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09-27-2020, 05:55 AM   #1
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Lens recommendation please!

I have a Pentax KM with a Tamron Aspherical AF 28-200mm lens.

I am looking to upgrade the lens as its now about 15 years old, has marks on it and really suffers taking photos in low light (images end up grainy)

Are there any AF lenses , with a better zoom (also important), for under £500 that you can recommend?

Thanks!

09-27-2020, 07:12 AM - 2 Likes   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Thekillerqueen Quote
...really suffers taking photos in low light (images end up grainy)

Are there any AF lenses , with a better zoom (also important), for under £500 that you can recommend?
Virtually all zooms with a range that large are going to have similar issues in low light. If you're willing to get two zooms or reduce the range of the zoom you can improve your low light capabilities.

One option is to go with the faster more limited range zoom. Another is to upgrade the camera body to one with much better low light behavior. While this doesn't make your lens pretty, it does solve the image graininess without losing the flexibility of the range you have. A used k70 it Kp would be ideal, but even the k-5 it k5ii would be a big improvement.

If a lens is the only option you're willing to try, I'd suggest looking at a used DA* 50-135. I'd also suggest finding one that has been converted to screw drive to ensure long term reliability as this lens can have focusing motor failures when not converted (although some copies are reliable using sdm focusing for many years). Optically these lenses are superb and they are internal zoom and internal focus so it won't grow and shrink during use which can be a factor in the ease of use in some circumstances.

Other lenses to consider:
DA* 60-250 f4 - not as optically adept at low light but just as sharp with a large range. The lens can't be converted to screw drive but suffers from fewer failures. This lens grows and shrinks when zoomed a considerable amount.

DA* 16-50 f2.8 - this lens has failures of the internal motor similar to the 50-135 but like that lens it can be converted. Optically good, it is very limited in range relative to your existing lens but gives you much wider angles at that short end.

In the end if you want better low light performance I think you would be better off upgrading the body and buying some shorter range faster lenses, but if only one of these is in the budget, I suggest a body upgrade.
09-27-2020, 08:20 AM - 1 Like   #3
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I agree with @UncleVanya - a new body will be a significant improvement, with better AF and better low-light performance.
09-27-2020, 09:09 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
I agree with @UncleVanya - a new body will be a significant improvement, with better AF and better low-light performance.
what he said



useful charts to review when considering Pentax Lenses and Camera bodies:

QuoteQuote:
Pentax K-Mount Lens Series Explained: The differences between various Pentax lens series

In a nutshell
There are several series of Pentax K-mount lenses; the ones currently being produced include the DA (digital), DA L (cheap digital kit), D FA (full-frame, digital optimized), and FA (full-frame) series. While all Pentax K-mount lenses ever produced are compatible with all current Pentax DSLRs (in some cases with restrictions in that not all exposure modes of the camera are supported by old lenses), there are significant differences between each lens series and each has different features. Furthermore some of the newer lenses do not work with older cameras. We'll be exploring the differences between the various K-mount series lenses in this article. Read more about specific K-mount lens/camera compatibility here.
The DLSR designation below encompasses the mirror-less K-01
.

Pentax K-Mount Lenses Explained: The differences between various Pentax lens series

QuoteQuote:
Pentax K-mount Lens Compatibility Chart
Copyright 2006-2020 Mosphotos.com. All rights reserved.

Pentax bayonet lenses labeled "SMC Pentax" are referred to as "K" lenses in the table below. Other Pentax bayonet lenses have the lens designation as a part of their name as in "SMC Pentax-FA".
Note that "star" lenses work like their "non-star" counterparts unless they are singled out in the table below. So for compatibility of a DA* lens which is not singled out, look under DA lenses, etc.
Exceptions:
FA and F "soft" lenses behave like M lenses in terms of metering.
The Pentax K-mount Camera Lens Compatibility Chart


Last edited by aslyfox; 09-27-2020 at 09:29 AM.
09-27-2020, 09:33 AM   #5
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Isn’t the KM a film camera?
09-27-2020, 09:36 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kozlok Quote
Isnít the KM a film camera?
And a digital...
Pentax K-m/K2000 - Pentax K-mount DSLRs - Pentax Camera Reviews and Specifications

Given the autofocus lens I assume it's the digital body.
09-27-2020, 09:53 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Thekillerqueen Quote
I have a Pentax KM with a Tamron Aspherical AF 28-200mm lens.

I am looking to upgrade the lens as its now about 15 years old, has marks on it and really suffers taking photos in low light (images end up grainy)!
Grain in digital is a function of using high ISO. Higher ISO means using less light to form your image, which makes noise more pronounced. That being said, there are very few low light scenarios where grain doesn't have to be addressed. Some good noise reduction software is recommended if you shoot a lot of low light.

The FA 28-200 is one of the worst Pentax lens ever made. I have one, it makes a nice body cap for my ME. It's hard to imagine you'd find a lens that's worse.

I'd look in the lens database, any F or FA or DA (screw mount) lens will do. Check the lens ratings, find the highest rated lens that gives you a zoom range you can live with. A DA 18-55 and DA 55-300 combo is your best cheapest option, It won't solve your slow aperture problem but it will be considerably sharper.

Since the problem is noise, a faster lens like the FA 28-70 ƒ4 might be your best option but the FA* 28-70 2.8 might be even better, if you can find one fr a good price. Match it with an F 70-210.

Last edited by normhead; 09-27-2020 at 10:23 AM.
09-27-2020, 10:12 AM   #8
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As others have said, updating the camera for a less grainy high ISO would be a good choice, and a used K5II should cost less than half your budget.
As for your advice for a lens to replace the 28-200, I will make the seemingly odd recommandation for a used Tamron 28-75 2.8. I say used because they don't make them anymore in K mount. If you can live with the fact that the AF of the lens makes noise, it's really a good lens. The constant 2.8 aperture means you won't need to push ISO as much. I got mine 5 years ago for about 300 euros.


Last edited by chessov; 09-27-2020 at 04:47 PM.
09-27-2020, 12:40 PM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Thekillerqueen Quote
I have a Pentax KM with a Tamron Aspherical AF 28-200mm lens.
Are there any AF lenses , with a better zoom (also important), for under £500 that you can recommend?
Agreed with previous post responses.

When you look back at your best images, your "keepers", what focal length were they shot at? No pattern? So some were 28mm wide, 35mm, 50mm, 90mm, 135mm, 150mm, and 200mm? If so, then yes, the best low light solutions would either be upgrading your camera for better ISO performance.

If, however, you find a majority of your shots are at the extremes (28mm and 200mm, with only a few in the middle), then upgrading to a wide angle and telephoto prime will give you larger apertures and more light hitting your sensor.
09-27-2020, 01:31 PM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Thekillerqueen Quote
I have a Pentax KM with a Tamron Aspherical AF 28-200mm lens.

I am looking to upgrade the lens as its now about 15 years old, has marks on it and really suffers taking photos in low light (images end up grainy)

Are there any AF lenses , with a better zoom (also important), for under £500 that you can recommend?

Thanks!
You are in desperate need of a new body.
09-27-2020, 02:25 PM - 1 Like   #11
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I'd agree that the best course is to upgrade the body.

One of the big changes in each generation of Pentax DSLRs has been better low light performance. When I went from the 6mp K100D Super to the 16mp K-30 it was a revelation. The 24mp sensor in the K-3 wasn't quite such a jump, but the KP was another big jump. A KP or K-70 would give you two or three stops better performance - 3200 ISO is really useable, and you can go higher on occasions.

@Normhead makes a good point about noise reduction software. There is plenty of high quality software out there now. Topaz is a popular option.

If you rely on faster (ie wider aperture) lenses to get more light, the lenses will generally be larger, heavier and more expensive. These days slower, variable aperture lenses (e.g. DA 16-85, DA 55-300 PLM) are high quality and comparatively light weight. These lenses can be used effectively with modern bodies that allow for shooting at higher ISOs.

For 500 pounds, you should be able to get a K-70. I'd suggest looking for a bundle with a DA 18-135. It would be worth stretching your budget for this if possible. If you can live with a smaller focal range, there are plenty of other options of course. If you want a wide-aperture lens to pair with it (e.g. for portraits with short depth of field), look for an older prime at f2.8 or faster. For example there are plenty of good affordable 28mm, 35mm and 50mm primes that would fit the bill.

You haven't said what sort of shooting you do in low light. If it is indoors, I'd suggest learning more about flash photography - there are easy, cheap and effective ways to get good images using flash, either by bouncing it off the ceiling or walls or by using a "flag" to direct the flash beam so that it reflects onto the subject in a diffuse and flattering way. Have a look at some of Neil van Niekerk's video for ideas about this: ? Flash Photography Techniques - Tangents There are several good cheap flash units that could meet your needs. (Post a separate question in the flash section if you want more advice about this.)

If you are shooting landscapes/architecture in low light, the first answer is to use a tripod and slow shutter speeds.

I see from your previous posts that you have an interest in wildlife photography. If that is the situation you have in mind, the answer is a little more complex. Definitely go for the body upgrade (modern bodies are much much better for wildlife), but the lens issue is more difficult.For wildlife you need longer lenses - 300mm is a starting point. Here you have to choose. The entry point for an affordable long lens with autofocus is one of the xx-300mm zooms, the best of which is the DA 55-300 f4.5-6.3 PLM (for which you need a more recent camera than the K-m). It's a good lens, but only f6.3 at 300mm. In low light, that means high ISO and/or slow shutter speeds, or adding flash (yes, this can work for wildlife too, but if you use too much you will get poor results). A longer lens option like the Sigma 50-500 or 150-500 is big and heavy; it has more reach but still slow aperture. Beyond that, forget about the 500 pound budget. If you want a wider aperture, you will need something like a DA*300mm f4, which is more expensive and heavier than the xx-300 zooms, but not a bad compromise. Or the DFA 150-450 which is bigger and more expensive again. There are long f2.8 lenses, but they are very heavy (and sometimes very expensive). There is no free lunch here. Have a look at the long lens thread (https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/122-lens-clubs/55946-300mm-plus-lens-clu...ng-lenses.html) and you will see every possible option that people have tried.

Last edited by Des; 09-27-2020 at 02:44 PM.
09-27-2020, 03:32 PM   #12
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I agree with others regarding a new body. The K-5 IIs would bring many upgrades for you in terms of far better controls, very good low light performance, and much better all-around quality imaging. Get one in fine condition with a lower shutter release count. It is one of the better flagship models and thus has a top-flight durable build quality.

Your lens at 28mm has no wide angle capability. Go for a DA 18-135mm- better focal length range, far better autofocus, and better image quality. it would not operate with the KM, which has no contacts for this advanced autofocus lens.
09-27-2020, 04:15 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikesbike Quote
Go for a DA 18-135mm- better focal length range, far better autofocus, and better image quality. it would not operate with the KM, which has no contacts for this advanced autofocus lens.
I think it would work with the K-m (as distinct from KM, which is a film camera). KAF2 is sufficient for a DC motor lens. What won't work would be a KAF4 lens, like the DA 55-300 PLM. It doesn't work (with aperture control) on the K-5 series either; requires a K-50 or later.

Last edited by Des; 09-27-2020 at 04:47 PM.
09-27-2020, 04:24 PM - 1 Like   #14
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https://www.pentaxforums.com/compatibility/Pentax+K-m%2FK2000/SMC+Pentax-DA+...5BIF%5D+DC+WR/

K-m and DA 18-135 are fully compatible.
09-27-2020, 05:28 PM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
that is a great tool for sure

the info on the combination can also be found here:

https://www.mosphotos.com/PentaxLensCompatibility.html
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