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11-29-2012, 04:09 AM   #1
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Need a killer zoom

Went to thanksgiving at my nieces.
Brought along my K5 with the FA 35 mounted.

Anyway quickly found that the prime just would not cut it - too inflexible for the variety of shooting conditions I faced. Missed many good shots trying to switch lens and all that.

Anyway switched over to my cheapo 200 buck Tammy 18-200 zoom and it was like night and day. Even though it was often too slow I started to get those quick off the cuff shot I wanted even if I had to shot at an ISO of 6400. For instance I could sit in the easy chair and just zoom in and out and get very credible portraits of the Family without even moving. A bit soft but at least I got something.

Anyway the question:
What recommendations for a absolutely drop dead best quality fast zoom in the 18 (at least) to not over 200mm range. Price no object.

Thoughts?

11-29-2012, 04:41 AM   #2
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I'm not sure if such a creature exists as what you're looking for. You can have fast, or you can have a quality wide angle zoom, there really isn't a quality, fast, wide angle superzoom.

The closest I can think of all in one lens might be the DA 18-135, but its not exactly 'fast' by any stretch of the imagination.

Since price is no object, you'd probably be best served with two lenses - the DA* 16-50mm (and gamble on the SDM not going PFFFT) along with a DA*50-135 or DA*60-250mm. The 50-135 is f/2.8, but short-range, the 60-250 is f/4 but it has the range.

FWIW, I've always just used my 18-55mm kit lens or my FA28-90mm with few issues as long as I don't mind cranking the ISO up. I've yet to hit the need to go for a faster zoom, though it would be nice to have to avoid needing to use flash.
11-29-2012, 04:43 AM   #3
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Yeah, I get you. But with super zooms come super compromises. No matter what the price tag. I'd suggest the 18-135 for the 'super zoom' (though it won't be magical in the IQ department either) or just get either a Tamron 28-75 for shorter FL expectations or something like the DA* 50-135 for longer FLs. These latter two will shine well above any super zoom in IQ and do the job well too. Any more reach and I'd go with a Tamron 70-200 or the DA*60-250. All the best in your decision.
11-29-2012, 05:29 AM   #4
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Can't Find It!

Hi Wildman,
I'm pretty sure an 18-200mm f/2.8 doesn't exist, and may never will. Let's just say some 3rd party lens-maker decided to try it. Two questions; How would you pay for it, and how would you lift it?
Even a constant f/4.0 zoom with the same focal range probably won't be coming to a store near you, anytime soon. Too many compromises in construction, IQ, size and price.
Suppose you sat in the same chair, with the following lenses (bear with me here);
A 24m f/2.8 (I have a Miranda M/F PK-A that's sharp as a tack, there are others), your 35mm f2.4, a fast fifty and an 85mm f/1.4 (or f/1.8, f/2.0, you get the idea).
Now, with the 24mm, you take a bunch of group shots. Change to the 35mm, take more. Same with the fifty, then "head" shots with the 85mm.
So, you'll get pretty much the same selection of shots, all will be sharper than any zoom going, your slowest lens is f/2.8, ISO is greatly reduced, and/or faster shutter speeds.
But, you do have to change lenses.
You can substitute an UWA f/1.4 (or so) if you really want to get every wall in the room. Maybe a 100mm f/2.8 or even a 135mm f/2.8. Maybe 2 bodies.
More work? Yes. Better results? Yes.
JMO,
Ron


Last edited by rbefly; 11-29-2012 at 05:38 AM.
11-29-2012, 05:45 AM   #5
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+1 for the DA*16-50 (or Sigma EX 17-50). Constant f2.8, excellent IQ, quick and silent focus. Pair with a DA*50-135 if you want it all.
A wider zoom range and you make substantial compromises on speed and IQ.


Or you could man up, and learn to shoot with primes
11-29-2012, 05:52 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by wildman Quote
What recommendations for a absolutely drop dead best quality fast zoom in the 18 (at least) to not over 200mm range. Price no object.
You won't get anything significantly better than what you have. Sorry.

The best bet on that long range would be the 60-250, it covers the longest range overr what you'ree asking for. Or the Sigma 50-150, faster by one stop and still covers a nice range. If money is no object, get one of these and a second body for your 31mm, or just live with some lens switching. Or complement the tele zoom of your choice with a fast wide zoom like a 17-70 (Sigma or Pentax) or the Tamron 17-50 f2.8.
11-29-2012, 05:54 AM   #7
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Id go with the Tamron 70-200 F2.8. Amazing quality and pretty cheap. Talk about bang for the buck!
11-29-2012, 06:00 AM   #8
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A fast superzoom? Dunno if there is such a thing. I've never heard of one. The general consensus is the Pentax 18-250 (or Tamron 18-250) is the best overall superzoom, though. Still, it's a superzoom, and there are always compromises with any superzoom.

I have this Tamron 18-200 (probably the same model as yours) and it's a fair performer if you stop it down a little. I've gotten quite a few good shots out of it. One example here, and another here. And those were both taken with an *ist DS. Your K5 should be able to do better.

The 18-250 might be better, but I don't know as it's $400 better.

11-29-2012, 06:10 AM   #9
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If money is no problem, why not go for a second camera K-30 and Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database.

I kept my K-x when I bought my K-30, now I've got both around most of the time, the K-30 with my DA55-300mm, and my K-x usually with the Tak 55/1.8, or Pentax K35/3.5.
Nice to sit around in the back yard while having a barbeque, taking a few shots of the kids, or the odd bird flying around, without having to run around after them all the time.
If you need a fast zoom, the Sigma seems to get good reviews, I might go for one someday when my ship comes in
11-29-2012, 06:16 AM   #10
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Olympus 35-100mm f/2.0 ED Zuiko Digital Zoom Lens 261012 B&H

Here is an Olympus version to show what lens design is capalbe of, but... Olympus has had their fair share of issues recently, and there's also the thing where this is a bt of an expensive lens for a non-full frame; especially given the format of the Olympuses. This lens is basically far superior optically than it's sensor could ever capture. But also Nikon and Canon do have similiar models. Sigma is also working on a bunch of new lens with; impressive optics, faster than average aperatures, and also extraordinary prices.

Word has it that there will even be a new optics only company working on a new version of an interchangeable lens mount.
11-29-2012, 06:28 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Medium FormatPro Quote
Here is an Olympus version to show what lens design is capable of,
That reminds me: There's a Pentax lens in almost the exact same focal range that offers superb prime-like IQ at all focal lengths, it's relatively cheap on the used market, and a constant f:3.5. The downside is that it's manual focus. It's the Pentax-A 35-105.

It goes for around $150 on the used market & worth every penny, IMO. But, the original poster wanted an 18-200 superzoom, and this ain't it.
11-29-2012, 07:17 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Medium FormatPro Quote
Olympus 35-100mm f/2.0 ED Zuiko Digital Zoom Lens 261012 B&H

Here is an Olympus version to show what lens design is capalbe of, but... Olympus has had their fair share of issues recently, and there's also the thing where this is a bt of an expensive lens for a non-full frame; especially given the format of the Olympuses. This lens is basically far superior optically than it's sensor could ever capture. But also Nikon and Canon do have similiar models. Sigma is also working on a bunch of new lens with; impressive optics, faster than average aperatures, and also extraordinary prices.

Word has it that there will even be a new optics only company working on a new version of an interchangeable lens mount.
Given that Olympus use a four thirds sized sensor, this is almost exactly equivalent of the DA* 50-135 in terms of focal range. Impressive that Olympus managed f/2.0 though as normally zooms around this range don't get better than f/2.8.
11-29-2012, 09:57 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mark Taylor Quote
Given that Olympus use a four thirds sized sensor, this is almost exactly equivalent of the DA* 50-135 in terms of focal range. Impressive that Olympus managed f/2.0 though as normally zooms around this range don't get better than f/2.8.
But for limiting the depth of field, the Pentax zoom at f/2.8
does about the same as the Oly at f/2.

Also, the high ISO IQ advantage of K5 and sons
more than compensates for one stop of slowness.

After all those tiresome FF discussions,
it's refreshing to reflect on the advantages
of a nice big APS-C sensor!
11-29-2012, 09:58 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mark Taylor Quote
Olympus managed f/2.0
They could have even gotten an f1.5 with only a very slightly larger front filter, but much more weight and also cost. Almost wishing that every camra company could somehow offer at least two lens' that exceeded the f1.0 barrier
11-29-2012, 10:45 AM   #15
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I do the same type of easy chair shooting at holidays. I only need something up to 100mm. My real world compromise is a 28-105 and a flash. My 16-45 is great except falls short on focal length, so the DA* 16-50/2.8 probably would too. If you go with that, expect to move around more. The DA 17-70/4 would fit the way I do it. It's an SDM lens so doesn't alert subjects with a focus motor. I'd still add the flash to brighten up dark corners and allow me to shoot at f5.6. The flash also has a less intrusive spot beam for focus assist.
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