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08-30-2012, 07:40 AM   #1
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70-200 vs. 50-135 ?

I know this topic has probably been beaten half to death and back. But I need to ask this for myself. I know I'm going to catch some criticism for this, but I've adopted the "Quality vs. Quantity" theory, and dramatically downsized my lens artillery. I sold off 4 lenses yesterday, totaling $780. For the sol purpose of buying either the Tamron/Sigma 70-200 2.8 or the Pentax 50-135 2.8. Let me preface this by saying, I am primarily just going to be shooting portraits (family, senior, engagement, etc.) and weddings. With the occasional birthday party or little league baseball game for my nephew. I sold my 18-55, 50, 90, 70-300. I still have my sigma 28-105 f/2.8-4.0. I know many people aren't fans of that lens but I love mine. I just shot two senior portrait sessions with it on my K5, and was very happy w/ the results. My thought process is, I can cover almost the same focal length w/ 2 good lenses, instead of 6 "okay" lenses. (my 50 & 90 were good lenses, but I can get the same quality shots from the 50-135 @ those given lengths.) So given my circumstances, and what I'll be using the lens for, and knowing the othe lens in my bag is my sigma 28-105, what lens should I buy with the money I made ? The 70-200 or the 50--135 ? I like the added length of the 70-200, but the 50-135 is legendary, all the samples I've seen on pixel peeper are jaw dropping. Any help would be greatly appreciated. And I know some of you are thinking I'm nuts, for selling the farm, so to speak, to buy one lens. But I feel like 2 fast lenses, that can cover a wide focal range is less trouble, and more efficient than carrying around 6 lenses like I have been. To each their own, I guess.

08-30-2012, 07:47 AM   #2
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Smart move. I did something similar last month and bought the 70-200/2.8. I'm very happy with it. I have read all the issues with the Pentax SDM lenses and will not own one. My choice and recommendation are therefore very simple - 70-200/2.8 - its sharp and an excellent lens.
08-30-2012, 07:49 AM - 1 Like   #3
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I shoot a Tamron 70-200. I enjoy using it, and I've used it for walking around (heavy, but I like long focal lengths), shooting low light sport events, portrait shooting (70-100mm is good for this), and occasional wildlife (squirrels, birds, etc).

Having used it, and having held a 50-135, I would go for the 50-135 now if I could. The 200mm reach is fantastic, but my shooting has generally been in the 70-135mm range. Added to that, I like the SDM on the 50-135, the WR of the 50-135, and the weight of the 50-135.

So if you aren't hunting for small animals, and your general use for this lens is going to be portrait and intimate events, the 50-135 is your better bet.

70-200 is more suited for midrange wildlife and sports.
08-30-2012, 08:19 AM   #4
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If you can find one, the Sigma 50-150 isn't a bad lens. It's nice and small, has a bit more reach than the 50-135, and is a great performer!

08-30-2012, 08:43 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ubuntu_user Quote
If you can find one, the Sigma 50-150 isn't a bad lens. It's nice and small, has a bit more reach than the 50-135, and is a great performer!
I was about to suggest the same. I have one and it is a good portrait lens, compact and the extra reachc/f the Pentax could be useful for any sporty events, and HSM is rock solid.... not WR though.
I am glad your Sigma 28-105 f2.8 is good, I had one but it was terrible, not a patch on my Tamron 28-105 f4-5.6, so sold the Sigma.
08-30-2012, 08:57 AM   #6
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I have both the DA*50-135 and Tamron 70-200 and I use both for different reasons. The 50-135 is clearly shorter in focal length but it's also smaller too. I think the 50-135 is better for portrait work and I've found that for general use I use mine a lot more than the Tammy. Both are sharp lenses and although the 50-135 has the existing SDM concerns and the Tammy is considered to be a bit slow and noisy on the auto focus side, I've never found either of these to be any issue. The Tammy is a bigger and heavier lens. I use mine for landscape work and when I need that extra reach. It's nice on a tripod with the lens mount. Actually a while back I was at a wedding where the photog used the Tammy for portrait work. Seemed a little long for me but he was quite happy with it he told me. So...take your pick.
08-30-2012, 09:11 AM   #7
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Can anyone elaborate on the sdm problems i see a few people mention ? I'm leaning towards the 50-135, just bc of all the pixel peeper samples I've seen. That lens on a K5 is just unbelievable. But I'd like to know more about the sdm issues. What are they exactly, and can the lens be repaired if it suffers these issues ?
08-30-2012, 09:19 AM   #8
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https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/191980-sdm-aut...eally-bad.html

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/173204-has-you...al-survey.html

08-30-2012, 09:25 AM   #9
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I've the DA*50-135 ad use it mainly for portrait work, the 70-200mm might be more versatile outside.
Just depends on what you want and what your shooting style is.
08-30-2012, 09:31 AM   #10
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I don't have the DA* 50-135, but I do have the Tamron 70-200mm. The Tamron 70-200mm is fantastic as far as IQ goes - I very much doubt the 50-135mm will be an improvement.

To me the choice is between smaller/lighter/quiter/WR vs longer reach/cheaper. Given your list of what you like to photograph, the 50-135mm seems the better choice. However, the 70-200mm may be the better match with your existing 28-105, is a godd deal cheaper, and gives you a resonably long reach. Some will say potential SDM issues is a non-starter. I have a DA* 16-50mm, and have never had an issue, and personally would not let that be deal-breaker.
08-30-2012, 09:47 AM   #11
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I own the DA*16-50, DA*55, DA*50-135, and have owned the DA17-70 all SDM lenses. I've had one minor problem with the 16-50 not SDM related and one problem early on with the 17-70. My 55 a bit slow when I start to use it but works fine after that. That sounds like a lot of problems but this is over 4 years of ownership and I don't consider any of these to be limitations of the SDM system. The 50-135 has been trouble free (and I've read that others have had similar experiences). Honestly if any of these lenses have a problem they are going to get fixed by me as the quality of the images I get is what it all about.
08-31-2012, 06:47 AM   #12
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Not to jack your thread

I am in a very similar situation right now. I'm looking at portraits, street candids and the occasional wedding. BUT also (being a proud daddy) I am gonna do a lot of photos chasing around the kids at home and abroad.

The DA* 50-135 seems to be legendary even with the SDM issues people love it, my main concern is if the SDM AF will be too slow while chasing the younglings. I've seen stuff suggesting the Sigma 50-250 HSM as the AF is crazy fast but people say you loose a little in IQ... IQ is crazy important to me and sometimes i feel like when people say "only loose a little" they are trying to make themselves feel better about their decision.

The Tammy 70-200 also gets a lot of love around here too but I think that may be a little long for personal use and the additional heft doesn't seem worth it.

p.s. Tomorrow the DA* 50-135 will be down to $825 after instant rebate!

Last edited by JeremytheIndian; 08-31-2012 at 07:25 AM.
08-31-2012, 09:30 AM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by JeremytheIndian Quote
Not to jack your thread

I am in a very similar situation right now. I'm looking at portraits, street candids and the occasional wedding. BUT also (being a proud daddy) I am gonna do a lot of photos chasing around the kids at home and abroad.

The DA* 50-135 seems to be legendary even with the SDM issues people love it, my main concern is if the SDM AF will be too slow while chasing the younglings. I've seen stuff suggesting the Sigma 50-250 HSM as the AF is crazy fast but people say you loose a little in IQ... IQ is crazy important to me and sometimes i feel like when people say "only loose a little" they are trying to make themselves feel better about their decision.
The focus is fast enough for people, really don't worry about that, beside you do have nice focus throw for manual as well, perfect for portaits, don;t expect to shoot sport with it though but you can do that.

For street portrait with the DA*50-135 without the hood it's quite perfect since it's small
08-31-2012, 12:27 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by JeremytheIndian Quote
I am in a very similar situation right now. I'm looking at portraits, street candids and the occasional wedding. BUT also (being a proud daddy) I am gonna do a lot of photos chasing around the kids at home and abroad.
Street candids: as previous person noted, without the hood, street candids are great with this lens. I use it for street shooting all the time.

AF speed: I use it for volleyball, basketball and soccer. Good enough for my needs and didnt see a big difference with the tamron 70-200 other than the longer reach. What I did not like about the tamron was the size. Too big. Plus the pentax is just nicely made and looks and feels nice.

SDM: not had any problems with motor failure. Just buy the extra warranty. It is only about 39 dollars for a 7 year extended warranty.
09-02-2012, 12:10 AM   #15
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My 2c....
#1 MY dream portrait combo on APSC would be a 24-70ish 2.8 and the 50-135 2.8. Reason is the tight portrait range is 50-135, a with 70-200 you will find your self changing to the other lens or stepping back a few in an event situation which isn't ideal.
#2 If your 24-105 is acceptably sharp then I believe the 70-200 would be your best bet. Note that both my choices have abit of FL overlap in-case of gear failure on the day.
#3 If you shoot abit of film and/or have any inclination to FF I think the 70-200 would be the choice (SORRY to mention but it is relevant ;p).
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