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05-13-2008, 01:42 PM   #1
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Need help on lens strategy

So I have a couple of questions for you all. I own a k10.

I currently have a Bigma lens...have had it for about a month or so (and love it)...but I just don't use it enough to justify keeping it. It's a great lens...but just a bit too big for me to carry around/hike with.

This brings me to my question. I'm thinking about selling the Bigma and picking up the DA*16-50 and DA*50-135 and eventually the DA*300 w/teleconvertor.

What do you think? Good strategy?

05-13-2008, 02:00 PM   #2
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This is just my personal opinion, of course, but the Bigma is a great lens.

I have one, but I rarely carry it around. However, if I'm out and about, it is in the car, ready to go. I use it for special events, such as sporting events or wildlife trips. It is not my general purpose tele lens. It is a special purpose tele lens.

The only one who can make the decision as to whether or not you can afford to keep it just as a special purpose lens, is you. I happen to be able to afford it, so I keep it. But each must make their own decisions as to whether or not to rationalize their lens collections.
05-13-2008, 02:12 PM   #3
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I think this is the most difficult question around cameras ... lens strategy.

At first I thought I would build up some sets of lenses for various purposes, consisting of max. 3 lenses each.
- Standard/quality zoom kit, say from around 17 to 200, two 2.8 lenses
- Lightweight kit (for hiking or similar occasions), one Superzoom
- Available light/party kit, primes like f2/35 + 1.4/50, maybe 2.8/100
- Eventually a macro lens (could be the 2.8/100 from above)

But meanwhile I find myself wondering, like "should I really leave the 50 at home, this superzoom is totally bokeh-free ...?" or "Will I definitely not need a long zoom today?" or "I might see some nice bugs when hiking" or "will f/2.8 be fast enough"... and so on.

I'm still going this way, but I expect to carry more than 3 lenses most of the time ...

And I'd love to own a Bigma, but I would want a faster tele as well, and maybe would rarely carry the Bigma with me ...

If you have a solution, please, please, let me know.

EDIT: And after of weeks planning, you may wake up in the middle of the night and think "Hell, these lenses ALL have different filter diameters!"
05-13-2008, 02:57 PM   #4
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You have discovered the problem of the one lens does it all.

I think the greatest quote I heard is "that if you design a product such that one size fit's all, it does not fit any." Perhaps that is unfair for the BIGMA, and people who own them, because from all I have heard most owners are very happy with it. (I don't own one myself and am not interested, but we'll get to that later)

I think the biggest problem people have is how to decide what they want for a system. In many cases, you "grow into" your system. (Not to discourage you but it took me 25 years)

The biggest problem with monster zooms, or super zooms is that while they give you a big range in focal lengths they don't necessairly do everything well. Also, you will find it very unusual to have a need, all at once for huge zoom ratios. Normally, you don't need your full focal length combination efery other shot.

I find that when travelling, sight seeing etc... I like to go ultra wide, and bought a sigma 10-20mm for that, although the pentax 12-24mm or 10-17mm fisheye could also suite you. This is supported by either my pentax 18-35mm or tamron 28-75mm but generally not both, and I change lenses as needed. (I know some people don't like to do that)

When hiking or out to shoot deliberate wildlife shots, I am usually carrying my Sigma 70-200 F2.8 and using either a 1.4x or lately a 2x TC, because I want mostly the focal length. I will carry on my second body. my tamron 28-75 in case there is a scene I want, or a particular landscape, or even close up of flowers etc because it can do in a pinch as a macro (1:3 reproduction ratio).

The 4 lenses and my K10D and *istD make up my "standard kit" they are all high quality zooms, the longer two are fast at constant F2.8 apature.

these 4 lenses (plus a TC) cover the range of what most people would ever shoot and are what I would take away on any long vacation where I would do a lot of mixed touring, some nature shots etc.

The next question is, with these 4 basic lenses and a good focal length coverage, why do I have 7 primes?

The answer is simple, I am a ratpack, and never let anything go.

All my primes are K mount manual focus lenses. The 400 F5.6 is rarely used today, in favor of the fast zoom plus TC which is autofocus. My 300 F4 is used exclusively as a nature lens along with a 1.7x AF TC if I want maximum reach. I have had this combo a long time, and don't see, along with my other lenses a need, or desire to go out and get a BIGMA, which at 500mm is only 1/2 stop faster, and at other lenghts slower than what I already have.

My other primes ranging from 24mm to 135mm are all FAST i.e. they are all F2.5 or faster, with the exception of the 105mm F2.8 which is a great portrait lens. They are all used for low light, they are compact compared to my zooms, and with a minimum of 1/2 stop in speed that is a big benefit.

They are more special purpose than anything else, and since I have had most of them a long time, they are fun to play with from time to time.

05-13-2008, 03:16 PM   #5
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I have to say I like the idea of a 70-200 f2.8 and TC much better than the bigama. Faster, most of the reach and more flexible for about the same money. Not a huge fan of the 50-135. Normally when I go past mid-tele I want as much reach as I can get. 135mm wouldn't cut it.

My ideal kit of at least announced lenses
Sigma 10-20
Pentax 17-70 f4 sdm (or possibly one of the many 16-50 f2.8 lenses)
sigma ex 70-200 f2.8 hsm
1.4x tc
2x tc
sigma 28mm ex f1.8
sigma 105mm ex f2.8 macro

If I need longer than 400mm maybe I'd look into a special purpose lens, but it'd likely be a renter.

Depending on pricing I may consider the 60-250 f4, but I'd have to be able to grab it and the 1.4tc for less than the sigma 70-200 for me to be very interested.
05-13-2008, 03:25 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Geekybiker Quote
I have to say I like the idea of a 70-200 f2.8 and TC much better than the bigama. Faster, most of the reach and more flexible for about the same money. Not a huge fan of the 50-135. Normally when I go past mid-tele I want as much reach as I can get. 135mm wouldn't cut it.

My ideal kit of at least announced lenses
Sigma 10-20
Pentax 17-70 f4 sdm (or possibly one of the many 16-50 f2.8 lenses)
sigma ex 70-200 f2.8 hsm
1.4x tc
2x tc
sigma 28mm ex f1.8
sigma 105mm ex f2.8 macro

If I need longer than 400mm maybe I'd look into a special purpose lens, but it'd likely be a renter.

Depending on pricing I may consider the 60-250 f4, but I'd have to be able to grab it and the 1.4tc for less than the sigma 70-200 for me to be very interested.
Sounds like a reasonable approach.

The decision of how to fill the gap between 20 and 70mm is a very subjective one. I had the SMC FA-J 18-35 already as it came with my *istD, and I had several filters for it (polarizers, graduated ND filters etc...). The Tamron 28-75 F2.8 Di uses the same filters and saved me a ton on filters.

A word of caution, I don't know what sigma will do for HSM TC's but for the standard KAF mount TC's they are not compatible with many other lenses, due to the design and the front element of the TC actually sticking out past the lens mount a little.
05-13-2008, 03:57 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
A word of caution, I don't know what sigma will do for HSM TC's but for the standard KAF mount TC's they are not compatible with many other lenses, due to the design and the front element of the TC actually sticking out past the lens mount a little.
According to sigma's site their own TC's allow the 70-200 to AF. Considering that HSM won't focus without HSM being active, I'm going to assume that their TC's pass HSM. Though its something I need to work out more before buying anything. I doubt it'll be anytime soon since that combo isn't released and I dont really have $1k to drop on the combo right now anyways.
05-13-2008, 05:46 PM   #8
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If you want a longer tele without having to lug around the Bigma, you might want to wait on the DA *60-250/4, which is supposed to be coming out this summer. I don't know how much it's going to weigh, but it has to be lighter than the Bigma.

If you don't mind the variable aperture, the DA 55-300 would also be a good lighweight option.

HTH,
Heather

05-14-2008, 03:01 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the great advice. I guess I have some thinking to do here. I'm pretty sure I'll be selling the bigma and moving to a couple of other more suitable (for me) lenses. Also, I may just wait for a little while for a couple of these new lenses from Sigma and Pentax to be released.
06-01-2008, 03:37 PM   #10
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Ok, after giving this some thought, I'd like to get your thoughts on this setup. I have decided to keep the Bigma because it's just a nice lens, but I'd like to get something that is pretty quick and not so heavy for hiking/travel.

I currently have:
Tamron 28-75 /2.8
Kit 18-55mm (probably sell)
Pentax 50-200
Pentax 50mm /1.4
Sigma 50-500mm

I am thinking to add:
Sigma 10-20mm to cover the wide range
DA*50-135 /2.8 for medium telephoto (hiking weight?)

I was thinking about waiting for the upcoming DA*60-250mm but fear it will be too heavy to carry around.

So what do you think? Is this a good way to go?
06-01-2008, 04:30 PM   #11
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For my K200D, I'm going a slightly different route:

18-55 II kit
55-300

And, when I get around to it, the 35 macro.

- Richard (recalling Jerry Pournelle's adage, Better is the enemy of Good Enough)
Old Without Money
06-01-2008, 05:19 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by expatCanuck Quote
For my K200D, I'm going a slightly different route:

18-55 II kit
55-300

And, when I get around to it, the 35 macro.
Those lenses you have cover 50mm, but at roughly f/4. If you ever shoot inside or a night party outside, you'll need a faster lens to play with...
06-01-2008, 05:19 PM   #13
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It looks like a good plan. The only other thing you might consider adding to it is a 2x TC to go with the 50-135. According to my figures, with the TC, you would increase your length to an effective 405mm. If you're going hiking and need to limit your weight, you could take the 10-20, 28-75, and the 50-135, along with the TC and be able to cover a lot of focal length.

Another lens you might want to consider as an alternative to the 50-135 is the Sigma 50-150. For about the same price as the 50-135, it gives you just a little more length.
691109 Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM II Normal-to-Telephoto Zoom Lens for Pentax Digital SLR Cameras

As much as I like my 55-300, I've also given some thought to eventually getting a 2.8 telezoom & TC, as well, but I have other priorities before anything like that will happen.

In addition to the lenses that I have listed in my sig, I'd like to add a WA zoom (either the 10-20 or DA 10-17 fisheye) to complete my zooms. To complete my kit of small primes, I'd like to add the 21, 70, and possibly the FA50/1.4.

HTH,
Heather
06-01-2008, 06:25 PM   #14
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Thanks...I like the thought of the new HSM Sigma 50-150mm. Any idea when it will be available? Also, would you agree that the DA*60-250mm would be too heavy/large for travel? I know it's not out yet, but given the speed and the size of the zoom...I figured it would be.
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