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11-24-2012, 05:38 AM   #1
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Looking for the best zoom covering 70-135mm range

For a K-30 body. If you already have some excellent prime lenses in the range up to 50mm (in this case, 21, 35, 50 macro, 55mm) then what are the REALLY good zoom options to cover the remaining range up to 135mm or 150mm? Not too bothered above that, but a 70-200 range zoom would work fine. Would consider all options including manual focus, but preference would go to AF.

Contenders:
Sigma APO models e.g. 70-210, 50-150 etc
Pentax manual focus e.g. 45-125mm
Pentax AF e.g. 50-135mm f/2.8

Or any others?

11-24-2012, 06:47 AM   #2
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50-135 is going to be an obvious choice, due to amazing IQ and weather sealing, however, if you have the 50 range covered, and wish to go longer, a Tamron 70-200 wouldn't be a bad bet for cheap(ish)
11-24-2012, 07:13 AM   #3
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DA* 50-135/2.8 is a spectacular lens, you won't be disappointed.
11-24-2012, 07:45 AM   #4
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DA* 50-135 f2.8 is wonderful.

11-24-2012, 08:42 AM   #5
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Or stretch the end some, and go for the DA* 60-250. It's on my LUST list.
11-24-2012, 09:28 AM   #6
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Two lenses come to mind.

1. DA*50-135
2. Tamron 70-200
11-24-2012, 09:38 AM   #7
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The Pentax 60-250 would be one of the best options.
11-24-2012, 11:10 AM   #8
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I'd say go for the Sigma 70-200mm:
Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG APO OS HSM for Pentax 589109 B&H

If this price is too steep, then you can for the Tamron version, or the Pentax 50-135mm, which is on a 50% off special right now (it's a great lens, I just don't like the focal length range):

Pentax SMCP-DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 ED (IF) SDM Autofocus Lens 21660


Adam
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11-24-2012, 11:17 AM   #9
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I see that you are across the pond, over in the UK, but through Monday here in the Colonies, B&H has both the zooms (50-135 and 60-250) at around 50% off. B&H does international sales, and since these are fairly expensive lenses, this may be an opportunity...
11-24-2012, 01:47 PM   #10
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I have indeed been considering the B&H offer but over here in the UK that means adding customs and shipping - not so great then. In the UK the lens is around 550-620 used. They come up reasonably frequently, i.e. not rare. I'm not convinced about the autofocus - I've seen ads where they even recommend getting the motor serviced. But there's no disputing the image quality.

The alternatives are commonly a 70-200 type and that remains an option. The good ones are also expensive, and get big and heavy.

But the alternative of covering 70 to 135 with primes means a lot of lens changing in the field if you are travelling and taking distant objects. At one point I used two bodies and all primes, but I'm just an amateur and that's a bit nuts.

The lens is needed for my son who's a design student and will need lenses professionally. He has a K-30 which he bought specifically because he liked the smaller size and the ergonomics of the Pentax system, plus the IQ and colour of the lenses. Unlike the EOS system which I have (I use one or two old Leica and Contax lenses besides M42s) the choice of really good lenses is very restricted. It's hard to think of a good alternative to the 50-135 that has IQ in the same class.

Still ruminating on primes v. zoom but a zoom is so practical in this range.
11-24-2012, 03:30 PM   #11
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I love my DA 50-135. A great combination with the 16MP sensor in that k30. I don't use mine professionally, so can't reliably comment on the robustness of the AF. The AF has been fast enough for my own needs-primarily family pics and kids plays and sports and the like.

I supplement the DA with a rokinon 85mm, although I can only consistently use the manual focus above f2.8. It's a compact alternative to the 50-135, not much lighter though.
11-24-2012, 06:56 PM   #12
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An inexpensive yet good option would be the F70-210 f4-5.6. It's as ugly as sin, but it produces wonderful shots. I recently picked one up and it's impressing me quite a bit. And, as they say, it's as cheap as chips.
11-24-2012, 07:17 PM   #13
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Well, I have the pentax 50-135, and it is an amazing lens! It is probably worth it at around $650 (if you get it with a body). $750 is pushing it a bit. Otherwise, as an alternative you should go for the 70-135 by Tamron. In my opinion it is a better bang for the buck and the range may be a bit more useful. Besides the only complaint I have the Pentax is that it is a bit softish at 135 and 2.8. The Tamron will probably be okay through the entire range you are looking for.
11-24-2012, 07:32 PM   #14
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The DA* 50-135mm is an excellent lens. Your son should be aware that it is not light and small. Any of the 70-200mm lenses are not either. Unless one has a requirement for the longer reach, I'm not a fan of the 70-200mm lenses because they are more intended for FF cameras, as the focal range reflects that size image capture area from the film era. The DA* was Pentax's way of appropriately sizing a zoom to cropped-sensor scale.

If your son likes keeping the Pentax system sizing advantage, an alternative would be the 70mm DA Ltd which is outstanding, and the classic and cheap 135 mm f3.5 M lens. Though I generally favor AF lenses, the compact size of that 135mm is unusual, and the image quality is good. I always seem to find room for it on hiking trips.

Something else to ponder.

What kind of design is your son studying?

M
11-24-2012, 09:08 PM   #15
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Sigma 50-150 if you can find one

I have the Sigma 50-150 HSM and it is without doubt my favourite lens. The photo below was shot wide open at 2.8. It appears a little soft due to Photobucket, but the original is sharp with good contrast.


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