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Old May 9, 2012, 9:38 AM   #1
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Default Counseling requested

I have tried a K-5 before but found it too heavy. So, I have been using a Panasonic G3 for the past year with great success. It was a wonderful instrument at Yellowstone and Grand Teton last year with the 100-300 (200-600 equivalent FOV) and I receive rave "reviews" from people who come into my office and see the impressive 13x19 prints on the wall.

But there are niggling annoyances, especially the insufficient controls that make for a bit too much button-pushing, and buffer delays at times. The press on the new Olympus OM-D EM-5 has been great that I bought one, since it uses the same lenses and had potentially faster performance. But immediately upon handling, I found the body uncomfortable. It needs a grip and that adds another $300 and a bit of bulk to it. The buttons are small and mushy. So I returned it.

I then ordered a K-5 with the 18-55 WR kit lens, and expect it soon, although I can still cancel. So, my question is, what three lens set would be best for most uses, understanding that I will not approach the quality of those of you with the wonderful 300mm lens or other heavy machinery. I like telephoto, but also light and low weight, and it may be that the Panasonic might still be the device with the 100-300 for that kind of shooting. But I thought the 18-55, the DA70, and a third lens might be the best set of lenses. Any thoughts, besides my seeing a counselor?
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Old May 9, 2012, 4:11 PM   #2
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G'day macbook

From my comfortable location overlooking the couch ...
From experience - the more 'precise' we are / need for our camera kit, the more difficult it seems to find an exact match

Seemingly like you, I chase long lens stuff more than wide angle stuff, tho I shoot whatever takes my fancy

My G2 seems to fit well into my hands, and yes, there are times when its momentary delay [esp with flash] does 'give me the irits' - but its other 95% is great
My Kx has many features that I have never used, but when coupled with its 70-300 was heavy & slow and became a cumbersome package .... it's now up for sale
My X-s1 arrived 3 weeks ago - an dSLR-sized body all packaged with an 24mm to 600mm lens - uuuummm interesting!! Not everybodies cup-of-tea, but a very interesting package to explore

So up from the couch and meander back thru the shop to explore a bit more to find your best match. Need you to handle them tho ...
Regards, Phil
Has Fuji & Lumix superzoom cameras and loves their amazing capabilities
Google me at Travelling School of Photography Australia
Recent images at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ozzie_traveller/sets/
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Old May 9, 2012, 4:53 PM   #3
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MacBook - If you are looking for small and lightweight, and if you are willing to go manual, you can find some GREAT lenses at relatively low prices among the Pentax M-series and A-series lenses. Some of my best landscape photos lately have been taken with a very small M 24-35 zoom, that cost less than $100. And I recently got an M 135 f3.5 that is TINY, and was also quite inexpensive. Haven't had a chance to use it much yet, but test shots look great - fine color and sharpness. Another bigger but quite inexpensive lens that works very well for me is the Pentax A 70-210 - long enough to let you capture birds and butterflies, if you stalk them carefully...
You might want to look over some of the lens reviews over at the other pentax site (Pentax Forums), and also check out the bargain lenses at KEH.
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Old May 9, 2012, 5:31 PM   #4
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The DA 55-300mm is a nice lens and the DAL version is optically identical but with low cost, light weight changes such as a plastic lens mount which will have very little impact on reliability unless you change lenses ridiculously often.
Riverview, NB, Canada
Current equipment
Pentax K7, K5, K3:
FA 35mm f2, FA 50 f1.4, FA 28-70mm f4, FA 28-80mm f3.5-5.6, F 50mm f1.7, Tamron SP 70-200mm f2.8 Di, DA 10-17 f3.5-4.5, DA 14 f2.8, DA 16-45mm f4, DA 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 WR, DA 50-200mm f4-5.6 WR, AF-540FGZ

Olympus E-PM1, E-PL1, E-P2, E-P5: 9mm to 150mm lenses

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Old May 9, 2012, 6:15 PM   #5
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If I had to do a 3 lens combo and keep prices down to earth, it would be:

Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6
Tamron 28-75 f/2.8
Sigma 70-300 f/4-5.6 APO


Tamron 10-24mm
Pentax DA 35mm Limited
Pentax DA 70mm Limited

My ideal 3 lens combo:

FA 31mm Limited
FA 43mm Limited
FA 77mm Limited

Last edited by ishino; May 9, 2012 at 6:18 PM.
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Old May 9, 2012, 7:02 PM   #6
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Thanks, those cameras are scarce in these parts. I did see a second Olympus OM-D, but however much I want to like it, I wish it were the size of the Panasonic G2.

Will a lens like the M135/f3.5 need a M42 adapter? If it does, can other M42 screw mount lenses -- such as the Canon Selenar 85/f2 lens I have, also work on the K-5?

The 55-300 is supposed to be a somewhat noisy lens, I suppose because of the screw drive and its size. That lens plus the K-5 weighs about .75 pounds more than the Panasonic G3 plus the 100-300. I think sometimes it is not the lens and camera that people are as concerned about as the camera plus camera bag, perhaps. I still like the lightweight cameras and hope they keep improving.

Since I bought the 18-55 (which makes sense as a WR lens), the next lenses would probably be the DA70 and then perhaps the 55-300, although mole makes me think of some less expensive alternatives. I have a 50mm/f2 Pentax lens from a SuperME that is not a great lens, but takes some nice smooth photos.
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Old May 9, 2012, 11:53 PM   #7
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If you want a modern long lens, then the 55-300 is a good choice - relatively small for that long a lens and lightweight.

When I was shooting film my all-time favorite lens was a F 70-210 (it was variable aperture, don't remember what it was exactly). The gear on the zoom mechanism broke one day and I've always been tempted to get another one. Very sharp and a nice close-up lens. As I recall, it wasn't that heavy or large. That might be a less expensive option, I see them crop up for sale every so often with a price tag around $125-150, I think.

If weight is a bigger concern than length, then the DA70 (or FA 77) would be an excellent choice. If you want a better version of a 50, you can often find an M 50 1.7 for under $100 (even cheaper sometimes when sold with a film camera). I prefer the M 1.7 over the M 1.4 - I own both.

Any lens that's an "M" lens will be a K-mount lens and not require an adapter. I don't have any M42 lenses but if I understand them, any of them will work with an adapter. I assume that the Canon lens is the same M42 threads (I do know that not all screw mount lenses are M42. That's the total extent of my knowledge though).
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Old May 10, 2012, 10:28 AM   #8
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Another vote for the 55-300, it really is a no-brainer considering you want a tele lens without going for a big 300mm plus and goes very nicely with your 18-55.

Personally I'd ditch the 18-55 (or keep it - for the money you'd sell it for it's worth keeping for it's WR feature alone - which is what I do, and I've never used it ! ) and buy a Tamron 17-50, a much much better lens, very very sharp.

17-50 + 55-300 = very nice (light and small) zoom kit.

As far as the 55-300 and noise goes : put one on your camera and stand back whilst someone else plays with for a couple of minutes. It's not that bad at all is it ?

Now if you don't want/need zooms then you have a huge variety of lenses to choose from. From the legacy MF lenses (M42, PK Bayonet - by Voigtlander for example - and M & K lenses) to the more modern AF lenses (F, FA, DA).

Personally any of these lovely lenses can be combined into an excellent 3 (or 4 or 5 ! ) light AF lens kit (avoiding the wonderful but more expensive FA Ltds and other exotic lenses) and would keep me happy :

DA 15 Ltd,
DA 21 Ltd
Contax Zeiss 28/2.8 (MF lens can be found converted in PK mount. My favourite Landscape lens so I've slipped it in here because you don't need AF for landscapes) !
Sigma 30/1.4
DA 40 Ltd
FA 50/1.4
Sigma 50/1.4
DA 70 Ltd
Tamron di 90/2.8
DA 100/2.8 WR
Sigma 105/2.8
Pentax : 15 Ltd, 77 Ltd, 43/1.9 Ltd, Cosina 55/1.2, DA*300/4, Contax Zeiss Distagon 28/2.8, Raynox 150/250, AFA x1.7, Metz 50 af1.

Nikon : D800, D600, Sigma 500/4.5, Sigma 120-300/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 - 21/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 - 35/2.0, Nikkor 85/1.8G, Sigma 50/1.4. Nikon x1.4 TC, Sigma x2.0 TC
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Old May 11, 2012, 1:09 PM   #9
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The Sigma 70-300 would give you a 1:2 macro, as compared to the Pentax 55-300 which does not. All else considered, they are comparable lenses. But the Sigma with it's macro mode gives you another photography option without having to buy another lens.
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