20 January 2016

going with the easy answer

A good kit doesn't come much more simple than this: three talented zooms covering 10-300mm.

For ultimate image quality the kit should have more primes, faster glass - and 24Mpix or greater camera to make best use of them.  For the amount of shooting that I do right now and in the near future, such investments make no sense - and today's Pentax primes are not weather resistant.  The 10-17 can focus to point-blank range, capture anything I want to shoot and its fishiness is great fun; sadly it's not foul-weather friendly like the other two lenses.  The venerable 18-55 DAL WR has really never let me down; its markdown features like distortion at 18mm certainly are irrelevant compared to the fisheye at 17mm, and the red kit lens also gives me 1/3 lifesize images.  These two lightweights will keep the rather bulky 16-85mm zoom out of my bag.. for a while, at least! Hmmm, I'd save 50 grams in the bag, lose $250 in the wallet and 10-16mm coverage, and an occasional lens change.  Nope, not for a while.  If anything would prove more convenient it might be the new 18-50RE, with its silent focus and 58mm filters that match the HD55-300.  The new red-ring HD is the newest version of the best Pentax-fit telezoom in its price range, and none speak ill of it other than its leisurely speed to focus.

These are not my only lenses; the 50mm f/1.7 A can be useful when light fails, the 300mm mirror lens is small and creates unique images and the manual zooms are fun at times.  In general though, for what I shoot (and how seldom I print big) the three AF zooms can handle anything that I need a camera to manage.  The K50's higher ISO abilities make faster glass less crucial (and only the 150-450mm beast is WR) so the balance of bulk and image quality is just right for me.

The 100-300 Sigma DL now can keep the NX adapter mounted and become the unstabilized NX300 telezoom for a while, where its old-school aperture ring will be useful. I've never tried keeping both the 100-300 and 55-300 before; it's nice to have them both yet not crowding each other!