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11-23-2007, 08:32 AM   #1
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Pentax 50-200 vs. Sigma 28-200 (vs. Tamron 70-300)

I'm looking to buy a telephoto zoom for my K100D to complement my kit 18-55 and 50mm f/1.4.

Usage: I'd like to be able to use this for candids as well as some macro.

I'd buy the Pentax in a heartbeat if it had an aperture ring - I'm afraid I may want to use macro tubes, unless someone here thinks it has a decent enough macro performance without the need for extensions.

The lower limit of the Tamron lens (70mm) seems a bit long for a general walk-around, and purple fringing complaints about it around the web are quite loud.

The Sigmas, therefore, look quite good (and can be had for around $200) - but I've yet to read any reviews of them on a Pentax or comparisons between them and the above.

(I'm looking at two Sigmas:

Amazon.com: Sigma 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 DG IF Macro Aspherical Lens for Pentax and Samsung SLR Cameras: Electronics

Amazon.com: Sigma 28-200 f/3.5-5.6 Compact Hyper Zoom Aspherical Lens for Pentax SLR Cameras: Electronics)

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

11-23-2007, 11:44 AM   #2
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I owned the 50-200 and the Sigma 70-300 (might be out of your pricerange) for almost a year. I purchased and returned the Tamron 70-300 after using it for a weekend.

Pentax 50-200mm
Build quality is great, I really liked the quickshift focus. I also -needed- the quick shift focus because my version of the lens often mis-focused even on high contrast scenes. It's not really a macro lens at all, but I've seen good closeups shot using it. In spite of it being 'short' (compared to the 70-300s), I used this lens most of all (mostly because of build quality and small size). It was a good lens, but I missed some shots because of the focus issues.

Sigma 70-300
This lens was sharp in the center all the way to 300mm. At the long end, I found anything oudside the center to be quite soft. However, the build quality of my lens was very poor. Sometimes when zooming, the lens would stick between 200 and 300mm and it would require quite a tug to get zooming again. Needless to say this jarred me from my chosen composition and pissed me off imensely. I just could not bring myself to use the lens more than once every few months. I was very glad to be rid of it.

Tamron 70-300
This lens is even sharper than the Sigma, especially at the long end. The macro was marvelous and the build quality was great for the price (almost as nice as the Pentax 50-200, but it was a much more versatile lens). Of the three, I would have kept this one but I decided on a completely different route (Tamron 18-250mm as a walkaround and the Sigma 135-400 for reach). Yes, in some shots there is purple finge showing, but I found those kinds of shots to no be the most artist compositions to begin with :-) Still, if high contrast shooting is your preference, maybe try some Sigmas at the store until you find one that's good quality...


70mm as a Walkaround Lens
I found 70mm fine when walking around in the local park taking pictures. Sometimes it was a little tight but I could back up. The times I couldn't back up far enough, I found that 50mm wouldn't have helped me out either - I had to go to something around 35mm or wider. Generally I always had some other (wider) lens with me so it wasn't an issue.

I don't know anything about Sigma's 28-200. I got the Tamron 18-250mm which is quite pricey but worth it in my opinion. I think I've read that it's sharper than the 18-200, 28-200 and the 28-300 lenses, but I might be mistaken.

Good luck on your lens hunt!
11-23-2007, 12:19 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply dkittle, I appreciate it.

I think the optical compromises + price that come with the 18-250 maybe be a bit too much to pay for the convenience.

AF performance was actually one of the pros I had listed for the 50-200 - I'm glad you told me they're not immune to problems either.

The price sure is right for the Tamron 70-300, and the 1:2 mag ratio looks quite tempting. Then again I do like macros with dark backgrounds and silhouettes, so still worried about the purple fringing.

If only the Pentax had an aperture ring, I wouldn't have to think so much!

Any opinions on the two sigma 28-200s?
11-23-2007, 01:12 PM   #4
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I have the Sigma 28-200 DG If lens and I was never very happy with the photos with it. I used it on the istds then when I got my K10D I tried it out again. It is a little better on the K10D but not anywhere near the quality of the DA 50-200. It sits in a cupboard now.

I have not had any problems with the 50-200 and AF except in low light conditions. It turns out very nice images, but I understand there are good ones and not so good ones. I guess I have one of the good ones. It does not have Macro capabilities but you can get quite good closeup images with it. I used it most of the time until I got my DA*50-135.

If you can go to your local camera store and try the lenses out, take a couple of shots with each of them and have a look at the quality of the images. Most stores will let you try the lenses on your camera if they have them on the shelf.

I also have the Sigma 70-300 (macro DG non APO) lens and I am quite happy with it. I have not used the Macro abilities of this lens except to test it and I have found the AF is much better and faster than the Sigma 28-200 or 28-300

11-23-2007, 11:37 PM   #5
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Thanks BrianK, that really helped.

Can I put you on the spot and ask which one you'd choosr between the 70-300 and the Pentax 50-200, especially for low light?
11-23-2007, 11:57 PM   #6
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Here's my comparison test:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/4768-lens-comp...-70-300-a.html
11-24-2007, 05:13 PM   #7
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If I had to choose the lens that delivers images that I like, I would go for the Pentax 50-200, I think it delivers a sharper, more contrasty? image in most lighting conditions. I have found that the Sigma 70-300 does the best in bright, well lit shooting.

This is just my feelings for the type of images I like. As you can see by the test that SpecialK did, the 50-200 takes more saturated images with more contrast. The Sigma images can be adjusted to close to the 50-200 quality but I don't like to do much PP so I would go for the Pentax.

They are both good lenses and the Sigma does have the extra length. I would not call either one a good lens for low light, they are good for average conditions outdoors or brighter indoor shooting.

This was shot with the Sigma 70-300 snapshot style at 190mm F5.6 1/250th ISO 100 but as you can see from the sky it was a sunny day.



This was taken with the Pentax 50-200 under a tent at a farm fair.
at 170mm F4.5 1/180th ISO 400. I had been using the Sigma and switched because it wanted the ISO at 800-1600.

11-24-2007, 10:44 PM   #8
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Hm, that last comment was interesting. So at the same focal length and aperture, the Sigma (apparently) lets in less light?

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