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08-19-2009, 11:53 AM   #1
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Lens selection question

I am very much a novice, but I'm thinking about picking up a couple better/faster lenses for general hobby-type photography. I currently own the 18-55 kit lens and the the cheap Tamron 70-300 zoom. I'm mainly concerned that I have missed out on several shots due to low light levels.

I'm thinking about either:

Tamron 28-75mm/2.8 and
Tamron 70-200mm/2.8

or

Sigma 18-50mm/2.8 and
Sigma 70-200mm/2.8

Either way, I'd also get a 1.4x TC.

My main question is: which set is better, being that with the Tamrons I'd be missing anything wider than 28mm, and with the Sigmas I'd be missing 50-70mm.

What other considerations are there, and is there a better way for a serious hobbyist to spend $1500?


Last edited by DennisH; 08-20-2009 at 06:53 AM.
08-19-2009, 12:06 PM   #2
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If it were my money, I'd keep the lenses you have and pick up a prime or two in the focal length(s) you favor in low light.

Either of those 70-200's is going to be *huge* compared to your 70-300; you'd miss far more shots because it's too big to carry around than you current lose with your 70-300 because your aperture isn't big enough.

The 28-70 and 18-50 are both decent options. If I were more of a zoom person, I'd probably pick the 28-70 and and think about a DA21 or other wider angle prime to complement it, but then, I know I don't ushoot wide all that often. You'll have to make that call for yourself. If you do decide you would miss the wide angle and lean toward the Sigma 18-50, I wouldn't be too concerned about missing the 50-70 range. After all, you're missing it right now, too. Having every possible focal length covered is highly overrated. There's very little you can do at 60mm that you can't do at 50mm, but there's a lot you can do at 21mm that you can't at 28mm.
08-19-2009, 12:16 PM   #3
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Thanks, Marc.

That's a possibility I hadn't considered; I'm just concerned about not having a longer fast lens, and the 70-200s seem like good options without breaking the bank.
08-19-2009, 01:26 PM   #4
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I owned for about a week a Tamron 70-200 f2.8. It's a very nice lens (it's ability as a macro lens is excellent) although I really didn't find the AF/MF switch to my liking. However, it was just too much lens for me - too long, too heavy, just too much. I returned it to my shop and the camera store guy said, 'I knew that was too much lens for you!' I've subsequently obtained the DA 55-300 and love that lens.

08-19-2009, 02:13 PM   #5
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There are several things you need to consider, but first, why not get a program like ExposurePlot and analyze what focal lengths you shoot at right now.

That way you will have an indication of where you need to put your purchases.

I am willing to bet you have a high perdcentage already at 16mm, therefore the tamron will leave you with a big gap.

You may wish to consider a 3rd lens, like the sigma 10-20, tamron 10-24 or pentax 12-24 to go wider.

As for a TC, I am not sure yet that sigma makes a TC compatible with their HSM 70-200 lens, so AF would be lost.

I also can agree to some extent to Marc's comment, the 70-200 F2.8 (either makers) is heavy, although I would never part with mine.

Perhaps however, a pentax 50-135 then for the reach to 300mm a purpose built like the DA300F4 because the 50-135 could go with something that covers 16-50, and make a lighter pairing for normal use, reserving a 300mm for when you want it.

But, as I said at the beginning, analyze where you shoot most of your shots first. Use it to guide you
08-19-2009, 03:16 PM   #6
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Looking at the focal lengths and apertures of what you actually shoot is useful, but also a misleading, but you can't shoot what you don't have. You also need to just think abotu your shooting and ask yourself what type of shots you need more speed for. In may case, it was completely obvious: I needed short - medium telephoto focal lengths for concert photography. I went with primes because I like the smaller size and it was a lot cheaper to go that way. If I were to go with a zoom, I know I'd find the 50-135/2.8 much more useful than a 70-200/2.8 - I rarely need focal lengths longer than 135, but the 50-70 range has value, and the much smaller size of a 50-135 is a factor for me, too. I would someone primarily shooting weddings or other events would probably feel similarly - 50-135 a better choice than a 70-200. But for sports, particularly outdoor sports, 70-200 could make more sense - although the 60-250 might make more sense still.

Anyhow, it's not really enough to just say you need soemthing long and fast - you wzant to really understand what your intended purpose is in order to say what focal length(s) you need, and whether f/2.8 is really necessary or whether it would be advantageous to trade a little speed for greater range, smaller size, or lower price.
08-19-2009, 03:55 PM   #7
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Well, I think for the moment I might just get the Tamron 28-75, because I know I'll use it a lot.

As far as something longer, I'll stick with my cheapo Tamron 70-300 for now and see if I really need something faster.
08-19-2009, 06:54 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by DennisH Quote
Well, I think for the moment I might just get the Tamron 28-75, because I know I'll use it a lot.

As far as something longer, I'll stick with my cheapo Tamron 70-300 for now and see if I really need something faster.
The other new retail options to the 70-200mm f2.8 lenses are the smaller DA * 50-135mm f2.8 and the Sigma 50-150mm f2.8.

I carry too many lenses, bad style I know, so I look for smaller lenses. I have a 1987 Sigma AF 75-200mm f3.8 (f4 on the camera) that is about the size of the Tamron 75-300mm. I like the lens enough to have bought two in the case of something happens to the first. When I bought the first lens about a year ago, it showed up on Ebay every couple of months. Lately, I have seen very few, so when there was one last month with a BIN, I bought it. I paid US $88 for the first and $110 for the second, so its not a huge investment.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/60758-sigma-75...yone-know.html

As you don't seem to much in a hurry, if you see one come up on Ebay, and still haven't gone on to bigger and better things, I would suggest picking it up.

Thank you
Russell

08-20-2009, 06:56 AM   #9
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One other question, and one I should have asked initially: would the Tamron 28-75 or (less likely) the Sigma be a marked improvement over a Mark II kit lens, aside from better low light performance?
08-25-2009, 02:54 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
ExposurePlot
Thanks! I had no idea something like this existed.
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