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07-23-2013, 12:56 AM   #1
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Is there a decent zoom to pick up?

Hi

Reading the review for DA* 16-50mm vs. Sigma and Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 Comparison makes me wonder is there a good high end walk around zoom in Pentax mount available at all? All fixed F2.8 get constantly grades not higher than 8 and even lower. I have owned Tamron (sold after 3 month), then bought DA* 16-50 and owned it for about more than 1 year, but finally sold due to mixed feelings of performance and first sings of "repair to come". So only one left not tried is Sigma 17-50. But in comparisson above it is also not convincing.

Meanwhile the new 17-70 Sigma Contemporary, even not being fixed 2.8 over the whole frame, got 8.6. It is HSM, great IQ and CA handling, and the only two cons are slight vignetting and no WR.

What has been your solution for zoom or is it really time to go fully to primes and forget about the zooms and all the doubts above?

Thanks for your thoughts

07-23-2013, 01:11 AM   #2
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18-55 wr plus random primes as and when needed was my solution.
07-23-2013, 01:43 AM   #3
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Calsan

I also believe 1 zoom + various prime would work, but somehow 18-55 doesn't fit my heart and need

Superdavis
07-23-2013, 01:56 AM   #4
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Have you even tried the Tamron? I often don't trust the ratings here, for various reasons.

I do a lot of work at f2.8 with my 17-50. Check my blog in my sig link for references. It's very sharp, focuses fast, has a lot of good characteristics and has better flare resistance in my usage than the Pentax. Even at the same price, it would be extremely hard to recommend the Pentax, even with weathersealing, if only optical considerations are factored. The Pentax is better past about 30mm or so, but it's not that great at f2.8 compared to the Tamron. Even past 30mm, it's not better than the Tamron. The images are sharper with the Tamron. Color rendition is a tossup and nothing that PP can't equalize anyhow. Contrast is very good on the Tamron (as you'll see). I would not use the 16-50 at anything less than 18 in critical shots. Yes, sounds like a waste, but the distortion and optical characteristics of the Pentax at that FL are not good, in the least. I shoot with the Tamron at 17mm all day, no issues. It's superb at 35mm, by the way. Outside of being slightly slow at that focal length, it's really phenomenal in that area and still excellent at 50mm.

There's a mix there, with the FA35 and a few F50 1.7, but you'll get the idea that this lens stacks up well against them.


Last edited by snake; 07-23-2013 at 02:33 AM.
07-23-2013, 04:04 AM   #5
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Thanks, snake

I have also owned both - Tamron and Pentax and can share your feelings about Pentax. It the lens one wants to love, but to be honest - that is bit difficult. Tamron - I agree opticatly it is better and has less vignetting at 17mm, but I did not like the harsh AF sound it makes with the screw drive, so I thought I should trade in for 1mm, SDM and WR to Pentax. Since Pentax is gone/sold, I have
now dillema for me which way to go, but thanks for hinting back to Tamron. I'll consider that.

Superdavis
07-23-2013, 04:16 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by superdavis Quote
Thanks, snake

I have also owned both - Tamron and Pentax and can share your feelings about Pentax. It the lens one wants to love, but to be honest - that is bit difficult. Tamron - I agree opticatly it is better and has less vignetting at 17mm, but I did not like the harsh AF sound it makes with the screw drive, so I thought I should trade in for 1mm, SDM and WR to Pentax. Since Pentax is gone/sold, I have
now dillema for me which way to go, but thanks for hinting back to Tamron. I'll consider that.

Superdavis
The sound I can't help with. Yeah, it might be a problem for some, not myself, but I can sympathize if it is.

Then the choices are narrow. Was going to suggest one of the tank-like Tokinas (which I lust after, myself), but they are SD and one of them starts at very nice f2.6 (ends at f-2.8), but not very wide on APS-c.

This leaves only two choices:

Sigma's present version and the new 18-35 (both if you want something fast). This is our unfortunate dilemma being on Pentax and the result of years of mismanagement and poor marketing.

The Sigma is a very good alternative to the Tamron, though I think the focusing is slower and slightly less accurate. The flare resistance and slightly less contrast is a strong factor to think of.

If you go between the Sigma and the Tamron, I don't think you'll go wrong with either. The Tamron can even be had used for peanuts. I got mine new, with a 5 year manufacturer's warranty, to boot.
07-23-2013, 04:37 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by superdavis Quote
What has been your solution for zoom or is it really time to go fully to primes and forget about the zooms and all the doubts above?
QuoteOriginally posted by superdavis Quote
What has been your solution for zoom or is it really time to go fully to primes and forget about the zooms and all the doubts above?
Hello superdavis,
Now you know why there's so many 'prime' shooters and high-end Ltd, * and expensive prime lenses!
My feeling is there's a time and place for zooms and other times (or scenes) when you're better off with a good prime. The key is knowing when to use either one, understanding the merits and limitations of your gear.
There are situations where the versatility of a zoom is absolutely essential, and realizing that you may have slightly less sharpness, noise, speed, or distortion at the wide end, is less important than getting shots at various focal lengths quickly, without changing lenses. In other words, you compromise.
But if you have time, happen to have the right prime for a scene and maximum sharpness, color rendition and I.Q. are most important, well, use the prime.
Use the right tool for the job at hand.
JMO,
Ron
07-23-2013, 04:54 AM   #8
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Finding a 'normal' range zoom that is fast, really high IQ over the entire range and affordable is a tough ask, have you thought about looking at a different zoom range? I have a Sigma 20-40mm 2.8 and its awesome, there are a large number in the database and can be had from eBay at a good price.

07-23-2013, 05:08 AM   #9
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You might want to check out the thread on the Sigma 18-35 1.8. Sigma's lens design has been over the top lately.... Sigmas 8-16 out preforms primes in resolution, and control of CA and distortion, it was a no brainer choice over the 15 ltd, at least for me. the 18-35 is getting the same type of attention. I'm staying with the Tamron 17-50, and DA 18-135 combination... because I just don't use that focal length enough to mind the noise of the Tammy. I'd be happy to work with this lens and probably the 43 and a 50.

Anyway, check out this thread, you might like it.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-news-rumors/227926-sigma-18-35mm-f...ng-pentax.html

You should congratulate the Sigma Corporation and their optics specialists for two reasons. Firstly for their courage – they attempted to produce an instrument no other company had tried to construct before. Such a situation a lot can be forgiven so their product didn’t have to be outstanding. Still it is obvious Sigma wasn’t contended with half measures; not only they manufactured a unique instrument but also made it optically excellent in many categories.
07-23-2013, 05:32 AM   #10
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Any lens decision is something of a compromise. Whether you stick with a couple primes and accept you'll have to change lenses which may mean lost shots or use a zoom which may not be the top quality across the zoom range. However, it will have some sweet spots you'll need to learn. Plus, walkaround is general purpose shooting, which zooms are meant to handle.

Personally, my walkarounds are a 18-135 and a 55-300, depending on what I'm looking for. Other lenses can go with me if I'm doing something more specific.
07-23-2013, 05:34 AM   #11
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I just picked up the Pentax 18-135 for its versatility and weather sealing. It's very good for a walkaround type of lens. For more serious work, I use primes. I'll never buy a Tamron zoom--I've yet to see a good image from them. Sigma is marginally better than Tamron, but quality control fluctuates. Pentax has their quirks, as well, but overall they make a better product (as long as it's their lens and not a re-badged Tamron).
07-23-2013, 07:01 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by foto guy Quote
I just picked up the Pentax 18-135 for its versatility and weather sealing. It's very good for a walkaround type of lens. For more serious work, I use primes. I'll never buy a Tamron zoom--I've yet to see a good image from them. Sigma is marginally better than Tamron, but quality control fluctuates. Pentax has their quirks, as well, but overall they make a better product (as long as it's their lens and not a re-badged Tamron).
Maybe not, but mine is getting me paid work.

Might not be your style, but they got me paid.

07-23-2013, 09:00 AM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by snake Quote
Maybe not, but mine is getting me paid work.

Might not be your style, but they got me paid.
Yep, and the 28-75 and 70-200 are very highly rated and reviewed. Screw-drive though, which does not bother me. The Pentax 21 has quite a bit of barrel distortion for an expensive Limited. There really is no answer for pixel peepers :-)
07-23-2013, 09:04 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
Yep, and the 28-75 and 70-200 are very highly rated and reviewed. Screw-drive though, which does not bother me. The Pentax 21 has quite a bit of barrel distortion for an expensive Limited. There really is no answer for pixel peepers :-)
Those are two lenses on my list, actually. The latter, unfortunately, skyrocketed 50% in the last year alone and used prices are close to new pricing. The former doesn't suit my needs for the wide angle in tight situations, BUT the 75 is very nice and it's very sharp throughout. Anyone that discounts these Tamrons and what they are capable of is doing it for the wrong reasons.

Last edited by snake; 07-23-2013 at 09:19 AM.
07-23-2013, 09:40 AM   #15
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Only zoom I used for quite a while was a Samsung D-Xenon 18-55. Supposedly slightly better then the old Pentax DA 18-55, but never had the Pentax version to compare to.

The 18-55 is pretty much the only lens my wife uses since she doesn't want/feel the need to learn to use other lenses.

Now I have:
Pentax 10-17
Pentax 18-55 WR
Pentax DA L 55-300

They all produce good pictures. The 55-300 being a bit better then a expected when I got it. Maybe I just got a really good copy of it.

The 10-17 is one of my favorite lenses, with the 18-55 getting a lot of use as well.

The 55-300 really only gets used when I need the longer reach which isn't all that often.

If I have room, I like using my FA 50 1.4 over the 18-55. And if i really want to get some awesome creamy portraits, I will stick on my converted Rokkor 58mm 1.4.

A good macro is also a must have for me. The Vivitar 55mm 2.8 is a crazy good one. I am still undecided about the Panagor 90mm 2.8 I recently picked up, but I haven't had a chance to use it very much.

Primes have their place, but so do zooms. It would be a hassle to only have primes in my case.

If you only have primes, you need to have enough space for foot zoom, or enough primes and time to switch between then when needed.

Zooms can also be less intrusive when you need to get close.
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