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05-07-2013, 11:00 AM   #1
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Newbie issue, can't decide which lens to buy

Hi,

I've got a K-5 and a Tamron AF SP 17-50/2,8 XR Di-II LD Aspherical (IF) which are a decent combo but I would like to have a lens with a better focal length as a complement and decent WR.

I have looked at DA* 50-135 f2.8 and DA* 60-250 f4.0 but as both of them are equipped with a quite respectable price, at least for me, I'm struggeling with which one to choose. Unfortunately there aren't any store nearby (guessing that nearest is about 400-500 km away) that have them in stock so I can't try them out.
My concern with the 50-135 is that 135 just isn't enough and with the 60-250 I'm a bit puzzled about both the weight and the aperture. Perhaps it's nothing to be afraid of but the f2.8 for the 50-135 do seem appealing and when I've decided for the 50th time to go with the 50-135 I chicken out due the focal length.
Both these lenses seems to be greats lenses, even though there are some SDM issues, with no really flaws to talk about if I have got it correctly.

I enjoy taking pictures of animals and nature and am not afraid of rain nor snow, so I want a lens which is water resistant which pretty much decides the brand to be Pentax. I also like to be out at around sunrise and sunset taking pictures.

Any suggestions that can help a newbie out?

I've actually thought of buying the DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 WR just to check whether the focal length is enough, perhaps it's not a hit aperture wise but beside some distortion issues at lower focal length people seem to be quite happy with this one. Is the 18-135 anywhere near the 50-135 when it comes to sharpness and general IQ?

05-07-2013, 11:19 AM   #2
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The Tamron 70-200/2.8 is a cheaper, well-liked option.
It's not WR, but many of us just use an umbrella instead!

Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 Di LD Macro Lens Reviews - Tamron Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database
05-07-2013, 11:24 AM   #3
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I'm a relative " newbie" as well to the digital scene. I've had Pentax SLR's since the 80's so I've got some experience in old school shooting. I've had the Pentax DA 18-135 but sold it a few months later. I was not satisfied with the overall image quality in part by my recent acquisition of the beautiful FA 43. To replace the longer focal length required and keep the image quality on par with the FA 43 I ended up purchasing the Pentax DA* 50-135 off of eBay used for a very low price. I hope to get it in by Friday of this week so I'll be able to test it out.
So in short, if IQ is your bag, I would recommend saving your pennies for a nice used 50-135 if you're willing to wait for the right one to come along.
05-07-2013, 11:31 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Samoht Quote
Hi,

I've got a K-5 and a Tamron AF SP 17-50/2,8 XR Di-II LD Aspherical (IF) which are a decent combo but I would like to have a lens with a better focal length as a complement and decent WR.

I have looked at DA* 50-135 f2.8 and DA* 60-250 f4.0 but as both of them are equipped with a quite respectable price, at least for me, I'm struggeling with which one to choose. Unfortunately there aren't any store nearby (guessing that nearest is about 400-500 km away) that have them in stock so I can't try them out.
My concern with the 50-135 is that 135 just isn't enough and with the 60-250 I'm a bit puzzled about both the weight and the aperture. Perhaps it's nothing to be afraid of but the f2.8 for the 50-135 do seem appealing and when I've decided for the 50th time to go with the 50-135 I chicken out due the focal length.
Both these lenses seems to be greats lenses, even though there are some SDM issues, with no really flaws to talk about if I have got it correctly.

I enjoy taking pictures of animals and nature and am not afraid of rain nor snow, so I want a lens which is water resistant which pretty much decides the brand to be Pentax. I also like to be out at around sunrise and sunset taking pictures.

Any suggestions that can help a newbie out?

I've actually thought of buying the DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 WR just to check whether the focal length is enough, perhaps it's not a hit aperture wise but beside some distortion issues at lower focal length people seem to be quite happy with this one. Is the 18-135 anywhere near the 50-135 when it comes to sharpness and general IQ?
if you want animals and WR i think you will want the 60-250...my husband has both...he uses the 50-135 for close sports and lower light but i think you will want at least the 200-250 range...good luck!!

05-07-2013, 11:41 AM   #5
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Don't forget the 55-300, it's got a great range, and is much lighter than the 60-250. It's not WR, though, if that's a dealbreaker then you're going to pay for the range. The 18-135 has nowhere near the reach. I think it's a decent little zoom, and being WR means I can often cart it around when I may not want to risk anything else.
05-07-2013, 11:53 AM   #6
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It is a dilemma indeed. I think your real dilemma should however be between the 50-135 and tamron 70-200. I personally have the 50-135 and i find it very suitable for my needs (landscape/portrait photography). I very rarely have found the 135 to be insufficiently long. The pictures out of it are sharp, contrasty and the lens is able to render amazing portraits. The 60-250 i think is a lens which has a different purpose altogether. With its size/weight and F4 limit on the aperture I think the lens is aimed more towards photographers who love wildlife/birding. I think the 50-135 is aimed more towards portraiture or landscape. The 50-135 is already big enough, I wouldnt want to carry the 60-250 everywhere I go. Again, which lens you buy depends entirely on the purpose you are going to use it for. I hope this helps.
05-07-2013, 12:05 PM   #7
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I have both the DA*50-135 and the DA55-300

the 55-300 has the reach, but it doesn't match IQ. It's about 80% there, but not quite.

I went with a Sigma 100-300 f4 and both TC's for long and longest reach

I have a DA* 50-135 for medium reach, but I don't use it that often because its min focusing distance and AF is rather long and slow. It's IQ is great but
in my opinion the diff between f2.8 and f4 is minimal, really. yeah its one stop, but so is iso 400 over 200 on a mostly cloudy day

I can get away with 200 iso and f5.6 on most days, handheld and shooting 7fps even after a 4 or 5 mile hike

I think the 60-250 is the way to go, IQ wise and reach wise. If you want more reach, add a pentax 1.7 or even promaster 1.7 TC.
I have the promaster and its coupled with the DA55-300 on GF camera. it still autofocuses and IQ stays pretty good unless you like blowing up 100% crops to 20x30 size

everyone's saying your use will dictate, and that IS the ultimate decision. if you want to shoot birds and animals you MUST have 250mm, 300 better, and 500 really is target but then that's a 5-7k lens unto itself.

if you don't care about animals, then get the 50-135 or even a 70 prime. or to really get your head spinning and get insane IQ, a 77ltd AND a 100 macro.

I say ignore the tamron cool-aide drinkers, the 70-200 is no diff than the 50-135, it really doesn't give you much more than an "oh I wish I had a 300mm" feeling

Last edited by nomadkng; 05-07-2013 at 12:12 PM.
05-07-2013, 12:12 PM   #8
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Animals are your main target and IQ, reach and WR are on top of list? Get the DA* 300 F4

05-07-2013, 12:18 PM   #9
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Those two lenses are quite different. You either want one or the other, but only you can decide that.

Apart from the focal length, the main differences are:

60-250 focuses faster, is heavier (but can still be used handheld), has a removable tripod mount, has external zooming
50-135 is one stop faster, focuses more slowly, is smaller, has no tripod mount (does not seem to require it)

I feel the 50-135 is a perfect wedding lens, and the 60-250 is the perfect kids' lens (for shooting candids). I don't feel f4 is not wide enough, it's plenty even with my "old" K20D. 135 is not much if you're looking for reach, that's for sure.

These are thw only two WR options available, I've read people proposing other lenses in this thread, but really people, with all due respect the OP said he wanted WR! There are enough confusing options as it is.
05-07-2013, 12:23 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
These are thw only two WR options available, I've read people proposing other lenses in this thread, but really people, with all due respect the OP said he wanted WR! There are enough confusing options as it is.
Since when is the DA* 300 not WR anymore?
05-07-2013, 12:28 PM   #11
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there is a Sigma 50-150 f2.8 HSM available used that might suit you just fine.
05-07-2013, 12:45 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by TenZ.NL Quote
Since when is the DA* 300 not WR anymore?
but WR not in its name

Last edited by Dynamo; 05-07-2013 at 01:01 PM.
05-07-2013, 01:11 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dynamo Quote
but WR not in its name
The same goes for the 50-135 and the 60-250. But I assume you know all DA*`s (DA stars) are All Weather, a higher degree of WR sealing?
05-07-2013, 01:13 PM   #14
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Well if you want some reach for animals (and maybe birds) then 135mm is not enough. If the lens needs to be weather resistant, that rules out 55-300, 70-200's etc. That leaves you only two choices, DA* 60-250/4 and DA* 300/4. So now choose do you want versatility or best quality at long end. If I had only 17-50/2.8, I would choose DA*60-250/4 as it covers quite a lot. With DA*300/4 I may get 18-135WR if I wanted to get along with only two lenses. That simple
05-07-2013, 04:47 PM   #15
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My all-weather/rain kit consists of the K5 + DA 18-135 WR and DA* 60-250 + monopod. The overlap in focal lengths is very helpful when it's difficult to swap lenses outdoors in bad weather. The 18-135 doesn't have the overall sharpness of the 60-250, but sharpness takes a back seat in mist, gloom and rain anyway.

For greater reach, the Tamron 1.4x PZ converter works well with the 60-250 (IQ and SDM), but it's not sealed and I don't use it in bad weather.

But the 60-250 is big and heavy and can slow movement over uneven terrain when on the camera (the monopod makes movement much easier). I wouldn't part with my 80-250 at all, but the 50-135's lower weight, smaller profile and max. 2.8 aperture which matches your Tamron may suit you better(but I've not used the 50-135 so can't give it a personal recommendation). Otherwise I have no hesitation in recommending the 60-250 for its flexibility and good reach, silent focusing, great IQ and weather sealing.

Last edited by Gray; 05-07-2013 at 04:59 PM.
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