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08-05-2008, 08:58 PM   #1
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Just picked up the DA 17-70 f/4! (operational comparisons inside)

After running the limited pancake set and the cheap slow FAJ 18-35, I realized I needed something more flexible for covering indoor events. I was tossing it up between the DA 16-45 and the DA* 16-50, as I kept the DA 70 for the reach (and it's my favorite lens)

I liked the price and sharpness of the 16-45, but not the screw-drive and reverse zoom. The DA* had SDM, but the zoom ring was too tiny & sticky, the dual drive system gave me a few doubts, and it was expensive. I still prefer primes for 'personal' work, and didn't feel like dumping $800+ CAD into a lens.

So I asked to check out the 17-70. Nicely balanced, constant F4, loads of reach, and .... so quiet! In comparison it was a little noisier than the 16-50, but it seemed to actually focus faster. I'd pre-focus at min. distance, then raise the lens to a point across the store and half press. The 17-70 had a sense of urgency where the DA* seemed to be a bit smoother and lazier across the range. Close focus bokeh revealed surprisingly circular highlights for a 7 blade aperture.

I was using my K10D with the BG2 grip.

The body is a bit chunkier than the DA 16-45, but I like fat, stout lenses. The zoom ring is nicely damped, the duo-cam system has tight tolerances, and my experience seems to echo the extensive test thread on the 'other' forum.

Focusing indoors (the main reason) is much less aggravating than my plastic-y screw-drive FA-J. In my living room with ONE floor lamp with a 60W bulb, It quickly zips to the ballpark, then quietly micro-adjusts at the point. I've had it hunt from one end to the other only once, and on the second try (with slight recomposure) it was up to snuff.

So after spending $592 CAD (+ gst), I'm pretty happy with my choice. For me, SDM, constant aperture and the build quality make it worth my money. The SDM is the real clincher though.

Now to wait for that DA* 30 SDM.

Bit dark to post worthwhile photos, but I'll bring it along to work tomorrow and perhaps update the thread.


Last edited by CSoars; 08-05-2008 at 09:19 PM.
08-05-2008, 09:12 PM   #2
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For my wallet's sake, I did not need to see this thread

Thanks for the report! I've been eagerly awaiting news on this lens.
08-05-2008, 09:43 PM   #3
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Very good review, descriptive, good info!

I don't know why people question the necessity of this lens, it seems like it fits into a perfect place in the lineup - wide, but more reach than the 16-50, SDM, but less expensive. Right between the 18-55 II kit & the 16-50, but with more reach to distinguish it further. And some of the shots I've seen from it have been very impressive.


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08-06-2008, 03:36 AM   #4
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Great, now I just wait for some photos! I'm currently leaning towards buying the Tammy 28-75/2.8 but I'd rather buy a Pentax zoom. I'm not really sure yet if I am willing to sacrifice 2.8 for SDM and 4... :S

08-06-2008, 04:42 AM   #5
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Actually, the 17-70 should focus faster because this is the first Pentax lens with SDM only. The DA* 16-50 also has the screw drive which actually makes the lens focus slower (because of the dual focus mechanism).

It would be nice to know if the 17-70 is now Pentax' fastest focusing zoom.
08-06-2008, 04:54 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Asahiflex Quote
It would be nice to know if the 17-70 is now Pentax' fastest focusing zoom.
Ohh.... is there any test like this available?
08-06-2008, 05:32 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Asahiflex Quote
Actually, the 17-70 should focus faster because this is the first Pentax lens with SDM only. The DA* 16-50 also has the screw drive which actually makes the lens focus slower (because of the dual focus mechanism).

It would be nice to know if the 17-70 is now Pentax' fastest focusing zoom.
I had wondered if the second drive system was somehow linked to, and a drag on the SDM motor. But there's probably some clutch mechanism that disengages it when the power points are used instead of the slot. The 16-50 did seem quieter, but perhaps because of the focus ring being decoupled, the body shell dampened the noise.
Morning here, time to snap some shots on the way to work
08-06-2008, 05:48 AM   #8
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I'm more curious if the 17-70 has a real ring motor rather than the DA* lenses' internal motor driven by screw drive or Tamron's internal motor thing that's not ring drive...

08-06-2008, 06:16 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by kenyee Quote
I'm more curious if the 17-70 has a real ring motor rather than the DA* lenses' internal motor driven by screw drive or Tamron's internal motor thing that's not ring drive...
AFAIK, there are no Pentax lenses with ring motors. They all have the 'inferior' micro motor.
08-06-2008, 06:55 AM   #10
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The price of this lens continues to stagger me. Nikon have essentially the same specs for $350.
08-06-2008, 07:08 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alfisti Quote
The price of this lens continues to stagger me. Nikon have essentially the same specs for $350.
The only constant f/4 nikon has is the AF-S Zoom NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4 for
$549.95

Their 18-70 is a variable aperture that has a greater minimum focusing distance and no VR. Seems to be rated well for optics and build quality.

Their 16-85 is also variable aperture and goes for $770 with VR.
08-06-2008, 07:53 AM   #12
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Oh come on, the 18-70 is f/4.5 at 70mm which is what 1/3rd stop. Nothing in other words.



QuoteOriginally posted by CSoars Quote
The only constant f/4 nikon has is the AF-S Zoom NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4 for
$549.95

Their 18-70 is a variable aperture that has a greater minimum focusing distance and no VR. Seems to be rated well for optics and build quality.

Their 16-85 is also variable aperture and goes for $770 with VR.
08-06-2008, 08:13 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alfisti Quote
Oh come on, the 18-70 is f/4.5 at 70mm which is what 1/3rd stop. Nothing in other words.
Variable aperture is a PITA when shooting in with flash in manual when you rely on a constant ambient exposure to maintain consistency between shots.

You can go ahead and mount that Nikon lens on your Pentax, or shell out $1250 CAD for the canon full frame equivalent (24-105 f/4 L). Or wait for the price to drop like it did on the DA 16-45 or DA* 16-50.
08-06-2008, 08:26 AM   #14
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thanks for the report! where did you purchase the lens from?
should be a great travel lens

as well, did you have any issues using the built-in flash w/ the lens and w/ and w/o the hood on? that's a major issue for me cuz i don't want to buy a real flash

Last edited by k100d; 08-06-2008 at 09:07 AM.
08-06-2008, 08:27 AM   #15
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i only wish it had more aperture blades.
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