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02-22-2008, 03:20 PM   #1
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Thoughts on the F70-210/4-5.6

Since I had the day off, I got to go play with my K10 and lenses at the Butterfly Rainforest at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Along with me went the F70-210, with it's longer length being ideal for capturing images of skittsh butterflies. Other than taking a few test shots when I first got it, this is the first real outing that this lens has gone on. The images from it are great, but I've got a couple of concerns about it that are making me wonder if I should sell it and get myself another lens in this general range.

1. The zooming is rather stiff. It's not a big deal for static shots, but as I discovered with butterflies, it could be really inconvenient when I needed to zoom in a hurry. My 18-55 kit lens zooms a lot easier than this.
2. The AF is loud as all-get-out. If I'm shooting flowers, it's not a big of a deal, but the loud noise of the AF scared off several butterflies. I tried switching to manual focusing, but with as many complaints as people have about Pentax's AF, it's still faster than me trying to manually focus it when dealing with fast moving objects.

While not quite as big of a deal as the first 2 concerns, the minimum shooting distance is a bit long for me.

I'm wondering if I should just sell this one and pick up either the Tamron or Sigma 700-300 macro lens. If anybody has any other suggestions, I'm open to those, as well.

Should I keep it or get rid of it?

Thanks!
Heather

02-22-2008, 04:04 PM   #2
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If a "macro" zoom is what you are looking for, then go with the Tarmon which can do 1:2 macro. However the Tamron is a little bulkier which is why I sold it (plus I have already got a dedicated FA50/2.8 Macro lens).

That said, I still got mine F70-210 (actually, I sold it once and bought another one later).
02-22-2008, 05:35 PM   #3
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Here is my only online photo taken with Tamron 70-300:



cheers
Kenny
02-23-2008, 12:24 AM   #4
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Heather, what you are writing is perfectly normal for a F70-210. Yes, it makes a lot of noise when focusing. Yes, the zoom ring is stiff. But the 70-210 lens is one of the best out there (as far as consumer zooms go) and I rate it higher than the Pentax DA 50-200. Did you know that the F 70-210 also has an ED element inside?

But, I can perfectly understand why this is not the lens for you.

02-23-2008, 05:23 AM   #5
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Hmmm...an ED Element. At first, I had no clue what you were referring to, but then I googled it and I have to say tht I'm impressed. I'm assuming that not all Pentax lenses have this, right?

I've been thinking that I've only been out on 1 real outing with this lens and perhaps I should take it out on at least a few more outings before making a final judgement call on it. Besides, I'm planning on getting the Sigma 17-70, which has a pretty decent macro feature on it and that would take care of any close-ups that the 70-210 couldn't handle.

Thanks for all the help!
Heather
02-23-2008, 07:03 AM   #6
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Hi Heather

If you can pass on the autofocus I'd recommend the A 70-210 F4. With the constant aperture it is a bit faster than the F 70-210 at the long end and the "one touch" push/pull zoom is much smoother than the F model also. I'm still processing photos from my A's first major outing but I've been pleased with what I've seen so far. It also has a macro feature, which is pretty good but I would have liked it at the long end instead of the short end. The only other nit pick I have with the lens is that the zoom is backwards, if you push the zoom out, the image gets wider...it took a while to get used to until I hit on the trick of thinking about the image in the viewfinder...pull the zoom in and the image gets bigger/moves towards you; push the zoom away and the image gets wider/moves away from you. But other than those two nit picks aside, I like this lens much better than I do the DA 50-200.

NaCl(does this make me old fashioned?)H2O
02-23-2008, 08:58 AM   #7
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The DA 50-200 also has an extra-low dispersion element (ED) as well as 2 aspherical elements in its construction. Most current Pentax zoom lenses (DA series) with the exception of the kit lens have ED elements incorporated.

Comparing the F 70-210 with the A 70-210 is like comparing apples vs oranges. One has a plastic vs metal construction and that means there is a weight difference. One is a push-pull zoom, the other isn't. Noise aside, the F version will probably allow you to shoot faster simply because of the AF.
02-23-2008, 10:59 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
The DA 50-200 also has an extra-low dispersion element (ED) as well as 2 aspherical elements in its construction. Most current Pentax zoom lenses (DA series) with the exception of the kit lens have ED elements incorporated.

Comparing the F 70-210 with the A 70-210 is like comparing apples vs oranges. One has a plastic vs metal construction and that means there is a weight difference. One is a push-pull zoom, the other isn't. Noise aside, the F version will probably allow you to shoot faster simply because of the AF.
I wasn't comparing the A and F versions of this lens. I know they are significantly different. The OP asked for other alternatives to her F 70-210. One of the factors she didn't like much was the stiff zoom on the F. The A has a much smoother zoom. The A 70-210 is exactly that, an alternative. And I beg to differ about focus speed. If you practice your focusing technique you can get to be at the very least "nearly as fast" if not "as fast" as an AF camera and lens combo.
The practice technique I use:
Re: Is a KatzEye required for those using manual focus?: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

NaCl(if you practice you can get LOTS better...with most anything)H2O

02-23-2008, 11:34 AM   #9
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Ha, ha you're right about the practice, I've been practicing for almost 40 years now.
02-23-2008, 11:56 AM   #10
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There can always be trade off's between lenses. The F is a great lens even if it's noisy. You're is performing exactly like the 2 I've owned. Sharper than the 50-200 but heavier, uglier and stiffer to use. Mostly because it's almost all metal inside and the DA is mostly plastic. Fo me, it's worth keeping but the Tamron or Sigma macro 70-300's are good lenses as well but not quite as sharp. So a tough call. I'd say use it more and if you can live with the quirks, then it will reward you. If not then time to start considering something different.

if you can afford to save for another lens like the 70-300's then maybe worth keeping both. Each will have it's place.
02-24-2008, 09:38 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Zack Quote
if you can afford to save for another lens like the 70-300's then maybe worth keeping both. Each will have it's place.
That's definitely an idea worth considering since both the Sigma APO and Tamron 70-300s aren't that expensive, even brand new. Once I sell my F50/1.7, that may very well be a possibility. Although it doesn't have a macro feature on it, I've even given some thought to the new 55-300, as I like the extra range at the wide end.

After I get a better wider end zoom (most likely the Sigma 17-70 macro), my next lens purchase was going to be a dedicated macro, but if I can get acceptable results with one of the 70-300s for close-up, as well as using my 43 with extension tubes, which produces pretty decent results--an example is below, then maybe I can hold off on getting a dedicated macro.
http://i.pbase.com/g1/36/816636/2/92430296.CU2hBGxf.jpg

With that, other than getting a WA prime suitable for both film and digital (I eventually want to pick up another film body), then I can take a break from lens-buying for a while and focus on other photography-related things that I've been wanting for a while, like a scanner that will scan both film and slides and a better image editing program.

My prayer on the whole matter is: "Dear God, please don't let me turn into a gearhead--Amen!" I just want to get out there and use my gear instead of obsessing over the fact that I don't have "the best"; I've seen some pretty decent pics come out of lenses that aren't considered "the best".

Heather

Last edited by heatherslightbox; 02-24-2008 at 09:44 AM.
02-27-2008, 07:21 PM   #12
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Just to let everybody know that I've come to a decision on the F70-210 question--no, I'm not selling it (at least for now). K10Perry had a Quantaray 70-300 LDO that's supposed to be a rebadged Sigma 70-300 APO that I couldn't pass up for $65+shipping. I don't care that it it is the Ritz Camera house brand, just as long as it does the job. It should get here either Friday or Saturday. The 17-70 I won off of Fleabay is supposed to get here on Friday, so I'll have 2 new toys to play with this weekend.

I want to get one of those macro converters that makes any lens a 1:1 macro; they're hard to come by, but I did find one on KEH.com for a reasonable price (at least in comparison to buying a macro lens.

Heather
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