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09-08-2009, 08:16 AM   #1
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Looking for longer glass for tennis photography.

Currently I have a sigma 18 to 50 mm DC DX Macro which so far has been a good lens to me but honestly is really lacking in the telephoto department so I have decided I need longer glass (badly). I will mention now this is mostly going to be for sports photography.

Sigma Options -
100 to 300 Sigma F/4. A friend of mine has this glass and i have shot with it before but its a bit heavy and I would have to get a new bag just to carry it around (oh noes lol). No HSM for the Pentax mount makes me kind of want to wait for the next version that likely will. It also cost 1400 dollars.

The Sigma 70 to 200 f2.8 also gets pretty decent reviews as well and you get HSM.

Umm there is obviously 4 Pentax options. The 50-135, 60-250 and the 200 and 300. I would honestly prefer in this case to buy a Pentax Lens the question is of course ... which one.

I really wouldn't mind the 300 f/4 and its been on my wishlist for some time now but i am scared to make such a jump without perhaps getting the 60 to 250 first to cover the range in the middle there.

The 60 to 250 is nice but its also the most expensive of the pentax bunch at 1,300 dollars new. I really do want this lens actually but i want it to be sharp at the top for sure ... i know sharp at the top at f/4 isn't a tall order but this lens will be used up that high for sure.

The 200 F/2.8 .... haven't given this one much thought but would probably work just fine for what i want. 2.8 will come in handy i guess for faster shutter needs.

There is the 50 to 135 which would make the most logical sense of making "next steps in the range" kind of approach. But conerned 135 isn't long enough. and I have heard issues of 135 being soft at 2.8 over and over again (my friend has a copy with this issue) but not too concerned about that as mostly this lens will be used at at least 5.6 for ensure i get a good focus on the subject.

09-08-2009, 09:37 AM   #2
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Why does the Pentax DA 55-300mm not make your list of possible Pentax lenses? There are plenty of valid reasons for discounting it (speed, build quality, etc.), but you don't mention what your criteria are. So without having it in your list or explaining why it wouldn't be in your list, it's a glaring omission.
09-08-2009, 10:01 AM   #3
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In sunlight or indoors/shade?
Even the Tamron 70-300 works fine in direct sunlight. I've gone to the US Open a few times w/ it and have had no issues and it's pretty sharp and relatively light. It won't be fast enough (and I doubt the 55-300 would be either) in shade at around 5pm.

Bought the Sigma 70-200/2.8 for this year's trip, but it was defective (bubbles on front element coating). It's heavy and relatively large...I doubt the Sigma 100-300 is that much bigger than it.
And yes, I don't think the 50-135 is long enough...maybe in the outer courts, but not the bigger courts at Flushing Meadows. I'd guess the 60-250 is enough but I was hardly ever at the short end of the Tamron 70-300, so Sigma's 100-300 would be a more useful range than 60-250...
09-08-2009, 10:08 AM   #4
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You could always rent a couple of lenses and see what works best for you before buying it.

I have sworn that I will never buy a lens that is slower than f2.8, but heck, I don't know if I can justify the cost of a fast telephoto. If you have the money and the justification, then go for something fast for sure. You want have any regrets.

Best of luck with your decision!

09-08-2009, 10:49 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by MacGirl Quote
You could always rent a couple of lenses and see what works best for you before buying it.

I have sworn that I will never buy a lens that is slower than f2.8, but heck, I don't know if I can justify the cost of a fast telephoto. If you have the money and the justification, then go for something fast for sure. You want have any regrets.

Best of luck with your decision!
I swore I would never by a lens slower than F2.8 too.... but I put the DA* 300 on my camera at the pentax K7 road tour... Oh my goodness that is a beautiful lens. I would break my 2.8 rule for that one! If I had the dough of course.
09-08-2009, 11:34 AM   #6
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Ouch! Yeah, that's the last thing you want to do; put a beauty like that on your camera knowing you can't/won't take it home with you. Did the same with the 50-135, but someday, hopefully.

But to the OP....how far away are you shooting? I would like to get a Pentax telephoto just so I have quick-shift focus, I miss that with my Tamron's when shooting in low light or sports. A handy feature that shouldn't be overlooked, IMO.
09-08-2009, 12:01 PM   #7
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For this subject matter, my typically distance to subject is going to be anywhere from 40 to 140 feet away.

I mean I would love to get those up close shots of people at the tennis tournaments I play in that would give me really really high detail on a subject that will in turn get me commissioned work lol.

The 55 to 300 is a good cheap zoom but i am worried its not going to be able to do all of what I want. Plus I am going to buy lenses i prefer to just save up and get better glass in the first place.

DA* is of course appealing to be for weather sealing because i do go camping from time to time.
09-08-2009, 12:42 PM   #8
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I tried the DA*60-250 at the K-7 tour event also. It seemed like such a beast to me, but its a really sharp lens and I was impressed. Given your criteria and desire for a zoom, it's probably the best option, otherwise I'd suggest the DA*300 (also a beast but it seems more manageable to me since it's not a zoom, I didn't feel quite so uncomfortable shooting with it). The Sigma's HSM might be a real plus for sports, though I find tennis to be easier than some sports since the action happens at fairly predictable locations and you can pre-focus to a certain extent. The DA*50-135 would be too short.

The only time I've tried to shoot tennis was from the stands at a fairly big tennis center. I used the A*300 and was satisfied, even with the manual focus - I wouldn't want anything much shorter. If I were to be shooting much tennis, I'd probably go for either/or/both the DA*200 and 300 lenses. Like Gus, I made the mistake of putting both lenses on my camera at the K-7 event. I had sworn that I wouldn't buy another big, heavy lens (I have several of them). I'm now in the market for a bigger camera bag because I bought both (and the 10-17 fisheye) a week after the event (but wasn't tempted by the 60-250).

The DA 55-300 is nice because it's small and lightweight. It would be competent but wouldn't give you the same quality of pictures you'd get with the two primes.

09-09-2009, 09:02 AM   #9
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Another thing to remember .... if you are actually going to decent sized events ... there's usually a ruling for nothing over 200mm as well.

So keep that in mind too.
09-09-2009, 11:02 AM   #10
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Then even consider a Tamron 70-200 + 1.5x TC to give you effectively a 140-300mm f/4 lens - without the concern that you're breaking rules...
09-09-2009, 11:06 AM   #11
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That's what I'd do ... as a TC is nice and small that you can pop into your pocket.
09-09-2009, 09:48 PM   #12
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I will probably never shoot a pro event. This is mostly for my in town league and the national tournaments with this circuit.
09-09-2009, 10:59 PM   #13
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Nevertheless, if you can afford it, a 70-200 +/- TC will not disappoint.
Otherwise a DA 55-300 may just suffice if lighting is good.
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