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12-26-2009, 09:04 AM   #1
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LBA help! buy 17-70 or sell the 70-300 and buy 18-250

Hi all - I've been mooching around for ages, but couldn't find a post to help solve my dilemma.

I've got a big hole in the 20-70mm range. Recent weddings (as a guest) were really frustrating, because I had to use the 10-20 all the time (no time for lens changing). Easy! I hear you say - add the Sigma or Pentax 17-70. Well that was my original thought, too. But then, I thought, why not look into the superzooms and sell the Sigma 70-300 APO DC Macro?

My photos habits are:
85% of my photos are taken with my beloved 70mm macro. I also love my wide open 10-20, for those Aussie wide open spaces. I don't use the 70-300 much, but enough to want to keep that kind of focus range (mainly for wildlife).

My reason for prevarication:
1. The extra lens (17-70) will mean a serious reorganisation of the camera bag or a new bag (which doesn't work for me).

2. How much of a sacrifice in IQ and focus speed will I make if I go the 18-250 over the 17-70/70-300 (well, really, the 17-70).

3. I would expect to use the 17-70 range far more often than the tele end and having been drooling over this lens for about 2 years (the macro had to come first...) BUT

4. That one lens solution means I can take everything with one lens when bush walking (except my lovely macros). And not miss that bird shot while changing lenses.

Your advice will be most gratefully received...
Kath

12-26-2009, 09:15 AM   #2
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Hi Kath. I'll give a quick opinion.

Since you said 85% of your photos are taken with your 70mm macro, I would take that as meaning you don't put too much focus into other types of shooting. With that being the case, you don't really need a super fast lens to cover your missing focal length range. I think the Tamron 18-250 would fit this niche perfectly for you.

It won't be able to perform amazingly indoors (weddings) without a flash, but if you get a flash that will be taken care of. It will perform excellently outdoors and will cover just about every scenario you're likely to encounter in the Australian bush, from almost any wide landscape to a far-away bird or other game. It will also severely cut down on the dust that is blowing around from getting into your camera since you won't need to change lenses as often. The Tamron 18-250 has excellent image quality; its only fault really is that it has a small-ish aperture. Again, in bright light, this won't matter.

I say go for it! For what you described your shooting style as, I don't see how a 17-50/17-70 would suit you any better than the all-in-one zoom. And sell the 70-300, possibly to get money for a nice flash.
12-26-2009, 10:14 AM   #3
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I have seen some very impressive results from both the Sigma and Pentax 17-70's. I'm hoping for some really ugly and cold winter weather to add some overtime and cash to the budget to buy one. An 18-250 might make a decent replacemant for the 70-300 for hiking, especially if you find you don't use the long end of the zoom often. I haven't used one of those lenses to comment personally but others like them. You may have answered your own question when you mentioned that 85% of your shots are at 70mm. My own feeling is that trying to find a one lens solution kind of defeats the purpose of having an SLR as some of the better super zoom bridge cameras will give you similar results in a much smaller and lighter package.
12-26-2009, 01:06 PM   #4
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Hi Kath.
I have another option you may want to consider.
Seeing as though you take very few shots in the telephoto range, I would suggest a good quality (and fast) wide to normal zoom and sell your 70-300 anyway (if you still want something for wildlife, I'd suggest replacing the 70-300 with a Pentax DA 55-300, where you still get the same reach but much better quality images, especially when shooting close to wide open).

The fast zoom that comes to mind is the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 - long been trusted as an excellent quality zoom with a constant f/2.8 throughout its focal range (unlike the Sigma). You already have the 10-20, and there would then be only an 8mm gap between the lenses, and you'd cover up to 75mm of reach in a quality yet cost-effective couple of zooms. That is, if 75mm is long enough reach for you...

I'm personally not keen on superzooms given the significant sacrifice not only in IQ but in speed (smaller and variable maximum aperture of the lenses).

All the best in your decision.

12-26-2009, 03:25 PM   #5
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I think you have answered it yourself here:

QuoteOriginally posted by cardikat Quote
3. I would expect to use the 17-70 range far more often than the tele end and having been drooling over this lens for about 2 years (the macro had to come first...)
At the same time you have said you don't use 70-300 a lot but enough to keep it.

So I'd say get 17-70. If you have wanted it for so so long and you know you would be using it... rather keep 70-300 at home and take 10-20/17-70/70macro or take 17-70/70/70-300.
It's all about choices... I used to dream about doing good wildlife shots, good street shots, good landscape shots.... and I was chasing lenses. Finally when I got FA*300/4.5 I realized it's not possible to do it all, so I sold it few weeks after buying it with loss and bough my wife ruby earrings for 1st anniversary. I have decided to concentrate on street/scape photography and lenses between 10-135mm. Using primes I accepted that I will miss some shots but I don't mind it, I like taking my time to compose, focus, reframe, refocus... just to get shot I want.
If you know you will use the lens, buy it...
my 2p

PS:
having said that, I was never fan of super zooms so take my opinion with certain reservation
12-26-2009, 07:30 PM   #6
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Thanks guys

the Tamron 28-75 sounds nice (oh, I love constant 2.8). But then, I already have a hot shoe flash - hmmm. I think I may be leaning towards the superzoom. I don't expect to get awesome photos with it, but useable. Even thinking the new Sigma as it has OS in the lens which apparently performs better than the in body IS at the tele end (where you need it). But that constant 2.8... oh the pain of indecision...

Isn't LBA fun (and painful)?
12-26-2009, 09:31 PM   #7
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Kath, the only reason I'd suggest going for a superzoom is for the convenience of not having to change lenses all that often. Then again, if you really wanted that, there are some fine bridge cameras that do an outstanding job for point and shoots, yet with some of the flexibility and features of an SLR.

To me, the beauty of SLR is the reproduction of a scene with the quality of good lenses. Even with flash, the creativity that you can produce with fast lenses trumps that of the convenience of not having to switch lenses, or having a light kit.

My 2c, but go with what *you* need.
12-26-2009, 10:32 PM   #8
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Thanks Ash - my main purpose for this particular LBA is for situations where I'd prefer to not switch lenses (weddings, parties), and want a light kit (bushwalking with 2 lenses, flash & tripod). I think I'm answering my own question here... It's amazing how discussion really sorts out what is a higher priority.

But you have thrown another option into the mix... should I forget the superzoom and buy a bridge camera for those situations. That raises the question...

Is the IQ/focus speed better on a decent bridge camera or the superzoom?
and
If the bridge camera is a better option, will I have to zoom using those stupid buttons? Because that is just a straight out NO WAY and the decision is made.

I totally agree with the joy of an SLR. Having a dedicated macro has just about changed my life (lol). The macro is pretty much a permanent fixture on my camera from March to November. Ooooh, I so love it.

Again, thank you all so much for your input and advice. It really helps with those "Libran" moments. And please don't tell my husband I'm buying another piece of equipment ROFL!

12-26-2009, 10:37 PM   #9
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Kath, there are a few bridge cameras out there that have the zoom grips to adjust focal length manually. Fuji Finepix comes to mind. They're smaller, lighter, quite responsive and perform reasonably well.

But I won't kid you into thinking you'll get the same caliber of results as an SLR with a fast lens. That's why I suggested a Tamron 28-75, and better still, add a fast fifty (those things make you love SLR photography at first shot )
12-26-2009, 10:57 PM   #10
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Thanks Ash - I did have a nice fast 50 filling that gap (kind of). I admit, it had a hard life as it doubled as my macro (with macro filters) when I was saving hard for the 70 (lots of me lying in the dirt). I think it got some dirt in it and now the apeture is stuck wide open at 1.4. I just about cried until I thought "I've just got a new job and what a great excuse to finally get the macro". Hee hee.

I understand I won't get the same quality results with a bridge camera compared to a nice fast lens. But do you think I will get similar quality compared to the 18-250? I may have to be naughty and keep my eye out for that Tamron while I'm at it...
12-26-2009, 11:42 PM   #11
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I couldn't attest to it, but with some of the modern bridge cameras, I'm sure they could give the 18-250 a run for the money...
12-30-2009, 03:55 AM   #12
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I have found recently that a lens that covers the 17-70 range is very versatile.

I have 2 lenses that cover this range ... and they are big lenses ... I'd much rather a single lens to cover this range.

One of my lenses is a Sigma 28-70 f/2.8 ... and I find sometimes I really need wider. And after seeing what the Sigma 17-70 can really do ... it's a lens worth considering. Even though it's not a constant f/2.8 ... it really doesn't need to be. It's a pretty good performer for what it is.

And when indoors shooting weddings, etc ... you'll really need a flashgun (bounce/diffused) anyway.
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