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07-13-2012, 11:31 PM   #1
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WR lenes

I'm looking into getting this for my first Pentax DLSR transferring over from Nikon to make some use of old 35mm lenses (k mount)

So looking into getting the k30 would make the most sense to just buy the body and then get the 18-55mm WR lens. It's disappointing that there is currently only a 55-200 WR lens and not a 55-300mm because I'd really like that extra 100mm. I run into the constant issue of being limited to the 18-55mm on my Nikon d60 only to bust out my k1000 Se to go the extra 150mm (roughly) that I lack from a 55mm+ lens with my Nikon. I want to get a 55-300mm but doesn't make much sense if I'm looking into switching to a Pentax for DLSR. Which brings me to my question(s)

Would it be smart to just buy the k30 body and with a kit that I've seen online with the DA18-55mm and 55-300mm lenses. Or to buy the WR 18-55mm lens with the WR 55-200mm lens? Does the WR lens series provide that much more use to lose the potential extra 100mm? Would it be smart to just get the k30 with the WR 18-135mm? Covers the low end but again doesn't go as "far" as I would like or get the 18-55mm WR and the DA 55-300mm.

Last question. Is there any known difference in image quality with the DA vs WR lenses (DA 18-55mm vs WR 18-55mm for example) that would make considering a WR lens NOT worth the time/money getting?

Thanks for any advice!

07-13-2012, 11:45 PM   #2
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I suggest looking in the lens review section of this site.

I have the 18-55WR, the 18-55DAL II lenses, and an earlier version of 55-300 which is the FA J, as opposed to the current DA version. I can honestly relate what I have read about the others that you asked about as well.

1. The 18-55WR and 18-55DAL II lenses are optically identical. The WR version has a metal mount, quick shift focusing, and comes with a hood. The DAL II version has a plastic mount, no quick shift, and is supplied without a hood. The WR version also has a nicer rubber grip surface. IMHO these lenses are OK. Under the right conditions they can be reasonably sharp. Not great, but reasonably sharp.

2. The 55-200WR and 55-200DAL lenses are also optically identical. The other differences are similar to the 18-55WR and the 18-55DAL. The 55-200's don't get outstanding reviews. Might be sharpness and/or contrast issues.

3. The 55-300DA gets pretty decent reviews. The rubber grip surface is similar to the DAL lenses. The FA J version that I have is not very sharp. I don't use it much and may eventually sell it.

4. The 18-135WR is probably the best one of the bunch in terms of sharpness and contrast. If I were you I would be thinking about this one, and save for a better 300mm. Checking the reviews for used and other manufacturers might be your best bet, unless you can afford one of the better Pentax 300mm's.

AFAIK, both the 18-55DA L II and 55-200DA L lenses are meant as kit lenses. They are not meant to be sold separately without a body purchase. They are economy lenses.

Money wise the best deal is to buy the K30 / 18-135WR kit. I think that you will save about 30% on the lens price as opposed to purchasing the items separately.

If you want to upgrade from the K-30 / 18-55DAL II kit to the K-30 / 18-55WR by buying the body and lens separately I think that you are talking about a $150 premium.

The K-30 / 18-55DAL II and 55-200DAL is reasonably priced, but, personally, I would rather have the better 18-135WR lens instead.

As far as a combo of one of the 18-55's and the 55-300 goes, you should ask yourself a few questions. How important is WR to you? If it is not very important you can save about $150 by getting the 18-55DA L II vs. the 18-55WR. How important is quick shift focusing to you? Hoods are nice to have. If you don't go for the 18-55WR which comes with a hood, you will need a cheap $3 hood or an OEM hood that costs about 10 times that amount.

Good luck with your decision. I doubt that you will regret any decision that you make.

Last edited by lammie200; 07-14-2012 at 12:25 AM.
07-14-2012, 12:02 AM   #3
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I would not be worried too, too much about WR. If you need the 55-300mm, get it.

WR is a relatively new marketing too indicate that the lens is 'weather resistant'. That is, a WR lens is not waterproof nor sand-proof, but the lens has a number of seals which help to protect the lens.

There are a number of older lenses (pre-WR era) which are very sturdy, were used in very harsh conditions and can sustain some very bad weather. If you intend to use such a lens, go through the PF lens user reviews. You will find some very useful information.

I work often in very bad weather conditions (storm, rain) or harsh environment (mud, sand). I have no WR lens, but I have a number of very sturdy lenses with well-documented record in foul weather. As long as I take care of my lenses, they will deliver. TLC = tender, love and care. TLC is most important with your lenses and camera.

All in all: If you have the 18-55mm WR, use it in very bad conditions. If you need the 55-300mm, get it and look after it.

Hope that the comment will help.
07-14-2012, 12:13 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by lammie200 Quote
I suggest looking in the lens review section of this site.

I have the 18-55WR, the 18-55DAL II lenses, and an earlier version of 55-300 which is the FA J, as opposed to the DAL or DA. I can honestly relate what I have read about the others that you asked about as well.

1. The 18-55WR and 18-55DAL II lenses are optically identical. The WR version has a metal mount, quick shift focusing, and comes with a hood. The DAL II version has a plastic mount, no quick shift, and is supplied without a hood. The WR version also has a nicer rubber grip surface. IMHO these lenses are OK. Under the right conditions they can be reasonably sharp.

2. The 55-200WR and 55-200DAL lenses are also optically identical. The other differences are similar to the 18-55WR and the 18-55DAL. The 55-200's don't get outstanding reviews. Might be sharpness and/or contrast issues.

3. The 55-300DA gets pretty decent reviews. The rubber grip surface is similar to the DAL lenses. The FA J version that I have is not very sharp. I don't use it much and may eventually sell it.

4. The 18-135WR is probably the best one of the bunch in terms of sharpness and contrast. If I were you I would be thinking about this one, and save for a better 300mm. Again, checking the reviews for used and other manufacturers might be your best bet, unless you can afford one of the better Pentax 300mm's.

Money wise the best deal is to buy the K30 / 18-135WR kit. I think that you will save about 30% on the lens if you purchase the items separately.

If you want to upgrade from the K-30 / 18-55DAL II kit to the K-30 / 18-55WR by buying them separately I think that you are talking about a $150 premium.

The K-30 / 18-55DAL II and 55-200DAL is reasonably priced, but, personally, I would rather have the better 18-135WR lens instead.
So the 18-135 kit would be the best way to go? I'll have to check out the lens section when I get a chance. Thanks for the info

07-14-2012, 12:15 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcc Quote
I would not be worried too, too much about WR. If you need the 55-300mm, get it.

WR is a relatively new marketing too indicate that the lens is 'weather resistant'. That is, a WR lens is not waterproof nor sand-proof, but the lens has a number of seals which help to protect the lens.

There are a number of older lenses (pre-WR era) which are very sturdy, were used in very harsh conditions and can sustain some very bad weather. If you intend to use such a lens, go through the PF lens user reviews. You will find some very useful information.

I work often in very bad weather conditions (storm, rain) or harsh environment (mud, sand). I have no WR lens, but I have a number of very sturdy lenses with well-documented record in foul weather. As long as I take care of my lenses, they will deliver. TLC = tender, love and care. TLC is most important with your lenses and camera.

All in all: If you have the 18-55mm WR, use it in very bad conditions. If you need the 55-300mm, get it and look after it.

Hope that the comment will help.
Thanks for the comment. I was thinking the 18 55 WR and 55 300 but as mentioned about sounds like the 18 135 out classes? So I'll have to do my research on the lens review section.
07-14-2012, 01:32 AM   #6
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I definitely would not be so quick to dismiss the 55-300. Sharpness wise everything I have ever seen from it seems to out-perform the 18-135 (which doesn't get the highest ratings but I've seen lovely shots from it). I still have the 55-300 though don't use it now as my teles are 300-500mm (with TCs). However I continue to see people extolling it's virtues, it is amazing value for money. The 18-135 has WR and very fast AF, if that is important to you. However the kit 18-55 and the 55-300 is an excellent kit to get you started.

My daughter used the 55-300 a few weeks back, her first ever outing with a DSLR, you can see her results here : https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/188549-nature-daughters-...era-shots.html the heron was about 60-70m away, the Azure Winged Magpie was ca. 20-25m in failing light.
07-14-2012, 01:57 AM   #7
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Just buy the DA55-300. It's a bloody good lens. WR isn't everything.

If WR and reach are really that important, be prepared to fork out the big bucks for the DA*60-250 or DA*300. The zoom is so much better than the DA55-200WR you could crop to mimic 300mm and still win.
07-14-2012, 03:07 AM   #8
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The sweet spot on pricing is the K30 + 18-135 combination. I value WR a good bit because one of the main seals on WR lenses is at the mount, thereby minimizing the liklihood of water intrusion into the mirror box.

I agree that the DA55-300 is an excellent performer and is not the same as the FAJ. None of the FAJ lenses are particularly well regarded. If you want reach and cost is an issue, it's your lens. If cost is not an issue or WR is a big consideratio the *300 is better optically than the zoom is at 300 and is water sealed too.

The lens review section here is a gold mine of information.

07-14-2012, 04:36 AM   #9
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I personally, would get the 18-135 kit and then get the DA 55-300 lens in addition for telephoto situations. The 18-135 is more useful as a "walk-around" lens and you really do get a significant discount on it right now with the package deal. I think it could definitely replace the 18-55 and 55-200, but wouldn't measure up to the quality that you get from the 55-300. At the same time, telephoto situations aren't as common as those where you need the bread and butter 18-150-ish range and so you could get by for awhile with just the 18-135 if you had to.

My walk around zooms are 16-50 and 50-135 and I seldom need longer unless I am doing something like going to the zoo or shooting humming birds in my back yard (don't worry none are harmed in the process).
07-14-2012, 08:16 AM   #10
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I thought about this when buying my k30 - what's the point in having a WR lens when you then have to change lenses

Hence my WR Lens is 18-135mm so it's versatile. Then if in not in inclement weather I can use a different lens.
07-14-2012, 09:13 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pheo Quote
I thought about this when buying my k30 - what's the point in having a WR lens when you then have to change lenses ...
A powerful point, well made ! 18 - 135 is a good spread for a walkaround lens and the deal I had on it with the K-5 was too good to miss.
07-14-2012, 09:22 AM   #12
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Pentax has two lens lines the regular DA and then the DA* if money is no object then the DA*16-50, DA*50-135 and DA*60-250 is their high end line. But in most cases the regular line is pretty good. I would get the k-30 + DA 18-135 as a kit and then add the DA 55-300. That gives you a complete focal range of reasonably good glass. You can get better but you will spend upwards of $3,000 to do so.

The DA 55-300 is very good for what it is. I have the DA L version without quickshift and if I did it over I would buy the regular DA version to get quickshift. Ideally Pentax would make a WR version but until they do the DA L 55-300 never leaves my camera bag. The 50-200 reviews are not as good as the DA 55-300, not saying the 50-200 is bad but the 55-300 is somewhat better and gives you a lot more reach.

WR is nice but unless you are continually shooting in rain or dust it is not required. Just use normal precautions and take care to clean when you come in. With the 18-135 as a bad weather lens and the 55-300 for long reach, that's a good kit.
07-14-2012, 10:00 PM   #13
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Thank you everyone, you all have been a BIG help. I like the idea of the 18-135mm and maybe getting the 55-300mm a little later down the road. I see it this way, the 18-135 is about 150 bucks cheaper. If I get it with the k30 and if by some chance I don't like it I can also sell it and potentially get the 18-55 and 55-300.

Thanks again everyone! last question I can think of, 135mm is it plastic or metal? I've read the DA-L's are plastic bodies and I can say that doesn't sound too appealing. I don't mind it with my Nikon, but I do prefer my metal 35mm lenses.
07-15-2012, 04:45 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by FragileBird Quote
Thank you everyone, you all have been a BIG help. I like the idea of the 18-135mm and maybe getting the 55-300mm a little later down the road. I see it this way, the 18-135 is about 150 bucks cheaper. If I get it with the k30 and if by some chance I don't like it I can also sell it and potentially get the 18-55 and 55-300.

Thanks again everyone! last question I can think of, 135mm is it plastic or metal? I've read the DA-L's are plastic bodies and I can say that doesn't sound too appealing. I don't mind it with my Nikon, but I do prefer my metal 35mm lenses.
All the current Pentax lenses, other than the Limited series, are plastic/polycarbonite bodies. You probably read about the plastic mounts used in the DAL model lenses, because most lenses do have metal mounts. The 18-135 is a metal mount lens.
07-15-2012, 06:41 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
I have the DA L version without quickshift and if I did it over I would buy the regular DA version to get quickshift.

WR is nice but unless you are continually shooting in rain or dust it is not required. Just use normal precautions and take care to clean when you come in. With the 18-135 as a bad weather lens and the 55-300 for long reach, that's a good kit.
I have the DA55-100 and use the quickshift all the time, it allows you to miss less shots because it does have a noisy and slow autofocus, but has very good image quality, unlike so many xx-300 zooms that lose IQ in the long end. I would really miss that quickshift if I didn't have it. I've used the lens several times in a downpour with an Opteka rain sleeve, it works, but I still wish it was WR. I agree with the suggestions to buy the kit with a DA18-135, that's what I'm planning.

QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
All the current Pentax lenses, other than the Limited series, are plastic/polycarbonite bodies. You probably read about the plastic mounts used in the DAL model lenses, because most lenses do have metal mounts. The 18-135 is a metal mount lens.
I have the 100 Macro WR and it also has a metal body, it may be the only metal body that's not a limited.
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