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Old Sep 16, 2008, 4:43 PM   #1
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A friend wants to get the Pentax K200D. I'm thinking of recommending that he get the kit lens (18-55) and while I've heard of good things with this, what is the quality like ?

There is also a sale on 50-200 Pentax and I would like opinion on the quality of this lens also.

When I say quality I'm asking about :
  • Build-I know their the kit, but are they reasonably robust in construction
  • Function- do they function well, smooth and quick in auto focus, etc. ?[/*]
  • Picture quality -do they provide sharp, clear pictures ?[/*]
  • Colour rendition- do they acccurate, good flesh tones, etc. ?[/*]
We're going to camera shops tomorrow AM. Thanks in advance.

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Old Sep 16, 2008, 9:25 PM   #2
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Kit lens is definitely a good buy - it's inexpensive and good quality. It's not the fastest lens in the world, but its pretty sharp, and colors look good. My kit lens came from Costco with my DS and I still use it occasionally.

I've seen a number of good pictures taken with the 50-200. However, I wasn't really happy with the particular lens I bought, and it now needs repair. You'll find a number of other people who swear by theirs. I've been very impressed by what I see fromthe 55-300 - I think that might be a better buy than the 50-200, unless the 50-200 is significantly cheaper, and if you'll be able to test the lens to make sure its sharp from side to side (mine is softer on one side).
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Old Sep 16, 2008, 10:33 PM   #3
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Hi Les,

As always, it depends, considering what your friend likes to shoot. All three of the lenses you mentioned are good performers.

The kit 18-55 is generally considered the best kit lens across manufacturers, and that was for the old model. The DA 18-55 II is supposed to be better, and I assume that that will be the lens offered. If not, I'd see if they have any with the II version, and it shouldn't cost any more. For a bit over $100, it's really hard to beat. It took quite a while, and over $400 to replace it with a Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4.5, and the DA 18-55 still has a place when I want to travel light.

The DA 50-200 is about the best consumer (f4-5.6) zoom I've used in that FL range, and I have used quite a few 70-200s. It's by far the smallest and lightest also. Other than Harriet's, I haven't heard of a bad one. I have other lenses that are sharper, but each cost over twice as much (used!), and are big and heavy enough that the 50-200 still gets a lot of use.

I don't have the DA 55-300, but it is getting pretty universal rave reviews, and if the samples I've seen are any indication, it's probably by some margin the best of the consumer class xx-300 zooms, especially at both extremes of the FL range. It's pricier than the 50-200, but if he wants the reach, it's a good one, and again, it's as compact an xx-300 zoom as you'll find.

With either of the tele zooms, he'll not have any gap in focal lengths, and with the 55-300, he'd have the equivalent range of any of the 12x super zoom P&S cameras, with a wholelot better image quality.

There are other lenses that I use more, but it did cost quite a bit to get significantly better performance and build quality than these lenses offer.

Best wishes for your friend's purchase, and don't forget to have him post his impressions and a few shots here!

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Old Sep 16, 2008, 10:40 PM   #4
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Hi Lensmore,

I have all three lenses that your asking about. I have had the two kit lenses for 3 years and the 55-300 for about a month.
  • Build-I know their the kit, but are they reasonably robust in construction - all three are very reasonably built. The two kit lenses are rather small and light, easily handled. I have had absolutely no problem with any of them.
  • Function- do they function well, smooth and quick in auto focus, etc. ? - The kit lens (18-55) does have a tendency to hunt at times (at least my copy), usually in poor light conditions or when there is a low contrast situation. Due to that, I thought that I would go to a better lens - the 16-45/f4. I have found that the kit lens is equal to the 16-45 in many situations, however the 16-45 has never really hunted on me.
  • Picture quality -do they provide sharp, clear pictures ? - Quite a few on this board have found the picture quality very good. Again the kit when compared against the 16-45 was that they were equals. The kit produces sharp, clear images. I would do a search on pentax 18 55 here on steve's and you should find quite a few comments and images.
  • Colour rendition- do they acccurate, good flesh tones, etc. ? - same comments as above.
Overall, the comments on this board over the last few years, have been that the kit lenses are some of the best available that come in kit packages. Most have been very pleased with their performance.

The 50-200 is substantially smaller, about half the size and weight of the 55-300. If you do not think that you will need the additional reach I would go with the 200. If size and weight are a factor go with the 200. If you want the additional reach then obviously the 300 would be the choice.

Hope that helps...

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Old Sep 17, 2008, 4:10 PM   #5
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I have ths 1st kit lens, the 50-200, and the 55-300

For kit lens and 55-300 shots, look at my "Back from Alaska" thread.We took all threeour my trip. I have never really liked the results from the 50-200 but I love the 55-300. We did use the 50-200 for about 30 pics out of 2700 but it was because the 55-300 was in the trunk at the time. The only advantage the 50-200 has by my measure is weight/size. The 55-300 is larger and little heavier but the quality seems much higher on my copy. My wife spent most of the trip with the K10D around her neck and a lot of time was with the 55-300 attached. Toward the end of the day she did complain about the weight but it was not a big deal.

The kit lens did hunt quite a bit on rainy overcast days when focusing on dark backgrounds but for the money I can't see beating it's quality.

I have never droppedany of the three or bashed them into anything but I would doubt they could take much abuse.
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Old Sep 17, 2008, 4:18 PM   #6
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My friend bought a K200D with the 18-55 and the 50-200 Pentax zooms. They were all available as a kit for $ 749 Cdn.

He indicated he would start off with these lenses and as he develops his skills he plans to graduate to other lens.

Thanks for all the advice, much appreciated.

He also bought a LowePro bag and two B + W filters.
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