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04-22-2009, 08:08 AM   #1
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Seeking advice on telephoto lenses

Hello,

While not in any type of hurry, I'm contemplating a telephoto zoom lens. I have an old (20+ years) 60-300 Samyang that leaves a lot to be desired. I recently shot an air show with it and while some pictures can be saved with Photoshop, it is really not worth it. This is basically what I'm looking for:

I am not a pro (but I dream about it)

My current body is a K100D super. I also have K1000 and MV bodies. Backward compatibility is not a must but I wouldn't mind

Image quality / sharpness is the most important aspect for me.

I like the range from around 70-80 to about 210-300

I don't mind manual focus

Weight is not critical. I don't mind heavier lenses since it will not be used very frequently.

I like sporting events, auto races, air shows etc. So most likely it will be used more during daylight.

I typically shoot handheld. My personal preference is either shutter priority or fully manual

A faster lens is always desirable, but I don't think it is very critical to go below say f4 or so

Older used equipment is definitely OK, as long as it is in perfect working order. Actually I think "used" is the way to go. But it has to perform. I don't mind if it doesn't "look" new. It will be a tool, not a decoration piece.

Price range: HA! Not set in stone but let's say around $100 "used" as a starting point

So far, from the excellent lens review database here, I have seen the following SMC Pentax options:
A-70-210 f4
A 35-210
F 70-210 F4
FA 80-320
DA* 60-250 F4 (I think this is slightly out of budget)

I know Sigma, Tamron and others also make good lenses but I don't know much about those other brands.
Any recomendations?
Any other models or brands I can consider?

Thanks,

04-22-2009, 08:23 AM   #2
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For image quality in that price and zoom range the A 70-210 f/4 would be a good choice. Vivitar and Tamron also built equivalent manual lenses that sell in roughly the same price range used.

PentaxForums.com Third-Party Pentax Lens Review Database - 70-210mm F2.8-4, version 3

PentaxForums.com Third-Party Pentax Lens Review Database - Series 1 70-210mm f/3.5 (version1)

PentaxForums.com Third-Party Pentax Lens Review Database - Adaptall-2 19AH SP 70-210 f/3,5
(plus several other Tamron Adaptall lenses in the review section here).

I've got the Series 1 version 1 and it's quite good for what it costs used.
04-22-2009, 09:32 AM   #3
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I will second the suggestion for using the A 70-210/4. The constant aperture is good, the lens is sharp and contrasty, and it is available without breaking the bank. The only thing I dislike is the one touch zoom and focus, but I can use it. I prefer two rings, but the lens is good enough I set aside my personal prejudice and use it anyway. With the A 1.4X-S it makes a very good 100-300/5.6 when I want reach in that focal range. It is manual focus, but that doesn't bother me any more than it seems to bother you. The A means that all the metering and modes are available. It can be used on your film cameras as well as your DSLR.
04-22-2009, 09:51 AM   #4
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I do love my A70-210/4.

04-22-2009, 12:41 PM   #5
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I would second Albert and Jim: go for the A 70-210/4. It a really good lens and (thankfully) very much underappreciated. I got mine for 40 Euros a couple of years ago and always use it, when I want to travel lightly and leave the 70-200/2.8 at home.

The Pentax A zoom is much(!) better than my old Vivitar 70-200/3.8, which some people regard highly.

For this particular lens, I find the one touch mechanism very good. Of course today (due to AF) we are used to two touch zooms, but with a bit of practice the one touch zoom is much faster in use.

Ben
04-22-2009, 07:15 PM   #6
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one thing to consider, is that you might want p-ttl flash. That means an A mount

I personally like the series 1 version 1 but it wont support p-ttl

it does have a constant apature which will help metering manually or with Auto flahs
04-22-2009, 10:17 PM   #7
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Just look how drop dead sexy the "A" is too...





04-28-2009, 11:16 AM   #8
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Was this lens also sold under the Sears brand back in the day?
I found one on internet with the exact same specs: Auto (A) 70-210 F4 multi coated. I wonder if it is the same....

Thanks,

04-28-2009, 12:16 PM   #9
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To postpone a final decision and at an even lower price point: I have the SMC-M 4.5/80-200 (which seems to be comparable to the SMC-A F4.0-version) and it's as sharp as anything I've got in that range. In most situations it meets or beats the DA 50-200 and handles a Tamron 1.4x TC quite well. As I recall I picked it up for less than $30.

H2
04-28-2009, 12:46 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by ismaelg Quote
Was this lens also sold under the Sears brand back in the day?
I found one on internet with the exact same specs: Auto (A) 70-210 F4 multi coated. I wonder if it is the same....

Thanks,
There are a multitude of "variants" on the 70-210 zoom. I *think* all the Sears lenses were simply rebranded Vivitars - need someone far more knowledgeable to confirm or rebut.

oh btw! that lens hood below the 70-210 in the photo above is for the DA12-24 not the 70-210!
04-28-2009, 12:48 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by ismaelg Quote
Was this lens also sold under the Sears brand back in the day?
I found one on internet with the exact same specs: Auto (A) 70-210 F4 multi coated. I wonder if it is the same....

Thanks,
Could be - but I am not sure. Pentax released that lens also under the Takumar label. But the Takumar has much inferior coatings. So, to be on the sure side, I would go with the "real" SMC Pentax A version of it.

Ben
04-28-2009, 04:10 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by ismaelg Quote
Hello,

While not in any type of hurry, I'm contemplating a telephoto zoom lens. I have an old (20+ years) 60-300 Samyang that leaves a lot to be desired. I recently shot an air show with it and while some pictures can be saved with Photoshop, it is really not worth it. This is basically what I'm looking for:

I am not a pro (but I dream about it)

My current body is a K100D super. I also have K1000 and MV bodies. Backward compatibility is not a must but I wouldn't mind

Image quality / sharpness is the most important aspect for me.

I like the range from around 70-80 to about 210-300

I don't mind manual focus

Weight is not critical. I don't mind heavier lenses since it will not be used very frequently.

I like sporting events, auto races, air shows etc. So most likely it will be used more during daylight.

I typically shoot handheld. My personal preference is either shutter priority or fully manual

A faster lens is always desirable, but I don't think it is very critical to go below say f4 or so

Older used equipment is definitely OK, as long as it is in perfect working order. Actually I think "used" is the way to go. But it has to perform. I don't mind if it doesn't "look" new. It will be a tool, not a decoration piece.

Price range: HA! Not set in stone but let's say around $100 "used" as a starting point

So far, from the excellent lens review database here, I have seen the following SMC Pentax options:
A-70-210 f4
A 35-210
F 70-210 F4
FA 80-320
DA* 60-250 F4 (I think this is slightly out of budget)

I know Sigma, Tamron and others also make good lenses but I don't know much about those other brands.
Any recomendations?
Any other models or brands I can consider?

Thanks,
I just got me a Vivitar 100-300 f/5 MF I won off of EBAY from a fella in Canada.

Still playing with it.

Check this out.

Shot with a 2x Cosina TC!

So far so good.

I will give more info when I shoot my friend's son's basesball game this weekend.
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04-28-2009, 04:18 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Venturi Quote
There are a multitude of "variants" on the 70-210 zoom. I *think* all the Sears lenses were simply rebranded Vivitars - need someone far more knowledgeable to confirm or rebut.

oh btw! that lens hood below the 70-210 in the photo above is for the DA12-24 not the 70-210!

You mean the DA 12-24 came with a sliding lenshood like the one on your 70-210?
04-28-2009, 06:45 PM   #14
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If you want auto focus, I think it is hard to beat ( for the price ) the Tamron 70-300 LD Di. I have one, and for the money, it is a very nice lens. The macro feature on it is very useful too.
04-29-2009, 01:15 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Venturi Quote
There are a multitude of "variants" on the 70-210 zoom. I *think* all the Sears lenses were simply rebranded Vivitars - need someone far more knowledgeable to confirm or rebut.
I have two Sears-branded f/4 zooms in that range, both apparently made by Ricoh in Korea - a KA 70/210 and an M42 80/200, both rather good, but not quite up to my Takumar-A 70-200/4. All each cost me US$9 on eBay, including shipping, so I'm very happy. I like these all a bit more than my Vivitar (Kiron) Series 1 Ver.1 M42 70-200/3.5, which cost a whole US$33.

Other than the Tak-A, the other in that range I use a fair amount is a Promaster (Tamron) KAR 60-300/4-5.6, which set me back US$13. But what I *really* like is the Pentax FA 100-300/4.7-5.8, slightly slower but with optics as crystalline as my Super-Tak 200/4 or Tele-Tak 200/5.6, and it weighs about half as much as the other zooms. Damn, I spent US$121 on it, and it's worth every centime.

The FA 100-300 and the Tak-A 70-200 are most likely to be in my bag on any given day.
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