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08-27-2018, 12:27 PM - 2 Likes   #1
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Increasing weight of Pentax lenses

First, I will admit that I usually laugh when people factor lens weight into their reviews, so I find myself eating my words.

Obviously big lenses don't bode well on 15 miles hikes, but for normal use, should it matter? Well, I have come to believe "yes." I took my D FA 24-70 on a shoot this weekend. I normally don’t use my zooms for professional work on location (other than my DA*50-135, which is like a pack of primes) as I have just come to prefer the look of prime pics, and the portability of primes, but didn’t want to be changing lenses in a very dusty barn environment, AND my helper had to cancel at the last minute. I was using both my K-1 and K-3, as I was doing some work with horses and riders. Had some primes in my pocket that I didn’t end up using.

I took over 1000 pictures (using burst mode while chasing horses around) and I must conclude that the weight of the lens DOES MATTER. Oh, my word. It wasn't just the weight, it was the unwieldiness of it all. I say all this not a criticism of the 24-70 lens, per se'--because its weight is only slightly more than the 50-135, which I am used to—and I enjoy the lens, I do. I say it because I am selling my DA* 50-135, which I use on the K-3, to upgrade to the D FA* 70-200 which is nearly 3 x the weight. I do not care for using the 50-135 on crop mode, am ready to make the switch—or so I thought.

I may have to pull my ad for the 50-135 because I am seriously rethinking this…no one wants studio portraits anymore and I am too klutzy for tripods on certain location shoots. Is the 70-200 a true upgrade from the 50-135 (SDM issues aside)? Thoughts and experiences?

08-27-2018, 12:42 PM - 5 Likes   #2
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If it prevents you from getting the shot it isn't a better lens.
08-27-2018, 12:57 PM - 2 Likes   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by OhioAngie Quote
Thoughts and experiences?
Using a monopod to carry the weight. Even a cheap monopod will work and it's easy to carry when folded.
08-27-2018, 01:01 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by OhioAngie Quote
First, I will admit that I usually laugh when people factor lens weight into their reviews, so I find myself eating my words.

Obviously big lenses don't bode well on 15 miles hikes, but for normal use, should it matter? Well, I have come to believe "yes." I took my D FA 24-70 on a shoot this weekend. I normally don’t use my zooms for professional work on location (other than my DA*50-135, which is like a pack of primes) as I have just come to prefer the look of prime pics, and the portability of primes, but didn’t want to be changing lenses in a very dusty barn environment, AND my helper had to cancel at the last minute. I was using both my K-1 and K-3, as I was doing some work with horses and riders. Had some primes in my pocket that I didn’t end up using.

I took over 1000 pictures (using burst mode while chasing horses around) and I must conclude that the weight of the lens DOES MATTER. Oh, my word. It wasn't just the weight, it was the unwieldiness of it all. I say all this not a criticism of the 24-70 lens, per se'--because its weight is only slightly more than the 50-135, which I am used to—and I enjoy the lens, I do. I say it because I am selling my DA* 50-135, which I use on the K-3, to upgrade to the D FA* 70-200 which is nearly 3 x the weight. I do not care for using the 50-135 on crop mode, am ready to make the switch—or so I thought.

I may have to pull my ad for the 50-135 because I am seriously rethinking this…no one wants studio portraits anymore and I am too klutzy for tripods on certain location shoots. Is the 70-200 a true upgrade from the 50-135 (SDM issues aside)? Thoughts and experiences?

my first thought was that you were going decide against selling the Sigma 70....

that being said, I agree with Zombie, with one addition: if you aren't enjoying yourself, why bother?

08-27-2018, 01:22 PM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by OhioAngie Quote
Is the 70-200 a true upgrade from the 50-135 (SDM issues aside)? Thoughts and experiences?
It is. The DFA 70-200 has all of the rendering beauty of the 50-135 and then some. It focuses quickly and accurately. If weight bothers you than it may be a problem since it is much bigger and heavier than the 50-135. Until my shoulder started acting up I carried it frequently on hikes in the desert around Phoenix and never resented the weight. Try one out you may be hooked!
08-27-2018, 01:26 PM - 2 Likes   #6
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A lot of what you said is why I'll keep an aps-c body along with my K-1. The 50-135 may be slower to focus, but it renders beautifully and the weight with the K3 is nothing compared to what you'll have with the K-1 and 70-200. For an all day shoot such as a wedding, I'll have my K3 and 50-135.
08-27-2018, 01:27 PM - 2 Likes   #7
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I've long been concerned with bloated weight - I even have a second system (m43) where I really try to keep the weight down. In your case maybe looking at one of these options would work:

1) Use the DA* 200 (825g) and the FA 77 (270g) as an alternative to the 70-200 (1755g) for your needs. The two cover the ends of the range and when you are able to zoom with the feet or leave one at home you have a significant savings on weight.

2) Look at an alternative 70-200 (1755g) like the Tamron (1150g) or Sigma (1430g or 1370g depending on version).

3) Go with a slightly slower full frame option like the DA* 60-250 with baffle modification (pushing 1200g with hood and tripod foot); or the older F 70-210 f/4-5.6 (555g)

4) Switch to a non-FF system like the KP for these situations and just use the lovely DA* 50-135.
08-27-2018, 01:42 PM - 1 Like   #8
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As you noted, it matters from the perspective of forearm and upper body strength. My walk-around kit is not particularly heavy (K-3 with Sigma 17-70/2.8-4 (C) ), but I will admits to some soreness the next day if I have been doing a large amount of hand-held shooting with a fair amount of vertical framing. The combination weighs 1270g. the same as the camera + three lens kit (28, 50, 70-150) I often use for 35mm film. The difference with the film camera is that I never have more that 900g total to my eye in general shooting within that focal length range and usually have much less (say 655g). If I mount my Pentax-A 70-210/4 the total goes to 1150g. With the K-3, the same combination is 1480g which is near the limit of what I am comfortable with for hand-held shooting and the combo works pretty well. At least I am happy with the results.

The answer as to whether I would consider the D FA* 70-200/2.8 as a replacement for the same zoom range is a resounding no. Would I consider a Sigma (used) or Tamron? Quite possibly. Would I be interested in the promised D FA 70-200/4? Absolutely.


Steve

08-27-2018, 03:18 PM - 3 Likes   #9
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Until the K1 was released I had been shooting weddings/events with K3's and the 16-50 and 50-135 were my main lenses.

After making it through my first wedding with the K1 and 70-200 I was not sure if I wanted to deal with the extra weight.
I was not used to working with a lens that size and it felt unwieldy trying to balance it on my body with a second camera and lens (which I like to do sometimes.)

But then I pulled my shots into lightroom.
The sharpness wide open was like nothing I'd ever accomplished with the 50-135, the colors were so pleasing and required a lot less post processing (time saved) and the bokeh is beauitful.
I was never too happy with either the 16-50 or 50-135 wide open but I feel completely confident in the sharpness of the 70-200 wide open in any situation.

After that I decided it was definitely worth learning to work comfortably with the new lens.
It took me a while to adjust, you will find you support it differently than you would the 50-135.
I highly recommend attaching one end of your camera strap to the tripod foot and the other end to your camera as this is a much safer way to support the weight of the DFA lens (safer for the lens mount and easier on your shoulder/neck).
I use the peak design strap snaps which makes it really easy to change the anchor points of camera straps in a few seconds.
Zooming with it is a bit slower as I had to move heavier elements than I did with the 50-135 so I learned to anticipate my shots a bit better.
AF on the other hand is much faster and more confident than in the older DA* lens. I would say that the 70-200 is the most accurately focusing lens that I currently own.
In the AF aspect it has helped me capture fleeting moments that I would have missed with the old SDM motors.

All in all I learned to work with the weight and it has been well worth it.
The build and quick/accurate focusing of the 70-200 gives me peace of mind and the glass produces excellent sharpness, beautiful colors and creamy bokeh.

That being said I enjoy a fit and active lifestyle so weight may be less troubling to me than to some.
It is heavier which requires some adjustment coming from the 50-135, but learning to work with new gear is part of the fun and challenge that helps us improve.

The 50-135 was actually my favorite zoom lens until I learned to wield the DFA*.
Now the DFA* 70-200 2.8 is my new favorite zoom and my appreciation for it makes it feel much lighter
08-27-2018, 03:47 PM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by twilhelm Quote
A lot of what you said is why I'll keep an aps-c body along with my K-1
Ditto and I added a 4/3 system. I hate to say it but my age is a factor.

Last edited by dadipentak; 08-29-2018 at 04:30 PM.
08-27-2018, 03:48 PM - 1 Like   #11
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Yes, of course lens weight (and bulk) can matter. Everyone has their own personal interpretation for "too heavy" based on their shooting style, body strength, and health conditions.

Lenses that pose issues for me are the Pentax DFA 15-30 and Sigma 50-500. I'm in good health so weight while using the lenses usually isn't an issue. Travel getting to a shooting spot, though, can be weight limited when walking 15 miles or traveling by plane. A heavier lens also needs a larger tripod and head to support it, further increasing the overall weight I have to carry around.

I bought a m43 travel system when I found a sub-$600 sale on Panasonic GX-85, 12-32 (24-64 equivalent) lens with very good image quality, and 40-150 (80-300 equivalent) with only fair quality. I've had it for a year and like it. I still use K-1 as my main system because many of the good photos I've gotten with the GX-85 would be even better with the K-1, due to sensor size, lens quality, and user interface.
08-27-2018, 03:50 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by dadipentak Quote
Ditto and I added a 4/3 system. I hare to say it but my age is a factor.
My dad is knocking on 80... he's downsized from a K-3 to a GX-7 and while he has a nice 12-35 f/2.8 he's seeing the wisdom of using slower lenses (weight and size) also. His kit is typically the 12-35 f/2.8 on the GX-7 with the 45-175 f/4-5.6 and a fast prime like the 42.5 f/1.7, the whole kit is light and easy for him to manage and gives FF equivalent focal lengths of 24-350.
08-27-2018, 03:51 PM - 1 Like   #13
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I solved the weight problem of the 24-70 with the 28-105, although not so wide and fast, it is sharper and lighter.

Yes, the 70-200/2.8 is a heavy beast, so I use a good backpack when hiking. Fortunately there is a F4 version on the Pentax lens roadmap, but in the meantimethe 60-250 much is more manageable and OK on FF.

Wide angle is a problem, the 15-30/2.8 is no feather weight. If I am travelling long distances, sometimes I take the old A series 20 or 24 with me, they are really nice to use. I also have the F 17-28 which is miniscule in comparison to the 15-30 but lacks the latter's contrast and sharpness..

Of course, as I am sure is appreciated, lenses are heavier because the market demands much higher preformance, therefore more glass, than with old lenses designed for 35mm film. A comparison with the FA 50 1.4 or even the DA* 55/1.4 and the new D FA* 50/1.4 illustrates this perfectly. Perfection comes with it's own problems; I guess we just have to make compromises somewhere.
08-27-2018, 10:26 PM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by OhioAngie Quote
First, I will admit that I usually laugh when people factor lens weight into their reviews, so I find myself eating my words.

Obviously big lenses don't bode well on 15 miles hikes, but for normal use, should it matter? Well, I have come to believe "yes." I took my D FA 24-70 on a shoot this weekend. I normally don’t use my zooms for professional work on location (other than my DA*50-135, which is like a pack of primes) as I have just come to prefer the look of prime pics, and the portability of primes, but didn’t want to be changing lenses in a very dusty barn environment, AND my helper had to cancel at the last minute. I was using both my K-1 and K-3, as I was doing some work with horses and riders. Had some primes in my pocket that I didn’t end up using.

I took over 1000 pictures (using burst mode while chasing horses around) and I must conclude that the weight of the lens DOES MATTER. Oh, my word. It wasn't just the weight, it was the unwieldiness of it all. I say all this not a criticism of the 24-70 lens, per se'--because its weight is only slightly more than the 50-135, which I am used to—and I enjoy the lens, I do. I say it because I am selling my DA* 50-135, which I use on the K-3, to upgrade to the D FA* 70-200 which is nearly 3 x the weight. I do not care for using the 50-135 on crop mode, am ready to make the switch—or so I thought.

I may have to pull my ad for the 50-135 because I am seriously rethinking this…no one wants studio portraits anymore and I am too klutzy for tripods on certain location shoots. Is the 70-200 a true upgrade from the 50-135 (SDM issues aside)? Thoughts and experiences?
You'd be giving up a major advantage APS-C has to offer, now that it has come to such an advanced state. This particular advantage is in the tele range, while able to use smaller, lighter, but excellent lenses. The DA* 50-135mm is a stellar example of this- much smaller, and at a fraction of the weight of an equivalent FF lens, and also on a lighter, more compact body. There is no way I am selling mine. The FF advantage is certainly in favor at the shorter end, and your DFA 24-70mm should be great here.

I love the DA* 50-135mm on both my KP and on my K-5 IIs. It is truly great on the KP because it is so compact for what it is, and image quality is amazing, along with being even better than ever for low light/higher ISO use. With that in mind, think of what is coming around the corner in the K-5/K-3 style, but having the advancements found in the KP. I'm sure you will then find compatibility with the DA* 50-135mm working for you in APS-C, along with the DFA 24-70mm on your K-1. This makes for a very manageable partnership to work with, and with very high quality standards. That is where I would put my money.

Last edited by mikesbike; 08-27-2018 at 11:02 PM.
08-28-2018, 06:11 AM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by pepperberry farm Quote
my first thought was that you were going decide against selling the Sigma 70....

that being said, I agree with Zombie, with one addition: if you aren't enjoying yourself, why bother?
No, a deal is a deal! I wouldn't do that to you. We moved this summer and I promised to downsize the lens collection. When I went with the Pentax 100mm Macro, mainly because of the weather seal, I knew the Sigma had to go. That being said, I still prefer the images of the Sigma to any other. If I had an unlimited budget and unlimited space...

---------- Post added 08-28-18 at 06:16 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Mikesul Quote
It is. The DFA 70-200 has all of the rendering beauty of the 50-135 and then some. It focuses quickly and accurately. If weight bothers you than it may be a problem since it is much bigger and heavier than the 50-135. Until my shoulder started acting up I carried it frequently on hikes in the desert around Phoenix and never resented the weight. Try one out you may be hooked!
I keep hearing this, and it is why I have been saving, to make the leap. Also, while the images the 50-135 produce are dreamy, I miss shots where a quick focus is needed--was hoping the 70-200 would be an improvement, as I am getting more work with animals and children, who never stay still.

---------- Post added 08-28-18 at 06:21 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
I've long been concerned with bloated weight - I even have a second system (m43) where I really try to keep the weight down. In your case maybe looking at one of these options would work:

1) Use the DA* 200 (825g) and the FA 77 (270g) as an alternative to the 70-200 (1755g) for your needs. The two cover the ends of the range and when you are able to zoom with the feet or leave one at home you have a significant savings on weight.

2) Look at an alternative 70-200 (1755g) like the Tamron (1150g) or Sigma (1430g or 1370g depending on version).

3) Go with a slightly slower full frame option like the DA* 60-250 with baffle modification (pushing 1200g with hood and tripod foot); or the older F 70-210 f/4-5.6 (555g)

4) Switch to a non-FF system like the KP for these situations and just use the lovely DA* 50-135.
I will never part with my FA 77, so adding a DA*200mm seems an ideal alternative, IF it was a FF.

---------- Post added 08-28-18 at 06:42 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by J.Pecora Quote
Until the K1 was released I had been shooting weddings/events with K3's and the 16-50 and 50-135 were my main lenses.

After making it through my first wedding with the K1 and 70-200 I was not sure if I wanted to deal with the extra weight.
I was not used to working with a lens that size and it felt unwieldy trying to balance it on my body with a second camera and lens (which I like to do sometimes.)

But then I pulled my shots into lightroom.
The sharpness wide open was like nothing I'd ever accomplished with the 50-135, the colors were so pleasing and required a lot less post processing (time saved) and the bokeh is beauitful.
I was never too happy with either the 16-50 or 50-135 wide open but I feel completely confident in the sharpness of the 70-200 wide open in any situation.

After that I decided it was definitely worth learning to work comfortably with the new lens.
It took me a while to adjust, you will find you support it differently than you would the 50-135.
I highly recommend attaching one end of your camera strap to the tripod foot and the other end to your camera as this is a much safer way to support the weight of the DFA lens (safer for the lens mount and easier on your shoulder/neck).
I use the peak design strap snaps which makes it really easy to change the anchor points of camera straps in a few seconds.
Zooming with it is a bit slower as I had to move heavier elements than I did with the 50-135 so I learned to anticipate my shots a bit better.
AF on the other hand is much faster and more confident than in the older DA* lens. I would say that the 70-200 is the most accurately focusing lens that I currently own.
In the AF aspect it has helped me capture fleeting moments that I would have missed with the old SDM motors.

All in all I learned to work with the weight and it has been well worth it.
The build and quick/accurate focusing of the 70-200 gives me peace of mind and the glass produces excellent sharpness, beautiful colors and creamy bokeh.

That being said I enjoy a fit and active lifestyle so weight may be less troubling to me than to some.
It is heavier which requires some adjustment coming from the 50-135, but learning to work with new gear is part of the fun and challenge that helps us improve.

The 50-135 was actually my favorite zoom lens until I learned to wield the DFA*.
Now the DFA* 70-200 2.8 is my new favorite zoom and my appreciation for it makes it feel much lighter
Thank you for your detailed reply. It is exciting to hear from someone who made the switch from the 50-135 crop to 70-220 FF and is excited about it. This is probably the assurance I needed to hear. I love the peak design snaps as well and I will have to look into what kind of connection I would need to connect it securely to the lens tripod mount. I love the convenience of those but sometimes I wonder if those tiny cables really are strong enough (I have them on both of my cameras, so far, so good). I am guessing that you are about 20 years younger than me, which means you are probably more fit and strong than I am, and I may just be in need of more pushups. My DA* 50-135 is up for sale, so perhaps I will let fate decide. I am coming into a busy season of fall family photos.
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