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10-30-2010, 12:46 AM   #1
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Updating my Photography Kit

Hi, guys! It's been a while since I've posted on these forums. I'm planning on updating my standard kit and would like some advice. What I have currently is listed in my signature. I'm planning on moving to the following kit:

Pentax K10D
Pentax DA Limited 35mm F2.8 Macro
Pentax DA 16-45mm F4
Pentax DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED

What do you guys think? I already own the first two items, but would like more versatile zooms to cover the normal shooting range. Naturally, I would opt for more prime lenses, but I really can't because of the cost. In any case, any advice would be appreciated particularly from those who own or have owned the latter two lenses. How is the Pentax DA 16-45mm F4 as a general purpose lens? How sharp is the Pentax DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED? I'm normally skeptical of super-zooms, but it seems that this super-zoom gives great results at least from the pictures that I've seen.


10-30-2010, 01:20 AM   #2
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The 16-45 is a decent lens. I didn't particularly care for it however because 45mm always seemed to fall short and f4 was always too slow. That may have just been an excuse to replace it as I only gained 5mm on the long end in the DA*16-50 but also gained a stop as well at f2.8.

10-30-2010, 01:33 AM   #3
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I am not too wild about the 16-45 either. I know it is a decent lens overall, just other choices on the market which would be much faster and perhaps more compact and lighter.

Your others mentioned are fine choices.

10-30-2010, 02:29 AM   #4
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Which other lenses would you guys recommend? The going rate for the DA 16-45mm on eBay is about $200. That's nearly unbeatable.

10-30-2010, 06:31 AM   #5
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I really like my 16-45, so it's a personal thing. It's compact, can focus quite close and IQ on my copy is impressive. I also have the 55-300 and am impressed with its abilities. I'd love to have brighter lenses but my weight limit on lenses isn't much over 500g, so other than primes these are the best I can do, and I'm more than satisfied.

I hear Sigma's 50-150 is closing out so I keep an eye on them just in case ,despite it being over my weight limit. I had their elder 17-70 (f/2.8-4.5) in my Sony days, capabilities similar to the 16-45 but more range if that's important. I prefer results from the 16-45 but that could just be 10mpxl camera vs 14mpxl, not the lenses themselves.
10-30-2010, 06:40 AM   #6
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I think you're on the right track. In an ideal world, if I were going to change anything, I'd swap the 55-300 for a 60-250. However, the reality is that the 60-250 is too new to be able to get a really good price on a used one right now.
10-30-2010, 06:51 AM   #7
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I have a copy of all the lenses that are on your list. The 16-45 f4 is a great lens for the price, esp on the used market. Of course it is overshadowed by it's DA* brother, but being alot more pricey. For about $200, the 16-45 is a good lens. It's sharp, contrasty and I've gotten pretty darn good images from it. I traveled this summer with the 16-45 and the 55-300 as my kit. My SMC-F 50/1.7 and my FA 77/1.8 were my primes for the trip. The combination is great for daytime shooting and for sunset. After nightfall though the F4 is a little too slow. Also when using the 16-45 make sure you have the correct focus point chosen and enough DOF when using it wide, i.e. 16mm. I had a few great shots messed up because I was not stopped down enough. did a great job reviewing the lens and it's more then a step up from the kit lens.

The 55-300 is a great lens too.

Elephants and other wild animals... - a set on Flickr this is a set taken with the 55-300

I don't have any sets up right now for my 16-45 though.

I hope that helps!
10-30-2010, 07:23 AM   #8
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Not sure about the type of pictures you like to take - I think that will be the key to the lens decision. I know you are talking about zooms, but I would give primes a little more thought.

You already have a 35mm and 50mm - so that generally covers the normal lens range.

If you are into landscapes etc you might want something a little wider - maybe save for a DA 21 limited.

If you are into portraits then the DA 70 limited

From what I have read, the DA 55-300 is a good lens and I think it would cover off your needs for a telephoto if you are doing wildlife pictures etc. But I see you already have a Tokina 80-200 - will you need both?

My advise is think about the type of pictures you like to take and then try to pick a lens that will do the job in the price range you can afford

10-30-2010, 11:04 AM   #9
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what about the tamron or sigma 18-50 f2.8? I have the sigma, and used it can be had for 350 or less while the tamron is slightly more. I find the sigma to be quite good and it is really nice to have when shooting indoors w/ tight spaces (or else I would be using the tamron 28-75 f2.8). That extra stop will make a huge difference w/ a k10d as high iso gets noisy very quickly on that cam. The downside w/ this suggestion of course is lanscapes... the extra 2mm to 16 will make quite a difference. I suppose this is a bit of "pick your poison" situation...
10-30-2010, 01:11 PM   #10
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I see most suggestions here are for significantly more expensive options and don't cover the focal range the OP wants. So I'll just chime in to say the 16-45 and 55-300 are fine choices for what you want within your budget, with the caveat that you're limited by speed. f/4 will be your fastest aperture with these two and won't do for handholding in some situations, so I'd consider a tripod.

Otherwise, both lenses are sharp, compact, lightweight and versatile. 55-300 is not a superzoom, but it still is a very decent consumer telezoom and so doesn't compare with the likes of a 50-135 or 70-200 f/2.8 varieties. The only situations they wouldn't be all that flash with are portraits and fast action photography. For those, you'll need to invest a little more into something like a fast fifty or faster telezoom.
10-30-2010, 06:04 PM   #11
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Thanks for all of the replies, guys! I didn't realize my signature was out of date, but I sold the Tokina a while ago and replaced it with a Tamron Di LD Macro 70-300mm. This latter lens I'm really not happy with at all. I also don't care too much for my Pentax F 50/1.7, as my DA Limited Macro 35mm is a much more versatile lens even though it is slower. So, I plan on selling both of those and putting the funds towards the Pentax 55-300mm.
10-30-2010, 07:11 PM   #12

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The 55-300 is definitely an excellent lens for the size, versatility and cost. I use it for everything from shooting wildlife to landscapes miles away to playing with interesting perspectives, and I am rarely disappointed by the results (except when it gets dark, in which case this lens does get kinda slow at the long end). It's an indispensable part of my kit.

Admittedly, I've hardly touched my 16-45 since I replaced it with the 15 and 35 ltd, but its performance is definitely nothing to complain about for $200.

Last edited by Cannikin; 10-30-2010 at 07:42 PM.
10-31-2010, 05:37 AM   #13
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You might check out the poll in the lens forum on designing a lens kit. My own view is you need to go wider as well
10-31-2010, 09:16 AM   #14
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I use a 55-300 and I have no drawbacks to it that I can come up with. It is very sharp for what it is, even right at the 300mm end. Focus is fast and reliable, and it does a fine job keeping up with approaching objects when the camera is set to focus continuously. Just give it a little leeway on depth of field. It has no mystery behavior where focus goes unexplainably wonky and shots are lost. My favorite lens. The limited aperture may force you to use higher ISOs than you would like, on overcast days for action shots, but that's the tradeoff of nearly any zoom lens, and it's a lot easier problem to deal with than how to come up with the money for several low light tele primes.

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