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05-11-2008, 03:23 PM   #1
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Trying to decide on zoom lens

Hello to group, and thank you for welcoming me to introduce myself. I am just starting out in manual SLR film photography and have already put together what I think is a good starting outfit. Here's what I have:

-Pentax KX black body in mint pristine condition (hard to find an original manual, but I'm looking)
-Pentax SMC 1:1.8 55mm prime
-Pentax SMC 1:2 55mm prime
-Pentax SMC-M 1:2 50mm prime
-Pentax SMC-M 1:3.5 28mm prime
-Takumar (Bayonet) 1:2.5 135mm prime
-Spiratone 2X teleconverter
-JC Penney 1:4.5 80-200mm macro zoom (This one is crap, trying to replace and hoping for recommendations)
-Soligar closeup set +1, +2, +4
-Various filters (B&W, Hoya)
-Pentax K1000 in mint condition with original box for backup (I'm not sure if this camera was ever used)

Here's a real nooooob question: What are the reasons or advantages for using a standard focusing zoom over a macro focusing zoom for, say, far off subjects such as landscapes or wildlife? I am thinking of buying a Vivitar (Series 1) Macro Zoom 1:3.5 70-210mm, but should I look for a standard focusing lens if I'm not going to use it for closeup work?

I am also looking for a medium focal length zoom----I let a Pentax SMC 1:3.5 40-80mm 2 ring get away.


05-11-2008, 04:25 PM   #2
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My recommendations would be the Pentax-A 35-70mm and 70-210mm lenses. Both can do macro at 70mm so even if that's not something you plan on doing, the option is still available. I've taken very good close-up with both of these lenses. If you watch the listings here and on eBay, you can probably pick up both lenses for the price of a single S1 zoom.
05-12-2008, 11:25 AM   #3
Lowell Goudge's Avatar

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I have found the S1 70-210 F3,5 macro zoom to be an excellent lens.

While it provides 1:2.2 reproduction ratio, I would not use it for true macro uses due to two specific issues,

first, it has no tripod socket, and is a very heavy lens (about 2 pounds) to cantalever off the tripod socket on your body
Second, the lens suffers from zoom creep, due to the weight of the frond group.

Having listed the negatives, now lets look at the positives,
- it is a very sharp, fast f3.5, and easy to use lens,
- The focusing is at the ideal ratio, in terms of speed and precision, with 180degrees of focusing collar rotation from minimum focus to infinity. this is , in my opinion the best trade off between precision, whre you want very gradual change in focus relitive to the movement of the collar, and speed, for changing distance.
- The lens is a true zoom, which means focus does not change when you zoom in and out
- as a one ring zoom it is easy to track and reframe and shoot, because one hand can be on the collar the other on the shutter.
- it is constant apature, which makes flash photography easier

WHile it can do macro it also works well for other more typical close ups such as flowers, and with a DSLR is a great lens for larger wildlife.

There are a couple of minor inconveniences, such as lack of a lens hood, and the fact that the front group rotates for focusing making polarizing filters a little ore difficult to use, but not impossible

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