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02-17-2012, 01:53 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by P. Soo Quote
Thanks for drawing my attention to the DA 18-250 mm lens. A review in this Forum rates its sharpness at 8.5 and most users speak glowingly of it. Based on my desire to replace my Tamron 28-300 mm, this Pentax lens would seem to be THE replacement. It is very sharp and easily covers the focal lengths that I want. It surprises me that nobody who replied to my original query recommended this lens. Is there something wrong with it, apart from the fact that it is no longer made? Will it be a good choice for me?
I have a zillion lenses -- about 225 currently. The DA18-250 is my basic lens. All others are specialty items. My original K20D kit were the DA10-17 (the lens that drove me to Pentax), the FA50/1.4 for speed, and the DA18-250 for almost all else. I now use the Tamron 10-24 more than the DA10-17, but those are still my most-used lenses. The DA18-250 is just ideal for travel and other dynamic situations, where I don't know what to expect. It will live on my camera for the next week as I drive to the Mexican border. (Except for the Blue Oyster Cult concert tonight!)

The DA18-250 and its Tamron twin are now out of production but are readily available used. They are not perfect. They aren't for low light. They do exhibit notable zoom creep -- I keep the lock switch ON most of the time. But they are the best superzooms around, and are just more flexible than anything in their vicinity. Highly recommended.

02-18-2012, 11:02 AM   #17
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I do agree fully with RioRico's endorsement for the DA 18-250, as this is a highly versatile lens with quite good optical quality. Here are a few pictures I took today to demonstrate the incredible range of this lens:

18mm:


20.6mm:


35mm:


47.5mm:


65mm:


110mm:


155mm:


200mm:


250mm:


And 18mm again, so you can compare side by side with 250mm:


Its close focusing ability is handy too (250mm) :


250mm again:


I just wanted to add that the DA 18-250, as every other ultra-zoom lens, has a few drawbacks, namely lateral chromatic aberration (color fringes, especially at higher focal lengths), distortion (very strong barrel distortion at 18mm) and vignetting (corner shading). However, the good news is that the DA 18-250 is now better than it has ever been, as the newer Pentax bodies can automatically correct its most disturbing aberrations on the spot. Be warned though that this automatic correction feature is strictly a Pentax lens thing and therefore is not available when using the Tamron version of the ultra-zoom.

Cheers!

Abbazz
02-18-2012, 11:56 AM   #18
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In pentax upcoming roadmap, there is a superzoom (likely 18-200) coming in late this year..
Hope that one will have better optical quality than the 18-135.
but to really get the best out of these huge focal range, u need at least 3 lens
pentax 12-24, tarmon 28-75 f2.8 and a 70-200 f2.8
02-18-2012, 12:26 PM   #19
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It depends on what you want to do with your camera. If you want sharp images and a super zoom, done in daylight, go with a PS superzoom.

If you want to compete in contests and/or sell framed images, find a few quality lenses and don't worry about what you need for the tourist walkaround mode.

My favorite lens, and i have a variety of primes and zooms, is the Pentax DA*50-135 f2.8, pin-sharp across the field, WR and therefore my goto lens when the rain or snow starts, great rendering and bokeh.

02-18-2012, 01:57 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by philbaum Quote
It depends on what you want to do with your camera. If you want sharp images and a super zoom, done in daylight, go with a PS superzoom.
I beg to differ. A good quality DSLR equipped with a wide range zoom will usually deliver better pictures than a point and shoot camera, by offering such niceties as better control of picture parameters, interchangeable lenses and larger sensors, which means wider dynamic range, less ISO noise and better bokeh.

People often look at my 18-250 with compassion, as if they were pitying me for having to take pictures with such a mediocre lens. I have a few hundred lenses, some costing much more than this zoom but I don't think there is a single lens in my entire collection as useful as the DA 18-250. Of course the 50-135 has better image quality from 50 to 135mm, but from 18 to 49mm and from 136 to 250mm, its image quality is nonexistent...

It's all a matter of priorities: if I want to shoot paintings in a museum and want to be able to get the absolute best image quality from every picture, with zero distortion and absolute color fidelity, then I will not take the 18-250! But when traveling with other people, when I want to do some casual shooting of a wide range of subjects, without knowing in advance what to expect, then no lens beats the 18-250, and a super-zoom point and shoot will certainly not be able to deliver similar image quality.

Cheers!

Abbazz
02-18-2012, 03:34 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Abbazz Quote
People often look at my 18-250 with compassion, as if they were pitying me for having to take pictures with such a mediocre lens. I have a few hundred lenses, some costing much more than this zoom but I don't think there is a single lens in my entire collection as useful as the DA 18-250.
Others only view me with fear, not compassion, but otherwise I heartily agree. I also have hundreds of lenses, some quite exquisite. But I consider the DA18-250 to be my basic lens; all others are specialty items. No, it's not as sharp nor fast as my primes and some zooms, but it's THERE, on the camera, ready for 90% of the action.
02-18-2012, 06:36 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Abbazz Quote
I beg to differ. A good quality DSLR equipped with a wide range zoom will usually deliver better pictures than a point and shoot camera, by offering such niceties as better control of picture parameters, interchangeable lenses and larger sensors, which means wider dynamic range, less ISO noise and better bokeh.

People often look at my 18-250 with compassion, as if they were pitying me for having to take pictures with such a mediocre lens. I have a few hundred lenses, some costing much more than this zoom but I don't think there is a single lens in my entire collection as useful as the DA 18-250. Of course the 50-135 has better image quality from 50 to 135mm, but from 18 to 49mm and from 136 to 250mm, its image quality is nonexistent...

It depends on what you want to do with your camera: if I want to shoot paintings in a museum and want to be able to get the absolute best image quality from every picture, with zero distortion and absolute color fidelity, then I will not take the 18-250! But when traveling with other people, when I want to do some casual shooting of a wide range of subjects, without knowing in advance what to expect, then no lens beats the 18-250, and a super-zoom point and shoot will certainly not be able to deliver similar image quality.

Cheers!

Abbazz
You said you were differing but said basically the same thing as i did.

Me: It depends on what you want to do with your camera

You: It's all a matter of priorities

I'll never forget a dinner the local county party put on for the governor. I was there taking pictures of her with a dslr while a reporter was there for the paper. He had one of these bridge cameras with a small sensor and a fixed super zoom. He took a few pics of the governor, took a few notes, and then left to write his article. Yes, PS cameras have their limitations, but are pretty good for 90% of pictures.

I know how good the Tamron 18-250 is, its the first Pentax mount lens i had. I gave it to a nephew so i would be forced to use some of the other lenses available. A decision i haven't regretted, he loves it and i love the pics i'm getting from the 50-135.
02-18-2012, 07:02 PM   #23
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I had a DA18-250 and sold it because i hardly used it... the DA40 and DFA100 got used so much more.
Not sure what it was, the results i got from the lens were pretty decent but i probably disliked the handling too much to enjoy the lens.
If i should consider a superzoom now it would be the DA18-135, already tried that lens and i found it a pleasant and easy lens to use.

02-19-2012, 01:39 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
However, the DA18-250 or its Tamron twin get higher ratings than Sigma in all the reviews I've seen.
Are you sure?

The most recent Sigma 18-250 wasn't available when the Tamron/Pentax 18-250 was still in production.

I have the Tamron 18-250 and think it is a great lens but I recently met someone who said they did a lot of research before they decided for the Sigma 18-250 and I were to purchase a 18-250, I'd take a very close look at that lens.
02-19-2012, 05:00 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Are you sure?
I agree that technical reviews are to take with a pinch of salt, but SLRGEAR.COM has tested both lenses:

Tamron Lens: Zooms - Tamron 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II LD Aspherical IF Macro AF (Tested) - SLRgear.com!

Sigma Lens: Zooms - Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM (Tested) - SLRgear.com!

Here's an excerpt from the Sigma lens test, comparing it to the newer (and not available in Pentax mount) Tamron 18-270/3.5-6.3:

QuoteQuote:
In the end, I'd give the edge to the Tamron; just slightly sharper, especially in the telephoto end, and slightly better with CA. However, distortion is much greater in the wide end, where it's better-controlled by the Sigma.
Please note that the big disadvantage of the Tamron ultra-zooms is the large amount of distortion when used at the wide end of the zoom range but, as stated in my previous post, distortion is -- almost entirely -- taken care of by the last generation of Pentax DSLRs.

Cheers!

Abbazz
02-19-2012, 05:17 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by P. Soo Quote
I use a Pentax Kx together with a Pentax 12-24mm and a Tamron 28-300mm (no VC) lens. These lenses cover the focal lengths that I am interested in. I am very happy with the Pentax lens since it is very sharp and the colors are vibrant. However, the Tamron is, for some settings, a little soft. My wife's Canon point-and-shoot can match the sharpness of the Tamron in most cases. I want to replace the Tamron with a lens of similar focal length range that is pin sharp to the extent possible. I can live with some abberations, but the lens must be SHARP. Any suggestions?
If your after high image quality buy the pentax 50-135 F2.8. If your not looking at spending that much, buy the Tamron 70-200 F2.8 which is bargain of the century.
At least you will have the best glass ready for when you eventualy upgrade your camera.
02-19-2012, 06:56 AM   #28
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Gentlemen your discussions regarding a replacement for my Tamron 28-300 mm lens are invaluable. I find RioRico's comments and Abbazz's photos very convincing. I do want to have a zoom lens that overlaps with my Pentax 12-24 mm so a lens with a starting FL of 55 mm may not be an option for me. I am therefore seriously leaning towards the Pentax 18-250 mm, or the Sigma 18-250 mm lens, that got a Gold Star award by the UK magazine "What Digital Camera". However, I checked the availability of the Pentax lens and didn't find any for sale. It seems that owners know of this lens' quality and are reluctant to sell. One seller in this Forum recently offered one for $350 and it was sold immediately. Liukaitc states, above, that Pentax is planning to introduce an 18-200 mm zoom by the end of the year. That may be worth waiting for.
02-19-2012, 11:41 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Abbazz Quote
Please note that the big disadvantage of the Tamron ultra-zooms is the large amount of distortion when used at the wide end of the zoom range but, as stated in my previous post, distortion is -- almost entirely -- taken care of by the last generation of Pentax DSLRs.

Cheers!

Abbazz
Image quality isn't everything, how is the handling?
02-19-2012, 01:17 PM   #30
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Be More Choiceful!

When i first started shooting...I always wondered why anyone would buy a prime lens, when a zoom offered so many more options that any one prime lens could ever provide...plus the zoom lenses tended to be less expensive!

It took me probably around 10 years to finally experiment with some prime lenses and that's when I found out what I had been missing all those years. The sharpness, greater control of depth of field when using the faster aperatures, etc)....I had some nice images with zooms, but I learned that a good image could become great if I properly utilized some of the innate advantages that a prime lens could offer.

I know that breaking away from the zoom lens can be a daunting prospect...you think you might miss that "perfect shot" because you can't use to zoom to frame the image the way you want....well, I would challenge you to pick a "point of view" for your images and select one focal length to "tell your story".

I know in my experience, shooting with a prime lens, made me a more thoughtful photographer. I had to become more choiceful from the distance and angle from which I would frame my subjects...I spent more time considering the impact of depth of field would have on my final image. My advice would be to buy a prime....you will see a noticeable improved sharpness in your images...I recommend looking into the FA 50mm f/1.4 or f/1.7 and the DA 70mm f/2.4 lens. These lenses won't break your bank...but give you an opportunity to really experience the added benefits of shooting with prime lenses.
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