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07-24-2012, 08:01 PM   #1
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18-55mm AL II or 17-70 f/4?

Pentax SMC DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II

Choosing between these two lenses... I realize the advantages of the 17-70 (extra reach, FTMF, SDM, f/4 across the range, etc).

Yet I also see from several reviews various qstns re: softness from 55-70, even stopped down, which possibly clouds one of the lens main advantages. Copy varaince?

Just got a K-5, have a few primes, looking for a walk around zoom for when situation dictates, but dont know if the 17-70 is worth the extra $$. Esp since the 18-55 II version seems to be an optical improvement,

I have the 18-55 in hand for $83 shipped, the 17-70 $350 shipped. Both mint. Leaning toward the 18-55....thoughts?

07-24-2012, 08:09 PM   #2
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I have the 18-55 WR and I must say this lens is not your typical kit lens, it is adequate for many situations and is sharp when used at f7.1 or f8. I have never owned the 17-70 f4 but heard many good things about it, don't know if the extra hefty price is worth it over the 18-55 with the AL II optics. Someone is also selling their Tamron 17-50 f2.8 for $350 by the way. I would take that over the 17-70 in a heartbeat as it's constant f2.8 and is very sharp, sharper than the DA* 16-50 f2.8
07-24-2012, 08:31 PM   #3

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I had the 18-55 AL II and used it for a very short time before moving to the 17-70/4. The 17-70 was, of course, a significant improvement. I used it for a while before getting more short primes and eventually going to the DA*16-50/2.8.

Since you use many primes, as you mention, I think you'll be much happier with a constant aperture. But I also had to go to the DA*16-50 eventually, so I didn't feel like I was loosing too much compared to the primes. I purchased mine used for a more reasonable cost than the current new price. I don't like the images I see from the third party glass as much, so it wasn't a consideration for me.

For me there's no question - if I couldn't have the DA*16-50 I'd go with the 17-70/4. You can get very nice results at f/4.5, so it isn't too slow. It's better than variable aperture lenses, or many third-party lenses which struggle with IQ until stopped down at least a stop.

Also, while the 17-70 is hardly rare, I think finding a mint copy is more significant than finding an 18-55, regardless of the revision. I'd take advantage of the 17-70. As for softness between 55-70mm, I don't remember this as a problem, though there may have been some. But that's just how it goes with a wide to tele zoom, and I can accept this at one end. My DA*16-50 is weaker at the wide end, but you can still get nice 16mm shots with it. I know it's not as good as my DA15/4, and I don't expect it to be.

Last edited by DSims; 07-24-2012 at 08:50 PM.
07-24-2012, 08:48 PM   #4
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Ok I will be a bit unpopular and suggest that for better range the Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4 (I have the f2.8-4.5 version and its pretty good) or for something a bit faster Tamron 17-50 f2.8 are worth a look (both are cost effective and a decent step up from the kit zoom).

07-24-2012, 08:51 PM   #5
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I have both and have used them on only my K100dS and I feel that the extra $ for the 17-70 was worth it. Seems like it is a substantial lens and better in every way. Well....I still worry about SDM, but so far, so good. The upper range sharpness has never been an issue, at least as much as I can tell on this old 6 MP body. I knew that I wanted an upgrade to the 18-55 II (it was good, but I wanted better). My thought process on the upgrade was based on these perceptions:

- 16-50, too expensive, didn't need WR, and "overkill" for k100dS, optically seemed to be all over the map from copy to copy
- sigma 17-70 - good, but not as good as da 17-70, variable aperture
- tammy 17-50 - I really wanted this to be the one, but too many reports of ff/bf and my k100dS does not have focus adjustment
- sigma 18-50 2.8 macro - didn't seem "special" enough, somehow

Finally, said the da 17-70 was the best option, and I valued that opinion the most also.

Got my unit used here for about $330 two years ago, has held up well.

So clearly, I'm favorable for the da 17-70 over the da 18-55 II.

Hope this helps.


07-25-2012, 01:20 AM   #6
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-I replaced the DAL 18-55 to 18-55 DA II and replaced him for the 17-70
-17-70 has more class than them in every way and are unmatched in quality for the benefit of 17-70 in all
- tried the Sigma 17-70/2 0.8 to 4, 5 she had a problem with tenderness over 50mm Pentax does not, shows a cooler color does not Pentax,no constant aperture Pentax has, these are three reasons why I took the Pentax and I love it

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