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08-08-2016, 05:18 AM   #1
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Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 Di LD Macro -v- SMC Pentax-A 135mm F2.8

Hello, this may seem like a strange comparison but I am looking for anyone with any experience of both these lenses.


I currently own the SMC Pentax-A 135mm F2.8 and am very please with the results, there is a little bit of fringing in high contrast situations but nothing that cannot be controlled or editing post.


I also have the Tamron Adaptall-2 SP 60-300mm f/3.8-5.4 (23A), which again, I have obtained some good results. However, the issue (for me) with the 60-300mm is the lack of auto-focus which has meant a number of missed opportunities as my manual focusing skills are just not that good when a quick shot is required and resulted in a number of missed opportunities an autofocus will have captured. I would also like to slim line the camera bag as well. So I have been toying with the idea of selling a few lenses (and herein lies the dilemma), including the aforementioned so that I can by the Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 Di LD Macro so I can have a good quality zoom but at a price I can afford (well afford if I sell a few other lenses).


So what I want to know, is the Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 Di LD Macro, at 135mm, comparable in quality to the SMC Pentax-A 135mm F2.8. I would hate to part with the SMC 135mm I have, to find that the Tamron is not a patch on it. I know that generally primes have a better IQ than zooms but given the Tamron has the newer low dispersion glass I wondered whether it would bring the 2 closer together.


Thanks for any real objective views anyone might be able to give. I am trying to get away from the romanticism of using good old Pentax glass on a DSLR because of the particular quirks they have and consider straight forward image quality comparisons that can be made e.g. sharpness, aberrations, fringing, vignetting etc. because a lot of those quirks such as colour rendition and contrast etc. can be re-created in Lightroom/Photoshop to a large extent.

08-08-2016, 12:38 PM   #2
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It most likely is techniqually better in most aspects. What you lose is the retro and the size.
08-08-2016, 01:32 PM   #3
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Well I only have an older 135 f3.5 which my Tammy 70-200 easily beats in sharpness and contrast. And I don't use my 135 anymore.

Further considerations, though:
* Size - Tamron is significantly bigger (even with f2.8 135 variant)
* Tamron is heavier
* If you like doing manual focus, the Tamron is not as good (I find the manual focus on the Tammy more sensitive / less throw than I would like).

So I would say due to size and to a degree weight (although its lighter than most other f2.8 70-200 lenses), the Tamron is not a "casual" take everywhere lens for me. I take it when I specifically think it will be useful.
08-08-2016, 03:15 PM   #4
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Also the tamron has no aperture ring, in case you want to use it with non-auto tubes or TCs, or have old bodies to use it with.
I personally love mine. But I've never tried the 135.

08-09-2016, 02:49 AM   #5
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I have the FA 135mm and the Tamron 70-200mm.
Optically the Tamron is better in pretty much every way. The downside is it is much bigger.

Yes you can remove most fringing in post processing...but often there is a grayish artifacts and makes the image look "harsher" , if that makes sense.
Having said that, I have kept both because the 70-200mm can be a pain to carry.
08-09-2016, 04:19 AM   #6
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Thank you everyone for the food for thought. I think I am going to go for the Tamron. If I can find a way to keep the 135mm as an easy carry round I will but it wont be the end of world if I can't as I am also enjoying using my nifty fifties at the moment for walking around and taking family pics, I was lucky enough to have found a good copy of an SMC-M f1.4 and an A f1.7.
08-09-2016, 07:53 AM   #7
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For what its worth, the tamron 70-200 is not an actual 200mm lens. It has sever focus breathing which knocks it down to approx 150ish mm.

Still a great lens, and after my 85mm, its my favourite lens to use.

The 135mm, i would assume, will be better with less focus breathing

08-13-2016, 03:06 AM   #8
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Thanks for the input. Does anyone have any experience of using a teleconverter with the Tamron 70-200mm? Which one would you recommend?
08-14-2016, 08:46 AM   #9
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The Tamron Pz-AF 1.4x TC is certainly as good as any with the excellent SP AF 70-200 and it provides good results with most other longer lenses IME. Less so with any of the 2x TC's.

Given the 'focus breathing' issue noted above you might consider the DA 18-135 as a suitable alternative for your purposes. And the DA 55-300 also covers the medium tele range to 200mm well although somewhat slower.

You won't carry the much larger, heaver 70-200 around just for the fun of it though so I'd advise you to keep the 135 too.
09-24-2016, 10:24 AM   #10
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I have the tamron 70-200mm and it is a great lens. Would recommend it, highly.
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