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11-15-2011, 07:44 PM   #1
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Wisdom of Major kit change

All,
I am considering a major kit change as my kids are growing up and shooting demands appear to be changing. First of all, my current lineup:
DA 21
FA 31
FA 43
A 50 1.4
DA 70
DA 55-300
K7

This has been an enjoyable set for the last several years. It has been ideal for candids and relatively close ambient light photography. Most situations have been fairly relaxed allowing time to switch lenses as needed. I have really enjoyed the relative small size of all of these lenses (except 31 and 55-300). These lenses just make good photographs when I don't screw it up. I also realize that these are very high quality and in the case of the FAs (both made in Japan) may not present themselves again. My kids are growing up and have begun sports and various types of indoor low-light performances. I feel that this may not be the ideal kit for my evolving situation.

I am considering overhauling to the following:
Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM
A 50 1.4
DA 70
Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG APO Macro HSM
K5

The main axis of this change is the K5-Sigma70-200. The upgrade to the capabilities of the K5 is obvious, particularly for the high iso. Sports and indoor light performances will be the main use of the 70-200. I have been very happy with the DA 55-300 when there is adequate light but it just isn't fast enough for the indoor stuff. The sigma is significantly larger than the 55-300 with less reach but I am assuming the increased speed will be an acceptable trade-off. The 17-50 appears to be the best zoom of its range. I am concerned about the size of this lens as well. This will allow me to essentially be a 2 zoom kit and concentrate on taking photos and enjoying the event rather than changing lenses. I'll keep the A 50 and DA 70 as they make sweet photos. It seems I can't go wrong anytime the DA 70 is on the camera. I don't expect miracles out of the zooms. However, I do not want to be in a situation where I am unhappy with the performance of the zooms and wish I had my primes back.

In summary, my mental argument is between small size and high quality of current lineup and the low light quality, reach, and convenience of the proposed lineup. I would appreciate any thoughts or suggestions any of you have on my decision. I am sure others have been here before and I would like to know how you proceeded and whether you are happy with your decisions in hind sight.
Thanks,
Al

11-15-2011, 08:26 PM   #2
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Here's my view, but I wouldn't do exactly what you're proposing.

Sell: K7, FA43, DA21

Buy:
Tamron 17-50 (saving over Sigma and anyway we know zooms suck, so no point spending a whole lot more on a slightly less sucky lens)
Tamron 70-200 (or Sigma HSM if noise is a real issue for you)
K-5 (no brainer at todays prices)

Kit then would be:
Tam 17-50 (much smaller than Sig)
FA31
A50/1.4 (not totally rational, but I know where you are coming from as I own a K50/1.2)
DA70 (I'm with you on the 70, a stunning lens)
DA55-300
Tam 70-200

Comments: you wont get much for your 55-300 and it will be an extremely useful lens for your kids outdoor activities. It's a crime to sell a good copy of a FA31, I guarantee you'll be kicking yourself down the track and a zoom is no substitute for it, my best pics of my kids come from my FA31, easy. The IQ of the DA21 on the otherhand can be replaced with a zoom (just not the size), so it goes. FA43 will be painful to sell I'm sure, but it's too close to the 31 to keep when you need the funds.

Last edited by twitch; 11-15-2011 at 08:53 PM.
11-15-2011, 08:41 PM   #3
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+1 with twitch overall.

I would definitely keep the FA31mm.
11-15-2011, 09:46 PM   #4
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+1 for getting the Tamrons over the Sigmas.

No sense in paying for OS on the 17-50 when you are using a Pentax camera. And I recently read this favorable Tamron 70-200 review on lenstip:

Tamron SP AF 70-200 mm f/2.8 Di LD (IF) MACRO review - Introduction - Lenstip.com

I would replace the A50 with a Nokton 58.

11-16-2011, 03:54 AM   #5
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The lenses to keep in my opinion are the FA31Ltd and the DA70Ltd.

Together, they will make an absolutely brilliant 2 prime kit. The FA31Ltd (for me) has a perfect focal length for about everything (except architecture and tele) and the DA70Ltd for whenever you need that extra reach.

The two zooms become your specialist lenses for when you need the extra width or length or the flexibility. Go to a kid's play at school and take the standard zoom. Go to the kid's sport activities and take the 70-200.

Obviously mixing and matching will also work. The FA31Ltd complements the 70-200 and (to a lesser extent) the DA70Ltd complements a 17-50 as a lightweight 70mm alternative when there is no need for the 70-200.

Note:
I sometimes shoot a children's play at a school using the kit lens. When zooming with the feet is not an option, I sometimes wished that the lens was a little longer so I could zoom in more, even when positioned at the front row.

Last edited by sterretje; 11-16-2011 at 04:04 AM.
11-16-2011, 04:48 AM   #6
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Does your financial situation force you to sell anything?

I can see the logic of adding fast zooms and I often promote using fast zooms as a backbone for any kit, but I don't think they conflict against the primes
11-16-2011, 05:25 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by al_undy Quote
I have been very happy with the DA 55-300 when there is adequate light but it just isn't fast enough for the indoor stuff.
With the K-5, I think it would be. And the fast Sigma you'd replace it with is surely much heavier?
11-16-2011, 07:25 AM   #8
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Thanks to all for the feedback. Ideally, I would get the K5 first and see how I like the various lenses before I decide how to proceed. Is the K5 that much better for low light? I haven't thought of the k5 as such a capability upgrade.

I am in agreement with the FA31 sentiment but it could finance much of this transition. According to my latest reading of my bank account, I can't put much money in at this time but will be looking to sell and then buy.

I had not seriously considered the tamrons because I like the build quality of the sigma ex lenses (I had the 70 macro for a while) and the HSM but I will take another look. I also once owned the Pentax 18-250 which I liked a lot but the build was nowhere near the sigma's.

Size/weight of the 2.8 zooms is a concern. Am I really going to go my daughter's Christmas concert and pull out a monster lens for a few shots to record the moment? Seems like overkill and I have always been a bit suspect of the folks who do.

Anyway, current thinking is to start with selling the FA21 to help float the purchase of the k5 and go from there.

Al

11-16-2011, 07:55 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by al_undy Quote
Thanks to all for the feedback. Ideally, I would get the K5 first and see how I like the various lenses before I decide how to proceed. Is the K5 that much better for low light? I haven't thought of the k5 as such a capability upgrade.

I am in agreement with the FA31 sentiment but it could finance much of this transition. According to my latest reading of my bank account, I can't put much money in at this time but will be looking to sell and then buy.

I had not seriously considered the tamrons because I like the build quality of the sigma ex lenses (I had the 70 macro for a while) and the HSM but I will take another look. I also once owned the Pentax 18-250 which I liked a lot but the build was nowhere near the sigma's.

Size/weight of the 2.8 zooms is a concern. Am I really going to go my daughter's Christmas concert and pull out a monster lens for a few shots to record the moment? Seems like overkill and I have always been a bit suspect of the folks who do.

Anyway, current thinking is to start with selling the FA21 to help float the purchase of the k5 and go from there.

Al
Just as a simple observation and comment, I have never sold any of my kit, which is why I have so much stuff I suppose, however, if you are truely considering fiving up the K7 for the K5 I wouold do that first and nothing else for the moment, because the high ISO is really improved over the K7 (I have both)

The real issue you have is the 70-200 range, and maybe there is something you should consider here. I bought an origonal APO 70-200F2.8 EX (non DG non macro) when I bought my *istD. although it is screw drive and lacks the coatings on the rear element (what the D in DG really strands for) that has never been an issue. From an image quality point of view, except perhaps for the newest SIGMA HSM II there is no 70-200 sharper expecially at the long end and wide open. Maybe look on the used market for one, because you could get it at a reduced price and they are a great lens, screw drive and all. The other advantage with the screw drive lens is you can add sigma's 1.4x and 2x TCs which are excellent on the long zooms (that is what they were made for, as they don't actually fit all that many lenses due to the protruding front element.

As for taking out the monster at christmas pagents etc, why not. I shot all 4 years of my daughters musicals with mine, first on the *istD and then on the K10D. Glad I did, as I have shots I would never otherwise have.
11-16-2011, 10:03 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by al_undy Quote
Thanks to all for the feedback. Ideally, I would get the K5 first and see how I like the various lenses before I decide how to proceed. Is the K5 that much better for low light? I haven't thought of the k5 as such a capability upgrade.
I posted some photos of a concert in https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/163422-people-toyota-jac...b-photos.html; mostly at ISO3200 and some of them above. Except for the first one that had redeye removal done, all are (resized only) jpegs from the camera.

I'm sure you can find other examples as well. I can only compare with K100D and K10D and it beats the crap out of them

PS
Have you considered a K-r if funds are tight ?
11-16-2011, 10:43 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
Just as a simple observation and comment, I have never sold any of my kit, which is why I have so much stuff I suppose, however, if you are truely considering fiving up the K7 for the K5 I wouold do that first and nothing else for the moment, because the high ISO is really improved over the K7 (I have both)

The real issue you have is the 70-200 range, and maybe there is something you should consider here. I bought an origonal APO 70-200F2.8 EX (non DG non macro) when I bought my *istD. although it is screw drive and lacks the coatings on the rear element (what the D in DG really strands for) that has never been an issue. From an image quality point of view, except perhaps for the newest SIGMA HSM II there is no 70-200 sharper expecially at the long end and wide open. Maybe look on the used market for one, because you could get it at a reduced price and they are a great lens, screw drive and all. The other advantage with the screw drive lens is you can add sigma's 1.4x and 2x TCs which are excellent on the long zooms (that is what they were made for, as they don't actually fit all that many lenses due to the protruding front element.

As for taking out the monster at christmas pagents etc, why not. I shot all 4 years of my daughters musicals with mine, first on the *istD and then on the K10D. Glad I did, as I have shots I would never otherwise have.
Regarding the 2.8 and the pageants, yes, why not? I am sure you have wonderful pics of a great time in life. My biases/jealousies have been exposed. I will consider your suggestion on the used lens.
11-16-2011, 10:47 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by sterretje Quote
I posted some photos of a concert in https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/163422-people-toyota-jac...b-photos.html; mostly at ISO3200 and some of them above. Except for the first one that had redeye removal done, all are (resized only) jpegs from the camera.

I'm sure you can find other examples as well. I can only compare with K100D and K10D and it beats the crap out of them

PS
Have you considered a K-r if funds are tight ?
Thanks for alerting me to your post. The images are impressive! Perhaps the high iso will work for the 55-300. That would really change the fiscal equation. I haven't considered the K-r as I think I can swing this without "downgrading" on the body and stretching the acquisitions over a period of time and gift giving occasions. One nice thing about aging is you get give yourself gifts or at least choose what others will give you (especially if they are using your money in the first place.)
11-16-2011, 10:49 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
+1 for getting the Tamrons over the Sigmas.

No sense in paying for OS on the 17-50 when you are using a Pentax camera. And I recently read this favorable Tamron 70-200 review on lenstip:

Tamron SP AF 70-200 mm f/2.8 Di LD (IF) MACRO review - Introduction - Lenstip.com

I would replace the A50 with a Nokton 58.
I am curious why you suggest the Nokton over the A50. Looks like the nokton is really nice, but I feel the A50 1.4 is an excellent lens.
11-16-2011, 11:27 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by al_undy Quote
I am curious why you suggest the Nokton over the A50. Looks like the nokton is really nice, but I feel the A50 1.4 is an excellent lens.
The A50/1.4 is certainly an excellent lens. However, having owned both, I would agree that the Nokton 58/1.4 has the edge over the A50/1.4 (both optically and in terms of build).
11-16-2011, 12:56 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by al_undy Quote
I am curious why you suggest the Nokton over the A50. Looks like the nokton is really nice, but I feel the A50 1.4 is an excellent lens.
My experience with Pentax lenses from Takumars to FA series shows that CA can be a problem (bokeh fringing and sometimes PF). I didn't use the A specifically, but I'd be surprised if it's different from the lenses that came before and after it. The Nokton doesn't have such CA problems. It is also better built than the A - if I would have to keep a single 50 lens, it would be the Nokton.

But I should add that for Al, this was just a suggestion, as it doesn't really fit his priority of getting faster zooms.
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