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09-17-2014, 09:22 AM   #1
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Sharpest, fastest zoom lens with good range?

I am in the market for a new zoom lens - something with a good range (very wide angle <20mm up to around 200mm), sharp, and somewhat fast with good bokeh. Any strong suggestions? I am semi-professional and looking for something of good quality. There are so many back-and-forths out there in lens reviews, but I am just wondering what people are really in love with. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

P.S. I shoot with a Pentax K5iis.

09-17-2014, 09:24 AM - 1 Like   #2
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Nope. the 18-200s+ are are going to be sort of average.

You can split the range into 2 lenses and get better results.

And your budget is...?
09-17-2014, 09:26 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Welcome to the group!
My budget choices would be the 16-45 f/4 and 55-300 (any of the three); the only real issue is focus speed on the 55-300 but both are quite sharp especially for the price. Personally I'm always on a budget, so I'll let others praise the DA* options. I did own the 50-150mm f/2.8 Sigma and it was quite good, but budget won again and it had to go.
09-17-2014, 09:27 AM   #4
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My budget is around $600. I know I won't be able to get the best of the best with that, but it's a starting point...

09-17-2014, 09:28 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteQuote:
Nope. the 18-200s+ are are going to be sort of average.
^^^ Agree. Nothing with that range is going to meet my standards. YMMV. Closest might be the 18-135 plus 55-300 combination for consumer level lenses. DA*16-50 plus DA*60-250 would be the combination on the higher end.

Or substitute one of the Sigma/Tamron equivalents.
09-17-2014, 09:31 AM   #6
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I have the 55-300mm which I use quite a bit, but it's not wide enough. I've looked at the 18-135 quite a lot (it would work quite well for me), but have heard mixed reviews on it. Thoughts on that?
09-17-2014, 09:38 AM - 1 Like   #7
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if you want good results, you should be looking at at least two lenses to cover that range.

among many others, i can personally recommend Tamron 70-200/2.8 and the Pentax FA*28-70/2.8

Last edited by mikeSF; 09-17-2014 at 11:22 AM.
09-17-2014, 09:45 AM   #8
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I know there are faster zooms out there but size/weight is a priority for me. I have the Pentax 18-135 and the 55-300, as well as the Sigma 17-70 (max aperture ranges from 2.8-4 on the Sigma). Although I'm satisfied with the 18-135 and like the overlap in range between it and the 55-300, I do think the image quality on the Sigma is better. I also like having a slightly faster lens (especially for indoor work).

If I need maximum versatility and/or weather resistance, I tend to go out with the two Pentax lenses. Otherwise, I take the Sigma and the 55-300, plus a prime (depending on what I'm going to do).

09-17-2014, 09:52 AM   #9
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To get what you want you're going to have to go for a combination of lenses. To get the most coverage for that range at the best price used it will be the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 and Tamron 70-200 f/2.8.
09-17-2014, 10:16 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Spyhopper Quote
I have the 55-300mm which I use quite a bit, but it's not wide enough. I've looked at the 18-135 quite a lot (it would work quite well for me), but have heard mixed reviews on it. Thoughts on that?
I think that the 18-135 at 6.1 or better is actually very sharp. See some of my photos on the photo cost of the week going on right now. All shots were with the 18-135.
09-17-2014, 10:16 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by VoiceOfReason Quote
To get what you want you're going to have to go for a combination of lenses. To get the most coverage for that range at the best price used it will be the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 and Tamron 70-200 f/2.8.
I often think that's the combination I should have gone with. As you get better and expand your interests, the ƒ2.8 thing gets to be really important. I now find myself thinking of the DA*200 ƒ2.8 just for when I want and option my 60-250 doesn't provide. But then, that's two lenses and more weight to carry...Pentax keeps the weight down by making most of it's long lenses ƒ4, but, I've been in a couple situations where ƒ4 severely cramped my style.
09-17-2014, 10:17 AM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Spyhopper Quote
I have the 55-300mm which I use quite a bit, but it's not wide enough. I've looked at the 18-135 quite a lot (it would work quite well for me), but have heard mixed reviews on it. Thoughts on that?
I saw the reviews as well, but if you look carefully the negative ones are either from folks who are comparing it to high end primes (this lens is horrible, my DA 70mm Limited is much better ) or a couple of internet reviews that panned it when first released. Most people who have actually used the lens give it good marks. Understand it is NOT a high end prime or even DA* zoom. For what it is, it is excellent but if you want better you have to go to a lot more expense.

I carry DA*16-50 and DA*60-250. My wife carries DA 18-135 and DA L 55-300. Sometimes my pictures are better, sometimes her's are. Considering the difference in price I would like to think mine are always better, but they are not. She gets quite amazing stuff with her kit, and it weighs (and costs) a fraction of what mine does.
09-17-2014, 10:20 AM   #13
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There is no such lens for Pentax.....yet. Gonna have to buy several. I'd go with these....

1) Pentax HD DA 20-40 (or DA*16-50)

2) Pentax DA*50-135 (or Tamron 70-200 f/2.8)

3) Pentax DA* 200 (if DA* 50-135 chosen)

The DA*50-135 is a well known fantastic performer in Pentax's lineup of quality lenses. Bokeh is beautiful and it's also weather proof to boot as is true with the 16-50 & 200.
09-17-2014, 10:39 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I often think that's the combination I should have gone with. As you get better and expand your interests, the 2.8 thing gets to be really important. I now find myself thinking of the DA*200 2.8 just for when I want and option my 60-250 doesn't provide. But then, that's two lenses and more weight to carry...Pentax keeps the weight down by making most of it's long lenses 4, but, I've been in a couple situations where 4 severely cramped my style.
I got my 70-200 for 375 dollars and am glad I did. It is big, but renders nicely and is sharp. I'd grab one if you can.
09-17-2014, 10:42 AM   #15
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The 16-45 mentioned is stellar and combine it with an used 55-300.
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