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09-30-2009, 10:33 AM   #1
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New k20d owner

Greetings all -

I just purchased the k20d body from HSN (I work there and received a discount). Very excited about turning SLR photography into a hobby!

I haven't decided on a lens yet and was looking for suggestions. I'd like to start with something fairly inexpensive at first (I have a cat receiving chemo treatments right now which is draining my wallet).

Naturally I'd like to be able to take walk around photos of family, pets, etc. - but I'll also be taking a lot of sports photos - triathlon specifically. I'm a private pilot and will also be taking a lot of aerial photos, and around the airport shots, including aircraft taking off and landing.

Would greatly appreciate any lens suggestions. I'll probably have to start out with some general and then work my way up.

Thanks in advance, looking forward to taking part in this message board community!

09-30-2009, 11:00 AM   #2
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Did you buy body only? Or did you also get the kit lens? The kit lens (18-55mm) is really quite a decent lens to learn on, but even better (in my opinion) is to get the 18-250. It is sold by Pentax and/or Tamron. The Tamron has a longer warranty and is the exact same lens from all accounts I have read. The benefit of this lens is a one-lens-fits-all solution. The drawback is that the IQ (image quality) might suffer a bit when compared to prime lenses (those that do not zoom) or lenses with less zoom. This is the lens that stays on my camera and only comes off when I have specialized needs.
09-30-2009, 12:13 PM   #3
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I bought just the body. I'm thinking of getting a 50-200 first because what I really need right now is to take photos during a triathlon. I can wait for the close up and portrait shots. Thank you for your advice, though - I'll definitely check out these lenses!
09-30-2009, 01:00 PM   #4
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Lens Choices

Congrats on the K20D - Great Camera.

The Pentax 50-200mm would probably serve your needs, and be the right price. For Sports shooting of that nature, A sigma 50-150 2.8 or would make a great lens but is probably out of the price range.

The other option is to go with something like a 17-70 of if you can find the older sigma 18-125. Both are a great walk-around range that will serve a wide range of needs. Just remember that you don't necessarily need a long lens for shooting sports, especially not cycling or running. ultra wides will sometimes yield some stunning sports photos simply for the fact that you'll be forced to think about your composition.

Good Luck.

09-30-2009, 01:17 PM   #5
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Welcome Murdoughnut.
My suggestion would be the DA 55-300 rather than the 50-200 (unless you're after weather-sealing, which you can get in the 50-200 soon...). The 55-300 is a very decent lens with excellent image quality, and of course you have the extra 100mm of range at the long-end - something you may not realise the worth of until you start using it.

All the best in that.
09-30-2009, 05:22 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Murdoughnut Quote
Greetings all -
Greetings and welcome.

QuoteQuote:
I haven't decided on a lens yet and was looking for suggestions. I'd like to start with something fairly inexpensive at first (I have a cat receiving chemo treatments right now which is draining my wallet).

Naturally I'd like to be able to take walk around photos of family, pets, etc. - but I'll also be taking a lot of sports photos - triathlon specifically. I'm a private pilot and will also be taking a lot of aerial photos, and around the airport shots, including aircraft taking off and landing.

For sports, the 50-200 might be fine; the 55-300 would be similar but longer.

But for aerial photography and shots of airplanes on the ground, I would think you'd want to go wider than 50mm.

So I'm going to make two suggestions.

First, clmonk has suggested the 18-250, either from Pentax or Tamron. As clmonk said, they're the same lens (I've owned the Tamron in the past, sold it, and then bought the Pentax last year). Quite a decent lens, really better than it deserves to be given the extraordinary zoom range. When I purchased the lens for the second time recently I bought the Pentax because at the time it was cheaper; that was probably a mistake, because the Tamron's warranty is much better. Sigma also makes an 18-250 lens that is supposed to be very good, perhaps even better, but it's more expensive. And that's the problem with these lenses: They all cost somewhere in the $500 range. Perhaps more than you want to spend now.

So my second suggestion is that you consider the Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4.5 DC Macro. This is a terrific all-purpose lens - a much better lens in my opinion than the 18-55 kit lens. (Note: the new kit lens is WR "weather resistant"; the Sigma 17-70 is not. But otherwise....) THe Sigma 17-70 is not as long as the 18-250, obviously, but it's much faster at the wide end (f/2.8) and it's also got a macro functionality that works pretty well. Another advantage is that this lens is a good bit less expensive - although it deserves to cost more than it does. You can get it for $320 at photo4less.com, an online vendor that I've used and found to be reliable and easy to deal with. They are also known as sigma4less.com, and their prices on Sigma lenses in particular are usually lower than anybody else's.

I own both of these lenses and like them both very much. Actually, I think Pentax should put the 18-250 on the K-7 as a kit lens, at least as an option. I haven't used a kit lens in years but I would wager that in the 18-55 range the 18-250 is as good as the kit lenses and then of course you have all that telephoto capability to boot.

The Pentax 16-45 f/4 is a lovely lens and underpriced (around $350), but has no telephoto reach. The Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 is a great zoom lens with a constant f/2.8 effective aperture but it's more expensive ($450) than the Sigma 17-70 and also lacks that wide angle range. Remember that 28mm on a Pentax DSLR is very close to normal, just a wee bit on the wide side of normal. The term "wide angle" should be reserved for focal lengths like 24, 21, 18, etc. I have owned and used both of these lenses, too.

Good luck - and be careful. You'll see a lot of jokes here about "LBA" (lens buying addiction). Trust me, it's a genuine disease and there's no known cure short of divorce.

Will
09-30-2009, 05:48 PM   #7
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welcome to the forum and congrats on your K20D. as a person who had shot some planes, I would advise you to get a longer lens. a 55-300 would suit your needs. and if you need a bit of a wide angle, get yourself a used manual-focus 28/2.8 lens. it's relatively cheap, so you can afford buying it along with the 55-300, which is top priority.
10-01-2009, 06:13 AM   #8
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Thanks everyone for the great advice - it is much appreciated!

I decided to start out with the 50-200 for now. Really it was a cost thing - as I mentioned before, we're spending a lot on our cat's chemo treatments right now and I just needed a lense to play around with at first, and to use for my wife's upcoming Ironman (picked it up for $200)

My plan is to probably purchase the 50mm in a few months ... then after seeing how my shots turn out with the 50-200mm, I may opt to sell it and upgrade to the 55-300mm. For now, though - I think the cheaper lower quality lense will work while I figure out the camera and learn more about SLR photography.

Thanks again for all the advice - I'll be sure to post my pictures when I start taking them!

10-01-2009, 01:56 PM   #9
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Nothing wrong with your selection of the 50-200 to start with given your situation, but I think you'll discover within your first day using the camera that 50mm is not nearly wide enough for most general picture taking on a APS-C camera like the K20D (as opposed to a 35mm film camera, in which a 50mm lens is actually just fine), and you'll change your mind about your *next* lens purchase and get something like the 18-55 instead.
10-06-2009, 02:27 PM   #10
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So here's a dumb question ...

I just got my first lensw (50-200mm) today ... camera should come in the mail tomorrow. What does the hood do that came with it? I mean I know it goes on the end of the lens, but what does it do? Is it there to protect the lens, or does it have an effect on the photos?

Don't worry, many dumb questions to follow
10-06-2009, 02:58 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Murdoughnut Quote
I just got my first lensw (50-200mm) today ... camera should come in the mail tomorrow. What does the hood do that came with it? I mean I know it goes on the end of the lens, but what does it do? Is it there to protect the lens, or does it have an effect on the photos?
The lens hood is fairly important.

It's main purpose is to keep light from hitting the front of the lens sideways. IN a worst case, this can lead to obvious flare. But more commonly it causes your photos to lose contrast.

But there is a second benefit to the hood and you guessed it: it does provide some protection to the lens. I fell at the park a couple of years ago. I largely broke the camera's fall but not entirely. Thank goodness it was the lens hood that took the brunt of the contact with the ground. Slight scratch on the lens hood, no damage to lens.

I keep the hoods on all my lenses all the time.

Will
10-06-2009, 03:04 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
The lens hood is fairly important.

It's main purpose is to keep light from hitting the front of the lens sideways. IN a worst case, this can lead to obvious flare. But more commonly it causes your photos to lose contrast.

But there is a second benefit to the hood and you guessed it: it does provide some protection to the lens. I fell at the park a couple of years ago. I largely broke the camera's fall but not entirely. Thank goodness it was the lens hood that took the brunt of the contact with the ground. Slight scratch on the lens hood, no damage to lens.

I keep the hoods on all my lenses all the time.

Will
Cool - thanks! Sounds simple enough, I just wasn't sure. I certainly put the amateur in amateur photography. Thanks for the quick reply!
10-07-2009, 07:22 PM   #13
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Ok, so I finally got the camera today and took it out for a test-spin. Overally I'm impressed with it, but as you'll see in the photos, I have a long way to go still.

As a reminder, I'm using the 50-200mm lens to start. I'd greatly appreciate any advice any of you could give me on how to improve the quality of my photos (realizing that I'm somewhat limited by a lower end lens).

All of the pictures except one are from a little league game in the park near my house. The sun had just set, so lighting was poor - and I was taking the photos through a chain link fence...

The first photo was shot from the right field fence - about 200 feet from home plate, and about 35-feet or so from #13 here. I actually thought the depth effect going on here was pretty cool...
http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e367/polysciguy9/IMGP0006.jpg

These were really the better quality distance shots I got - I'm probably 150-feet away from the subjects.
http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e367/polysciguy9/IMGP0007.jpg
http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e367/polysciguy9/IMGP0008.jpg

This was the coolest photo I was able to take, though it would have looked a lot better under daylight conditions (or when the field's lights were stronger). Of course this was only taken from about 20-feet away
http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e367/polysciguy9/IMGP0011.jpg

Tried to catch some motion shots but it's obviously beyond me at this point, as you can tell from these shots...
http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e367/polysciguy9/IMGP0012.jpg
http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e367/polysciguy9/IMGP0019.jpg

Final picture was up close - about 7-feet away. It's a picture of my cat Jack standing on my wife's back (he's getting chemo, thus the shaved arms).
http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e367/polysciguy9/IMGP0021.jpg

I was actually really impressed with the close in shots - both the base and the cat, which surprised me since I figured a telephoto lens would take awful closer in shots.

Would love to hear what you guys think - I had quite literally taken the camera out of the box, left it to "everything's automatic" settings (green mode) and just shot. Did use the shake resister for a few shots, but can't remember which ones!
10-07-2009, 07:24 PM   #14
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Just realized, these do actually look better when they're a little big bigger size - didn't realize shrinking them would affect the quality as much as it did, but you get the point.
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