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12-02-2008, 02:02 PM   #1
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Upgrading that 18-55.

While I am huge fan of prime lenses and have consistently stuck with a 35, 50, and 77 for photography I always carried the 18-55 on hikes and such since carrying a backpack of lenses is not an option when you need to take supplies.

As ski season approaches I want something to shoot with that would have some zoom. (I am not looking for a big zoom like 200+, though it would be nice it is not important at all)

I am looking to replace the 18-55 with something that will give me a bit crisper and more flexible pictures.

I realize that the DA* 16-50 is a natural, but I don't want to get stuck with a bad lens, since their QC problems are all over the net.

I like the specs and the price on the 28-75 2.8 from Tamron but have never used that brand for zoom and having read the reviews am not sure if it would outperform the DA18-55. I like the 90mm, just never really use it.


What would you guys suggest? I am open to suggestions, I have read about every review I could get my hands on.

Just need a walk around lens for those winter hikes...

12-02-2008, 02:28 PM   #2
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Welcome. There really have been a lot of posts on this topic, and there is no consensus, that's for sure. But off the top of my head, here are some of the most recommended options for you to consider: Sigma or Pentax 17-70mm, Tamron 17-50mm, Pentax 16-45mm or 16-50mm, Sigma 24-60mm or 24-70mm, and Tamron 28-75mm. These are all very good lenses, but you'll need to consider what focal length is most appealing to you, do you want more on the wide end or long end, do you want a fast lens (several of these are constant f2.8, while others are not), etc. I frankly love my Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 for general use, but I still need to keep around one of the wide angle zooms for versatility (in my case, the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8). Another person may sacrifice the speed, and just go for one of the 17-70mm lenses to cover the wide end and long end nicely. The Sigma 17-70mm in particular is very highly regarded. Good luck.
12-02-2008, 02:46 PM   #3
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Sigma 17-70 for me

I sold my K100D and 18-55 to a friend, and kept the Sigma 17-70. It can produce some vignetting and a bit of flare, but those can be avoided. Otherwise, it is a great lens
12-02-2008, 03:17 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by chlen Quote
I like the specs and the price on the 28-75 2.8 from Tamron but have never used that brand for zoom and having read the reviews am not sure if it would outperform the DA18-55.
Well, it does f/2.8, which is nice - but probably unnecessary for hiking? Stopped down to f/8 or more, which is where you'd probably be most of the time, it's hard to image there being enough difference to be worthwhile. And it's a lot bigger and heavier than the 18-55, which isn't great for hiking. Personally, if I were you I'd just use the 18-55 - stopped down to f/8 it is quite excellent - and the 77 for when you want something more telephoto. Or get a longer telephoto like 50-200 or 55-300 or a prime like a 100 or 135 to use instead of the 77 (which seems to be in a bit of no-man's lands as a hiking focal length, it seems to me).

12-02-2008, 03:21 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffrey r Quote
and just go for one of the 17-70mm lenses to cover the wide end and long end nicely. The Sigma 17-70mm in particular is very highly regarded. Good luck.
I have the Sigma 17-70 as well and it is a very versatile lens and is an excellent and reasonably priced upgrade path over the kit lens. My dilemma at the moment is whether or not to keep the 17-70 as I've just ordered the Tamron 17-50 as I need the speed more than the extra tele at this time. But the 17-70 is just so darned convenient for a walkaround lens when you want to travel light. My favorite lens on my PZ-1p used to the FA28-105 PZ so the 17-70 feels so comfortable to me as an everyday lens.

Last edited by jglover; 12-02-2008 at 03:58 PM. Reason: Fixed my Tamron error!
12-02-2008, 03:35 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by chlen Quote
I realize that the DA* 16-50 is a natural, but I don't want to get stuck with a bad lens, since their QC problems are all over the net.
I recently bought one, to perform the exact upgrade you're describing. I'm pretty pleased with it, and mine seems to be okay.

I would imagine that for every unhappy person posting on the net, there are quite a few happy users out there.

The downsides are that it's not a small lens, by any means, and it's reasonably heavy too.
12-02-2008, 03:39 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jglover Quote
I've just ordered the Tamron 16-50
Did you mean the Pentax 16-50, or Tamron 17-50?
12-02-2008, 03:51 PM   #8
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I goofed, it's the Tamron lens, 17-50/2.8.....all those numbers and trying to keep it all straight!

12-02-2008, 04:08 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by jglover Quote
I goofed, it's the Tamron lens, 17-50/2.8.....all those numbers and trying to keep it all straight!
No worries--I have one of those on the way to me as well, from Prodigital on ebay. By all accounts, it should be a very nice, fast wide angle zoom. Very affordable as well.
12-02-2008, 04:17 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffrey r Quote
By all accounts, it should be a very nice, fast wide angle zoom. Very affordable as well.
I had the Tamron 28-75/2.8 and loved it but I needed something wider. I'm hoping the 17-50 will be just as sharp as my 28-75 wide open as I'm shooting a lot for my son's Cub Scout Pack and most of that is indoors with not the best of light, so I need the speed and the wider angle as I prefer not to use flash. I'm uncomfortable with my shoe mounted flash and bunch of 7-11 year old boys runining around me!
12-02-2008, 08:14 PM   #11
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Ok so basically to replace my 18-55 I have concluded to the Sigma 17-70 and the Tamron 17-50

The sigma is said to have aluminum construction and I like nice and heavy it has the better range. Both are metal mounts no bull there and both have good reviews and are on the same price range. Looks like I am going to grab the Sigma as they both seem to perform similarly. Also by not spending the 500+ to get the DA* 16-50 I can afford the DA*50-135.

When I go out skiing or hiking I bring my small camera bag so bringing prime lenses is not an option the bad has only one extra lens space and the 50 1.4 is going in there.

What do you guys think, is this reasonable...?
12-02-2008, 08:45 PM   #12
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Yes, the 17-70 is probably the better choice. Outdoors you probably will not miss the extra stop the Tamron offers and the extra reach of the 17-70 will probably come in handy for skiing/hiking shots. And yes, the 17-70 is a relatively big and heavy lens compared to the kit lens!
12-03-2008, 11:34 AM   #13
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There is also the sigma 18-50 EX how does that stack to the Tamrom 17-50 in replacing the original kit lens. Both have very similar specs and prices, is the quality of one better then the other?

I have decided not to go nuts about the reach of the 17-70 and instead get a kit replacement and when I get my tax return put that money towards the DA*50-135.
12-03-2008, 02:45 PM   #14
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(Since it seems on-topic, I was wondering if anyone had any particular observations on the Tamron 17-50 and Sigma 18-50 2.8s they'd like to share. Reviews on the latter are sparse here)

I'm thinking I'll bypass the kit lens entirely, and these don't seem like a bad way to get my wide-for-digital in. (Part of my rationale here is that I favor a bit of a longer range of focal lengths, but that's easier to improvise, till I save a while for something really good in that vein.) The Sigma's a pretty good deal, if it gives acceptable results (Acceptable here might be 'Like the Kit Lens, But Faster' (preferably better, of course) ...and I can't lay hands to the apparently-sharper Tammie for the price I'd like.

So, thoughts? Thought it might help.


(Wow, that would have been impressively-psychic if I'd looked in this window a few hours ago. )

Last edited by Ratmagiclady; 12-03-2008 at 02:47 PM. Reason: Hee.
12-03-2008, 03:07 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by jglover Quote
I have the Sigma 17-70 as well and it is a very versatile lens and is an excellent and reasonably priced upgrade path over the kit lens. ...the 17-70 is just so darned convenient for a walkaround lens when you want to travel light. My favorite lens... FA28-105 PZ ....
There's your answer right there.

You can spend $300 to $500 on a new lens and have all kinds of fun, but if you're takin' it onto the slopes wouldn't you rather risk an EXCELLENT lens you can replace for under $100? The color and sharpness of the 28-105mm is classic high quality Pentax for a fraction of the price. The 28-105 is permanently mounted on one of my K100Ds - it's that good. It's not as fast as the 17-70 but I prefer the color and 'depth' the pictures have when shot through a 28-105.

Be sure to nab a circular polarizer & neutral density filter for your winter activities.
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