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Old Oct 6, 2011, 9:52 PM   #1
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Hi Pentaxians,

I want to purchase the K5 and am stuck with the lens choice.

Scourged through many forums and lots of pages of opinions and reviews.

Being a biker, i leaned mostly towards the wide angle prime lenses [the 15mm(f/4) and the 21mm(f/3.2)] In addition to this i also read through the other options offered by pentax (bhphotovideo being my source to only look at the "available" lenses).

I've asked this before and the gurus here had already adviced to first slot myself into a focal length range which suits me best.
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/pe...-hi-india.html

All i knew before is that i loved photographing landscapes.

Now since i so much liked the 15mm and 21mm primes - On my two recent outings i locked myself only to these two focal lengths on my kit lens. This experiment taught me something i always did, but never noticed.

Coming back home, i observed that
exactly 50% was shot at 18mm (thats the widest my kit lens can get)
around 25% shot at 24mm (since i was concious to check if 21mm is what i want)
and the rest shot at 45mm (i also had my eye on the 43mm f/1.9)

Among the lot, i liked the ones shot at 18mm and most of the 45mm.

Now, i cant imagine constantly changing the lenses on my camera body over a trip.
If i choose two primes - the disadvantage of me not being able to swap lenses often, out weighs the size/weight advantage.

Now my only option would be the 12-24mm(f/4) which many reviews did mention in comarison to the small sized wide angle primes.

When i read the reviews for the 12-24 i also started to see quite a lot of references to another good performing lens - the 16-50mm f/2.8 DA* with the SDM motor.

Below is what my shopping cart looks like.
Pentax K5 body
1 zoom lens
1 prime (ideally falling outside the zoom range of the above lens oR within the zoom range if its justifiable)

I want a prime in addition to a zoom since i would not always be out on a bike trip. I might want the size/weight advantage for a normal every day lens - but at the same time is worth the investment on limiting myself to one single focal lenght.

Please help this confused me.
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Old Oct 6, 2011, 10:31 PM   #2
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I can tell you this: the DA* 16-50 f/2.8 is a big, heavy lens. There were quite a few owners who reported problems with the SDM focusing motor when the lens first came out, but not so much anymore. So perhaps we're past that problem. The 16-50 can get some wonderful shots... but never forget that it's a big, heavy lens as is the DA* 50-135 f/2.8.

The 12-24 is an excellent lens. But if you go for that, I'll bet it won't be long before you discover you need more than one extra prime lens. There are a few ways you can go. You could go with the 12-24 and save some money by going for the DA 40 Limited instead of the FA 43 Limited... and then maybe adding the DA70 Limited.

Another money-saving option would be the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8, which is quite a bit less money than the DA* 16-50, leaving more money for DA Limited primes. Personally, I like the idea of an all-prime kit. But, sooner or later, you'll wish you had a decent zoom.
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Old Oct 6, 2011, 11:06 PM   #3
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I can understand being confused over this - there are advantages and disadvantages with both primes and zooms.

You mentioned the biggest disadvantage of shooting with primes - either changing lenses or forcing yourself to figure out how to use the prime you have to its greatest advantage with the scene you have in front of you. The second option is absorbing, but you have to work at it to train your eye and mind to think like your lens.

Before you buy anything else, answer this question - are you happy with your kit lens? Are you planning on continuing to use it (though maybe not while on bike trips) or are you looking to replace it? The answer to that will go a long way to narrowing your choice.

The second question - your kit lens probably isn't weather sealed like the camera is. Have you had any problems with it or do you want to upgrade your lens to one that is?

If you are looking to replace the lens and/or want something weather sealed then the DA*16-50 is probably your best (or in the case of weather sealing) your only choice in that focal range. It's bigger and heavier than the kit lens, but compared to some of my other lenses, it's not THAT big and heavy. It has better optics and gives you a bit wider angle. I don't own this lens - it's had a troubled history. I bought it when I bought the K7 (there was a rebate on certain lenses when you bought the camera) and had to return the first one because of obvious decentering issues. The replacement lens was really sharp (loved the optics, they are outstanding) but I think it had been damaged in transit because the zoom was very stiff. Since I had bought other lenses that were covered by the same rebate and there was a time-limit on it, I returned the second copy for a refund. I'd make sure that if you buy one you have an appropriate warranty for it, being in India would be a bit scary if you got a bad copy. Though perhaps I'm over-reacting, I rarely hear about people having problems with this lens any more, I think they've sorted out the problems.

If you plan on keeping the kit lens and would really like a lens that captures more real-estate, then get the 12-24. I have this lens and its a very useful wide-angle. It is probably about the same size as the 16-50, can't remember the relative weights of them.

I have no problem shooting with primes, but then it doesn't bother me to continually change lenses.

If you are going to get a prime with a zoom - what do you want to use the prime for? Low light or outdoors? Do you want to add macro capability (what about the DA 35 macro)?
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Old Oct 7, 2011, 12:05 PM   #4
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Hi Harriet,

I would be buying myself a K5 this december. I have a budget of 1800 USD and could stretch it only by another 100.

I would be heading out on a bike trip to LEH which is an amazing place and also has the highest motorable road in the world.

Check this link to get a feel of where i would be heading to.
http://timothyallen.blogs.bbcearth.c...ack-in-ladakh/

This trip means so much to me that i am planning the entire purchase around this. Since i get what i want in december, i would roughly have 4 months to get used to the new equipment.

I know this would make you laugh... but what i own right now is a Nikon D40 and a the 18-55 kit lens.

Just checked the user review section of bhphotovideo for the 16-50 and it reports quiet a few bad copies in the present year too

I am just wondering if a 15mm prime would make sense during my "journey" and then i switch to a 21mm prime once i make it to the destination?

- confused (i should rename myself right?)
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Old Oct 7, 2011, 9:38 PM   #5
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I could easily see myself using a couple of primes on your trip, though my personal shooting style tends to go longer, rather than wider. I think the 15 and 21 would be a very good combination, though I'd also want something longer along with them. Neither the 15 or 21 are sealed - if your budget could stretch to the DA*55 - that would give you something longer and weather sealed to go with the 15 and 21. A non-sealed option might be the cheaper FA 50 f1.4. That would give you coverage the additional length. Neither the 55 nor the 50 1.4 are very big.

As long as you are careful/sensible with changing lenses, I wouldn't get too worried about sticking to just one lens during your travel. I change lenses outdoors all the time, though I am careful about it.
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Old Oct 11, 2011, 9:00 PM   #6
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I have a Tamron SP 17-50 f/2.8 for my K-5 and is a nice light compact versatile lens.

I mainly bought it as a good all rounder for my everyday camera bag as it covers a number of useful focal lengths.

The Tamron is good when there is no time to change lenses.

But I do carry my DA 21mm limited and Carl Zeiss 35mm flektogon primes.
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Old Oct 12, 2011, 12:23 PM   #7
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After some careful consideration and good advice i've narrowed down on my choices. I'm still figuring out how to manage the extra bucks since my original budget was 1800USD. Frankly i would like to hear good things about option A. But on the other side, i am not sure if i would at all give a second visit to the place i am planning to go - its just a once in a life time.

Please help. Be as critical as you wish

I've taken the pricing from bhphotovideo.

Option A.


Option B.
The 12-24 how ever is back ordered right now. Availability unknown.


Option C.


Option D.

Last edited by no_nonsense4857; Oct 12, 2011 at 12:26 PM.
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Old Oct 12, 2011, 2:31 PM   #8
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Even though I own the 12-24 and not the 10-20, since money is an issue I think that the Sigma might be a better choice. Those that do own it seem to be very happy with theirs. I personally don't use UV filters much at all, but given your use, they are probably not a bad idea. I still think that the DA*55 would be a good idea because it gives you a weather sealed lens, and you might want/need that on your trip. Otherwise either of the other two lenses (43 ltd or 50f1.4) would be good choices to go with the Sigma wide angle zoom.
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 11:43 AM   #9
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I have decided to go for the K5 with the Sigma 10-20 and the DA* 55.

BHPhoto has a 30 days return policy. I plan to make sure i get my hands on my kit within the first week. This gives me 3 weeks to check the equipment.

Please advice on how to check for lens "correctness" in a short span of time.
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 2:12 PM   #10
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If you want to check for whether a lens is decentered or not, try shooting something with small print (like the classified section of a newspaper). See if one side is blurrier than the other or are they equally sharp or blurry (there's always some fall-off in sharpness with all lenses - you would be looking for a difference between the sides). While you can download and shoot focus charts looking for back and front focus, I prefer to shoot all sorts of pictures at various distances using fairly large apertures and see if I notice focus issues when shooting real-world subjects. If not then I don't bother with focus charts. If I do, then I'll shoot focus charts as I'm adjusting the focus in the camera (you can adjust how the camera will focus either overall (with all lenses) or with some specific (Pentax) lenses. You shouldn't have much trouble with the 10-20 - the dof with a wide angle like that is usually enough to compensate for any small differences. But it's worth checking - my DA 12-24 front focused fairly significantly and required adjusting with both the K5 and K7.

Also make sure the aperture blades open and close snappily and the zoom ring operates smoothly, as does the focus ring.
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