is to take pictures of my 3d printer and my 3d printed parts (I own a little 3d print shop in Guatemala =] ). However I really like to take far away photos and I've noticed that I mostly use my lens at the 55mm focal length mark.

I have a couple of questions and I thought I could ask you guys and girls:

1) I have read the reviews and scores of the DA 50-200 and the DA L 50-200 and I wonder why their scores are so different. I understand that they have the same optical characteristics. Also, would any of those or the HD 55-300 be better at 50/55mm respectively? I like the zoom, but I wonder if they are any good wide open just in case I want to take portraits and such.

2) I'm stuck between choices. Since I do want to take pictures in low light conditions I'm looking into the DA 50mm F/1.8. However I'm also looking into the HD 55-300 and the DA 50-200 (or DA L, whichever you recommend) because I usually find myself trying to zoom in further and I also want to be able to take pictures of nature and wildlife. So really my question is which lens would you recommend for a total newbie: the DA 50mm F/1.8, the HD 55-300 or the DA 50-200?

Thank you all for your time reading and answering my newbie questions.

P.S. I leave a link to my Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kurt_ek/ Some pics are taken with my phone so please excuse the quality. The ones taken with my camera are also not very good, but that's because of the photographer


Last edited by kurt_ek; 12-15-2015 at 09:42 AM.
12-15-2015, 09:21 AM - 1 Like   #2
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I have three suggestions:
  1. DA 55-300/4-5.8 WR - for your distance shots
  2. D-FA 100/2.8 Macro WR - for taking pictures of your 3D printed parts
  3. DA 50/1.8 - just for fun
12-15-2015, 09:22 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by kurt_ek Quote
Hi all!

I bought my first DSLR camera a little over a month ago. It's a K-50 with a kit 18-55 lens. I'm really loving the lens, but I'm looking into new lenses. I'm extremely new at photography and, tho I've read a lot of the theory, I'm still struggling with a lot of issues.

The main reason I bought the camera (or so I told myself) is to take pictures of my 3d printer and my 3d printed parts (I own a little 3d print shop in Guatemala =] ). However I really like to take far away photos and I've noticed that I mostly use my lens at the 55mm focal length mark.

I have a couple of questions and I thought I could ask you guys and girls:

1) I have read the reviews and scores of the DA 50-200 and the DA L 50-200 and I wonder why their scores are so different. I understand that they have the same optical characteristics. Also, would any of those or the HD 55-300 be better at 50/55mm respectively? I like the zoom, but I wonder if they are any good wide open just in case I want to take portraits and such.

2) I'm stuck between choices. Since I do want to take pictures in low light conditions I'm looking into the DA 50mm F/1.8. However I'm also looking into the HD 55-300 and the DA 50-200 (or DA L, whichever you recommend) because I usually find myself trying to zoom in further and I also want to be able to take pictures of nature and wildlife. So really my question is which lens would you recommend for a total newbie: the DA 50mm F/1.8, the HD 55-300 or the DA 50-200?

Thank you all for your time reading and answering my newbie questions.

P.S. I leave a link to my Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kurt_ek/ Some pics are taken with my phone so please excuse the quality. The ones taken with my camera are also not very good, but that's because of the photographer
I would recommend the 55-300 wr. Its got zoom range that you don't have covered yet. Its a great lens and sharper than its price reflects. Its not a low light lens, though. You need pretty decent light for it. Sure, you can take portraits with it, but that's not its specialization. The 50mm f/1.8 is a great lens, but you already have the focal length covered. All you would get is the large aperture.
12-15-2015, 09:37 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by bertwert Quote
D-FA 100/2.8 Macro WR - for taking pictures of your 3D printed parts
I had not seen this lens... Looks pretty awesome and just the thing I would need for my 3d printer =] Thank you very much!

QuoteOriginally posted by enoeske Quote
I would recommend the 55-300 wr. Its got zoom range that you don't have covered yet. Its a great lens and sharper than its price reflects. Its not a low light lens, though. You need pretty decent light for it. Sure, you can take portraits with it, but that's not its specialization. The 50mm f/1.8 is a great lens, but you already have the focal length covered. All you would get is the large aperture.
True, I have the 50mm Focal Length covered, but wouldn't the 50mm F/1.8 help because of the low light situations and/or better sharpness? I'm getting more and more inclined for the 55-300....

12-15-2015, 09:42 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by kurt_ek Quote
I had not seen this lens... Looks pretty awesome and just the thing I would need for my 3d printer =] Thank you very much!



True, I have the 50mm Focal Length covered, but wouldn't the 50mm F/1.8 help because of the low light situations and/or better sharpness? I'm getting more and more inclined for the 55-300....
It would. But I think you'll get a lot more use out of the 55-300.
12-15-2015, 09:44 AM   #6
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If I were you, I'd get the 55-300 and then if funds permit get the 100 macro, then if you had a little more to spare get the 50.
At the time of writing this post prices are:
$254.57 - Pentax HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8 ED WR Lens 22270 B&H Photo
$382.64 - Pentax smc Pentax-D FA 100mm f/2.8 WR Macro Lens 21910 B&H Photo
$91.00 - Pentax smc DA 50mm f/1.8 Lens 22177 B&H Photo Video
To get all three before taxes the price would would be $728.21.
12-15-2015, 09:47 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by kurt_ek Quote
I have read the reviews and scores of the DA 50-200 and the DA L 50-200 and I wonder why their scores are so different.
The main things that set them apart are the DA 50-200 having a metal mount (possibly more durable in a zoom lens, as there is much more torque on the mount on a regular basis than with the plastic-mount primes) and quick-shift focus, i.e. manual override at all times without having to switch the lens to MF. This can be useful when changing from far to near focus quickly, and leaves the lens to only touch up the last little bit.

That being said, in your shoes I would take enoeske's advice and get the 55-300 HD WR if I could. For nature and wildlife you want as much "reach" as you can possibly get, and I'm guessing in Guatemala it probably gets quite wet at times. Then you'll have the whole range covered from 18-300mm with two lenses, both of which have weather resistance (I'm assuming your kit lens is one of the more recent versions that is WR). There is admittedly an 18-300mm lens out there that does the whole range all by itself, but it isn't WR so far as I know.

The DA 50mm/1.8 is cheap and will probably only get cheaper, but that will give you the extra aperture you need for low light work. Anything wider (f/1.4) is significantly more expensive.

In the end, you're the only one who can sort out YOUR priorities between low light and distant/wildlife pictures, and know whether to go for the zoom first or the DA50 first. By all means, if you have the cash, get both. Also go visit the marketplace on this site, as there are plenty of people selling these things (and there is a competition going on right now on the site that would enable you to win the 55-300 lens, so you might as well wait, go in for that, and only buy the lens if someone else wins it).
12-15-2015, 09:57 AM   #8
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For cheap, M 50 f/1.7

12-15-2015, 10:11 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Imp Quote
For cheap, M 50 f/1.7
Or better IMO for beginner SMC-A 50mm 1.7. I use mine all the time for pics of ebay items. Use a tripod and check focus in Live View. Tack sharp pics every time*. Good bargain-cheap (< $50) first option for OP's 3D products while he considers the dedicated macro lens... Could use with eg an extension tube for smaller objects/items.

*The other point I would make is that lighting is IMO more important than the lens for how these sort of pics turn pics turn out ... I use the conservatory as a natural light box, no extra lighting needed on a bright or sunny day, I reflect a halogen reading lamp off the roof otherwise for extra light boost.
12-15-2015, 10:36 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by kurt_ek Quote
I also want to be able to take pictures of nature and wildlife. So really my question is which lens would you recommend for a total newbie: the DA 50mm F/1.8, the HD 55-300 or the DA 50-200?
Well, if 55mm isn't wide enough to photograph wildlife, you are too close! The difference between 200mm and 300mm on an APS-C camera for photographing wildlife is much more than 50% in practice, it is really the difference between boring photos and impressive photos. Use the money you save by not buying the 50-200 to help pay for the 55-300, even if it means waiting a while. The time you lose by not having anything longer than 55mm because you are saving the extra money for the 55-300 will be much shorter than the time you regret having a lens you will never use again. The 55-300 is better optically than the 50-200 as well as being more useful.

It is also useful to have a "fast fifty" and usually 50mm prime lenses with fast apertures (wider than f2.8) are excellent values because their low price doesn't come at the cost of giving up image quality. You will find that the resolution of your K-50 will allow you to crop your pictures, effectively making your DA 50 a very practical low-light 50-100mm zoom lens.

If you want extreme close-ups or plan to use your camera as a high-resolution copier, you might want to look at purchasing a dedicated macro lens, but only after extending your zoom range. The design of a 1:1 macro lens will result in virtually no distortion of the two dimensional plane you are taking a picture of, so it is good for reproducing two dimensional images. I would recommend a 90mm or 100mm macro lens because it allows you to get further away on closeups (allowing more light on the subject and less likely to chase living creatures away from the camera). It will probably have a wider aperture than your zoom lens, so it can be useful as a prime lens in low light. It will also tend to be in a higher price range than the 55-300.

These are all suggestions for complementing the kit lens your currently have. Replacing your kit lens with something better is a topic best left for another discussion thread.
12-15-2015, 10:49 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by kurt_ek Quote
True, I have the 50mm Focal Length covered, but wouldn't the 50mm F/1.8 help because of the low light situations and/or better sharpness? I'm getting more and more inclined for the 55-300....
I would recommend getting the 50mm prime for the sake of better image quality, and for more flexibility when it comes to bokeh. If you do a lot of close-ups, the D FA 50mm macro might be an even better alternative, at the expense of a stop and a half of light.

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12-15-2015, 10:53 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
D FA 50mm macro
Good Idea, hadn't thought of that.

OP: It is not a WR lens like the DFA 100 macro, but it combines the fifty and the 100 macro into one lens. (sort-off)
$244.99 - Pentax Normal smc P-D FA 50mm f/2.8 Macro Autofocus Lens 21530
You'd save $228.65 getting that instead of the 100 macro and the DA 50.
12-15-2015, 11:23 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by kurt_ek Quote
Hi all!

I bought my first DSLR camera a little over a month ago. It's a K-50 with a kit 18-55 lens. I'm really loving the lens, but I'm looking into new lenses. I'm extremely new at photography and, tho I've read a lot of the theory, I'm still struggling with a lot of issues.

The main reason I bought the camera (or so I told myself) is to take pictures of my 3d printer and my 3d printed parts (I own a little 3d print shop in Guatemala =] ). However I really like to take far away photos and I've noticed that I mostly use my lens at the 55mm focal length mark.

I have a couple of questions and I thought I could ask you guys and girls:

1) I have read the reviews and scores of the DA 50-200 and the DA L 50-200 and I wonder why their scores are so different. I understand that they have the same optical characteristics. Also, would any of those or the HD 55-300 be better at 50/55mm respectively? I like the zoom, but I wonder if they are any good wide open just in case I want to take portraits and such.

2) I'm stuck between choices. Since I do want to take pictures in low light conditions I'm looking into the DA 50mm F/1.8. However I'm also looking into the HD 55-300 and the DA 50-200 (or DA L, whichever you recommend) because I usually find myself trying to zoom in further and I also want to be able to take pictures of nature and wildlife. So really my question is which lens would you recommend for a total newbie: the DA 50mm F/1.8, the HD 55-300 or the DA 50-200?

Thank you all for your time reading and answering my newbie questions.

P.S. I leave a link to my Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kurt_ek/ Some pics are taken with my phone so please excuse the quality. The ones taken with my camera are also not very good, but that's because of the photographer

what do you print with the 3d printer..sounds interesting
12-15-2015, 11:34 AM   #14
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Folks are selling the DA 50 for pennies because they received it in the K-3, 50mm, flash kit.
12-15-2015, 11:56 AM   #15
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Kurt,

Assuming: 1) You want to learn; 2) You want to photograph for 3-D printing; and 3) You want the most bang for the buck: Consider some older but sharp manual lenses!

For 3-D printing, you will be photographing objects using a tripod, preferably with some lighting to eliminate shadows (you don't want to print shadows), and manually focusing. You can find the 50mm M or A version 1.7 for under $50 and the 100mm M Macro at a fraction of the cost of modern auto-focus lenses. I am not suggesting you don't get a zoom, just that you will learn a lot and receive satisfactory results from some of the older and less expensive manual lenses.
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