Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

View Poll Results: This lens is a good fit for rpriedhorsky.
Yes 2976.32%
No 923.68%
Voters: 38. You may not vote on this poll

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
12-21-2008, 04:51 PM   #1
Senior Member
rpriedhorsky's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 210
SMC DA 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 ED AL [IF]: Good lens for a DSLR newbie?

Dear all,

I've been lurking enthusiastically for the past 24 hours and have found tons of great information. It has been extremely helpful. Thank you!

Here's my question.

I have a Canon A530 that I'm quite happy with, and I'm looking to move up to a DSLR for better low light, wider wide, longer long, and more control/flexibility/expandability. Budget is approximately $1000.

Currently, 95% of the photos I take are on my backpacking trips, particularly in the American Southwest (for example). Part of moving up to a DSLR is to expand the possibilities, but outdoor backcountry photography is still the key use.

This has a few consequences: first, weight is critical, as every gram goes on my back for days on end. Second, it's a very dusty environment. This means that I would really, really want to minimize the number of lenses carried, ideally to just one.

I am currently contemplating a K200d with a Pentax SMC DA 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 ED AL [IF] lens. This lens seems to get reviews along the lines of, it's a good lens given the very large reach and $400 cost (for example).

My question is: how do I calibrate these evaluations to my experience as a P&S shooter? Will I notice and be annoyed by the flaws, or is this lens, even given its flaws, good enough given my current experience and I'll be thrilled?

Much appreciated,

Reid

p.s. as an aside... one of the things I love about the A530 is its panorama mode: you can lock in the parameters (in auto mode) and then take many frames with the same parameters. Is it possible to do this with the K200d without setting everything up in manual?

12-21-2008, 05:09 PM   #2
Pentaxian
Marc Sabatella's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Denver, CO
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 10,686
QuoteOriginally posted by rpriedhorsky Quote
This has a few consequences: first, weight is critical, as every gram goes on my back for days on end.
The 18-250 isn't the lightest lens on the block, but it's as light a way to cover the whole zoom range from 18-250 as any other combination. You can only get lighter by giving up the longest focal length, if that is a tradeoff you'd be comfortable with.

QuoteQuote:
p.s. as an aside... one of the things I love about the A530 is its panorama mode: you can lock in the parameters (in auto mode) and then take many frames with the same parameters. Is it possible to do this with the K200d without setting everything up in manual?
Manual mode is trivially simple: just select the apetrture you want, hit the green button, and you;re ready to take as many shots as you want worth all settings locked. Definitely the way to go.
12-21-2008, 05:11 PM   #3
Inactive Account




Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Minneapolis
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 220
Welcome from another mpls. This is a similar thread.
Pentax 18-250mm IQ: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review
Ryan
12-22-2008, 08:40 AM   #4
Veteran Member
simons-photography's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Northamptonshire - England
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 497
well given your circumstances the 18-250 sounds like the best ideaas it will cover pretty much all you need, you came to the right place for dust protection as pentax is the only semi pro DSLR that has water/dust seals, as for the lens I have no idea

12-22-2008, 09:13 AM   #5
edl
Veteran Member




Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 457
Welcome to Pentaxforums!

I don't know if this lens will realistically achieve your stated goals of "better low light, wider wide, longer long, and more control/flexibility/expandability." The simple answer is yes, because the A530 has a 35-140mm range, whereas the 18-250 gives you a 28-375mm range. Any SLR will give you more control/flexibility/expandability over a point and shoot.

However, before you purchase the all-in-one solution I would consider looking at the photos you've taken with your A530. Are most of them at the wide side? Or maybe you zoom everything all the way out? I would consider your current shooting style before buying.

Personally, I shoot wide so I would purchase something like the Pentax 16-45 f/4, Sigma 17-70 f/4, or Tamron 17-50 f/2.8. Then supplement it with a telephoto if needed like the Tamron 70-300.

That's the beauty of the SLR, not everything needs to be done by just one lens.

EDIT: Even with the dust, I would still rather carry two specialized lenses over one all-purpose. You'll be more pleased with the results. If you have to change lenses, you can always do it in a bag or something.
12-22-2008, 02:28 PM   #6
Pentaxian
Marc Sabatella's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Denver, CO
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 10,686
QuoteOriginally posted by edl Quote
Welcome to Pentaxforums!
I don't know if this lens will realistically achieve your stated goals of "better low light, wider wide, longer long, and more control/flexibility/expandability." The simple answer is yes, because the A530 has a 35-140mm range, whereas the 18-250 gives you a 28-375mm range. Any SLR will give you more control/flexibility/expandability over a point and shoot.
But the 18-250 won't be any better in low light than the Canon lens - the OP will need another lens for that (something f/2,8 or better at whatever focal lengths he is most interested in).

QuoteQuote:
EDIT: Even with the dust, I would still rather carry two specialized lenses over one all-purpose. You'll be more pleased with the results. If you have to change lenses, you can always do it in a bag or something.
Another advantage of a cheap two lens solution like 18-55 + 50-200 is that you can later upgrade just half the package. For instance, if you decide you really want f/2.8 at the wide to normal end, upgrade the 18-55 to the 16-50 while keeping the 50-200.
12-22-2008, 03:30 PM   #7
Veteran Member
Jasvox's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 3,110
This is one of those questions that has the tendency to produce a thread of replies that can go, and often does, in many many different directions. Most lending very good advice from particular experience, but I want to add something that tries to take you back to your original question before it fractures too much with the endless possibilities of options available to you.

The first question I would ask to yourself is, what focal lengths do you shoot the most? You can easily get an exact answer to that question if run a software on the computer you store your photos on which will give you that answer. You may find that you shoot a large majority of your photos at between 28 and 50mm. How much do you shoot at the longest reach? Does this justify having a lens or lenses that reaches to 250mm or so. Of course this is example and you may find your results differ from my example and you may want to focus on a lens or lenses that does in fact cover from 18 up to 250mm because you do in fact use a broad range of focal lengths. If you can narrow it down, I would suggest nice simple replacement for the kit lens, such as a Tamron 17-50 which has received very favorable reviews, and does not cost an arm and leg like a 16-50* for example. If you find you are in true need of a longer reach, than the Tamron or Pentax 18-250 is a fine overall lens. Incidentally, the Tamron 17-50 and the 18-250 weigh the same, are the same size when at widest and locked, only the 17-50 is 5mm wider at the filter. To further this along, say you get something like the Tamron 17-50 and then augment that later with the Pentax 55-300, which is a fantastic lens for the money (although, not small, nor necessarily light weight either.)
After having offered my .02, I will tell you that I have the 18-250mm and use it quite often when traveling because I have the same requirements as you (need to pack light, don't want to change lenses in a dusty environment, want a wide range of focal lengths etc). I enjoy this lens and feels it serves me well. On the other hand, I have also the Tamron 17-50 which while only 1/5th the overall telephoto reach, is somewhat a sharper performer as well as gets me the fast lens needs when shooting in unfavorable light. I will be interested to see if I travel this coming winter with only my 17-50, will I miss the extra reach of the 18-250 lens so much that I feel the trade off of versatility versus image quality will cause me to fall in love with my 18-250 all over again. We shall see.
In closing, the learning curve of a DSLR with any lens will take a little bit of time if you are demanding an overall better result from your style of photo taking. The point and shoot cameras do have their place and they do exactly what their namesakes imply, point, shoot, and most are happy. Once you get the hang of a new single reflex camera with better glass, you should definitely be making better photos in the long run...regardless of the lens choice you ultimately make.

Good luck!

Jason
12-22-2008, 03:37 PM   #8
Veteran Member
netuser's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Azores Islands, Portugal
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,241
QuoteOriginally posted by rpriedhorsky Quote
....

I am currently contemplating a K200d with a Pentax SMC DA 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 ED AL [IF] lens.
I think you will enjoy this kit a lot.
Lots of potencial on it.

12-22-2008, 06:02 PM   #9
edl
Veteran Member




Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 457
QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
But the 18-250 won't be any better in low light than the Canon lens - the OP will need another lens for that (something f/2,8 or better at whatever focal lengths he is most interested in).



Another advantage of a cheap two lens solution like 18-55 + 50-200 is that you can later upgrade just half the package. For instance, if you decide you really want f/2.8 at the wide to normal end, upgrade the 18-55 to the 16-50 while keeping the 50-200.
Marc,

I completely agree with both your points.

I'd definitely recommend a 2.8 short end zoom + a budget telephoto for the OP. Of course, if he wants to experiment on the cheap I have a 28-200 Tamron listed in the Marketplace for $100.... (shameless plug)

Last edited by edl; 12-23-2008 at 04:09 PM.
12-22-2008, 06:05 PM   #10
Veteran Member




Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: SoCal
Posts: 402
QuoteOriginally posted by rpriedhorsky Quote

I have a Canon A530 that I'm quite happy with, and I'm looking to move up to a DSLR for better low light, wider wide, longer long, and more control/flexibility/expandability. Budget is approximately $1000.


This has a few consequences: first, weight is critical, as every gram goes on my back for days on end. Second, it's a very dusty environment. This means that I would really, really want to minimize the number of lenses carried, ideally to just one.

I am currently contemplating a K200d with a Pentax SMC DA 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 ED AL [IF] lens.
Based on the data you provided, I voted yes. BUT....

"low light, wider wide, longer long" is somewhat an oxymoron as you'll find out

I am in the same dilemma as you. I just bought a k200d. I've been eyeing the 18-250 for travel reasons also but I've decided to hold off. Same reasons as you - one lens, no lens changes, etc....

I decided to take some time with the kit lens and my Pentax-M 50mm f1.4. I'll see if I get frustrated with the 18-55 with regards to its reach and f-stop. The 50 1.4 should help in low light. I'm still getting used to the ability to change ISO's midstream - I'm used to film and to change ISO usually to me means another body with another film or "push"

How many shots do you take >50mm? 200? Once you see how your eye/brain visualizes photos you'll be able to answer whether having one lens or two lens will serve you. I for one still haven't figured it out, hence I'm still waiting for my answer

good luck
12-22-2008, 06:37 PM   #11
Veteran Member




Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 506
Considering your following criteria:
-first, weight is critical, as every gram goes on my back for days on end.
-second, it's a very dusty environment. This means that I would really, really want to minimize the number of lenses carried, ideally to just one.
-third, 18-250mm range
-forth, cost

...I think the Pentax would be a great solution considering the weather sealing. However, re the lenses you can have the benefit of weather sealing...but at a cost. You can have the lightest/smallest lenses in class with the pancakes...but at a fixed focal length. You can have the 18-250...but heavier than you are likely accustomed to. As a result I think you may want to confirm your priority, as if size/weight is number one...the 18-250 may not be the solution.
I have the 18-250 and it has proven to be a great outdoor travel lens (although I use it at Disneyland as opposed to Everest.)
I'm thinking you might be good waiting for the soon to be released weather sealed DA*55? Or a pancake or two with filters?
Good luck.
12-22-2008, 06:47 PM   #12
Veteran Member
pcarfan's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Dayton, Ohio
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,958
Given you experience and need there is no better choice than the Tamron/Pentax 18-250. You will be THRILLED.
12-22-2008, 07:03 PM   #13
Loyal Site Supporter
dadipentak's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 10,178
I started with the Tamron 18-250mm and it was the perfect choice. I recommend a fast, sharp prime as your next step. I chose the 43mm ltd but would probably go for the FA 50 f1.4 (simply on the basis of cost) if I had a do-over.

I could go on at length but others have done that for me.
12-22-2008, 09:18 PM   #14
Senior Member
rpriedhorsky's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 210
Original Poster
Wow, folks... thanks so much for all your input. I also really appreciate the welcome messages.

Taking the advice of edl and others, I did an analysis of my output from the P&S: ("for i in */img_????.jpg */????.jpg; do exif -tFocalLength -m $i; done | sort -n | uniq -c" plus some spreadsheet action). This reveals that fully 68% of my P&S shots are at the wide end (35mm in 35mm-equiv), 8% are one or two stops narrower (48mm), 7% are at the long end (140mm), and all the other zoom stops are around 1 or 2%.

I believe this confirms my intuition that I want a wider wide and a longer long; I clearly bump up against the wide all the time, and the longest long is the 3rd-most-common setting. I also know that I pass up many shots because I can't go long enough.

I think that it's OK that the candidate lens is a little heavier; with the greater reach, I can go on my April trip and see what focal lengths I end up using. If I don't use the full reach, I can reevaluate then.

Also, the story changes slightly, as I found a couple of 1970s-era fast screw-mount primes in my closet (as detailed in another thread), a Vivitar 28mm f/2.8 and a Takumar 50mm f/1.4; the latter is apparently quite a find.

I might take one of them along: I was thinking a little more about the one-lens-only requirement, and I think I missed some nuance earlier. It is true that during the day I absolutely want only one lens, as there's no time for fooling around with lenses when most people on the trip aren't photographers and there's lots of ground to cover. However, in camp this requirement is relaxed: I can go in the tent and change lenses; no one's trying to get anywhere; etc. Pleasantly, during the day is when there's the most light, so it's OK if that lens is slower.

I think it smells like this plan is a good fit.

Thanks again,

Reid
12-22-2008, 09:24 PM   #15
Veteran Member
clawhammer's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Logan, Utah
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 976
I think the 18-250 will serve you well- not having to change lenses will save you a lot of dust on the sensor. It's not fast (doesn't let in a whole lot of light), but with the higher ISOs possible on the k200d it will probably end up giving you shutter speeds as fast or faster than your a530.

As for panoramics, I'm not aware of a mode on the k200 that gives you the same guidance as the a530's panoramic guide mode, but if you shoot at about 50mm and find a good piece of software, you should be able to stitch together a decent pano.

I would bet you'll be pleasantly surprised at the image quality of the k200d+da 18-250, compared to your current camera.

OT: If you ever get the chance, there are a lot of fun hikes around the Boulder/Escalante area of southern Utah.

Edit: my brother keeps a sigma 10-20 on his dslr whenever he's down south- you may consider that as a future purchase. The wide lenses are lots of fun within the tight canyons.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
camera, da 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3, dslr, experience, flaws, k200d, lens, mode, parameters, pentax help, photography
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Newbie looking to buy used pentax dslr + everyday use lens for under $500 US demondias Welcomes and Introductions 7 08-09-2010 12:29 PM
For Sale - Sold: Pentax smc DA* 60-250mm F4 ED [IF] SDM Lens zulupentax Sold Items 7 10-17-2009 02:22 AM
DSLR Newbie Nostar Welcomes and Introductions 3 08-28-2009 11:19 AM
DSLR Newbie GregK8 Welcomes and Introductions 1 05-03-2008 08:46 PM
SMC Pentax-DA 18-250mm Zoom Lens Announced Adam Homepage & Official Pentax News 10 01-16-2008 02:45 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:31 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top