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12-20-2011, 06:43 AM   #1
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Lens advice -- I need a fast autofocus zoom, I think?

My current setup is a K5 with a DA15 (landscape and creative), DA35 macro (walkaround), D FA100 WR (portrait and macro, some landscape.)

Recently I was volunteered to be the official photographer for my son's Cub Scout pack. (Hey, you have a camera ...)

I find that the 100mm seems to be the right focal length for taking candids and performances (talent shows, etc.). My frustration is that if I misfocus, I have to wait for the lens to rack through the entire focal length before I can start shooting again.

Did I mention that some of these kids are gymnasts? Spontaneous backflips, etc?

So I *think* I'm looking for something that can autofocus quickly, can recover from mis-focusing fast.

Yes, I know all about pre-focusing and manually focusing. I just can't react that fast.

So what's a good lens? Like I said, the 100mm range seems to be about the right length, but I'm sure I could make do with a slightly longer FL.

Oh, and one other thing: price is an object. I'm looking for the best for the least amount of money.

12-20-2011, 06:55 AM   #2
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DA*50-135mm

DA*50-135mm is a very high quality zoom. You evidently prize quality glass judging from your current kit [K5, DA-15 Ltd., DA-35mm macro], so you would likely find an inexpensive 'consumer' zoom disapointing(sp?).

Pentax-DA* 50-135mm F2.8 ED [IF] SDM Reviews - DA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

QuoteOriginally posted by Mister Horrible Quote
I am a bit worried about the 50-135's reported SDM failures.
So was I, that is why I replaced my DA*50-135mm with a FA*80-200mm. The DA*50-135's SDM did not fail on me, but the one in my DA*16-50 did. So screw-drives only for me for now.

Last edited by Moe49; 12-20-2011 at 10:33 AM.
12-20-2011, 07:05 AM   #3
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Pentax-DA* 50-135mm F2.8 ED [IF] SDM Reviews - DA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database would deffo be the best... But there is a premium on it...

Pentax-DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC WR Reviews - DA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database has more range but is considerably slower... Said to have 'snappy' AF though... Found for much less than the DA*50-135-2.8 though...

If you can handle going a bit wider: Pentax-F 35-70mm F3.5-4.5 Reviews - F Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database can be found very VERY cheap and has been described by an PF user as "a bag full of primes" ... I have a copy and although I don't use it often it maintains its place in my bag where other lenses live on the shelf waiting for sale... AF is fast (faster than the Tamron 17-50 imo) and it is sharp...
12-20-2011, 07:45 AM   #4
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Tamron 70-200 1:2.8, perhaps?

12-20-2011, 09:01 AM   #5
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Interesting ideas so far.

I think the Pentax 35-70 might be a little two wide for what I am doing. The nice thing about the 100 is that I can "crop closer" and still have something decent enough for a 4x6 print.

The 50-135 and Tammy 70-200 seem like they might work. I am a bit worried about the 50-135's reported SDM failures.

I'm not welded to a zoom if anyone knows of a fast focusing prime. Again, my biggest problem with the macros is the "whoops, missed focus." and listening to dzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt. dzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt," while all the great action goes unrecorded.

I'm also not welded to a fast lens-- but I do like to hang around in the f/4-f/8 range, so hopefully things are reasonably sharp there.
12-20-2011, 09:09 AM   #6
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You might want to consider a used FA135/2.8. They're compact, lightweight and have outstanding IQ. They also focus very quickly, and there's no risk of an SDM failure You should be able to find one for around $450-500 in excellent condition.
12-20-2011, 09:11 AM   #7
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Tammy 90mm macro... Only ever used a friends on Canon but was very fast focusing!
12-20-2011, 09:13 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mister Horrible Quote
I am a bit worried about the 50-135's reported SDM failures
I thought this had become less of an issue than at one time... (?)

12-20-2011, 09:25 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by DaveHolmes Quote
I thought this had become less of an issue than at one time... (?)
Maybe. For me, if something can go wrong, it will. I'm still waiting for the buttons of my K5 to all fall off.
12-20-2011, 09:26 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by dgaies Quote
You might want to consider a used FA135/2.8. They're compact, lightweight and have outstanding IQ. They also focus very quickly, and there's no risk of an SDM failure You should be able to find one for around $450-500 in excellent condition.
That's a possibility, if I can find one.
12-20-2011, 11:05 AM   #11
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maybe consider da* 60-250....but it is expensive...
12-20-2011, 11:09 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by liukaitc Quote
maybe consider da* 60-250....but it is expensive...
I'd argee that the 60-250 would be an ideal focal length based on the OP's needs, but since he said cost was a factor, I pretty much discounted it as even a used copy would be around $900-1000.
12-20-2011, 11:15 AM   #13
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Trade the DFA 100 macro for old F/FA 100 macro they have focus limiter, it helps immensely to reduce focus hunting. Or sigma 105 macro, also has focus limiter. Tamron 90mm has focus limiter as well...pretty much all other macro lenses except new pentax ones.
I have no idea what pentax is thinking not putting focus limiter on their macro lenses
12-20-2011, 11:32 AM   #14
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Seconding the Tamron 70-200 2.8 - heck of a good lens, a fast focuser for such a long lens, and great for low light. Not to mention sharp as a tack, great color & contrast.

And there's one for sale in the Marketplace for about $580 *sob* I want to get that lens again! Snag it before I scare up some cash
12-20-2011, 01:12 PM   #15
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@Azzy, I don't think I'm parting w/ my 100 anytime soon. Do wish it had a focus limited on it, but love the bokeh and colors.

I'm kind of agreeing that the Tammy 70-200 might be an option-- it would give me some versatility and supplement my other lenses in other areas as well. Am concerned that some reviews say it is slow focusing.

Anyone have experience with the slower aperture lenses such as 50-200/55-300? I'm assumming their slow focusing as well.
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