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02-13-2011, 02:16 PM   #1
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What's the best zoom for sports?

B&H was kind enough to send me both the Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 APO EX DG OS HSM and the Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 Di LD (IF) Macro for testing and comparison to my Pentax FA* 80-200mm.

Rather than doing a run-of-the-mill review, I decided to compare all three lenses to each other, and throw in a few tips on what you should look for in a sports zoom. Enjoy!

Fast Sports Zoom Lenses for Pentax | Sigma 70-200mm vs. Tamron 70-200mm vs. Pentax FA* 80-200mm F2.8


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02-13-2011, 02:19 PM   #2
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Wow nice test. Please ask them to send you the new upcoming Sigma 120-300mm/f2.8 lens to include in this test.
02-13-2011, 03:35 PM   #3
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Thanks for putting that together Adam! I enjoyed the read...

Keep up the good work!
02-13-2011, 03:50 PM   #4
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I'll most definitely be reviewing the 120-300mm - it sounds like a very exciting lens. The bottom line is that zooms are always going to beat primes for sports, so it would be nice to see something that matches up to the FA* 300mm prime in terms of usability and IQ (it can be close ).


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02-13-2011, 04:27 PM   #5
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Great article - fits with what I shoot.

Adam, Wish you would have published this earlier, but glad you did it anyway. Like "ubuntu_use"r stated it was a very good read!

Little history. I shoot a K5 and K7. Have a pentax 50-135. Problem lens!! Back focuses on 4 different pentax bodies. Sent in twice (Arizona I guess), and nothing was fixed and they will not give details as to what they did except for cleaning it. BUT Still a Pentax fan for 40+ years and still fighting going to the Dark side (Canon or Nikon). I purchased a Sigma 70-200 f2.8 EX APO DG, but does not have the OS feature - to take the place of the Pentax lens above based upon the performance of the Sigma 100-300 f4 lens I bought for out door sports. AF speed is a priority for me. Agree with you conclusion between the Tammron and Pentax lenes you compared. The Sigma 70-200 lens working with the new sensor in the K5 I am now able to shoot indoor Basketball with out flash. It is a work horse for me right now. This lens is also great for youth sports on the smaller field.

Thanks I will try to keep in touch with your articles.

Gotcha
02-13-2011, 04:30 PM   #6
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One mistake in the review: The K-5 supports three axes of movement compensation, not just two.

I know you intentionally excluded optical performance from the review but if optical performance is part of the rating, I personally would like to see (with samples and text) why one lens gets a different bokeh rating than another. Maybe our ideas of what good bokeh is differ?

I found it a bit strange to read phrases like "Sigma adopts Pentax's "quick-shift" system" and "which is Sigma's implementation of the Pentax SDM "Supersonic Drive Motor"." which suggest that Sigma is copying Pentax technology. I don't think one can make such a case. Fortunately, Sigma HSM is light years ahead of SDM in robustness, for example.

A few questions:
The lens OS seems to perform terrible in your shots. Is it really that bad or is there a chance that the two systems weren't compared consistently?

Does the Tamron focus ring really turn all the time? Isn't the point of its focus clutch that it has a position for using AF when it doesn't turn?

Are you really saying you are preferring the 80-200 clutch (where one has to move the focus ring back and forth) over "quick shift'? The Sigma has the analogue of quick-shift but is marked down (the "reversed rings" are an extra point of criticism as indicated by the "although" in "The Sigma comes second, although its reversed rings may take a while to get used to.").

Hope these remarks/question help to improve the review!
Thanks a lot for making the comparison!!

BTW, I'm very interested in the Sigma. Do you have to return the lenses after having tested them? Is there any chance I could watch B&H's "open box" category? I'd love to get a discount on a lens that isn't brand new anymore but only has been exposed to your careful hands.
02-13-2011, 04:36 PM   #7
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I have been using the Tamron for well over a year now and once I got it dialed in on my K10 it has rarely come off. I shoot mostly youth sports (hockey and basketball) but also local bands in concert and competitions and have recieved some great praise for the quality and sharpness of the photos, have sold a few as well.

Good review if you would like to see some sample shots check out my site.

Thanks,
Bob
02-13-2011, 05:50 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
BTW, I'm very interested in the Sigma. Do you have to return the lenses after having tested them? Is there any chance I could watch B&H's "open box" category? I'd love to get a discount on a lens that isn't brand new anymore but only has been exposed to your careful hands.
Ha, ha! Good thinking there Class A! I too would like to get my hands on... Aww, I guess you can have it.

02-14-2011, 03:28 PM   #9
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Question about the stabilisationtest. I think you used the K-5? It performs way better then my K-7 did, wich often gave me the: Stabilisation not ready and with that camera the OS would win easily.


It is a pitty that the lenses are already returned. To expend the range of lenses you could have don the test at 135mm/f4 with al lenses (including the DA*50-135 and DA*60-250 and the upcoming 120-300 from sigma). With 135mm you can do a lot in sports with just a small playing field.
02-14-2011, 03:32 PM   #10
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Yeah, don't you have to hold the shutter button half down for a while until the SR kicks in? If the OS on the lens is full time (which it would seem to be if you can see it through the finder) then this could be a major benefit for fast paced sports. But I guess if you are shooting fast paced sports with a high shutter speed to freeze action then SR may not be too important anyway.
02-14-2011, 08:25 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by RonHendriks1966 Quote
It is a pitty that the lenses are already returned.
Are they? I don't see a reply from Adam to that effect.

QuoteOriginally posted by sewebster Quote
But I guess if you are shooting fast paced sports with a high shutter speed to freeze action then SR may not be too important anyway.
Actually, SR is still useful. Sometimes the light is bad and you cannot go arbitrarily high with the shutter speed (unless it's a K-5, of course, where you'd just up the ISO to infinity ).

It would be a nice firmware tweak, if one could ask the camera to keep SR ready at all times. At least on the K-5 they seemed to have increased the time it stays ready.
02-15-2011, 12:48 AM   #12
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Yeah, I returned them last week after I was done testing (they sat around in my apartment for 3 weeks before that, unfortunately; no time for anything these days).

I'll definitely be getting the 120-300 as well as the new sigma 85mm for comparison with the FA* 300/85, but I'm not sure when that will be as neither of the two lenses is shipping yet.

As far as a comparison at 135mm goes- not really the focus of the article I wrote. We'll be looking more closely at image quality in my next two upcoming reviews.

Other future reviews (not done by me) will include Pentax flash reviews as well as a Canon/Nikon/Pentax DSLR comparison (someone's going to have to go to the dark side!)

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02-15-2011, 03:01 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
I'll definitely be getting the 120-300 as well as the new sigma 85mm for comparison with the FA* 300/85, but I'm not sure when that will be as neither of the two lenses is shipping yet.

I cannot wait to see the comparison between the 85s!
Can you throw in an FA 77/1.8 for good measure?!
I'm wondering which lens to get as a portrait lens and right now I wouldn't be able to say which of those three I desire the most (mostly due to lack of samples from the Sigma 85/1.4 which seems to never become available for the K-mount).

QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
We'll be looking more closely at image quality in my next two upcoming reviews.
Makes sense.

QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Other future reviews (not done by me) will include Pentax flash reviews as well as a Canon/Nikon/Pentax DSLR comparison (someone's going to have to go to the dark side!)
They could include a SONY full-frame but they've got to be STRONG for that!
02-15-2011, 05:47 AM   #14
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Good job, Adam! One minor error: the earliest camera that can use SDM/HSM is the K100 super, not the K10.
02-15-2011, 11:43 PM   #15
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The K100D and K10D came out at the same time. I remember b/c I orginally purchased the K100D b/c the K10D was on backorder. I would eventually uprgade to the K10D. I'm pretty sure that the K100D super came out afterwards allowing the SDM.

So if we're talking about production dates (or offering to public) I think he is correct. Right?
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