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08-17-2009, 06:22 PM   #1
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Pentax 55- 135 f2.8 Vs. Tamron 70 -200 f2.8

I'm looking to go to a faster and sharper lense then the Tamron 70 -300 I now use, which I find is too soft. Has anyone experiance with both the Pentax and Tamron f2.8"s, I'm particularly interested in their focusing as I've read negatives about both, also how do their sharpness compare? I use a Tamron 90MM f2.8 for Macro's, which is great, so Macro isn't an issue. BY the way, I noticed I mis-typed the Pentax, its 50 - 135, not 55, no insult to current owners intended. Thanks


Last edited by mikejustice; 08-17-2009 at 06:50 PM.
08-17-2009, 06:30 PM   #2
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I'd say in terms of IQ they are identical (although a lot of 50-135mm fans may argue that the 50-135mm is sharper ). The biggest difference is the FL and weight. You should see which FL really matter to you. IMO, 50-70mm difference is bigger to me than the 135-200mm, although 50mm sometimes isn't wide enough. I suggest you give us more background information on what you like to shoot.
08-17-2009, 06:44 PM   #3
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I mostly shoot landscapes and like wide angle shots, but I will do indoor portraits, close-ups and am moving into panarama's. I only started being serious about my phtography about 18 monhts ago, and had mostly been using a Tamron 18-250 as my walk around lense, but I'm trying to upgrade my lenses, especially with faster lenses and sharper optics. I now use a Tamron 17-50 f2.8 for a lot of my shots. The 70 - 300 has been disappointing and the 18-250 is still being used, so I have a back-up for longer FL if I go with the Pentax. Part of the Pentax appeal is that it is a Pentax and my experiance with third party lenses is that the performance and quality do vary. If I went with the 50-135 I would probably look to get a fixed 200mm or 300 mm down the road to do wildlife as well. Long answer to a short question.

Last edited by mikejustice; 08-17-2009 at 06:51 PM.
08-17-2009, 06:52 PM   #4
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Mainly portraits? The 50-135 is the clear winner - sharpest, brightest and very compact comparatively. You'd rarely need any more FL for portraits, but when you mentioned wildlife, that's another kettle of fish altogether...

The Tamron will not suffice for both portraits and widlife together, so it's probably not best for you - also using this monster of a lens for portraits can be intimidating for the subject!

You're probably looking at the combination of 50-135 + 300 (+/- compatible TC) to accomplish both.

I have the Tamron 70-200 and cannot speak any more highly of it - I cannot fault it even at f/2.8 doing low-light concert/event photography, but it is bulky and weighty. For portraits where I can be closer to the subject I'd rather use my 77ltd or 100 macro, which the 50-135 would reasonably replace for that purpose...

08-17-2009, 06:52 PM   #5
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i bought the 50-135 but returned it because of dirt in the lens and a broken hood.
i replaced it with a sigma 50-150. to me, the sigma 50-150 is an excellent lens.
the HSM is nice and quiet, not necessarily faster though.

between the 50-150 and 70-200, i can crop with the 50-150. with the 70-200, you loose the range from 50-70.

just my 2 cents

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08-17-2009, 08:04 PM   #6
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Question to ask yourself...how often do you shoot at 180-300mm? If you shot a lot at that length and will not be able to move closer than it is either the 50-135mm + a 200mm or 300mm (either might as well be a DA* if your body is weather sealed).

If you don't shoot on the long end much, I can say I love the DA* 50-135 even though I am not able to shoot much at all right now. It is not even close in terms of focus speed as HSM was for me on my Canon mount. But no way I would give up the lense, it's just a keeper and the AF is not that slow, it is just not as fast as other similar focusing systems...no biggie as the F2.8 more than makes up for that in how I use the lens.

If I was looking at a 70-200 I would not choose the Tamron I would get the newest Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 II EX Macro. I find the images more to my liking as have most tests comparing them head to head that I have found. You can find the Sigma at a good price on ebay from 47th St. Last week it was still just $719 with the full EX 4-yr warranty. but I guess the Tamron is a 6yr warranty? Neither lens is a bad choice I just like what I see from the Sigma more. And make sure if you do look at the Sigma is is the NEWEST model II Macro version not that last version (the middle release time wise).

Last if you have a sealed body and really want the ability to make use of that feature then a DA* is needed as none of the other options are sealed (WR). It's a tough choice because of the price increases by all the lense makers this past year. But my choice was to get the 50-135 up front then decide about the longer lense I need to replace. I am probably getting another Sigma 100-300 to replace the one I had for my 40D. It's a great buy and super IQ. Only thing is the weather sealing vs. the DA* 300mm...

Good luck, there are a lot of great options in this lens range so it can be a difficult choice, good thing there is really no bad choice.
08-17-2009, 08:30 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Mainly portraits? The 50-135 is the clear winner - sharpest, brightest and very compact comparatively. You'd rarely need any more FL for portraits, but when you mentioned wildlife, that's another kettle of fish altogether...

The Tamron will not suffice for both portraits and widlife together, so it's probably not best for you - also using this monster of a lens for portraits can be intimidating for the subject!

You're probably looking at the combination of 50-135 + 300 (+/- compatible TC) to accomplish both.

I have the Tamron 70-200 and cannot speak any more highly of it - I cannot fault it even at f/2.8 doing low-light concert/event photography, but it is bulky and weighty. For portraits where I can be closer to the subject I'd rather use my 77ltd or 100 macro, which the 50-135 would reasonably replace for that purpose...
Agreed...

QuoteOriginally posted by opiedog Quote
i bought the 50-135 but returned it because of dirt in the lens and a broken hood.
i replaced it with a sigma 50-150. to me, the sigma 50-150 is an excellent lens.
the HSM is nice and quiet, not necessarily faster though.

between the 50-150 and 70-200, i can crop with the 50-150. with the 70-200, you loose the range from 50-70.

just my 2 cents

jordan
You replaced the ENTIRE lens just because there was some dust in the lens and the hood was broken???? Couldn't you just ask for a replacement hood and go to a shop and get it cleaned for $20? In fact, dust doesn't even affect your images so why even bother?

Ehh... Guess we all have different standards.
08-17-2009, 08:49 PM   #8
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Thanks

Well clearly there are a lot of options, but thinking back to my last vacation, most of my shots were with the 17-50 or 18 - 250 Tamron's, and the 70 - 300 only came out once. Since I just bought the new K-7 (which I think is great) brecklundin's comments on having a compatible waterproof lens makes sense, I guess I'm leaning more toward the 50 - 135 now, and spring for a good fixed 200 mm or 300mm down the road. But who knows, by tomorrow there might be some more insights to push me the other way, but either way all of you have helped me sort out what makes the most sense for me now. Thanks

08-17-2009, 09:16 PM   #9
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Mike,
Since you already own an 18 - 250 you can answer your own question, by simply looking through your favorite photographs.
Then take a look at the data, and see what focal length you shot at.

If most of your images where in the 50 - 135mm range that's the lens you'll want. If they've between 70mm and 200mm then you'll want the 70 - 200.

At the same time you may even discover that there's a better lens for you.
Good Luck with it.
08-17-2009, 10:24 PM   #10
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I' help another photographer provide photo services for a local playhouse group.

He was initially using a Canon 17-85mm lens. I was using my 18-250. I realized the need for a faster zoom and bought the Pentax 50-135mm f2.8 lens. at the last play he came in with a brand new Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS lens, but i noticed half way through that he had switched back to his older 17-85 lens because the 70mm was just too long.

As someone else said, the 50mm end of the Pentax is more useful in playhouse situations compared to the 70mm of the longer zooms.

Also, i found no problem with the telescopic reach of the 135mm, even for one outdoor play that they did. So it all comes down to what your application is, perhaps.

I highly recommend that Pentax 50-135mm lens, very sharp, good rendition. I'm not sure whether the Sigma 50-150mm HSM is a better deal than the Pentax lens, but there are so many folks now recommending the Pentax lens in the lens review database, i thought i would follow their lead and so far i'm happy. not to mention the weather sealing.

best wishes,
08-18-2009, 03:14 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by brecklundin Quote
If I was looking at a 70-200 I would not choose the Tamron I would get the newest Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 II EX Macro. I find the images more to my liking as have most tests comparing them head to head that I have found. You can find the Sigma at a good price on ebay from 47th St. Last week it was still just $719 with the full EX 4-yr warranty. but I guess the Tamron is a 6yr warranty? Neither lens is a bad choice I just like what I see from the Sigma more. And make sure if you do look at the Sigma is is the NEWEST model II Macro version not that last version (the middle release time wise).
Interestingly, the Tamron version performs slightly better on paper at all FLs except 135mm and at all apertures to Sigma's HSM II version, but indeed you'd be hard-pressed to see too much significant differences between real-life results. Sigma's first version isn't bad either, just not HSM.
08-18-2009, 07:50 AM   #12
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I would also echo the sentiment regarding the usefulness of 50mm over 70mm. The angles of view go from about 26 degrees to 19 degrees on an aps-c sensor, in other words you are starting close to a 30% tighter angle on the 70-200mm. When you are indoors especially, that is bringing you significantly closer to your subject (a face only portrait vs. head and shoulders - maybe not quite that significant, but close to it).
08-18-2009, 10:52 AM   #13
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My vote goes for Pentax 50-135mm. Great lens. It is a * lens in the lineup.
08-23-2009, 09:27 AM   #14
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Thanks

Thanks for everyone's comments all of you helped me di a better job at looking at what my real needs were and I'll be going with the 50 - 135 Pentax. With my current Tamron 17- 50 f2.8 it'll give me good coverage at fast apertures over a range where I shot most of my photo's.
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