Will the SMC DA* 50-135 mm f2.8 ED IF SDM suffice as an only lens?

Started Nov 19, 2012 | Questions thread
Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 14,019
Re: Will the SMC DA* 50-135 mm f2.8 ED IF SDM suffice as an only lens?

FabriceS wrote:

It looks like I can buy the 18-55 WR for $150, which would be no strain. Is it really a good lens, though?

A main reason I want to move up to DSLR is that I've been unhappy with the lack of sharpness of my Fuji (another is that I can't really see much through the optical viewfinder). My reason for thinking of shelling out for the DA* 50-135 is that people seemed to be saying it is very sharp, and will let me blow pictures up to 20x30 and still have them pop. In contrast, the reviews of the 18-55 seem to be kind of dismissive.

The reason that the most common kit lens from all DSLR makers is 18-55mm is because that range covers a huge proportion of all the shots ever taken.  You may be different from the general run of photographers but you'd need to be very different if you never want to shoot under 50mm (which has the FOV of 75mm on film, so it's really a tele length).

As to the quality of the 18-55WR, it's actually pretty good.  The only way it falls down is that it gets soft in the corners at 18mm: obviously you'd be happier if it was crisp all over throughout its range, but the question is whether you can afford two top-quality lenses.  The real problem with kit lenses isn't so much their IQ as the fact that they are quite slow (typically f/5.6) at their longer end: fine if all you want is working in good light but otherwise a bit restrictive.

If the equivalent range of 75 to 200 is really where you expect to do most of your shooting, then the minor loss of IQ for the few shots you'll take down at 27mm equivalent is a small price to pay.  If, however, you want to use a bigger range of FLs from wide to tele you could well do better to buy one of the standard zooms mentioned by others plus a cheaper tele-zoom.

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First camera 1953, first Pentax 1985, first DSLR 2006

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