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09-25-2009, 02:00 PM   #1
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Help me pick a lens....

I know there's probably hundreds of these threads out there, but I couldn't find one that exactly matches my situation...

I recently consolidated my meager lens collection (of a Sigma 17-70 and FA50mm f/1.4) and am looking for a new one to replace it. The Sigma just wasn't fast enough.

The only glass I currently have is a Sigma 10-20. I want something fast, sharp, and and versatile. I don't do much telephoto work yet.

I've narrowed it down to two options:

1) Buy a NEW Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 for $390. 3 year warranty. Great lens, I actually had one for a minute. I don't like that it has a plastic barrel, otherwise I thoroughly enjoyed it.

2) Buy a USED (but verified good copy from owner) Pentax DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 for ~$600. This lens is such a tossup when you've done as much research as I have. Some people gush about how awesome it is, others warn of doom, gloom, SDM failure, and say its overpriced.

The tammy is significantly cheaper, new, and gets many rave reviews. It also has a longer range. That being said, I love wide angle work (that's why I own the Sigma), and I would probably have to switch between the two ....I'm not sure how much. As I mentioned, I do have experience with the lens, which I liked, but I didn't feel the build quality is up to par with what I can imagine the DA* series it like.

The Pentax is weathersealed, has SDM, and just seems badass in general. It obviously has less of a range, but it might be viable as a better "walkaround" lens for me. It may be a little on the short end for portraiture. The overlap into the 10-20 territory makes me think that I may get lazy and use the sigma less, which sucks, because that wasnt cheap either. Build quality means a lot to me, I didn't even like the feel of my 17-70 even though it was a good lens.

I'm not exactly pinching pennies right now, but I don't have a ton of money either. The new lens will have to hold me over for awhile. ~$600 is really all I'd be willing to spend in my given situation.

Discuss.

09-25-2009, 02:11 PM   #2
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$600's the limit for you and build quality means a lot - the 16-50's the only one that'll fit the bill here. But why did you part with the FA 50? No other lens can give you f/1.4 for <$400.

I also think the Tamron's an excellent cost-effective contender - it ticks all the boxes other than build quality (but it is to me more solidly built than the DA 16-45 and the Sigma 17-70). And at f/2.8 constant, it's fantastic value with very very good IQ.

Then you have the Tamron 17-50, which is almost equivalent to the DA* 16-50 but does not have the build quality you're after.

Another choice is possibly the Sigma 24-70/2.8 but IMO a lot of Sigmas just don't cut it for me in build quality or even IQ.

Comes right back to the 16-50 - you're ready to set aside $600, and IMO the 16-50 is worth it - I can only say this because I've had mine for almost a year, used it extensively without a single problem with it and SDM hasn't failed on me, touch wood (knocking on my head)...
09-25-2009, 02:18 PM   #3
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haha... Ash, right on schedule with the immediate super-informative response.

I did look into the Tamron 17-50 as well, it seems ever-elusive though, I can't find the darn thing anywhere....whereas the 28-75 I can literally call B&H and have it next week.

I'm leaning toward the 16-50, as I know that I definitely might want the 50-135 someday.

Does anybody think that the 28-75 is on par with DA* image quality? Also, has anybody ever gotten a crappy copy of the 28-75? Even the refurb that I owned for 14 days (thanks B&H) seemed right on the money.
09-25-2009, 02:27 PM   #4
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I'll answer again to say that the 28-75 is very close to the 16-50 in image results - I have both and do still think the 16-50 has the edge in microcontrast and image 'pop' (hard to describe that). Sometimes it's even hard to tell between them though. Both lenses to me are good enough to be go-to lenses. The build quality of the 16-50 is exemplary though.

If you're going to get the 50-135 in the future, the logical choice would be 16-50. The 28-75 would leave you wanting something a little wider at times (if you don't want to switch to the 10-20) and will add nothing for you in the 50-75 range when you get the 50-135...

09-25-2009, 03:04 PM   #5
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what's the warranty look like on the DA* lenses? With an unfilled out warranty card and a receipt (of the original owner's) will I be able to contact Pentax USA with warranty claims? Anybody with experience on this matter?
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