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01-21-2014, 03:37 PM   #1
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Anyone have some input on a 70-200 vs a 70 prime?

Hey all, looking for some input here. My wife and I are starting to do some more paid gigs, weddings and engagements as well as others. I'm in the market for another lens to broaden my current stable. I'm having a little trouble deciding between getting the Sigma 70mm Macro lens or the Tamron 70-200mm 2.8 zoom. I like the idea of using the 70 Macro for super sharp portraits and creative macro shots for rings and dress details etc. However the utility of having the 70-200 and being able to capture some more candid moments without being too close also appeals to me. I'm sort of lacking range in my current lineup, which is sort of making me lean in this direction.

I know ultimately it just comes down to what I want to use it for, but I'm looking for some input from you gurus with some experience with these lenses on which way you would personally go and why.

Here's what I currently have (I included other accessories in case you might think I'm missing something you think a paid session should have!):

Pentax K5 w. battery grip
Pentax Kx
Pentax DA 18-55mm kit
Pentax DA 10-17mm Fisheye
Pentax FA 50mm 1,4f
Tamron 17-50mm 2.8f
Sigma 70-300 APO...its a piece of crap, never use it. Should just trash it.
Metz Flash (can't remember the exact model, the top tier one though)
Nice tripod
remote wireless triggers
2x light tripods with umbrellas
various light boxes

I appreciate your time in reading this over, hi5's for any insight you can offer

01-21-2014, 03:40 PM   #2
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I know I sound like a broken record here - but I'd use a portrait lens for portraits and a macro lens for macro purposes. Women especially tend to not like seeing every pore. If you are willing to put in the post production time, you can unsharpen a macro picture. However, I think a portrait lens would return the superior picture out of the camera versus a macro lens. So I'd recommend instead the FA 77 Limited, Sigma 85, FA* 85, DA 70 Limited, or DA* 55. I have the FA 77 Limited, and can vouch for it personally.

Now for doing weddings, the zoom might be the better choice. It can do portraits in a pinch, and it won't be super painfully sharp, but it should still be good.
01-21-2014, 03:44 PM   #3
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People here who do weddings seem to recommend the da*50-135 a lot. It's actually the APS-C equivalent to 70-200 on full frame.
01-21-2014, 03:51 PM   #4
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I've seen and used three copies of the 50-135 now that have failed or had bad front/back focusing problems...obviously thats not all of them, but for the price its really scared me away from that particular lens.

Since the macro type stuff probably isnt as important I'm thinking maybe I'll go with the 70-200 and a teleconverter or something of that sort....just not sure yet :/

01-21-2014, 03:54 PM   #5
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I recommend the Sigma 70 macro, I'm not sure what the issue is with "pores " is, the DA 70 and 77 ltd are both really sharp. They aren't traditional portrait lenses which were a little softer than other lenses. I'm not sure any one even makes a traditional portrait lens anymore.
01-21-2014, 03:58 PM   #6
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For a paid wedding or similar gig, you would have to go with the flexibility of the 70-200mm IMO, or possibly the 50-135mm if you want to stick with Pentax/keep the lower end of the range
01-21-2014, 03:58 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by TriCon Quote
I've seen and used three copies of the 50-135 now that have failed or had bad front/back focusing problems...obviously thats not all of them, but for the price its really scared me away from that particular lens.
I wouldn't let it scare you off. I had concerns about it, but now that I've purchased a good copy, I can confidently say, it's the best zoom I've owned. Usably sharp throughout the range, and has a really nice feel to the zoom/focus rings.

Also, after three copies like that, I'd wonder if there was just a bad batch that ended up in your town?
01-21-2014, 04:15 PM   #8
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Yea, I hate to dismiss the 50-135mm, but one failed in Australia, one was so off focus that even maxing out the adjustment in my K5 I couldnt get it to autofocus for the life of me, that one was a rental while i was in the UK, and the third was a friends where the AF drive failed after about 3 hours of use.

So yea, its most doubtedly some really bad luck, but nevertheless I'm still hesitant.

Also, I don't understand the "it's too sharp" argument for any lens (the sigma stated above). I would much rather have the extreme sharpness and dial it down in photoshop rather than not even have the option to produce an image that sharp. I've been photoshoping for 20 years, thats a 10 minute operation in the worst case scenario.

01-21-2014, 04:23 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by TriCon Quote
Hey all, looking for some input here. My wife and I are starting to do some more paid gigs, weddings and engagements as well as others.
Zoom zoom zoom.

I love the 77mm F/1.8 but you won't have time to swap lenses to get someone laughing.

Plus a 70-200 will round out your kit very nicely.
01-21-2014, 05:18 PM   #10
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The 70-200 Tamron does go to 0.3x magnification. It's not macro, but it's pretty close! Here's a butterfly at full tilt, his head is smaller than most rings by a long way. Full size on Flickr so you can see the detail:





Here's my wife's fingers at less than max magnification, it seems more than good enough for a ring shot!




Also, the Tamron renders just so beautifully. Here's my highest explored photo ever with the Tamron, it was pretty dark in the room but it rendered my Golden's features beautifully.

01-21-2014, 05:21 PM   #11
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Hey Kozlok, thanks for that mate! That's exactly what I wanted to see. Looks like its a no brainer now. Cheers.
01-21-2014, 07:51 PM   #12
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I have the Sigma 70mm Macro, and it's an amazing macro lens. Incredibly sharp. With that being said, I almost never use it for portraits. It's not quite fast enough for my tastes, and that incredible sharpness can be unflattering on some people. I use my Sigma 30mm f1.4 for 90% of my portrait work.
01-22-2014, 03:58 PM   #13
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Compared with a prime, tamron 70-200 is big and heavy. Is not fast or silent especially when the light is not so good, sometimes it hunts in such conditions or if you stress it much. No full time manual and the switch from AF to manual means making two actions.
Is a pseudomacro (at 200mm), but with a crop you can get fine details. Optically is very nice. 200 f2.8 could be nice too.
It's a very flexible lense at a ood price, but with some (minor?) disadvantages. Now we have a second versions from Tamron.

Last edited by valy; 01-22-2014 at 04:11 PM.
01-23-2014, 09:18 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by ElJamoquio Quote
Zoom zoom zoom.

I love the 77mm F/1.8 but you won't have time to swap lenses to get someone laughing.

Plus a 70-200 will round out your kit very nicely.
I agree completely. Since the OP only lists one camera body, then a zoom is the way to go. For doing events professionally, 2 cameras are a necessity. If serious about doing this for a living, get another camera body and a 70-200/2.8 or the 50-135 before buying a prime portrait lens. The bride and groom aren't going to be pixel peeping. Missing a shot because you have the wrong lens will doom your chance of ever getting recommended by the customer.
01-24-2014, 06:38 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by reeftool Quote
I agree completely. Since the OP only lists one camera body, then a zoom is the way to go. For doing events professionally, 2 cameras are a necessity. If serious about doing this for a living, get another camera body and a 70-200/2.8 or the 50-135 before buying a prime portrait lens. The bride and groom aren't going to be pixel peeping. Missing a shot because you have the wrong lens will doom your chance of ever getting recommended by the customer.
I listed 2 bodies... thanks for the input either way.
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