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01-15-2013, 04:37 PM   #1
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DA* 50-135mm instead of 28-75? Recommendations for extra reach

Hey All,

So, following on from my most recent event, I have discovered that the majority of my photos were taken at 50mm (2000 shots / 3500). And I have noticed I've cropped a lot of them, with the subsequent loss of quality.

I was looking at various options to give me a bit more reach, including the Tamron 28-75, Sigma 24-70.

However this evening I had been having a browse of the forums, and came across the 50-135mm DA* lens. This is not an option I had considered before. As you can see from my lens groupings below, I'm (very) well covered in the 8-50mm range, but only have my lonely 18-135mm which reaches higher. This would be the lens I would need to sell to afford the 50-135mm. I figure it might couple well with my Tanron 17-50mm at the wider end.

So, I'm wondering what people's thoughts where on

- SDM Issues - bit scary, any UK users know of any good extended warranty schemes, or how much it costs to replace in the UK?
- low ish light autofocus? Not expecting it to be brilliant in very low light, but need it to be possible in moderate light:




I've posted this for both lighting and also to show predicted subject. These would be fast ish moving dancers. But I am a dancer and can pre-focus - quick shift could be useful for this. Also for portraits as well

- just how slow is the autofocus? Before I bought my 30mm f1.4 I read lots on how it's screw drive AF was pants. Simply not my experience. If we try to be realistic here, can anyone compare I. %ageterms vs any of the lenses I have?

- how good is this lens for portraits vs what I have

- any other considerations you would recommend?

Thanks all for your thoughts!

01-15-2013, 04:50 PM   #2
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The AF accuracy is largely going to depend on your body, with but a K-30 or K-5 you should be fine. The AF isn't lightning fast (it usually takes about a second to focus), but good enough I'd say. Pentax claims that the SDM reliability issues have been resolved as of mid-2012, but who knows!

For your purposes this sounds like just the right lens. It's a pretty good choice for portraits, though I greatly prefer the FA 77mm over this zoom for that purpose.

Adam
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01-15-2013, 04:57 PM   #3
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If you can zoom with your feet, and want to have a compact telephoto lens for this purpose, the FA 77 is excellent.
If you need the extra reach, then a DFA 100 macro or DA 200 might be needed.
If you're not sure or need to be able to zoom, then the 50-135 is a very good range to work with in this setting. If you needed more reach than that, however, there aren't too many zoom options (that are fast) other than the Tamron and Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 lenses.
01-15-2013, 05:06 PM   #4
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Thanks both for your initial thoughts. Although I love shooting static portraits on my Signa primes, I found them a bit too inflexible trying to do fast moving event photography. I did look at the 70-200mm options, but they are very large physically in comparison.

Checked and there is a repairer which does new SDM in the UK for 65 - somewhat alleviates my concern. I'd probably be buying 2nd hand!

01-15-2013, 05:06 PM   #5
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When the SDM breaks you can reprogram the lens to use screwdrive-only on any existing body.
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/maintenance-repair-articles/208353-how-de...m-f-2-8-a.html

AF speed isn't super quick. IQ, however, is very good.
01-15-2013, 06:01 PM   #6
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That lens renders images beautifully and I'm so jealous for the image quality and weather-sealing that I seriously thinking about stealing my brother's lens!
The AF isn't slow but my Sigma 70-200 is for sure quicker. The 50-135 actually focuses pretty quickly once the motor starts moving but as many says the motor "warms up" for a short time before actually focusing like a lag, my Sigma starts immediately and that's why it's faster. My theory is that the SDM has to build up some torque before being able to cope with the resistance.

Last edited by VisualDarkness; 01-15-2013 at 06:07 PM.
01-15-2013, 06:02 PM   #7
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Yes, then the 50-135 is for you. Size and IQ are both appealing in this lens.
01-15-2013, 06:27 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Yes, then the 50-135 is for you. Size and IQ are both appealing in this lens.
I've used the DA*50-135 for dance competitions, and found no real issue with a K-5 attached. I imagine the K-5II or the K30 would provide a great margin of comfort. The IQ from this lens is extremely good, IMHO, and it handles well.

01-15-2013, 09:07 PM   #9
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I agree with Ash and Rob.

The 50-135 is a stellar lens in terms of IQ and excellent for portraiture, fantastic for your purpose.

This lens was purpose designed to be the equivalent of a 70-200mm FF lens. It does what it says on the box. I highly recommend it.

Adam is also correct in my opinion, the Fa77 just does what it does better than any other lens of it's class I have ever used. The rendering, subject isolation and bokeh are first rate, but for your dance captures, I would reach first for the zoom to utilise its flexibility.
01-16-2013, 07:05 AM   #10
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50-135 bought via Ebay!
01-17-2013, 07:05 AM   #11
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Some test images taken this morning, as the lens turned up at 8am sharp (nice service there Royal Mail!)





01-17-2013, 07:21 AM - 1 Like   #12
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before putting out any cash, do a quick calculation

Image size = subject size x focal length / distance

or if you are unsure of your shooting distance, take the shots made with the 17-50 , which you crop, and look at the ratio of the corp in pixels, to the original frame. if you crop to 50% frame height, you need 100mm, if you crop to 33% you need 150mm, etc.

use what you have shot so far to estimate what you need, and note your original thinking of a 28-75 would only get you a marginal gain, which I believe is a lot less than you are really looking for.

the other side of this is to consider at this point your overall lens system. what do you want to do beyond 135mm for example. and would a 70-200 be better suited?

only you can answer these questions. I wont push any one solution on you because its your money, and my solution, while it works for me, may not fit your needs so I wont even mention what I have
01-17-2013, 07:36 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
before putting out any cash, do a quick calculation

Image size = subject size x focal length / distance

or if you are unsure of your shooting distance, take the shots made with the 17-50 , which you crop, and look at the ratio of the corp in pixels, to the original frame. if you crop to 50% frame height, you need 100mm, if you crop to 33% you need 150mm, etc.

use what you have shot so far to estimate what you need, and note your original thinking of a 28-75 would only get you a marginal gain, which I believe is a lot less than you are really looking for.

the other side of this is to consider at this point your overall lens system. what do you want to do beyond 135mm for example. and would a 70-200 be better suited?

only you can answer these questions. I wont push any one solution on you because its your money, and my solution, while it works for me, may not fit your needs so I wont even mention what I have
Too late for Pheo, as he already bought the lens =p

But very good advice for anyone else.

With regards to what Aegon said - some of the users who have adapted their 50-135 have commented that the screwdrive is faster than the SDM. The 50-135 is one of the slower SDM lenses. Fastest is the DA*300 I believe.
01-17-2013, 08:09 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pheo Quote
Some test images taken this morning, as the lens turned up at 8am sharp (nice service there Royal Mail!)





Looks good! Do you find the range better?
01-17-2013, 02:21 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pheo Quote
Some test images taken this morning, as the lens turned up at 8am sharp (nice service there Royal Mail!)
Well, you'd have to be pleased with those, for test images, at least. Congratulations! I'm sure you'll find it a very useful acquisition, I hope for your dance photos, too.
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