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11-18-2007, 04:54 PM   #1

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Pentax 16-45 & FA 75-300 zooms. Recommended?

I just bought a Pentax K10D, my first digital SLR.

. I am approaching retirement (June '08, hopefully) and have been a photographer hobbyist since '68. I want to do much more photography in my retirement years.

I've had/ still have Pentaxes (S1a, ES11, K1000) over the years and have a 35-105 Zoom macro Pentax A...which is the lens I use now on my K10D. I also have an old Leica rangefinder and a Mamiya 220 TLR.

I'm certainly not a phenomenal photographer by any stretch of the imagination..but I do enjoy the hobby and have a desire to improve.

Pictures I take include:
  • Wild Birds and wildlife
  • Scenics...landscapes
  • People....relatives and friends mostly
  • Cars/ motorcycles / trucks...mostly at automotive shows both indoor and outdoor

I like, clear, sharp, contrasty photos. My old Pentax 35-105 has always delivered this performance. I would like any new lenses to meet this standard.

Lenses I am considering and would appreciate advice, include:

1) I would like to get a Pentax 16-45 Zoom. I have read and heard, mixed opinion about this lens. Some say it is great, an excellent lens. Others (fewer) say it is not much better than the kit lens..the 18-55 ? I would like to take some 'creative' wide angle shots with this, some regular W/A shots...landscapes, people, automotive..etc.

2) I would also like to get the Pentax 75 (?) to 300 zoom. Primarily this would be used for photo's of wild birds and animals. I have heard this lens is soft at it's maximum of 300 mm. Is this the case ?

Thank you for any assessments, advice about these lenses or others.


11-18-2007, 05:49 PM   #2
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I looked at the 70 - 300 from Pentax as well as the 70 - 300 from Sigma and Tamron. For me, the money and quality were the biggest factors and I ended up grabbing a used Tamron for $125 as the image quality was similar to the Sigma and better than the Pentax.

This was taken at 300mm with a Samsung GX-10 (Same as a K10D) and Tamron 70 - 300 Di LD

11-18-2007, 05:57 PM   #3
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Personally, I love the 16-45, and find it a BIG step up from the kit lens. I especially like the constant f/4 aperture, because there is no "penalty" for shooting at longer focal lengths indoors. I can't speak to the xx-300 zooms, but I'll put in a very good word for the 16-45!
11-18-2007, 06:40 PM   #4
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The PBase site will filter photos by lens. The 16-45 has 8191 pictures there so you should get a good idea. The 75-300 has only 164 pictures taken by four users so it doesn't seem to be very popular.

11-18-2007, 06:51 PM   #5
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I have the 16-45mm, it is a good lens, big upgrade from the kit lens. It is for sale, but I am considering keeping it. The Tamron 70-300 DI is on my buy list.
11-20-2007, 08:50 AM   #6
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I don't really have an issue with the Pentax 75-300 ... I had it on order for ages ... did some reading and found that it was meant to be a crap lens. Was a little disappointed in the reviews.

I finally got it ... went out and took some images here and there ... and at a few family outdoor gatherings ... and I can safely say ... it's not as crap as I was expecting ... or as bad as people were saying it was.

Although i might have got a good one though ... you just never know really.
11-20-2007, 07:51 PM   #7
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Les, I've been using the DA 16-45 on my *ist DS for about 2 years and am very pleased with it - with one exception. When using it at the "wide" end - 16mm to about 30mm - you can't use the camera's built in flash. You get a real nice shadow in the middle, bottom of the photo. I've trained myself (who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks!!) to use an external flash (I have an older Vivitar 285 or a Pentax AF-500 FTZ I choose between).

Other than the flash issue, I've really been happy with the results!

Chip B

11-20-2007, 10:28 PM   #8
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I had the opportunity to shoot the 75-300 pentax against the sigma and tamron equivalents, and it seemed to me that the pentax was a tad sharper than the others. That being said, unless you feel you really need the extra reach of a 300mm zoom, I would recommend the DA 50-200. It's smaller, lighter, and a little better than the 75-300 @ 200mm in my (admittedly limited) experience with the 75-300.
11-21-2007, 04:28 AM   #9
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I haven't had a chance of using the 50-200 yet ... not sure if the finances will let me either.
Maybe if i come across a cheap one i may consider it though.

I do find the odd pic at 300mm can be a little soft in some cases.

Sometimes I wish i had more than 300 though ... if i want longer ... I think I'd save for a Bigma.
11-21-2007, 06:32 AM   #10
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I cannot say enough about the 16-45 F4. It has been fixed to first my istD now my K10D as a primary lens.

I found with the istD the inmages were very soft and required a lot of sharpening, however with the K10D it produces sharp images and only requires minimual sharpening in PS, about what i use for my D1 and D1H.

I have no experince with the 75-300, but i have seen images from the Pentax 80-300 that are quite good, and i think the used prices are resenable these days.

I have had the 50-200 for about a year now, and am mostly pleased with it. I recently shot some of my daughters dressage shows with it and the imnages are quite crisp.

The A 70-210 is also a good producer on the K10D if you want to go MF

Hope that helps.
11-21-2007, 07:12 AM   #11
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As others have said, 16-45 is certainly very highly recommended! Also consider the Sigma 17-70 - not as wide, and not constant aperture (helps if you use manual flash), but it has longer reach.

I don't think the FA-J 75-300 is anything to write home about, I'd probably go with the Tamron 70-300 based on what I've seen posted on the net.

I have the DA 50-200 and have been happy with it, although I rarely shoot telephoto so my impressions are perhaps somewhat limited.
11-21-2007, 04:04 PM   #12
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The 16-45 is a great lens, I don't regret buying it at all. It can fringe sometimes at the wide end but I rarely notice it.

As to the 75-300, I like the Pentax better than the Tamron or the Sigma, but they are all quite similar. If you can spring the extra money for the Sigma APO version you will be more than happy. (I have the FAJ 75-300)

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