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07-01-2011, 03:07 PM   #1
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budget fast semi-wide zoom?

So over the last few months I have had a serious bout of LBA. Pretty much all MF lenses. In part I was trying out different focal length and speed lenses to see what worked well for me. One that is seeming (so far) to be pretty useful is a vivitar push pull 35-70mm 2.8-3.8 komine. I'm kind of wondering if its about as good as I'm going to get for a cheap MF fast zoom. The zoom range is fine. Faster would be really nice but I gather either it doesn't exists or doesn't exists cheap. Twist instead of push pull would be nice but not a huge issue. Better image quality? This one seems decent enough for a cary around lens though all my lenses including AF lenses are starting to look like crap compared to a ricoh 50mm 2.0 that I also got (that lens continues to further impress me every time I pick it up).

So is it even worth looking around for another lens or am I not likely to find anything better cheap? Here is an image (indoor, tripod, 0.5s exposure, iso200, wide open angle and fastest aperture on an ist-ds). I did the low iso long exposure trying to limit the camera causing any image degradation. I shot fatest aperture as that is most likely the only way this lens will ever be used (indoor, limited light, no flash). I'll have to kick the iso up in real use a I'll be shooting moving children.

full size image available though the link is large.
tripod 200iso 0_5s 2.jpg photo - Richard Homeyer photos at pbase.com

07-01-2011, 04:45 PM   #2
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Not sure what your budget is but I would check out these lenses,


Vivitar Series 1 28-90, 2.8-3.8

Vivitar Series 1 35-85, 2.8

Tamron adaptall SP 35-80, 2.8-3.8

Tokina 28-70, 2.8-4.5

Pentax-A 35-105, 3.5

I can't vouch for any but the Pentax which is superb. One of the best MF zooms Pentax ever produced.
The going rate on these lenses may be over your budget, but if you keep your eye out for them and are patient, they can be found for little money.
07-01-2011, 05:01 PM   #3
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Thanks for the recommendations. It will give me something to keep an eye out for. Would you think any of these would have better image quality than the one I have or just perhaps different function that I might like?


QuoteOriginally posted by Swift1 Quote
Not sure what your budget is but I would check out these lenses,


Vivitar Series 1 28-90, 2.8-3.8

Vivitar Series 1 35-85, 2.8

Tamron adaptall SP 35-80, 2.8-3.8

Tokina 28-70, 2.8-4.5

Pentax-A 35-105, 3.5

I can't vouch for any but the Pentax which is superb. One of the best MF zooms Pentax ever produced.
The going rate on these lenses may be over your budget, but if you keep your eye out for them and are patient, they can be found for little money.
07-01-2011, 05:59 PM   #4
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Looks like any might be doable price wise. Without a lot of searching, all there was on ebay was some of the vivitar series 1 at very high buy it now prices (quite out of my price range) but looking at completed listings, they don't actually sell for that much. Not much for the others but again, completed listings imply price is doable. I'm in no big hurry anyway so I'm sure more will show up. Thanks again for the help. I guess its time for a bit of research.

Fyi if any one wants to comment on these compared to the lens I currently have Or just comment on the lens I have alone, it would be much appreciated. If I need a diffrent kind of pic I can post another. There is one review in the database for it (I'm not sure I would rate it that bad but the person rating it admittedly had a trashed copy of it). They said reasonable image quality (sounds about right), scary lens flare (noticed bad enough lens flare myself in bright sunlight but not much indoors which is where I would be using it). Many functional issues on his (mine was stiff zooming but everything else was good and a clean and lube fixed the stiff zoom).

07-01-2011, 08:35 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by ripit Quote
Thanks for the recommendations. It will give me something to keep an eye out for. Would you think any of these would have better image quality than the one I have or just perhaps different function that I might like?
I have owned 3 copies of the Pentax 35-105 and all three had superb IQ. It also has a nice macro feature.

Though I have not used one, the Tamron SP 35-80 has a great reputation and it also has a nice macro.

Of the ones I listed, these 2 would be at the top of my list.
07-02-2011, 12:20 AM   #6
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ASPH, nice!
07-11-2011, 06:42 PM   #7
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I was hoping someone could provide some more information. I took the one I have out shooting the other day (first time I had a full day shooting with it). Its kind of growing on me. Zoom range is good. Pics seem good (I haven't had time to look through them thoroughly but I figure if glancing through them on a 42" 1080p to looks good then they are probably good. I really like that it keeps focus when zooming.
I had two problems (1 that I expected, 1 I didn't). Being fast enough was the one I expected. I have done even more reading and know that faster than 2.8 isn't going to happen. It did make enough difference when zooming and going from 2.8-3.8 to matter though. I'm thinking this lens is going to be good enough unless I can find a 2.8 fixed aperture to try. I think being fast the whole range might make a difference. I had to do a lot of kicking the iso up on the one I have. Even if the lens quality was a bit less, I have to wonder if it would still be better than using high iso.

Is the one mentioned, the Vivitar Series 1 35-85, 2.8 an m42 lens (wondering if the ones I have found are it)? Its a bit pricey (200$), but at that price I'm in no rush to buy so I can keep an eye on prices for a while. The only other one I have found is a kalamar 35-70 2.8. The limited info I have found is that they may be decent though defiantly not top of the line. Has anyone else heard anything about this lens? They seem to be cheap enough it would let me try out a fixed 2.8 lens to see if it would be worth spending the money on a better one (maybe I'll get lucky and the kalimar will turn out to be decent). Are there any other fixed 2.8 lenses out there? I did find a pentax auto focus one but its way out of my price range (so is 200$ but I suspect I can find the vivitar cheaper if I am patient).
07-11-2011, 06:50 PM   #8
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I almost forgot, the second issue was that the vivitar was 180 degree turn for focus. I know that is normally desirable and makes fine tuning focus easier but it makes fast focus on moving targets a bit harder. It didn't help that I was an idiot either. I have gotten used to shooting full manual with all these new ebay lenses (most can only do that). I realized towards the end of the day, this one has the a setting. It let me concentrate more on getting fast focus at the end, though to tell the truth, I think manual exposure gives better results (except when I zoom and forget to reset it which is often but I'm learning).

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