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01-11-2010, 07:37 AM   #1
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First Prime Lens for new Pentax K-x User

I plan to buy the new Pentax K-x next week (Costco - $579 w/ two 2G memory cards and gadget bag). I will start out with the 18-55mm kit lens. However, I plan to save up (one thing at a time) for a prime lens. For someone on a real tight budget, what lens should be my first prime lens investment? I dabble in outdoor, nature, macro, still-life, etc. The key word is "dabble", so I am looking for a general, all0purpose prime lens, if suc a thing exists. Thanks for your suggestions in advance.

01-11-2010, 08:22 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by birvie Quote
I plan to buy the new Pentax K-x next week (Costco - $579 w/ two 2G memory cards and gadget bag). I will start out with the 18-55mm kit lens. However, I plan to save up (one thing at a time) for a prime lens. For someone on a real tight budget, what lens should be my first prime lens investment? I dabble in outdoor, nature, macro, still-life, etc. The key word is "dabble", so I am looking for a general, all0purpose prime lens, if suc a thing exists. Thanks for your suggestions in advance.
Shoot with the 18-55mm for a while and then check the exif data of your photos to see which focal length you use most. That should give you a good indication. In general I think wider lenses are more versatile so that would mean something shorter than 50mm.
01-11-2010, 08:44 AM   #3
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Agree with Agnostics very good suggestion. Once you decide, the DA 35 and 40mm lenses are excellent AF performers at a reasonable price
01-11-2010, 08:45 AM   #4
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I just got a K-x a couple weeks ago and my first purchase was an old 50mm f1.4 (SMC Pentax-M). I got it for $60 with a K1000 and a vivitar 75-300mm zoom that I'll have to mod if i want it to mount on the K-x, but that would have been a fine price for the 50mm lens alone.

It was a great purchase and I haven't thought twice about it since I started using it. Even if you're plan on shooting mostly in another focal length, you can find those old 50mm's so cheap you'd be crazy to pass it up.

01-11-2010, 08:47 AM   #5
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also you might want to take a look at bhphotovideo.com, for $60 more you get a 50-200mm zoom, and that's not taking into account the sales tax you'll pay at costco
01-11-2010, 09:14 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by birvie Quote
I plan to buy the new Pentax K-x next week (Costco - $579 w/ two 2G memory cards and gadget bag). I will start out with the 18-55mm kit lens. However, I plan to save up (one thing at a time) for a prime lens. For someone on a real tight budget, what lens should be my first prime lens investment? I dabble in outdoor, nature, macro, still-life, etc. The key word is "dabble", so I am looking for a general, all0purpose prime lens, if suc a thing exists. Thanks for your suggestions in advance.
To meet all of the criteria above a really good zoom would be more appropriate than a prime.

You will discover, shooting with the kit lens that you have some reasonable coverage, but where the kit lens will fail you is in nature / outdoors and macro.

A high quality zoom from 50/70 on the low end and between 135 and 200 or even 250mm on the high end, that is Close focus capable i.e. able to do 1:3 "macro" would be good. This would not only compliment your present lens, but let you try your hand at a lot of what you mentioned you dabble in, and see where you want to go next.

If you are covered from 18mm to 200 mm you are going to be able to do quite a bit with just the two lenses.

Once you have explored what you can do with these two lenses you can then start picking and choosing the specialty lenses.

You may want longer, wider, or bigger aperture (for either low light or creative use of limited DOF) but that is when you start thinking primes.

Of course this is all just my humble opinion
01-11-2010, 10:18 AM   #7
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I've moved this to the Beginner's forum, where it seems more appropriate.

I agree with the advice to use your 18-55 to lear what foal length works best for you before investing a bunch of money in a prime. But I'd also suggesting picking up a cheap manual focus prime sooner rather than later just to give you an idea of what it's like shooting with a prime - the additional possibilities they offer, how to live within the restrictions they impose. Side benefit - it forces you to learn how to shoot manually.

For this purpose, most recommend something like the M50/1.7 as an amazingly good and amazingly cheap lens. The "A" version works with autoexposure, which could be worth spending the extra money on if you know you like that focal length, but for the purposes of learning about shooting manually, it could be just as well to stick with the "M" version.

Another to consider is the M35/2, which is proabbly a better general purpose focal length, although the lens is rather more expensive, and doesn't have the same stallar reputation as the 50/1.7's.
01-11-2010, 12:14 PM   #8
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I can put in a good word for the 35mm FA lens. Only drawback is that the price has gone up to over $400 last I checked. If you can afford more, then I have seen the DA 35mm macro for around $540-$550. Am curious as to how this newer macro lens performs. Otherwise, a used A or M lens like the others have mentioned will do nicely for less money. Best of luck with your K-x.

01-11-2010, 12:59 PM   #9
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I am surprised nobody had pointed you to amazon where you can buy the K-X with the 18-55 and 55-300 for $643.99 with no tax and shipping included. I ordered mine and despite the crazy 1-2 month wait time listed, it arrived ahead of schedule. Most people that order that deal have gotten delivery in about 5-7 working days. For the price savings and the utility of the two kit lenses for a newbie, I do not see how one can go wrong. If you go to Amazon and cannot find the deal, private message me and I will get you there. The deal is still going on as of my writing this post.

Good luck no matter what route you take.
01-11-2010, 04:45 PM   #10
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Yes as J bush says... the 643.99 amazon cost for the kx 18-55 and 55-300 is the ticket. Got mine in six days even though it said one to 2 months for shipping.

The 55-300 is a great little long zoomer.
01-11-2010, 04:49 PM   #11
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Good ponit re. the tax . Bumps up th cost to $625 bones. Will definitely check out Amazon deal.
01-12-2010, 02:18 PM   #12
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@Igilligan

When did you order? I ordered mine from Amazon and I'm still waiting. The anxiety is killing me. I've already started blowing cash on lenses from ebay, CL, and all kinds of accessories I could have waited on.
01-12-2010, 06:54 PM   #13
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Two further suggestions to the original message. If you work outdoor and want to photograph in low-light situations, two suitable lenses are the Pentax FA50mm f1.4 and the Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4. Both were reviewed by Welcome to Photozone!, (although the Nokton is listed in the Nikkon lens section APS-C).

The Pentax FA50mm is auto-focus and lens-correction can be enabled in a Pentax camera. The price (new lens) is around USD350-370. It is regarded as an excellent price with a reasonable price. (See test at Pentax SMC-FA 50mm f/1.4 - Review / Lab Test Report)

The Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4 has manual-focus. Its optical quality are superb. The build quality is outstanding. The perfect sturdy lens for outdoor, but its indoor performances are excellent. The price (new lens) is abut USD$370. (See review at Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f/1.4 SL II - Review / Test Report)

All in all the FA50 mm is auto-focus, but the Nokton is superior in terms of image quality. I have a K-7 and Nokton 58mm. I use it for outdoor in low-light (just before sunrise, and after sunset), and I am also impressed when use it outdoor.

Hope that the suggestion may help.
01-12-2010, 09:21 PM   #14
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As you already have the kit lens, my take would be to get something outside that focal range. E.g. DA70LTD, FA77LTD or maybe a 100mm macro.

But it depends on your needs. You might find that your kit lens is not fast enough (low light) in which case I would go for something in the 30-40mm range.
01-12-2010, 10:21 PM   #15
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I certainly understand budgets with two sons in college. That said, I have a couple of suggestions...
1 - If you can swing it, the dual kit is an excellent price. The 55-300 I think works out to be about $140 or so, of the kit price. This is against about $300-350 for it, if bought separately. Yes - the kit version has the plastic mount and comes with out the hood, but I really do not think that it matters that much. Also, the 55-300, I think is a better lens in terms of image quality, and it has a longer reach. With these 2 kit lenses you are essentially set for just about anything.

2 - Anything over 300mm is a specialty telephoto lens, don't even think about it. Anything wider than 18mm now - just learn how to stitch images together, and you wind up with an instant wide angle lens, without spending a dime. The stitching software is available free too.

Microsoft Research Image Composite Editor (ICE)

3 - Primes - your original question. I would wait, and save your lunch money for a while. Just like others have said, use the zooms and after 6 months, see what focal lengths you seem to gravitate to. That said, while you are doing that, to put your quest at rest to a degree, set a budget - say $20 (including shipping) and start an evil bay search for a 50mm either A or M say f/2. It might take you 4 to 6 months, but it is very doable. I was able to pick up one about 18 months ago for $7. Prices have gone up, but take your time. These 50 use to be the kit lenses on all the film cameras, so they are very plentiful. They seem to come on the market in bunches. There are also some dry spells. So just be patient in your quest. It might not be the worlds best lens, but the glass will be is good shape, and it will be an excellent learning tool for low light, and especially depth of field. Plus, it will take some time to learn how to effectively use your new camera and the 2 kit lenses will keep you busy. With the inexpensive 50 and the knowledge of what focal length you tend to shoot most frequently or have the most interest in, you will then be able to make an intelligent selection on the prime lens that you would tend to use the most, or be most beneficial to you.
Just remember, you do not have to have everything at once. Use what you have and improvise around that. There is always time later, to go broke acquiring lenses....

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