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09-02-2011, 02:15 PM   #1
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Kit lenses v super-zooms

I have recently bought a k-r with the 18-55 and 50-200 kit lenses, having previously only owned cheap compact cameras.

My problem is that I always (well it seems like always) have the wrong lens on the camera. I am nervous about changing lenses whilst out and about partly because of the risk of getting dust etc into the camera, and partly because I am clumsy and it is only a matter of time before I drop one or both lenses whilst doing so. I also sometime find it difficult carrying two lenses if I am out for a whole day and have to carry food and drink, and equipment for my disabled wife.
Sigma and Tamron both make 18-200 lenses which cover the same range as the two kit lenses and I could just about afford one of them. I have read any number of reviews of them, including those on this forum, but none of the reviews that I have found compare them to the kit lenses. In simple terms, if I buy one of these, will my picture quality be the same, better or worse than using the two kit lenses? If the same or better then I can justify buying one of them, but if not then I will have to continue to carry two lenses - I cannot justify spending what for me is a lot of money for the convenience of having a single lens if it results in a deterioration in picture quality.

I mainly use the camera for recording events such as holidays and days out rather than for purely "artistic" shots, although I would like to do more of the latter as I get better.

Any help will be much appreciated.

09-02-2011, 03:20 PM   #2
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The DA 18-250 is highly regarded, would cover the range you have plus give you some more reach. I believe it is superior optically to the 55-200, not sure how it compares to the 55-300 (which has better IQ than the 200). It sounds right up your alley, if you want the freedom of just carrying one lens.

I can say with some certainty that the 18-250 will be significantly better than either the Sigma or Tamron.
09-02-2011, 03:22 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Philoslothical Quote
The DA 18-250 is highly regarded, would cover the range you have plus give you some more reach. I believe it is superior optically to the 55-200, not sure how it compares to the 55-300 (which has better IQ than the 200). It sounds right up your alley, if you want the freedom of just carrying one lens.

I can say with some certainty that the 18-250 will be significantly better than either the Sigma or Tamron.

Better than the Tamron 18-200, just to be clear. The Tamron 18-250 is comparable to the DA 18-250.
09-02-2011, 03:30 PM   #4
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This is a question that may be a little tough to answer because of sample variations. For example, I've had 2 copies of the DA L 18-55 - the lens that came with your K-r. The 1st one that came with my K2000d was quite good in terms of sharpness, better than the DA 16-45 I was testing. The second 18-55, which came with my K-x, was less so. It's not *bad* but is not as good as my 1st copy.

Painting with a broad brush, "cheap" lenses have a greater potential for sample variation than "expensive" lenses.

I've used the 2 18-55's (as well as the original DA 18-55) and also the 50-200 (which was OK). I've not used either of the 18-200's. I think, though, it's pretty fair to say that the 18-55, 50-200, and the 18-200's are all similar in terms of image quality.

Most importantly, though, is that if you are missing shots because of a reluctance to change lenses, well, this is a far worse situation than simply having a lower-quality lens. I recently made a switch from a "better" lens to a "worse" lens simply because I could get better shots with the "worse" lens.

09-02-2011, 03:51 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
Painting with a broad brush, "cheap" lenses have a greater potential for sample variation than "expensive" lenses.
Which is why I will never recommend one of Tamron's budget zooms. I tried one last month, a 70-300, and it didn't last a day. Seriously. The aperture lever locked up, with the iris closed down to minimum aperture. I took 20 shots with the damn thing before the viewfinder just went dark.

Reviewing the 20 shots I got later, the CA was abominable, and the sharpness was meh. It was about the noisiest lens I've ever heard too.

I took it back and swapped it for a similar Sigma, which has been much better to me. That said, if I could have afforded it, I would have stayed with Pentax for a modern long zoom.
09-02-2011, 04:08 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Philoslothical Quote
Which is why I will never recommend one of Tamron's budget zooms. I tried one last month, a 70-300, and it didn't last a day. Seriously. The aperture lever locked up, with the iris closed down to minimum aperture. I took 20 shots with the damn thing before the viewfinder just went dark.

Reviewing the 20 shots I got later, the CA was abominable, and the sharpness was meh. It was about the noisiest lens I've ever heard too.

I took it back and swapped it for a similar Sigma, which has been much better to me. That said, if I could have afforded it, I would have stayed with Pentax for a modern long zoom.
I've had excellent luck with 2 Tamron 70-300's and my current Quantaray 70-300 (based on the Tamron design). More useful for me than the Pentax 55-300 that I had, but the PF monster can be a PITA.

A few years ago, most folks would have told you Tamron>Sigma for build quality. Don't know how things are now, though. Except for the POS lens hood, my Sigma 170-500 has been fine.

I don't know how long you've been an SLR user, but as the years roll by and you use dozens/hundreds of various lenses, unless you have repeated issues with one particular brand, I think you may no longer feel as you do about Tamron. Or maybe you will. Every brand has a lemon, either as a lens design or just sample failure. It could be hard to believe, for instance, that Pentax could put out the FA J series lenses and the Limited lenses, 2 lines at complete opposite ends of the spectrum.

And did you know the highly-regarded Pentax 18-250 is actually a Tamron?
09-02-2011, 04:53 PM - 1 Like   #7
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The DA18-250 is my basic lens; all my ~220 other lenses are specialty tools. I have a DA18-55 and Tamron 60-300 pair that I don't use as a pair because I shoot a great deal in the 35-70mm range and lens-swapping is a shot-missing pain. I hate missing shots. Some complain about the 18-250's IQ. Well, the IQ of a missed shot is zero. With the 18-250, I don't miss many shots.

My basic minimal kit is the FA50/1.4 for dimness or action, the Tamron 10-24 for tight spaces, and the DA18-250 for everything else. That set provides coverage. Throw in a Raynox macro adapter, and most situations are covered. Yes, I use (many!) other lenses for specific tasks, but that basic kit is what I have with me always.

IMHO 18-250mm is just the most convenient and flexible single-lens solution for many problems. Your mileage may vary.
09-02-2011, 05:00 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
I don't know how long you've been an SLR user, but as the years roll by and you use dozens/hundreds of various lenses, unless you have repeated issues with one particular brand, I think you may no longer feel as you do about Tamron.
Oh, I'll probably get over it eventually, but it will take an equivalent good experience with the brand to do it, I think. It's good that you've enjoyed your 70-300s, but I still think the build quality of their current budget zooms sucks. To be completely honest, the amount of CA I saw in those initial shots was the most troubling. As you say, any lens can be a lemon, so while my experience with the aperture lever may be purely anecdotal, the CA with that lens is a well known problem (that I didn't adequately research before buying it ).

09-02-2011, 08:34 PM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Basset Quote
Better than the Tamron 18-200, just to be clear. The Tamron 18-250 is comparable to the DA 18-250.
The 18-200mm (Sigma or Tamron) are older generation lenses, and less considered by Pentaxians than the Pentax DA18-250m/Tamron 18-250mm.

The DA18-250mm and its sibbling Tamron 18-250mm were both manufactured by Tamron. Simply these lenses are very close and the results are basically of similar IQ.

Overal the DA18-250mm/Tamron 18-250mm has been considered one of the best super-zooms (or all-around zoom lens) across all brands incl. Canokons, Oly, Minolta, ....

The lens is no longer manufactured but you can fnd some excellent copies at PF marketplace (https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/photographic-equipment-sale/), Buy & Sell New & Used Cameras ? Canon, Nikon, Hasselblad, Leica & More - KEH.com and Digital cameras, all other cameras and everything photographic from Adorama Camera (Use equipment). Prices vary but have been about $350 to $450. Over te last 2 months, I saw more than 20 listings in these 3 sites.

I have the DA18-250mmm. t is my first lens and my most used to date. When I want to travel light, or when I do not want to swap lenses, a Pentax body and the DA18-250mm is the ideal package IMHO.

In summary: I agree with many posts that the DA18-250mm/Tamron 18-250mm is an ideal all-around lens. And it is highly recommended by many incl. by myself.

Hope that the comment will help.

Last edited by hcc; 09-03-2011 at 01:28 AM.
09-03-2011, 12:44 AM   #10
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Thanks to everyone for their input. The trouble is that the 18-250 is difficult to find second hand in the UK, and when it is available it is over twice the price of a new 18-200, and the new lens will come with a 3 year UK warranty (Sigma) or 5 year UK warranty (Tamron). Whilst I would love to be able to buy the more expensive lens, I am on a rather tight budget and simply cannot afford to do so, doubly so as I will have the risk of something going wrong. So, going back to the question, is the quality of a picture taken with an 18-200 better or worse than the same picture taken with the 18-55 or 50-200?
09-03-2011, 07:22 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Redundant Banker Quote
Thanks to everyone for their input. The trouble is that the 18-250 is difficult to find second hand in the UK, and when it is available it is over twice the price of a new 18-200, and the new lens will come with a 3 year UK warranty (Sigma) or 5 year UK warranty (Tamron). Whilst I would love to be able to buy the more expensive lens, I am on a rather tight budget and simply cannot afford to do so, doubly so as I will have the risk of something going wrong. So, going back to the question, is the quality of a picture taken with an 18-200 better or worse than the same picture taken with the 18-55 or 50-200?
It will be similar, perhaps slightly worse. Again, the variable is sample variation. Not all 18-200's are the same, not all 18-55's are the same, etc.
09-03-2011, 07:29 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
It will be similar, perhaps slightly worse. Again, the variable is sample variation. Not all 18-200's are the same, not all 18-55's are the same, etc.
Further: a new 18-200 probably won't suck, and if it does, it's hopefully purchased from a seller with a good return policy, eh? I've not yet had to return any new photo gear, but I make sure my purchases CAN be returned at my whim.
09-03-2011, 07:38 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Further: a new 18-200 probably won't suck, and if it does, it's hopefully purchased from a seller with a good return policy, eh? I've not yet had to return any new photo gear, but I make sure my purchases CAN be returned at my whim.
Good point.
09-03-2011, 10:07 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Redundant Banker Quote
Thanks to everyone for their input. The trouble is that the 18-250 is difficult to find second hand in the UK, and when it is available it is over twice the price of a new 18-200, and the new lens will come with a 3 year UK warranty (Sigma) or 5 year UK warranty (Tamron). Whilst I would love to be able to buy the more expensive lens, I am on a rather tight budget and simply cannot afford to do so, doubly so as I will have the risk of something going wrong. So, going back to the question, is the quality of a picture taken with an 18-200 better or worse than the same picture taken with the 18-55 or 50-200?
well sir ive tried 18 200 siggy and 18 250tammy .. ive found slight image quality reduction (sharpness and contrast) when ure using 18 200. But then result may vary since there are luck factor in obtaining good copy and bad copy lens


I found both lens ( 18-200 and 18-250 ) good enough to meet the need of a 1600x1200pixel display or 8inx10in prints (i dont do pixel peep though) . Well you may add contrast and sharpness in postprocessing program if necessary.

Then the question is reverted back to you
- Do you use your camera for large prints? or web display only?

me? i prefer 18-55 kit over those two superzoom lenses, pentax color is .. different..

Last edited by ricoh.pentax; 09-03-2011 at 10:12 PM.
09-04-2011, 12:30 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by ricoh.pentax Quote
Then the question is reverted back to you
- Do you use your camera for large prints? or web display only?
I mainly use smaller prints (6 x 4 inches).
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