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04-08-2009, 03:03 PM   #1
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Lens advice needed

Hi there, I am about to purchase my first Pentax Digital slr the K20d and would like some feedback on my choices of lenses that I am going to buy. I am an avid photographer of wildlife and nature and landscapes. My choices for lenses are the da16-45mm, da50-135mm, the da 18-250mm, and the da12-24mm. I guess I'm wondering if this is a good choice or If I might be going over board. I am going to Ireland in July and want to have a great camera and lenses to shoot with as I'm planning on taking a lot of shots while there. I am also buying the BG-2 grip and two extra batteries and two 16gb memory cards. I am a little back and forth on whether to move to the da16-50mm over the da16-45mm for the extra money or if the 16-45mm is just as good. I held off on the flash unit until I research it some more. I would appreciate any feedback from any of you on what might work better or if this is a good combo. This is a big investment and my retirement gift to myself so I'm a little nervous into making the right choices. I also own a few Pentax film cameras and a wide assortment of lens for them which is my reason for choosing Pentax. You can contact me at teamster1m [at] netscape.net. I really appreciate your input. Thanks Bryan

04-08-2009, 03:31 PM   #2
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04-08-2009, 04:04 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by madmac57 Quote
Hi there, I am about to purchase my first Pentax Digital slr the K20d and would like some feedback on my choices of lenses that I am going to buy.
[...]
I also own a few Pentax film cameras and a wide assortment of lens for them which is my reason for choosing Pentax.
Bryan,

What lenses do you already have from your old system? The reason I ask is that most if not all of them can be used on the K20D. Personally, I don't buy any of the lenses designed for APS-C sensors as I want to be able to exchange my lenses freely between digital and film bodies (and the mythical Pentax FF if it ever materializes).
04-08-2009, 04:05 PM   #4
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16-45/4 vs 16-50/2.8: first, please note: i own neither of the two (so grain of salt needed). the 16-45 is said to be excellent, and almost on par with the 16-50 in optics. as you need this lens for landscape msotly (correct?), the bonus of 2.8 is mostly irrelevant, the weather sealing which comes with the 16-50, however, is not. also, even for landscape, at twilight/dawn, the viewfinder will be much brighter with the /2.8. but as far as final output is concerned, i doubt the premium for the 16-50 is worth it for landscape (i hope people actually owning at least one can help with more informed oppinions)

12-24: don't own it, i hear it is an excellent lens (one of the best ultrawide zooms around, actually). it is not cheap though. a friend owns it, and he loves it. i went a slightly different route myself: i am using a zenitar 16/2.8 for an ultrawide (the lens is intended as a 180degree diagonal fisheye for 35mm film), i am happy with it (and it certainly saved me a lot of expense). if you can afford it, i doubt you will ever regret getting the 12-24. note: some people talk about Ca with this lens, most say it is not a serious issue, not sure...

50-135: don't own it, i'd love to. excellent lens, i think there is no argument about that. weather sealed. it will be great for landscape i am sure (though a bit big and heavy), but a bit too short for a lot of wildlife work. you really need something longer for that (maybe you already have in your old film lenses arsenal?).

18-250: why? i know some people like it and say it is good for what it is. but.. why? with the rest of the lineup, i doubt if you will ever use this "superzoom"

don't forget a good tripod and head (for landscape, i like ballheads, braceless tripods with variable angle legs and, idealy, a centre column which can be at least horizontal -- any angle in the case of my own tripod), for wildlife and heavy long lenses you might want a gimbal head.

pricereduction thoughts: seeing as you have an old lens lineup (you didn't say which lenses though), the one lens you trully need for landscape (and which you, most likely, don't already have) is the ultrawide. if you have a 24 or 28 prime, a fast fifty, a 135, a 200 and, perhaps, a 300mm which you already know and love, you might actually be able to get away with only buying the 12-24 (and maybe adding others later, as you decide you need them, for convenience, speed, whatever), or, it might help you finance some big lens instead (like a "bigma", one of the long sigma lenses in pentax mount), which would go well with your desire for wildlife shooting.

hope this helps. have a lot of fun!

04-08-2009, 04:07 PM   #5
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Hello Bryan and welcome!

Let me first say that I am a big fan of the 16-45mm and feel it is a very capable lens by itself (I do own this lens and have proudly taken thousands of frames with mine). With that said, I want to stress two different things really. First, I am a bigger fan of prime glass than zoom lenses (but I feel the 16-45mm is a GREAT zoom lens) if you can use them. Secondly, I suggest you get out there with the lenses you settle on and shoot hundreds/thousands of shots to become very familiar with their strongpoints and their weaknesses. Enjoy your time overseas, I have always wanted to visit Ireland. If you know your camera well you will not become frustrated and will get the most from your visit.

Be sure to show off those photos when you get back!

Jason
04-08-2009, 04:25 PM   #6
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more on the zenitar may be useful, if on a budget:

while the 12-24 certainly commends respect, the zenitar is incredibly small and light, while well built. i absolutely love it. optics are very good in my oppinion, there is some CA in extreme conditions, never bothered to correct them, never bothered me in prints (yet). being a fisheye, it will be visibly distorted even on an aps-c sensor, it is easy to correct in software (even batch), however one word of caution: when de-fishing, some of the image (mainly corners) will have to be cropped, this means that what you see in the viewfinder will not be what you get at the end, and you have to keep this in mind and plan for it when framing, if using it in place of a rectilinear wideangle.

edit: the fov of this lens, after defishing (so in "linear wideangle" terms), would be something around the fov of a 13mm or 14mm. that is to say, this will be wider than you expect from the 16-45, make no mistake, and a hell of a lot wider than the 18mm on the kit lens.

so, in short:

pros:
-price (about 200 usd in US, if not less)
-optical quality
-built quality
-size and weight (with an "!")
-looks sexy on the k20d
-it transforms instantly into a 180 degree fisheye on your backup film body, incredibly fun

cons:
-manual focus (or is that a feature? who needs af on an ultrawide?)
-not pentax, so no smc coating (there is flare in extreme conditions, not terrible, but the kit lens is able to arrogantly show it what a pentax lens thinks about flare )
-k compatible (or M, not A), so no aperture control from the camera, and only stopped down metering on dslrs. i ended up using only such lenses lately, so i am kind of used to it. ymmv
-the hood is designed for use on 35mm film, so there is virtually... no hood (180 degrees fisheye)
-no filters (i actually need to use a polarizer filter on it, despite what some people think, polarizers are not only for skyes). can be worked around, i hear (but only for aps-c)

i think that should sum it up

Last edited by nanok; 04-08-2009 at 04:32 PM.
04-08-2009, 07:35 PM   #7
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You considering all of these lenses? If so, there's lots of overlap here. If it were my money I'd do the 12-24 and the 50-135 and throw in an FA 35 f/2 to fill in the gap and help out with low light shots. You're bag will be a lot lighter, too. I did Paris in 1 day with a Sigma 18-50 f/2.8 EX, Sigma 10-20 and Pentax 50-135 DA*. The only thing I wished I had had was something faster than f/2.8 in a normal (equiv) focal length.
04-09-2009, 01:13 AM   #8
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For the range perhaps a DA 55-300 instead of the 18-250.

04-13-2009, 06:41 PM   #9
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Thanks Robert, I have considered the 35mm and 50mm as an addition also. Thanks for your response. Bryan
04-13-2009, 06:43 PM   #10
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Thanks John, Do you have this lens and if so are you happy with it. I've seen mixed reviews. Thanks Bryan
04-13-2009, 06:45 PM   #11
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Thank you for your advice I will look into everyones options. Bryan
04-13-2009, 06:49 PM   #12
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Thank You Jason, I really love this site it gives me a real sense of getting some professional advice. I know I now can make a good choice from the opinions I've read and won't be sorry. Thank you so much. I will be posting those photos when I get back.
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