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04-04-2012, 04:00 AM   #1
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affordable, low distortion tele?


Looking for a affordable tele lens, preferably zoom.

For my use I would like one with as little distortion as possible. Sharpness is secondary. I almost bought the Samyang 85mm MF lens (very nice bokeh!), but I think I would need zoom just because it's more practical. Doesn't have to be very long, 80-100mm (actual) focal length should be fine.. Manual or auto focus. A-setting on the aperture would be nice.

There's just so many options to choose from.. Many of the older, cheap AF lenses could possibly do but I have no idea about their distortion characteristics and other foibles, CA and so on..

04-04-2012, 04:38 AM   #2
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You can have a look at and check the characteristics of lenses that you're interested in. There might be other sites as well somewhere.

PS You can correct CA and distortion (to a certain extent, I guess) in post processing.

Last edited by sterretje; 04-04-2012 at 05:16 AM.
04-04-2012, 05:44 AM   #3
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what is affordable? and what do you mean by low distortion.

Most tele lenses have very little distortion, that is more a wide angle issue than tele, and is due to the field of view and the fact that for very wid field of view the focus plane is in fact spherical, not flat.

As for CA, lateral CA within the focus plane is easy to correct with the camera supplied software, or photoshop or with several plug ins if your photo editor takes photoshop plug ins. Lateral and longitudinal CA in the out of focus areas is different but again if your photo editor has a fringe removal tool it is not that hard.
04-04-2012, 06:41 AM   #4
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What Lowell said. I've seen many short teles and tele-zooms and haven't noticed much in the way of optical distortions or aberrations that aren't easily tended in PP. What bothers me most is PF (purple fringing) which although fixable is still something I screen lenses against. But if you want recommendations:

* My great M42 Sears-Vivitar 55-135/3.5 cost me US$8 shipped. The current DA*50-135/2.8 is its superb modern AF counterpart and costs 100x as much.
* If that range is too short for you, you can find many good old lenses in the 70-210 or 80-200 range: MFs by Vivitar and Sears-Samyang, AFs by Pentax etc.
* To go longer yet, you can't beat the old FA100-300/4.7-5.8 (silver).

04-04-2012, 07:50 AM   #5
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Well, somewhere around 300$. Perhaps I'm a bit lazy, but especially with zoom lenses I would rather not correct distortion for every photo separately Less of an issue with primes, because the distortion is the same for every shot. I just like it when lines are straight from the start. I use tele for mostly b&w, silhouettes and abstracts.. perhaps for architecture too (I shoot raw only and develop with Silkypix, only )

A walkaround zoom would be nice too, but the IQ from those is simply too low. And often there's a lot of barrel and/or pincushion distortion everywhere, different amounts in the corners than in the center etc.. hard to correct completely.

RioRico: "To go longer yet, you can't beat the old FA100-300/4.7-5.8 (silver)" --> hmm, that looks promising!

What about some macro lens? This one seems ok; Cosina AF 100mm f/3.5 macro (Pentax) - Review / Lab Test Report - Analysis SMC Pentax-FA 100mm F3.5 Macro Reviews - FA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
04-04-2012, 08:00 AM   #6
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I am very happy with my Rikenon 70-150 mf zoom. Small, light, f/4, 1:6 close focus, internal zoom.. and neither distortion nor fringing to speak of. The Pentax 75-150 gets similar praise. My best bargain af was the sigma 100-300 f/4.5-6.7, also quantaray badge. Faster focusing than DA 55-300 but lower contast and will hunt focus in poor light.
04-04-2012, 04:23 PM   #7
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Right but as mention, distortion is normally a non-issue for telephotos. There is nothing to correct for any but the worst-designed superzooms.

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