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05-23-2014, 02:46 AM   #1
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"Longer" alternative to FA 28-70 f/4 AL zoom?

When i used it with my K200D and K10D bodies, i found that this lens was more than satisfying.
I purchased it in almost new conditions, and the performance of the lens, stopped down a little, proved to be good enough... at least for a "walking lens", used when i didn't want to take with me expensive primes, fearing possible loss or damage.
It's a fixed max aperture lens, it's light and unobtrusive, and the build quality is not that bad (excluding MF, which is quite bad, as with most AF lenses of that period).
So i took it with me on a long journey in SE Asia.
With my new (2nd hand) K-5 II, i'm less impressed
It is just 15mm longer (max focal) than a kit lens, and i found that the quality of the new WR kit zoom it's slightly better.
Looking for better quality lenses, which could match the better sensors of recent Pentax DSLR bodies, i decided to diversificate my "travel lenses" outfit.
That's why i purchased a Sigma 28-70 f/2.8 EX DF (better quality and better speed), and a Pentax 50-200mm WR (to use in bad weather, together with the kit zoom 18-55mm WR and a cheaper WR body).
Now i am free to sell the FA 28-70 f/4 AL, but i realized that:
1) there are cases when you don't want the bulk and weight of an f/2.8 zoom, but you'd like to have something lighter/smaller, and at the same time with a better quality than the kit zooms
2) for the kind of travel photography i like so much (street pictures and candid shots), a max focal of 70/80mm is not enough, but a long, bulky long tele zoom is sometimes too much; my Sigma Apo Macro 70-300mm is not super-easy to carry in a small bag, and too conspicuous to get unnoticed

If i sell the FA 28-70mm, i would like to buy a zoom with more extension, something like a 28-105 or 28-135.
I'm asking your advice. Which lens you'd buy?
I don't need a super-fast zoom, but image quality is a major concern.
Manageability and ease of use in MF come next, and power zoom would be a welcome plus. Macro/Close-up setting would be very welcome as well.
Price is important! I consider F and FA zooms only, cause they're easier to find at a decent price on Ebay.
Please don't give suggestions about MF lenses. Have a look at my signature, i already have plenty of them, some are even quite good (and many couldn't find a place on my signature tagline cause there are no characters left
A good AF is definite plus for the kind of pictures i'd like to shoot, and for the range of focals i'm looking for.
Other way i'd stick with the Pentax-A 35-105 f/3.5, which has been the workhorse used by my late girlfriend for long time, with full satisfaction.

cheers

Paolo

05-23-2014, 02:53 AM   #2
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Hi Paolo!

Go for the F35-105 (or the F35-135). It has fast AF and good enough IQ. I use the F35-105 more often than the F35-70 in good light. It has a "pseudo macro" function.
MF usability is poor due to the tiny focusing ring like all F-series lenses.

Seb
05-23-2014, 03:16 AM   #3
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The DA* 50-135 is what you want, Paolo, but the DA 55-300 may be what you can afford.
05-23-2014, 03:26 AM   #4
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If you want a longer lens and an all-around lens, you cannot go wrong with the DA18-135mm WR. This is an ideal travel lens and it is quite small.

It will match well your K-5ii IMO.

Hope that the comment may hep.


Last edited by hcc; 05-23-2014 at 03:38 AM.
05-23-2014, 04:39 AM   #5
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Small, light, cheap, better-than-kit super-zoom? Hmm...

I suppose the F 35-105 isn't that much bigger than your FA 28-70, and it gets good reviews. But then, 105 isn't that much longer than 70, really.

Have you looked through the Lens Reviews here on PF?
05-23-2014, 07:01 AM   #6
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I think you may want to consider either the DA 18-135mm or one of the FA 28-105mm lenses. The f/3.2 version is very small and very light. I posted a review on this lens in the lens review section.
05-23-2014, 08:08 AM   #7
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Though I've never used it, I've heard good things about FA 24-90mm. But it's a bit of a rare lens on the used market and when it does go on sale, it's around $400. 3
KEH has two copies here:

http://www.keh.com/camera/Pentax-Autofocus-Zoom-Lenses/1/sku-AP07999048016J?r=FE
05-23-2014, 10:54 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by seventysixersfan Quote
Though I've never used it, I've heard good things about FA 24-90mm. But it's a bit of a rare lens on the used market and when it does go on sale, it's around $400. 3
KEH has two copies here:

http://www.keh.com/camera/Pentax-Autofocus-Zoom-Lenses/1/sku-AP07999048016J?r=FE
The 24-90 FA, didn't think about it... yet
KEH prices for used stuff aren't especially good. I guess it could be found for less.
I will check the reviews and take it into serious consideration.
I was determined to get at least a 105mm (or even a 135mm) at the tele end, but i have already a few zooms which could cover those focals, and sooner or later i'll take the plunge and buy a long f/2.8 zoom. I even have a few primes in that range, but they are too bulky or heavy to be carried along in a decently sized bag, and i am afraid that after stealing a lot of room in my luggage, they'd be left behind in some hotel room or rented apartment. I love fast primes with nice bokeh and thin DOF (which are more a curse than a blessing, for travel photography), so in that range i sold my Pentax-M 100mm f/2.8, kept the Pentax-K 135mm f/2.5 and recently purchased a Porst 135mm f/1.8!
Must be some kind of brain malfunctioning... cause i do few portraits, and using that dammit green button is one of my pet peeves

I thank everybody for their suggestions.
I have a good experience about old MF Pentax lenses, especially primes, but i'm not very knowledgeable about recent lenses (though i already owned some AF ones, purchased at the time of the SFXn and of the Z-1).
The reviews are helpful, but sometimes it's not easy to compare different optics. I prefer the answers of forum members, often more structured, and sometimes very insightful.

cheers

Paolo

05-24-2014, 11:52 AM   #9
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Found the 35-135 F for 90 euros, including shipment. used, good optics, some dust between the lenses.
Found also a NOS copy of the 24-90 FA. It is like new, of course, and it costs much, much more. MAYBE i can bring the price down to something like 150 euros.
Before trying, i'd like to know which one you'd prefer.
The former is probably more useful (more focals choice), while the latter is probably optically better, and for sure it's still in pristine conditions.
As a "walking" lens the 24-90 would be enough, but if the IQ is not definitely better, i'm not willing to pay the premium over the the price of the longer zoom.
What do you think?

cheers

P
05-26-2014, 03:24 AM   #10
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In the end i went for the Pentax-F 35-135mm. 93 euros including registered/trackable shipment from Japan (plus 22% VAT when i'll get it).
Not dirty cheap, but not too expensive.
If the overall optical quality is not too distant from the Pentax-A 35-105mm f/3.5, i'd be more than okey.
The other similar series F zoom, the 35-105mm, seems to be priced higher, and not so easy to find. Probably because it was made for a short time.
Other way the price difference can't be explained: the shorter one is less useful, and is as slow as the other one.
Series F lenses are not so popular, probably because of the plasticky/wobbly construction, but some of them are real gems, like my 50mm Macro.
It's a pity that the manual focus is not easy, and that the dust gets inside the lens rather easily,

After i purchased the 35-135mm, i realized that in the same range there is a very interesting Sigma lens. It's not in direct competition with the Pentax, cause it's faster, bigger/heavier, and a lot more expensive. Though it could be a nice addition to a "normal" f/2.8 zoom, if the size of the lens is no concern, and the choice of large apertures is welcome.
It is the Sigma Apo EX 50-150mm f/2.8.
Never heard about it before. I discovered its existence browsing the third party lens reviews database.
The reviews are positive, although not enthusiastic.
Does anybody out there have any experience with the Sigma?
I am afraid it wouldn't be manageable enough to be considered a real walking/travel lens...

cheers

P
05-26-2014, 08:44 PM   #11
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While waiting for an answer to my previous questions, and while i'm considering a resizing of my "lens arsenal", i developed a further doubt.
I have to choose for a long zoom, which should be easily transportable, and of good optical quality (heavy, bulky zooms with large max aperture are implicitly excluded)
I considered opening a new thread, but i decided to keep on with the present thread. I don't want to spam the forum with too many new threads. Am right or not? What's the prevailing netiquette here?

Whatever... i own already a Pentax-F 100-300 f/4.5-5.6 and an old Sigma Apo Macro 70-300 (with macro setting available only at 300mm FL).
Before leaving for a journey to SE Asia i had to quickly decide between the two. I had just bought a used K-5 II, so i tested the two lenses with the new camera. Just a few quick shots.
The resolution wasn't very different, but i found that the fringing was more evident with the Pentax, so i decided for the Sigma.
The 70-300mm is not very heavy, and it's not so big, if you store it set to 70mm. Unfortunately the hood is quite large, and the zoom ring is stiff, but the IQ is not bad at all, if used at (or close to) its sweet spot. Weaker at 300mm, but still acceptable.
On the other hand, the Pentax zoom is very light, and it's possible to fit it with a retracting rubber hood, which takes almost no room at all.
After all the browsing of the reviews database i recently did, i found that the vote for the f/4.7-5.8 version of the Pentax 100-300mm is definitely better!
I thought it was just a low cost alternative, but i see that the users regard it as a decent lens, better than the slightly faster cousin.
The average price looks to be almost the same.
Is there somebody who had the chance to compare the two Pentax 100-300 lenses? Is it true that the slow one is better?
Is power-zoom the only difference between F and FA versions?

cheers

P

Last edited by cyberjunkie; 05-27-2014 at 01:21 AM.
05-27-2014, 05:35 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by cyberjunkie Quote
I have to choose for a long zoom, which should be easily transportable, and of good optical quality (heavy, bulky zooms with large max aperture are implicitly excluded)
The general consensus seem to be that you need the DA(L) 55-300. I was going to get that but since I had the F70-210 (compact but little heavier) I don't think I would have gained in IQ that much, reach mainly would have been gained. I also considered the FA100-300 (slower version) and the FA80-320 but I am content for now.

Seb
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