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Old Sep 29, 2009, 3:49 AM   #1
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Default Lenses for Pentax K7

I am on the verge of buying a Pentax K7, but need some advice on lenses. I've read some mixed reviews on the DA18-250, mostly stating that sharpness isnt as good as say a 18-55 plus 55-300 combination would have. The only advantage of the 18-250 being you dont have to change lenses. Having no other lenses except for a Sigma 170-500APO that I used on a 35mm film camera, for which option should I go, one 18-250, or the 18-55 plus 55-300, or something completely different?
Also, will the F3.5 apperture yield a short enough Depth of Field to take background out of focus when shooting portraits or flowers, and which combination would give the fastest focussing (sports shots)?

Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old Sep 29, 2009, 6:01 AM   #2
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I own the DA 18-250 and have been nothing but pleased with it. For the price (at the time) it represented great value in a versatile walk-about lens that provided excellent IQ. I think it performs comparably if not better than the 18-55 lens in the same range. The 55-300 of course gives you a bit more reach in the zoom. Its compact size makes it a must have for travel. On a recent trip overseas, it was great not to have to carry extra gear as well as bother with switching lenses.

I heard that the DA 18-250 has been discontinued by Pentax and short of any remaining stock, you may have to purchase it on the used market. The alternative is the Tamron 18-250 which is reportedly the same lens (made for Pentax with Pentax coatings). Several users on the Pentax forum have reported excellent performance of this lens as well.

What this lens will not do is give you the same results as a f/2.8 at its widest opening. Definitely not suitable for sports except in the bright of day. You can get some decent DoF effects depending on the subject to background distance, etc. Here is a link to a thread with some samples using the DA 18-250 and the K10D. http://forums.steves-digicams.com/pe...-5-images.html
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Old Sep 29, 2009, 9:40 AM   #3
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Default Please look at mole's photograph

Also, one of our very active nature photographers, is mole, who has posted consistently excellent photographs, both closeups/macros to raging vistas. Almost all of his photographs are using the 18-250 lens (mole, please correct me if I am wrong). The image quality on a K-M which is only 10 MP is excellent and I think that would also be true for the K-7.

Just my 2cents worth.

Hope you find the lens that your are looking for!

Best regards,

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Old Sep 29, 2009, 2:13 PM   #4
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I don't have the 18-250, but do have the 18-55, 16-45 ad 55 -300 Pentax zooms.
The 16-45 and 55-300 are very sharp, very clear...great lenses. The 18-55 is ok (kit lens) but I find my 16-45 is noticeably sharper, but then it cost more.

I use a Pentax K10D and KM (K2000).
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Old Sep 29, 2009, 5:27 PM   #5
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I have the first version of the 18-55mm. I have always been very impressed with the results from this inexpensive lens and I don't think it can be beat from a price/performance standpoint. The new/current version is supposed to be even better. I do not have the 55-300mm but, from the shots I have seen, I think you will be happy with that as well. Until recently I would have automatically recommended getting a two lens kit over one ultrazoom. Having seen recent shots posted with the 18-250 from Mole and Penolta I have to admit that lens turns in excellent performance. If I was buying today, I would probably pick the the 18-250mm.

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Old Sep 30, 2009, 5:55 AM   #6
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Haved been very pleased with the results from the 18-250 - I have the Tamron version, and use it for about 90% of my photos. (the other 10% are with a Sigma 105 macro). Note that this is on a K-m - your K7 would probably give even better results. Since I do not own the 55-300, I can't express any opinions as to differences in sharpness or IQ.
You might want to check out KEH.com for good prices on used lenses - both of mine were purchased from KEH at much cheaper than new price, and both work just fine.
Hope you enjoy your new equipment, and will look forward to seeing your great photos!!
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Old Sep 30, 2009, 2:27 PM   #7
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Inus... I'm another pleased owner of the Pentax 18-250mm lens. It's a perfect solution for vacation use or any situation where carrying more than one lens - or changing lenses - is impractical. I would put it's performance roughly in line with the 18-55mm kit lens - except that it reaches a lot farther, of course.

As far as outright, hard-core image quality at longer focal lengths, yes, the 55-300 is a bit superior. But then the 55-300 isn't even trying to accomodate anything at shorter focal lengths. If you know you won't be needing anything wider than 55mm in a given outing/photo shoot, then that's fine. But you'll still require a second lens in your kit because there are bound to be instances (including almost anything indoors) that will require a wider/shorter focal length.

The 18-250 is a great all-round, non-mission-specific, vacation and travel lens. But, by definition, its zoom range makes it a compromise. The 18-250 is not intended to replace two or three of Pentax's higher-end lenses - nor is it intended to be a sports lens, although you might be able to get away with it in very good lighting conditions (read: outdoors on a sunny day).

It's not a bad lens to start out with if you have no other Pentax lenses - but you will no doubt find you need more-specialized lenses as time goes on. That's fine - and normal. That's when the 18-250 becomes the vacation/travel lens only. If you decide to go with the two-lens solution to start with, consider the WR (weather resistant) versions of the kit lenses (the 18-55 WR and 55-200 WR). That might make sense with the weather-resistant body of the K7 when you're on a budget.

In addition to the DA 18-250 and 55-300, I personally own the DA*16-50mm and DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 zoom lenses. These are fine pieces indeed (and weatherproof to boot). I can recommend them both. But they are also big, heavy - and expensive. If your budget (or arms) can't handle that then you can do far worse than any of the lenses we've been discussing so far.

Last edited by Biro; Sep 30, 2009 at 2:30 PM.
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Old Oct 1, 2009, 7:24 AM   #8
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I own several, high quality lenses (Tam 28-75 f2.8, DA*50-135f2.8, Da*200, etc.), but the lens that stays on my camera for every day use is the Pentax 18-250mm, mainly because it is so versatile and so convenient. I think that I'm going to purchase another one for my wife because it's the only lens she would need, given what she likes to do (first grade teacher, lots of class pics and individual pics during the day). I really love the fact that the lens is wide enough for about any indoor need and gives me solid versatility when I want to take a long shot. As other's have stated, it would be fine for sports on a bright day with plenty of sunlight, but you'll be very limited if you want to take pics on a cloudy day or in the evening. You'll want a lens with a much wider, constant aperture like the f2.8 lenses mentioned above. I'm learning to take sports action in low light situations and I wasn't happy with lenses with less that f2.8. In fact, I still want a 300mm lens with f2.8, but I really have to save my nickels for that one. It's a budget breaker deluxe! If I were you, I'd start with the 18-250mm if I didn't want to carry two lenses and learn what I like & don't like and then go from there. Your other option is good as well, it's just more lenses and, therefore, slightly more expensive. I know some on this forum don't like ebay, but I've had TREMENDOUS success getting all of my lenses there at significant savings. It provides a lot more flexibility budget wise, but the downside is that once you buy them, there's no returning them just because you decide you want a different focal length, so you need to be OK with the fact that you're keeping what you buy (most take returns on defective items, however).
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Old Oct 1, 2009, 11:56 PM   #9
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I haven't tried the 18-250, but it seems pretty good, especially just starting out. I am perfectly happy with the DA55-300 (though the first copy I had of the lens had a problem - sent it to Pentax for warranty repair and they promptly replaced it with a very good one). It's a nice, lightweight solution for traveling.

I tend to think that lenses with less range have fewer compromises and therefore are normally better. The 18-250 (Tamron or Pentax) seem to be the best of the do-everything lenses.

I don't mind changing lenses at all - the only time I didn't change lenses (until I got where I was going to) was a couple of days ago, when I was hiking in the rain. I had a weather sealed lens on the camera until the last minute (and when the rain had eased off) before changing to a non-sealed wide angle for the couple of pictures of a waterfall, then quickly changed back before it started raining again. But other than that, I change lenses often. So I'm perfectly happy with the DA 55-300 (which is pretty sharp at 300) and have no desire for the 18-250.
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Old Oct 3, 2009, 1:03 PM   #10
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I am another Pentax 18-250mm user and have been very please with the lens. It is hard to go wrong with the Pentax or Tamron 18-250mm lens, except if you do a lot of shooting in low light level environments.

Sarah Joyce
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