Pentax 1 Lens Choices

Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5
Versatile 1 lens for a good focal range
1:2.3 close up in 70mm is extra sweet in walk-around
Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5
You will hear a lot of different opinion on one lens solution. Please don't take it personal from my negative opinion towards one single lens solution as I normally don't agree on one lens solution as I don't think that is the right idea to have in a dSLR system where you buy it to have the flexibility of using different lens designed for different specific purposes. But I will see the needs in traveling with less lens and minimal to zero lens change while in certain segments in traveling plan, weight reduction and easier usage with family as well as functional and quality compromises to have all-in-one zoom lenses

My version of 1 lens solution involves few combination to make the best use of my system with both zooms and primes

1. Weekend walk-around

I like to spend quality time with my family where I compromise on focal range in using a range that I use mostly for candid, portrait and landscape

All shot with Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5
Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5

Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5
Fireworks with tripod
sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5
sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5
decent outdoor portrait
sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5

2. For vacation that compromise towards 1 lens solution

I will take three lens to cover range with 2 zooms and make up the miss of speed and IQ with 1 fast prime

New Year night scene with FA 50 f/1.4
50mm is your friend at night
with Pentax FA 50mm f/1.4
50mm in wedding candid shots
with Pentax FA 50mm f/1.4

with Pentax FA 50mm f/1.4

3. For the absolute elite travel with limited primes

I will bring a trio or quad of limited or fast primes and bring two at a time. Plenty to choose form subject to your own liking and how you see fit.

Prime trio samples -- You have to bust the prime in Pentax world as they offer the best and unique choices of primes
  • #1: 21mm/40mm/70mm -- the most compact one due to Pentax pancake design
  • #2: 15mm/35mm/77mm -- almost the widest range except with DA 14mm f/2.8
  • #3: 21mm/35mm/40mm/50mm/77mm -- Hin's current limited trio/quad that key on functional in landscape, macro, and portrait in traveling, add 50mm for nighttime and need of fast speed.
  • #4: 12-24mm/43mm/70mm -- ok, one zoom which is more versatile in landscape shots
  • #5: 21mm/43mm/77mm -- a safe bet for a balance between FF and APS-C
picture with Pentax DA 21mm f/3.2
Portrait with FA 77mm f/1.8 limited
picture with Pentax fa 77mm f/1.8 limited
Only carry two primes at a time to get close to 1-lens compromise while leaving the unlikely used prime in the car or hotel.

4. Popular 1-lens do it all lenses
  • Pentax or Tamron 18-250mm
  • Sigma 18-250mm
  • older variants of Tamron or Pentax 28-300mm
I have seen a lot of outstanding shots from both Pentax and Tamron 18-250mm. It is one lens that is not to be missed in consideration if the strict criteria of 1 lens with no lens change is of utmost importance to you and that you don't mind lower speed and heavier lens to carry for the entire trip among other compromises in 1-lens do it all approach.

If I ever have accumulated enough fund, I would venture to get a used copy of either Pentax 18-250mm or the Tamron 18-250mm. And I wonder if Tamron 18-270mm will be made available for Pentax mount as that may change my LBA decision for the Pentax 1-lens selection.

With input from Street_Vision and RiceHigh in the comments to this article, I research more into both Tamron 18-250mm and Pentax DA 18-250mm. For a long time, I get the impressions that they are the same lens and re-badged in Pentax for the DA lens. When money suffice, I will invest on a used copy of either lens for 1-lens do it all purpose lens for traveling and weekend needs. My very admired friend in PentaxForums by the name of Robert Fortson often highly recommend this lens and so is this article from that is mentioned by RiceHigh in his valuable inputs in the comment of this blog post. Thanks to RH for the eye-opening link for great photos that one can do with this popular 1-lens do it all zoom lens.

Very impressive to say the least.

5. Your manual focus primes

And last but not the least is in not forgetting your manual focus primes. They can easily rival the best and the latest. With careful planning to mix new primes with old primes, new zooms with old primes, you can achieve dynamic setup that the 1-lens do it all options will lack behind by a bigger margin in terms of quality, weight in carrying one lens at a time, and gain of speed and characters with the old charms. Use your creativity to make lens change to be functional segment in the day. For instance, morning indoor breakfast and late night dinner with a fast prime that adds wonder to your charming vacation.
picture with cosina 24mm f/2.8

with Cosina 55mm f/1.2 in a aquarium
picture with Pentax DA 21mm f/3.2
dinner with Cosina 55mm f/1.2
picture with cosina 55mm f/1.2
picture with cosina 55mm f/1.2
Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar 58mm f/2.0 On Portraits

You are not bound with rules in the mixing. The good old glass are not the limited lens that cost you a bundle and make you a cry baby if you drop or lose them. And the old prime may serve better as a thief deterrent scheme in both its appearance in disguise of its value and most have sheer solid metal body that can induce injury when you throw it to your harm's way.



Yael DeFaye said...

I guess I'm like option number 2 with the pentax 55-300mm.
I love your blog! Please keep sharing all of your pictures and your reviews.


street_vision said...

If I had to choose 1 lens for travel, it would be my Tamron 18-250mm lens..Love this lens:)

RiceHigh said...

The Pentax DA 18-250 is not bad, you've forgot to mention:-

Hin Man said...

@Yael, thx again for the visit. I will be extremely happy if I ever upgrade my Tamron zoom to DA 55-300mm. The DA 55-300mm along with Sigma 17-70mm will be the two kit's zoom for most of my needs.

@street_vision, someday when I have extra money, I will like to have the Tamron 18-250mm, I wish the Tamron 18-270mm is available for Pentax

@RicHigh, thank you so much for the link to Pentax DA 18-250mm, I thought that Pentax lens is a rebadged Tamron 18-250mm. I mention the two as a pair in section 4 Popular 1-lens choices and I will include your link to for reference. Again, thanks to your valuable inputs.

Somanna said...

I just did not gel with my 18-250... I loved it at first, when my only lens at that time was the kit lens. But then after getting my FA50 and that lovely depth of field, my 18-250 saw less and less use. I sold it off, and would love the 17-70 range. I leave for India in Jan., so I'm hoping for some lower prices around thanksgiving and Christmas on that lens.

Michael said...

Unfortunatly, my 17-70 is decentered and in the next weeks I'll have to have it sent to Sigma Germany to get this corrected. Sigh. Elsewise a superb and versatile lens. I hope they get it right and I get more sharp corners in the future....

吉米言 said...

Love your opinion about lens.

I'll take Pentax LE lens for its small and great quality.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the breakdown ... much appreciated.

Y not just 15 - 35 - 50? It's like a 24mm, 50mm and a 75mm setup in FF. Sometimes the 70 or 77 just don't get enough use although I have seen very beautiful landscapes with 77. I will also choose the DA 35 2.4 instead of the 35 Ltd.

I would love to have a 15-31-77 though if budget's not a concern.

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