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01-11-2011, 11:50 AM   #1
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Best zoom lens for 20-70mm FL

I currently have a K-7, a DA 15mm Limited, and the WR kit lens. I do mostly landscape photography.

My kit zoom is quite decent from 25mm to 45mm but I cannot get sharp picture above 50mm even at f8-f11 with tripod/remote/MLU.

It seems that my choices are limited: DA 18-135mm, DA 17-70mm, Sigma 17-70mm, and a few other super-zooms.

I would like to hear your opinion before I upgrade my 18-55 WR.

Thanks in advance!

01-11-2011, 11:54 AM   #2
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Tamron 28-75mm
01-11-2011, 12:36 PM   #3
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I have the Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4.5 and its now on the camera most. I find the f2.8 useful but its only at 17 - 20mm. Also its a close focussing lense - have had some nice shots up close.

That said I did initially have focus issues with it (especially near infinity where the kit lense made the Sigma look like a pin hole camera). Nothing that sending the lens back and waiting a month or so couldn't fix though!

Can't speak for the other lenses but I so like the look of the DA 18-135mm if you have the budget for it.
01-11-2011, 01:04 PM   #4
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The Tamron 28-75 is highly rated, and Sigma makes a 24-70 that is obviously a little wider. Most of the 17-70's have decent reviews. The marketplace has used ones from time to time that will allow you to save a few bucks.

01-11-2011, 01:23 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ubuntu_user Quote
Tamron 28-75mm
+1 on this.

Really amazing lens. I want one badly.
01-11-2011, 01:31 PM   #6
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There is only one problem with Tamron 28-75... 28mm is just not wide enough for a number of applications, especially wide landscapes. Everything else about it is great.
I might suggest both a DA 12-24 and Tamron 28-75 if funds permit.
Otherwise you may settle for a DA 16-45, DA* 16-50 or even go for a DA 15 ltd to use for your landscapes instead of the kit lens if you know you want something small and wide.
01-11-2011, 01:45 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
There is only one problem with Tamron 28-75... 28mm is just not wide enough for a number of applications, especially wide landscapes.
True, but I don't think all landscapes require wide angles. The OP specifically complained that the IQ was hurting above 50mm, which suggests that he/she likes tighter landscape.

The split between the DA 15 and 28mm is also, IMHO, about perfect.
01-11-2011, 02:56 PM   #8
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Thanks for your help so far.

I do like my DA 15mm very much, but it is useful only with an interesting foreground. (Or it will need some major cropping.)

The Tamron 28-75mm is promising, but I use the 20-22mm FL frequently. (Perhaps I should get the 21mm Limited?)

The Sigma 24-70mm takes 82mm filters, right? It is too bulky for me.

The DA 18-135mm and DA 17-70mm both look good. But they both have a focusing motor. I heard a lot about SDM failures. Perhaps the reliability is good enough. Or I can just buy an extended warranty.

I will look into the Sigma 17-70mm.

01-11-2011, 03:13 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by curiouspeter Quote
The DA 18-135mm and DA 17-70mm both look good. But they both have a focusing motor. I heard a lot about SDM failures. Perhaps the reliability is good enough. Or I can just buy an extended warranty.
I wouldn't worry about failures in either of those lenses... The SDM failure is most common in the DA* 16-50 and 50-135mm lenses according to my knowledge.
01-11-2011, 03:14 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by curiouspeter Quote
The Tamron 28-75mm is promising, but I use the 20-22mm FL frequently. (Perhaps I should get the 21mm Limited?)
One option would be to sell the DA 15 and buy the 12-24 used.

IQ is comparable, and it would be less expensive than the owning both the DA 15 and 21.

The DA 21 would be a great lens too, as long as you have some way to correct for barrel distortion.
01-11-2011, 03:42 PM   #11
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I am not so sure about selling the 15mm. Somehow it makes me smile.

I seriously considered the 12-24mm before buying the wide Limited. I may still end up getting it sometime in the future. Probably not now.

I think Lightroom automatically corrects all Pentax Limited lenses, so the barrel distortion should not bother me.

So my options are:

DA 18-135mm (~$500)
DA 17-70mm (~$500)
DA 21mm + Tamron 28-75mm (~$1000)
Sigma 17-70mm (~$450)
01-11-2011, 06:44 PM   #12
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Sounds like the DA 21 ltd is for you then...
Though, you already have the kit lens and would know whether that focal length is what you're after. If so, then IMO you can't go wrong with the 21.
01-12-2011, 11:49 PM   #13
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Is it fair to say that the 21mm is the least good of all DA Limited lenses? Even so, I am sure it is still very fine. I really do like to have the DOF scale for wide-angle shots. I use that to manual-focus (hyperfocal) my 15mm all the time.

The f/2.8 maximum aperture on the Tamron is really tempting. From what I have read it is highly usable wide open. I heard the focusing throw is short, but from 28mm on I am going to auto-focus on a subject anyway.
01-13-2011, 12:13 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by curiouspeter Quote
Is it fair to say that the 21mm is the least good of all DA Limited lenses? Even so, I am sure it is still very fine.
Oh no it is very good, and very useful.

I can tell you that the tamron is a great lens at all focal length and is very sharp wide open. It's really stunning and useful for people in general.

Any quibbles you might have with the lens would be the build etc. when compared with your limited... but likely optical.
01-14-2011, 09:09 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by curiouspeter Quote
I currently have a K-7, a DA 15mm Limited, and the WR kit lens. I do mostly landscape photography.

My kit zoom is quite decent from 25mm to 45mm but I cannot get sharp picture above 50mm even at f8-f11 with tripod/remote/MLU.

It seems that my choices are limited: DA 18-135mm, DA 17-70mm, Sigma 17-70mm, and a few other super-zooms.

I would like to hear your opinion before I upgrade my 18-55 WR.

Thanks in advance!
I own the Pentax Kit 18-55mm WR, but rarely use it. I use the Tamron 17-50mm 2.8, particularly for landscapes. I have taken over 15,00 shots with it. It is an excellent lens for landscapes because it has very even sharpness, right to the extreme borders, at all apertures & focal lengths. The AF is quick and the lens is very sharp wide open. Its main weakness is vignetting wide open, but that is easily correctable in PPing, or you can simply crop. The lens is great value for the money. There are many examples of he lens' performance in the Tammy Club, here:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/31955-tammy-cl...ml#post1340927

A shot I took this past Spring:

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