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02-28-2011, 10:17 PM   #1
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Affordable zoom for K-x w/good IQ?

Looking for a nice quality zoom to add to my K-x kit lens.

I was sold on the Pentax DA 55-200WR but have since read so many great reviews of sigma and tamron lenses that I'm not sure!

I am looking at:

Tamron AF XR Di LD [IF] 28-300mm 1:3.5-6.3 MACRO
Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro Lens for Pentax AF
Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 APO DG MACRO (AF Lens)
Sigma 28-300mm F3.5-6.3 DG Macro (AF Lens)
Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DL Macro Super (AFlens)
Tamron AF 18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di II LD Aspherical [IF] MACRO
Tamron AF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD MACRO 1:2
Tamron 75-300mm, 1:4-5.6, LD

Open for anything that has a good zoom, would prefer a wide angle or Macro, price is an issue or I'd probably get the pentax 55-300..

Any solid recommendations deeply appreciated

SP

02-28-2011, 11:16 PM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by smilinpig Quote
Looking for a nice quality zoom to add to my K-x kit lens.

I was sold on the Pentax DA 55-200WR but have since read so many great reviews of sigma and tamron lenses that I'm not sure!

I am looking at:

Tamron AF XR Di LD [IF] 28-300mm 1:3.5-6.3 MACRO
Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro Lens for Pentax AF
Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 APO DG MACRO (AF Lens)
Sigma 28-300mm F3.5-6.3 DG Macro (AF Lens)
Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DL Macro Super (AFlens)
Tamron AF 18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di II LD Aspherical [IF] MACRO
Tamron AF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD MACRO 1:2
Tamron 75-300mm, 1:4-5.6, LD

Open for anything that has a good zoom, would prefer a wide angle or Macro, price is an issue or I'd probably get the pentax 55-300..

Any solid recommendations deeply appreciated

SP
First, figure out what you are asking about - telephoto, wide-angle or macro.

If you are talking about a longer zoom, get the Pentax 55-300. There are used ones in the Marketplace from time to time, for about $50-75 more than a new lens from your list, which are all average at best.

Note that with DSLRs, "zoom" refers to the type of lens, not how much of it that it does.

Wide angle is anything less than about 35mm, but many people do not find even 18mm wide enough (the short end of the kit lens).

Last edited by SpecialK; 03-01-2011 at 10:51 PM.
03-01-2011, 12:17 AM   #3
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Yeah...its a bit confusing and thats my fault I guess. I started out looking for a telephoto--then liked having a macro on the lense too. When I started seeing 'wide-angle' mentioned, that's something I'm also constantly thinking about although my kit lens probably covers that fine.

Maybe finding a used Pentax 55-300 is the way to go. But so many of those lenses I looked at seemed to have great reviews, which surprised me, especially considering their prices. That's when i figured it was time to get responses from those that know best, pentax users...

Anyway - I'll keep researching I guess

thanks
03-01-2011, 12:27 AM   #4
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I would suggest to add the DA18-250mm to your list.

This all-around lens is a great zoom and one of the best all-arounder across all bands. (incl. Canikon). Its sibbling Tamron 18-250mm is an alternative, sometimes cheaper, with identical performances.

A main advantage of the all-around lens like the DA18-250mm is that you can travel/hike with one camera and one lens, with no need to swap lenses. It is an ideal combo to travel light and have a wide focal length range.

Food for thoughts.


Last edited by hcc; 03-01-2011 at 02:27 AM.
03-01-2011, 04:05 AM   #5
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My recommendation would be the same as hcc. The DA18-250 is my main lens. I started with the DA18-55 plus Sigma 28-80 and 70-300 lenses left over from my ZX-7 film body. Always swapping out lenses for the shot at hand. Which eventually leads to dust on the sensor. Got the Pentax 18-250 when they came out and it has very seldom been off the camera. Added a Pentax DA 11-17 for wide angle fun. Has maybe been used a half dozen times.
Have kept the Sigmas around primarily for their macro capability. Basically the lenses other than the 18-250 are ballast in the camera bag. Mostly there for weight as they don't get used much.
03-01-2011, 04:07 AM   #6
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Buy a Pentax DA 55-300 and a Raynox 150.
03-01-2011, 05:30 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
Buy a Pentax DA 55-300 and a Raynox 150.
+1 on this. The Raynox 150/250 are great inexpensive alternatives to true dedicated macro lenses. Much better than the "macro" feature touted in many lens descriptions, which most of the time isn't a macro at all but just "close focus". For some examples of what the Raynox can do check https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/lens-clubs/74221-raynox-macro-club.html

The DA 55-300 is a highly regarded consumer zoom of pretty good quality. With your kit lens you have 18-300 covered and good macro capability with the Raynox.

NaCl(pretty good beginners kit)H2O
03-01-2011, 06:22 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
Buy a Pentax DA 55-300 and a Raynox 150.
+2

Be aware that a zoom lens with macro is not a real macro (at least I'm not aware of any); you might achieve a magnification of 1:3 meaning that a subject of 1cm is 3.3mm big on the sensor; you can already achieve this with the kit lens at 25 cm subject distance.

In the 'real' macro world that same subject will be (at least) 1cm on the sensor which is a 1:1 magnification.

So those zoom lenses are more of a close up lens. Nothing wrong with that if that is what you want.

03-01-2011, 06:51 AM   #9
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I don't see anybody recommending it, but I would really recommend you consider the tamron 28-75 f/2.8 - it is an EXCELLENT lens for a very good price.

This particular lens is very sharp from wide open (super sharp stopped down), has excellent bokeh and colour rendition and has a 'macro' mode, which is really just very close focus.... but it does produce good results.

I had one but have some DA primes to cover that range so I sold it. I actually still miss the macro of this lens, and the pleasing warm colours. I think I may purchase another in the future!

And IQ-wise, I don't think any of the afore-mentionned lenses can compete with this one. Just my 2 cents.

Good luck!

Last edited by firefly; 03-01-2011 at 06:57 AM.
03-01-2011, 06:57 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by firefly Quote
I don't see anybody recommending it, but I would really recommend you consider the tamron 28-75 f/2.8 - it is an EXCELLENT lens for a very good price.
While the 28-75 is one of my favourite lenses, I recommend it more when people already know what they want, rather than still wondering which focal they actually need. For 2.8 zoom lens I think the 17-50 variant is better as it's more of a "general purpose" range.

Seems like right now what the OP wants is to add to his arsenal. While a 2.8 lens is certainly an option, I'd go with the more traditional Telephoto + Raynox Macro or Telephoto + prime (may be macro) route.

I have the DA 50-200 (not WR), and while it's an alright lens, I only take it out once a year to shoot something that really is some distance away, and that doesn't happen too often in my case. When that time of the year comes that lens is indispensable though. Combined with the Raynox it's quite a potent macro shooter, although it is in no way replacement for a true macro prime lens.

I'd go with either the 50-200 / 55-300 or one of the 70-300 variants you mentioned.

The next question would be... why zoom? Primes rock

Last edited by Andi Lo; 03-01-2011 at 07:03 AM.
03-02-2011, 12:22 AM   #11
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Decided on a lens :)

Well after a lot of thought, research and money counting ( squeezing the bank bone dry...) I ordered the grey market DA L 55-300 Pentax from Adorama today.
Same warranty - just covered thru the store, I know its the plastic mount but so is my 18-55 kit lens, and I see no problem with that.

After reading so many reviews and opinions on Tamron's and Sigma's...many very good...i could not help but feel that the Pentax DA L 55-300 was the way to go for plain image quality. There were too many great reviews on this lens, even some saying its images were as good if not better than the DA 55-300 (subjective I'm sure?), that I really could not let it go. I paid 199.00 for it, which may be a few $$$ more than sold in kit form, but I could not afford the DA at around $350.00, so this got my vote.

I appreciate every response, Thank You all.

And I am interested in that Raynox too. I'm new at Pentax so a lot of this 'Prime' Vs 'Zoom' lens stuff is new. I don't understand the point of a lens, at one focal length, like 150 or 200? You're locked in, so how do you decide what length to get?? And is it all about pure image quality with a single focal length lens?? I see a LOT of Pentax users with many 'prime' lenses in their kits, so its something I need to learn more about.

Thanks so much...I hope I made a good choice.

SP
03-02-2011, 06:59 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by smilinpig Quote
Thanks so much...I hope I made a good choice.

SP
I think you made a good choice And as for deciding which length to get for primes, usually people just start to realize what length they use the most, and buy that one.

I got 50 as my first prime but that's just because it's cheap. I realize I hover around the 35mm mark way more often. As a result DA 40 / FA 35 is my two most used prime lens now.

It is partly about image quality (bokeh, sharpness, rendering, tone, etc) and partly about just trying to be as creative as you can with one focal length. Many people find they think harder when they have a prime in hand, and become less lazy to find the best view of a subject. With zoom you tend to want to flick that zoom ring once you see something nice

My 2 pennies
03-02-2011, 08:40 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by smilinpig Quote
And I am interested in that Raynox too. I'm new at Pentax so a lot of this 'Prime' Vs 'Zoom' lens stuff is new. I don't understand the point of a lens, at one focal length, like 150 or 200? You're locked in, so how do you decide what length to get?? And is it all about pure image quality with a single focal length lens?? I see a LOT of Pentax users with many 'prime' lenses in their kits, so its something I need to learn more about.
There's a PRIME VS ZOOM thread going here now, in which some of the differences and issues are hashed out. My synopsis:

* Modern zooms offer flexibility, decent quality, decent speed (for a price!), and are somewhat more prone to physical-optical problems.

* Primes are usually faster (thus with thinner DOF and better low-light / fast action capability), smaller (thus lighter and less intrusive), cheaper, more rugged, may have somewhat better image quality, may have distinctive 'character', and you get more exercise using them.

How to decide on focal lengths? GET THEM ALL!! Collect the entire set! The ~200 lenses I've accumulated in the last couple years indicate my obsession, eh? Most of mine are old manual primes. I have a score of zooms, about half-each MF (manual focus) and AF (autofocus). I track what they cost me. Average costs: AF, US$327 each; MF, US$20 each. So AF costs an average of US$307 more per lens. Zooms, US$136 each; primes, US$28 each. None of this counts my VERY sharp and cheap enlarger lenses, used on bellows.

More seriously: A few fast sharp primes can greatly supplement general-purpose zooms. So in my bag I'll usually have a Tamron 10-24 ultrawide, DA10-17 fisheye, and DA18-250 superzoom. And I'll also have a 24/2, 35/2, 50 or 55/1.4, and 85/2. And something for macro, maybe a Raynox, and/or 90 or 105 or 127mm enlarger lenses. The 18-250 is my basic lens, with all the rest being specialty items. The zooms are for general situations. The fast primes are for scenarios where their speed or character are important. And on the street I may use a tiny slow 100/4.5 because it's not as obtrusive as a long zoom.

The other point is discipline, or getting more exercise. Zooms let you frame shots that would be otherwise unobtainable. Primes force you to move around more, to look at different distances and angles, to SEE in different ways. There is more to shooting than just having focal-length coverage. The optics, the light, where you are in relation to a subject, these are all vital. Each lens is its own window on the world. Looking through those windows, you see the world differently.

Think of a zoom as being a Leatherman, and a kit of primes as a set of fine tools. Each has their own use.
03-02-2011, 01:39 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote

The other point is discipline, or getting more exercise. Zooms let you frame shots that would be otherwise unobtainable. Primes force you to move around more, to look at different distances and angles, to SEE in different ways. There is more to shooting than just having focal-length coverage. The optics, the light, where you are in relation to a subject, these are all vital. Each lens is its own window on the world. Looking through those windows, you see the world differently.

Think of a zoom as being a Leatherman, and a kit of primes as a set of fine tools. Each has their own use.
Very well put.
I think I get it.
If I had the $$ I'd pick up a Raynox or similar immediately, because it sounds like the 'art' of photography really comes to life with a prime lens -- you make the shot, not the zoom lens; moving to capture lighting, depth, character...it takes the work out of the camera/lens's 'hands' so to speak and puts it in the control of the photographer. In the right hands with some patience, experience and a good eye, a good shot can become a great shot.
At least thats part of what I get from your statement. And that's exactly why I like taking pictures.

So much to explore. Funny thing is all the years I was using the AE-1 and EOS 650 I was never that aware of prime lenses or saw much talk about them. Now I have a Pentax - it seems the photo comes first not how many gadgets the camera has.

Many Thanks
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