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09-13-2009, 04:51 AM   #1
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k200d owner, ready for non-kit lens?

So I thought I would ask the opinion of the most educated group of Pentax users on the planet: If you were starting out and had only the k200d and 18-55II, what would be your next move?

As a novice DSLR user, I've thoroughly enjoyed my K200d (my first Pentax) and the 18-55 kit lens for the last year as I have worked and travelled around Asia. Of course, the lens has its limitations when not in natural light, and I think that I would enjoy a telephoto for traveling and sports.

I've been given a gift of a new "lens of my choice" and am trying to decide what is next. My initial thought was to try and find a reasonable price on either a DA* 16-50 or a DA* 50-135 based on my amateur research, but I'm wary of buying "too much lens" for either myself or the camera. And I am open to trying a completely different approach (e.g., a Singapore camera shop owner tried to sell me on buying an HD 0.5x wide angle for the kit lens and adding a 75-300).

Thanks very much in advance for any thoughts.

09-13-2009, 05:48 AM   #2
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Anybody trying to sell you an FAJ 75-300 isn't doing you any favors.

There is no such thing as "too much lens".
09-13-2009, 06:18 AM   #3
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Hi and welcome to THE forum.

My first thought is you won't gain much new lens perspective with the 16-50 over your 18-55. It is a much better lens and at a constant f2.8 should easier to use. The other issue with the 16-50 is it's relatively big and heavy and somewhat unbalanced in use without the battery grip, IMO.
I actually haven't used the kit lens. I bought body only, 16-50 and 50-200. For a budget zoom the 50-200 is great, but with similar limitations as the kit lens.
If budget isn't an issue, get the 60-250 and a monopod.
The 50-135 is known to be a great lens, but even bigger and heavier than the 16-50 although not as large as the 60-250.If you haven't already, take your camera to the store and try the lenses first to make sure your comfortable with the size.
The k200d is a great camera and you can't have to much lens on it IMO. IQ just gets better with better glass.
If your heart is set on tele/sports shooting then get the best lens you can afford and a good monopod. If you travel often (I do) you may want to consider the size/weight and whether you'll actually carry and use a large lens.
If image quality and learning the techniques and art of photography is important, I'd suggest getting fixed/prime lenses. You can zoom with your feet in most cases and you can always crop in post processing if necessary.

09-13-2009, 06:21 AM   #4
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Oh yeah, if you haven't looked (leered) at the lens DB, it's here:
Pentax Lens Review Database - Main Index
highly recommended


09-13-2009, 06:54 AM   #5
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I found myself in a similar position to you a few months ago, and I also have a K200D.
After reading many lens reviews on here, I went for the DA 55-300mm. Bit of a different route than StevenVH's suggestions, but I couldn't afford anything more... I found it to be a great lens for the money, and havent looked back since!

The only problem (for me) is that I couldn't help but notice the difference between my new lens and the 18-55 II. While the 18-55 II is great, I felt there was a very noticeable difference in IQ between the kit lens and the 55-300mm.

I have since also bought a DA 16-45, love the colours and sharpness on that too.

So to get to the point, I started was in a position similar to yourself and went:
kit lens -> DA 55-300 -> DA 16-45

I guess the next thing for me is a good prime
09-13-2009, 07:21 AM   #6
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You have already got some good advice here.

-The kit 18-55 is not that bad a lens (actually pretty good for a kit zoom) that your first move should be to replace it.
-Avoid the FAJ75-300, as this belong to the plastic toys Pentax should have been ashamed for building.
-Complementing with a longer zoom is logical. If you can buy new, the DA55-300 is far better than the FAJ lens and the DA50-200 as well (and when you have seen how bad the FAJ lens is >200m you will realise that you have little use of its extra range. And the 50-200 non-WR should be on the used market now when people are selling them of because they got a WR version with their K-7 kits. If you care to buy second hand and manual focus, two of the best long Pentax zoom offerings are the M80-200 and the A70-210 (watch out, there is a cheap non-SMC version labeled either Pentax without SMC or Takumar). The F/FA 70/80-200/210 are not that great, but I'd buy them over the FAJ.
-What about primes? Do you do much portrait so that you want a faster lens with more DOF options? Get a K 55mm or a M or A 50/1.7. These are very good manual options. A bit longer, the M100/2.8 is a fair option. Do you do macro? The K or M 100/4 macros are not that expensive. The Tamron SP 90/2.5 macro is affordable and a great lens (and doubles as a good portrait lens also). If you can buy new, Pentax have such marvelous primes in their FA and DA limiteds and DFA macro lenses. You easilly get hooked. But they are not for free.
09-13-2009, 10:38 AM   #7
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I second the notion of getting the DA 55-300! There have been some quality issues reported (not many) with this lens, BUT, when you get a good copy like I did (and many others), it's simply better than you'd expect - crisp, sharp images with great color rendition. Fast AF, lightweight, works great on my K200D.

I also opted for the DA 16-45 (bought it instead of the kit lens) and have been very happy with it. You might consider getting this or the more expensive 16-50 and selling your kit lens.

And, as Mike Cash said, "There is no such thing as "too much lens"."

09-13-2009, 11:32 AM   #8
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I agree on the notion of adding a telephoto zoom as the next logical choice that would allow you to take pictures veyr much unlike what you are taking now. The 16-50 would basically be taking the *same* pictures, if with somewhat better quality. The difference would be more noticeable in some situations (eg, low light) than others. Eventually, you may become demanding enough to consider that worth the price (in dolalrs and in size'weight - the 16-50 is a lot larger than the 18-55), but my vote would be to first spend money to do things you cannot do, *then* decide where it makes the most sense to upgrade for sake of quality and maximum aperture. You might end up deciding it's actually in the telephoto range where you need more "speed" (larger maximum aperture = higher shutter speed). Or you come to feel that you'd be happier with a prime or two to supplement your zooms rather than replacing the zooms with much larger/heavier zooms in order to get mroe quality & speed.

The way I see it, you'll know when the time has come to upgrade a lens to a better version of the same basic thing. Until that point comes, expand, don't upgrade. That's my vote, anyhow.
09-14-2009, 07:03 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChipB Quote
I second the notion of getting the DA 55-300! There have been some quality issues reported ...
This thread really exposes the 55-300 QC issues.
09-14-2009, 07:05 AM   #10
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Original Poster

Wow. I appreciate greatly all of the thoughts in the responses -- just a wealth of great information and interesting ideas. Thanks so much. I will excise "too much lens" from my Pentax discussions and will avoid the salesperson who tried to push the 75-300 on me as a "next step." Based on your thoughts and recommendations, I'm going to start looking/leering at the lens review database with an eye for now to expand (e.g., 55-30 18-55, etc.) instead of upgrade for now.

I'm also going to look through the forum (or here, of course, if anyone's time permits and I am not going over well-tread ground) for ideas on beginner/intermediate books that help add some education to my experience and enthusiasm.

Thanks again for all of your ideas and support!

09-14-2009, 07:43 AM   #11
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Several years ago I picked up the FAJ75-300 - for a cheap price. Its plastic, a somewhat ok lens (better than nothing), but as soon as the DA 55-300 came out - I switched. The 55-300 is light years better.

Now, that said, it appears that I received a good copy. I have not heard a lot of QC issues with it - like some other lenses.

The 18-55II is suppose to have better resolution that the I version. It is suppose to be a good lens also. I have the I version, and it does a very fine job (on my K100, however I have not used it on my K20). If you are going for a light weight lens, I do not see any comparison, as everything else will be larger, heavier and a lot more $$$$. There is a lot to be said about having light weight lenses - especially when toting them around.

I actually think that the 18-55II and the 55-300 would be a pretty perfect combination for general photography. Going to a faster set of lenses, you are immediately faced with much larger size and heavier weights - plus they really do not go out to 300 on a two lens set. You have to opt for a third lens the 300* and that is a major hit to the checkbook.

I also have the 16-45 which is a very good lens, however it is larger and heavier that the kit lens. Also, when using the pop up flash, it casts a nose shadow in to the frame.

If you have been happy with the kit lens, my suggestion would be to keep it and pair it with the 55-300 and you should be very happy.
09-14-2009, 03:08 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by tomwil Quote
This thread really exposes the 55-300 QC issues.
One or two people with a bad lens does not indicate a QC issue. No lens and no manufacturer has a 100% success rate. There is no 55-300 "QC issue". In fact I would say the 55-300 is on the high reliability side, as I've heard of very few complaints or returns.

To the OP, I agree with the majority, add another lens instead of replacing the 18-55mm. If you need reach, buy a telephoto, if you want higher quality and the ability to shoot in low light without flash, buy a single-focal length (AKA prime) lens.

Last edited by audiobomber; 09-15-2009 at 08:25 AM.

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