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02-26-2010, 12:31 PM   #1
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kx kit lens upgrade

I am wanting to upgrade my 18-55 kit lens that came with my kx. I want something for a general walkaround. I was thinking of the sigma 17-70 but Ive read about so many issues with it that I am hesitant to get one. Can anyone recomend a good upgrade? Should I just take my chances with a sigma 17-70 or wait for the new 17-50 2.8 to come out and get one of those?

02-26-2010, 01:20 PM   #2
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It really is up to you to make the specific lens choice. There are so many great options it is dizzying at times. I just saw, at our Marketplace, a Sigma 18-50 f 2.8 (constant) Macro. You might want to take a look at this.
02-26-2010, 01:33 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by dehanson1 Quote
I am wanting to upgrade my 18-55 kit lens that came with my kx. I want something for a general walkaround. I was thinking of the sigma 17-70 but Ive read about so many issues with it that I am hesitant to get one. Can anyone recomend a good upgrade? Should I just take my chances with a sigma 17-70 or wait for the new 17-50 2.8 to come out and get one of those?
Why?
02-26-2010, 10:21 PM   #4
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That's a very good question.

02-26-2010, 10:52 PM   #5
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I'm not quite sure what issues with the 17-70 are making you hesitant to pick it up, but I for one prefer a fixed maximum aperture lens across the focal range. Sigma has its own 18-50/2.8 but there is also the Tamron 17-50/2.8 which has received great reviews.

Even the Pentax DA* 16-50 should garner mention given its stellar image quality, and despite its issues particularly with focusing. There will always be bad copies in a batch of lenses, so be weary of this and go for the lens you need.
02-27-2010, 01:21 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ahab Quote
Why?
I'd agree but expand: there is no way anyone can recommend anything unless we know what *specifically* about the kit lens you want to upgrade. Maybe you find it too "slow" (too small a maximum aperture), maybe you don't find it wide enough, maybe you don't find it long enough, maybe you find it doesn't focus quickly enough, maybe you find it doesn't focus quietly enough, maybe you find it too large, maybe you find it doens't focus close enough, maybe you find it too hard to manually focus, maybe you find too much distortion or vignetting, maybe you don't find it sharp enough (and you've done everything possible to convince yourself that it's a lens issue not a technique one). Depending on which of these is the issue, there might be entirely different lenses to recommend. But realize that no lens is going to improve all of these qualities - you have to pick what's important and optimize for that, possibly at the expense of other things.
02-27-2010, 10:49 PM   #7
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Since you're just starting out, you could save your money and get a used lens. I'm particularly fond of my SMC Pentax F 35-70mm F3.5-4.5. It cost me next to nothing on eBay. Compared to the kit lens, it's:

- lighter
- smaller
- faster (aperture-wise)
- faster focusing
- longer reaching (70mm vs 55mm)
- sharper at all focal lengths

It also has a decent macro feature, I can focus down to 6 inches from my subject at 70mm.

On the other hand, it doesn't have the same wide range (35mm vs 18mm), but that hasn't bothered me one bit. The front lens element also rotates on focus, which makes using a polarizer annoying, but I don't use one with that lens anyways. For $10, it's hard to go wrong. Even for $100, it's well worth it. I use it more often than any of my other lenses, it's on my camera almost all the time. If I ever damage it, I won't feel bad, I'll just buy another.
02-27-2010, 11:06 PM   #8
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I've been looking for that lens, too, but it's no way near as wide as the kit lens. In fact, it's a good lens to compliment the kit lens.

02-27-2010, 11:37 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by dragonfly Quote
I've been looking for that lens, too, but it's no way near as wide as the kit lens. In fact, it's a good lens to compliment the kit lens.
I don't miss the wide end at all. I thought I would, but I don't. Very occasionally, I'll pop the kit lens back on for a wider angle, but that's exceedingly rare these days. Even with the kit lens, I found myself using the 35mm+ range most of the time anyways, and I was always frustrated with the 55mm limit. This lens fixes all of that and more. I still can't believe I got mine for $10.
02-28-2010, 11:57 AM   #10
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The best way to get a Pentax-F 35-70 cheaply is attached to a broken SF10/SF7.
02-28-2010, 12:26 PM   #11
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I assume from your post you are interested in something sharper and possibly faster (constant f2.8). Like others have indicated there are many great choices. Here is a list to consider.

Tamron 17-50mm f2.8
Sigma 18-50mm f2.8
Tamron 28-75 f2.8
Sigma 17-70mm f2.8

Other good choices:
Pentax F35-70mm f3.5-5.6 ( I have this one and like it very much)
Pentax FA28-105mm f4-5.6 (I also have this one and think it is very underrated for the price.)
Pentax DA 16-45mm f4

It depends on the coverage you need and how fast a lens you want.

I generally stay away from SDM lenses but the 17-70 from Pentax appears more trouble free than the 16-50.

Hope this helps.
02-28-2010, 01:29 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by R.Miller Quote
Other good choices:
Pentax F35-70mm f3.5-5.6 ( I have this one and like it very much)
Minor correction: it's F3.5-4.5, not 5.6.
02-28-2010, 02:45 PM   #13
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oops, you are correct. Thank you.
02-28-2010, 02:55 PM   #14
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Sigma 24-60mm f2.8 would be a great one, if you ever have a chance. i found one on eBay, but I skipped it since I have others in my wishlist. I wish I could buy one when the time comes. So much to buy...

Btw, hi to everybody. I usually don't post anything in this forum. Lol. Sorry for my bad English. I'm not even sure about it.
03-01-2010, 03:50 AM   #15
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It's time to repeat my mantra - ask yourself: 1) Where am I going? 2) How will I get there? 3) What can I afford and be happy with? Or, more specifically: What photos do you want to take that you CAN'T with your kit lens? What type of lens(es) do you think you need, re: focal length, speed, special qualities? Do you have specific reasons to spend money?

Are you just unhappy with the kit lens because it IS a kit lens? That's not really a good reason -- the Pentax 18-55 is a marvelous tool, and if you're new to dSLR photography, you can spend a year just learning it thoroughly, learning how to exploit light and angles, learning how to SEE.

I don't know your photo background, if any. I'd shot film long ago, but not much for a long time. I started digital about a decade ago, with point-and-shoots. I'd been using a VERY NICE p&s for some time, but grew tired of its limitations. So I asked myself, what do I want to do that I just CAN'T with what I have? The answers were: ultrawide, ultrazoom, low light. So with my K20D (and the AF-360 flash), I got a 10-17 fisheye, 18-250 walkaround, and the fast fast 50/1.4. Many lenses later (including an 18-55 that's getting more use), those are still what I shoot most. I'm happy. If the images aren't perfect, I shoop'em. If I like them, I print and mount them. I hopefully won't feel like "upgrading" any time soon.

So, consider where your money comes from, and where it goes, and what else you could do with it. And remember: the best lens is the one you use.
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