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06-02-2012, 10:43 PM   #1
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Need a pro option for replacing the kit zoom

Hi gang, I'm considering replacing my kit 18-55 AL II because the image quality just isn't on par with the rest of the lenses in my bag. My dilemma is with what do I replace it? Have you ever noticed that there aren't many good options? Let me make this a little harder: I'd like to use it to shoot film too, and hopefully one day on my dream-come-true Pentax digital FF. About me, I shoot mostly portraits, though I'm trying to do more fashion, so I want this lens for full length shots.

Here's whats in my go-bag now:
  • Sigma 8-16mm
  • DA 18-55 AL II
  • 50mm f1.4 Super Takumar, the 8/6 version
  • DA* 50-135
  • FA 100 2.8 macro
  • 200mm f4 SMC Takumar + 2x TC

Here are my absolute requirements for a standard zoom:
  1. Must cover a 135 image circle
  2. Must be sharp in full frame
  3. Good contrast and color rendition
  4. Constant aperture
Here are my strong preferences, it will be hard to live without any of these features:
  1. Fast, 2.8 if at all possible
  2. Good bokeh (not nervous)
  3. Should have an aperture ring
  4. True internal focus (size does not change)
  5. Non-rotating front element
Here are my "d'ruthers"
  1. Sonic motor
  2. Weather sealing
Here's what I couldn't care less about:
  1. Size
  2. Weight
  3. Cost
  4. Losing the 17-28mm range, I can always get a prime.
Here's my thoughts on the alternatives:
  • There's a Tamron 28-70 f/2.8, but I'm a little concerned about the build quality, and though I know it's sharp, is it sharp-sharp?
  • he Sigmas I've seen are either soft in the corners in full frame, or have terrible nervous bokeh.
  • There's a Tokina 20-35 that looks nice, but I'm not sure it was even made for the K-mount, and I'd need a 43 Ltd to fill in the gap between that and my 50-135.
  • I don't know of a full frame standard zoom that goes down to the 18mm range from any manufacturer in any mount, but I don't use that much for portraiture.
Am I pretty much just looking at the FA* 28-70, or did I overlook something? I know the front element rotates, and that's going to drive me batty. But can I live with it? Has anyone learned to live with it?

Maybe I'm just better off waiting to see if they'll release a pro standard zoom when they finally get around to making a full frame digital?

Thanks in advance for any advice on the matter.

06-02-2012, 10:54 PM   #2
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aperture, bokeh, element, frame, front, image, k-mount, pentax lens, quality, range, size, slr lens, takumar
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