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05-13-2010, 02:58 AM   #1
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Lightweight good quality short/medium tele?

I'm new here (hello!) and I think someone might be able to help with this - I've been dithering for months.

When I got my camera (K200D) a couple of years ago I picked up a used Tamron 70-300mm zoom with 1:2 macro, which has served me quite well ever since. In the intervening time I've added a Sigma 10-20mm (love it) and ditched the 18-55 kit zoom for a 40mm Limited (also great).

Now I'm looking for a lens to replace the Tamron which will give me something like the image quality of the wider lenses without going into DA* spending territory.

I considered the big Sigma 70-200mm for a while but the size/weight compromise to get that speed just isn't worth it for me - I shoot landscape & travel more than wildlife/sports so I'd leave the thing at home. I've been looking at the DA 55-300mm which is appealing for it's size but I think the quality improvement over the Tamron might be quite small (any first hand experience here?). My latest fixation is the DFA 100mm WR Macro which seems wonderful, though priced quite high and I might miss the long end from the old zoom somewhat.

Are there any obvious or esoteric options I've missed? I'd prefer to stick to auto-focus (had a couple of old MF ones and just never took them anywhere) but they don't need to be brand new or still in production.

05-13-2010, 05:29 AM   #2
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Hello!


The prime (heh) candidate for "lightweight good quality short/medium tele" would be either the DA*50-135 or Sigmas 50-150, both regarded as very good (though the DA* somewhat better). Both are far lighter and smaller than the 70-200 zooms, and you get a better (in my opinion, at least) zoom range. 70mm is quite long on APS-C, although 50mm isn't exactly wide either.

If you don't need weather sealing, the Sigma seems to cost USD $3-400 less than the 50-135.

The DA 55-300 is quite a lot better than the Tamron (it costs three times as much, after all), but the "usability" would be about the same. If you don't sell the Tamron, you have the possibility to go beyond 135/150mm if needed. I find the speed more useful than the extra range, though (I have both the Tamron 70-300 and the Sigma 50-150, the former hasn't got any use since I got the latter).
05-13-2010, 05:41 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by KjetilH Quote
Hello!


The prime (heh) candidate for "lightweight good quality short/medium tele" would be either the DA*50-135 or Sigmas 50-150, both regarded as very good (though the DA* somewhat better). Both are far lighter and smaller than the 70-200 zooms, and you get a better (in my opinion, at least) zoom range. 70mm is quite long on APS-C, although 50mm isn't exactly wide either.

If you don't need weather sealing, the Sigma seems to cost USD $3-400 less than the 50-135.

The DA 55-300 is quite a lot better than the Tamron (it costs three times as much, after all), but the "usability" would be about the same. If you don't sell the Tamron, you have the possibility to go beyond 135/150mm if needed. I find the speed more useful than the extra range, though (I have both the Tamron 70-300 and the Sigma 50-150, the former hasn't got any use since I got the latter).
These are excellent suggestions, if as the OP states length is not really important. you trade a lot of diameter and weight when dropping from 200mm to 150 or 135 while staying at F2.8. and get the good perfromance and speed when you need it.

The problem I see is that the OP is still thinking a something to 300mm lens, yet states wildlife is not important, To me that seems to be a contradiction.


The other option is for him to stay with his existing lenses and add a K135F2.5

OK it is manual focus, but in terms of lens speed, image quality and weight, there is nothing at that length that can match it.
05-13-2010, 06:08 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by timh Quote
Now I'm looking for a lens to replace the Tamron which will give me something like the image quality of the wider lenses without going into DA* spending territory.

Are there any obvious or esoteric options I've missed? I'd prefer to stick to auto-focus (had a couple of old MF ones and just never took them anywhere) but they don't need to be brand new or still in production.
If you're looking for increased resolution over your Tamron, the Pentax probably won't satisfy you. If OTOH you're primarily interested in colour and contrast, you might be very happy with the 55-300mm. I have both but only use the Pentax for its punchy look and deeply saturated colours. It definitely has a family resemblance to my other Pentax lenses.

I'm not aware of a better long zoom that is anywhere near the same size. The D FA 100mm is a better lens in every way except range.

05-13-2010, 06:49 AM   #5
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Thanks for the quick replies!

Just to clarify, wildlife isn't a major consideration but sometimes it's great to have the ability to go long at a moment's notice if I spot some photogenic beast (distant seals, shy reindeers, that kind of thing). But still, it's all about compromise.

The DA* is beyond any budget I can reasonably justify, unfortunately - but the Sigma 50-150 is something I hadn't seriously looked at, good idea. Cost is not much more than DFA 100 WR either, though it is twice the weight and bulkier. Hmm!

That K135 F2.5 is new to me, looks like a really good idea except that it might well be disregarded in the way my other MF lenses were. Having said that, I lose nothing by buying one and selling it again if it gathers dust. Could be a plan, thanks - sometimes it's helpful to ignore parts of the question.

As far as the 55-300 goes, it may be three times the price but my Tamron is very good for the price (I think) so I'm aware it's not a straight case of comparing costs. The resolution is definitely what I'd like to improve, so if I'm still going to be less than overjoyed I'll give this one a miss.

Very helpful, not quite decided yet, more opinions very welcome...
05-13-2010, 06:55 AM   #6
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The Pentax F 135mm f/2.8 (if you can find one) is a great lens!
05-13-2010, 07:52 AM   #7
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Pentax SMC F 70-210 autofocus zoom is a great sleeper..... shouldn't cost more than about $150.
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05-13-2010, 07:53 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Henrik Kristensen Quote
The Pentax F 135mm f/2.8 (if you can find one) is a great lens!
or the FA version . . . but when I find them I suffer from sticker shock.

05-13-2010, 08:04 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
or the FA version . . . but when I find them I suffer from sticker shock.
Sorry, what is "Sticker Shock" ??
05-13-2010, 08:20 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Henrik Kristensen Quote
Sorry, what is "Sticker Shock" ??
The price is about 2x what I'd expect it to be. Its like finding a bear in your closet.
05-13-2010, 08:29 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Henrik Kristensen Quote
Sorry, what is "Sticker Shock" ??
The price of an item is often shown by printing it on a sticker and attaching to the item. Sticker shock occurs when you see the price on the sticker and are that is is so high.
05-13-2010, 08:31 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
The price is about 2x what I'd expect it to be. Its like finding a bear in your closet.
Thanks for the explanation.

So this is something that applies to most Pentax lenses these days
05-13-2010, 08:50 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
or the FA version . . . but when I find them I suffer from sticker shock.
I, unfortunately, have had the same experience. I'm still looking for an F or FA at a reasonable price. Thankfully patience, in this instance, is a virtue, as I'm in no rush whatsoever.
05-13-2010, 09:10 AM   #14
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I have previously owned the SMC F 135mm 2.8 & now own the DA* 50-135mm whilst the F135mm is a nice lens & solidly built the benefits of the 50-135mm zoom range outweigh the 135mm

SRS Microsystems in the UK currently have an SMC F 135mm 2.8 for just 175 which I don't expect to be there for long at that price to be honest...
05-13-2010, 10:58 AM   #15
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Hmm.. I've got a nearby source for the F 70-210 (inflated British prices, of course), I may take a drive and try it out on Saturday. Seems better than modern compact zooms, so certainly worth a look!

Can't see those 135's for sale after a quickish look around - the one at SRS must have gone between your post and mine, cabstar - that is quick. That said, if you lens-addicts are having "sticker shock" maybe I should stay well away.

I was just flicking through some photos.. this (240mm) and this (200mm) are the kind of thing I'll miss out on if I go for that beautiful 100mm DFA. Perhaps if I get the cheapish F70-210 I can justify one of those as well..! Oh dear.
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