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03-24-2009, 06:09 AM   #1
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Will I be happy with zooms?

Hello I am new to the forum. Been reading the threads for a while and I have taken some advice here and bought a 50mm f1.4 pentax prime to complement my kit zooms. (k20d)

I am totally blown away by this lens but obviously its not so convenient without zoom.

So I have two questions for you:

Would I ever be happy with high end zooms like the constant f2.8's? And by happy i mean, do any match the primes or come so close its pixel peeping?

If not, how many primes does one need to fill in the gaps?
(I couldn't see myself buying a 40mm Ltd for example now I have the 50mm.)


I was thinking to do the 'full' rage in primes Id want a 15mm, 31mm, 50mm, 105mm, 200mm. Is that enough, or will I likely need more in the lower end?


And since its first post for me here is something to look at:

high res, but a cool marco (i think) - 80mm extension tubes, on a 50mm prime lens.
these drops of water at less than 1mm wide and the plain of focus was 5mm or so, it took 30 shots to get one in focus as there was a breeze. But worth it.



03-24-2009, 06:30 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum and awesome shot!

The 50-135 is incredibly sharp, and many people here will say it's prime quality.

The Tamron 28-75 is also a very sharp lens, though a lot of people had problems with it--I had a very good copy, and it also focused pretty close.

I think the 16-50 is fantastic, but I've never been able to get great results at f/2.8. At f/4 or higher, it's very impressive.

However--will you be happy? Depends on how good you are at resisting the fantastic Pentax primes out there! I have both primes and zooms, and really don't want to limit myself to either/or. I had only primes for a while, then came back to zooms for the versatility and I've been very impressed with the image quality. But the primes are something else!

The FA limiteds (31, 43, 77) are definite favourites around here, their bokeh and sharpness are insanely good. Your personal roadmap sounds great, but if I were you, I'd consider the 50-135 in the long end and primes in the short end. The 50-135 is my largest lens at the moment though, so I usually bring the 77 when I'm not sure if I need the length.

The DA limiteds have an equally zealous following, though true, your 50 might preclude the need for a 40 and that's the most affordable.

The 31 is a fantastic lens, and if you can get one at a good price, it'll keep you happy for a while. However, it's not wide enough for everything. A good wide zoom, like the less expensive Tamron 17-50 can fill in a lot of blanks (and some say it's sharper wide open than the Pentax, but I've never had that Tamron). The difference between 31 and 17 is huge, and I decided that instead of buying 15, 21, 24, 28, 35, 40, 50, I'd try the 16-50 to complement the 31 and it works for me!

So, to recap--maybe get an excellent prime in a range you'd use a lot, then a zoom to complement. Or do what others here do, and buy them all
03-24-2009, 07:30 AM   #3
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Welcome to the forum.

I'm just a hobbyist, but I think your best bet is to mix depending on your shooting style. I own a K200d and recently purchased a Tamron 17-50 to replace my kit lens. This is a fantastic lens with excellent color rendition, sharpness, and overall IQ. Even better is I got it like new on eBay for $300. I bought this as my general walk-around lens. Plus Tamron has 6!!!!! Year warranty (no typo here)

The other thing about this lens is it is a Di II, which means it is fitted to an APS-C sensor, so the 17mm is true 17mm. Needed that for landscapes. All the primes you mentioned will crop, great for tele, not so much for wide.

Other than that I have a SMC M 50mm 1.7, and Sears 135mm f/2.8. Wasn't happy with the IQ of a 70-300 lens so i'm sticking with primes for telephoto range.

If you do a lot of fast reaction, sports, action shooting you may not have time to be switching lenses all the time. Otherwise, if you have the 20 seconds it takes to change a lens, the primes will bring you much satisfaction. Although IMO I don't think you need to buy every step. 1 wide, 1 normal, and 1tele/macro should work for just about everything.

Hope this extremley random rant , from my so far un-caffinated brain helps.

Travis

Last edited by shiestmiester; 03-24-2009 at 07:31 AM. Reason: typo
03-24-2009, 08:21 AM   #4
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Yeah my 70-300 was disappointing.

I think you're wrong about the Di II being 'true' to a film sized 17mm, I think it just means it is designed for a APSC, I cant see them changing the measurements on the lens since its not a factor caused by the lens itself but rather the sensor, and there are different crop factors between the body makers.

03-24-2009, 08:31 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by shiestmiester Quote
The other thing about this lens is it is a Di II, which means it is fitted to an APS-C sensor, so the 17mm is true 17mm.
err....Di II means you can't use it on a FF camera w/o black bars showing up on the edges....
03-24-2009, 09:10 AM   #6
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QuoteQuote:
shiestmiester: I'm just a hobbyist, but I think your best bet is to mix depending on your shooting style. I own a K200d and recently purchased a Tamron 17-50 to replace my kit lens. This is a fantastic lens with excellent color rendition, sharpness, and overall IQ. Even better is I got it like new on eBay for $300. I bought this as my general walk-around lens. Plus Tamron has 6!!!!! Year warranty (no typo here)
I agree with the above comments about the Tammy 17-50mm. I own one and love it. It is very good, even wide open, where sharpness & contrast only falls off a little.

I recently compared it @ 50mm, to 5 Pentax 50 & 55 mm primes and it did very well. While not quiet as good as the primes, it is very close. I have never shot with the Pentax 16-50, but have read a great deal about it since I considered buying it. I find it interesting that many people who have shot with both lenses prefer the Tammy. Also, the lens reviews have the Tammy keeping pace with the Penny. If better build quality and weather sealing are what you are after, go for the Penny.

So to answer your question: "Would I ever be happy with high end zooms like the constant f2.8's? And by happy i mean, do any match the primes or come so close its pixel peeping?" my answer would be YES, you would be happy, unless you are a perfectionist.
03-24-2009, 09:11 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by shiestmiester Quote
..............The other thing about this lens is it is a Di II, which means it is fitted to an APS-C sensor, so the 17mm is true 17mm. ....................
A [insert focal length here] FF lens will give you the same image on an APS-C sensor as an APS-C specific lens of the same focal length. 17mm is 17mm.
03-24-2009, 09:22 AM   #8
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No f/2.8 zoom performs as well as DA 40 f/2.8 does at f/2.8 (resolution-wise). DA 16-45 f/4 and DA 17-70 f/4 tend to perform better than f/2.8 zooms at f/4, resolution-wise.

When looking at photozone, DA 17-70 performs better (resolution-wise) at 40mm and f/4 than DA* 16-50 does at 50mm and f/4, especially on the border:

F/4 (DA* 16-50 at 50)
(Center) 2009.5
(Border) 1495.5

F/4 (DA 17-70 at 40)
(Center) 2028
(Border) 1885

BTW, you may still want DA 40 f/2.8, even though you have 50, since it's a special lens: it has a very even resolution (looking at photozone) from f/2.8 down, from center to the extremes and has fast AF (it's tiny).

03-24-2009, 09:24 AM   #9
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I recommend Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 + DA* 50-135mm. And maybe Sigma 100-300mm F4 if you need the range.

these 3 lenses are pretty much the trinity for zooms imo. So far there isnt any 3rd party to cover the DA* 50-135 but being weathersealed means its a pretty good lens for everyday use.
03-24-2009, 10:27 AM   #10
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hrmm what adsf says is very interesting about the f4 lenses being better at f4 than the 2.8's at f4

You also have the extra bulk of the lens at f2.8

maybe the best solution for me would be 3 zooms at f4 to cover and then select primes where i really want them.
03-24-2009, 11:44 AM   #11
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The DA 17-70 is is one of the most under rated, under discussed lenses pentax makes. I love everything about mine. Over 90% of my shots are with it or my FA 31. The 31 being used mostly for low light situations. Outdoors I see no need to take the 17-70 off of the camera except for the rare telephoto shot. (Tokina 80-200 4.5-5.6 MF)
03-24-2009, 09:44 PM   #12
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Buy them all !

QuoteOriginally posted by farfisa Quote
-snip Or do what others here do, and buy them all -/snip
haha...spoken like a true LBA suff...ahhh...Pentax user.

WerTicus, you haven't described the type of photos you primarily do. If versatility is the priority and F4 will do, then it would seem to me the DA17-70 and DA*60-250 cover pretty much the most used FL. If you need weather proofing and/or F2.8, then the DA*16-50 and 60-250/F4 or 50-135, 200 and/or 300/F4 will do the job.
Zooms are always a compromise though, both in IQ and size and weight. The 60-250 is huge! I played all too briefly with the 50-135 and the 200 and the zoom especially was big and heavy. They both were also of great quality and seemed to be fantastic lenses.
If your primary type of shooting allows you to zoom with your feet or change lenses, then you can save a lot of money and carry a much lighter load by using primes instead of zooms. You could even have some extra fun and seek out some vintage MF glass like so many here do.
Whatever you decide, enjoy and I hope you post some more pics here. The "webofbokeh" shot is very nice.

btw...[insert shameless plug here] I've got a Lester A Dine 105mm macro lens for sale here: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/photographers-marketplace/54868-lester-di...acro-lens.html
[end shameless plug]

hth
03-24-2009, 10:10 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Parallax Quote
The DA 17-70 is is one of the most under rated, under discussed lenses pentax makes. I love everything about mine. Over 90% of my shots are with it or my FA 31. The 31 being used mostly for low light situations. Outdoors I see no need to take the 17-70 off of the camera except for the rare telephoto shot. (Tokina 80-200 4.5-5.6 MF)
It seems Popular Photography is learning to appreciate it: the only sample shot shown in their K2000 review was done using the DA 17-70.
03-24-2009, 10:49 PM   #14
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just ordered a 24-70 f2.8 sigma
see how it goes.

I was not really planning on this one but the price was reallllllly good. I could resell it for the same money easy.
03-24-2009, 10:53 PM   #15
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I miss zooms at times. I'm torn between the 17-70 and the 16-50. Had a 16-50 but sold it for DA Limiteds. I like the performance of the 17-70 more but the build and sealing of the 16-50 is awesome.
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