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06-02-2012, 04:53 AM   #1
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Looking for a small and light zoom

After long trials and self deliberation, I have decided my ideal travel kit, at least optically.
I seem to be happy with a 17-70, plus a 50 1.4 prime in the pocket.

But, although I am quite happy with it otherwise, the Sigma 17-70 is extremely heavy and large to carry, especially if you are travelling with a single backpack/carry on.
So I am in search of a smaller zoom that will cover a similar focal span. Manual/Auto doesn't matter, and I suppose I can move a few mm either way on either end.

What I would like is at most something the size of the K50 1.4, obviously at the cost of lens speed.
I tried the 18-55, and not happy with it, neither it is small enough. The 18-135 is a lot of bang for the size, but still too big.


I am thinking the old manual zooms which are usually more svelte than the new lenses - but one that is not that long. The extended length doesn't matter, just the packing size.

Would appreciate any ideas.

06-02-2012, 05:23 AM   #2
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The older manual lenses will be heavier than what you've already tried, and to be honest, if the 18-135 is too bulky for you, you might just have to stick with primes, like a DA 35/2.4 and perhaps DA15 or 21 for wide angle shots. Then if you need reach you could decide on a DA 70, but adding the sizes of all those, you'd get more than a DA 17-70/4, which would be my only other zoom suggestion.
06-02-2012, 06:13 AM - 1 Like   #3
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The smallest zoom Pentax ever made, and nearly the smallest zoom ever made for Pentax (I think an equivalent MF Ricoh beats it by about 10g), is the F35-70/3.5-4.5: agile (VERY fast AF), sharp as a bag of primes, with near-macro focusing, and a real deal at around US$50 used. It's only slightly larger than my FA50/1.4. If that doesn't give enough range, add a pancake DA21 Ltd.
06-02-2012, 07:08 AM   #4
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That F35-70 is a nice little lens. I'll make a point to keep my eyes open for one locally.

Here's a rare one:

Pentax AF 35-70/3.5/4.5 Transparent Model ...... Rare | eBay

06-02-2012, 07:16 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Unsinkable II Quote
Umma gumma! So clear plastic raises the price 10x! Too bad I can't bleach the pigment from my black plastic lenses.

I'm awaiting the question: But doesn't clear plastic let in too much light?
06-02-2012, 07:52 AM   #6
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My smallest zoom is a Tamron 28-300 if you can believe that! It's whatever the current model is. I've also head the Pentax 18-250 is small as well.
06-02-2012, 08:26 AM   #7
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Me, Too!

Hello Atekant,
Rico beat me to the F 35-70mm recommendation, but I'll throw in my vote anyway. Check out this thread for examples;
Ron
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/lens-sample-photo-archive/184051-f-35-70m...ur-photos.html
06-02-2012, 08:41 AM   #8
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+1 on the F 35-70.

I'll also make a plug for the FA 28-70 f/4. Very light and has a useful range if you do not need the wide end of more modern APS-C zooms. I use it when I have no idea what I'm going to shoot. It lives on the k-5 most of the time when it is in the car.

06-02-2012, 09:03 AM   #9
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I think I am getting sold on the F 35-70. With the "macro" feature, I can leave the close-up adapter at home, and maybe get a wide adapter for those wide shots I might need. And can't argue with the price.

Although, I think I just got a paper cut looking at the samples for the FA 28-70.
06-02-2012, 09:16 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by atekant Quote
I think I am getting sold on the F 35-70. With the "macro" feature, I can leave the close-up adapter at home, and maybe get a wide adapter for those wide shots I might need. And can't argue with the price.
Skip the wide adapter. Unless it's a bit of miracle glass, IT WILL SUCK. And a DA21 Ltd will weigh less!

Another solution, of which I now avail myself, is the F35-70 paired with a Cosina-made 19-35/3.5-4.5. Almost as light as but a bit bulkier than the F35-70, my PK-A Vivitar Series 1 version is a nearly constant companion. KAF versions (both Cosina and Vivitar and maybe other names) are available, sometimes pretty cheap -- one member here just got the AF Cosina NIB for US$70 plus shipping, and I'm thinking of that too. These 2x zooms are just SO sharp!

QuoteQuote:
Although, I think I just got a paper cut looking at the samples for the FA 28-70.
It depends on how much width and reach you need, and budget. My F35-70 was US$11. At about the same time I got a Promaster (Tamron) 28-70/3.5-4.5 for US$10 shipped, and it's damn sharp too, and almost as compact. (My FA28-80 PZ was a gift, and is bulkier and not as sharp.) Are many decent options if you don't need to get to 18-19-20-21mm. 18-55 is the new 28-80!
06-02-2012, 10:37 AM   #11
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I'll be the contrarian here: get the 18-55.

First, absolutely no way will adding a wide adapter to a 35-70 give it IQ that even comes close to the 18-55, much less your 17-70, and the resulting combination would likely be about as big as the 18-55. And I can't imagine wanting to throw away all possibility of taking a wide angle picture. The 35-70 has *no* wide angle focal lengths on APS-C - it's long normal and above only, and only marginally more "zoom" range than a prime (2X versus 1X) - you'd probably do as well if not better getting the DA35/2.4 and cropping as necessary.

Really, as nice as the 35-70 is supposed to be, I can't really imagine how it would suit the needs of an APS-C photographer between than the 18-55, which is only marginally larger but covers a *much* more useful focal length range. Check the Exif from your existing shots from the 17-70 and see if you'd be willing to not have taken any of the shots you have under 35mm, then ask yourself if the shots you took over 55mm couldn't have been taken at 55mm as well and possibly cropped.
06-02-2012, 06:42 PM   #12
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Not many smaller and lighter than my180g Rikenon-P 35-70 f/3.4-4.5.. but I'm with Marc, a good copy of the DA18-55 will do so much more. I don't doubt poor copies can be found, but I'm on number four and am quite happy with it as my only wide-to-short tele zoom. I have owned Sigma's 17-70 and 18-50 (both f/2.8-4.5) and while both are a bit more versatile than the DA18-55 they weren't enough better for me to keep. The DA16-45 f/4 would be my next choice.

A 35-70 is a great alternative to just carrying a 50 prime when light is good, but 35-70 by itself does not serve well, more precisely it's not right for my shooting style. For you, though.. well that's your call!
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