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08-27-2007, 07:12 AM   #1
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Help on finding a good motorsports lens...

..or an excellent 'walk-around' lens.

Let me start off by saying I already have the DA 50-200, and while I love it, it's a little lacking in the range. I'd like 300mm for what I do.

I've searched and read some threads about the Sigma 70-300 DG APO, and the Tamron 70-300 Di. Back when I had a Minolta 5D I had a Tamron 28-300mm with me at a racetrack on a cloudy, dark day and it did decently well (without a monopod too)

I realize the compromise that comes w/ 18-200 or 28-300 styles lenses, but at racetracks you don't have a lot of time to switch lenses (i'm not a pro, so i don't have a 2nd K10 body, thanks). I noticed on my trip to Rockport, MA, I was switching lenses a lot, and everytime i did i had a crap load of dust on the sensor whether i did it in the car or in the motel. It was really really annoying.

I suscribe to Digital Camera Mag (UK mag) and they gave a favorable review of the Sigma 18-200mm and recommended it over everything else except the Nikkor 18-200. At the same time, i've seen some favorable reviews of the Tamron 18-250mm (which gives me just a teeny bit more range). The racetrack i'm going to this year is the same one, and I'll have a media pass so I'll be close to the action.

Autofocus doesn't have to be blazingly fast, but it is a factor. I haven't read anyone saying which of the two brands in 70-300 is better at it.
I also have a monopod now, which i'll use for cloudier days.


Help me out please

08-27-2007, 07:47 AM   #2
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Have a look at blwnhr's threads on the Sigma 50-500 (Bigma) thread for motorsport ... recently went to a motorcycle track day with great success.
08-27-2007, 07:49 AM   #3
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I've seen photos from that lens, it's good. But i can't afford it. I forgot to mention my budget which is the $500 and below range (college student hehe).

After writing this thread, i'm thinking
maybe I should get get a tele converter for my DA 50-200. I'm getting bummed about the 'choices' out there for the Pentax mount

Last edited by skydragoness; 08-27-2007 at 08:01 AM.
08-27-2007, 08:16 AM   #4
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Check the reviews at photozone.de for some detailed reviews on those lenses. Some you'll have to look at the Canon and Nikon Mount versions but it's still a good idea as to what the lenses are capable of.

Btw..don't use teleconvertors with your Da50-200. Way too dark and if you don't use the right ones, you lose aperture control.

08-27-2007, 12:34 PM   #5
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Sub $500 doesn't leave you with too many options really. If 300mm is your goal, a Sigma 70-300 APO DG would be right up your alley at sub $200 used. If you hunt a bit further, you can probably find a used Sigma 135-400 lens at a decent price giving you a bit longer reach though the lens can be rather awkward to hand-hold at full zoom. When I had my K100 I was using the Sigma 70-300 APO DG for my motorsports shooting and it worked alright, the reach was decent for some events but others I found myself needing longer focal length and when the sun went down a faster aperture (motorsports photography is a large invement).

-s
08-27-2007, 12:49 PM   #6
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I shoot mainly motorsports events, I used mostly my 28-200mm, and my 70-320mm.

bought the 28-200 used and the 70-320 new and spent just a bit over $500 for both

I got some really nice pitures this weekend from the 28-200 i'll post up later
08-27-2007, 07:50 PM   #7
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Gaelen: which 80-320mm do you use? the FA series? Is the autofocus pretty good?

I realize the investment involved and what lenses are needed for motorsports but I'm not at that budget level yet, or at that level professionalism. I'm a amateur that just happens to know some people so i can get media pass access

This is the genre I'm most interested in though.
08-27-2007, 08:39 PM   #8
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yes it is the FA series.....it's a bit slow on full range, but I find it is really not bad at all.

heres a few from the weekend.....both with the 28-200mm

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08-27-2007, 10:57 PM   #9
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Although these shots weren't taken with pentax gear, this will give you a rough idea of what you can accomplish with a 70-300 range lens. All shots were taken using a standard Canon EF 75-300 USM III lens, this is for all intensive purposes a crap lens and its only saving grace is the Ultrasonic motor. No APO glass or even low dispersion which gives horrible CA's and brutal flare, so the $175 spent on a Sigma bests this lens anyday. Any questions feel free to ask!







08-28-2007, 02:44 AM   #10
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You seem to be concentrating on rather slow lenses in order to get a wide zoom ratio.

You may be happier with a faster 70-200 zoom plus a 1.4x or 1.7x TC

Although a very old lens, you can still get good condition Vivitar series 1 70-210 mm F3.5. Newer editions were F2.8-F4.0 but I liked the constant apature. Also this lens is a single ring zoom which means you only need 1 hand to zoom and focus. I coupled this with the 1.7x AF TC and used this combination for many years with my PZ-1.

The lens also has the advantage of a reasoable macro lens. Only disadvantages are no tripod mount (it is a heavy lens) and the weight of the zoom collar causes it to slip when pointed straight down.
08-28-2007, 12:50 PM   #11
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I really appreciate your input guys, it's helping me a lot.

Ok, so teleconverter w/ a DA 50-200 is out, so I'm looking hard at the Sigma and Tamron 70-300 lens, i've read they are pretty comparable in optic quality and AF speed. And the Tamron does have that great 6 yr warranty.

I honestly can cope w/ slow AF at events , the only events a slow AF sucks is at a drift event like you showed Gaelen.

I actually own one of these cars (it's in my avatar):



smcclelland: Those are the kind of cars I shoot, (autocross/solo and drift cars as well). For a crap lens, the color looks very good, and it looks like it's overcast too.

I've captured that Audi R10 at LimeRock this past July.

I'll search on the forum for the 70-300 Tamron vs Sigma threads.

Lowell: I can do MF, the lens you describe sounds easy to deal with. I'll look it up (would you happen to have any pics of your own w/ it? )

Thanks again everybody, i'm racking my brain over this
08-28-2007, 01:59 PM   #12
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actually for what people say about these lenses being slow, I have had great success with them.
I plan on sticking with these for a long time, they are very versatile and Continue to impress me as I understand the camera more


and well that guy got going a bit too fast later in the day


also for anyone wanting to see the rest of the pictures

CellBlock D - Sideways till the tires are gone!

Last edited by Gaelen; 08-28-2007 at 02:18 PM.
08-28-2007, 02:35 PM   #13
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For the sake of sanity on your panning shots, stick to a AF lens as you're going to want to use AF Continuous mode at a lot of events; having to MF while panning a car and zooming out to frame it can be a real pain in the ass. I owned a Sigma 70-300 APO DG and shot Formula One with it, never once had a complaint about the AF speed on it and I knew it's limitations being an f4-f5.6 lens. If you're just getting your feet wet and are looking for a good range with strong optical quality and good IQ I'd say the Sigma will fit the bill until you get the funds aside for something like a Bigma.

If you need any samples from the Sigma, search for threads started by me and there should be Formula One/Ferrari challenge and the Steelback Grand Prix. I try to frequent here when I can but I feel rather out of place not owning Pentax gear anymore.

The weekend was a horrible weekend for weather, every year Mosport gets monsoon like rain during the event so I had to do some colour boosting in the camera and in aperture to balance it out. The viper still is just an image resize without any PP colour boosting applied to it, there was just enough light to get a good range of colours with that.

-s

Last edited by smcclelland; 08-28-2007 at 02:57 PM.
08-28-2007, 06:21 PM   #14
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^ Good advice smcclelland, i enjoy using MF lenses for other things besides motorsport, and i could very easily go insane.

So I went to the camera shop today in my area, and they are a Tamron-only dealer. And they didn't have a Pentax mount Tamron 70-300 to show me. But he showed me a Promaster, saying that it's made by Tamron and they're exactly the same (i raised an eyebrow). I think it's a load of poop because why would it be the same quality and construction and cost less and Tamron not put there name on it? Smells fishy. At least there's more prestige w/ the Tamron name than 'Promaster'

Gaelen: One reason why i won't drift. My S13 is my daily driver.
08-28-2007, 06:41 PM   #15
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Never heard of Promaster unfortunately but I've generally stuck to the rule of keeping to the main roads of the known brands (Sigma and Tamron both have awesome warranties that really can't be beaten).
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