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12-31-2008, 03:42 PM   #1
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Alternatives to Pentax DA* 50-135mm f/2.8

I own the Pentax DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 and I have been loving it though I have few moments that I want to depart with it due to lack of funding. I almost sold it before xmas and I am fortunate to have kept my Golden Charm in my gear.


Pentax DA* 50-135mm f/2.8


My Golden Charm








f/4.0, iso 1600, 70mm, with K20D
user error in auto-iso






I will follow up with some of the inexpensive alternatives that I have used and considered in its focal range. Please share the alternatives that you know for the DA* 50-135 that you have thought about.

And here are some of my unusual whining about the lens, all are little things that one can forget with the great IQ from the lens
  • the lens is heavy. Heavy is a relative term but I find it too heavy to carry on backpack while I am using a shorter zoom not needing a longer reach
  • the lens hood provides good protection but way too big when I hold the camera and lens over my shoulder with hood attached
  • for a $700 lens, I find the lens cap the worst that I have used especially when the hood is mounted. I find myself flipping the lens cap frequently as the groove in the cap is narrow
  • the lens is expensive but it does cover few primes as in 50mm, 85mm and 135mm for me, it is like 3 in 1 but still expensive for a single zoom lens
  • close focusing can be better



Last edited by hinman; 01-01-2009 at 09:02 AM.
12-31-2008, 03:59 PM   #2
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umm...77ltd and your feet?

I can't imagine better performance from any other zoom through this range. And anything with decent speed and iq will be heavy. No free lunch.

I never use the hood on mine. I hate hoods, except for the pull-out version on the 77 and 35ltd, and the small screw-on for the 43. I view lens flare as a feature, not a bug. Sometimes. Except when I don't.
12-31-2008, 04:17 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by nostatic Quote
umm...77ltd and your feet?

I can't imagine better performance from any other zoom through this range. And anything with decent speed and iq will be heavy. No free lunch.

I never use the hood on mine. I hate hoods, except for the pull-out version on the 77 and 35ltd, and the small screw-on for the 43. I view lens flare as a feature, not a bug. Sometimes. Except when I don't.
Yes, the 77mm would be the first one to consider. But I will need to bring in a 77mm and 135mm prime to fill its shoe.

Here is a picture of two choices that I like to share. Both alternatives are MF zoom lens



From left to right

1. Vivitar 70-150mm f/3.8 from Kiron
  • I find this Kiron zoom charming, especially with two touch zoom
  • sharpness is quite good
  • price is dirt cheap in the 50 or lower
  • f/3.8 constant throughout the range
  • closeup on flowers is decent
  • MF is the drawback if you are very much into AF
  • Stop-down metering is another extra step you have to do on this manual K lens, Av mode can't be used.


2. Pentax DA* 50-135mm f/2.8
  • this is the best choice
  • money and bulkiness can be a concern

3. Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f/2.8-4.0 from Komine
  • This is the best zoom in the Vivitar Series 1 zoom series
  • It does not cover the 50 to 70mm but it does have the usable range from 135mm to 210mm
  • It is still relative fast from 70mm to 135mm. I don't quite know where f/2.8 get bumped up.
  • This lens is about as heavy as the DA* zoom
  • The one touch zoom is the biggest gripe I have as focusing can alter the zoom position easily
  • This zoom has the 'A' setting, Av mode can be used reliably like any A lens
  • Close up is very pleasing at 1:2.5, better than the Kiron 70-150mm f/3.8
  • price-wise is still relative inexpensive around $160 in good condition
  • MF is the drawback if you are very much into AF

Last edited by hinman; 12-31-2008 at 04:37 PM.
12-31-2008, 04:24 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by hinman Quote
Yes, the 77mm would be the first one to consider. But I will need to bring in a 77mm and 135mm prime to fill its shoe.
how about 77 and a TC? I never use one, but certainly smaller/lighter than a 135.

12-31-2008, 04:35 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by nostatic Quote
how about 77 and a TC? I never use one, but certainly smaller/lighter than a 135.
I have not thought about that. Adding the TC will cut the speed for the lens by a full stop to 1.5 stop while gaining the extra focal length. I would experiment when I find a chance with Tamron 1.4x Pz-AF TC on the 77mm. I have another better TC with Pentax-F 1.7x AF TC but it will turn an AF lens into partial AF that only have AF when focal point is close in range to target.

Great suggestions.
12-31-2008, 06:04 PM   #6
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QuoteQuote:

1. Vivitar 70-150mm f/3.8 from Kiron
  • I find this Kiron zoom charming, especially with two touch zoom
  • sharpness is quite good
  • price is dirt cheap in the 50 or lower
  • f/3.8 constant throughout the range
  • closeup on flowers is decent
  • MF is the drawback if you are very much into AF
  • Stop-down metering is another extra step you have to do on this manual K lens, Av mode can't be used.
Some test shots from the Vivitar 70-150mm f/3.8 from Kiron




The cage wire blocks the view





Last edited by hinman; 12-31-2008 at 06:15 PM.
12-31-2008, 08:45 PM   #7
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Da 50-200

I think the DA 50-200 is worthy of consideration. You mention something for a backpack---it is small and feather light at 260 g
about a 1/3rd the weight of the 50-135. and the new DA L 50-200 is even lighter though apparently optically the same At 235G
it's ( 'L' model) weight matches that of the F 1/4 50mm 'normal' lens.
12-31-2008, 09:38 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by rvannatta Quote
I think the DA 50-200 is worthy of consideration. You mention something for a backpack---it is small and feather light at 260 g
about a 1/3rd the weight of the 50-135. and the new DA L 50-200 is even lighter though apparently optically the same At 235G
it's ( 'L' model) weight matches that of the F 1/4 50mm 'normal' lens.
Absolutely as DA 50-200mm is my favorite and lightest zoom that can serve well in good lighting. It is unfortunate that I have sold it already. I have been missing that zoom. It is the smallest and very dependable.

12-31-2008, 09:44 PM   #9
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Hey Hin
If you want the 50-200 i have one i have been thinking of selling since I got the DA55-300 let me know
01-01-2009, 08:09 AM   #10
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Hin,
How about a F70-210? It's small, solidly built, and has excellent IQ. Pricewise, it generally runs somewhere in the neighborhood of $200-225. It's AF, so you don't have to fool with focusing when you're trying to get kid pics. If you remember, I had one for a short time and liked it a lot. Here are a few I took with it:







HTH,
Heather
01-01-2009, 08:42 AM   #11
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How about the Pentax F 35-135mm? I have never used the F 35-135mm, but it has good reviews, see Pentax Lens Review Database - 35-135mm F3.5-4.5
01-06-2009, 05:49 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by xs400 Quote
How about the Pentax F 35-135mm? I have never used the F 35-135mm, but it has good reviews, see Pentax Lens Review Database - 35-135mm F3.5-4.5
I used that lens with Pentax F 35-135mm f/3.5-4.5 and I have a test photo set in flickr with K10D before I sold it to YJD in this forum. The lens is decent for about $100 but I can't recommend the lens fully as I prefer the handling and picture qualities out of my Pentax DA 50-200 f/4.0-5.6.

Last edited by hinman; 01-22-2009 at 01:14 PM.
01-06-2009, 05:52 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by hwblanks Quote
Hin,
How about a F70-210? It's small, solidly built, and has excellent IQ. Pricewise, it generally runs somewhere in the neighborhood of $200-225. It's AF, so you don't have to fool with focusing when you're trying to get kid pics. If you remember, I had one for a short time and liked it a lot. Here are a few I took with it:

HTH,
Heather
Thanks for the pointer, I will take note on this lens. But I think my past positive experience keep reminding me about DA 50-200, small and compact in traveling. I can't think of a better combination in taking just two lens with DA 21mm f/3.2 and DA 50-200mm f/4.0-5.6 for the role in traveling light.

Last edited by hinman; 01-06-2009 at 06:14 PM.
01-06-2009, 06:20 PM   #14
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Since you mentioned pairing the DA21 with a 50-200, I'm also thinking along similar lines, as I'm buying a DA21 off of another forum member, thinking that it will make a nice combo with the 55-300 for the light travel kit. I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on it.

Heather
01-06-2009, 06:38 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by hwblanks Quote
Since you mentioned pairing the DA21 with a 50-200, I'm also thinking along similar lines, as I'm buying a DA21 off of another forum member, thinking that it will make a nice combo with the 55-300 for the light travel kit. I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on it.

Heather
I know! But you sell you 35mm limited. I am shaking my LBA head and I am sure many will shake their heads when I post something in Marketplace.

I am sure you will miss that for the 35mm view. If I were you, I would keep 35mm limited and get the 21mm used. Anyway, there is no point in looking back. The combination of 21 and DA 55-300 will get you cover for most needs.

I know you don't like heavy lens, the DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 is quite heavy, but I have manage to overcome the weight issue with better backpack and neck strap.

Thanks,
Hin
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