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06-15-2009, 02:26 PM   #1
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Considering waiting for the K7 - some lens questions/recs?

I currently have a Nikon D40, and do the majority of my shooting with the Nikkor 18-200mm VR lens; I'm fairly satisfied with this setup, except for indoor/lowlight shooting ... the lens is far too slow for this.

I'd been considering investing in a 50mm/1.8 and/or moderate telephoto f2.8 lens ... but the lack of an autofocus mechanism on the D40 body, which limits one to AF-S lenses only, has me resigned to changing bodies. Too, it'd be very nice to have video ability from time to time, as well as a camera that performs better at high ISOs (the d40 can be questionable above 1000, imho).

I was pretty close to purchasing the D90, although it seems to have quite a larger body than the d40 (I love the compactness of the latter, am loathe to give that up!). But it's movie mode, Active D-Lighting and low-light performance had me sold ... until I read about the upcoming, compact K7!

I'm hoping to see both in a local store, to compare the K7 and D90 ... but unless something really unexpected happens, I believe I'm sold on the K7. Luckily I've only invested in one Nikon lens, so changing over to Pentax shouldn't be a huge hit. But, I'm afraid I don't know much about Pentax lenses.

Ideally, I'm guessing I'd start with three lenses ... an all around wide/telephoto/macro lens (e.g., was thinking either the Tamron or Pentax 18-250mm) for the majority of my shooting; a fast (f/1.4 or 1.8) 35 or 50mm prime for lowlight/portraits; and later likely a constant f/2.8 telephoto, say 50-150mm or such. Any suggestions on what Pentax (or Tamron/Sigma/other?) lenses I should short-list would be much appreciated!

Finally, anyone know whether the K7 has a feature analogous to Nikon's Active D-Lighting? Too, any thoughts on the K7's low-light performance would be appreciated!

06-15-2009, 03:11 PM   #2
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I would not buy both an 18-250 and the 50-135 2.8... I think the 50-135 would out perform the 18-250 across the entire overlapped range. Of course I have never been a fan of any of the super zooms.
06-15-2009, 03:22 PM   #3
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Hi netarc,

Welcome to Pentax forums! It's good to see you are considering your many options both in and outside of the Big Two (Canon/Nikon). According to some early tests, the K-7 certainly sounds like a winner. Your choice of lenses to start with sounds pretty good. While many people find superzooms like the 18-250 too compromising in IQ and speed, those willing to live with these compromises (like yourself) have highly praised the 18-250mm lens (both the pentax and tamron version share the same optical formula I believe). Moving on to a fast prime, there are several choices (in the Pentax world, the options for prime lenses are enormous ).

For a normal field of view:
FA 35mm f/2 - is now discontinued but you may be able to find it used. Has a really good reputation and is a lens that I want to get my hands eventually.
DA 35mm limited f/2.8 macro - this is the current 35mm prime in pentax's line up. Being considered a "limited" prime, it has very good image quality and has an all metal construction. While it is a little slower than the FA 35 f/2, it adds the ability to shoot 1:1 macro.

For a more portrait oriented lens (on an aps-c sized sensor):
FA 50mm f/1.4 - one of the most recommended lenses for people developing a camera system because of its price vs performance ratio. Relatively cheap for a fast very sharp lens.
DA* 55mm f/1.4 - a "Professional level lens" the DA* is much more expensive, but it is weather sealed (so you can shoot in bad weather when paired with a K-7) and has SDM (equivalent to Nikon's AF-S lenses, focus is silent but whether its faster is questionable)
And finally if youre fine with manually focusing, there are hundreds of MF 50mm-ish lenses between f/1.4 and f/2

Finally a fast tele. In nikon land pretty much THE lens to go with in the 50-150 range is the Sigma 50-150 f/2.8 But most people shooting Pentax prefer to use the DA* 50-135 f/2.8 (actually I don't know of anyone that chose the sigma over the pentax). Just do a little search on it and you will find people are very satisfied with this lens.

So in your three lens setup, I would suggest the 18-250, DA 35mm ltd., and the DA* 50-135. That covers an all around zoom from wide to tele. A macro/low light prime. And a good tele zoom for portraits and low light event shooting!

As for a feature similar to to Active D-lighting. My K20D has a feature called "Extended D-Range" which performs a similar function. I'm not sure exactly if the K-7 has this, but it would seem a little backwards to remove features wouldn't it?
06-15-2009, 04:02 PM   #4
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lens recomendations

I would second the FA 35/2 and/or the FA 50/1.4 I have both a like them. all FA lenses come from the old film days and as such they cover the full 35mm image circle.

In the FA line, you should consider the limiteds : FA 31/1.8ltd, FA 43/1.7 ltd (there is also the FA77 but this is out of your range)

The Tamron 28-75/2.8 gets rave reviews, although a little short for your stated desires.

06-15-2009, 04:23 PM   #5
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When I had a D70, I briefly had the 18-200VR lens and hated it. I know it is a very popular lens, but I sent it back.

As a rule I don't like zooms, and especially dislike the "do-it-all" lenses. Way too much compromise. That said, the 50-135* is a truly special lens, and gives a prime-like look wrt iq.

It really depends on what/how you shoot, but I find the 31/1.8 is on my camera most. I'll swap to the 77/1.8 if I want to do portrait or short tele. The 77 is magic. The 35ltd is a great "do it all" normal that will also handle macro.

If I could only have 3 lenses, it would probably be 31/1.8, 77/1.8 and 50-135* though that doesn't cover really wide. For really wide I'm almost as happy to shoot with a DLux4, which covers 24-60 effective. But I have a particular eye and ymmv.
06-15-2009, 05:50 PM   #6
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The 31 1.8 ltd has probably been the reason I have stuck with Pentax recently.. it is really a magical lens.
06-15-2009, 08:05 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by netarc Quote
Ideally, I'm guessing I'd start with three lenses ... an all around wide/telephoto/macro lens (e.g., was thinking either the Tamron or Pentax 18-250mm) for the majority of my shooting;
Turn that around. As a Pentaxian, the majority of your shooting should be with fast primes. You require a good excuse to justify using a zoom. I use my slow zooms like primes anyway--SMC-A 35-105 f/3.5 requires image stabilization adjustment every time you change focal length.
06-16-2009, 01:05 AM   #8
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Don't forget that pentax has in body SR so you won't need such high ISOs when shooting still subjects in low light. Those fast aperture lenses are more about effect than exposure with modern cameras. For indoor under lighting F2.8 is usually enough. plenty of options.

the 18-250 is a versatile lens, However i find the 17-70 lenses (sigma or pentax) to be a step up in quality and covers landscape to portrait lengths. Where do you normally use your superzoom?
the wide angle 2.8 zooms are also appealing for indoor use due to SR.

The 50-135 is a great lens for both sport and portraits (sigma make a 50-150/2.8) Since you have 50/2.8 with that i would probably go for a wider prime which is useful indoor.
fa31ltd, expensive but as good as it gets, creamy Bokeh.
fa35/2 Inexpensive and sharp wide open. out of production and hard to find
da35ltd macro, A great lens with 1:1 macro to boot. only 2.8 though.
fa43ltd Another special lens, softish wide open but really sharp from 2.8, can be a little narrow for big groups indoors buts smaller and cheaper than the 31ltd.
Go have a look at the Fa ltd club thread in the lens section to see what the 31 and 43 are capable of.
Cheers

06-16-2009, 03:29 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by netarc Quote
Finally, anyone know whether the K7 has a feature analogous to Nikon's Active D-Lighting? Too, any thoughts on the K7's low-light performance would be appreciated!
Yes, K20D and K-7 have this feature (not sure for other models).
While the K20D only has two settings (preserve highlights on/off), the K-7 combines it with four additional settings (correct shadows strong/normal/weak/off), giving a total of 8 "Active D-Lighting" settings. It is "active" in the Nikon sense, i.e., applied to the data before rendering the JPG.

Additionally, if you have a tripod, the K-7 hdr function can make even more equalized photos when contrast is extreme. It comes in two settings (strong/weak/off) where the weak setting yields still natural looking images. This function is an industry's first.

The K7's low-light performance cannot yet be evaluated because the final firmware is known to have changes here. Meanwhile, I would study samples and opinions for the K20D.
06-18-2009, 02:30 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the suggestions ... placed my preoder for the K7 via adorama today with a new Tamron 18-250 (yes, I know, heresy, but I figure it'll be useful as a doitall, knowing the compromises inherent in this lens).

I am now actively searching out the following lenses:

# FA 31mm/1.8 ltd
# FA 35mm f/2
# FA 50mm f/1.4

Question - can I expect that the K7 will autofocus with any FA-series lenses? Also, re: Pentax's lenses ... I know that DA lenses are specific to DSLRs, and that DA* is their higher end (faster/better optics) of same; FA I'm guessing are their 35mm film SLR lenses? Is there an equivalent FA* lens? If not, how does pentax differentiate between their base and higher-end 35mm SLR lenses?
06-18-2009, 02:54 PM   #11
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wow...you guys weren't kidding about the $$$ of the 1.8ltd ... I found a 31mm f/1.8 lens, it didn't show up as "ltd," but specs indicate: Smcp-FA Lens W/cs,bx ... is this the 31/1.8ltd that folks were referring to? Indicated price is $850 for "excellent" condition ... how does that rate, is that a decent deal?
06-18-2009, 02:54 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by netarc Quote
Question - can I expect that the K7 will autofocus with any FA-series lenses?
Yes ! It's Pentax, here almost everything is possible

QuoteQuote:
Is there an equivalent FA* lens?
Yes, and they are called : FA* - just as you named it

And for 50-135 topic - it is really magnificent lens- I owe it for 1 month, and I'm speechless
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