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05-25-2019, 04:38 AM   #1
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Advice for new KP user: lenses

Hi

My first dslr was my K30 that I bought for family photogrpahs of my kids now 5 and 2. I have the 18-55 WR old style kit lens, DA 35mm 2. 4 and DA 50mm 1.8. The 35mm gets most used followed by 50mm. The kit lens is seldom used as I struggle to accept the IQ compared to primes: only used in poor weather. I use AE mode and shoot jpegs mainly.

I have upgraded to the KP. I am due to go on holiday soon to Europe. Considering to upgrade lenses but to an economical option, compact with the best AF, maybe just one walk about.

Researching on the forum my one lens to rule them all would be the DA 20-40 Ltd WR. It is very expensive £400 used (the Kp was a stretch new at £790). I have only inexpensive glass (less than £300 for both primes) , I am terrified of breaking and expensive lens or the IQ not bring up to it for family photos(used to prime IQ).

Is there are more economical option? (Sigma / Tamron / Tonika) More compact? (40mm Ltd) Better AF? (55-300 PLM) Should I consider a longer lens? (18-135) wr I have never gone more than 18-55mm.

I am really confused tbh. I have no good camera stores so all purchases will be with 'pentax faith' and done online.

Thanks for your help.

05-25-2019, 05:00 AM   #2
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The best lens to add is the 55-300 PLM. I have found it to be really fast to focus, quiet and lightweight. The other lenses you have fill out your kit nicely.

I really like the 20-40, but it's too expensive and it would find limited use compared to the 55-300.

Last edited by Hamiltom; 05-25-2019 at 05:03 AM. Reason: added info
05-25-2019, 05:34 AM - 2 Likes   #3
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The three lenses you have are a fine start. The two primes especially are capable of excellent image quality, and your WR kit zoom might have its uses, even in a European summer. Try to learn its strengths and weaknesses more thoroughly and you'll get more out of it.

If you're spending a fair bit of time in cities, you might be better served looking at a wider option. I have found the DA 15/4.0 Limited extremely useful in narrow streets and inside cathedrals. You should be able to find a second hand copy at a decent price.











Another option is the DA10-17 fisheye zoom. At the "long" end it de-fishes to match the angle of view of the DA15, and at the wiiiiiide end it can produce some dramatic images.





05-25-2019, 05:36 AM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by ubjy Quote
Hi

My first dslr was my K30 that I bought for family photogrpahs of my kids now 5 and 2. I have the 18-55 WR old style kit lens, DA 35mm 2. 4 and DA 50mm 1.8. The 35mm gets most used followed by 50mm. The kit lens is seldom used as I struggle to accept the IQ compared to primes: only used in poor weather. I use AE mode and shoot jpegs mainly.

I have upgraded to the KP. I am due to go on holiday soon to Europe. Considering to upgrade lenses but to an economical option, compact with the best AF, maybe just one walk about.

Researching on the forum my one lens to rule them all would be the DA 20-40 Ltd WR. It is very expensive £400 used (the Kp was a stretch new at £790). I have only inexpensive glass (less than £300 for both primes) , I am terrified of breaking and expensive lens or the IQ not bring up to it for family photos(used to prime IQ).

Is there are more economical option? (Sigma / Tamron / Tonika) More compact? (40mm Ltd) Better AF? (55-300 PLM) Should I consider a longer lens? (18-135) wr I have never gone more than 18-55mm.
.
I have to agree with Hamiltom that the 55-300 PLM is a fantastic partner with the KP, however it may not be the best fit for your European trip if you plan on shooting in cities. I think that 20-40 would be a great option, but I have never used one to offer an experienced opinion. I bought my KP last July, since then my most used lenses have probably been the 55-300 PLM, Sigma 17-50, DA 15, and DA18-135. The Sigma has a good walk around range, it has better sharpness than the DA18-135, but it is not WR. Tamron also has a well regarded lens in the 18-50 range. Since you like the small primes, the DA 15 is excellent, but t may be too wide for some uses. The DA 21 would be an excellent option, it's a very useful focal length, and well regarded, I don't have it but I want it. I do have the 35 2.4 but don't use it often, I find myself wanting either wider of longer.

Don't worry about breaking your lenses, as long as you aren't careless with them they would be hard to break. If you do use a one lens option that would be great, but unlikely, just make sure you aren't carrying an excessive amount of gear.

05-25-2019, 05:51 AM   #5
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Here are some general thoughts on walkabout options. All of them offer better image quality than your 18-55 and can be found used on the forum marketplace.

Pentax 18-135: Versatile zoom range. Weather resistant, fairly compact lens.

Pentax 16-50: Adds wide angle (those 2mm going from 18mm to 16mm make scenes much wider). A fairly heavy lens; only gets this if you need the f2.8. Weather resistant.

Sigma 17-50: I have no direct experience with this lens, but my recollection from comments is that image quality is good. No weather resistance.

Pentax 20-40: This is not a good choice for you *IMO*. Not enough zoom range.
05-25-2019, 06:11 AM   #6
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I suggest the OP do a search for " Europe trip " or other such words and look at threads about using equipment in Europe

I have never been but as I recall reading such threads the advice given seemed to be that telephoto lenses may not be the best choice

of course that all depends on the " targets " one would expect to be photographing

good luck and have fun on the trip and learning about various options for lenses by checking the info under " lenses " above.
05-25-2019, 08:15 AM - 2 Likes   #7
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practical and highly effective ...nothing beat value of 18-135
05-25-2019, 08:39 AM   #8
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I havs a k3, and an embarrassing complement of lenses. The following are my impressions:

DA 18-55 series 1: no longer owned, weakest of the normal zooms.

DAL 18-50: much better at the wide end and long end than the lens above. Fiddly retracting mechanism makes it very compact so a nice companion for the KP if size is at a premium. Unlike some other lenses the DA version might be worth the upgrade for HD coatings and a lens hood.

DA 20-40 LTD: superb IQ, fine handling, light weight but larger. 2x seems smaller range than it is. The fact that it goes wider and longer than normal is surprisingly versatile.

DA 18-135 : Great range and fantastic handling. Much more useful than people understand from test charts.

DA* 16-50 f2.8: Far heavier, and bulkier than the lenses above. Wide end isn't as good as the rest but compared to the lenses above it is still quite good.

Of all of these the two that stand out are the DA 18-50 and DA 20-40. Honorable mention and most versatile is the 18-135.

05-25-2019, 08:39 AM - 1 Like   #9
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A used 18-135 is your best economical option.

If you want to spend more, you have a lot more choices, reflected in the above posts, but really, if you want to spend more money the 16-85 is the way to go for walk around. I'd only recommend the 20-40 if you have UWA kit to go with it.

My current kit for walking is the 18-135 with the 55-300 PLM.

You say you don't shoot longer than 55mm... but you can't so I'm not sure how relevant that is. 40% of my 18-135 images were taken at 100mm or over. If you can, you probably will.
05-25-2019, 08:45 AM   #10
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A 16-85 seems very appropriate per the requirements given. Pair that with your DA 50 1.8 for a low light optic if you can pack a second lens.

I really like the DA 15 SMC but would consider it a 3rd lens to bring after the first two.

I have no idea why people are suggesting a 55-300. They're great lenses but that doesn't mean you need a telephoto.
05-25-2019, 08:50 AM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by pres589 Quote
A 16-85 seems very appropriate per the requirements given. Pair that with your DA 50 1.8 for a low light optic if you can pack a second lens.

I really like the DA 15 SMC but would consider it a 3rd lens to bring after the first two.

I have no idea why people are suggesting a 55-300. They're great lenses but that doesn't mean you need a telephoto.
And I have no idea why you'd suggest the 16-85 given it's price. We all have our own perspective.
The reason for suggesting the 55-300 is it's a really good lens and introduces telephoto capability at an affordable price. You can buy a used 18-135 (which are not that hard to find) and a 55-300 for the price of a 16-85. That's a package you can build a complete system around.

If it were not for the OPs concerns about price , the 16-85 would be the logical choice.

Last edited by normhead; 05-25-2019 at 09:05 AM.
05-25-2019, 08:59 AM   #12
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I always use the 16-85 for walk around, sold my 18-135mm to buy the 16-85mm and I am very pleased with it.
It is so sharp and WR.
05-25-2019, 09:01 AM   #13
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I missed that part. Right.

I'd then go for a Tamron 17-50; it's almost a 16 on Pentax crop on the wide end and has that nice f2.8 constant max aperture. Plus I like the rendering and colors from it.
05-25-2019, 09:07 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by pres589 Quote
I missed that part. Right.

I'd then go for a Tamron 17-50; it's almost a 16 on Pentax crop on the wide end and has that nice f2.8 constant max aperture. Plus I like the rendering and colors from it.
My wife has one, it's a great lens, but ours is somewhat inconsistent in it's AF.
05-25-2019, 09:26 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by pres589 Quote
I'd then go for a Tamron 17-50; it's almost a 16 on Pentax crop on the wide end and has that nice f2.8 constant max aperture. Plus I like the rendering and colors from it.
I would have said the same (except my vote would have gone to the Sigma, since I have and like it as you do your Tamron), but he wouldn't gain aaall that much with it: 17 vs. 18 at the wide end, picture quality and 2.8 aperture from 17 to 35 / between 35 and 50. I'd say with the DA35 and DA50 he's settled for picture quality and fast aperture from ~30 to 50, with the caveat that he has to change lenses, which would not be that comfortable to do while traveling. He would also lose WR / couldn't use the lens as he would his 18-55 now.

I have the 18-135 and 50 myself and I would not say that the 18-135 beats or even matches the 50 for sharpness / picture quality. I myself long for the 16-85 ever since I got my K-S2 with the 18-135 since it's said to be a better lens overall in the overlapping focal length range (except for around 24 or so, where the 18-135 is better?), offers the 16mm at the wide end (but ends at 85 at the long end), but it's bigger, heavier and much more expensive (I haven't seen the 16-85 on the used market around here that much, and if so, it still cost more than the DA limiteds go for). On the other hand the 18-135 is very versatile, a lens that might not leave his camera at all for his trip, and is very affordable used.

A 55-300 would really add something to op's kit, but I don't think it would be such a useful lens for a trip through Europe.

A DA15 or something like a Sigma 10-20 could be an option to expand the wide end of his focal lengths, the 15 being compact, but rather expensive, the other being more versatile, wider, more affordable (at least used), but is not really compact.

All in all I'd say there's no clear recommendation to make here gear-wise, other than to look at all the suggestions and compare them and to penultimately decide for himself what is more important.

Another thing to suggest would be to switch from taking jpegs in AE mode to taking more control of the parameters that affect the photos, and to save them as RAWs to be able to tweak them better to his liking after they have been taken.

Last edited by ehrwien; 05-25-2019 at 09:38 AM.
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