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01-31-2010, 01:50 AM   #1
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Pentax k-x lenses, HELP please!

Hey everyone! I'm from down under and I am going to be purchasing a Pentax k-x. I am new to DSLR and have only fiddles with a 300s from work and am totally amazed with the quality of pictures it can take. This sparked my interest in photography and have been doing some reading over the past few weeks.

I'm in a bit of a dilemma as i am a uni student and would like to keep to a budget of $1000 +/- $100.

In Australia, these are the current prices that i can get.

1. K-x + pentax 18-55mm + 1 yr warranty $740
2. K-x + pentax 18-55mm & pentax 55-200mm + 1 yr warranty $820
3. K-x + sigma 17-70mm macro + 1 yr warranty $899

I would also like to get a tripod ~ $100-150 and a filter (any recommendations?).

My issue is that since i am new to photography I'm not exactly sure what lenses i want. I've heard good things about the sigma, and average things about the 18-55 mm and 55-200mm. I'm going to pick it up as a hobby, so i will eventually buy some lenses later, but my main concern is my upcoming trip to the great barrier reef (few months).

Will be beach settings, daintree rainforest, nice beautiful landscape and perhaps some fish if i get some underwater gear. Since the daintree is so magnificent there will be some animals to shoot (may not really be too far away) but mainly scenery and trees etc (P.s. would i need a polarizar and uv lens for this? what do they both do). I image there will be a lot of MACRO work where i will be going, so this would be great too!

I plan on also buying a MF 50mm 1.7 in the next couple months ($120 from ebay) for portraits and whatnot (can this do macro?).

Is there any advice for a newbie like me on what lenses to go with, experiences, thoughts, advice, or any input whatsoever.

Thanks all! Sorry about asking so many questions, they're all bugging me (doesn't help when your indecisive :P).

01-31-2010, 02:25 AM   #2
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Check your PM... I answered your questions there.
01-31-2010, 02:36 AM   #3
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Option 2 sounds like a good start and will help you decide which way you would like to go. The kit lens is fine and will focus pretty close. The 55-200 will give you a bit of reach. Use it for a while and you will soon know if you want to shell out for a wider lens (eg the sigma 10-20) as that is pretty useful for landscapes. A polariser will let you adjust to reduce reflections and increase colour saturation, but it can be pretty dramatic in effect in Australia so you need to watch your exposure. I found it caused the camera to underexpose by about 2-3 stops in some circumstances. Buy one the size of the largest lens filter you have (or plan to get) and use stepping rings to fit it on the smaller lenses. A uv filter is mainly just to protect the front of the lens from scratches etc and you will get a lot of people telling you they are spawned by the devil and should be avoided. Cheap ones can cause washed out photos and ghosting of highlights (eg in night shots), so get a coated one. I just bought a protama multicoated uv off ebay and it seems pretty good quality. I leave it on for general photos and take it off if I suspect it is causing problems (eg for night shots where ghost images are a problem). If you are cash strapped you might also want to look at the possibility of getting a close-up filter from ebay. They screw on the front (therefore doubly spawned of the satanic one) but will allow you to get in close with minimal outlay, until you decide if the real macro is worth the outlay.

Good luck!
01-31-2010, 04:46 AM   #4
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Original Poster
Thanks for your inputs guys!

Does anyone else have any thoughts? thanks!

01-31-2010, 05:13 AM   #5
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When I got my first dSLR, I skipped the kit lens and got the DA 40mm Limited. I haven't regretted this one bit it's a beautiful lens, and I think the discipline has improved my photography immensely. I have other lenses now but still use the 40mm 90% of the time. The DA 35mm Macro Limited might be another good choice closer to a normal, and has the macro flexibility.

Since you're interested in learning about photography and not just getting some pretty snapshots, this might be a good choice for you, too.

The Online Photographer: The Case Against Zooms

Since you're going to the beach, I do think getting a UV filter to protect a nice lens isn't a terrible idea. However, I wouldn't waste the money on a kit lens. To get a nice filter, you're spending about half of what you could buy that lens itself for.
02-05-2010, 12:11 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by mattdm Quote
When I got my first dSLR, I skipped the kit lens and got the DA 40mm Limited. I haven't regretted this one bit it's a beautiful lens, and I think the discipline has improved my photography immensely. I have other lenses now but still use the 40mm 90% of the time. The DA 35mm Macro Limited might be another good choice closer to a normal, and has the macro flexibility.

Since you're interested in learning about photography and not just getting some pretty snapshots, this might be a good choice for you, too.

The Online Photographer: The Case Against Zooms

Since you're going to the beach, I do think getting a UV filter to protect a nice lens isn't a terrible idea. However, I wouldn't waste the money on a kit lens. To get a nice filter, you're spending about half of what you could buy that lens itself for.
I'm in a boat similar to the OP.

Your advice to skip the kit lens is interesting and somewhat tempting ... except when I look into the prices to compare the cost of the k-x body alone vs k-x plus 1 kit lens, the prices are so close that it seems stupid to *NOT* get the kit lens!

~ $550 for k-x plus 18-55 kit lens
~ $530 for k-x body only

If I could find a k-x body for $450, then the savings might start to make sense.

It seems like all of the DA primes are $500+, which forces the cost out of many peoples' (esp. mine!) initial budget. I'd love to add on some primes later, but just can't swing it right off the bat. (Manual K/M/A type lenses are cheap enough that I can see getting one soonish).

Anyways ... please prove me wrong! Is there a place to buy the k-x body for "cheap" or is there a place to get these primes for significantly less than $500?
02-05-2010, 12:31 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by sameagle Quote
Manual K/M/A type lenses are cheap enough that I can see getting one soonish
Sooner rather than later! I went out on Tuesday with my OLD 50mm f1.4 (manual focus and aperture) and was taking pics in an unlit rail shed on an overcast day. The discipline of a fixed focal length is fantastic and the Kx makes it so easy. You can set it to 'catch in focus' so that the shutter fires when the camera thinks the centre is in focus, and it only takes one a quick press of the +- button to get an exposure setting. This lens is way sharper than the 18-55 or the Sigma 18-200 I have and I was delighted with the results handheld. Picasa Web Albums - David - Bluebell Rail... There are a couple of fisheye ones in that set and a little bit of hdr, but the best shots came from the 50. I need to get my 24mm out a bit more as well.

Last edited by ambienthousewife; 02-05-2010 at 12:32 PM. Reason: justification for the prime discipline
02-05-2010, 01:26 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by ambienthousewife Quote
Sooner rather than later! I went out on Tuesday with my OLD 50mm f1.4 (manual focus and aperture) and was taking pics in an unlit rail shed on an overcast day. The discipline of a fixed focal length is fantastic and the Kx makes it so easy. You can set it to 'catch in focus' so that the shutter fires when the camera thinks the centre is in focus, and it only takes one a quick press of the +- button to get an exposure setting. This lens is way sharper than the 18-55 or the Sigma 18-200 I have and I was delighted with the results handheld. Picasa Web Albums - David - Bluebell Rail... There are a couple of fisheye ones in that set and a little bit of hdr, but the best shots came from the 50. I need to get my 24mm out a bit more as well.
I have that same lens and just ordered the kx. As a matter of fact, for the past year and a half, I've been buying up old Takumars and other primes.

And can't WAIT to try my 8mm Peleng!

02-05-2010, 02:04 PM   #9
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I'm going to vote for option #4.

I took option 3 myself, but in hindsight I would have been better ordering the twin kit with the 55-300 from B&H and having it delivered.

By the way, pricing in Australia is weird compared to other countries. Bodies and kits are reasonable (but unfortunately I dont think the 300 kit is available), DA or DA* zooms are ridiculously overpriced and DA & FA limiteds are very reasonable. So to get a DA 55-300 here is a bad option. So if you want a zoom 1) get it in a kit and 2) if you think you will want the 300 zoom anytime soon then get the kit from B&H.

As an example, I've been unable to get the 55-300 zoom priced under $600 so I got it for $440 (AUD) delivered from B&H. Whereas I was able to buy a DA70 & DA40 for $535 and $370 locally (all AUD)
02-05-2010, 02:51 PM   #10
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Go for option 2 with the two "kit" zooms 18-55, 50-200 -
as long they ARE the Pentax lenses (your 55-200 was a typo?).

At only $80 more than the standard 18-55 kit for the 50-200 zoom is a bargain.

The suggested 55-300 might be worth considering - but the lens is quite a bit bigger physically and as far as I can see adds a fair more amount of money in comparison, unless the range 201-300 (which is 301-450mm equivalent) is really important to you.

18-55 and 50-200 are all that I have for my Pentax dSLR -
I started with the K100D, and now have the K-x.

For my K-x usage experience under what I consider "challenging" conditions
- with samples using only those two lenses -
please see this thread:

Kx in Use
02-07-2010, 10:36 PM   #11
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imho, you will need a fast lens (AF) and a portrait lens
maybe -> K-x + 18-55mm kit + FA43
after 6-12 month -> buy DA15 or D FA 100WR

other option : K-x + 18-55mm kit + DA35/DA40/DA70
02-08-2010, 01:17 PM   #12
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I'd go for the cheapest setup (i.e. 18-55 kit lens) in the first place. Then start shooting, find out how and what you are shooting most, and then get decent lenses in that focal range(s). The Sigma 17-70 is certainly a step up. But eventually you may find out that you are shooting a lot of dark indoor scenes (just an example), and the find yourself buying a faster 16-50/2.8 additionally.
Any lens that I purchased based on assumptions what I needed, was a mistake. Those bought after corresponding experience where the ones I still use.
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