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02-24-2012, 09:53 PM   #1
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Best budget 200mm zoom?

Hi all,

Been searching around, and can't seem to make my mind up. I'm looking for a cheap AF zoom lens. Something like a 18-200/28-200/70-210 etc.

The thing is, would it be worth it to buy say a 55-200 pentax DA L for 100+, vs a second hand older zoom.

Found a few possibilities:

Tamron 80-210mm F4.5-5.6 AF - 40 odd

Tokina SD AF 70-210 F4-5.6 - 40 odd

Pentax 50-200 DA/DA L from 100 second hand to 150-odd new

And then theres the various tamron/signma 18-200/28-200 versions out there.

At the moment I only have the 18-55 kit lens and a Pentax-M 50 1.7, couple of other manual m42's but all around that focal length. I also have an event shoot comming up, nothing paid, it's a little award ceremony for a charity, but if theres any time to get a lens to cover more range, now's the time!

Any thoughts?


02-24-2012, 10:31 PM   #2
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The DA55-300mm and DA18-250mm are both worth to consider and may provie you the best 'bang for the money' ultimately.

The DA55-300mm is considered great value for money and reach 300mm.

The DA18-250mm/Tamron18-250mm is a very-wel regarded all-arouind lens across all brands. Although no longer manufactured, you can find them easioly on the second hand marker incl. at PF marketplace, and (Used).

Both lenses will cover more than what you need but may help you to avoid getting more lenses in the future. I went directly to the DA18-250mm (instead of the kit lens + another lens). It was a great decsion and my DA18-250mm is my most used lens, thanks to its polyvalence.

Hope that the suggestion will help.
02-24-2012, 10:54 PM   #3
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is the event outdoor, if so, a 18-200 should work well for ur purpose.
for indoor event, a f2.8 standard zoom works a lot better.
02-24-2012, 11:07 PM   #4
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@hcc Indeed I did look at the 55-300, but it's a bit out of my price range at the moment. I doubt I'd use it to it's fullest potential either

@liukaitc You mean more stand zoom like a 24-70 2.8 or something? Hmmm good idea ... although I'm not getting the lens specifically for the event, it's more an opportunity to test/practice with one, and i've been thinking about getting a longer lens for a while.

I'm kicking myself now though - bought my K-r with just the 18-55 for 399 last year, and at the same time a chain store was doing a deal for the twin lens kit for 450. But no, I thought "let's support the local camera shop, I'm sure I don't need the other lens". Would have been so worth the 50, I probably could have sold it for that price too. ><

02-24-2012, 11:48 PM   #5
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Since you're not opposed to MF, the SMC PENTAX-A 70~210mm 1:4 is a wonderful lens. They pop up on eBay quite often and minty copies be had for less than $150.
02-25-2012, 08:24 AM   #6
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More Choices?

Hello Woj,
One of the first things I check before buying a lens are the reviews here on the Forum. Although they aren't the only good guides, they are usually well-informed and, particularly when there's many reviews, I believe they're pretty well balanced.
Since doing this, I've upgraded my lens collection, trying to eliminate lenses below an "8" user rating and getting rid of a few that fall below this standard.
There are exceptions, of course. You might be looking for great bokeh, for example, and a lens that has this, might be lower-rated in other areas.
But "Sharpness" and "Aberrations" are important overall qualities and these should be "8"'s or higher, when possible.
Here's a few samples, user ratings and average prices from the Lens Reviews;
DA-L 50-200mm f4-5.6 7.67 $112 USD
DA (no "L")ED 50-200 f4-5.6 7.65 $164 USD
F 70-210 f4-5.6 8.42 $107 USD
So the leader is the F 70-210mm f4-5.6. In addition, here's the breakdown in the individual ratings;
F 70-210mm $107 USD
Sharpness- 8.2
Aberrations- 8.6
Bokeh- 8.8
Autofocus- 7.6
Handling- 7.6
Value- 9.4
User- 8.42

DA-L 50-200mm $112 USD
Sharpness- 7.3
Aberrations- 7.3
Bokeh- 7.0
Autofocus- 8.3
Handling- 7.7
Value- 8.3
User- 7.67
Value- 8.3

Except for the auto focus value, the F is the clear winner.
It's worth a look!

Last edited by rbefly; 02-25-2012 at 11:46 AM.
02-25-2012, 09:55 AM   #7
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If my days in the Sony world are included, I've used most of the superzooms. The Tamron 28-200 was soft and fringe-y beyond 135mm, it was a poor choice for my first new lens. The 18-250 Tamron was great, but zoom creep and bulk was annoying (it has a lock though to stop creeping). I then found a Quantaray 18-200 (Sigma relabeled) and tested the two: IQ was very similar, if anything I preferred the 18-200 bokeh. The 'Sigma' was smaller and crept not at all. I sold the Tamron and used the funds for other lenses.

In my time with Pentax I've tried the 18-135WR and another Sigma 18-200. And again the 18-200 worked better (for me!) than a lens I preferred on paper. The 18-135 also got soft and showed CA at the long end, past 100mm in the case of my (early) copy. I also owned the DA50-200WR which I liked a lot - not as inherently sharp as the 55-300, its bokeh was more consistently smooth and a smidge of sharpening made for equivalent results. I had the Tamron 18-200 for a while, but I was trading gear swiftly at the time; it gave decent results but the Sigma gave me more wow! shots - that could have been that it went to better places to shoot, however

I know that I could PP away the color fringes on the other lenses - but the 18-200 Sigma didn't need help in that regard, other than sharpening at times it gave me great results as shot.
02-25-2012, 10:10 AM   #8
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If you're not opposed to manual focus then you might look at these:

SMC Pentax-A 70-210mm F4 Reviews - A Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

SMC Pentax-M 75-150mm F4 Reviews - M Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

And my personal favorite in the MF zoom group:
SMC Pentax 45-125mm F4 Reviews - K Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

02-25-2012, 06:57 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the help folks

Narrowed it down to either the F 70-210mm f4-5.6 or the DA 50-200 as Rbefly suggested. I hadn't even looked at the 70-210 before to be honest. I think that's the mistake, I was looking at the usual sites for what they had to offer, as opposed to finding a lens I liked/wanted and then searching for it.

02-25-2012, 08:00 PM   #10
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If you do allow for m-focus, definitely look at a few 2:1 or 3:1 zooms like these. I have the Rikenon XR 70-150 and my comments are pretty much a match to the M75-150 remarks. Very impressed.
02-28-2012, 08:07 AM   #11
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Thanks again for the advice folks. I've found a F 70-210 f4-5.6 which I went for. Should be here in the next week, so i'll see how it goes.

It was the pictures/reviews from that got me really liking it, and if doesn't work out I'll just sell it on and probably get a 50-200.
02-28-2012, 10:19 PM   #12
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If you have a few more quid to blow, consider the superb Vivitar-Kiron Series 1 70-210/3.5 (version 1). It really is better than my other MF and AF zooms in that range.
02-28-2012, 11:28 PM   #13
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@Tom Woj - Good choice. My Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f/3.5 Version 1 is probably a bit better optically and the extra speed is nice but I usually use the F 70-210 for the added convenience of auto focus and exposure.
02-29-2012, 07:53 AM   #14
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Another to consider is the Tamron 70-300 (it's dodgy beyond 200, so it pretty much fits your requirement). That Pentax 55-300 (either version) is hard to beat for the money, based on my research from about 6 months ago.
03-01-2012, 11:10 AM   #15
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The DA (or DAL if a few bucks makes a difference) 55-300 is worth the extra to match up with our modern auto-focus cameras. A quality piece of consumer glass.

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