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Discussion about camera lenses for #Pentax are much ado about nothing!

Camera Lenses

Camera lenses don’t make the photographer. There are 151 lenses that are compatible with all three of my Pentax cameras and there is no way I could use them all. The decision to go with Pentax when I re-engaged in my photography hobby was based on the fact I could continue to use my old lenses and I was comfortable with how they worked. For the record, my cameras at this time are:

  1. K-1ii
  2. K-5iis
  3. K-S1

My mother purchased my first camera for me in 1979, a Pentax ME Super. I still have a few of my original lenses in my arsenal!

Pentax Lenses v Third Party Manufacturer

Pentax has had the best glass in the business for as long as I have been shooting. I’m a #Pentaxian so no bias here! That being said, don’t limit yourself. Especially if budget is an issue. Third party lenses are high quality and every lens has its unique characteristics. Some have better bokeh while others may be sharper or allow you to get closer to your subject.

Pentax Lens

Pentax-F 100-300

The Pentax-FA 100-300mm has beautiful bokeh and can also be pretty sharp. Let’s set aside the discussion of zoom versus prime for now! I don’t think any zoom lens will ever be as sharp as a prime but isn’t the key to get the shot?

The photo at left was taken on a nice sunny day in the Bruce-Grey Peninsula using the Pentax-FA 100-300 on K-1ii. Thanks to the great light, I was able to shoot at ISO 140 and f9.5. With this lens I sometimes feel a little restricted with the short end at 100mm. Zooms like this aren’t the best for shooting landscape so mine don’t get much use. The 30mm difference between it and the Sigmas below may not seem like much but it truly is. I’ll write a comparison some time of some of my Pentax 55-300 and 75-300 glass.

Sigma Lens (Pentax K Mount)

Actually, I’m going to show you three versions of the same Sigma lens:

  1. Sigma 70-300 DL Macro Super
  2. Sigma 70-300 DG Macro
  3. Sigma 70-300 APO DG Macro
Photo of a chipmunk
Sigma 70-300 DL Super Macro

Sigma DL 70-300mm

The Sigma DL 70-300mm is an older lens dating back to the film era. The photo at right was taken with this lens on my K-1ii. It wasn’t as bright a day as I would like when using a longer lens like this. 1/60 sec at f5.6 ISO560 at 300mm.

I think that little critter was waiting to see what I was up to. Nice of it to pose while I took a shot!

Sigma 70-300 DG Macro

The Sigma 70-300 DG Macro has identical reach as the DL but has coatings maximized for digital cameras. The photo at left was taken with my K-S1 on a sunny day in Toronto at the bottom of Spadina Avenue at the lake.

This was at 133mm, f8 ISO 100 and 1/320 sec. Luckily I shot him before he started dive bombing me! They are particularly protective during mating season.

Sigma 70-300 DG Macro APO

Photo at night in Barrie
Sigma 70-300 DG Macro APO

The Sigma 70-300 DG Macro APO is supposed to be a better lens than the two above. The APO coating is better at minimizing chromatic aberration(CA).

The photo at right was taken with my K-1ii on tripod. 70mm at f11. 30 seconds exposure and ISO 140.

What Lens Should You Use?

Unless you are a “pixel peeper”, you will find that when you view the photos above, they are all pretty good. Keep in mind that I’m not a professional and adjust your expectations accordingly. If you are looking to find deficiencies, you will. In any lens.

Photo of a chipmunk
Sigma 70-300 DL Super Macro
Sigma 70-300 DG Macro (non APO)
Photo at night in Barrie
Sigma 70-300 DG Macro APO

Arguments are often made that you should match the manufacturer lens to the camera body. When a camera is new to market, that’s likely true. Fast forward a couple of years and the third party manufacturers actually come ahead in some cases. There is also a difference when you move away from “consumer” lenses like those above and into “professional” lenses like the HD Pentax-FA 150-450 or Sigma’s famous 50-500. You get what you pay for but why pay if you don’t need to?

For most of us amateurs, pay more attention to learning to use what you have to its best advantage. The reality is you are the artist creating your own vision. If someone likes your pictures enough, it won’t be because of the lens but rather the 12 inches behind the lens. By the way, that’s you.

So, buy what you can afford and use it well!

Make it a great day,


What am I thankful for today? Ebay, photography groups (great learning resources) and opportunities to shoot! What are you thankful for today?



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