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02-13-2009, 07:46 AM   #1
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Long prime to complement DA*50-135? Voitlander 180?

Akin to jfsavage's thread, I've decided to take the approach of DA*50-135 as a long lens, but want an option for occasional longer reach.

While I'm amazed how well early testing suggests my humble Promaster 1.7 TC will work, I'm still determined one long prime is the way to augment. In fact, I have a WTB here https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/wanted-items/50701-alternative-new-da-200-f2-8-canada.html

I'm strongly leaning towards a Voigtlander 180 f/4 APO-Lanthar, as I'm not shy about MF, reviews are fantastic, it's small enough to pack, cheaper than a DA*200 and I'm finding (with great difficulty) a couple shots at actually buying one.

Would people agree that this is a good match? Are there other primes (or hell, zooms) that can compete?

(DA*200 and Sigma 180 macro both seem pricey and bulky for an occasional-use long lens added to the bag [and I've got macro covered]; Sigma 100-300 f/4 doubly so; I could just keep my Toki 80-200 f/2.8 where price is not the issue but size is rather much--and the zoom seems wasted when I'll only be using it for the long end).

I'd almost say the DA55-300 could be a contender (compact, cheaper than my other options, IQ exceeds consumer zooms), but I'd just use DA50-135 + TC sooner than buy that one, I think. Right?

02-13-2009, 08:34 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by David Whiteley Quote
Akin to jfsavage's thread, I've decided to take the approach of DA*50-135 as a long lens, but want an option for occasional longer reach.

While I'm amazed how well early testing suggests my humble Promaster 1.7 TC will work, I'm still determined one long prime is the way to augment. In fact, I have a WTB here https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/wanted-items/50701-alternative-new-da-200-f2-8-canada.html

I'm strongly leaning towards a Voigtlander 180 f/4 APO-Lanthar, as I'm not shy about MF, reviews are fantastic, it's small enough to pack, cheaper than a DA*200 and I'm finding (with great difficulty) a couple shots at actually buying one.

Would people agree that this is a good match? Are there other primes (or hell, zooms) that can compete?

(DA*200 and Sigma 180 macro both seem pricey and bulky for an occasional-use long lens added to the bag [and I've got macro covered]; Sigma 100-300 f/4 doubly so; I could just keep my Toki 80-200 f/2.8 where price is not the issue but size is rather much--and the zoom seems wasted when I'll only be using it for the long end).

I'd almost say the DA55-300 could be a contender (compact, cheaper than my other options, IQ exceeds consumer zooms), but I'd just use DA50-135 + TC sooner than buy that one, I think. Right?
I am a bit confused by your post and your previous link, as it seemed to me that price is a major consideration. That Voigtlander is gonna cost you, that's all I'm saying.

In the F4 category there is also the Pentax A200/f4 (non *) and M200/f4. I've never used the M200/4 but I own the A200/4 and I find it quite a nice lens. The A200 is the rarer of the 2. When I bought the lens I asked if it was a bad optic. The Pentax rep was in the shop and he said no. He said the reason it didn't sell well was because it came out just as tele-zooms became really popular.

In the F2.8 category there is the K200/2.5, the fastest 200mm prime Pentax ever made. It will cost about the same as a Voigtlander 180 but it's over a stop faster. I got my hands on this lens last Fall and it is a gorgeous optic. I don't understand why it doesn't command a higher price. Perhaps because it isn't well known or common? It is really a * lens at a non-star price.

The FA*200/2.8 is also coming down in price. That's also a sharp, brilliant lens.

Don't forget the F2.8 primes will be at least double in size and weight as the F4's.
02-13-2009, 09:42 AM   #3
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Where is the Voit180 cheaper than the DA*200?
02-13-2009, 09:57 AM   #4
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everywhere? it only sold for ~$349 new

02-13-2009, 10:03 AM   #5
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I am (was? damn it, now I'm gathering I was wrong) hoping for used Voit at $400--e.g. I swear to god $400 was the price (deleted now) from Kelly's clearance thread, (I was 2nd in line but I gather it's now sold to Roentarre). But based on that I had hoped my two leads would pan out to an option either close to that or at least beating a DA*. Maybe I'm dreaming that one of these will come through in that range.

Don't know of any DA*200's used; new price I'm seeing is twice that. If my dreams of a Voigt anywhere around $400 are shattered, it may be back to the drawing board...

The F/4 was a compromise I was ready to make for that lens, but if not that then I'd hope for a faster, and indeed the K 200/2.5 sounds great--but can any be found? And is there another alternative that gives me A contacts, goes cheaper than a DA*, but beats the slow-speed alternatives suggested by tanq78?
02-13-2009, 10:49 AM   #6
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Hey, what part of "buy it" do you not understand?

QuoteOriginally posted by David Whiteley Quote
I swear to god $400 was the price (deleted now) from Kelly's clearance thread
It was--I remember that too. I guess it's a matter of finding one.

I do like the SMC Takumar 200/4 as a cheapie!
02-13-2009, 11:49 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by David Whiteley Quote
I am (was? damn it, now I'm gathering I was wrong) hoping for used Voit at $400--e.g. I swear to god $400 was the price (deleted now) from Kelly's clearance thread, (I was 2nd in line but I gather it's now sold to Roentarre). But based on that I had hoped my two leads would pan out to an option either close to that or at least beating a DA*. Maybe I'm dreaming that one of these will come through in that range.

Don't know of any DA*200's used; new price I'm seeing is twice that. If my dreams of a Voigt anywhere around $400 are shattered, it may be back to the drawing board...

The F/4 was a compromise I was ready to make for that lens, but if not that then I'd hope for a faster, and indeed the K 200/2.5 sounds great--but can any be found? And is there another alternative that gives me A contacts, goes cheaper than a DA*, but beats the slow-speed alternatives suggested by tanq78?
I think Kelly was just being nice when he put up that $400 price. It doesn't mean you can't get a good deal, it just means the seller has to be nice to you. I recently sold my collector condition K50/1.2 to another forum member for below market price as my good deed of the day.

Honestly, a clean Voigt 180 will probably run you close to US$475-500. There's one on flea-Bay right now for US$525 + shipping. Translated to home currency at a spot 1.25x, it becomes CAD$600-625. And that's about where I think the K200/2.5 should sell for.

If the Canadian dollar was at par, buying a VL180 for US$500 is an easy decision.

There is nothing wrong with the A200/4 and it will be half the price of the VL180. Plus it has the handy dandy built in lens hood.
02-13-2009, 11:56 AM   #8
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confused

I don't understand why anyone is looking to add a 150-200 mm lens as something with extra reach for the 50-135, why not a 300mm?

200 is not enough of an improvement, you can just crop to get the same without loss of resolution.

02-13-2009, 12:34 PM   #9
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Go with the best

David
I have the DA* 50-135mm. Itís a very good lens. I use it for my professional work shooting corporate events. Once you get used to what that lens delivers, it is difficult using inferior optics for longer range shooting. I would assume the Voigtlander 180mm is outstandingóthe Voigtlander 125mm is right at the top of my lens heapóbut I would prefer the longer reach of a 200mm or even a 300mm.

I would recommend you saving your money for a top-shelf lens. I worked through the second-and-third tier lens circuit a few years ago. When you truly need those focal lengths, it is often because you are in a special situation. To me the cost of a great optic is worth it. Lifeís too short to go back.

I own the A* 200mm f. 2.8 and turn down inflated offers regularly. Shots from the DA* 200mm look a bit sharper, but I like the color rendition of the older lens. So I would recommend you consider the DA* 200mm or the 300mm. And that Sigma 100-300mm f4 I would put right up there as well. Most of these lenses are bulky, but thatís part of the reality of an excellent lens.

M
02-13-2009, 01:55 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by tranq78 Quote
I think Kelly was just being nice when he put up that $400 price. It doesn't mean you can't get a good deal, it just means the seller has to be nice to you. I recently sold my collector condition K50/1.2 to another forum member for below market price as my good deed of the day.

Honestly, a clean Voigt 180 will probably run you close to US$475-500. There's one on flea-Bay right now for US$525 + shipping. Translated to home currency at a spot 1.25x, it becomes CAD$600-625. And that's about where I think the K200/2.5 should sell for.

If the Canadian dollar was at par, buying a VL180 for US$500 is an easy decision.

There is nothing wrong with the A200/4 and it will be half the price of the VL180. Plus it has the handy dandy built in lens hood.
I think you'd be able to find one for $400 US again, but the wait might kill you. I looked at Kelly's other prices, and they were all about 80% of retail, a decent markdown. I don't think he'd just mark one down on super-special and not make a note of it .

I'm not sure an eBay auction from Hong Kong (home of the $1100 31 ltd!) is a better way of determining value than past posts in the marketplace, but maybe as the item gets more and more rare it'll creep up.
02-13-2009, 03:32 PM   #11
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Thanks to everyone for feedback thus far.

QuoteOriginally posted by farfisa Quote
Hey, what part of "buy it" do you not understand?
Well, nebulous emails about one existing, perhaps being available, but no solid price that I can say "yes, done, send it" to are not as simple as that.

QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I don't understand why anyone is looking to add a 150-200 mm lens as something with extra reach for the 50-135, why not a 300mm?
Yeah, I'm tempted to agree. I guess I figured a 200 was more the size & weight I wanted (I'm switching from Toki 80-200 into DA50-135 + long prime due to size, as I wasn't mounting the Toki or keeping it on because I found it unwieldy; though this is more of an issue with the DA50-135 as more "long walkabout" sized than a 70/80-200 is; it's less of an issue with a long prime. Initially I was thinking 2.8. I figured on those very rare instances I wanted more reach than 200, I'd TC it (or crop). The VL 180 at f/4 would be fine on its own but would definitely suffer the loss of light for the TC extention option...

A*300 f/4? I seem to recall that I missed a couple sales of those in the $600-ish range not long ago. 50% more than I hoped to pay for the VL 180, and >50% heavier... The FA* 300/4.5 is heavier still, much longer (over twice the size of the VL 180) and price? availability?

QuoteOriginally posted by Miguel Quote
Once you get used to what that lens delivers, it is difficult using inferior optics for longer range shooting. [...] I would prefer the longer reach of a 200mm or even a 300mm. [...] So I would recommend you consider the DA* 200mm or the 300mm. And that Sigma 100-300mm f4 I would put right up there as well. Most of these lenses are bulky, but thatís part of the reality of an excellent lens.

M
For me, I'm trying to balance being addicted to the better optics & not compromising for the occasional long shot, with not wanting to invest either the money or the sheer damn physical size on a lens I know I will only use occasionally. I find it hard to commit to spending most (on a lens-by-lens basis) on the lens I will probably use the least. But I also don't want to have those rare special shots where the reach was needed undermined by having resorted to my crappy old Sigma 70-300 because I didn't get a long lens to match the rest.

Now, if I could just find a used 250 f/3.5, that's the lens I'm looking for for size, sufficient reach over a DA50-135, portability. In that context, the VL 180 is a bit of a compromise for *some* of my priorities but still seems to give me the best balance (esp. if I can get a sale ~$400) of competing concerns of focal length, size, IQ, and a price I can justify for the use I'll get from it.

But I'll definitely be reviewing 300 options (models, pricing & the key--availability) based on the feedback here. Wouldn't say "no" to further thoughts either, so don't feel like the thread is closed & discussion over!
02-13-2009, 04:20 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by David Whiteley Quote
I am (was? damn it, now I'm gathering I was wrong) hoping for used Voit at $400--e.g. I swear to god $400 was the price (deleted now) from Kelly's clearance thread, (I was 2nd in line but I gather it's now sold to Roentarre). But based on that I had hoped my two leads would pan out to an option either close to that or at least beating a DA*. Maybe I'm dreaming that one of these will come through in that range.

Don't know of any DA*200's used; new price I'm seeing is twice that. If my dreams of a Voigt anywhere around $400 are shattered, it may be back to the drawing board...

The F/4 was a compromise I was ready to make for that lens, but if not that then I'd hope for a faster, and indeed the K 200/2.5 sounds great--but can any be found? And is there another alternative that gives me A contacts, goes cheaper than a DA*, but beats the slow-speed alternatives suggested by tanq78?
I have a used Da* 200mm for sale on eBay right now.
02-13-2009, 04:39 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by David Whiteley Quote
A*300 f/4? 50% more than I hoped to pay for the VL 180, and >50% heavier.
You have some seriously demanding size and weight requirements. The A*300/F4 is tiny, unbelievably so. And it's 1/2 a stop faster than the FA*300/F4.5. It's got a built in lens hood. It is heavy because it is solid metal and glass. It's the take-anywhere 300mm prime because it is simply so compact that you may as well put it in the camera bag.

The VL180 is no longer being offered in Pentax K/A mount. Unless Cosina starts making them again, this means that prices on good used copies will be rising. New VL180's in Nikon mount are selling for US$525.


QuoteOriginally posted by David Whiteley Quote
A*300 f/4? 50% more than I hoped to pay for the VL 180, and >50% heavier... The FA* 300/4.5 is heavier still, much longer (over twice the size of the VL 180) and price? availability?
When I owned the FA*300/4.5 I didn't use it much because the lack of a tripod mount drove me batty (now sold to another forum member). But whenever I did I usually ended up getting the results printed out on 8x10 photos. The sharpness, colors, and contrast of the F*/FA* lenses can make your jaw hit the floor in amazement.
02-13-2009, 04:56 PM   #14
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Yeah, I should relax about size. As I say, it was more an issue with walk-aroundable-ness which doesn't really apply to one long telephoto. But it's a factor.

Another way to frame this, more specifically to me, is:

Let's suppose I can secure a sale of a VL 180 for ~$400, and that's about as much as I'm wanting to spend on a long tele supplement, and that no 300's or other deals on quality 200's are on the horizon (does anyone know otherwise). Is the VL (given rarity, that this would be a good price, and in spite of short reach) the one lens I should pick up now (and maybe contemplate a 300 later)? Or are 300's within acceptable extention of my price common enough that I should suck it up on size & extra cost & wait for an A* or FA* 300 & pounce on that?

(He struggles to remember an FA*300 for sale, and what current pricing might be like...)
02-13-2009, 04:56 PM   #15
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I still don't get it. why carry the extra weight of a 180mm F2.8 which gives you almost nothing.

If you are going to carry extra weight, get a 300 F4, ANY 300 F4. My old SMC 300 F4 is a lot lighter than my 70-200 F2.8 sigma, even though they are about the same physical size.
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