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06-19-2012, 05:36 PM   #1
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Zoom lenses with best IQ

Hi folks

I don't like zoom lenses, never have, they never match the IQ of a prime in my experience.

But, and there's always a but...

I have a need for AF for some subjects.

AF primes are expensive so I have been looking at AF zoom lenses.

So what AF zooms do people suggest? I'm interested in shorter ones as i rarely shoot anything longer than 135mm. IQ is my prime concern, I'd also like something solidly built, not nasty and highly fragile like the Canon 18-55 I've owned in the past.

I'll be using them with an MZ-50.

06-19-2012, 05:58 PM   #2
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You can try FA*28-70/2.8, a very good lens, a bit heavy for your MZ-50 though.

Another good option would be Tamron 28-75/2.8 which is pretty good too, cheap and light (for its caliber).
06-19-2012, 06:47 PM   #3
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Back in January I won a couple "lot" auctions that contained a Tamron AF (IF) 28-105mm 1:4-5.6 and a Promaster AF 28-105mm 1:4-5.6. They are the same lens and also the same lens as a SMC Pentax-FA 28-105mm F4-5.6 [IF]. Anyway both copies I got are sharp, I was surprised and kept them, they cost me around $40 each. I would say they are kit lens + build quality. At one time I had the Powerzoom 28-105, which was only sharp if the subject was close and much heavier. That PZ was really solid, but without the IQ of the Tamron.
06-19-2012, 07:31 PM   #4
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Cheers guys. Those 2.8 zooms Frank mentions sound like my cup of tea, although I do like the idea of a lens with 105mm on the long end, nice and versatile. Whatever I buy has to be cheap, sadly.

I have seen a Pentax-F 3.5-4.5/28-80 cheap locally, I looked at the reviews here and the opinions seem mixed, seems there are different versions, I'll have to go have a look at it and see which version it is.

06-19-2012, 08:35 PM   #5
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F35-70/3.5-4.5 -- smallest zoom Pentax ever made, extremely agile (VERY fast AF), sharp as a bag of primes, a real deal at around US$50.

FA100-300/4.7-5.8 (silver) -- best deal in medium-long zooms, sharp at both ends, very nice color rendition, a best-buy at around US$100.
06-19-2012, 11:11 PM   #6
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If you can live without AF, I can vouch for the SMC Pentax-A 35-105mm F3.5. It's a moderate zoom, built like an absolute tank, and is optically very respectable.
06-20-2012, 01:06 AM   #7
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Nice to see you here Ian, have you come over to the dark side ?

If you want to try the excellent 35/70 that RioRico recommends I have one and we'll be up your way in a few weeks once the builders have finished the roof. I found mine in a pawn shop for 12 and it's my walkabout lens - when I've got the K10 which is still waiting for parts.
06-20-2012, 05:29 AM   #8
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The tamron 24-135mm is a very sharp zoom lens. I also like the tamron 28-105mm.

06-20-2012, 05:40 AM   #9
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The F 35-105 F4/5.6 is as good as the F 35-70 (I have both) at similar prices. I got mine for $56. It has the same "macro" feature which comes very handy. It is a bit bigger with 58mm filter threads but the 105mm reach is very convenient. Both are great lenses and if you need a wider coverage the F 24-50 F4 is very good also (although a bit more expensive, at $160).
06-20-2012, 07:46 AM   #10
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Hiya David, I got sick of the other site, too many idiots with big egos.

Thanks for all the suggestions guys, looks like there are a few options.

Now I'm off to develop a roll I shot today with my MV1 + M 1.7/50
06-20-2012, 02:16 PM   #11
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Do you want to try this lens ? we might be up there sooner that I thought. And if I haven't got the K10 I won't be bringing PK lenses.
06-20-2012, 05:16 PM   #12
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I would, but the damn MZ-50 I bought is faulty so I got my money back

So the only Pentax body I have now is an MV1.

Oh well, I'll have to keep my eye out for another cheap Pentax AF body, but one that works.
06-21-2012, 09:24 AM   #13
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I've never used an AF Pentax film camera so I don't know much about them, but the MZ-50 is one of the more basic ones I think ?

Autofocus Film SLRs - Pentax Film Cameras - Pentax Camera Reviews and Specifications

There's a good list and revues here.
06-21-2012, 10:22 AM   #14
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Yes, pretty basic but the price was right.

I ended up buying a Konica FS-1 with the cash...
06-21-2012, 11:08 AM   #15
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So what the hell are you up to ? It's not like you to be wanting a simple AF camera.
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