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Old Sep 13, 2007, 11:56 PM   #11
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I'm not sure how I'd do it if I were in your shoes. I'd probably go with the kit lens (I'm still using mine for my wide-angle needs) over the 16-45. Since you know you want wider than that, I'd probably skip the 14 prime for right nowand get the Sigma (or watch ebay for an occasional reasonable deal on the Pentax 10-17 Fisheye). Then I'd add probably the Sigma 70-300 APO as soon as I could. I have the DA 50-200 and I've seen some really good pictures taken by other people with this lens. Mine was OK at first, but has developed a problem that I haven't been able to sort out yet and the Sigma is priced similarly (depends on where you look - it's a bit more at Adorama). There are many people here shooting the Sigma APO and have posted some awesome shots.

As far as brand - I don't think it matters. Tamron, Pentax and Sigma all make good lenses and some not-so-good lenses - the name doesn't matter.
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Old Sep 14, 2007, 6:03 AM   #12
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mtngal wrote:
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As far as brand - I don't think it matters. Tamron, Pentax and Sigma all make good lenses and some not-so-good lenses - the name doesn't matter.
mtngal has hit on the most important point here, all brands have good, and bad, lenses. I have also heard mixed reviews on the 16-45mm Pentax, seems it is better than the kit lens, but not by much, and therefore is a good lens but not a good value. I don't make much use of the wide end (at least at the moment) so the kit lens serves me fine (actually I usually use the 24-135mm f2.8-4.5 Sigma, rarely need wider). For all of my other lenses I have older full-frame Pentax SMC film lenses, a 35mm, a 50mm an MF 100mm macro and a 100-300mm zoom. Since only the 35mm and 50mm were purchased new, my kit was not very expensive (in fact the new Sigma 24-135mm and used F 100-300mm were under $100US each, the 100mm macro I got by trading old equipment).

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Old Sep 14, 2007, 11:00 AM   #13
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That makes sense. I know I've read good reviews and had a lot of recommendations for the Sigma 17-70, but I'm wondering how much better it is than the kit lens. I guess my question is where will I see the difference? In an 11x14? In a 16x20? I'm tempted to follow Mtn Gal's advice and get the inexpensive kit while saving my money for the Sigma 10-20 Super Wide, since no super wide comes cheap. Then get the Sigma 70-300. When I want to spend more $ (translation: when I actually HAVE more money) I can replace the 18-55 with primes if I'm not happy with it. Might be the more sensible way.
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Old Sep 14, 2007, 12:34 PM   #14
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Would someone be kind enough to explain what a "prime" lens is? I have seen the term used with various types (wide angle, zoom, fixed, etc.), and with different sizes. Thank You.
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Old Sep 14, 2007, 12:46 PM   #15
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Prime (or normal) is a fixed length lens, not a zoom. Pentax has lenses such as 14mm, 21mm, 31mm, 40mm, 43, 50, etc., etc. I don't have experience with them as I'm just now trying to upgrade to a dslr, but the overwhelming consensus (I guess it's a fact, because of the build differences between zooms and primes) is that they have better image quality. They are also as expensivebut not as versatile as zooms. I want to find how just how much difference it makes, i.e., will I be able to tell in an 11x14 or 12x18 on my wall at home?

Experienced dslr users want to help me out here?
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Old Sep 14, 2007, 12:50 PM   #16
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A prime lens is a lens on which you cannot change the focal lengt the way you can with a zoom lens. I. e. a 50 mm lens is just 50 mm, whilst a 70-210 mm lens can be changed to any focal length between 70 mm and 210 mm with a simple twist on the zoom ring as you look through the viewfinder. Zooms thus are pretty comfortable to use and therefore very popular. With a prime you have to "zoom with your feet", move closer or further away to get what you want in the frame.

The advantage of primes is that they can be made with a larger largest aperture, being a "faster" lens allowing faster shutter speed (to avoid shake and motion blur). Also they normally give a higher picture quality than zooms in the same price range. The downside is that you have to have more lenses, and change them more often than if you have a zoom mounted.

I nearly only use primes when I do planned shooting or move about near home, but I have a couple of zooms I put in the bag when travelling.

Hope this pretty extensive explanation was what you could use.

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Old Sep 14, 2007, 1:46 PM   #17
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Another reason for the higher image quality with most prime lenses is that they have fewer elements (actual lenses) than a zoom and are optimized for that one focal length instead of having to cover a broad range.

Most people prefer zooms but there is a whole different view of the world when you have to move around to get what you want.

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Old Sep 14, 2007, 6:00 PM   #18
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Rethinking things a bit after all of your comments and reading other posts. Knowing A) I have to learn to use the camera; B) The kit lens will be a huge upgrade over my p&s, even if it is comparably worse than other like Sig 17-70 or DA 16-45; C) My travel schedule for the next 6 months, in which I will not need the super wide (like 10-20)...I'm thinking about this to start:

K100d (I'm still tempted by the K10d, but the battery situation and size for travel seem to give the k100 the slight edge. The viewfinder and the obvious learning upside to the k10 keep it hanging around, not to mention 10 mp for bigger prints)

18-55 Kit

Tamron 70-300 di ld

I'm thinking if I shoot with these for awhile, I'll know if I'd ever want to go with primes and what lengths, I'll have most focal lengths covered for right now, I'd know how much wider I want to go, and I'll have some money left over for a tripod (I have two, but neither are very good quality), some basic filters (UV, Polarizer, NDs) and the bag (and still some $)...that is, of course if I don't give in and buy the k10. I can always replace the 18-55 later with the Sig17-70 or primes or who knows what. I just can't get past the quality of photos on the pentax gallery from the 18-55 without thinking that I'm not to that level yet, so why would I need to spend for a much better lens yet. Even if I replace both of these lenses in 6 months, I'm only out an extra $200. Is this line of thinking logical?




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Old Sep 14, 2007, 6:39 PM   #19
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It's actually very logical. I'm still using the kit lens, just don't feel a need to upgrade it at all. Your point about traveling and the weight difference is a good point - my K10 is temporarily on the shelf because I have tennis elbow and the K100 is much easier on my poor aching arm. It still takes excellent pictures.

I actually slightly prefer the proprietary battery on the K10 - I don't have to charge it as often and still only have one battery. I have two sets of rechargeable AA batteries for the K100 - it isn't that big of a deal to me either way. If you get the K100, definitely get a second set of batteries!

Filters - I'd probably skip the UV filters unless you are going to be traveling to a desert/blowing dust area. Cheap ones can cause problems with flare and ghosting at night. Good idea on the circular polarizer and ND. If you can afford a third filter, think about a graduated ND - I think they'd be very useful in certain landscape situations.

Bags are personal choices - I have the Slingshot 200 and love it. There are other equally wonderful bags out there and since you'll be traveling you might want a true backpack (which I hate for a walk-about bag because of the limited accessibility, but you can certainly carry more weight comfortably with one).

If you have any money over after all of the above, you can buy extra cards or other storage devices if you aren't traveling with your laptop.
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Old Sep 14, 2007, 7:18 PM   #20
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Thanks to everyone for the very detailed definition(s) of a prime lens. I have to admit, I was completely off-base in my thinking about what it would be. I had no idea it was a "fixed" length. In my film SLR days, I used a Minolta SRT-101 with a Vivitar 28-85mm (I think) and a Vivitar 85-205mm zoom -- no primes. Guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.:G Right now, I only have the 18-55 kit lens. Had my K100D for 2 weeks and have been "playing" with it as much as possible (mostly in the evenings due to getting home late from work), and reading/re-reading the user's manual. I'll get there eventually.

@mtngal: When you say you have the slingshot 200,are you talking about the LowePro AW 200? I was reading about it last night and itlooks promising. I have a new Ritz Camera about 2 miles from me and I plan to swing by tomorrow to look at one. Not sure where I will buy (if I like it), but would still like to take a look.


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