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06-25-2011, 07:46 AM   #1
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Pentax 28-70mm f/4 vs kit lens?

Hi guys!

I've been a Pentax shooter for almost 4 years, but I know that I'm still a n00b in many ways.

I'm curious about how the 28-70mm f/4 stacks up vs the DA L 18-55mm, from a purely IQ standpoint. The 28-70mm range actually fits my shooting style better than 18-55.

Anyone care to share some thoughts?

06-25-2011, 08:35 AM - 1 Like   #2
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I have *not* used the 28-70, but from reading some reviews (and based on my own experience with the kit lens)

If you want to shoot a lot of landscapes, go with the kit lens. If you prefer people shots - portraiture, go with the 28-70. Better focal lengths for that sort of thing, and a full stop faster between 55mm - 70mm which will come in handy.

The kit lens isn't great at 18mm or 55mm.... I typically find it works well as a cheap normal, but a constant aperture zoom that goes more into portrait lengths would be a nice alternative.

IQ is relative... much more important to know how to use your tool then to have a top quality lens. I would say pick the lens for a function - do you want wide angles (landscapes / drama) or telephotos (portraits / "truer to life").
06-25-2011, 09:00 AM   #3
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Thank you kindly for your response! I realize that I should provide a little more background...

I'll be acquiring a DA 21mm after the summer, and also have the 15mm f/4. My next progression is the Pentax M 28mm. As you point out, the 28-70mm seems like a better lens for portraiture... and pets!

I'm rather budget constrained, so the likes of the 18-135 or Tamron 28-75 are out of reach.

I've read the forum reviews of the 28-70/f4, and it seems that the IQ is better than the kit 18-55, but I guess I'm simply being insecure...
06-25-2011, 10:00 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
I've read the forum reviews of the 28-70/f4, and it seems that the IQ is better than the kit 18-55, but I guess I'm simply being insecure...
It's more likely to be a wash, but if you have the DA 15 and 21 already, I would get the 28-70 for sure (more range). I would also skip the 28mm... nothing extra special about that lens to dedicate a whole prime to it (especially if you have the 21, all personal opinion of course).

06-25-2011, 10:02 AM   #5
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I also can't comment on the FA28-70/4, although it gets very good reviews. I *can* say that I got the F35-70 (US$11) and a Promaster (Tamron) 28-70 (US$10), both f/3.5-4.5 AF, and find them excellent in that range. But they're not what I use for flexible portraiture. For that, my fave is an M42 Sears-Tokina 55-135/3.5 (US$8). I finesse the focusing with CIF. Alas, 55mm may not be nearly wide enough for you. But you might consider a faster fixed-max-aperture manual zoom as a budget solution.

As for 28's: I really like my M28/2.8 but use it little since I got a Vivitar-Kiron 28/2.5 (US$20), then a Tamron BBAR 28/2.5 (US$4), and finally a Vivitar-Komine 28/2 CFWA (US$18), all within a couple weeks! Cowabunga! That 28/2 CFWA is just superb! It's supplanted my Vivitar-Kiron 24/2 (US$130) as my primary Lens Of The Day. I spent yesterday up in Kit Carson Pass and Upper Carson Canyon shooting cataracts etc amidst the central Sierra Nevada mountains -- I started with 10-17(FE) and 10-24(UW) and 50-125(EL) zooms, but returned to the 28/2 CFWA because... well, it just delivers! Komine glass, like good Takumars, have that Leica feel, with dimensionality and sharpness. Something to consider, eh?
06-25-2011, 12:35 PM   #6
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Thanks, RioRico, for the reply. I'm definitely looking at AF this go-round; I have poor eyesight and my K-x has that tiny VF, so MF can be difficult at times.

I doubt I'll get as, um, fortunate as you regarding the cheap lens brigade but I'll research some more about the F 35-70mm lenses.
06-25-2011, 01:13 PM   #7
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The Pentax-F 35-70mm F3.5-4.5 is best of the three if you don't need 18mm or 28mm.
The AF of the 28-70mm 4.0 is extremly fast.
06-25-2011, 01:46 PM   #8
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Take a look at the F 35-135mm 3.5-4.5 as an alternative. I agree that the F 35-70mm is the biggest sleeper and compact as well.


Last edited by Blue; 06-25-2011 at 10:15 PM. Reason: typo
06-25-2011, 02:12 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
Thanks, RioRico, for the reply. I'm definitely looking at AF this go-round; I have poor eyesight and my K-x has that tiny VF, so MF can be difficult at times.
I mentioned CIF (catch-in-focus). My old eyeballs are delaminating. I depend on CIF with my many manual lenses. Not quite as fast as AF, but much much cheaper!

QuoteQuote:
I doubt I'll get as, um, fortunate as you regarding the cheap lens brigade but I'll research some more about the F 35-70mm lenses.
A good place to find the F35-70 and some other AF zooms in that range is upon old camera bodies. I got a Pentax SF-1 with the 35-70 on it for US$22 shipped. I kept the 35-70, stuck a different cheap old lens on the SF-1, and sold that combo! If you look long and hard at eBay listings, such deals can still be found.

The secret of buying good lenses cheap: 1) Bid low. 2) Bid often. 3) Lose 99% of them. 4) Don't sweat it, there's more where they came from, and they'll be up for auction tomorrow. Simple, eh?
06-25-2011, 02:35 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by feverbeaver Quote
The Pentax-F 35-70mm F3.5-4.5 is best of the three if you don't need 18mm or 28mm.
The AF of the 28-70mm 4.0 is extremly fast.
Thanks for whetting my appetite!

QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
Take a look at the F 13-135mm 3.5-4.5 as an alternative. I agree that the F 35-70mm is the biggest sleeper and compact as well.
I'm assuming that your fingers were too fast and you meant 35-135mm... that looks very interesting to me.

QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
A good place to find the F35-70 and some other AF zooms in that range is upon old camera bodies. I got a Pentax SF-1 with the 35-70 on it for US$22 shipped. I kept the 35-70, stuck a different cheap old lens on the SF-1, and sold that combo! If you look long and hard at eBay listings, such deals can still be found.

The secret of buying good lenses cheap: 1) Bid low. 2) Bid often. 3) Lose 99% of them. 4) Don't sweat it, there's more where they came from, and they'll be up for auction tomorrow. Simple, eh?
06-25-2011, 10:15 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
Thanks for whetting my appetite!



I'm assuming that your fingers were too fast and you meant 35-135mm... that looks very interesting to me.



Yes, I meant 35-135! I strongly recommend the F 35-70mm if you are after a good quality compact lens. However, this one is pretty interesting for he reach , speed, price and quality.
06-26-2011, 03:53 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
Hi guys!

I've been a Pentax shooter for almost 4 years, but I know that I'm still a n00b in many ways.

I'm curious about how the 28-70mm f/4 stacks up vs the DA L 18-55mm, from a purely IQ standpoint. The 28-70mm range actually fits my shooting style better than 18-55.

Anyone care to share some thoughts?
Strictly from IQ point of view, I think it is significantly better than the DA 18-55 II, at least based on the copies I have (had, as I just sold my last copy of DA18-55 II).

Small, light and very fast to focus, the lens is quite sharp from f4 and extremely sharp when stopped-down, and it produces brilliant colors typical of most FA SMC-coated lenses.

However, the lens' build quality is/feels also significantly inferior to that of the DA 18-55 II, being built with plastic mostly.
06-26-2011, 08:17 PM   #13
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i have both-- prolly am one of the few who prefers the WR kit lens over the 28-70 f4. i've played with 2 of this FA lens, one made in Japan and one in Vietnam; just can't warm to it and think it's overrated, based on my experience with them.

Both samples had unexceptional border performance on an APS-C camera, and i didn't find the center incredibly sharp either, just usual kindo rez. My second Tamron rebadge FA28-105mm is actually better in the 28-70 range than the FA 27-80 f4's i played with. Pretty close in sharpness, with the 28-105 giving slightly better colour and borders, and having a longer reach, tho with more barrel distortion in the wide end.

sample variance plays such a big part with these lenses, plus i did do much more testing of the 28-105.

My fondness of the WR kit lens prolly hasn't much to do with optical performance: it's gotten me some rainy long exposure tripod night shots i'm fond of. Share a bit of miserable physical discomfort with the equipment and one becomes fond of it.

Optically, i find with my WR kit lens that it's ok to use so long as i can keep it a stop of 2 down. Seems not very diff from the FA for sharpness. Borders could be better, sometimes a whole lot better, but center sharpness quite ok with mine, and colour's good.

Prolly i should get the FA out and test it better, might change my tune.

i also have an SMC-F28-80, and it's better than my FA28-70, tho find the SMC-F an odd lens to use in some undefinable way, and its colours aren't as modern.

It's all relative measurebating: clap on any old MF 50mm instead and it'll have them all beat for IQ.

Last edited by conradj; 06-26-2011 at 08:50 PM.
06-27-2011, 09:35 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by EsBee Quote
Strictly from IQ point of view, I think it is significantly better than the DA 18-55 II, at least based on the copies I have (had, as I just sold my last copy of DA18-55 II).

Small, light and very fast to focus, the lens is quite sharp from f4 and extremely sharp when stopped-down, and it produces brilliant colors typical of most FA SMC-coated lenses.

However, the lens' build quality is/feels also significantly inferior to that of the DA 18-55 II, being built with plastic mostly.
Thanks for the input!

QuoteOriginally posted by conradj Quote
i have both-- prolly am one of the few who prefers the WR kit lens over the 28-70 f4. i've played with 2 of this FA lens, one made in Japan and one in Vietnam; just can't warm to it and think it's overrated, based on my experience with them.

Both samples had unexceptional border performance on an APS-C camera, and i didn't find the center incredibly sharp either, just usual kindo rez. My second Tamron rebadge FA28-105mm is actually better in the 28-70 range than the FA 27-80 f4's i played with. Pretty close in sharpness, with the 28-105 giving slightly better colour and borders, and having a longer reach, tho with more barrel distortion in the wide end.

sample variance plays such a big part with these lenses, plus i did do much more testing of the 28-105.

My fondness of the WR kit lens prolly hasn't much to do with optical performance: it's gotten me some rainy long exposure tripod night shots i'm fond of. Share a bit of miserable physical discomfort with the equipment and one becomes fond of it.

Optically, i find with my WR kit lens that it's ok to use so long as i can keep it a stop of 2 down. Seems not very diff from the FA for sharpness. Borders could be better, sometimes a whole lot better, but center sharpness quite ok with mine, and colour's good.

Prolly i should get the FA out and test it better, might change my tune.

i also have an SMC-F28-80, and it's better than my FA28-70, tho find the SMC-F an odd lens to use in some undefinable way, and its colours aren't as modern.

It's all relative measurebating: clap on any old MF 50mm instead and it'll have them all beat for IQ.
Thank you for the detailed reply. I know that there is a bit of luck involved with sample variation; my 1st DA L 18-55 which came with my K2000 was noticeably sharper at the extremes than the DA L 18-55 that came with my K-x.
06-28-2011, 03:59 PM - 1 Like   #15
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I have the FA 28-70mm F4 for quite a while now. I also have the 18-55mm kit lens, not the WR. Compare the two, I prefer the 28-70mm f4 for the following reasons. 1. More vivid colors and more fine color transition details. 2. Longer range. 3. It blurs the background nicer then the kit lens. I normally take kids picture, so the 28-70mm f4 is always on my camera.

The 18-55mm AL feels stronger. Colors that the kit lens renders are darker and less transition. If I use smaller aperture then I can make it very sharp. I still keep it cause the 18mm wide end is usable.

My biggest concerns regarding the 28-70mm f4 is the build quality. It is almost all plastic except the mount. So if you drop it then you are very likely to get hit. I got mine from KEH with excellent+ condition for about $100.

Here are some random pictures taken with this lens. The last picture was taken from 18-55mm AL lens at very small aperture.
https://picasaweb.google.com/Benhai.Zhang/K7_test#

Hope this can be some help.

^_^
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