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10-14-2011, 02:59 PM   #1
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cheaper wide zoom options with 2.8 constant?

I am wondering what what is even available. Any ideas regardless if you know if it is a good lens or not would be appreciated (Anything like a 35-70 or 28-80mm etc with a 2.8 constant aperture? Any input would be really appreciated.

Eventually I'll try and get a vivitar series 1 35-85mm 2.8 but those don't sell cheap (I would think I would be lucky to get one under 100$ and I have seen plenty sell for more). It's got enough of a cult status, I wonder if I wouldn't find something better for the same price. I use an is-tds so really high iso isn't usable (a crappy lens at lower iso comes out looking better than a good one at high iso). More expensive options are welcome too as I would eventually like to get a good one (unless I get a better high iso body first but that won't happen soon). One I found is a kalimar 35-70mm 2.8 and they sell cheap (ok glass, terrible Korean build quality, I have a broken one). They seem to be pretty rare though (would hopefully last till I could get a better one if I could even find one). Are there any other cheap options? What 2.8 constant zoom lenses are even made (seems that configuration of any brand is less common).

As far as similar lenses that would work, I already have plenty so no need for recommendations on those (and no big rush on the 2.8 constant, I can save for a better one if I can not find a cheap one). I already have a 28mm 2.8 (has issues but I also have a second that I will hopefully get working tonight, nikon mount). I have 50mm 1.7, 1.8, 1.9, 2.0, 128mm 2.8, 35-200mm 3-4.5 (so 3-3.3 in the 35-70mm range) 35-70mm 2.8-3.8, 35-70mm 2.5-3.5 (finished converting from canon but haven't been shooting with it yet). Any and every range in slower lenses.

I have been shooting a few times with the 35-70mm 2.8-3.8 in the environment where I want to use this lens, and 2.8 is borderline but usable and as I zoom it just gets too slow to be usable.

10-14-2011, 03:05 PM   #2
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Tamron lens.
10-14-2011, 03:19 PM   #3
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Absolutely Ron!
Tamron 28-75 f2.8 is one of the benchmarks of a standard fast zoom now days (from anything I've seen at least).
10-14-2011, 04:01 PM   #4
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Ouch on the price. If the lens I am seeing is the same, it's auto focus and sells for 400-500$. While this might be a lens I might use enough to justify saving up for a good one, I could get a k-x body or similar for the same price range and get enough improved iso performance to make all my lenses work better (and make some of my current lenses be as fast as the 2.8 after taking into account the higher iso). I would gain shake reduction too. I'm not sure the k-x is the best for high iso (just used that as an example) but I have been leed to believe that all the newer bodies including cheaper ones have much better high iso performance than the ist-ds. Is that correct?

I was thinking more along the lines of under 200$ (preferably closer to 100$) for a decent one or well under 100$ for a cheap temporary one (not sure that's going to happen). Old manual focus are fine (in fact it is all I would expect for the price I want to spend). I would already like to upgrade to a better body anyway (gonna have to save for a while for that though). It doesn't have to be pentax mount either (i can convert minolta or canon or whatever).

10-14-2011, 04:49 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by ripit Quote
newer bodies including cheaper ones have much better high iso performance than the ist-ds. Is that correct?
Yes The K-5 goes up to ISO 51200 and with a little PP shots at 3200 or 6400 can turn out to be virtually noise-free.

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10-14-2011, 05:04 PM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by ripit Quote
I was thinking more along the lines of under 200$ (preferably closer to 100$) for a decent one or well under 100$ for a cheap temporary one (not sure that's going to happen).
You will not find a cheap, fast zoom with good IQ for that price. Full stop.

If you have limited finance, you should consider MF primes which are usually cheaper than zoom lenses.
10-14-2011, 05:09 PM   #7
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Well for the cheaper part..I would simply pick up 2 or 3 primes, like a 28mm f2.5, a 55mm 1.8 and say a 135mm f2.8. Not as handy, maybe not wide enough..

The Tamron 28-75 is cheaper than the DA*16-50 f2.8, cheaper than the FA*28-70, cheaper than the sigma 17-50 as well. I guess there's also the Tamron 17-50 as well as the 28-75.. but the 28-75 is a better lens.
10-14-2011, 05:45 PM   #8
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I already own plenty of primes in that range (28mm 2.8, several 55mm in 1.7, 1.8, 1.9, and 2.0, 135mm 2.8), and non constant aperture zooms like 35-70mm 2.5-3.5, 2.8-3.8, 35-200mm 3-4.5. I am wanting a lens to use indoor (can only backup so much to get wider before your back is to a wall), and I can not change lenses fast enough for the shooting conditions. I have already tried with primes. The 35-70mm 2.8-3.8 worked ok (wasn't always fast enough but the best I have for the circumstances). I actually just recently got the 35-70mm 2.5-3.5 and will be going to this location tomorrow so I will be trying it out tomorrow. Likewise if I can finish converting the nikon mount tonight, I will be trying a new 28mm 2.8 prime. The main issue using just the 28mm is my ist--ds is only 6MP so I have limited room to crop (another good reason to upgrade my body). Well see how it goes with that after tomorrow if I finish the mount conversion in time.

I guess the vivitar 35-85mm 2.8 is the only good option right now then. I have seen them go for under 100$ and are pretty easy to find at the 140$ or less mark. Maybe I'll get lucky and find a kalimar (sells for more like 20-30$). Glass is ok for a cheap lens but build quality is terrible (I guess if it lasts a year before it breaks it will have paid for itself).

10-14-2011, 06:04 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcc Quote
You will not find a cheap, fast zoom with good IQ for that price. Full stop.

If you have limited finance, you should consider MF primes which are usually cheaper than zoom lenses.
Quite right. Cheap-fast-wide-zoom are mutually exclusive. The fastest cheapest widest good lens is the Zenitar 16/2.8 fishy prime. The cheapest widest decent zoom is the DA18-55. The cheapest widest good zoom is the Tamron 10-24, and it's still beyond your budget.

If you can do without quality, here's an experiment to try: Get a DA18-55/3.5-5.6 kit lens. Get a cheap used A-type 2x TC. Remove the element from the TC and re-install it REVERSED! Your TC is now a 0.5x WC, a wide-converter. The kit lens becomes a 9-28mm f/1.7-2.8 zoom! WOW! The trick is to get the TC/WC element placed exactly right. Good luck.

Otherwise, get the Zenitar.
10-14-2011, 06:50 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
If you can do without quality, here's an experiment to try: Get a DA18-55/3.5-5.6 kit lens. Get a cheap used A-type 2x TC. Remove the element from the TC and re-install it REVERSED! Your TC is now a 0.5x WC, a wide-converter. The kit lens becomes a 9-28mm f/1.7-2.8 zoom! WOW! The trick is to get the TC/WC element placed exactly right. Good luck.
I assume you are kidding?
10-14-2011, 07:05 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
If you can do without quality, here's an experiment to try: Get a DA18-55/3.5-5.6 kit lens. Get a cheap used A-type 2x TC. Remove the element from the TC and re-install it REVERSED! Your TC is now a 0.5x WC, a wide-converter. The kit lens becomes a 9-28mm f/1.7-2.8 zoom! WOW! The trick is to get the TC/WC element placed exactly right. Good luck.
Ok you've got to be $#|T|N' me... I've never heard of this, I've got a spare TC (or two) to experiment on.. heck, one has the elements out of it so it can be my 25mm macro spacer block.
10-14-2011, 07:21 PM   #12
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Not kidding, no joke, but I haven't tried it. Yet. I read about this re: astrophotography not long ago, even posted an inquiry here for details but didn't get much help. I think it's called a focus expander or something like that. It's used to turn long slow telescopes into shorter faster ones. I do recall that placement is critical. Probably so critical that if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. I'll let y'all be the lab rats on this one.
10-14-2011, 09:38 PM   #13
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I don't know how far you can back up with 35mm lens indoors but a Tamron SP 65A, 35-105/2.8 can be found for under 200.00 without the Adaptall-2 mount. If you are willing to settle for a slightly slower lens (f3.5), Pentax A 35-105/3.5 can be had for about 150.00 (the so called stack of primes zoom lens). I should take the 65A out more often (great colour fidelity and superb IQ), but I seem to be in macro mode these days.
10-14-2011, 10:02 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by excanonfd Quote
I don't know how far you can back up with 35mm lens indoors but a Tamron SP 65A, 35-105/2.8 can be found for under 200.00 without the Adaptall-2 mount. If you are willing to settle for a slightly slower lens (f3.5), Pentax A 35-105/3.5 can be had for about 150.00 (the so called stack of primes zoom lens). I should take the 65A out more often (great colour fidelity and superb IQ), but I seem to be in macro mode these days.
Thanks a bunch for the recommendation on the tamron. Seems there is an auto focus version too (one recently sold for 150$). I would have to save up a bit for that so I'll look into them more. I have shot with ones that were 35mm on the low end and while a little wider would be nice, they were good enough.

As far as a little slower, I have a few that would match/beat 3.5 constant and many more that are a little slower so that wouldn't help. on a 35-70mm 2.8-3.8 is was barely fast enough wide at 2.8 to use iso 800 but on the middle and longer end it was just too slow. iso 1600 on my camera starts to get pretty bad.
10-14-2011, 10:55 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by ripit Quote
I could get a k-x body or similar for the same price range and get enough improved iso performance to make all my lenses work better....
QuoteOriginally posted by Chex Quote
Well for the cheaper part..I would simply pick up 2 or 3 primes, like a 28mm f2.5, a 55mm 1.8 and say a 135mm f2.8....
The problem is, after you've used the money toward a newer and better camera body, you still want fast lenses. By that time, fast lenses will be even more expensive.

You never win!

Three years ago, I never thought of spending $500+ for a lens (it's not because I couldn't afford them), but now....
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