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Old Jun 19, 2009, 9:45 AM   #1
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Default Two fold Lens Question

Just got my Pentax K20 about a week ago and still learning. I however had two lens questions. My first is what is a good all around lens for photos one that has a big range from wide to telephoto? I have seen on BH and wonder how good is Bower lenses? They seem low price but know sometimes that low price is not always bad.

I am sure as time with the camera goes on I will have more questions and once I am able to learn everything I can about the K20. I can try to answer others questions as well.

Thanks

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Old Jun 19, 2009, 10:28 AM   #2
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I would suggest something along the lines of 18-250mm, 28-200mm or 28-300mm

The first is probably the best, as it will let you see what sort of lenses you want to buy in the future.

If you can stick to the recognised brands, and buy good quality, then you will only have to buy once.

You have a top of the range, semi-pro camera. Don't put cheap and nasty on it....
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Old Jun 19, 2009, 1:04 PM   #3
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good advice D
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Old Jun 19, 2009, 2:40 PM   #4
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Hi ph_nut,

I'll agree with Dal and Roy in that quality should be your first priority. In new lenses, quality, both build and optical, will cost some money. The major brands -- for your K10, that would be Pentax, Sigma, Tamron, and Tokina -- all make different "grades" of lenses covering the same focal lengths, but at different performance and price points. Sticking to the major brands usually gives you a reasonable expectation of quality on both counts. I'm sure that there are plenty of examples of minor brands that produce one or a couple of models that have surprisingly good optics, but most will have build quality issues which will effect their long term usefulness.

If you're looking for bang-for-the-buck, you'd be well served to do some research and seek out some of the optically great manual focus lenses available for Pentax. If you want Auto Focus, there's a distinct possibility that there will be a buyer's market coming soon for the standard kit lenses as many users upgrade their DA 18-55 and DA 50-200 kit lenses to the new Weather Resistant models of these lenses that should hit the shelves next month.

The 28-250 is a nice wide-range option, but it isn't really a wide angle to tele range when you consider the crop factor -- it becomes a 42-375 equivalent, which is "normal" to long tele. Some wide range alternatives that cover the wide side more effectively would be the Pentax DA 17-70 f4 and the Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4.5. The crop factored range of these lenses is 25.5-105 -- not as broad a range, but they go much further into the wide-angle side.

All of these lenses are a bit pricey, but consider that just a few years ago, they were thought to be not practical to build at anything near reasonable prices. Lower priced alternatives would probably involve more than one lens, like the dual kit lenses mentioned before. If price were no object, I doubt that you could do much better than the DA* 16-50 f2.8 and the new DA* 60-250 as a two lens combo that would cover just about anything that one could imagine in general photography.

Congrats on the K10 -- it's a great camera. Give it some good lenses that do justice to the Image Quality that the body can produce. Choosing lenses is a pretty daunting job when you're starting out. Most of the posters here have been there, done that -- so don't be shy asking about more specific lens choices when you've narrowed down your alternatives.

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Old Jun 19, 2009, 6:46 PM   #5
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scott,
it's a k20
i imagine that the 2 have everything in common..
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Old Jun 20, 2009, 1:38 AM   #6
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I don't know anything about the Bower brand, and the only thing I could find on-line about them is that they are supposed to be a company that sells lower-end camera stuff. In general, you get what you pay for when it comes to lenses though there are some reasonably priced gems out there (especially if you don't mind older manual focus lenses). If it were one of the gems, I think someone would be talking about them.

The 18-250 seems to be as good as an all-in-one lens can get (the Pentax is a re-badged Tamron, the Sigma is different and is HSM - it has its own focus motor and I think I've read it's faster focusing). Another option, especially if you want to go longer than 250, would be to go with two lenses - the kit lens for wide angle-normal and the DA 55-300 (or Tamron 70-300 or Sigma APO 70-300) for telephoto. The DA 55-300 is quite light for a long lens, and other people have posted some excellent shots with theirs.
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Old Jun 20, 2009, 9:44 AM   #7
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Over the last 4 years I have been acquiring the best lens I can afford (with my interest in wide angle photography). I have made a couple slight errors, but now with the K20 - the higher quality lenses do make a difference. Even more so, putting a lesser quality lens on the 20 will certainly amplify the lens' shortcomings. That is why folks usually say invest in the lenses first, and then the body (to the extent of starting with an entry level body and going with better lenses).

I moved from the K100 to the K20 recently, the increase in resolution is nearly a factor of 3 (2.5x more pixels across the horizontal) that is a relatively large increase, and thus the optics play a large part at the higher sensor resolutions.

Another thread touched on the question of the kit lens ver I vs ver II. In doing a bit of research, ver II has a new set of optics, and this was done to improve the resolution of the lens with the K20's larger sensor.

Now am I saying that you have to go broke with the absolutely highest quality lens - No! However, from the other end of the price spectrum, each step up in quality will result in significantly better image quality. I think that a good middle of the road lens will not be that much more expensive that a cheap lens and you will get significantly better images. So this goes to the point of the Bower lenses. They appear to be add on lenses (front of the current lens) which puts more weight on the lens mount (shear stress) and I would avoid this. I also saw a couple of other Bower lenses (regular ones), but they were not significentally less expensive that Tamron, Sigma and Tokina (in the Pentax mount).

Another path here are the conditions you take pictures in. The fast f2.8 lenses (16-50 and 50-135) are relatively expensive. However, again going to the f4 lenses (in my opinion) will 1) save quite a bit of money while 2) keeping a relative high image quality. As other postings have indicated, the 18-250 is the widest range Pentax offers and that lens is also offered by Tamron (minus the Pentax coatings, etc.). Actually, a few weeks ago while Ritz was having their store closings, I could have picked up one for $200 - and now I may be kicking myself - but I did not need it as I had that range covered and my interest is wide angle, so I passed on it. I think that the widest available is the 50-500 (BigMa) from Sigma - that is a $1K lens and I would say something of a speciality (popular for birding, etc.).

16-18mm is about the widest any general purpose lens will go. Anything below that is going to be an optical engineering reach to streach the optical chain wider than that (and to do so, the upper end suffers). That is why wide angle lenses are expensive, and they are only about 2x wide (11-16, 10-20, 12-24, etc.). The 18-250 is the widest, and there is also a 17-70 available. You can also look at older lenses, however the zoom ranges have been smaller.

hope that helps...
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Old Jun 20, 2009, 5:32 PM   #8
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i just upgraded from the DS.. gawd what a difference!!!
it'll take me a month to feel natural with it..
a lot of people do not share my opinion but i've been staying away from the DA lenses as i think we will see a full frame sensor.. the DAs will not work on them..
listen to scott about quality in a lens.. cameras come and go but lenses do not
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Old Jun 20, 2009, 8:17 PM   #9
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Roy brings up a very good and valid point, that is often missed. If you are going to pursue this effort, you need to consider at some point - what you may do in the future, probably before making a considerable lens investment. I thought about this a bit when I was buying my K100, and decided that the APS-C sensor size would be just fine - for my needs. That's for me, and maybe not for you. So, I have proceeded down the DA path with out any reservations.

So, just suppose for a moment that the K7 was full frame. Would that have made a difference to me 2 months ago when I purchased the K20. Not in the lease, since I had already committed to the APS-C sensor size before buying the lenses I wanted. I thought that the K20 would be just fine, even with the rumored specs of the K7 swirling around. There are sufficient pixels for my interests, and the sensor noise was not an issue (even though I do a lot of low light / evening and night photography) where sensor noise at high ISO is a problem (I like to shoot at ISO 100, 200 and just lengthen the shutter time using a tripod and external timer). Would it make a difference to me in the future - probably not a lot, since I doubt that my skill level will ever rise to the point where an APS-C sensor will be a limitation and a full frame sensor will be an absolute necessity.

For me the APS-C and DA lens combination is cost effective and works well. However, you as a user and photographer need to at least consider this and if it may be a problem - avoid the DA lenses and go only with full frame lenses FA, and the like.
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Old Jun 21, 2009, 10:29 AM   #10
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correct me if i'm wrong but isn't it nikon that offers on it's FF the ability to only use the center for using digital aps-c lenses???
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