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11-30-2009, 11:02 AM   #16
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Lots of good advice. Any suggestions on a cheaper zoom lense and good places to look for them?

11-30-2009, 11:08 AM   #17
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Won't you already have a zoom lens that comes with your camera? That's what we've all been assuming. If not, then that's the one I'd suggest buying anyhow: the DA 18-55 (in any of its various versions, really, but preferably the one labeled version "II" - which is optically the same as the "L" version that probably comes with the camera).
11-30-2009, 12:34 PM   #18
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Yes it will be coming with the kit lense 18-55, just looking at getting something with a little more reach.
11-30-2009, 12:44 PM   #19
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You can go with the DA 50-200 or DA 55-300. For the price, they are very good. After using these lenses for a while, you'll be able to figure out what you need to keep on "clicking".

Have fun with the 172.

11-30-2009, 02:13 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by bymy141 Quote
Both gentlemen are right. However, lenses that will give you better performance and image quality are considerably more expensive than your camera.
No, a fast 50 is not more expensive than the camera. It can be had for $50 (manual focus used) and up to something like $300 (auto-focus brand new).

QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Different lenses restrict in different ways, but until someone makes a pancake-sized 12-600/1.4 Macro, they all restrict you in *some* way..
True but not very helpful.

QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
I do agree that one will have the opportunity to *learn* more by having a manual lens with a large maximum aperture.
Then we agree. If the OP wants to learn more then they need a fast lens. Since they already have a slow zoom a fast prime gives the most bang for the buck.

QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
With regard to a 50 in particular, it's really not the most versatile focal length for landscape photography, which appears to be the OP's primary interest here.
I think that a 50mm will be perfectly suited for "mountain photography". In my experience one doesn't usually get too close to mountains and so you're best served by a lens that frames a fairly narrow view.
11-30-2009, 02:16 PM   #21
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Actually, on second thought, just get the FA77. Then the DA12-24.

At that point you can stop buying lenses and worry instead about your first view camera.
12-01-2009, 05:50 AM   #22
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I think a lot depends on a focal length desired as well as what you are willing to spend. I would go for a prime -- they definitely have the most bang for the buck (although I love my DA* zooms). Any of the fast 50s out there will give you a taste of the low light capability and narrow depth of field.

Marc is right there are limitations to every lens. I would suggest shooting for a while with the kit lens and get a feel for what works and doesn't work for you. Maybe 50mm is your sweet spot that you shoot at all the time. At the same time, you may want to go wider or longer. There is no right or wrong, but it is better to get a lens to meet a need than to get one just for the sake of getting one.

I would recommend any one of the DA or FA limiteds from a prime standpoint, as well as the FA 50 and 35.
12-01-2009, 06:44 AM   #23
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For an inexpensive zoom, the Tamron 70-300 has served me well. It's tricky in high-contrast conditions above 200mm, but that will really teach you to pay attention to your surroundings and snap pictures at different focal lengths. That's why we have zooms, right?

12-01-2009, 12:45 PM   #24
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And when I say there are limitations to any lens, I also mean, there are things each lens will do well. OK, so now we know the OP want something longer. But we still don't know if that means *really* long for serious wildlife shooting - 400mm and up, say - or if it means something for more casual use - 50-200 or 55-300, say. Nor do we know yet whether a large maximum aperture would be worth the price you pay (in dollars and in size/weight). With regard to just those two parameters, there are really four categories of lenses to consider:

- longer focal length, large maximum aperture / huge
- longer focal length, small maximum aperture / compact
- shorter focal length, large maximum aperture / huge
- shorter focal length, small maximum aperture / compact

In all four cases, there are lenses that nail the requirements well but wouldn't satisfy someone more interested in one of the other three combinations. Throw budget concerns in there too and you can see why quesitons like this are very hard to answer. Until one knows something about what one is doing, how would you know which of those 4 categories you are looking for?

Which is why when someone asks what lens to get, unless they can describe their needs very specifically, I typically say "none" - just the one you already have, until you learn a bit more and are able to elaborate on what your specific needs are. If all you do is say you need something longer than 55mm but have no idea how much longer, I generally recommend going cheap with something to teach you about focal lengths, and then you can consider upgrading. Spending a bunch of money to get a "better" telephoto lens might turn out to be a mistake if it turns out you've spent the money on the wrong type of telephoto lens (eg, you splurged on length when you should have splurged on maximum aperture, etc).

Starting out with the 70-300 as my only telephoto worked well for me - it taught me quite a bit about what different focal lengths were good for, when its maximum aperture was and was not sufficient, what my comfort limit was for lens size, and so on, and it only cost me $100 to learn all that. At the time, though, neither the 50-200 nor 55-300 existed, so the 70-300 was the no-brainer choice. I think for anyone buying a K-x, the 55-300 that you can get as part of the kit is the similarly no-brainer chocie, as it costs unbelievably little for what it is. But if you didn't get it as part of the kit, it does cost enough extra to give one pause.

For someone considering a first telephoto, again assuming you don't already know what attributes you might eventually need - those are your three main choices: Pentax 50-200 & 55-300, Tamron & Sigma 70-300. There have been doznes of threeads comparing these over the years, both on this forum and the lens forum, so I'd suggest one start browsing / searching to see the tons of info already out there to help you decide. If it were me, I'd get the 50-200WR - even if I didn't have a sealed camera now, I might some day, and this seems like a good value for a pretty versatile lens. But then, I know my own shooting habits, and know I don't really use focal lengths over 200mm enough to care, and I know the size advantage of the 50-200 over the others has very real worth to me.
12-10-2009, 05:08 PM   #25
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SMC Pentax-A 50mm f1.7

I have a K-x as well, and the 18-55 kit lens, and I have to say, the best purchase I made was a 50mm f1.7. These are fairly cheap lenses (should be had easily for around $50 or less) and even though they are MF, they are amazing lenses! I absolutely love the depth of field achieved with this lens, really brings out the "amazing photo" feel to a picture. Make sure to shoot in RAW and use Lightroom or some other software and tweak it after, if needed.
12-11-2009, 07:29 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
True, but so does *any* single lens. Different lenses restrict in different ways, but until someone makes a pancake-sized 12-600/1.4 Macro, they all restrict you in *some* way. I do agree that one will have the opportunity to *learn* more by having a manual lens with a large maximum aperture. I guess I'm just not convinced that this necessarily trumps being able to take a broad range of nice pictures right away.

With regard to a 50 in particular, it's really not the most versatile focal length for landscape photography, which appears to be the OP's primary interest here. A 28 might make more sense - except the ones that are really cheap are "only" f/2.8 and thus don't give you quite the same creative control and "learning" potential as, say, a 50/1.7. On the other hand, for landscape photography, large apertures aren't really that important very often.

So I don't know - I think there is value in a lot of different approaches. I never went through a phase of just having the 18-55, either - I had the 18-55 and a 70-300 right from day one with my first DSLR, and added an M50/1.7 ($20 from a pawn shop) within days. I think I learned a lot by having all three at my disposal, and really, I had a ton of flexibility, too. So really, my inclination is to suggest that maybe others might want to look at a similar approach.

But I guess I don't see the harm in going through a stage of having the 18-55 only at first - for someone sufficiently motivated to learn, it probably won't take but a week to start figuring out ideas on how they might want to go on from there. And I absolutely agree a manual fast prime is a *great* thing to be looking at sooner rather than later.
Marc--I'm somewhat in the same boat with a new K-x on the way, but I think I'm in good shape because I'll have some old M lenses to use that will cover most of the focal lengths that you mention here.

Can you give me some impartial opinion on what I have to work with? I'm ordering the K-x with the 18-55mm kit and then I'll have an M 50mm 1.7 and a M 75-150mm f4.

I'm a bit worried that I might want to look at a new tele that would reach out to the 200-300 range, but I'm really hoping that the 150 would cover most of what I want to shoot.

I'm most interested in landscape photography, portrait work, cars, some macro stuff if I can find a good lens for a good price, and low light/indoor music type stuff.

Would you have recommendations on what my first lens purchase would be beyond what I've got to work with?

QuoteOriginally posted by SunnyD Quote
I have a K-x as well, and the 18-55 kit lens, and I have to say, the best purchase I made was a 50mm f1.7. These are fairly cheap lenses (should be had easily for around $50 or less) and even though they are MF, they are amazing lenses! I absolutely love the depth of field achieved with this lens, really brings out the "amazing photo" feel to a picture. Make sure to shoot in RAW and use Lightroom or some other software and tweak it after, if needed.
Sunny--I'm thrilled that you mentioned this! I believe I have the same M lens and I can't wait to get it onto my K-x and learn to use it.
12-11-2009, 09:17 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by phillipb Quote
...Can you give me some impartial opinion on what I have to work with? I'm ordering the K-x with the 18-55mm kit and then I'll have an M 50mm 1.7 and a M 75-150mm f4.
...
Would you have recommendations on what my first lens purchase would be beyond what I've got to work with?
You should first try the M lenses and see whether you mind the limitations they have. Both of them are optically good, but you will have to use M mode, stop-down metering and manually choosing a focal length for SR. It is not impossible, but it is slower, and you may feel like most of your camera's cool technology is wasted.

Then you can try to get a feel for focal lengths that you are missing, or where you need faster lenses or more convenience features. It's hard to imagine 300mm when you don't already have it, but you can crop a shot at 150mm to simulate that.
12-11-2009, 11:14 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by phillipb Quote
I'm ordering the K-x with the 18-55mm kit and then I'll have an M 50mm 1.7 and a M 75-150mm f4.

I'm a bit worried that I might want to look at a new tele that would reach out to the 200-300 range, but I'm really hoping that the 150 would cover most of what I want to shoot.
Basically, almost every picture I've taken at longer than 150mm has been of wildlife - or else, it was a macro shot and I took it at a long focal length because that happened to be the only way I could get decent magnification with the lenses I owned. So for purposes *other* wildlife, I'd say you're reasonably set.

I say "reasonably", because your flexibility is pretty limited for portraits and low light photography. Much if not most indoor photography that is not of stage performances would be done at focal lengths well under 50mm, and much if not most stage photography would be done at focal lengths well over 50mm. Adding a 28 and a 135 is the super easy/cheap way to improve on this. Although I use an M135/3.5, which is only half a stop faster than your zoom. While you can certainly get cheap 135/2.8's too, considering that you're also specifically interested in portraits, you might consider spending just a bit more and getitng an 85 or 100 (M85/2 for around $250-$300; M100/2.8 for $100-$150).

BTW, I have a bias against manual zooms, because I don't think I'd enjoy being compromised with respect to SR 9either having to choose a non-optimal focal length, or feeling obligated to keep changing the SR focal lenght in the menu every time I zoomed). So between that and the possibility that you will find 150mm limiting, I can definitely seem you upgrading that end of things at some point, but that's probably not where I'd be looking first.
12-11-2009, 01:39 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Much if not most indoor photography that is not of stage performances would be done at focal lengths well under 50mm, and much if not most stage photography would be done at focal lengths well over 50mm. Adding a 28 and a 135 is the super easy/cheap way to improve on this. Although I use an M135/3.5, which is only half a stop faster than your zoom. While you can certainly get cheap 135/2.8's too, considering that you're also specifically interested in portraits, you might consider spending just a bit more and getitng an 85 or 100 (M85/2 for around $250-$300; M100/2.8 for $100-$150).
Marc--Thank you. I think you're correct in the fact that I need to look wide angle for my first addition to what I've already got. The fact that I was able to fill in my focal range at the high end, albeit even if it's only temporary, with some free lenses from my Mom's unused K has me satisfied enough to spend some money on a great wide angle.

The question I have now is: Would it benefit me most to get a prime wide angle or should I look for a zoom lens in that range? I'm not certain what options I'll have, so I'm very curious what your recommendations would be.

Ultimately, I'd like to spend around $4-500 and have something that would take full advantage of the technology on the K-x. I'll leave the manual fun to the two M's I've already got. I'd love something that does well in low-light, is relatively fast and razor sharp. I'm not brand biased, so I'm open for any suggestion.

Thoughts?
12-11-2009, 03:22 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by phillipb Quote
The question I have now is: Would it benefit me most to get a prime wide angle or should I look for a zoom lens in that range?
This is perhaps the most personal question one can ask in photography. Not personal in the sense of, well, you know what I mean, but personal in the sense of, some people prefer primes, some prefer zooms, and there jus really isn't any logic to it (although there is plenty of rationalization!)

I'm a prime guy myself. My favorite lens for basic use indoors is the DA40/2.8 (currently goes for around $350). Some say it's too long, and indeed, there are times I prefer using my M28/2.8. Some say f/2.8 isn't enough; I say at ISO 1600 it's as much I need. Some say that for not much more money, you can get the Tamron 17-50 or 28-75. I say they're right, but they are like 10 times the size. Some say you're better off with the 35/2 since it is a stop faster which can be useful in low light. I have no *logical* reason to prefer the 40.
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