Looking for starter lenses for K5

Started Dec 19, 2011 | Discussions thread
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SenorBeef
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Looking for starter lenses for K5
Dec 19, 2011

Haven't bought a K5 yet, probably can't afford it for a few months, but I want to compare the lenses I can get with various camera systems to make my decision as to whether or not to buy into the Pentax ecosystem.

I'm going to be on a budget to start with, so I can't spend too much on lenses yet. Down the road I can. But I want to get the basics covered with some good price/performance lenses. So ideally I'm looking to get 3 basic lenses for $800 or below. However, if there's a really good option for a general purpose lens that will cover most of my needs, I can spend the whole $800 on one lens and add other lenses later.

So here's what I'm looking for:

1. General purpose walkaround lens. I do a lot of landscape shots in the 28mm (35mm equivelant) range. A 17-55 type lens would be okay here but if there's a good lens with a 17-130 type range, that'd be good too. I know some of the Pentax lenses are weather sealed and I would like one weather sealed lens with a wide angle (wider the better) to take lightning pictures and storm time lapse.

2. Telephoto - mostly for sports and nature stuff. I realize that you can't get good (fast) sports telephotos for cheap, but I'm not doing it on any sort of semi-pro level, just something that will take nice action shots in good daylight conditions. I've heard some good stuff about 55-300 lenses made by various companies - which is the best?

3. Fast prime. I tend to value the versatility of a wider field of view in this case. This would be used for indoor shots, possibly low light landscape type stuff, close up action, etc. 50mm primes seem a little too narrow FOV to me because they translate to 75mm in 35mm terms. I notice Pentax's 35mm prime is f2.4 compared to other manufacturers with 1.8 in the same price range. Is there a reason for this? Do you get the same sharpness with a minor stepdown to like 2.8 as you would if you stepped down a 1.8 lens to 2.8?

If I had to prioritize, I'd rather spend the most money and get the most quality out of the lens I'd get the widest angle at, since landscape pictures are probably 70% of what I do.

I'm open to all ideas here - Pentax, Tamron, Sigma, even used older K-mount lenses.

I'd also like to know how these generally compare to Canon and Nikon lenses - since a lot of the basic specs (zoom range, aperture) are identical even though the pricing is different.

 SenorBeef's gear list:SenorBeef's gear list
Pentax K-5 Pentax smc DA 55-300mm F4.0-5.8 ED
Pentax K-5 Pentax K-m (K2000)
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