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11-11-2009, 05:34 PM   #1
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Inexpensive telephotos

Which has better overall image quality and which has the best value for the money:

pentax 50-200 (~$150 canadian)
tamron 70-300 (~$200)
sigma 70-300 APO (~$300)

This will be my first real telephoto. I will be using the lens when my 18-55 doesn't have enough reach (ex. birds)

I have read that the tamron has lots of CA and PF in high-contrast situations, but is sharper than the sigma. I'm not sure how the pentax 50-200 compares.

Which has the best bokeh and color rendition?

Could anyyone who owns any of these lenses post pictures showing the strengths and weaknesses of each?


(I know there are many other threads asking a similar question but I still can't decide on which to get)

11-11-2009, 05:43 PM   #2
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pentax 55-300mm

You might add to you list the Pentax 55-300mm. These can be found on that big auction site for under $300 USD quite often....and I suspect once the da-L version really hits the street, the price will drop even more....
11-11-2009, 08:58 PM   #3
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This is a recurring topic - you might want to search for any of the dozens of other threads on this topic. I'd say you have the conventional wisdom down - Tamron sharper than Sigma, but Sigma less CA/PF. Bokeh and "color rendition" are too subjective too expect much consensus, but I doubt you'll find many people going out of their way to sing the praises of the Tamron colors. The DA50-200 is to my eyes better than either in all respects - sharper, better color, less CA/PF, smaller, lighter, focuses faster, and has quick shift, but of course it not as long. The 55-300 solves the length issue is considered the best of all IQ-wise, but that puts it into the same size/weight/focus-speed ballpark as the others.
11-11-2009, 09:40 PM   #4
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I'd recommend looking for a Pentax SMC F 70-210mm..... very good IQ, especially for the price..... you can probably find one for about $125 - $150 on Ebay (P.S. - SMC version, not the cheaper, lesser quality Takumar version).

11-11-2009, 10:13 PM   #5
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Get an adapter for M42 and start searching ebay. I just got a Lentar 400mm M42 for $65USD. I took some preliminary pics and it seems REALLY good! Earlier I got Takumar 200mm for about $25 (check the Golden Eagle pictures in the Your Photos section here). Just look around. Pentax is wonderful (and the reason I went with Pentax) for lens compatibility.
11-11-2009, 10:32 PM   #6
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I have many telephoto lenses.
My Tamron is bad, but generally it must be good and cheap.
I suggest to have three telephoto lenses:
1) Small pentax 55-200mm, very good and useful.
2) Larger Tamron 70-300mm, and it is faster in 70-200mm range then Sigma.
3) Large and fast, tank like zoom. I have Tokina AT-X 100-300mm F4.

M42 is only for geeks, could be very good, but could be very bad. Have it just as special toy.
11-11-2009, 10:45 PM   #7
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If you want an inexpensive medium tele, you might want to look at K, M, or A version of the 135mm prime. I have both the M 135mm f3.5 and the A 135mm f2.8. On a crop camera, these are equivalent to a 200mm or 4X zoom. What's far better, is that these lens are far smaller and more lightweight than their zoom counterparts. The M version is only about 3 inches long and even smaller than that in diameter. If you expand a zoom lens out to 135mm, you'll find this big honking series of black tubes extending out to twice or more the length of a prime 135. The A version, of course, will give you automatic control of exposure.

There are lots of these 135 primes on ebay and lots of opinions of the value of each. One of the earlier ones i bought was a K version but without SMC coating - just a single coat. I found this had excessive purple fringing and immediately returned it. So i woudl advise only buying SMC versions. If i remember right, the M version cost me $60 or 70 while the A version was over $140 and come up less often.

Phil
11-12-2009, 08:35 AM   #8
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I think I will go with the pentax 50-200. It seems to have the least negative points. One reason I was considering the tamron and sigma was because of their macro capabilities, but I will get a macro lens for that. Once I decide how much reach I need, I will probably get a higher quality lens. I might also get some older manual lenses for fun.

11-12-2009, 06:15 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by nick c Quote
I think I will go with the pentax 50-200. It seems to have the least negative points. One reason I was considering the tamron and sigma was because of their macro capabilities, but I will get a macro lens for that.
For macro, instead of a separate lens, also consider getting a Raynox 150 for use with the 50-200 - it's a great combination. See the "Raynox club" thread in this forum for examples of what this $40 adapter can do.

Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 11-12-2009 at 09:18 PM.
11-12-2009, 06:19 PM   #10
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I recently got the Pentax FA 80-320 4.5-5.6 for a very low price. I tried it with my Tamron 1.4 TC and it works well. I haven't taken any real images with it, so don't know how good it is, but I get a feeling it is going to be a fine lens in great light. I will consider this, as the price is right.
11-12-2009, 06:37 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by tr13 Quote
I have many telephoto lenses.
My Tamron is bad, but generally it must be good and cheap.
I suggest to have three telephoto lenses:
1) Small pentax 55-200mm, very good and useful.
2) Larger Tamron 70-300mm, and it is faster in 70-200mm range then Sigma.
3) Large and fast, tank like zoom. I have Tokina AT-X 100-300mm F4.

M42 is only for geeks, could be very good, but could be very bad. Have it just as special toy.
I've been itching to upgrade my tamron 70-300mm to a 55-300mm, but I'm not sure if it's worth it - so I'm considering keeping it and buying #3.
11-12-2009, 06:47 PM   #12
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I would get a used Pentax DA 55-300 if I were in your position, it's around your price range and can often be found in the Marketplace. I've seen some really great pictures coming out of it, even cropped. Very good lens for very good price.
11-12-2009, 06:59 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by tr13 Quote
M42 is only for geeks, could be very good, but could be very bad. Have it just as special toy.
Only for geeks? Have you checked the Takumar thread here?
11-12-2009, 08:34 PM   #14
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I just got the DA55-300, really love it.
11-12-2009, 09:14 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by tr13 Quote
M42 is only for geeks, could be very good, but could be very bad. Have it just as special toy.
Geeks huh!? I've got three Super Taks so I'm one three times? I am glad to know this as I didn't before..............
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