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10-01-2009, 10:32 PM   #91
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I hear you about the versatility - that's why I also got the 70-200 even though I have the 77 ltd already. I find the 200mm reach at f/2.8 quite a useful capability, esp. in concerts.

10-08-2009, 10:56 PM   #92
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My search continues...

I went back to the camera market a few days ago and came across an FA*80-200. Now before you say, "Aha! LBA strikes again!", I'll state right now that I did *not* buy it (for reasons which I'll get into below). However, I was able to fire off some shots with my K20D and compare it against my FA*200 which I had with me.

My first impression was regarding how heavy it was - it is built and weighs like a tank! I fired off some shots and it does seem quite sharp at f2.8, however due to the poor lighting conditions I was shooting at ISO640 and even then some of my shots suffered from handshake. Also, AF accuracy/calibration was a bit off with this lens (my FA*200 also suffers from this) and I ended up switching to MF for some of the shots. So I cannot state in absolute terms how sharp it is, but at 200mm I would say that the FA*80-200 at the very least comes close to matching the sharpness of my FA*200, and may even have exceeded it had focus been bang-on and with no handshake present. What is more clear to me is that at f2.8 the FA*80-200 suffers from a bit less PF/LCA than the FA*200, although it is still there (I think this is to be expected with these legacy, "non-digital optimized" lenses). Overall, my "rough" testing showed that this lens could turn out to be a very impressive performer.

But in the end, I decided to pass on it. Why didn't I bite? Firstly, this copy was in very poor cosmetic shape - it had more wear than what I would consider acceptable for even a "well used" lens. Usually the old and better-built lenses can take some abuse, however this one has power zoom and I had to factor in the PZ longevity into my buying decision.

Also, the weight was a bit hard to handle (!) and finally the asking price more than what I was prepared to spend (close to $1400 USD, even factoring in their "adjustment" for the cosmetic condition). That said, if I do come across another copy in better shape, and more careful testing shows it to be truly exceptional, then I would have to consider trading-in my FA*200 towards the purchase. I could not really justify keeping my FA*200 if I were to spend so much on a zoom in that range.
11-17-2009, 02:05 PM   #93
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thanks for the valuable info, I am still thinking of buying either the Tammy or the Siggy , and hopefully I am going for the Tammy
07-14-2010, 10:07 PM   #94
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Well, it's almost a year later and I just wanted to report back that I did end up finding another Sigma 70-200/2.8 EX. Some informal testing in the store showed it to be no worse than my FA*200/2.8 in terms of sharpness, and it beat the FA* in the area of CA control.

They also had a copy of the Tokina AT-X Pro 70-200/2.8, and while I did lust after the build quality and quiet AF of that lens, unfortunately the IQ left a lot to be desired.

So I ended up getting the Sigma. Here is a test shot from the store:



Here's the link to the full-sized version.

And a 100% crop:



I'll try to take some more interesting photos this weekend, if it stops raining.

07-15-2010, 01:20 PM   #95
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Looks reasonably sharp Gerald,
What are the exposure details of that capture? And have you looked at corner sharpness at varying apertures?

Is that the old non-HSM version that you purchased or the new HSM Sigma?

After having my Tamron sent back for repair under warranty, I've had no hitch with the lens and consider it one of my finest zooms in the collection.
07-15-2010, 02:10 PM   #96
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QuoteOriginally posted by photogerald Quote
Well, it's almost a year later and I just wanted to report back that I did end up finding another Sigma 70-200/2.8 EX. Some informal testing in the store showed it to be no worse than my FA*200/2.8 in terms of sharpness, and it beat the FA* in the area of CA control.

They also had a copy of the Tokina AT-X Pro 70-200/2.8, and while I did lust after the build quality and quiet AF of that lens, unfortunately the IQ left a lot to be desired.

So I ended up getting the Sigma. Here is a test shot from the store:
Congratulations. My own copy (old, pre-HSM, pre-Macro) is very sharp indeed and the old K 200/2.5 has only the slightest advantage, when both lenses are used fully open but the Sigma has much better colour correction.

It's a shame, that the beautiful Tokina isn't en par optically. In my own experience that is true for a couple of Tokina lenses: great build, but not so great optics. The worsed was the ATX 80-400, which I found virtually unuseable and finally sold (the buyer is happy, though).

Ben
07-15-2010, 02:15 PM   #97
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I was going to say that you should be able to much better then that but then I saw that you were shooting at 1/60th@200mm



John
07-15-2010, 02:57 PM   #98
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QuoteOriginally posted by photogerald Quote
Well, it's almost a year later and I just wanted to report back that I did end up finding another Sigma 70-200/2.8 EX. Some informal testing in the store showed it to be no worse than my FA*200/2.8 in terms of sharpness, and it beat the FA* in the area of CA control.
Which is why I sold my FA* 200mm f2.8.

07-15-2010, 07:09 PM   #99
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Looks reasonably sharp Gerald,
What are the exposure details of that capture? And have you looked at corner sharpness at varying apertures?
The exposure was 1/60 @ f2.8, ISO 320, under crappy flourescent lighting (and handheld). I realize that the image probably suffers from blur due to shake and I probably should've used ISO 400.

I have not had a chance to evaluate the corner sharpness.

I've been itching to give this lens a workout, but all week it's been rain and/or fog. Hopefully it will clear up for the weekend.

QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Is that the old non-HSM version that you purchased or the new HSM Sigma?
Sorry for not being clear - yes, it's the old APO EX (not the DG).

QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
After having my Tamron sent back for repair under warranty, I've had no hitch with the lens and consider it one of my finest zooms in the collection.
That's great to hear that it's fine now. So it is probably safe to conclude that recently manufactured copies should no longer suffer from the issue.

As you know from our previous discussions, I really liked what I saw from your Tamron and it was really high on my list. I was waiting for the sticky aperture issue to get resolved, and also to find a good price on one new, until I stumbled across this Sigma.
07-15-2010, 07:28 PM   #100
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ben_Edict Quote
Congratulations. My own copy (old, pre-HSM, pre-Macro) is very sharp indeed and the old K 200/2.5 has only the slightest advantage, when both lenses are used fully open – but the Sigma has much better colour correction.
Hi Ben, thanks for the note. That's an interesting comparison with the K 200/2.5 - were you the one who posted some shots taken with this lens not too long ago? Also, by colour correction do you mean CA correction? If so, I agree - the Sigma barely shows any CA.

QuoteOriginally posted by Ben_Edict Quote
It's a shame, that the beautiful Tokina isn't en par optically. In my own experience that is true for a couple of Tokina lenses: great build, but not so great optics. The worsed was the ATX 80-400, which I found virtually unuseable and finally sold (the buyer is happy, though).
It really is a shame - it sounds like you have handled one. If so, you'll know what I mean when I say that just holding it made me want to buy it - beautiful all-metal barrel and lens hood.

Needless to say I was surprised and dismayed by the disappointing IQ, as I knew that Tokina lenses from the MF era were well-regarded. I have a MF Tokina AT-X 35-70/2.8 which works beautifully. It does suffer from a little bit of bokeh CA, but not nearly to the degree exhibited by the AT-X Pro 70-200/2.8. What happened with the switch to AF?

Actually, the Tokina wasn't too bad at 200mm, but like I mentioned it did suffer badly from bokeh CA (at all FL's). This has been confirmed by an owner of this lens. Also, for some reason the copy I tried was really bad (unacceptably) at 100mm. Since I did not need another 200mm prime, and the Sigma had better IQ, so I picked the Sigma.

Here's a crop from the Tokina at 200mm/f2.8:



This shot does suffer from some shake due to the SR not being ready, but it was the best one out of several attempts.

Here's another crop in an out-of-focus area showing the bokeh CA:



And for comparison a similar crop from the Sigma:


Last edited by photogerald; 07-15-2010 at 07:38 PM.
07-15-2010, 07:42 PM   #101
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QuoteOriginally posted by palmor Quote
I was going to say that you should be able to much better then that but then I saw that you were shooting at 1/60th@200mm
Good observation, John. It wasn't a controlled test and I'll make sure to post better photos soon!
07-15-2010, 07:46 PM   #102
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike.P Quote
Which is why I sold my FA* 200mm f2.8.
Hi Mike, I am considering doing the same but I need to do some more testing first. Specifically regarding the colours and bokeh - these are two areas in which I've observed my FA* to excel.

As for sharpness, while my in-store tests did not show a winner between the FA* and Sigma zoom, I was quite surprised by some distance shots I took when I got home. It seems here that the FA* might have the advantage.
07-16-2010, 03:28 AM   #103
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Good comparison between the Tokina and the Sigma - clear distinction there in CA.
Look forward to the Sigma vs. FA* head-to-head comparison.
07-16-2010, 04:24 AM   #104
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QuoteOriginally posted by photogerald Quote
Hi Ben, thanks for the note. That's an interesting comparison with the K 200/2.5 - were you the one who posted some shots taken with this lens not too long ago? Also, by colour correction do you mean CA correction? If so, I agree - the Sigma barely shows any CA.
Yes, better controlled CAs. On the other hand the overall colour rendering of the K 200 is very pleasing, just typical Pentax from that era. The Sigma is much more neutral, but at the end, this is arguably a desirable assett.



QuoteOriginally posted by photogerald Quote
It really is a shame - it sounds like you have handled one. If so, you'll know what I mean when I say that just holding it made me want to buy it - beautiful all-metal barrel and lens hood.

Needless to say I was surprised and dismayed by the disappointing IQ, as I knew that Tokina lenses from the MF era were well-regarded. I have a MF Tokina AT-X 35-70/2.8 which works beautifully. It does suffer from a little bit of bokeh CA, but not nearly to the degree exhibited by the AT-X Pro 70-200/2.8. What happened with the switch to AF?
I had the old MF Tokina ATX 80-200/2.8 and that was okay on film. But on digital it was neither as sharp nor as good with CAs as the Siggy, so I sold it off.
The old ATX 35-70/2.8 was (is) a very fine lens. I still think about it, but gave it to a friend many years ago, when I bought the FA 28-75/2.8, which is overall the better and slightly more versatile (wider) lens. Nevertheless, I think, the Tok 35-70 is still worth buying, if the budget is limited and a Tamron 28-75/2.8 out of reach.

Ben
07-16-2010, 04:58 AM   #105
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QuoteOriginally posted by photogerald Quote
Hi Mike, I am considering doing the same but I need to do some more testing first. Specifically regarding the colours and bokeh - these are two areas in which I've observed my FA* to excel.

As for sharpness, while my in-store tests did not show a winner between the FA* and Sigma zoom, I was quite surprised by some distance shots I took when I got home. It seems here that the FA* might have the advantage.
Well I did still keep my DA* 200mm f2.8 (Also just managed to source a Sigma 180mm macro)

When people ask me what I think of the old non HSM Non Macro lens I just show them this picture .. taken on a K10D, hand held with the lens and the DG EX 1.4x converter attached.

See the bird top right on the clock tower?




100% crop .. remember, this is with the TC.

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