seeking some advice regarding a purchase

Started Sep 23, 2012 | Discussions thread
JeffAHayes Senior Member • Posts: 1,968
Re: seeking some advice regarding a purchase

Blackburn11 wrote:

I decided on the 18-135 wr for (mostly) for these reasons:

  • I want a lens with lots of zoom to see what focal lengths I need

  • I will have a very versitile weather sealed camera for days when it may rain

  • gives me a good walk around zoom so I don't have to change lens with the family

I haven't ordered yet, but am close. I just drag my feet a bit when I purchase stuff over $1000 and kinda want to see the dpr review of the k-30. Not like they would have any motivation to get that review done anytime soon!

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Scott Blackburn

Like you, Scott, I get rather, shall we say... obsessive when it comes to spending a lot of money I either may not have (have to finance), or won't be able to afford other options later if I spend too much now. I was very much this way when I first bought my K-5 in July of 2011. I opted to get it with a couple of WR lenses, but nothing with a long zoom, which I quickly found myself missing (since I was doing interest-free financing, I splurged for the 16-50 F2.8 lens, which I don't regret, but for those who can't do that, I DON'T blame them. It's a great lens, but you can take great pics WITHOUT an expensive lens, as well).

Anyway, that left me needing a zoom to take me from about 50mm to (wherever I could afford). I was REALLY BIG on the WR feature (still am), even though I'm still not one to go out in rainstorms and take pictures. All the same, after MUCH querying the folks here I was talked OUT of the WR 50-200 and INTO the NON-WR 55-300. I have NO regrets. It's the ONLY non-WR Pentax lens I've bought (if you don't count a 1995-era F2.8 135 I still had that works like a charm with my K-5.

Anyway, when the K-30 first came out, I looked at the specs and features and felt it wasn't quite "up to snuff." But the more pics I see posted here, the more I think I was wrong. AT some point in the near future I hope to get a second body. I may get another "legacy" K-5, or one of the new K-5II models... But I may also save some money I could put towards another lens and get the K-30, as I think maybe the thing or two it's missing the K-5 has maybe just don't matter.

And my point is, I'm not so sure the WR matters that much most of the time, either (on the lens, vs. the camera -- your camera will get way more wear and tear than your lens(es). I guess what I'm getting to is this: I just took a look at I'm not sure where you're located, or if you shop with Amazon, or if you do if you're a Prime member (I finally spent that extra $75 a couple years back and it's really nice knowing all my Amazon purchases come in 2 days). They have the K-30 WITH the WR version of the 18-135 for roughly $1,060 (I'm rounding off cents, here). The best price I see there for the 18-135 WR by itself ranges between $468 and $585 from a variety of different Amazon (storefront) sellers, meaning you won't get Amazon Prime from any of them and may have to pay some shipping fee even if you have Prime (at $468, it's $45 less WITH the K-30 than the lowest current price at Amazon -- not a BIG saving off buying separately, but some).

BUT, if you don't REALLY have to have the wider part of your range, AND if you don't really have to have the WR, the 55-300 is available directly through Amazon with Prime shipping for $355 (about the best price it's been since about when I bought it a bit more than a year ago). It's NOT the world's greatest lens, but for the $$$ it may very well be in the top 5 or 10 world's greatest, and there are A LOT of folks on this forum who feel that way. The equivalent focal range at 300mm is 450, so it's equivalent, in 35mm terms, to a 75-450.

In case you're interested, I've spent a few dollars (like $9, I think), on some rain sleeves that cover both camera and lens when you're shooting in the rain. I've never yet even found a need to use them, and I've taken THOUSANDS of shots in the past 14.5 months. I used the 55-300 exclusively for an indoor dance event about a year ago, sitting at a bit of a distance, shooting at ISO 800, I think, at continuous AF and 7FPS, top-quality JPEG-only. Took more than 1,600 shots and MOST of them were in great focus, and looked very good, even in the low light.

Although the 18-135 ranges from F3.5-5.6 (the 55-300 is F4-5.8), I recently read a posting here where folks say it starts getting "slower" VERY quickly, hitting the F5.6 well before 135, I think. It wasn't until I saw a posting by someone else here that I checked my own 55-300. It stays AT F4 all the way ALMOST to 200mm (I think it starts to slide around 180mm).

I'm NOT saying you shouldn't get the 18-135 or you SHOULD get the 55-300; just trying to give you a bit more to think (obsess???) about. I've seen some INCREDIBLE shots posted here taken with the 18-135 and the K-30. There are some current threads with some. MY main issue, were I you (especially with your current AND future budget in mind -- and your wife's stated "patience of a mosquito") is that when you DO decide to get something that zooms longer, there's almost NOTHING available that starts in the "135mm" range, so you're going to be buying an "overlap" lens no matter what you get. Right now, you can get the WR 18-55 AND the 55-300 along with your K-30 for just $100 more (roughly) than getting it with just the 18-135. Having JUST those two lenses can likely give you all you'll want or need for the forseeable future. Having just the 18-135 may very well leave you wishing you had "more zoom." Trust me, if you're like most of us, you'll ALWAYS want MORE ZOOM.

Whichever way you go, I don't think you can go wrong with this camera or these lenses, and I really hope you get years of enjoyment out of your Pentax purchase!

A word is worth 1/1000th of a picture... Maybe that's why I use so many words!

 JeffAHayes's gear list:JeffAHayes's gear list
Pentax WG-3 Pentax K-5 Pentax K-30 Pentax K-3 Pentax smc DA* 16-50mm F2.8 ED AL (IF) SDM +8 more
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