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10-24-2009, 02:19 PM   #1
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Decision Sigma 70 -200 or Pentax SMC FA*star 80-200mm/f2.8 ED IF Lens

Hi. Im new to this forum and had my first SLR -Pentax K10D Grand Prix for 2 yeas now. I finally feel confident to sell of my kit lenses and upgrade to something a bit better.My photography is of personal use so not selling or printing too much.Although I have someone interested in my work of his store.
I have been looking at buying a Sigma 70-200 f2.8 for Appx $1100 Australian (1000US) but now have come across the pentax 80-200 f2.8 at $1900 AU or (1769 us) second hand. My use for the lens would be a bit of motor sport, portrait and general photography. I am after a bit of guidance on who uses what and what is suitable. I plan to stick with pentax cameras and will upgrade one day.
Any advice would be welcome.
John


10-25-2009, 12:46 AM   #2
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I have been doing a bit of research today and still undecided. A lot seem to have problems with the Sigma 70-200. Does the Pentax become a 120-300 when on a Digital SLR.

John

Last edited by campdog; 10-25-2009 at 01:01 AM.
10-25-2009, 12:57 AM   #3
axl
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Hi John,

first things first, I never owned any of those two lenses, but I had a chance to try Pentax FA*. It's massive lens, and really heavy (for this category anyway). It has great IQ but many who tried Sigma 70-200 say it is very comparable. Now, as you said, some had problems with Sigma lens. This usually relates to the new HSM version. Honestly, I haven't read anything negative about the older one.

good luck choosing...

as for your other question, no. No lens becomes longer. 80-200 stays 80-200 but due to cropped sensor frame, the effective FOV is that of 120-300 compared to FF or film cameras.

BR
Peter
10-25-2009, 01:27 AM   #4
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Don't be confused by the 35mm equivalent focal lengths. The lens gives the same magnification, but the digital sensor crops some of the full-frame image off, giving you less in the frame as captured by your K10D.

Now as for the FA* and 70-200 comparisons, believe me when I tell you this, I have agonised over the FA* for a while, and after having two opportunities to grab one I decided to pass both times - which made me feel a touch of remorse at each opportunity.

This is partly because of the reputation the FA* has but also its unrivalled build quality. I've held one once, but never got the chance to test it. I personally don't mind the weight but the IQ, even though it is absolutely excellent, is apparently not a great deal ahead of either 70-200 option available on the Pentax.

I would suggest that if you're considering the 70-200 by Sigma (the newer HSM version), then consider the Tamron that was released soon after the Sigma. It is just as good, if not better, than the Sigma in IQ and reasonably well built - both are heavy and large, but not more than the FA*. They are both plastic, though, whereas the FA* is metal.

If you have the opportunity to buy the older Sigma 70-200 EX DG version (not HSM), I would say this would top the bunch for reliability and IQ. Most people here vouch for this (contrary to what Sigma would like to promote about their HSM version).

So with this in mind, give it good thought - if you are happy to drop the funds, the FA* is a lifelong keeper, whereas the Tamron (or Sigma) 70-200 is better value with a downer on the build quality (which may be important to you in your situation).


Last edited by Ash; 10-25-2009 at 01:39 AM.
10-25-2009, 03:29 AM   #5
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Thanks Guys for your reply. I have been in the market for a lens for a while. I like the FA only the cost of 2k AUS plus customs may make it a bit expensive. I wouldnt mind looking for a pre HSM Sigma 70-200 if I could find one. Just the images I have seen taken with the FA are amazing and havent found anywhere similar quality with th Sigma or Tamron. Would love to hear from some Sigma and FA owners and see some images. The FA im looking at could sell in the mean time but thats luck.
John
10-25-2009, 04:49 AM   #6
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Keep your eye out for one as they pop up from time to time...
10-25-2009, 05:33 AM   #7
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I own the oldest version of the Sigma (1.8m minimum focusing distance with an aperture ring and no digital coatings). It's constructed mainly of metal, overall the build is very solid.

I haven't found a direct comparison as far as IQ goes but photozone have reviewed both. The Sigma was reviewed on a Canon so you can't compare the actual MTF scores but you can still get a general idea of how each lens performs.

Sigma 70-200 EX DG (same optical construction as the non-DG version)
Sigma AF 70-200mm f/2.8 EX APO HSM DG - Lab Test Report / Review

Pentax FA* 80-200
Pentax SMC-FA* 80-200mm f/2.8 [IF] ED - Review / Lab Test Report

Judging by those charts the Sigma has the edge at the wide-end with things pretty even in the middle. The Pentax beats the Sigma at 200mm. The Sigma performs more evenly across the whole frames wide-open at all focal lengths while with the FA* there is a bigger difference between centre and corner sharpness.

The above pretty much mirrors my own experience with the Sigma, up 180mm it's very sharp wide-open, not quite so at 200mm but definitely still very usable.
10-25-2009, 07:12 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by campdog Quote
Thanks Guys for your reply. I have been in the market for a lens for a while. I like the FA only the cost of 2k AUS plus customs may make it a bit expensive. I wouldnt mind looking for a pre HSM Sigma 70-200 if I could find one. Just the images I have seen taken with the FA are amazing and havent found anywhere similar quality with th Sigma or Tamron. Would love to hear from some Sigma and FA owners and see some images. The FA im looking at could sell in the mean time but thats luck.
John
what's the exchange of AUS$ to GBP ???
I know of FA* in excellent condition (after quick evaluation) for 699 (I think, but it may be 799). I'd post it to you and declare it as present. Mind you, the lens is really hefty and as trackable parcel it could be costly...

BR
Peter

10-25-2009, 09:27 AM   #9
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I know this might not help... I normally shoot with my FA* 80-200/2.8 at around F/5.6 or slightly higher - that's enough DOF for the type of shooting I do with it - Civil War Reenactments. I rarely do any shots wide open. No issues with clarity!

Images - first at 80mm:

Link to EXIF

Then at 200mm:

Link to EXIF


Now back at 80mm (but at F/8 since I want the entire head in focus):

Link to EXIF

Unfortunately my FA* 80-200/2.8 doesn't see a lot of use for the kinds of subjects I spend the most time at photographing: nature and wildlife. I buy the faster lenses for their optical qualities and build excellence that is normally inherent with those models, etc. as some of the more desirable characteristics. I do agree with Ash on the build quality: the FA* 80-200/2.8 is a tank. Sigma's EX line seems to be quite good, but mine is limited to the Sigma 500/4.5 EX DG lens - incredibly good build.

Regards,
Marc
10-26-2009, 12:29 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
what's the exchange of AUS$ to GBP ???
I know of FA* in excellent condition (after quick evaluation) for 699 (I think, but it may be 799). I'd post it to you and declare it as present. Mind you, the lens is really hefty and as trackable parcel it could be costly...

BR
Peter
I just checked about AU$2.oo to the pound. Like you say getting it here might be expensive. Maybe worth looking into. A confirmed price and condition would be appreciated.
John

Last edited by campdog; 10-26-2009 at 02:15 AM.
10-26-2009, 02:21 AM   #11
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Marc, those images are spectacular. It what I want in a lens. Made my mind up, now I need to find one and get it here without the wife killing me.
Could the lens be used for flower close up ets.
John
10-26-2009, 11:50 PM   #12
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Well wouldnt that stuff ya.I decided on the Penatx 80-200 and just went to buy it and its been sold.Thats what happens when yo bugger around trying to decide on something.Now I can look at a 300mm f* 4.5 for about $1100 aus or wait for another 80-200 .It went for $1900 AU.
John
10-27-2009, 12:13 AM   #13
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AFAIK, this one is still available for a similar price...
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/photographers-marketplace/77649-sale-pent...case-more.html
10-27-2009, 12:43 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Thanks Ash, I have sent a PM as well. Got an email from ebay and another one coming up in a couple of days.
John
10-27-2009, 02:30 PM   #15
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I rather like my Sigma MK I 70-200mm f2.8 APO EX. (NON HSM)







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