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08-04-2007, 07:28 AM   #1
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Thoughts on TC's and long zooms

As we all know, Pentax still have a considerable number of lenses to deliver on their existing roadmap and it's fairly obvious, from many posts, that quite a few people have requirements for TC's and a long tele-zoom that don't figure on any known plans that Pentax have for the "very near" future.

It's also quite clear that while Pentax have the ability to develop their own lenses, especially primes, they are pretty stretched on development resources and have partnered with Tokina to co-develop the zooms. Although they have their new lens facility now in place, once again, it's fairly obvious that it's going to be fully committed to the production of all the new DA* and DA lenses already on the roadmap, without adding, perhaps more specialised, products.

In fact, when I asked Pentax about having a dedicated TC, the response suggested that they could do this only if they dropped a lens from the roadmap! It did come from a reasonably solid source.

In the light of this, what do you feel about the idea of Pentax farming out some of their lens requirements to Tokina/Kenko and maybe Tamron if feasable?

I'm specifically thinking that a "Pentaxised" Tamron 18-250 could be a very good way to attract the ex P&S customers looking to upgrade, in fact I may even be tempted by an all in one travel zoom, even if it just had the latest SMC coating and nothing else, Dual mechanical/SDM AF could be an expense that would make it unnattractive price wise.

Another area I could see as a useful co-operation is to have a couple of TC's specifically made for Pentax by Kenko-Tokina, especially a 1.4x and 2x from their Pro range, which they currently don't have in Pentax mount.

Pentax could have a small chip inserted into the TC's to give the data to the camera for correct SR and lens Exif data. For non-chipped TC's they could do a simple firmware patch to have a manual entry for TC usage and two settings say 1.4/1.5x and 2x. - Job done!

Finally, why not a Pentax re-badged (plus SMC) version of the Tamron 200-500 Di zoom? This lens only comes with in-lens AF motors, so up till now it was never available in K mount. but with with the advent of the K10D and now the K100D Super, it would be a great way to have a very reasonably priced (less than Bigma) long tele-zoom for Pentax with SDM and with Pentax SR it would be rather nice, I would certainly be in the market for one, a great addition to the 60-250 for the birding/sport/aircraft guys (me!).

I'm sure that Pentax could give enough volume business to Tamron to make this a worthwhile project, what do you feel?

If you're with me on this I'll keep on throwing the mud at Pentax, maybe some will stick!

FURTHER THOUGHTS

Just to keep you all on your toes! Here's my current list for them for the near future and next year (after the current roadmap is complete)!

Not in any real order, also I've left bodies out, they can sort that out for themselves!

Lenses
Pentax primes, they seem able to do these okay on their own!
DA 16mm f2.8 (f4.0 min) smallish (pseudo pancake) rectilinear W/A.
DA 24 f2.0 and/or 28 f2.0
DA*85 f1.4
DA*135 f2.0
DA*400 f5.6
(Bigger (faster) longer primes later, or re-engineered FA*300/2.8 and 600/5.6 into new DA* style housings, they'll still be v. expensive I guess!)

Zooms

As above - By OEM from Tamron (can't be QS or WS, that would be too much re-design), just add Pentax style focus/zoom grips and have SMC coatings.
DA 18-250 (SMC) super zoom
DA 200-500 (SMC, SDM), maybe this could be a Pentax badged exclusive? This lens has a much higher user rating on Photozone (3.8) than the Bigma (2.63), or any other long idependent tele-zoom. It's also a reasonable price, it's less than a Bigma.

By OEM or joint agreement for an SDM version from Tokina
DA 80-400 SMC (SDM?) based upon the Tokina AT-X 840 AF D (Pentax exclusive).

It's predecessors were a very popular choice as a compact superzoom, but real hard to find. I had one and sold it to fund my FA*300/4.5, I almost regret selling it now, it was a very useful lens.

Here are some examples I took with my istD Tokina AT-X 80-400mm AFII Photo Gallery by Richard Day at pbase.com.

I know this would be a popular choice for those not wanting something as long or large as the 200-500 or Bigma.

By OEM from Kenko-Tokina
1.4x (Pro) TC with chip
2x (Pro) TC with chip

Again like the long telezooms above, these could also be exclusive, as Kenko-Tokina don't have Pentax mount available for these two, just the Pro 300 (3x)

Plus a firmware patch for setting SR for use with non chipped TC's

Accessories

Advanced flash system using a wireless (+ radio?) commander

Slave receivers compatible with studio lights

Suitable wireless (+ radio channel) flash heads (GN 36) for hot shoe or lens mounting system for multiple flsah head macro use (instead of ring flash)

I think these items would make the "system" very attractive to everyone, both newcomers and fanboys!

I'm sure there are other more specialised items that are desireable, but I think that they are/will be best served by independent makers.

Any other (sensible) ideas anyone?

08-04-2007, 10:13 AM   #2
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I don't understand Pentax marketing

Richard,

This is a subject that has bothered me since I bought my K10D back in November. I've bought and sold OEM for the last 30 years and the fact that Pentax does not do this is amazing. A consumers line of lenses acquired from somebody should be a no brainer and produce a huge additional profit. There could be several reasons why they haven't done this.

1) Not enough capitol to purchase the initial run. The OEM would want an order for X number of each lens and Pentax may not have had the capitol to do it.

2)The OEM's are not interested because they do not have enough manufacturing capacity to supply the demand.

3)Ego. "If we don't make it we don't want to sell it." A common attitude but stupid and short sighted.

4) laziness. The marketing department is either lazy or incompetent.

It's been my experience OEM's will build anything you want to your specifications if you have the money to buy it. With the manufacturing capacity that is available in China, I would think finding an OEM would be no problem for an aggressive marketing department. That leaves Money, ego, and laziness as the only logical reasons this has not been done.

Whatever the reason, it is inexcusable for a company to not have a full line of product to sell in todays market. My guess is the Marketing department has been spending their time covering their backside because of the Hoya buyout rather than addressing ways of making headway in the market.

Regards,

ken
08-04-2007, 11:55 AM   #3
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Short primes

QuoteOriginally posted by Richard Day Quote
Pentax primes, they seem able to do these okay on their own!
DA 16mm f2.8 (f4.0 min) smallish (pseudo pancake) rectilinear W/A.
DA 24 f2.0 and/or 28 f2.0
I am with you. ~16mm and ~24mm (+/-1mm) primes are what I need. However, releasing DA 16/4 may cannibalize sales of DA 16-45/4 since many people are buying DA 16-45/4 specifically for the 16mm end. (I don't see any problem with DA 24/2.8 or DA 25/2.8).

Perhaps Pentax should release ultra-wide "landscape" lens? Since we usually use ultra wide for landscape at smaller apertures anyway, speed would not be too important and I'd be first in line to buy something like DA 15/4.5 AL, provided that optics is perfectly corrected (minimal barrel distortion, CA and vignetting free) and sold at a reasonable price (that is, cheaper than DA limiteds). IMO lens like that would be a big hit.
08-05-2007, 09:24 AM   #4
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The DA* 400 should be an f/4 so it could be used with a 1.4 teleconverter. And I agree Pentax should partner with Tokina/Kenko to offer both 1.4 and 2X TC's.

Cheers, Mike.

08-05-2007, 05:48 PM   #5
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SDM TCs a must.

Something in the range of 70-200/2.8 is obviously wanted judging by the questions in here. I'm put off the upcoming 60-250 as it's only f4 (yes it does make a difference!).

As long as any third parties are up to high Pentax standards I can't see a problem with it.
08-06-2007, 01:21 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Arpe Quote
SDM TCs a must.

Something in the range of 70-200/2.8 is obviously wanted judging by the questions in here. I'm put off the upcoming 60-250 as it's only f4 (yes it does make a difference!).

As long as any third parties are up to high Pentax standards I can't see a problem with it.
The new Tamron 70-200 may well be your answer, okay no SDM or WS, but I suspect it will be a very high quality lens. There is always the Sigma 70-200 EX as well.

I don't see the DA*60-250 as a 70-200 alternative, more like a smaller, lighter version of a 100-300 f4.0. The range for me is perfect, I was out birding yesterday and was using my Tamron 70-300 Di and most of my shots were in the range of 70 to 260mm, over 80% being from 130 to 260, so even the 50-135 wouldn't be much use to me for this kind of work, it's much more of a portrait, large object sports/action work

220mm at f8.0, ISO 100.



I did try using my 1.4x TC but the combined IQ was rather poor, so didn't persist, whereas it works well with my FA*300 (you need a very good lens to get the best from a TC).

Pleased you agree about the TC's
08-06-2007, 01:52 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by MikePerham Quote
The DA* 400 should be an f/4 so it could be used with a 1.4 teleconverter. And I agree Pentax should partner with Tokina/Kenko to offer both 1.4 and 2X TC's.

Cheers, Mike.
That would make it a real "Biggie" and probably out of most people's price range. The front element would be 100mm diameter and I shudder to think of the cost!

At 400mm the maximum workable aperture would be f5.6, a 71.5mm dia front element, that's as large as possible congruent with Pentax's current 77mm max screw-in filter size.

I think that a 1.4x TC would be workable in good light provided the lens has high contrast at f5.6.

It would be nice to think Pentax could attract enough market to begin to offer the "big guns" again. But they do still make the FA*300/2.8 and 600/f4.0 to special order.

Maybe they will re-engineer/update the housings to feature SDM and WS in the future? That would be a sensible move, a D-FA* 300mm f2.8 would be your best bet with quality TC's, you could use a 2x quite happily with that one instead of a 400 f4.0 with a 1.4x.

Other than Pentax's own glass, there is always the Sigma 300 f2.8 EX and 500 f4.5 EX.

Last edited by Richard Day; 08-06-2007 at 01:59 AM.
08-06-2007, 10:06 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Richard Day Quote
Other than Pentax's own glass, there is always the Sigma 300 f2.8 EX and 500 f4.5 EX.
Yep, I have the former.. and both TC offering from Sigma plus the Pentax 1.7x AF. The latter is my choice for 'semi-close use' as it acts as a manual then can lock in with the AF or green button; the 300mm f/2.8 + 2x around the pond was a lesson in futility! (constant hunting; not one keeper in a few dozen shots, yes with all shots past minimum focus dist.) The 1.4x and 2x by Sigma works real well with AF when not trying to shoot 'close' ; though I do get a good deal of hunting with the 2x quite a bit (a focus limiter is desperately needed) .

edit: big plus for the 1.7x. Since it doesn't fully act as a AF TC with the lens, the camera asks you the focal length on start-up, and I punch in 500mm. This actually yields better shake reduction response since the proper motion is calculated, unlike with the Sigma 1.4x and 2x TC. With the latter, the camera still sees a 300mm lens regardless of Sigma TC used, and shake reduction is not fully effective.


Last edited by m8o; 08-06-2007 at 06:39 PM.
08-06-2007, 05:39 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Richard Day Quote
The new Tamron 70-200 may well be your answer, okay no SDM or WS, but I suspect it will be a very high quality lens. There is always the Sigma 70-200 EX as well.
I already have a Sigma 70-200 EX, plus 1.4x and 2x EX converters. I've been using it to take rugby photos recently, usually with the 1.4x on (so 100-280). Standard autofocus isn't quite up to the job, close to it though (not with the 2x on though), so SDM version would be great! With the Pentax at 60-250 f/4 I'm losing 30mm at the long end with same f4, hmmmm. But at least with the Sigma I can take the TC off and get back to f2.8, which I did have to do once as it late afternoon and raining - very dark! I also find a zoom so useful for sport rather than a prime, well for large field sports anyway.

So the short of it is that if the 60-250 were 2.8 I'd be first in line, then wait for the SDM compatible 1.4x, but if it's f4 then I'll stick with Sigma.

(BTW, any idea if the existing Sigma EX TCs for Pentax are already compatible with Sigma's HSM? Maybe the contacts are there but just unsused?)
08-14-2007, 10:33 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Richard Day Quote
DA 16mm f2.8 (f4.0 min) smallish (pseudo pancake) rectilinear W/A.
DA 24 f2.0 and/or 28 f2.0
I'd be all over any of these. It amazes me that nobody makes a 16 or 17mm prime for APS format DSLRs.
08-15-2007, 02:19 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by nextsibling Quote
I'd be all over any of these. It amazes me that nobody makes a 16 or 17mm prime for APS format DSLRs.
Well there is the DA 14 f2.8, sadly I don't think a 16mm would be much smaller, faster or cheaper, the most likely is a smallish 16/18mm at around f3.5 - f4.0.

The DA 14 is the best value 14mm out there. You can buy a body with this lens for the price of the lens alone from the other makes and still have some change!

If it's IQ you're after, the DA 12-24 is really very hard to beat, even by a prime. It's a lens. Not that small though.
08-15-2007, 05:41 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Richard Day Quote
Well there is the DA 14 f2.8, sadly I don't think a 16mm would be much smaller, faster or cheaper, the most likely is a smallish 16/18mm at around f3.5 - f4.0.
I hear this a lot when people discuss wide-angle primes in Pentax mount. There's only two, after all, the 14mm and the 21mm. That's a huge leap in field of view - about 23 degrees difference. The lack of something around 16-18mm is like a camera brand in the days of 35mm not offering a 24mm in their range. They all did, of course, because it's a hugely useful field of view. The 14mm is a fine lens, but it's too wide for my liking, more of a special-purpose lens than a usefully general tool.

I shot for years with nothing but a 28mm and an 85mm, occasionally pulling out something longer and zoomier for sports. Compact, simple, no fuss and could cover just about anything.

This isn't a bash at Pentax, they're no worse than any other brand in this department, more frustration with DSLR makers as a whole who seem to have forgotten that there's generations who grew up with and learned how to see with popular mid-range wides like 24mm and 28mm who are now compelled to use zooms instead. No choice. Nothing wrong with zooms if that's your style, of course. But I resent having to use something like my Tamron 17-35mm when it hardly ever leaves the 17mm end and is over-engineered for the way I like to use a wide. Nice lens, I just don't need most of it.

Size and weight isn't all that big a deal, whatever's put on a K10D isn't going to make it a compact camera. The 21mm on the K10D is kind of silly, from a handling point of view. Just a little bigger and it would be much easier to focus and hold.
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