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01-06-2014, 07:58 AM   #1
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Thoughts on the long zooms?

I have a K-3, and my standard lens is the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8. I love this lens, and it rarely leaves my camera. However, at the end of January, we're going on a little ski trip. Also, within a few years, my wife and I plan to take an Alaskan cruise. In both cases, I think i'm going to need a little more reach than this lens is going to give me. I do have an older copy of the Tamron 18-200, but I keep it on my older K20D that my kids use for their high school assignments.

So, i'm looking for something affordable (sub $800) that has a longer reach. I'm really looking at the new HD 55-300, but the review hasn't been posted yet (I know, I know...you're working on it!). But when I peruse shopping sites like B&H, i'm also seeing lenses like the Tamron 28-300 ($420) or the Pentax DA 18-270 (which I assume is very similar tot he Tamron 18-200 I already have). Or even the Tamron 70-200. That one looks a little big, as i'll be mostly doing hand-held photography. No tripods.

Thoughts? Which of these lenses have you guys tried? What is the image quality like on these? Size and weight is something that needs to be taken into consideration. I think that it needs to have *at least* 200mm of reach, but more is better.

01-06-2014, 08:16 AM   #2
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The older Tamron/DA 18-250 is a decent lens, but it depends on how picky you are.
I tried the 18-200 previously and the 18-250 was better in terms of edge IQ.
In general the center is sharp in these with the edges suffering a bit due to the trade off of such a long zoom ratio.
I have not tested the newer 18-270, but I would imagine its DNA would make it similar to the 18-250.
01-06-2014, 08:27 AM   #3
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I have owned several bigger/longer zooms and currently have the discontinued Sigma 100-300 f4 as my primary long lens

I have also owned the DA55-300

If you insist on light weight, which honestly I don't believe helps in handholding, and lower end pricing, you only choice is the DA55-300

It has better than average IQ, though it's slow (5.8 @ 300mm). It's IQ gets you very close to the Pro end and until you spend 1500+, it's as good as you are going to get.

My GF has my 55-300 for use on her K30. Up to about 8x12, there is only a small difference between her images and mine.

You don't need to wait for the review on the HD 55-300 if the optical formula hasn't changed. It's already a proven upper mid level zoom and much better choice than the 17/18-whatever super zooms. They are at best consumer grade lenses and just aren't in the same ball game when it comes to IQ.
01-06-2014, 08:29 AM   #4
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The 18-270 is better that the 18-200 (the former being the 'higher-end' model). But the 55-300 is probably better than both in the 100-200 range, much better than the 18-270 from 200mm on, and infinitely better at 300mm .
Look, with your budget, if you don't want to carry the Sigma 150-500, get the 55-300 WR. It's that simple.

01-06-2014, 08:52 AM   #5
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I agree that the 55-300 is great, but if you can stop at 200mm the 50-200WR is a good option too. More compact and takes smaller filters, and its only real knock is that the 55-300 is so good. I have the 50-200, but now that the longer lens is WR it's probably just a matter of time before I switch.
01-06-2014, 09:02 AM   #6
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I had several Super Zooms in the past. I had the Tamron 28-200 and then the 28-300 and then the newest 28-300 XR version. The latest is the best of these bunch. They all cover full frame so you can use them in your film cameras if you have one.

I had the Tamron 18-200 then the 18-250 ann then the DA Pentax 18-250. The Pentax is the same as the Tamron, but with SMC coating.

The 18-250 gives a better IQ than the 18-200 one.
These super zooms are very light and excellent for traveling. I recommend this very much unless you are taking pictures in darker areas or time.

I have the Sigma 70-200mm 2.8 and this one is huge and tripod is recommended.

I had no experience with the 55-300 and now with HD coating and WR it looks like a winner in my book. The only thing will be if you need some wide angle, then you need to change lenses.

My $0.02.
01-06-2014, 11:06 AM   #7
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As I understand, the all in one zooms as typified by the 18-200/250/270 or 28-300 are all significant compromises on IQ for range. The DA 55-300 is in a much better class and typically is the best IQ balance in the 50-300 zoom range. It is also well within your budget, and a lightweight dream. The HD version is not going to improve IQ much as the basic formula is the same, but the WR could be nice and the HD coating will reduce ghosting and flare.

Unless you are prepared to spend >>$800, you won't do much better, and the options are somewhat limited new. It is a pity the new Tamron SP 70-300 Di VC isn't available in K mount, as this would be a serious competitor to the Pentax DA 55-300.

FWIW and IMHO: The 18-250/270 Pentax or Tamron seems to be about the best all in one lens.
01-06-2014, 11:35 AM   #8
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I'll vote for the DA 55-300. I have the DA-L version, which is optically identical, and the only thing I have against it is the lack of quick shift focus. There should be one or more in the marketplace at any time. The WR version would be nicer, but $$$ interfere. I am not in the superzoom camp; too picky on image quality, I guess.

01-06-2014, 12:00 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by azcavalier Quote
I have a K-3, and my standard lens is the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8. I love this lens, and it rarely leaves my camera. However, at the end of January, we're going on a little ski trip. Also, within a few years, my wife and I plan to take an Alaskan cruise. In both cases, I think i'm going to need a little more reach than this lens is going to give me. I do have an older copy of the Tamron 18-200, but I keep it on my older K20D that my kids use for their high school assignments.

So, i'm looking for something affordable (sub $800) that has a longer reach. I'm really looking at the new HD 55-300, but the review hasn't been posted yet (I know, I know...you're working on it!). But when I peruse shopping sites like B&H, i'm also seeing lenses like the Tamron 28-300 ($420) or the Pentax DA 18-270 (which I assume is very similar tot he Tamron 18-200 I already have). Or even the Tamron 70-200. That one looks a little big, as i'll be mostly doing hand-held photography. No tripods.

Thoughts? Which of these lenses have you guys tried? What is the image quality like on these? Size and weight is something that needs to be taken into consideration. I think that it needs to have *at least* 200mm of reach, but more is better.
There's a pretty big difference between super zooms like the 18-270mm, consumer zooms like the 55-300mm, and pro zooms like the 70-200mm or 60-250mm. And since the K-3 doesn't have an AA filter, you'll benefit from the added sharpness of the more expensive lenses.

So, it just depends on how much you want to pay IMO, and whether or not the convenience of a superzoom is worth the drop in image quality.

Our 55-300mm review is scheduled for next Monday (1/13) BTW

Adam
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01-06-2014, 12:01 PM   #10
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I personally would go with the Tamron 70-200 if my budget was sub $800. I am a 27 year old 5'-8 male, and I have done hikes, city walk-arounds, etc with that lens and I've found the weight and size reasonable.

@F4, 140mm
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8167/7701727676_2006d1759a_o.jpg

@F3.2, 122.5mm
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8482/8274096584_91572204d6_o.jpg
01-06-2014, 12:02 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by azcavalier Quote
I have a K-3, and my standard lens is the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8. I love this lens, and it rarely leaves my camera. However, at the end of January, we're going on a little ski trip. Also, within a few years, my wife and I plan to take an Alaskan cruise. In both cases, I think i'm going to need a little more reach than this lens is going to give me. I do have an older copy of the Tamron 18-200, but I keep it on my older K20D that my kids use for their high school assignments.

So, i'm looking for something affordable (sub $800) that has a longer reach. I'm really looking at the new HD 55-300, but the review hasn't been posted yet (I know, I know...you're working on it!). But when I peruse shopping sites like B&H, i'm also seeing lenses like the Tamron 28-300 ($420) or the Pentax DA 18-270 (which I assume is very similar tot he Tamron 18-200 I already have). Or even the Tamron 70-200. That one looks a little big, as i'll be mostly doing hand-held photography. No tripods.

Thoughts? Which of these lenses have you guys tried? What is the image quality like on these? Size and weight is something that needs to be taken into consideration. I think that it needs to have *at least* 200mm of reach, but more is better.
I'll toss a vote in for the DA 18-250.

Cheap (should be found for around $300, depending on condition), and the IQ is more than "good enough".

This also allows you to take pictures of landscapes and backgrounds while also retaining the ability to zoom in at times without having to change lenses. Changing lenses in the snow is not recommended, even with a weather sealed lens (trust me on this one).

Here are some pictures I took using an 18-250 on a little ski trip I took this past recent new year's day:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/11atxwmn61vtath/WLO4r4mawk/IMGP4213.jpg

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/11atxwmn61vtath/j0a_1m8YAU/IMGP4182.jpg

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/11atxwmn61vtath/Toq4Q9ARn3/IMGP4187.jpg

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/11atxwmn61vtath/QEREFkNZpG/IMGP4197.jpg

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/11atxwmn61vtath/nqyd3FDlL2/IMGP4203.jpg

These are obviously not award-winning pictures, but for the purposes of memory capture and documentation, they beat the pants off of any camera less than a DSLR.

I also recently took the 18-250 on a 3 month trip through South East Asia, and it was a rockstar there too. It's such an underrated lens.
01-06-2014, 02:17 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by EarlVonTapia Quote
I'll toss a vote in for the DA 18-250.

Cheap (should be found for around $300, depending on condition), and the IQ is more than "good enough".

This also allows you to take pictures of landscapes and backgrounds while also retaining the ability to zoom in at times without having to change lenses. Changing lenses in the snow is not recommended, even with a weather sealed lens (trust me on this one).

Here are some pictures I took using an 18-250 on a little ski trip I took this past recent new year's day:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/11atxwmn61vtath/WLO4r4mawk/IMGP4213.jpg

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/11atxwmn61vtath/j0a_1m8YAU/IMGP4182.jpg

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/11atxwmn61vtath/Toq4Q9ARn3/IMGP4187.jpg

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/11atxwmn61vtath/QEREFkNZpG/IMGP4197.jpg

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/11atxwmn61vtath/nqyd3FDlL2/IMGP4203.jpg

These are obviously not award-winning pictures, but for the purposes of memory capture and documentation, they beat the pants off of any camera less than a DSLR.

I also recently took the 18-250 on a 3 month trip through South East Asia, and it was a rockstar there too. It's such an underrated lens.
i will second the vote for 18-250...only issue is the lack of WR
01-06-2014, 06:14 PM   #13
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Actually, weather sealing is definitely a factor. If i'm heading out in the snow, i'd much rather have a lens that is weather sealed.

I think i'll go ahead and get the 55-300. Totally within the price range, has weather sealing, and it seems to get good reviews. I love my SIgma 17-50, and this will pair nicely with it. Thanks for the input, all!
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