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Old Sep 7, 2008, 6:36 PM   #1
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Hi there, I'm new to the forums and I'm sure this question has been asked previously, but I've been unable to locate something applicable to my situation.

I've recently purchased a Pentax K100D and having taken it out for a spin (in the photo below, I couldn't get in as tightly as I would have liked) I find myself wondering if I should upgrade the lens to give me some more options (I mostly plan on taking architectural pictures, though my friend's wedding is coming up this weekend).

Will an upgrade produce better quality pictures than the 18-55 SMC DA lens that came with the camera?

And if I do upgrade what would be the best type/size of lens to buy for general purpose and architectural pictures?

I've also noticed that the built in flash is quite harsh when taking photos of people, should I invest in a kit flash diffuser or would I be better to go for a proper hot shoe?

Thanks in advance!
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Old Sep 12, 2008, 3:58 AM   #2
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Hi and welcome to Steve's forums.

It looks like no one noticed this post as it was possibly not in the best area for a good answer. I've just moved it into the Pentax Lens section where our Pentaxians who have a huge wealth of knowledge (and are afun subcommunity) can take a look.

If the rest of your work is as good as this then you are off to a great start as that is a cool photo.

As for on board flash, yes pretty much it will always be harsh and external flash will help this hugely. You can diffuse on board, however as power is pretty low to start with things only get weaker so it is a trade off.

Happy shooting,

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Old Sep 12, 2008, 9:08 AM   #3
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Hi ToManyAirMiles - Welcome to the Pentax forum!!!!

I believe that you will be getting quite a few responses to your questions, here - since they are good ones. The flash - well flashes are not my strong suit, however on the regular Pentax forum there is a thread on just Flashes. That would be the area that I would start with.

I too use a K100 and have found the kit lens to be excellent. The focal range is 18 to 55. To get in "closer" you could 1) crop the image to the area that you are interested in. However, with the 6MP of the K100 there is a limit to how much you can crop. 2) go to a telephoto lens. The 50 - 200 is excellent, and is usually referred to as the second kit lens, since it complements the regular kit lens so well. It is easily found in stores and on evil bay. Its small and compact (just like the kit) and does a very good job (I have it). Also Pentax has come out with a new lens a 50 to 300 that has a bit more reach, is physically much larger than the 50-200 (but still very easy to handle) and it too does a good job (I just acquired one to help me consolidate and reduce my lenses that I use - possibly replacing the 50-200, although I have not made up my mind yet here). There are several threads below that address the 50-300 lens.

For architecture and landscapes, Pentax has a very good selection of wide angle lenses. 18mm is pretty wide and does a very good job. Also you can stitch multiple images together, to go wider. There are two very good lenses that Pentax has for wider angle than 18mm. the 12-24 and the 10-17 FE. The 12-24 runs about $700 and is a very good lens. I have been saving up for that one (although my wife has told me a few times to just go out and buy it - I missed the rebates on the lens and now I am some what waiting to see if Pentax comes out with a 11-16 lens later this year). The 10-17 FE is a fish eye lens. I have it and you can see my posts below on this one also. It is somewhat of a specialty lens. Runs about $400. Please do not be fooled, yes it is a fish eye, but it is not as pronounced as a lot of them, and you can do quite a lot with it. However, its probably not something you want to start out with.

I am sure others will add here. You can see that the Pentax forum - is the most active on Steve's site. The regulars here are a wealth of information. I doubt that you could have found a better place to start.....

Welcome to the forum!
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Old Sep 12, 2008, 5:50 PM   #4
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I like my old kit lens, though as you've noticed, it's somewhat limited in it's reach. It does quite well for a lens that'sfairly slow andis mostly a wide-angle toslightly telephoto focal length.

I had a DA 50-200 and thought it was just OK, before it developed some problems (it needs repair). It is such an inexpensive lens I hestitate to get mine repaired - I'm seriously thinking of buying the DA 55-300 instead. From what I've seen, its likely a better lens (though larger) and would add additional reach (the bigger the number, the more telephoto the lens is).

As far as architecture goes - it depends on what you are wanting to take. All inclusive interiors/exteriors? Or details of stonework on ancient cathedrials, located high above your head? These two things require significantly different lenses. The all-inclusive interiors require a very wide angle lens. The kit lens, at 18mm, does OK if there's enough light. I have the DA 12-24 - it's wider than the kit lens, and still not a fish-eye, with the fish-eye distortion you can have. If you want to capture the details that are located a distance from you, then you need a telephoto lens - something like the DA 55-300 might work. It's not a super fast lens, but if you want something faster at the long end, be prepared to write a large check.

There are a number of faster lenses with similar focal lengths to the kit lens, but they get expensive very quickly, and will be larger and heavier. It sounds like you are looking more for something in addition to the kit lens (something longer - what you would need to fill the frame, assuming you stayed in the same position).

I'm definitely not the best person to ask about flash. I finally bought a separate flash and am still learning how to use it effectively. The in-camera flash is pretty limited.
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Old Sep 12, 2008, 8:23 PM   #5
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Welcome to the Pentax forums and congratulations on your K100d. The K100d was my first Dslr and even though I have a K20d now, the K100d still sees plenty of use. In my opinion the Pentax kit lens is really a nice kit lens but it looks like you need to add a second lens with more magnification.

You already have some pretty good advice, the one thing you did not mention was your budget. If small, lightweight, and affordably priced is what you are looking for, the 50-200mm that I/O and Harriet mentioned is an excellent choice. I bought one with my K100d and used it quite a bit, it is a good lens for the money. For about the same price you could also look at a Tamron 70-300mm LD or a Sigma 70-300mm DG APO (get the APO version), both are popular price/performance zoom choices, though they would leave you with a gap between 50 and 70mm and neither has a great reputation zoomed all the way out to 300mm. The 50-200mm is nearly as small as your 18-55mm, both 70-300mm lenses are nearly twice as long as the 50-200.

If your budget allows it, the Pentax 50-135mm DA* lens has an excellent reputation but it is 4x the price of the 50-200mm.

Assuming your friend's wedding will be indoors, you will either need a flashgun or a fast prime or both. The FA 50mm f/1.4 would be a bargain in any camera company's lineup and it will allow you to gather 8 times as much light as the kit lens for low light shooting. It will also give you very sharp results stopped down to f/2.8.

If you let us know more details about what you need and how much you would like to spend there are lots of us happy to help you exceed your budget!


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Old Sep 12, 2008, 9:11 PM   #6
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I have 2 lens that cover most of what I shoot. The first is the Kit lens and it is still a gem to me. The other was given to me by a very nice person to whom I still feel indebted.,A Sigma 50-500mm. With these two I have the focal lengths of 18mm all the way to 500mm covered. The Sigma is heavy and is not the fastest lens around but it does a very good job and has such a huge focal range that 2 lens are all I need most of the trips I go on. Also the Kit lens is pretty darn sharp doing closeups.

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Old Sep 12, 2008, 11:57 PM   #7
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Please note the link and check out the customer review in this link in this post, but this is a lens you may want to consider for architectural use.

The Pentax 28mm wide angle shift, which was made for 35mm work, but should work with your K digital. 28 mm W/A converts to about an 18 mm W/A digital system.


As another poster pointed out, using a wide angle 28 mm lens designed for 35 mm systems will not make it into a wider angle on a digital camera, but in fact will make it more like a 'normal' lens, quite the opposite.



In the above 'link' there is an interesting review by an individual who discusses the use of Pentax lenses for architectural work.

When I read your thread I recalled that there was a specialist wide angle lens made by Pentax. Not sure if it is available new anymore, maybe just used.

I dunno, what do other Pentaxians think about this lens , is it suitable for what the OP wants ?
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Old Sep 13, 2008, 10:59 AM   #8
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I would love to own that lens, though perspective can be adjusted in Photoshop. It's no longer made and it only occasionally appears for sale. I've never used a shift lens, so I don't know how the extra work involved with them would compare to using the skew tool in Photoshop. My thought is that it would be more reliable than the skey tool - I sometimes get frustrated trying to get both the lines straight and keeping the scale right (not having the building look too squat or too thin).
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Old Sep 13, 2008, 12:29 PM   #9
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There just happens to be one of these up on evil bay as we speak....


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Old Sep 13, 2008, 2:13 PM   #10
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Hi, and welcome to the pentax forum.
I own my K100D since 6 months and be pretty happy with the cam and the kit lens.
But as i came from an 8x zoom on P&S, i wanted to have the longer reach of telephoto lens.
So i bought the Tamron 70-300mm. As Tim mentioned, it is a pretty decent lens. As i am on budget (two kids in college :-) ), i decided to go with the Tamron instead of the APO Version of the Sigma 70-300 (Tammy: 135€ Sigma: 210€). And i like the macro too.
So maybe that is something for you (i don't bother about the missing reach between 50 to 70, two steps and you are there).
And the reach of the 300mm is useful for details on buildings too.
I bought a M 50mm f1.4 too, and just learn to master the manual process for that lens. (Got it for 35€ on e-bay), but i love it to take my time for this lens.
So as mentioned before it is a matter of money for which lens to go for.

@lesmore49: that would be a nice lens, especially the shift option.
But i am sorry to correct you, the form factor 'largens' the focal length. So fullframe 28mm would be 42mm on your K100D. So in that case it would not be wide lens anymore, but a nice normal lens with really intersting shif option

bye alex
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