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10-22-2011, 03:08 PM   #1
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best manually focusing wide zoom

I would really appreciate some help here.
I am looking for a "best" IQ wide zoom (16 or 17 - ?) that is good for manually focusing. I have a 16-45 that I have been happy with but now seems to be acting up and it is out of warranty. I do mainly landscape work and often on a tripod (this is where I need the MF). I don't need fast but it would be nice for a brighter VF for MF. I saw the comparison review done here recently on the 16,17-50's and would go for the Tammy but the MF is said to be horrible. I would go for the 16-50 in a heartbeat if it weren't for the cost (I could sorely use the WR too!) and if the MF was more useable. So it seems my options are:
16-50 (I like the 16, love the WR, like the speed, like the build)
Sigma 17-50
Tammy 17-50 (like the IQ, like the price)
Pentax 17-70 (like the range, like the lens to body seal, build is said to be better)
Sigma 17-70 (like the macro, like the speed)
16-45 (another one-like the 16, MF seems OK, like the price)
????? an option I am missing?
This is my 2nd 16-45. The first also got unreliable (sometimes it's sharp and sometimes not) and was replaced under warranty. I don't like the wobbly feel to it and have to believe the build is poor now with 2 failures. I am not hard on my gear BTW-all my stuff looks brand new.
I should say that IQ and MF are paramount, I am a pixel peeper cuz I make large prints for galleries.
So are any of these (or other) lenses as good or better than the 16-45 for MF? I do also use AF when not on the tripod so I don't want MF only
Thank you!

10-22-2011, 03:14 PM   #2
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Have you seen this: Comparative Review: Fast Normal Zoom Shootout - Introduction ?

I would consider the da*, but honestly, if you're going to go to the trouble of manually focusing, why not get a MF zoom instead (at the expense of a narrower FOV):
Pentax-A 35-105mm F3.5 Reviews - A Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
Pentax-A 24-50mm F4 Reviews - A Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

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10-22-2011, 03:26 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by seadog Quote
I should say that IQ and MF are paramount, I am a pixel peeper cuz I make large prints for galleries.
QuoteOriginally posted by seadog Quote
I would go for the 16-50 in a heartbeat if it weren't for the cost
1 - How can manual focus be horrible on a lens? If you can manually focus a lens, it can't be horrible as it is left up to you to nail the focus.
2 - If you are a pixel peeper and are making large prints for galleries, then cost should not even be in selection process.

QuoteOriginally posted by seadog Quote
This is my 2nd 16-45. The first also got unreliable (sometimes it's sharp and sometimes not) and was replaced under warranty.
The bold'd text could also equate too: Sometimes Your Exposure And Focus Is Spot On and Sometimes It Is Not

For a wide "A" Type MF lens, look at the Samyang (Varients) 14mm 2.8.









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10-22-2011, 04:02 PM   #4
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Reply to Joe

Reply to Joe;
" How can manual focus be horrible on a lens? If you can manually focus a lens, it can't be horrible as it is left up to you to nail the focus."
Good question! It begs another one: What makes good manual focus? I would say:
-focus ring wide, easy to find, with good grip
-nicely dampened (proper resistance to turning)
-good travel distance (large travel =small change in focus)

"If you are a pixel peeper and are making large prints for galleries, then cost should not even be in selection process."
you are right, it should not. Unfortunately it does! Sales are very slow these days.

Regarding the 16-45 unreliability: "Sometimes Your Exposure And Focus Is Spot On and Sometimes It Is Not"
I have varied the focus point, both with AF and MF and also LV and sometimes the right side of the image is not sharp (even when I focus at that point)

"For a wide "A" Type MF lens, look at the Samyang (Varients) 14mm 2.8."
good suggestion! But I also need a good zoom for non-tripod use.

Thanks for your reply, Joe!

10-22-2011, 04:09 PM   #5
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reply to Adam

QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Have you seen this: Comparative Review: Fast Normal Zoom Shootout - Introduction ?

I would consider the da*, but honestly, if you're going to go to the trouble of manually focusing, why not get a MF zoom instead (at the expense of a narrower FOV):
Pentax-A 35-105mm F3.5 Reviews - A Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
Pentax-A 24-50mm F4 Reviews - A Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

Thanks Adam,
not wide enuf-although the 35-105 does look interesting for other uses!
10-22-2011, 04:38 PM   #6
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What about:

Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom Lens 202109 B&H

Focal range is minimal, but should work well for landscapes and gives a little more versatility than the 14mm I recommended plus has the nice focus ring grip.

FYI: That 35-105 I have and it is a great lens, I am on my second copy of one.




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10-22-2011, 05:48 PM   #7
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The 14mm is super awesome. My combo is the 8mm Samyang/14mm Samyang/DA21 and so far I'm very happy with it.

Seadog, have you looked at the lens clubs on this forum? I've seen a lot of really amazing shots from the Tamron 17-50, but there are lens clubs where each of these lenses are used prominently. I would expect the DA*16-50 would have an excellent manual focus ring, because my DA21 does, but I've never touched one. My only zoom that comes close to what you're looking for is the Tamron 28-75/2.8. It is not wide enough for what you want, but I love the lens. The manual focus ring is adequate, not a joy like my primes, but I didn't buy it for manual focusing (maybe the 17-50's focus ring is similar).
10-22-2011, 07:31 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by kenafein Quote
The 14mm is super awesome. My combo is the 8mm Samyang/14mm Samyang/DA21 and so far I'm very happy with it.
So, kenafein, you got the Sammy 14mm too! I received mine three days ago, and I'm happy to confirm your "super awesome" comment. In fact, I can bet against anyone no other UWA is as sharp at any aperture. The lens is simply magnificent!


Last edited by causey; 10-22-2011 at 07:51 PM.
10-22-2011, 07:34 PM   #9
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I haven't experience with the others mentioned, but I'll recommend the Tamron 10-24. Pros: fairly wide focus ring, nicely damped for MF. Con (somewhat): just 90 degrees throw from near-focus (24cm) to infinity. But in the 10-24mm focal range, that's quite enough.
10-22-2011, 07:56 PM   #10
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You're right The Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 isn't the greatest for manual focusing. But if you use live view and zoom in to where you want to focus, it's not that hard. That's what I do anyway. I really like the lens. f2.8 means it's good at night and produces nice bokeh with close ups. And it's very sharp from f5.6-f11. The only thing I didn't like is the distortion at 17mm but I forgot about that once I figured out how easy it is to correct in ACR. These are all (except 1) taken with the Tamron: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/163098-landscape-sunrise-mountain.html
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