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03-30-2007, 09:48 AM   #1
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Which lenses do I buy?!?!

So this is myself planning way ahead so I have plenty of time to test, try, and think it over because i actually buy the lens. Basically, here is what I want...

I want a telephoto for sure. At least zoom to 200, hopefully to 300. I've had my eyes on the Sigma APO 70-300 Macro, as seen here:
Sigma Zoom Telephoto 70-300mm f/4-5.6 APO DG Macro Autofocus Lens for Pentax AF (508109) -

I would love the macro feature as macro photography is one of my favorite types. But I was thinking I may be able to get a better macro shot with a shorter lens and probably a lot faster one, as well, but this may be a good lens for me...

So if you are understanding what I'm saying in circles you'd know I want a telephoto, I want macro, and I want a fast lens.

This would be 2 lenses, max. Right now I only have the 18-55 kit lens. This will be a summer purchase but I want plenty of time before I make the decision so I know I'm getting the right one...

Anyway, I like that telephoto, but what are your guys thoughts on this one:
Pentax SMCP-D FA 100mm f/2.8 Macro Autofocus Lens
or
Pentax Normal SMCP-D FA 50mm f/2.8 Macro Autofocus Lens

They have 1:1 mag, and they're very fast. Are they sharp and do they focus quickly? Also, can they really only shoot macro or could I just do a general landscape or portrait focus as well? Basically, do they only focus closely, or can they focus on anything?

Thanks in advance for any help!

03-30-2007, 10:30 AM   #2
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My recommendation is to get the Pentax 50-200 if you are happy @ 200 mm. If you need 300, the Sigma is a good bet.

On the macro, get the DFA 100. My understanding is yes, it will work as a standard mid-tele lens as well. Much better working distance with a 100 than a 50mm
03-30-2007, 10:46 AM   #3
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Pentax SMCP-D FA 100mm f/2.8 Macro Autofocus Lens

QuoteOriginally posted by Buschmaster Quote
So this is myself planning way ahead so I have plenty of time to test, try, and think it over because i actually buy the lens. Basically, here is what I want...

I want a telephoto for sure. At least zoom to 200, hopefully to 300. I've had my eyes on the Sigma APO 70-300 Macro, as seen here:
Sigma Zoom Telephoto 70-300mm f/4-5.6 APO DG Macro Autofocus Lens for Pentax AF (508109) -

I would love the macro feature as macro photography is one of my favorite types. But I was thinking I may be able to get a better macro shot with a shorter lens and probably a lot faster one, as well, but this may be a good lens for me...

So if you are understanding what I'm saying in circles you'd know I want a telephoto, I want macro, and I want a fast lens.

This would be 2 lenses, max. Right now I only have the 18-55 kit lens. This will be a summer purchase but I want plenty of time before I make the decision so I know I'm getting the right one...

Anyway, I like that telephoto, but what are your guys thoughts on this one:
Pentax SMCP-D FA 100mm f/2.8 Macro Autofocus Lens
or
Pentax Normal SMCP-D FA 50mm f/2.8 Macro Autofocus Lens

They have 1:1 mag, and they're very fast. Are they sharp and do they focus quickly? Also, can they really only shoot macro or could I just do a general landscape or portrait focus as well? Basically, do they only focus closely, or can they focus on anything?

Thanks in advance for any help!
Hello;

I own the Pentax SMCP-D FA 100mm f/2.8 Macro Autofocus Lens and it is so sweet for Macro shooting as well as a very fine telephoto lens. It focusses very quickly, the Bokeh is wonderful and it is excellent wide open. There would be no comparison what so ever between the Sigma and the Pentax. The Sigma is a very fine lens for the money as I did own one for quite some time as a light alternative to hauling around my 70-200 Monster. I sold it and replaced it with the Sigma 18-200 as my standard snap shot lens.

Ben
03-30-2007, 11:08 AM   #4
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Okay, so I am pretty set on the 100 macro, then. I thought it looked great! As I will have to wait it is kinda sad that I won't be able to save $100 on this lens. Assuming I get this one I won't want to spend a whole lot on a telephoto.

Looking at the 50-200 and the 70-300 here are the comparisons I'm drawing...

The 50-200 has advantages in that...
Its closest focus is 38" rather than 60"
It weighs half as much

The 70-300 has advantages in that...
It can zoom further
It has macro 1:2 as opposed to the Pentax 1:4.

They both stop down to f/4.

Can someone tell me other advantages/disadvantages to each?

Which lens can focus faster?

03-30-2007, 06:37 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Buschmaster Quote
Looking at the 50-200 and the 70-300 here are the comparisons I'm drawing...

The 50-200 has advantages in that...
Its closest focus is 38" rather than 60"
It weighs half as much

The 70-300 has advantages in that...
It can zoom further
It has macro 1:2 as opposed to the Pentax 1:4.

They both stop down to f/4.

Can someone tell me other advantages/disadvantages to each?

Which lens can focus faster?
I have both. The Pentax has slightly more contrast and is slightly sharper overall. Focusing speeds are about the same - slow.

Here are some tests:
At 100mm (Pentax on left)

http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q78/KylePix/Tests/PentaxVsSigma100mm.jpg

At 200mm
http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q78/KylePix/Tests/PentaxVsSigma.jpg

Another at 100mm (Pentax on top - focus on truck side mirror)
http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q78/KylePix/Tests/Ps100.jpg

And another at 200mm (Pentax on top)
http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q78/KylePix/Tests/ps200.jpg

At 300mm the Sigma is a tad softer still.

This is a "macro" shot with the Sigma. I think I could have gotten slightly closer, but not much.
http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q78/KylePix/Tests/061210-0865Coins3.jpg

Some people claim the Sigma is much sharper, and I have seen some pretty sharp shots - fairly close up. However, distant objects at the long end leave me saying ...."eh". I find I use the Sigma much less now that I have the Pentax. I still can recommend the Sigma if you will be at 300 a lot, or really want close focusing. It could just be a function the the reported QC issues with Sigma.
03-30-2007, 08:04 PM   #6
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Thanks! The Pentax does look better... Hm, maybe if I felt like I wanted to shoot longer than 200 often I'd just buy another longer lens. Otherwise, looks like the Pentax is superior.
03-30-2007, 08:23 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Buschmaster Quote
Thanks! The Pentax does look better... Hm, maybe if I felt like I wanted to shoot longer than 200 often I'd just buy another longer lens. Otherwise, looks like the Pentax is superior.
Especially if I understand you correctly and you're also getting the 100 macro. Then you don't need the additional macro capability in the zoom.

Finn
03-31-2007, 03:25 PM   #8
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I'd consider the SIgma 17-70mm

It's a great all around lens and takes very decent macros. Macros I took with it can be seen on this site- Home . It's the only macro I used! Otherwise I recommend the 50-200mm. I should be receiving my copy of the lens tomorrow! So excited!

03-31-2007, 04:32 PM   #9
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Wait to go with confusing me with decisions.

What does the Sigma 17-70 run?
03-31-2007, 07:28 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Buschmaster Quote
Wait to go with confusing me with decisions.

What does the Sigma 17-70 run?
by run you mean price?
I bought mine for 479 canadian dollars.
if you mean F stops wide open, zoomed in is 2.8 and zoomed out is 4.5

It is a great walk around lens... I have put mine down for a while for my SMC M 50mm 1.4 as I am enjoying low light photography.
once some colors appear outside the macro of the 17-70 can get you up very close... the only thing that usually stops a person from getting closer to a subject is the shadow the lens makes to stop the light from falling on the subject.
works well with flowers, plants, etc but wouldn't beat a true macro as you would be way to close for insects, etc.
I am finding with experence that at the longer end of the zoom if you use a K10 and your indoors without a flash (sports etc) it is usually and average of 1 stop underexposed. this might be just my lens, but all it take is a +3/4 compensation most times.

good luck

randy
03-31-2007, 07:58 PM   #11
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I just looked and noticed that the 100mm is waaay more than the 50mm. Plus with the 17-70 entering the discussion... this is tough.
03-31-2007, 10:49 PM   #12
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I own the DA 50-200, and just purchased a Tamron 70-300 (thanks Camerafind!). The 70-300 is a decent dual-purpose lens, covering long zoom and macro for a low price. If I had the cash, I wouldn't even consider it. I would buy a D-FA 100, and a faster zoom, possibly a Sigma 70-300 f4.

Having said that, if I could only have one of my current long zooms, I'd stick with my DA 50-200. Smaller, lighter, better PQ, Pentax quality (not that Sigma or Tamron are bad). As a bonus, camera manufacturer lenses tend to have better resale value.

Chris
04-02-2007, 07:32 PM   #13
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Just jumping in, a couple of comments;

With the Sigma lense, make sure it is at least the "APO" designation. Many of the local stores will show you value priced Sigma product which, IMHO (and with the advantage of hindsight) weren't ultimately worth taking home from the store.

My preferred "walking around" lense is a Sigma 170-500 APO which was acquired "used". For macro work, have an older Vivitar S1 100mm f2.8 and a Pentax bellows set, again both acquired used.

The trouble with the "used market" is that it sometimes takes quite some time for just the right items to appear but, for me, that is another plus of the hobby locating these "finds". When out and about, if there is a camera shop, it's usually worth the trip to see what's on the shelf...sometimes the discussion with the shop keepers is worth the visit even if there isn't any hardware of interest. FYI, the bellows unit took about three years to get all the bits and pieces collected (including the slide copier).

If this is a longer term process, you might want to take a look at this aspect as it has been great source of supply for me at reasonable costs.

Al
04-10-2007, 05:05 PM   #14
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Now i'm tossing it around that I may just get one really nice lens and then a bunch of cheaper lenses of Keh to have a big collection and options and then decide what I like to shoot the most and start getting nicer lenses of those types again. I am pretty sure the first one will still be either a macro or a telephoto, though.

Perhaps even a game time decision between 100mm macro (or 50mm macro) and 50-200 telephoto.
04-11-2007, 01:12 AM   #15
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As they have both been mentioned, I would like to add, I have the Sigma 17-70 and Pentax 50-200 as my main "in use" everyday lenses and find this a really great combination. Not too heavy to carry round and great results. Highly recommend this combo!
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