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03-19-2012, 01:22 PM   #1
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Tamron 17-50 (300) VS. Sigma 17-70 f4.5(380) VS. DA 18-135 (450)

'Just' two months left until I can buy my K5! After reading a lot over the past 3,5 months I still don't know what lens to buy, so it's time to cut the knot..! I know, there is already been a similar thread but I'm very curious to your opinions with these prices, in my particular situation.

I'm a beginner so I don't know my exact style. But I do like low light photography, portraits, candid, lots of bokeh (I could use my 50mm/1.7 for this) and landscapes.

I already have 2 primes:
  • Pentax M 50/1.7
  • Pentax M 28/2.0.

Currently I'm hesitating between these 4 options:
  1. Tamron 17-50 f2.8 (€300)
  2. Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4.5(€380) --> Older version
  3. DA 18-135 WR (€450) --> WR is pretty nice
  4. DA 17-55 + Tamron 28-75 F2.8 (€450) --> Might be clumsy with Tammy starting at 28mm

Thanks!

Tom

03-19-2012, 02:00 PM   #2
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I've used the Tammy and an M100/2.8 together as a travel kit,
and have found it to work well (on a K-x).
With an M100/2.8 for 100 Euro,
that would give you better IQ than option 3,
and more coverage than options 2 and 4,
for comparable total cost.
03-19-2012, 02:11 PM   #3
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I haven't had the pleasure of the Tamron and Sigmas on your list, but I have had the 18-55 and I still have the 18-135. While the 18-55 is unappreciated in some quarters, it is undoubtedly high on the IQ to price scale, but I bought the 16-50 to replace it. However, I find the 18-135 is spending more time than the other short(ish) zooms on my K-5 partly because it's such a handy zoom range and partly because it's IQ is pretty impressive, too. Personally, of the options you list, I can highly recommend the 18-135.
03-19-2012, 02:41 PM   #4
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@lytrytyr: Sounds as a pretty good idea actually! I was thinking about a DA 55-300 in the future but I guess your option is way lighter and compact, or am I wrong? How are the manual focus capabilities, easy enough?

@ RobA_Oz: The 18-135 was at the top of my list until recently. It's versatility is great! However the stories are mixed. Furthermore, I can't find any really impressive example shot. Do you have one where you can really see that it renders outstanding and the sharpness is visibly outstanding? If you search for pictures of for example the tammy 17-50 or the Siggy 17-70 I find dozens of pretty impresive pictures.

03-19-2012, 06:02 PM   #5
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I've had all the three lenses you listed there, and now I only have the 18-135. It's a very versatile lens, center sharpness (where it matters, to me anyway) is really good, plus its range and WR, I think it's a better option for travel and outdoor photos.

Here I had a hands-on review when I just got the lens quite a while ago:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/123591-hands-w...ny-photos.html
03-19-2012, 07:45 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tomm Quote
@lytrytyr: Sounds as a pretty good idea actually! I was thinking about a DA 55-300 in the future but I guess your option is way lighter and compact, or am I wrong?
Tammy + M100/2.8 will certainly be heavier than just the DA18-135, of course.
The Tammy alone is only slightly heavier, and about 1cm longer.
The M100/2.8 is about 225gm, 56mm long, half the size and weight of the DA 55-300.

QuoteOriginally posted by Tomm Quote
How are the manual focus capabilities, easy enough?
Since the M100 is only f/2.8, it's not as snappy to focus manually as a sharp f/1.4 lens,
but still relatively easy once you get used to it.
For 100 Euros, you can't go too far wrong,
and if you do decide that manual focus with that lens doesn't work for you,
you should be able to sell it on quite easily.

Last edited by lytrytyr; 03-20-2012 at 08:07 AM.
03-20-2012, 02:06 AM   #7
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having only experienced (1) and (2), i would choose (1) for sure

the range is good on (2) but in terms of IQ i enjoy the tamron immensely (only if you get a good copy)
03-21-2012, 12:15 AM   #8
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@lytrytyr & Chickenandavocado: Sounds pretty nice! Although when I pick the Tammy I will start off just using that lens and see where I come short.

Im noticing two sides here. One side for the Tammy and the other side for the da18-
135. To be honest, I would like to be 100% convinced by the IQ capability of the da 18-135 because of its versatility. But again, if you browse through the Tammy 17-50 group on Flickr I see many outstanding pictures. Searching photo's for the da 18-135 leaves me disappointed. Most if them looks like standard point&shoot shots. Than I wonder if maybe less capable hands took these photo's with the DA. Anyone have some real good shots taken with the DA?

03-21-2012, 12:41 AM   #9
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I am in a similar boat, considering the 18-135 vs other zooms, and on the fence about it. I too have not seen many pictures that made me go Wow! (but I have seen some, nevertheless).

It could also be due to the fact that when people (like I do) are travelling, walking about with a camera, etc. without the explicit purpose of taking photos, they carry the "convenient" lens, and when they are on a mission, or want to make art, they slap on the fast primes.

On the other hand, of all the owners of the 18-135 I have talked to, I have not met anyone yet who was not raving about it and telling me to buy one.
03-21-2012, 12:52 AM   #10
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Although I have upgraded to the Sigma EX 17-50/2.8 HSM, I still have (and use) my older screw-drive SIgma 17-70/2.8-4.5. It is smaller, lighter, still focusses quite quickly and the image quality is more than adequate.
Having said that, if you can get the Tamron 17-50/2.8 for less, go for it if the lack of range is not an issue.
03-21-2012, 01:11 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tomm Quote
'Just' two months left until I can buy my K5! After reading a lot over the past 3,5 months I still don't know what lens to buy, so it's time to cut the knot..! I know, there is already been a similar thread but I'm very curious to your opinions with these prices, in my particular situation.

I'm a beginner so I don't know my exact style. But I do like low light photography, portraits, candid, lots of bokeh (I could use my 50mm/1.7 for this) and landscapes.

I already have 2 primes:
  • Pentax M 50/1.7
  • Pentax M 28/2.0.

Currently I'm hesitating between these 4 options:
  1. Tamron 17-50 f2.8 (300)
  2. Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4.5(380) --> Older version
  3. DA 18-135 WR (450) --> WR is pretty nice
  4. DA 17-55 + Tamron 28-75 F2.8 (450) --> Might be clumsy with Tammy starting at 28mm

Thanks!

Tom
I had the 18-135 and posted a mini review here a while ago.
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/140258-review-...ml#post1467071
Its strengths are its WR, versatile focal lengths and close focus ability at 135mm.
It fails your criteria for low light prowess though...


For now, if you only want one lens to do all that you've mentioned, I'd suggest the 17-50/2.8 (either Sigma or Tamron)

If you are willing to switch between a UWA and a walkabout/lowlight/portrait lens, then the 28-75/2.8 is a nice choice (add UWA of your choice later on)

If you can use your manual primes for low light stuff, the DA18-135WR is a good choice for its versatility (wide 18mm; Portrait 50-135mm; close focus ability)
03-21-2012, 11:07 AM   #12
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@ atekant: You're right, but still.. There should be plenty of nice shots. Yeah, I've heart many great stories as well. But on the other hand just as negative ones as well. Aaaah, so confusing..!

@ Sandy Hancock: Thanks for you're view on this topic! Pretty strange that the tamron is cheaper than the old Sigma model though, but it's true..! I've seen many great shots with the Siggy so thats why it is in my list. Do you think 20mm less focal range is a big loss?

@ Pinholecam: I've read your review. In fact I've read every single word written about the 18-135 haha. That's why I raised this thread, as a last escape . Anyway, pretty good review but still not convinced! But I wan't to be convinced, such a versatile piece of glass.. Could you post your best shot with the 18-135?
About the 28-75, do you think it's wide enough as a walk about without switching to much?
03-21-2012, 11:11 AM   #13
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The others will not equal the IQ of the Tamron 17-50.
03-21-2012, 11:33 AM   #14
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The Tamron is a cracking lens... LOVE MINE!!

However... DA18-135 is WR (as is the K5) and gives you much more 'range'... By all accounts it has pretty good IQ (of as good as the Tamron but good anyway...) and you already have a good pair of quallity primes for specialist jobs... AND you can get it as a 'kit'...

Don't know about the sigma but in my opinion I'd go for the DA18-135WR as a kit with the K5 for a wet-weather and extended allrounder kit...
03-21-2012, 11:51 AM   #15
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You could always just grab something like the DA 15, to combine with your existing primes, you will have covered 15-50mm pretty well then, just not in a zoom
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