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05-22-2015, 07:41 AM   #1
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Tamron 18-200 versus Pentax 18-250

I recently purchased a Tamron 18-200 to use on my K50 and found it to be very useful on a trip to the American Southwest. Wide angle essential for vistas and tele for animal and flower shots. it made a nice walkaround lens, eliminating the need to change lenses frequently. I also brought along my 18-55 WR for the less than nice days. I got the Tamron used at KEH for under $140, thought that was low enough to take a chance.


Although generally pleased with the results, I would like a slightly longer zoom. I would also like a slightly wider short end, but it seems as though there are few lenses with a short end much less than 18 mm that still have a long tele.


Does anyone have comparison experience with the Pentax 18-250? I thought about the 18-270, but the cost is quite a bit more than the 18-250. I have not eliminated it, but the 18-270 would cost more than my K50 cost with both the 18-55 and 55-300 lenses.


The advantages I see for the Pentax lenses are that they will have distortion correction in the camera, useful for me, and slightly longer telephoto. The disadvantage of the Pentaxes is that I would have to pay for another lens, perhaps with no real improvement in IQ.


Comments positive and negative are welcome. I would even consider compelling reasons to go for the 18-270. My timeframe for deciding is the next couple months, have another trip planned in September and would like to have any replacement in hand about month before to get used to it.


Thanks in advance.

05-22-2015, 07:47 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Spacedave Quote
I recently purchased a Tamron 18-200 to use on my K50 and found it to be very useful on a trip to the American Southwest. Wide angle essential for vistas and tele for animal and flower shots. it made a nice walkaround lens, eliminating the need to change lenses frequently. I also brought along my 18-55 WR for the less than nice days. I got the Tamron used at KEH for under $140, thought that was low enough to take a chance.


Although generally pleased with the results, I would like a slightly longer zoom. I would also like a slightly wider short end, but it seems as though there are few lenses with a short end much less than 18 mm that still have a long tele.


Does anyone have comparison experience with the Pentax 18-250? I thought about the 18-270, but the cost is quite a bit more than the 18-250. I have not eliminated it, but the 18-270 would cost more than my K50 cost with both the 18-55 and 55-300 lenses.


The advantages I see for the Pentax lenses are that they will have distortion correction in the camera, useful for me, and slightly longer telephoto. The disadvantage of the Pentaxes is that I would have to pay for another lens, perhaps with no real improvement in IQ.


Comments positive and negative are welcome. I would even consider compelling reasons to go for the 18-270. My timeframe for deciding is the next couple months, have another trip planned in September and would like to have any replacement in hand about month before to get used to it.


Thanks in advance.
I think that you'll get about the same image quality if you opt for another superzoom. Why not add a telephoto zoom like the DA or DA L 55-300mm to your kit? That would give you a lot better performance at the long end for when you need it.

We have an in-depth review of the 18-270mm (which is optically identical to the Tamron 18-270mm by the way):
Pentax-DA 18-270mm F3.5-6.3 Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews

Reviews of both versions of the 55-300mm:
HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED WR Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews
Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews

Link to a nice copy currently available:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/24-photographic-equipment-sale/293021-sal...nt-non-wr.html

Adam
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05-22-2015, 09:26 AM   #3
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I would recommend the Pentax 18-250mm over the Tamron18-200mm. I have both lenses, and the Pentax (identical optically to the Tamron 18-250) is simply a sharper lens at all focal lengths. You can go to the slrgear.com website and compare the Tamron variants, and the 18-250 is simply a better lens. The extra 50mm are not all that useful, but the gain in sharpness certainly is. I recently damaged my own copy on a trip, and purchased a used replacement from KEH. I might even buy another copy, or a Tamron version, as I cannot see myself being without one for my travels. Of course, my Pentax 55-300 is sharper at the long end, but it doesn't have the versatility. I wouldn't bother with the 18-270, as it is no better optically, but of course has silent focusing; the 18-250 is rather noisy.
Best of luck with whatever you choose.
05-22-2015, 04:25 PM   #4
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I have the Tamron 18-250, which is the same as the Pentax DA 18-250. The Tamron-badged version is generally a little cheaper. As Photozone said (tested in a Canon mount), the image quality from this lens is "fairly amazing" given its range: Tamron AF 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II LD Aspherical [IF] macro (Canon) - Review / Test Report It was regarded as a big leap from earlier superzooms. If you really want an affordable one-lens solution, the 18-250 is a good choice.

But (and there's always a but) all the superzooms tend to be slow (ie maximum aperture at any given focal length is not very wide), have a lot of distortion, are prone to vignetting at wide focal lengths and be rather soft in the corners unless stopped down. Some are also prone to chromatic aberration (CA), although the 18-250 is not bad in that regard.

Certainly some of these issues are software-correctable. You mention the advantage of the Pentax-badged version for in-camera distortion correction. That's true, but it will only correct jpgs, not RAW images. Nor will it achieve nearly as much improvement as you could get shooting RAW and post-processing. PP can really do wonders with images from the 18-250.

In particular, the slow maximum aperture will often drive you to use a higher ISO, which means more noise. There is nothing like good PP software (e.g. Topaz or DxO Optics Pro) for correcting noise. I speak from experience. Here is a shot taken with the Tamron (at sunset, from a moving boat) at 3200 ISO after processing with DxO OP:


I doubt the 18-270 would offer better IQ than the 18-250: http://www.photozone.de/Reviews/412-tamron_18270_3563vc_canon The main advantage is that it has quieter AF.

You mention that you already have the 55-300. (Is that right or do you mean the 50-200 that comes in a two-lens kit with the 18-55?) If you already have the 55-300, if what you really want is more reach, and are not absolutely set on an all-in-one lens, you already have the answer. The 55-300 is faster and the IQ at the long end is significantly better than the 18-250. Also because it's not an internal-focus lens, you get the stated focal length at any distance from the subject. In other words, 300mm means 300mm. With the 18-250 or any other internal focus lens, the field of view only represents that for the stated focal length at infinity. For example, if your subject is 5 metres away (15 feet), shooting at 250mm the field of view might only be equivalent to 180mm.

If you don't already have the 55-300, consider the DA-L version: it is optically identical to the others and is great value at around $US150. If you want a really cheap alternative, try the Sigma 70-300 for about $100.

As for the wide end, that is harder. Yes there's a big difference between 16 and 18mm. Tamron now have a 16-300mm superzoom, but it isn't available in K-mount. If you really want the extra width your best cheap wide option might be the Pentax DA 16-45 f4. Better IQ than the kit zoom. Otherwise one of the good ultrawide zooms, like the Sigma 8-16 or 10-20 (two versions), Tamron 10-24, or Pentax 12-24, or one of the 10, 14 or 15mm primes. But none of these is really cheap - and none is WR, if that really matters to you. For WR options wider than 18mm, you would need to go to the DA*16-50 or the new DA 16-85, but both are quite expensive.


Last edited by Des; 05-23-2015 at 12:12 AM.
05-22-2015, 06:43 PM   #5
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Another option is Sigma's 18-250 which has silent HSM focusing. I owned the Tamron 18-250 in 2008 (Alpha mount) and felt it was quite decent through the range, though curiously weak around 100mm; last year I briefly owned Sigma's also (K mount) and it also quite good optically. Many days I wish I still had that one for its decent quality and the convenience factor.
05-22-2015, 06:58 PM   #6
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Not to muddy the waters, and i realize this is more than the budget you are talking.
But, I went from using the Pentax 18-250 to using the Pentax 18-135WR and the 55-300WR,
Much happier with results throughout the range, a little slower when you have to change lenses, but the sharpness is worth it.
The big overlap between 55-135 means you don't change as much as you might think.
And WR on both lenses is nice.
more food for thought
05-22-2015, 10:01 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jimr-pdx Quote
I owned the Tamron 18-250 in 2008 (Alpha mount) and felt it was quite decent through the range, though curiously weak around 100mm
Must be some sample variation Jim. I haven't found this weakness at all on my copy.

I find the 18-250 really quite good at the wide end, in good light (once you correct for any distortion). I think I like it better than the 55-300 below about 100mm: even though the latter is a bit faster, I like the colours from the Tamron. Its weakest point is at the tele end but even that isn't too bad. These shots are all taken with the Tamron 18-250 at the tele end. All are jpgs straight from the camera (except for some cropping with a couple).


Last edited by Des; 05-23-2015 at 12:03 AM.
05-23-2015, 07:11 AM   #8
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I am agreeably happy with the number of responses. Yes, I have a 55-300 Pentax DA, was part of the kit package for a K-50 and 18-55 WR at a sale hosted by Ricoh at Hunt's Photo in Massachusetts. The kit price was ridiculously low, got me back into DSLR with mirror cameras. The 55-300 does seem better than the Tamron 18-200, but I found that on visits to botanic gardens, zoos and walking around cities, I was changing lenses frequently. 55 is just too long for a short end, similar to what I used to have as a portrait telephoto back in 35 mm days, for general walkaround. The 18-55 WR comes with me for rainy days.


The cost difference I have found between the Tamron and Pentax 18-250 is not all that much, would prefer to have in-camera distortion correction, so will be on the look-out for a Pentax before my next trip, might even buy a new one.


Dave

05-23-2015, 08:05 AM   #9
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The Pentax 18-250 is no longer available new.
I also previously owned the Tamron 18-200 and found the 18-250 is better all around in sharpness and edge distortion.
I do have the 18-250 still but prefer my DA 18-135.
05-23-2015, 02:28 PM   #10
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I have the Tamron (Promaster branded) 18-200 and have been quite happy with it for a walkaround superzoom. Got these with it:







05-23-2015, 03:01 PM   #11
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The DA 18-250 is a great walkaround lens. I think it is underrated.

Positives are:
- Very compact lens for its range.
- Very sharp.
- Image quality is good, but color and contrast are not quite in the same league as say the 16-45 or 12-24 in my head to head comparisons.
- It is usually available used for sub $300.

Negatives are:
- Prone to zoom creep. It does have a lock at 18mm though.
- Noticable distortion at the wide end. But can be corrected in camera.
- Not weather-proof.

I think you would like it given your situation.
05-23-2015, 04:03 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by caliscouser Quote
The DA 18-250 is a great walkaround lens. I think it is underrated.

Positives are:
- Very compact lens for its range.
- Very sharp.
- Image quality is good, but color and contrast are not quite in the same league as say the 16-45 or 12-24 in my head to head comparisons.
- It is usually available used for sub $300.

Negatives are:
- Prone to zoom creep. It does have a lock at 18mm though.
- Noticable distortion at the wide end. But can be corrected in camera.
- Not weather-proof.

I think you would like it given your situation.
I don't have the 16-45, but I do have the 12-24. Yes, IQ is better than the 18-250 in their common range, but the 18-250 is still quite respectable at 18-24.

I wouldn't go so far as to say "very sharp" as a general statement. It's sharp for a zoom with such a wide range. It's quite sharp in the centre, and sharp enough in the corners when stopped down (particularly at the wide-normal end). Comparative tests show it to be sharper than the 18-55, but not as sharp as the 18-135.

But if you are in f8 territory, it hardly matters. You would have to pixel peep to see the differences compared to other zooms.

What I would add to the negatives is that it is slow - that is, its maximum aperture isn't very wide, especially above 100mm:
18-34mm f3.5
35-49mm f4
50-69mm f4.5
70-99 f5
100-199 f5.6
200-250 f6.3
This means you need good light (or flash), a slow shutter or high ISO. OK for daytime outdoors, not so great for indoors/evenings.

When I started using primes I found the resolution much better, even with cheap ones like the plastic fantastics or the A-50 f1.7, and even comparing the Tamron at 35 or 50, where it is probably at its best.
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