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08-19-2013, 03:15 AM   #1
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What's the best zoom lens?

What's the best image quality zoom lens for the Pentax K30 guys? I'm gonna get myself a Sigma 70mm f2.8 EX DG macro, Pentax 35mm f2.4 and a Pentax smc DA 55-300mm f4.0-f5.8 ED Lens end of this year sometime but i'm looking for a walk about lens of the highest quality possible with a zoom range of about 24mm upto about 70mm for everyday use when i'm with my kids and when I don't wanna carry round 3 different lenses.

Anyway ideas? I've seen the Pentax 18-135mm but the reviews i've read on the internet say it's not a very good lens as all.

08-19-2013, 03:18 AM   #2
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The 18-135 is about convenience with its weather sealing and wide range. Pentax doesn't really have a slam-dunk zoom in the "walk around" range. The 16-50 is probably the closest considering it's sealed.
08-19-2013, 03:29 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Best zoom? The most expensive one.
What focal length range do you need, anyway? The 12-24mm is beloved by many, but completely useless if you need 60-250mm. And the other way around.
With zoom lenses, a good indicator of quality is whether they have a fixed aperture or not. Fixed, constant aperture (like f2.8) usually means higher quality.
Also, feel free to look at the PF lens review section:
Pentax DA Zoom Lenses - Reviews and Specifications - SLR and Interchangeable Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

I would only suggest that maybe you avoid getting the 16-50mm SDM and 17-70mm SDM, because Tamron and Sigma make cheaper alternatives that are basically just as good optically. There are also some lens review showdowns posted on the forum, so feel free to search for the zoom lenses you are interested in.
Here are two links you might be interested in:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/reviews/pentax-16-50-vs-sigma-tamron-17-50mm/introduction.html
https://www.pentaxforums.com/reviews/pentax-sigma-17-70mm-comparison/introduction.html
These ranges are two "normal, everyday use" zoom ranges.

edit: And the 18-135mm is not a top quality lens, but its a decent base lens. It gives you a little bit of everything, and it is WR, so a lot of people enjoy it as a backup lens or as a travel lens. And Ive seen some amazing photos taken with it! It should also be better than the DA L kit lenses. It is no slouch and a great choice, especially because it is WR. Feel free to use the sample photo gallery and search for photos taken with this lens, see if they are good enough.

Last edited by Na Horuk; 08-19-2013 at 03:39 AM.
08-19-2013, 03:31 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by richgardstringer Quote
i'm looking for a walk about lens of the highest quality possible with a zoom range of about 24mm upto about 70mm for everyday use when i'm with my kids and when I don't wanna carry round 3 different lenses.
Sounds like you need either the Sigma 24-70 f2.8 or the Tamron 28-75 f2.8. From what I've read, the Tamron is better rated, but I don't think they're that far apart at all.

QuoteQuote:
I've seen the Pentax 18-135mm but the reviews i've read on the internet say it's not a very good lens as all.
Oooh boy . . .

There's a thread that shows exactly how good the 18-135 can be. Like any superzoom, it's going to excel in good light. In bad light, you may push your camera's limits, but the lens should still produce serviceable shots with some camera skills and post-processing. And of course, a skilled photographer can make outstanding pictures in just about any situation (see that thread for many fine examples).

Saying that, I would go for one of the 2.8 zooms before the 18-135, unless your kids were frequently doing something like weekend sports and you wanted to take pictures of them from the stands in which case the extra reach of the 18-135 will be key. Either way, you won't go wrong with any choice you make here.

And to answer your question of "best zoom lens" for the Pentax K30 (I'm assuming you mean Pentax), I will plant my flag at the foot of the DA* 50-135. SDM problems? Oh noe! Convert it to screwdrive and go have an ice cream cone.

08-19-2013, 03:57 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by EarlVonTapia Quote
Sounds like you need either the Sigma 24-70 f2.8 or the Tamron 28-75 f2.8. From what I've read, the Tamron is better rated, but I don't think they're that far apart at all.
I just did a search for those two lenses and the reviews aren't brilliant, but thanks anyway. I think i'm just gonna keep my 18-55m kit lens and then buy a 55-300mm lens for now and then see how that goes.
08-19-2013, 04:14 AM   #6
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Well, the OP tells us that he wants a walk-around lens and that the range should preferrably be around 24-70mm in which case the Tamron 28-75mm does seem to be a good proposal. There are many fine sample images to be found here:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/lens-clubs/31955-tammy-club.html

It is impossible to appoint any lens everybody's best walk around-lens, (we are all different, and thanks for that!). But just as a post-script: Don't rely entirely on *expert's* reviews. I rather prefer to read about the experiences from actual users and to see their actual pictures, such as for example:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/179869-da-18-1...at-can-do.html

(I know: I am advertising a bit, as this has become my favourite walk-around lens).
08-19-2013, 05:42 AM   #7
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Tamron 18-200

My walk around lens is a Tamron 18-200. all of the faults in my photos can be attributed to my laziness and lack of skill. Focus and recompose can be a killer, especially when zoomed in. My main body is a K-x and without the focus points being visible as they are in newer cameras, I just accept my shortcomings.

These were taken with a rented K5-II but my Tamron 18-200 lens...
Chips, Dip & a Mexico Trip, Cuatro (2013) - a set on Flickr
08-21-2013, 11:28 AM   #8
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I've decided to use the kit lens for now and then one by one buy a Pentax 35mm f2.4 Prime Lens, Sigma 70mm f2.8 EX DG Macro prime lens and a Pentax smc DA 55-300mm f4.0-f5.8 ED Lens. I think between the three lenses i'll have a great range and the two prime lenses have excellent reviews so that'll make the best of my K30's excellent image quality. I did ideally not wanna change lens but I guess the primes together with the long zoom lens are without a doubt able to provide me with much better image quality than any walkabout lens i've seen so far.

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