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09-18-2010, 06:23 AM   #1
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Fast 200mm options

Contemplating getting a fast tele - for usage, say 50% sport, 25% people, 25% other.

The options about the <=600 ($1000) mark seem to be:

Pentax FA* 200mm f/2.8
Pentax DA* 200mm f/2.8

or

Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 I or II (USM or not)
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8
Tokina 828 AT-X 80-200 f/2.8

I guess the two options are fairly similar:

I think I read the DA* and FA* optics are the same, so just a question of SDM reliability and finish? Weight and size is a big pro (c.880g, 13.4cm long).

The zooms I guess are of a fairly similar IQ (Tamron<Tokina<Sigma ?). Pro is flexibility, cons are size and weight (1.3kg, 18cm). Guess a prime would be noticeably sharper wide open at 200mm.

Have searched quite a bit, but no direct comparisons. Anyone particularly happy happy/unhappy with any of these lenses? Or any thoughts on price (bear in mind I'm in the UK, not continental US)

Thanks!

PS Obviously I'd love a FA* 80-200...

09-18-2010, 06:41 AM   #2
axl
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I only have owned the Tamron and it was terrific at 200mm.
People seem to prefer it over Sigma (and with Sigma the oldest AF version is rated highest).
With the primes it's about SDM/WR... do you need/want those? go DA* you don't go FA*. Optically they are the same..
09-18-2010, 06:56 AM   #3
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Here you go.

smc PENTAX FA* 200mm f/2.8 ED IF Excellent - eBay (item 160450551523 end time Sep-27-10 22:00:05 PDT)

I would readily recommend both the lens, and the seller. I can't give a direct compare to the DA*200 but I'm quite pleased with my copy of this lens. Not so huge that you cannot hold it and (I think) stellar optical quality. I've yet to have a problem with any of my SDM lenses but it won't be an issue with this one. Can't comment on the zooms other than to say, of the ones I've tried, I tend to prefer the Tamron lenses.

09-18-2010, 07:18 AM   #4
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I've had the DA* for a year now. It was my favorite lens on safari and does great for sports.

09-18-2010, 07:43 AM   #5
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I see from your signature you have an LX and an ME Super in addition to a K10 and K100DS. I also note a number of manual focus lenses. If auto focus is not absolutely essential might I recommend the Pentax A 200/2.8 or the older K 200/2.5. Both are highly regarded and get great reviews. They could be used in both the film and digital formats equally well. The K 200/2.5 would look great on your LX. Zooms have gotten better but no question the prime will be sharper at 200mm. In addition no worries about SDM failure.

Tom G

Last edited by 8540tomg; 09-18-2010 at 07:51 AM. Reason: typo
09-18-2010, 02:29 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by 8540tomg Quote
might I recommend the Pentax A 200/2.8
+1

This lens for me is a real winner and should in budget.
09-18-2010, 02:51 PM   #7
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Can you forgo AF for economy?? Tamron AD-2 SP 180/2.5 or the AD-2 80-200/2.8 for 1/3 to 1/2 the price and excellent build and IQ.

But you ain't gettin' mine!

H2
09-18-2010, 02:58 PM   #8
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Original Poster
Guys, many thanks for your opinions - think for what I'm going to use it for I'd prefer to stick to AF.

Might rent the DA* 200mm for a week and see how I get on as a first step...

PS Some of the more esoteric lenses aren't that easy to get hold of?!

09-18-2010, 03:58 PM   #9
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If you can a cept MF and a 1/2 stop slower what about a takumar 200. F3.5 or a series 1 70-200 F3.5 ( version 1). I have both and they are excellent

I will admit my sigma APO 70-200F2.8 EX is better but not by much
09-18-2010, 05:23 PM   #10
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I've used the DA *200mm for a couple of years, mostly for wildlife. You can check out the results by Googling Ron Kruger and clicking on any link to Photoshelter. It is a truly great lens, even at f-2.8, but in low light, f-2.8 situations, AF is unreliable, so I use MF most of the time. AF doesn't work well on moving objects either, so I use it in MF for BIF and sports. Since the optics are the same, if I had it to do over, I'd get the A 200mm and save some money.
09-18-2010, 05:49 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ron Kruger Quote
I've used the DA *200mm for a couple of years, mostly for wildlife. You can check out the results by Googling Ron Kruger and clicking on any link to Photoshelter. It is a truly great lens, even at f-2.8, but in low light, f-2.8 situations, AF is unreliable, so I use MF most of the time. AF doesn't work well on moving objects either, so I use it in MF for BIF and sports. Since the optics are the same, if I had it to do over, I'd get the A 200mm and save some money.
Interesting observation Ron,

As all my telephotos are MF it is really a moot point for me as I have no choice but to focus manually. I've been looking at AF telephotos as my next lens purchase, the DA* 300/4 in particular. As many of the birds I like to shoot tend to be found in low light situations I wonder how much use the af would be for my purposes?

Tom G
09-22-2010, 04:16 PM   #12
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Hey Tom,
If many of the birds you shoot are in low light situations, f-4 isn't going to cut it, unless you bump the ISO way up. For maximum IQ, I never go above ISO400, so I need the f-2.8 often and the 200mm renders wonderfully at f-2.8. It is stunning, outstanding and awesome at f-4.5 and 100 ISO.
The 200 is the longest lens I own. As a general rule, the closer you can get to your subject and the lower ISO you can use the better. I also shoot some birds with my 100mm f-2.8.
I've considered the 300 f-4, the Bigma and others, but for wild creatures in natural settings, anything slower than f-2.8 limits your opportunities. They are fine for zoos and other semi-domesticated situation, but real wildlife mostly hide in the shadows.
09-22-2010, 04:20 PM   #13
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If you can find one, the K200/2.5 is amazing as well.
09-22-2010, 07:10 PM   #14
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Deadwolfbones: you have an impressive collection of fast lenses, so I think your recommendation of the k200/2.5 carries great credibility. Please tell us more about this lens.
09-22-2010, 07:19 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ron Kruger Quote
Deadwolfbones: you have an impressive collection of fast lenses, so I think your recommendation of the k200/2.5 carries great credibility. Please tell us more about this lens.

Ron,

There are several reviews of the K 200/2.5 below:

SMC Pentax 200mm F2.5 Lens Reviews - Pentax Lens Review Database

It is a personal favourite.

Tom G
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