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08-09-2008, 07:39 PM   #1
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Best buy walk around lens for trip to Europe, under $300.00

So, I'm heading off to France this fall, and want to take my 18-55mm kit lens, maybe my 50mm f/1.7 M, and I'd really like to get into a decent, inexpensive zoom to to take with me outside on site seeing, etc. I don't expect something very fast or constant aperture, want an automatic lens (AF/automatic exposure) so I can hand the camera off to my wife when needed, etc.

I'm looking into 28-200mm zooms, since it seems these can be found at really good price points, and I can create some drama in my shots with the far end of the focal range.

However, I really want to avoid junk third party lenses that are quite soft at either end of the focal range. I thought this range (28-200mm) would be fairly sussed out by lens manufacturers at this point in terms of optics. I also want to avoid a lens with massive amounts of CA. Distortion isn't too much of a concern.

Any opinions would be greatly appreciated- I'll consider all manufacturers, just want to know what, in everybody's experience, is a good starting point!

Thanks!

08-09-2008, 08:10 PM   #2
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I'm heading out west to British Columbia in a few weeks time and am thinking about selling my 2 kits lenses (DA 18-55mm and DA 50-200mm) to offset the cost of a DA 18-250mm zoom. I'm not a fan of zoom lenses in general, but considering the focal range and apparent quality stopped down, I think taking that 18-250mm along my trusty FA 50mm f1.4 and SMC 28mm f3.5 will be sufficient.

I might instead go for the cheaper Sigma 17-70mm and take my DA 50-200mm as well. In that case I'd only sell the DA 18-55mm, dunno.
08-09-2008, 08:23 PM   #3
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I like my Pentax 18-250mm for travel.
08-09-2008, 08:42 PM   #4
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While I don't have much experience in the way of the ultrazooms, here are some links to some sample pics from some lenses currently in production:

Tamron 18-200/3.5-6.3
Tamron AF 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 Xr Di-II LD IF Lens Sample Photos and Specifications
Tamron 28-200/3.5-6.3 (I think these samples may be from a previous version)
Tamron AF 28-200mm f/3.8-5.6 XR Lens Sample Photos and Specifications
Tamron 28-300/3.5-6.3
Tamron AF 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di LD IF Lens Sample Photos and Specifications
Sigma 18-200/3.5-6.3 (this one looks pretty sharp to me)
Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 DC Lens Sample Photos and Specifications
Sigma 28-300/3.5-6.3
Sigma 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Macro Lens Sample Photos and Specifications

While this one is no longer in production, it still looks pretty good to me:
Pentax FA28-200/3.8-5.6
Pentax smc P-FA 28-200mm f/3.8-5.6 AL-IF Lens Sample Photos and Specifications

You might also want to check the lens databases here to get some ideas of what people who've actually used some of these lenses think.

HTH,
Heather

08-09-2008, 08:47 PM   #5
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Tamron 18-250 is my best walkabout lens. Pentax equivalent is essentially the same lens.
08-09-2008, 09:07 PM   #6
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DA 50~200/4~5.6 ($$220) plus A35~105/3.5 (can be had for $100). I know there's 55mm of overlap, but the A35~105 is such a stellar lens that it is worth manual focus and offers auto aperture. The DA 50~200 returns excellent IQ, and adds autofocus.

My 25c
08-09-2008, 09:30 PM   #7
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Looking at a sigma 28-200mm 3.8-5.6

I've got my eye on a Sigma 28-200mm 3.8-5.6 that isn't an IF model on the marketplace, can be had for the right price.

I also understand the 50-200mm DA is a good lens, but wouldn't mind that 28mm low end for just walking about.

Would love an 18-250mm DA, but don't have that kind of cash to sink into a lens right now (well, if I sold the K 30mm, but I want to hang onto that little gem!)

Anybody with opinions or any sort of experience with the Sigma that I've mentioned? Can't seem to find much about it through Google..

Thanks!
08-09-2008, 10:14 PM   #8
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I think you are looking in the wrong direction

My personal view is that you are really looking in the wrong direction (or perhaps the responders so far are) in looking at something like a 18-200mm.

In much of france, you will be in tight spots and a 10-20mm would be much more useable than an 18-200.

Take the 10-20, your kit lens, and a single low cost ~120-200mm prome (even manual focus) and you will do just fine.

When I went to prague this year, I took my Sigma 10-20, my Tamron 28-75 F2.8 and my SMC 135 F2.5. That was it!

Unless you want to do some really tight framing of images, or wild life you don't need more.

08-10-2008, 05:05 AM   #9
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If I was the one planning a trip to Europe, my kit might look like the following:

DA12-24 (soon to be mine)
Tammy 28-75
DA55-300 or possibly pick up a 50-200, which is 6.5 oz lighter than the 55-300 or go with a teleprime, as Lowell suggested.
50/1.7--I might throw this one in if I thought I might be out at night.

Heather
08-10-2008, 06:12 AM   #10
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Europe, narrow streets, beautiful buildings. I've you had to pick one lens, 28mm is not enough WA.
08-10-2008, 08:26 AM   #11
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Would love to take a wider lens, but for the budget!

I totally agree with everyone- would love to pick up a nice WA lens, but budget constraints are in place here- just getting to France is a stretch!

However, as I said, maybe I'll consider letting the K 30mm f/2.8 go so I can finance a 10-200mm Sigma.

I just thought 18mm on the wide of the kit would be good enough- we'll be in Provence, actually in Aix-en-Provence, so yeah, a wide lens would be fantastic for all those narrow streets.

Thanks for all the tips, everyone!
08-10-2008, 02:44 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by virgilr Quote
I totally agree with everyone- would love to pick up a nice WA lens, but budget constraints are in place here- just getting to France is a stretch!

However, as I said, maybe I'll consider letting the K 30mm f/2.8 go so I can finance a 10-200mm Sigma.

I just thought 18mm on the wide of the kit would be good enough- we'll be in Provence, actually in Aix-en-Provence, so yeah, a wide lens would be fantastic for all those narrow streets.

Thanks for all the tips, everyone!
You could consider to pick up an old m42 WA-lens for that job.
08-10-2008, 02:49 PM   #13
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If you have a kit lens then just get the DA 55-300 for 329.00 with free shipping. It's the best long zoom out there right now.
08-10-2008, 02:50 PM   #14
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Under $300, I agree with those suggesting Tamron or Pentax 18-250mm!
08-10-2008, 02:51 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by virgilr Quote
I thought this range (28-200mm) would be fairly sussed out by lens manufacturers at this point in terms of optics.
Err...there's only so far before you hit the laws of physics
The extra lens elements needed for the wider lens is why you have all the issues w/ superzooms and why smaller ranges and primes work better. The best superzoom at this point for us is the 18-250 since we don't have Nikon's 70-200 (which also has lots of issues at the wide end and tele end and is slow as are all superzooms).

My travel lens setup is a sigma 17-70 and Tamron 70-300. You have to make a tradeoff on how much gear you haul around at some point. For el cheapo, the 70-300 is a good compromise. If you can afford it (twice as much), the pentax 55-300 seems like a good tradeoff for you as well...
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