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04-26-2011, 09:13 PM   #1
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70-200mm Zoom Decision

Hi Pentaxarians, I am in a quandry as which telephoto lens to buy. Every day I change my mind about 4 times. Here are the options:

1. Pentax 200mm 2.8. Excellent IQ, AF, but is not a zoom. Most of my shooting will be done in a rather dark cathedral and it is not always possible to walk around much.

2. Pentax 50-135. Very good IQ and AF, although a bit loud (for the church) and focal lengtt is rather limited, although in terms of a FF camera it is equal to 70-210mm.

3. Sigma 70-200 2.8. Fat AF, quiet, but IQ seems questionable as well as front focusing issues.

4. Tamron 70-200 2.8. Loud, focusing issues, especially in dark settings, excellent IQ.

Has anyone used all four? I seem to be leaning more towards the Sigma. I am somewhat concerned about price hikes and do not want to put off the purchase indefinitely. Presently I am using all primes (15mm, 31mm and 77 mm) - this is my travel kit. The telephoto will be used mostly locally for the church where I work.

Thnaks for your advice and input.

Peter

04-26-2011, 09:26 PM   #2
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First time I've ever read anyone refer to the 50-135 as a bit loud, I have one and it's whisper quiet.

I'd think the decision, which I assume is to shoot weddings, would be b/w the Sigma and the 50-135 and based on focal length needs. The DA*200 is too inflexible, the Tammy to noisey. I'd give the nod to the 50-135 as 50-70 I think would be much more useful at a wedding than 135-200.
04-26-2011, 09:32 PM   #3
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I cannot give you comparisons between all 4 (I suspect you'll be lucky to find anyone who can), however I can comment on the Sigma and Tamron offerings because I also agonized over which to purchase for my K20D.

IMO, the often repeated comments about the Tamron offering good IQ buy poor AF are pretty accurate. It does not focus all that quickly and trying to get it to AF in a darker corner of my local camera store proved problematic. So, as I wanted it partly for sports this was a deal breaker for me.

I ended up going with the latest model non-OS Sigma and have been very happy. The AF works well and the IQ seems fine to me. Sure, at some focal lengths it's not tack sharp at F2.8, but for the price I think it's fantastic. Have a look at the comparative review on this site. As for FF problems, I spent yesterday afternoon doing in-camera AF adjustment for all of my lenses and the Sigma 70-200 was the only one required no adjustment at all. So, with my copy at least, FF is a non-issue.

Cheers,
Qiki
04-26-2011, 09:35 PM   #4
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Despite the noise, the Tamron is my choice. It offers the most useful focal range, is reasonably fast but more importantly accurate AF, and has the best image quality in its class.

Attendees of a quiet church service will get over the noise, but I won't get over IQ issues of the Sigma at f/2.8-5.6, and I'd want more reach in this setting than 135mm.

I haven't used a 200mm prime for a wedding, but as mentioned would be a pain to have to zoom with your feet with...


Last edited by Ash; 04-26-2011 at 10:24 PM.
04-26-2011, 10:28 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Despite the noise, the Tamron is my choice. It offers the most useful focal range, is reasonably fast but more importantly accurate AF, and has the best image quality in its class.

Attendees of a quiet church service will get over the noise, I won't get over IQ issues of the Sigma at f/2.8-5.6, and want more reach in this setting than 135mm.

I haven't used a 200mm prime for a wedding, but as mentioned would be a pain to have to zoom with your feet with...
Really interested in your comments Ash. Do you own the Tamron? Maybe the one I tried out was a poor copy, but the AF was bad enough in low light that I'd have regarded it as pretty much a MF lens in these conditions. Conversely, maybe I got a good copy of the Sigma, because I use it exclusively between F2.8-5.6 and other than the occasional shot at 2.8, I have been very impressed with it (and I'm fussy about sharp images).
04-26-2011, 10:51 PM   #6
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This article might help: Fast Sports Zoom Lenses for Pentax | Sigma 70-200mm vs. Tamron 70-200mm vs. Pentax FA* 80-200mm F2.8

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04-26-2011, 11:42 PM   #7
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surely this depends on what camera the lens is being attached to?

I seem to read a lot that the tamron is loud and poor focusing... loud? well mine isnt especially unless its doing a full throw.. but i havent used an sdm or hsm lens so am not qualified to comment.

However the poor focusing thing has me stumped? its screw drive, therefore the camera does the focusing. I dont have any issues in low light on my k20 as long as the subject is contrasty.. the thing is massively sharp at 2.8... i have been extremely impressed with it as most people are.. most complaints seem to come from the canon version which has a focus motor i beleive rather than screw drive...

I have also heard that on a k5 the focusing is even quicker due to the larger screw drive motor? can you comment on that ash as you had a k20 and now have the k5..

i'd definitly recommend it..

Steve
04-27-2011, 01:34 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by 5teve Quote
surely this depends on what camera the lens is being attached to?

I seem to read a lot that the tamron is loud and poor focusing... loud? well mine isnt especially unless its doing a full throw.. but i havent used an sdm or hsm lens so am not qualified to comment.

However the poor focusing thing has me stumped? its screw drive, therefore the camera does the focusing. I dont have any issues in low light on my k20 as long as the subject is contrasty.. the thing is massively sharp at 2.8... i have been extremely impressed with it as most people are.. most complaints seem to come from the canon version which has a focus motor i beleive rather than screw drive...

I have also heard that on a k5 the focusing is even quicker due to the larger screw drive motor? can you comment on that ash as you had a k20 and now have the k5..

i'd definitly recommend it..

Steve
Of course you're right about the screw focus Steve, however the Sigma is an HSM lens which, provided you have a compatible model of Pentax body, AFs more quickly and far more quietly than the Tammy. And, for whatever reason, the Tammy I tried hunted badly for focus in low light, whereas the Sigma did a better job. Even the comparison on this site rated the Sigma 10 out of 10 for AF and the Tammy only 7.

Bear in mind though, that as I stated intially I wanted the lens for sports so the AF (particular in AFC mode) was important to me. Had I been buying the lens for portraiture etc, then I'd probably have bought the Tammy without even looking at the Sigma, based soley on fantastic it's reputation for IQ.

Q.

04-27-2011, 03:07 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Qiki Quote
Really interested in your comments Ash. Do you own the Tamron? Maybe the one I tried out was a poor copy, but the AF was bad enough in low light that I'd have regarded it as pretty much a MF lens in these conditions. Conversely, maybe I got a good copy of the Sigma, because I use it exclusively between F2.8-5.6 and other than the occasional shot at 2.8, I have been very impressed with it (and I'm fussy about sharp images).
Yes, an interestingly I have had the reciprocal experience with both these lenses. Tamron performing up to expectation in low light even with a K20D (not the best AF performance) while Sigma disappointing in the IQ department (but not bad AF at all).

Here are my discussions on these two lenses:
Request for images from Tamron 70-200 at f/2.8 - PentaxForums.com
Sigma 70-200mm HSM personal IQ test - PentaxForums.com
04-27-2011, 06:10 AM   #10
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If you've got a spare half hour, check out the following review of the Siggy. Pretty much all shots taken at F2.8 in low light, with many at 200mm. Granted the lens was on a D3000 and D3S, but the review is still relavent.

04-27-2011, 06:55 AM   #11
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while not on your list, you may also wish to consider an older sigma product, if you can find one.

I use the Sigma APO 70-200F2.8 EX (non DG non macro) you need to consider all the letters in the name because there are about 5 or so versions of the 70-200F2.8

Many consider this to be the sharpest of all the sigma's at 200mm and maximum aperture.

I think in total and in order the lenses are:
-Sigma APO 70-200F2.8 EX
-Sigma APO 70-200F2.8 EX DG (same as above but coatings on rear element to stop sensor reflection which I have never seen)
-Sigma APO 70-200F2.8 EX DG Macro (there may be 2 versions of this, I'm not sure but reported to be somewhat softer at 200mm)
-Sigma APO 70-200F2.8 EX Macro HSM
-Sigma APO 70-200F2.8 EX Macro HSM II (this is reported to be much sharper than the origonal HSM)

Also note at present Sigma does not make an HSM compatible teleconverter, I use both the sigma 1.4x and 2x TCs with my screw drive Sigma with great success.
04-27-2011, 07:15 AM   #12
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Personally I prefer 70-200 range over 50-135. You might have already read https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/141383-help-my...ow-f5-6-a.html
04-27-2011, 07:29 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by yusuf Quote
Personally I prefer 70-200 range over 50-135. You might have already read https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/141383-help-my...ow-f5-6-a.html
zoom range is an issue not really discussed here.

I find in digital format, the old film lens ranges 28-75 and 70-200 much more suitable than the digital equivelents of 16-50 and 50-135, because when you are city bound you can leave the 70-200 at home. Since both 28-75 and 16-50 need an ultra wide any way, you have a much more useable pairing with something like a 10-20 or 12-24 when you have the covered 28-75 as well.

With the pentax line up scaled to ASP-C format, I think you wouold neeed the 50-135 too often in the city to leave it behind. this would therefore require 3 lenses in place of 2
04-27-2011, 07:36 AM   #14
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Of those choices I personally like the DA*50-135, which for the record, is not "soft" below f/5.6. It certainly sharpens up as you go from f/2.8 to f/4 to f/5.6, but IMO it is compeltely inaccurate to characterize the lens as soft below f/5.6. I'm not saying there might not be a bady copy or two out there, but generally speaking, the DA*50-135 is optically fantastic. The AF is also very quiet, albeit not that fast.

Of the two 70-200 options, I prefer the Tamron 70-200/2.8 in terms of IQ. That lens is quite sharp wide open and the IQ is outstanding. The AF is a bit loud, but I didn't have any particular issues with it focusing in low light. It's a bit heavier and larger than the 50-135 (as you'd expect).

The Sigma 70-200 (HSM) is suppose to be very nice. I bought a used copy only to have it arrive with a broken HSM motor so I can't personally comment on the AF speed, which is reported to be very quick. Optically it was ok, although I prefer the Tamron to the Sigma in this regard.

The DA*200 is a lens I only briefly owned. It's also very quiet like the DA*50-135. It focuses much quicker than the DA*50-135 and is about the same size as I recall. However, it is a lot less versatile than the other zooms you mentioned and would probably be the option I would recommend least unless you're sure you want a 200mm prime.
04-27-2011, 07:39 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ruspast Quote
Hi Pentaxarians, I am in a quandry as which telephoto lens to buy. Every day I change my mind about 4 times. Here are the options:

1. Pentax 200mm 2.8. Excellent IQ, AF, but is not a zoom. Most of my shooting will be done in a rather dark cathedral and it is not always possible to walk around much.

2. Pentax 50-135. Very good IQ and AF, although a bit loud (for the church) and focal lengtt is rather limited, although in terms of a FF camera it is equal to 70-210mm.

3. Sigma 70-200 2.8. Fat AF, quiet, but IQ seems questionable as well as front focusing issues.

4. Tamron 70-200 2.8. Loud, focusing issues, especially in dark settings, excellent IQ.

Has anyone used all four? I seem to be leaning more towards the Sigma. I am somewhat concerned about price hikes and do not want to put off the purchase indefinitely. Presently I am using all primes (15mm, 31mm and 77 mm) - this is my travel kit. The telephoto will be used mostly locally for the church where I work.

Thnaks for your advice and input.

Peter
I have only used the Tamron 70-200 once (on a K-7) and I tried out the 77mm Ltd the same day on the same camera. The screw drive on the Tamron was no noisier than than the screw drive on the 77mm.

I really like the HSM on Sigma, but overall I think the Tamron is the best zoom lens on your list. The Tamron has really good IQ and is the best value. Then number of people complaining about screw drive AF failures is non-existent compared to SDM failures.
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