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04-05-2007, 04:33 PM   #1
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Sigma Zoom Lenses (long question)

I just recently received my K10D and am delighted so far. I've been using an old Vivitar Series 1 28-105 f2.8-3.8 manual focus (one touch) that I used on my Super Program. For the wide end, I've been using an old Vivitar 19mm f3.8 manual focus. I've been getting OK results with these lenses but I'm still basically just getting used to the K10D. My only other digital experience is with a couple of P&S's which are the only cameras I've been using for the last few years. (Pentax 33WR is a wonderful P&S) I've been using Pentax SLR's since 1968 when I bought my first Spotmatic 1000 and used to consider myself a fairly advanced amatuer (Darkroom B&W as well). I've got some re-learning and catching up to do.
My wife and I are planning a vacation with some freinds that will take us through Italy and Greece this summer. I need a one lens solution that won't cost an arm and a leg but will yield acceptable results. My 28-105 is OK but 28 is only normal on the digital. I really like the idea of the 18-200 or 250 lenses that are out there now but I don't need that much reach and the reviews I've read only rate them as OK. They're also just over my current LBA budget. I will eventually want the new DA* 16-50 & 50-135 but that's two lenses and they won't be out soon enough for me to get used to them (and I need to save my pocket change again to buy them).
Soooo, (finally) I've been thinking about the Sigma 18-125 or the Sigma 24-135. Either one should be plenty long enough. The 18 appears to be the most common wide angle for the digitals (~28mm in 35mm). The 24 will give me a 36mm lens equivalent, which I used to live with many years ago (before the Vivitar). Neither of these lenses are wonderful performers but there both in the under $250 range so it's a small investment. The 18-125 will be garbage once I buy the DA*s, but the 24-135 will work with my film cameras (if they still make film).
Does anyone have any firm opinions on either of these lenses or maybe a different suggestion?
Thanks for your comments,
Brian
P.S. my moniker "Calico Jack" is the name of my sailboat hence the 33WR and K10D eventually with DA* lenses.

04-05-2007, 05:29 PM   #2
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Oh dear. Prepare to get roundly thumped on how terrible superzooms are. (been there...done that...)

I got a couple responses to my thread: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/4868-there-roo...notch-kit.html

Like you, I'm planning on buying the DA*'s, but they aren't out yet. Gotta have something in the meantime (plus, I might still have some uses after I get the DA*s), and a superzoom really isn't that big of an investment! I ended up buying the Tamron 24-135, after reconsidering a primes line-up, and coming back around again after finding an absolutely killer deal on the Tamron.

The Tamron 24-135 gets better reviews than the Sigma version of that same range. I won't have the two to compare them (and indeed, the lens I did buy is currently sitting at the local UPS distribution warehouse), but I can let you know what I think in a few days, if you'd like.
04-05-2007, 06:06 PM   #3
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I know what you're getting at Jack - that the lens you buy now will be replaced by better later - but why not just compromise with the focal length and get some better glass?

I don't know what the prices are in the US, but here (in Australia) the much better regarded (with better aperture range) Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4.5 DC MACRO is sold for just less than the 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 DC and a good deal less than the 24-135mm f/2.8-4.5. The 17-70 also takes a slightly smaller filter than the 24-135 (er, 72 vs 77, so just one size) which will be slightly cheaper. And when you're talking about filters this big, especially polarisers, well even 67mm filters are expensive enough.
04-05-2007, 08:13 PM   #4
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bdavis, If I could find a deal that would bring the price of the Tamron 24-135 down to the price of the Sigma (or close) I'd probably go that way as well. Yes, please do post your impressions of the lens once you try it. Thanks

SupremeMoFo, From what I've seen, the 17-70 is more expensive than the 18-200's. The 18-125 is cheaper and the 24-135 is even cheaper still. In fact the 24-135 onlly came into consideration once I saw how cheap I could get it. Since I know the lens I buy for the vacation trip will start gathering dust the moment I can afford the *16-50, I really want to keep it cheap. Just not too cheap to take reasonable vacation pictures.

Regards & Happy Easter,
Brian aka "Calico Jack"

04-05-2007, 09:39 PM   #5
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For vacation pictures in Europe, with narrow streets, tall buildings, etc, I think you'll miss out if your lens does not go down to at least 18mm. You can always crop a bit to get a little extra telephoto effect, but you can't add later what is not there to start with. I was going to suggest the 18-125, but I think a 17-70 makes even more sense.

And face it, if you are worried about spending an extra $100-200 or so on something you will resell later, yet are contemplating 2 DA* lenses to go with your $900 body, have a sailboat, and are planning a European vacation - I have no sympathy :-)
04-05-2007, 10:33 PM   #6
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The used Pentax market right now is such that lenses simply DO NOT lose their value (at least for primes, anyway) so I would not worry about having to sell the lens when the DA*'s come out.

An aside, but used FA 50/1.4's are going for more used on ebay than they are new. Gotta love Pentax's chronic lens shortages...did they really think people wouldn't be buying lenses when they started selling dslr's?

Sorry for the digression...

Last edited by Finn; 04-06-2007 at 07:55 PM.
04-06-2007, 07:11 AM   #7
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Brian, I know KEH had a LN- for 189.99, and that was about the best I could find before my personal windfall. Beach has a new one for $350 with 30 rebate.

I'm eager to see what it can do, and will def. let you know.
04-06-2007, 09:59 PM   #8
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If you want a super zoom, get a super zoom! I have the Tamron 28-300 and think it's a great value for the $140 I found it for. I've seen them on ebay for around $200. I think KEH had one as well. If you plan to print posters or view 100% crops, you might notice a little softness at the extremes. However, if you only print at 8x10 or view at full screen (not 100%) then you won't notice any weaknesses with these lenses. I've seen images published in magazines using this zoom range, and I used it in the only photo contest I've ever used (at 53mm).

Ask yourself how you want to use the lens. If you want to do extreme crops or print posters, then you'll need another lens.

04-07-2007, 07:47 AM   #9
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Thanks everyone, for your input. I've been researching specs and reviews for several days now. I decided to leave the lenses with a max wide of 24 out since I just know I would have wanted wider. That left 3 choices. The 18-200 or250's, the 18-125 and the 17-70. I left the real super zooms (18-200 or 250) out because every review talked about soft pictures. I agonized for one day over the 18-125 (great range, questionable sharpness, no macro, $100 less) or the 17-70 (sharper, better color saturation, sort of macro, better apertures).
I finally decided on the 17-70 once I found a great price. My final thinking on this was that I went for the K10D for it's 10mp ability as well as it's weatherproof construction. I might as well go for the sharper lens. Then it also dawned on me that the 17-70 range is about the same as the 28-105 range that I loved for a long time in film format. I also bought a Tamron 1.4X AF converter for the occasional time I'm travelling and really need just a little more length. It's small enough that I still think "one lens solution" while travelling. I also have an old Vivitar Series 1 70-210 MF from my film days so the 17-70 fits with no overlap. Add in the "El Cheapo" 100-500 MF and I guess I'm pretty well covered for now.
I'll post again after I receive and try the lens and report my initial impressions.
Thanks again
Brian
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