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01-19-2009, 09:42 AM   #1
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Pentax 50-135 or Tamron 70-200 f2.8

Trying to decide between the Pentax 50-135 or the Tamron 70-200.

They're not priced that far apart and I wanted to see what you guys thought.
Maybe some of you have shot with both.

Thanks

01-19-2009, 09:59 AM   #2
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Those lenses serve a different purpose in my opinion. Can you tell us what you want to do with them (and maybe which lenses you already have).
01-19-2009, 10:03 AM   #3
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well i'm kinda just starting out.
the only lenses i have thus far are the Tamron 17-50 and the Pentax FA 50mm 1.4

I thought either of the two lenses would help complement the 17-50.

i'm not a sports photographer but i would bring my camera to sporting events and would do some landscape shots
01-19-2009, 11:01 AM   #4
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The DA* 50-135 is a fine lens. I don't think you can go wrong buying it, but at the range, it wouldn't be that good for pro sporting events.

01-19-2009, 11:15 AM   #5
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Landscapes?

DA*50-135 does landscapes...


Portraits?

DA*50-135 does portraits...


Street candids?

DA*50-135 does street candids...




Sports?

DA*50-135 does sports


01-19-2009, 11:15 AM   #6
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The difference would come down almost entirely to which focal length range worked better for you given your purposes. If you don't have a specific purpose in mind, you might question whether you really need either lens, or whether you'd be better off with something like the 55-300.

For me personally, I'd value the 50-70 range more than the 135-200 range, because that works for my type of photography. Sure, longer focal lengths are sometimes nice, but I seldom need f/2.8 in those situations, and I'm certainly not willing to carry around a lens that is basically twice as big and heavy to get it.
01-19-2009, 12:33 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by RonMexico Quote
Trying to decide between the Pentax 50-135 or the Tamron 70-200.

They're not priced that far apart and I wanted to see what you guys thought.
Maybe some of you have shot with both.

Thanks
It's a good question... I have both, and I'll give you my thoughts on the matter, but I'll say up front that if I could only keep one (wouldn't rule that out if the economy keeps on ) I'd keep the Tamron in a heartbeat and say bye bye to the DA*.

I primarily shoot landscapes and outdoor scenes (actually I primarily shoot snaps of my one year old boy toddling around) and for me the three real advantages to the DA* 50-135 for me are weather sealing, size, and SDM focusing, and the only one I really care about is wx. sealing.

The wx. sealing speaks for it's self if you are going to be in wet conditions, but with the Tamron being internal zoom and internal focus, I wouldn't worry too much about using it in light rain, mist, or snow (just uncovering it to shoot and then covering it again).

The size of the two is markedly different (check out this comparison by jsherman999). The Tamron (even with it's hood off) is an imposing cannon of a lens and tends to make people a bit nervous if pointed at them from close range. However if you have the room to maneuver, you can overcome this by using the 200mm end to shoot from farther away, they'll never know you're there. The *50-135 is less imposing (especially with the hood off).

SDM is nice because it's so quiet, people don't look up when you're sniping them (ok I guess "taking candid shots" is nicer than sniping), but I find that my Tamron focuses faster and locks focus much better than the 50-135. Another nice thing about SDM is the quick-shift focusing functionality which I do miss when I use the Tamron (of course the Sigma 70-200 features this and is another option).

Sharpness between my two lenses is comparable... maybe a slight edge to the Pentax at f/2.8, but both razors by f/3.5. Both have great color, and contrast (again the Tamron needs about f/3.5 to achieve it's full contrast potential), and I prefer the bokeh of the Tamron. The Pentax also doesn't focus close enough for my taste/style with a minimum focusing distance of 1 meter giving a magnification of 1:5.8, whereas the Tamron will focus to .95 meter, but at 200mm focal length gives a magnification of 1:3.1 (numbers from B&H specs.) Pentax always wins at flare control (in my experience), and this holds true with these lenses too, but the Tamron does a decent job of this.

The biggest difference for me though is the focal length range... For chasing my son around the yard, the 70mm minimum on the Tamron means I have to spend a lot of time getting farther away so I can fit him in frame whereas the 50mm end of the Pentax allows for closer shooting. Conversely, on a hike in the woods, I'll often want the reach that the 200mm will give me.

So to sum up... For me the Pentax really is a portrait lens which I'll also use outdoors in wet wx., whereas the Tamron is my go-to medium tele-zoom for landscapes and sports (if I ever were to shoot sports - which I don't as of yet). In my opinion, if the Tamron had HSM/SDM and pentax SMC coatings it could be rebadged as a the DA*70-200 and we could forget about that vaporware Pentax version which is due out any time.

Now, here's a scene with each lens to show why I prefer the 200mm potential for landscapes...

With the DA*50-135...


With the Tamron 70-200/2.8


Could I crop the first to achieve the second? For the screen yes, but for a 36x24 print (an extreme example I know), I doubt it would look as good.
01-19-2009, 01:32 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by RonMexico Quote
Trying to decide between the Pentax 50-135 or the Tamron 70-200.

They're not priced that far apart and I wanted to see what you guys thought.
Maybe some of you have shot with both.

Thanks
They're both said to be great lenses. I haven't tried the Tamron, but I used the Pentax and the Sigma 70-200 side by side in a shop. When I had just got my camera, I was absolutely sure to get a 70-200. But before even mounting them you'd notice a significant difference - weight. At that moment I was absolutely sure that I would never take the 70-200 with me on a longer walk. For my kind of shooting the Pentax felt much better, lighter and better balanced on the K10d. That of course is just my opinion.

Keep in mind that the Tamron is still around 200 gramms lighter than the Sigma. I think they are 1150 vs 1350 g, the Pentax is less than 800 (IIRC).

There are of course reasons to prefer a 70-200 for the Pentax, e.g. they are full frame lenses which the Pentax is not (just in case this should ever become relevant for Pentax DSLR users ...)

01-19-2009, 01:35 PM   #9
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Maxwell, great pictures.

Heliphoto, thanks for the comparison.

I am a pretty big guy so carrying around a hefty lens is not an issue for me. Sounds like both provide nice quality. I guess I'll have to weigh the benefit of the extra zoom.

Thank you guys
01-19-2009, 02:03 PM   #10
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Hi Ron,

I'm going to disagree with Josh. I don't own the Tamron, but have a Tokina 80-200/2.8 AT-X Pro AF2. My reply does not take specific IQ or features of the lenses into account for that reason. The size and weight are comparable though.

I'm primarily a tele shooter (birds), but I shoot events quite a lot, and the DA*50-135 is perfect as a long candids lens, especially when shooting indoors with an external flash. The whole package is a bit heavy, but about a lb less than it would be with a x0-200/2.8, which for me, is just way too much weight to be hauling up to my eye repeatedly over the course of a couple of hours. If you're a pretty big guy with a lot of upper body strength and endurance, this may not matter much -- I'm not. . . Don't get me wrong, I shoot primarily with a 5+ lb 300/2.8 so size an weight don't normally intimidate me, but a K20 with a relatively small and light Tamron 28-70/2.8 XR Di and an AF540FGZ gets heavy when shooting an event -- add a couple of lbs to that with a 70-200/2.8, and it's just unmanageable for me.

I think that those who would choose the x0-200/2.8 would more likely be a wide to normal shooter who wants the ability to use the lens as a fast long tele (sometimes with TCs). This type of shooter probably has a collection of wide and normal primes and will use the x0-200 as their primary tele. This is opposed to a tele shooter who wants a short tele to long portrait lens for people shooting. and has a collection of tele primes to cover the longer FLS. Neither of these approaches is "wrong", they each just place more importance on the FL range that they primarily shoot at. I'm obviously in the latter camp, with high quality zooms covering 10mm-135mm, and the best primes I can afford at 180mm-500mm (and longer with TCs).

For my style of shooting, I'd give up the 70/80-200/2.8 without much thought and keep the 50-135. . . but that's just me. . .

Scott
01-19-2009, 03:12 PM   #11
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I say Sigma 50-150mm f2.8 HSM fo sho'! If you need faster AF and better reach and don't worry about rain on your parade it's da shizzle! hehe
01-19-2009, 03:26 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Shashinki Quote
I say Sigma 50-150mm f2.8 HSM fo sho'! If you need faster AF and better reach and don't worry about rain on your parade it's da shizzle! hehe
Could you post some pictures taken with it? I'm interested in that one too. (Seem's like I'm interested in any lens on the market somehow ... could it be a case of LBA?)
01-19-2009, 03:36 PM   #13
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I haven't got it myself (I'm more of a prime guy) But I might have seen one hiding around the store. If I get the time to take if for a spin later this week I will post some pics. I did try it earlier, but only indoors, so I haven't got a real impression of what it can do yet. (Canon and Nikon mount specimen look really promising though! That's why I'm recommending this one)
01-19-2009, 07:53 PM   #14
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Avoid the Pentax

It seems as though the 16-50mm and the 50-135mm lenses are starting to fail in significant numbers after a year or so. Likely the cheap SDM micro motors.
01-19-2009, 09:00 PM   #15
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Where's your evidence of these failures Todd? I haven't heard anything about them...
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