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05-22-2013, 07:20 AM   #1
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Wanna help me spend my budget? Would you buy a lens on preorder? Sigma 17-50 vs 17-70

I am really trying to step up my game with my photography. I have some Tamron's from the film era that are "soft" at best. I also have a F or FA not sure which, it is the older of the two AF, 50mm 1.7 that is on my camera 90% of the time. I take it off to try others, but I cannot get away from it. I adore the color rendering I get from it.
I am reading that with a good newer zoom I can get very close to the same quality as this prime, please correct me if I am wrong. So I am considering spending all of my hobby budget for the year in one swoop.

I have pretty much decided on the Sigma 70-200 at $1250, I have gotten over the price and just decided to pull the trigger on that. It is something that I feel is needed having small children and the husband in sports. Not to mention we have two bald eagles that live nearby that just had two babies and I am dying to get a shot of, I don't even care if it is an award winning shot- I just want to do it!! I'll pay it and move on trying to block out that price tag.

But for *my* artistic fulfillment I like the smaller mm. I like messing with manual and getting a shot to talk. I may get one of these story shots every few weeks or every few months but still...

I have looked at the primes, and although my budget is not as small as it used to be (thanks to getting my priorities in order) it is still there. I have given myself a $2,000 hobby budget for the year.

Anyway, I am rambling: I have come to look at the Sigma 2.8's with 2.8 being as low as I can find and as high as I will accept in f/stops. I hope I worded that right...still confuses the mess out of me. I know what they do with the f/stops going up and down, but the lingo is a different story. I will accept a 1.7 but do not want a 3.5. I usually focus manually in the smaller mm, not so for the heavier lenses.

The 17-50mm is to be had here on marketplace for 415, and the 17-70 is on BH for $500, the Nikon versions of this look to have good reviews, but it is a new, not tested lens for Pentax as I understand it.
Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro HSM Lens for Pentax 884109 B&H

I must go now, but would appreciate any feedback!

ETA:
I don't have anything else, no flash- I usually shoot outdoors but...
no tripod,
no grip,
just two sd cards, the prime, and K5.

05-22-2013, 07:37 AM   #2
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Well.. modern zooms are very sharp and have good contrast, good coatings and very little flare. They can be as good as some primes. But will it beat a Pentax 50mm f1.7? I highly doubt it. Its rendering just won't be as... great, even if measured performance is on par. But zooms do offer a lot, especially in terms of flexibility. Simply put, you can't always lug around a bunch of primes. Feel free to look at the sample photo and lens review sections on these forums to get an idea.
05-22-2013, 07:48 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by haycyn Quote
I am reading that with a good newer zoom I can get very close to the same quality as this prime, please correct me if I am wrong.
The best prime will be better than the best zoom, but zooms can get pretty close to primes in quality. It varies a lot of course.

QuoteOriginally posted by haycyn Quote
I have pretty much decided on the Sigma 70-200 at $1250, I have gotten over the price and just decided to pull the trigger on that. It is something that I feel is needed having small children and the husband in sports.
You'll like it. I personally went for the Pentax 60-250 instead of the Sigma but such a long lens can be very useful. It's my main lens with childrens and sports. In fact since I got it it's my main lens.

QuoteOriginally posted by haycyn Quote
The 17-50mm is to be had here on marketplace for 415, and the 17-70 is on BH for $500, the Nikon versions of this look to have good reviews, but it is a new, not tested lens for Pentax as I understand it.
Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro HSM Lens for Pentax 884109 B&H
They are different lenses. I own the earlier version of the 17-70 lens, and it's my walkaround lens of choice. Not as good as a prime but it always delivers, the close focusing is nice, it's well built, etc. The 17-50 is faster but lacks some of the "convenient" perks of the other : no close focusing, shorter range mainly. Optically they are probably close. The Tamron 17-50 is another good choice on that range, quite similar to the Sigma.
05-22-2013, 08:41 AM   #4
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Maybe get the 15 limited and the Sigma 30mm 1.4. I have this combo, and it is better than a zoom every time. I do have a zoom for "family time", but for art, I use primes. You will then have 15, 30, 50 and 70-200. A pretty good walking around kit, right about your budget (70-200 for $1250, $550 for the 15, $350 for the Sigma 30). Maybe buy used copies to get your prices down, or change the 70-200 for the Tamron 70-200, which is much cheaper (just got one for a hair over $600).

05-22-2013, 08:49 AM   #5
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Solution: 15LTD, 31LTD, 55/1.4, 77LTD, 80-200 FA*. I mean, you don't need *both* your kidneys, do you?
05-22-2013, 08:56 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eulogy Quote
Solution: 15LTD, 31LTD, 55/1.4, 77LTD, 80-200 FA*. I mean, you don't need *both* your kidneys, do you?

I just did the math real quick here,
4x800+1600= NO WAY
05-22-2013, 08:57 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kozlok Quote
Maybe get the 15 limited and the Sigma 30mm 1.4. I have this combo, and it is better than a zoom every time. I do have a zoom for "family time", but for art, I use primes. You will then have 15, 30, 50 and 70-200. A pretty good walking around kit, right about your budget (70-200 for $1250, $550 for the 15, $350 for the Sigma 30). Maybe buy used copies to get your prices down, or change the 70-200 for the Tamron 70-200, which is much cheaper (just got one for a hair over $600).

Not a bad idea.
05-22-2013, 09:05 AM   #8
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I like the 18-135 zoom, and many people seem to like the 18-55 kit zooms, which are considerably less expensive. The "II" version of that lens gets the best reviews. But since you've got a 70-200 zoom PLUS nesting bald eagles, I say get a good tripod as soon as you can. Photo Clam makes some very nice tripods and ball heads

05-22-2013, 09:15 AM   #9
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The 31 Limited is better than the Sigma 30, but the Sigma is still just super. I love mine! You will need to get it focus calibrated, so just be ready for that. At least with the K5 you can do it yourself.

The 15 is like nothing else, just spell binding. You do need to get used to it, though.

15:







30:









And, just to show that it can be done, here's one from the 15 without a sunburst:


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