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02-01-2012, 09:19 AM   #1
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Quality Zoom Recomendation needed

I have a K5, a couple small primes (15mm and 40mm Limiteds), a 18-135 DA (which I really like), but no real longer glass.

I had a 55-300, but somehow it didn't seem "right" for me..............I want a zoom to fill out to maybe 200mm or 250mm max......I know I need something like 60-250 or 80-200 and am looking for your thoughts................

ALSO.....what about an 18-250 range, or is that too wide a range to be of good quality? Could the 18-250 replace my 18-135?.............. Would that give better quality?................. I just can't focus my thoughts down to what I should get.....

02-01-2012, 09:25 AM   #2
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My $0.02, take it for what it's worth, is that you shouldn't replace your 18-135 with the 18-250. Unless you really need the extra reach, the AF speed and build of the 18-135 is superior to the 18-250. IQ between the two is close IMO. The 18-250 does outperform the 18-135 at 135mm, but not by enough of a margin to make me want to switch back (I had the 18-250 and replaced it with the 18-135, which I am very happy with).

In terms of a higher end telephoto zoom, I also preferred the 60-250 over the 80-200 because it was lighter and had a better FL range. It was also weather sealed and had silent focusing. Don't get me wrong, the IQ from the 80-200 is outstanding as well, and it is a stop faster. But given what I was looking for and the 50% price premium of the FA* over the DA* (comparing used vs used), I choose to keep the DA* and sell the FA*. Obviously if you want/ need the extra stop advantage of the FA*, then it's an excellent lens worth considering (as is the Tamron 70-200/2.8, which is optically outstanding as well).
02-01-2012, 09:46 AM   #3
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Based on what you just said, I'd go for the Tamron-70-200mm-f2-8-di-ld-macro. I already have the DA*60-250, and if it's to be your only telephoto, F4 can be limiting, especially if you extend the lens with a 1.4, 1.7 or 2x converter, which in IMHO is the way to go to get longer lenses. YOu get a decent lens at a fraction the weight. From what I've read the IQ is very close to or equal to DA* quality. We have two shooters in my family and this lens is on the list for the second shooter, rumblings about not having two telephotos are getting louder. I'm thinking I probably should have bought this one first.. just for that extra f-stop. And there really isn't that much difference between 200 and 250. We try and keep our use of the 18-135 under 60mm..

The 18-250 is much lower rated, remember, no one ever rates a lens under 5, so really you should just chop of the bottom 5 points and rate the 18-250 as 3.5/5 sharpness and 3 out of 5 abberations. The 70-200 similarly rated would be 4.6 out of 5 sharpness and 4 /5 aberrations. But...don't forget, it's a big heavy SOB.

If IQ is a consideration you really can't compare the two lenses. That being said, I was happy with my 1/5 SIgma 70-300 for years. Because my image size was reduced to about 20%, my images were fine. It wasn't until I needed high quality large prints that 1/5 wasn't good enough. SO really, it comes down to what it always comes down to. If you think you might ever want to do a 16x20 print... definitely go for the 70-200 2.8, or DA*60-250. If you're doing 4x6s and a few 8x10s or you're just taking pictures to be displayed on computers, I'm sure you can get away with the 18-250. Buy the way... my travelling kit is the DA 18-135 and the DA *60-250, because I'm out doors a lot and I really want that water resistance. The 18-135 gives me a quick shot opportunity to get almost anything and I love the way it feels on the camera, + it's strong from 18-60. But I still carry primes to cover it's range, and change to them when I have the chance.

Last edited by normhead; 02-01-2012 at 09:58 AM.
02-01-2012, 10:24 AM   #4
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u have 55-300. and u say not right for u
u mean sharpness or range or??

if u want more range, I think u already have 18-135. it is weather sealed, good company for ur k-5
if u want sharpness in that range, then u need 60-250 or 70-200

02-01-2012, 11:41 AM   #5
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Original Poster
The 55-300 just didn't seem sharp enough and I sold it with no real plans to get another one in that range...............I toyed with the idea of a telephoto prime, but couldn't see myself switching lenses back and forth......so now am thinking of this approach, but still don't want a big, heavy lens....it sounds like the 60-250 and Tamron 70-200 are the same weight (2.5 lb) and almost the same length (Tamron is 7.6 inches long).
Based on normhead's note, the Tamron with f2.8 might be the better fit.................and half the cost....
02-01-2012, 11:50 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by GDRoth Quote
The 55-300 just didn't seem sharp enough and I sold it with no real plans to get another one in that range...............I toyed with the idea of a telephoto prime, but couldn't see myself switching lenses back and forth......so now am thinking of this approach, but still don't want a big, heavy lens....it sounds like the 60-250 and Tamron 70-200 are the same weight (2.5 lb) and almost the same length (Tamron is 7.6 inches long).
Based on normhead's note, the Tamron with f2.8 might be the better fit.................and half the cost....
Also, FWIW, the screw drive of the 70-200/2.8 works pretty well with several 1.4x TCs; either the Tamron 1.4x (~$175 used), Kenko 1.5x (~$100 used) or the newer Vivitar 1.4x ($95 new).
02-01-2012, 01:03 PM   #7
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I'll second the Tamron 70-200mm. I replaced a 55-300mm, and bought the 70-200mm as an interim (cheaper) solution than the 60-250 or a 50-135/300 or... Anyway, I was really surprised how much better the IQ of the Tamron was compared to the 55-300. So much so that I immediately sold the 55-300 since the cropped 200mm was better than the 300 - even stopped down. Now I will probably add a DA* 300 and keep the Tamron.

It is a beast size wise, and I miss the WR, but for the money is a GREAT lens, and I am guessing the IQ at least rivals, if not exceeds, the 60-250mm. I have had no issues with the AF - defintely quiter than the 55-300, though I have not checked out speed.
02-01-2012, 04:08 PM   #8
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I tried a Tamron 70-200 on a Canon body here in a shop - they let me out into the street for a few test shots. The lens felt good and had a silent motor (unavailable on the Pentax version) but every picture was low contrast and had really bad red fringing on any white object in the scene. I am assuming this was a dud lens though.

After reading so many reports about Tamron 70-200 zooms being faulty, I would never recommend buying one despite the so-called optical excellence that is often reported. Also, many of the test reports we read for these older lens designs were done on low res' sensors which tend to mask and major CA defects - They only show up in a bad way when you put them on a decent camera with 16mpx+ sensors. Even the old 'perfect' Canon 70-200 F4 lens got demoted from "perfect" and "the best zoom we've ever tested" to mundane when tested on a higher resolution sensor. I'd recommend buying either a 50-135 F2.8, 60-250 F4, Sigma 70-200 F2.8 HSMII or 70-200 F2.8 OS model and a Tamron 1.4x TC. I've used a TC on my 50-135, 200 F2.8 and 300 F4.5 and the DA lenses seem to work out better with the Tamron TC for mine. This is possibly due to them being faster lenses and AF might be working a tad better as a result of the 1 stop loss in speed when the TC is added.

Any CA that the lens has will be magnified 2x over if you are using a crop sensor and TC. Once (1.5x) for the extra enlargement the lens gets from the smaller sensor and again from the added TC (another 1.4x or 2x etc depending upon the TC). Obviously a TC would work 'better' on a FF because that extra 1.5x enlargement for the crop sensor is taken out of the equation. (Not really relevant as Pentax has no FF digital camera at this time)

There are no lens definitions in Lightroom for specific lenses plus specific TC's either so it would pay to get the best Zoom for CA's I reckon. Having tested the Sigma OS 70-200 a few times I'd have to say that it's CA's are almost non-existent and would probably go better with a TC. Unfortunately that lens is expensive.

Sorry for the rant.. hopefully I said something useful. LOL


Last edited by bossa; 02-01-2012 at 08:41 PM.
02-01-2012, 06:27 PM   #9
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QuoteQuote:
After reading so many reports about Tamron 70-200 zooms being faulty, I would never recommend buying one despite the so-called optical excellence that is often reported.
After reading through the reviews on this site < here > this lens rated 8.97 almost 9... of the 33 who rated the lens 30 were very impressed. Three people had problems serious enough to return the lens. Reading through the reviews, one of them bought the lens damaged from someone second hand, that's on whoever sold it to him not on Tamron. ANd other has issues with a sticky aperture. If you know what the issues are, use your lens right way and return it right away if you have any issues. A 10% failure rate is very high, but as it said in one of the articles, you pay 1600 for a better build quailty, or you pay $700 for this lens, and get better optics. Clearly the AF is not Canon or Nikon quality, but then, what Pentax lens is, at any price?

I still plan to get this lens eventually. But I'll return it at the drop of a hat and go for another one. After all 90% of those who have one are giving it all 9's and 10's. The other 10% the build quality is clearly an issue, but it's a manageable isue. Buy from a reputable dealer. The Henrys price is $899 but, I can return it for a full refund, no questions asked for the first 10 days, and exchange it for up to 30 days. When I bought my DA*60-250 I went exactly that route.. Sigma 120-400 (returned, defective lens), Sigma 120-400 OS (returned, poor optical quality) , DA* 60-250. I now wish I'd started with the Tamron. The lens in one of the reviews in tested on a 3500 x 2200 sensor. There's no justification in suggesting this lens won't perform on 16mp sensor. 30 of 33 Pentax forum users recommend this lens. If it's not DOA however the % is a lot better. How bad can it be?

As for the better TC performance with the Sigma TC , one of the reviewers notes that the Tamron works better on the Sigma converter than the Sigma does.

It should be noted that a 10% failure rate is high, I'm not discounting at all what bossa is saying. I just think the trick is to make sure you get a good copy of the lens, and don't buy it if you're not willing to take it back a few times if needed, and you should be good. Just on that basis alone buying it mail order might be pretty risky. You might want to deal with a bricks and mortar store. Henry's has a no questions asked return policy.. if I don't like it for any reason, I can bring it back. With my 120-400 OS they asked I said, the image quality isn't good enough at 400.. that was it.

Last edited by normhead; 02-01-2012 at 06:34 PM.
02-01-2012, 07:01 PM   #10
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That lens is hard to come by around here. Where I live they expect you to buy to try.. it's a real pain.
02-01-2012, 07:08 PM   #11
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@Norm: Are you saying (more or less) that you aren't happy with the 60-250 and that you're still considering a Tammy?
02-01-2012, 08:00 PM   #12
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bossa, I'm not at all unhappy with the DA* 60-250, but, since I got it, I've been in some situations where F4 wasn't good enough. I'm strongly considering a K5 but I'm thinking I'd probably like to wait one more body and get even better sensitivity and DR, and with the constant improvements in sensor sensitivity, I have no doubt that at some point down the road F4 will be the new F1.8, but right now I struggle a bit in low light, especially with the 1.7 converter on. Plus, as you know (or don't), tessfully and I share equipment and we'd really like a second telphoto. SO it just makes sense to me to pick up the Tammy as a second. I get the image quality I need plus F2.8, without blowing a pile of money. It's still $2500 in telephoto lenses though.

Last year on the crow river.. 800 ASA 1/15 exposure 250mm, full reach , f4, wide open... I really would have liked a bit of latitude with this exposure , everything was set at what I consider to be maximum settings and I had a real hard time getting the focus I wanted. The shot wouldn't have been possible with the 1.7 converter, losing a stop and a half. With a 2.8 lens I have a chance. I would have liked to get closer, but this guy was pretty skitish, the mirror slap kept him moving away from me. But this guy came though here both mornings we were there , and there was a mother and calf that came through in the evenings, and there is a great spot to put a blind. I'd like to get back next year with a faster lens.



Here's the other end, at 60mm



Till you mentioned it, I hadn't thought about these images for a long time... thanks for jogging my memory.

Last edited by normhead; 02-01-2012 at 08:29 PM.
02-01-2012, 08:22 PM   #13
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I tried a my Tamron 1.4x TC on a Sigma 70-200 2.8, DA 50-135, DA 200 and my FA* 300. The only lenses that didn't jump back and forward like crazy whilst trying to focus were the two DA's. Mind you, the Sigma was on loan and in a very dark marketplace so I can't say for sure how that would really go in a well lit place. This chattering of the focus motor is quite scary. Do you have anything like that happening? It's a really fast oscillating short jump front/back motion. Manual focus or a wide pattern focus mode is probably the best way to go I suppose. I haven't used the TC enough to know. AF is not supposd to be all that reliable at F ratios higher than F4.5. So I'd say that F2.8 would be the lowest starting point for a decent TC/Lens combo.
02-01-2012, 08:55 PM   #14
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In tests I did with a couple of 60-250 zooms I found them soft along the edges at 60mm F4. They were pretty good in the center at that F ratio though and were very sharp by F5.6.

If your starting point is a darker F4 lens and you have to stop it down a bit to get even sharpness across the frame then, IMO, you'd be better off starting at F2.8 and get that extra brightness and focusing accuracy, especially with a TC attached. My eyes aren't what they used to be (never good) but at 56 they need a brighter VF for manual focusing at least. So I agree with you and think that F2.8 is probably the best way to go. I've been toying with the idea of selling a few lenses to get a 70-200 again. My 50-135 has been in the repair shop for 3 weeks and will be there at least that long again awaiting parts and I have no idea if I keeping it after it returns.

I find the full time manual focusing on the Sigma lenses and Pentax DA* lenses to be a godsend. The Tamron has that awful clutch mechanism like my FA* 300 F4.5 which is useless for fine tuning after AF has functioned. You invariably always de-focus the lens when activating the clutch.
02-02-2012, 12:32 AM   #15
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FWIW, I have the Tamron 70-200/2.8 and bought a Tamron-F 1.4x TC to use with it. Well, when i switch to MF and disengage the AF clutch ring, the motor does not disengage and my turning the focus ring grinds the gears and is sluggish. I contacted Tamron and they said their TC's are not compatible with that lens. Just be aware in case you are buying both to use together. I wish I knew which TC will work with this lens because i love the lens.
YMMV.
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