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05-02-2009, 03:56 PM   #1
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Sigma 17-70 vs Tamron 17-50 IQ Sharpness w Flash

Hi! This my first post on the forum. I recently purchased a K20D.

I'm still struggling with my choice of a lens for my K20D. What I can determine either the Sigma DC 17-70 f2.8-4.5 or the Tamron SP 17-50 f2.8 will serve my purpose. The Sigma 18-50 f2.8 is also in the running. I have read many reviews on several different websites. I have not seen much on the use of this lens with a flash.

How will these lenses do in regard to sharpness and IQ when using a flash? Nearly all of the sample photos are shown without flash. I need a zoom for my carousel photos and a flash is a must. Is there a better choice for a lens given my need for both zoom and flash? I will be purchasing the Pentax 540 flash for my system.

Another question. Will manual focus be inproved with the faster lens?

I’m coming to Pentax after using an Olympus 8080 which is a great camera. The camera and lens combination along with a strong flash on the Olympus is perfect for my carousel photography with great IQ. The down side of the Olympus is photographing anything that moves quickly. I hope I can duplicate the IQ with my K20D and a choice of lens.

I will appreciate all replies, comments and recommendations.

Thanks,

Patrick Wentzel
National Carousel Association Census Chairman


Last edited by mgrlvr; 05-02-2009 at 04:38 PM.
05-02-2009, 07:14 PM   #2
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I had the Sigma 17-70 and now have now upgraded to the Tamron 17-50. The Tamron is a superior lens in every respect to the Sigma 17-70 (well, except for the longer zoom of 70mm on the Sigma ).

I regularly use my Tamron with flash equipment also. The quality is very good, you won't be disappointed with this lens.

I have also heard good things about the Sigma 18-50 f2.8, but no regret here on my purchase
05-02-2009, 08:07 PM   #3
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Juice,

Thanks for the reply. What flash are you using? Do you have any images you could post or send me?

If anyone can offer comments I would appreciate it very much.

Patrick
05-02-2009, 10:41 PM   #4
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QuoteQuote:
mgrlvr: Another question. Will manual focus be inproved with the faster lens?
Yes, the faster the glass, the brighter the viewfinder.

I use the Tamron 17-50 and love it, but I never use flash. I have to believe your technique and gear are the most important things when shooting flash though. The glass surely is excellent. You won't regret this lens purchase.

05-03-2009, 08:34 AM   #5
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Jewelltrail,

Thanks for your reply. Flash is a requirement for my carousel photos. Carousel builidngs are too dark without.

Patrick
05-03-2009, 09:23 AM   #6
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QuoteQuote:
Jewelltrail,

Thanks for your reply. Flash is a requirement for my carousel photos. Carousel builidngs are too dark without.

Patrick
Here in Rhode Island we have a famous carousel--it is in Riverside and is preserved for the public and still runs in Spring and Summer of each year. There is a society dedicated to looking after it. I believe some of the original, hand-carved wooden horses and what not were taken away and sent to a museum many years back because they are thought to be valuable. I have shot there, without flash--but it can be difficult. The first shot is the Tamron 17-50 f 2.8 and the 2nd one is with the Tamron 90 f 2.8.

Last edited by Jewelltrail; 12-06-2009 at 03:11 PM.
05-03-2009, 10:05 AM   #7
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Jewelltrail,

Great shots at Riverside.

Yes, the Riverside machine is one great carousels in the U.S.

I tend to have foot in mouth disease at times. What is the chance I post saying how dark carousel buildings are and run into you? The Riverside building is one of the exceptions in regard to available light. This building had lots of windows and is not tucked in a park with many trees.

I like the image shot with the Tamron very much. May I capture it for my files?

Please see my online database of operating carousels in North America.

National Carousel Association - Census of North American Carousels

Thanks so much for posting the photos.

Patrick Wentzel
National Carousel Association Census Chairmand and NCA Director
Parkersburg, WV
05-03-2009, 08:14 PM   #8
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QuoteQuote:
mgrlvr: This building had lots of windows and is not tucked in a park with many trees.
Thank you for pointing this out to me. I tend to suffer from ungrateful disease all too often. When I shot at Crescent Park carousel I remember being disappointed by the available light. I did not like having to bump ISO to get action-stopping shutter speeds in what I though was a dark place.

You come along, and clarify just how lucky I was--thank you. Yes, you are right in fact that the upper walled perimeter of at least one side of the carousel is heavily windowed, perhaps as much as 180 degrees of the circular building. On top of that the windowed area faces west which means later afternoon sun comes pouring through on a sunny day. And the hours of operation, usually around noon to dusk, is nicely timed to maximize use of the sun's travail in the west.

Of course you can have the image. When I think of all the joy I experienced as a kid at that carousel, and all the joy I see in the eyes of today's youth, I am moved by people like yourself who work to keep these valuable creations alive and well.

Thank you, and best of luck with the Carousels!

Ernest

05-03-2009, 09:12 PM   #9
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Ernest,

Crescent Park in my opinion is one of the top 10 carousels in the world. This was Looff's show piece when he was manufacturing carousels there.

You are correct in the enjoyment the children have riding these great treasures. I like to sit back and watch the parents and their children having fun. One the greatest things I have ever witnessed was a Father and his developmentally challenged son who were riding a carousel together in Canada. The son was unable to communicate but Dad, son and the carousel operator where so much in tune that afternoon.

I would like to send you the article I wrote about the Canada trip. There are many of my photos included.

I pulled the trigger tonight and ordered the Tamon 17-50 lens and the 540 flash. Carousel season is quickly approaching! I hope to try out the new camera at a small carousel in Ohio in the next couple of weeks. I'll post some photos at that time.

If you have other photos of Crescent Park I can always use more for my historical files. I have somewhere around 80,000 carousel images in my files. Interestingly two photographers can shoot the same carousel and you will see different aspects about the machine.

Thanks also to others on this forum and others that helped me with my questions. I hope in the future I can help others.

Pat
05-03-2009, 09:29 PM   #10
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QuoteQuote:
mgrlvr: How will these lenses do in regard to sharpness and IQ when using a flash? Nearly all of the sample photos are shown without flash. I need a zoom for my carousel photos and a flash is a must. Is there a better choice for a lens given my need for both zoom and flash? I will be purchasing the Pentax 540 flash for my system.
Firstly, I see you are concurrently running the same inquiry at DPreview--shame on you just kidding of course. Seriously, I must agree, intuitively, with the chap @ DPreview who says IQ is IQ--so IQ with flash will be good on a lens so long as IQ without flash is good with that lens. Providing, of course, you get proper exposure with the flash. And getting more light with the flash will increase shutter speed which will, in turn, increase and maximize the excellent sharpness in the Tammy zoom.

Some quick research with the Tamron 17-50 reveals it tends to over expose on Nikon bodies---look here, for example Over-exposed Flash Shots with Tamron AF 17-50 F/2.8 XR Di II - Digital Photography Tips and Techniques However, the theories generated to explain this problem all point to an incompatibility with the Nikon TTL-BL flash, which is complex.

But none of this is really pertinent to you since I do not see reports of exposure problems on the web with the Tammy & Pentax bodies. Of course, it is hard to find any discussion of flash/Tamron 17-50mm/Pentax on the Web--I think there is some truth to the maxim "No news is good news" on this issue. I think this because it usually is those who have a problem who will go to lengths to discuss it at forums. If I'm wrong, any Pentax user here can post to correct me.

All I can say is the lens performs admirably for IQ, with many Nikonians calling a toss-up when they compare this lens to their beloved wide-angle zoom--which is, BTW, more than double the Tammy's price.

I suggest borrowing/renting the 2 lenses in question and shooting both with flash to determine which works best for your needs. But, even if you do not try this, I doubt you will go wrong with either lens. Best of luck to you!
05-04-2009, 05:39 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by mgrlvr Quote
Juice,

Thanks for the reply. What flash are you using? Do you have any images you could post or send me?

If anyone can offer comments I would appreciate it very much.

Patrick
Yes, check out my flickr page : flickr.com/ju1ceju1ce

Most of the photos on the first page are with my Tamron 17-50. I use Pentax AF540FGZ flash, plus i have a Sunpak 433D and Minolta 5200i. I use Cactus v2s radio triggers (they work great and are cheap).
05-04-2009, 07:07 PM   #12
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Juice,

I checked out your photos on Flickr. I'm very impressed with your work and the performance of the lens. Really sweet photos.

I assume you know there is an antique carousel a Geelong? I have seen a few photos of here and there. Another outstanding carousel is at Luna Park, Melbourne. This one was recently restored. Too bad this one left the U.S. many years ago.

Thanks for your replies and help.

Patrick
05-04-2009, 07:11 PM   #13
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Jewelltrail,

Hi! Looks like you busted me in regard to posting on the other site!! I'm a reseach type of guy. It is amazing what a person can learn if they just dig a little and pay attention.

My new Tamron 17-50 is on the way to WV. I look forward to trying it out.

Thank you for the links and info. They helped me to learn more about the lens.

Please let me know if you recieved the carousel article I sent you.

Patrick
05-04-2009, 10:06 PM   #14
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QuoteQuote:
mgrlvr:

Hi! Looks like you busted me in regard to posting on the other site!! I'm a reseach type of guy. It is amazing what a person can learn if they just dig a little and pay attention.

My new Tamron 17-50 is on the way to WV. I look forward to trying it out.

Thank you for the links and info. They helped me to learn more about the lens.

Please let me know if you received the carousel article I sent you.

I too am a research kind of guy--this is a natural consequence of having spent a lot of time in academia. I wish you all the best with your new Tamron lens. Thank you so much for all of your help here. I did get the article.
05-05-2009, 05:00 AM   #15
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Hey Patrick, as far as lighting goes you could do worse than to spend a bit of time checking out the strobist website - google it and up it will pop. I have learned a lot since chancing upon it a while back. It is aimed at off camera lighting and i have to say what you can achieve by seperating the flash and camera is just fantastic.
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