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06-20-2007, 09:14 AM   #1
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Replacement lens

Ok here's the deal. my bag was stolen last week along with it was my standard 18-55mm DA lens. Pretty gutted. Now, I want to get a replacement, but one with greater max. aperture and better build quality. I'm going to claim it back on insurance but am willing to spend about 100 quid over and above that. I'm thinking along the lines of the Sigma 28-70mm f2.8 (non-macro) lens. ideas?

06-20-2007, 09:40 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Toonahfish Quote
Ok here's the deal. my bag was stolen last week along with it was my standard 18-55mm DA lens. Pretty gutted. Now, I want to get a replacement, but one with greater max. aperture and better build quality. I'm going to claim it back on insurance but am willing to spend about 100 quid over and above that. I'm thinking along the lines of the Sigma 28-70mm f2.8 (non-macro) lens. ideas?
Toonahfish,

Sorry to hear that your bag was nicked.

I do think it makes sense to replace the kit lens with something else. Not to knock the kit lens, which is probably the best lens available on a price per weight basis! But you can do better.

When I looked to replace my kit lens, what I wanted was something that was versatile - MORE versatile than the kit lens. The Sigma 28-70 or the very similar Tamron 28-75 - both f/2.8 throughout the range of the zoom - both fit that description very well. I've owned and used them both. Actually I'm selling the Sigma right now on eBay simply because I don't need both lenses. I'm keeping the Tamron because, I dunno, I like the lens cap; but the Sigma seems just as good a lens and the build quality might be superior.

The Tamron 28-75 is now my standard medium-light, middle range lens. Another Tamron, the 18-250, is my standard full light/outdoors, ready-for-anything lens. I like 'em both. The 18-250 is more expensive ($500 US). If I was being sent to a desert island and could only take one lens, I'd take the 18-250. But I'd miss the other lens when the sun started to go down. :-)

Will
06-20-2007, 09:47 AM   #3
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The obvious answer is the Pentax 16-45mm. It's a constant aperture f4.0, and much better build quality. Since you are considering the Sigma 28-70, f2.8, you also might want to consider the Tamron 28-75 f2.8, I do not own the lens myself but everybody I know who has one swears by it. I'm very seriously considering getting it myself. You will lose a fair amount of FOV over the 16-45, but you do gain two stops.

NaCl(the tamron is on my short LBA list)H2O
06-20-2007, 10:25 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by NaClH2O Quote
The obvious answer is the Pentax 16-45mm. It's a constant aperture f4.0, and much better build quality. Since you are considering the Sigma 28-70, f2.8, you also might want to consider the Tamron 28-75 f2.8, I do not own the lens myself but everybody I know who has one swears by it. I'm very seriously considering getting it myself. You will lose a fair amount of FOV over the 16-45, but you do gain two stops.
I thought about mentioning the 16-45, which I also have. I'd say to Toonahfish that there are three questions to consider here.
  1. What matters more to you, getting a bit more on the wide end, or a bit more reach on the telephoto end?
  2. How important is it to you to have that f/2.8 aperture for lower-light photography?
  3. How many lenses can you afford?
The first question is absurd if you think of it in connection with a specific shot. For a specific shot the answer will always be, I want the right lens for THIS shot. But I ask the question generally. What kind of photos do you tend to take? If you shoot a lot of close-up group photos, or you like to shoot buildings from across the street, and if you tend to shoot in good light or can at least use flash, well, then the 16-45 might be the right lens to buy first. But I myself don't use the 16-28 focal lengths NEARLY as much as I use the 45-75 range. Taking a wild guess, I'd say that 75% of my photos are taken at a focal length above 45mm. THAT'S JUST ME. I bet that our esteemed forum buddy Ben Kanarek shoots 75% of the time BELOW 45mm. But knowing where you need to shoot makes a difference to which of these lenses you buy - or buy first.

Me personally, I'm thinking about selling the 16-45, if I can get the right price. Optically, it's a really excellent lens, no question. But I simply don't find myself using it as much as the two Tamrons that I mentioned in my earlier response. The 28-75 (like the Sigma 28-70) isn't as wide, true, and sometimes that's significant. I was shooting an event six weeks ago where I started with the 28-75, then switched to the 16-45 because I needed to shoot a wide group shot and I was having trouble getting everybody in at 28mm. The 28-75 also isn't quite as sharp at its best as the Pentax 16-45 at its best. But for me, the difference in quality is not major, and the versatility of the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 trumps the possibly greater acuity of the Pentax 16-45. I can go down to 18mm with my other Tamron. And when that's still not wide enough, well, what I hope to do sooner or later is get a proper wide-angle lens like the Sigma or Pentax 12-24mm offerings.

By the way, I just noticed for the first time that Pentax lists on its web site an smc-p FA J 28-80 lens f/3.5-5.6 that is dirt cheap (under $100). I have no experience with or knowledge of the lens at all, but gosh, how bad could it be? Could it be worse than the 18-55 kit lens?

Will


Last edited by WMBP; 06-20-2007 at 10:56 AM. Reason: fixed couple of misspellings
06-20-2007, 11:21 AM   #5
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I have recently bought the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5.
Its larger range, which makes it possible to use "alone" and the larger aperture made me choose it. Its close focus ability is also nice for me since I use it to take pictures of medical specimens also. (The kit range was also efficient in this respect). Vignetting (almost none), distorsions (minimal) and chromatic aberrations (slight degree of reddish bands along high contrast borders) are all within acceptable limits for an amateur. Its reviews are fine and the build quality also feels right. The filter size is a lot bigger (was it 72mm?).

My experience with it is limited. Still, I like it.
I have no doubt that it is a better lens the the 18-55mm kit lens. However, I am not sure whether it is 3 times better than that! (The price is about x3).

I also have the Sigma 70-300mm APO DG and think I have enough zooms.
However, I always regard my used & worn out primes higher than the above.
I even feel better when I just touch them and play with them!

Last edited by bc_the_path; 06-20-2007 at 11:28 AM. Reason: grammar...
06-20-2007, 12:03 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by bc_the_path Quote
I have no doubt that it [the Sigma 28-70 f/2.8] is a better lens the the 18-55mm kit lens. However, I am not sure whether it is 3 times better than that! (The price is about x3).
Here in the US, the price difference is a little greater than that. At Adorama, the Pentax 18-55 is selling right now for $90, and the Sigma is going for $330. But you can find the Pentax 18-55 for even less than $90.

But this is a tricky calculation for two reasons.

Generally speaking, in the world of camera equipment, as in the world of computers, in order to get something that is a little better, you have to pay more than a little extra. That's just a fact of life. Paying a few dollars more to get a K100D with shake reduction instead of a K110D without, is money well spent. But what about paying almost twice as much to get a K10D instead of a K100D? Rather harder to measure the value there. The K10D may be twice as good a camera in terms of technical specs. But it's not likely to make anybody twice as good a photographer, and for me, at least, it's not the specs that matter, it's the photos. I bought the K10D because I could afford it, because I very much wanted its couple clear advantages. But I didn't ever kid myself that the K10D would automatically mean I'd be taking better photos. I apply the same criterion to lenses. Picasso could have created art with a toothbrush and a jar of shoe polish (could have, and more or less did from time to time). Really good photos have been taken with that Pentax 18-55 kit lens. But if you want the other advantages of a different lens - whether it's the Pentax 16-45 or one of the non-Pentax 28-70(75) lenses that we've been discussing - well, you're going to pay for it.

The other complicating factor here is that we really are comparing apples and oranges. The range of the Pentax kit lens is closer to the range of the 16-45 than it is to the third-party 28-70/75 lenses. The 16-45 sells now for $300 or so, after the $100 rebate that Pentax is currently offering. It's certainly not a WORSE lens than the Sigma 28-70, even though the final price is a few dollars lower. So lens C isn't so much "better absolutely" than lens A or lens B, as "better in ways that matter to me."

So I don't ask myself, is this apple that costs $330 three times better than this orange that costs $300, or that peach that costs only $90? I ask myself what I'm hungriest for right now, and can I afford it?

Will
06-20-2007, 02:58 PM   #7
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What about the sigma 24-135 1:2.8-4.5? Looks like a nice lens with good coverage.
06-20-2007, 08:25 PM   #8
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I'm looking at doing the same thing - replacing my Pentax 18-55, and it looks like there are 2 options at similar prices - the Tamron 28-75 f2.8 or the Sigma 18-50 f2.8 Macro. Does anybody have any experience with both, and which would you recommend for general photography and probably snap-shots in restaurants?

Thanks,

Wayne

06-21-2007, 02:39 AM   #9
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Hang on, why do you want a macro lens to replace a normal lens? Or have I got the wrong end of the stick....
06-21-2007, 02:50 AM   #10
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Id just like to say, since the Sigma 28-70 f2.8 is mentioned, that I have that one and its just terrible.... So dont buy it! If you want a fast zoom in that range then get the Tamron instead, that one looks quite good. Or the Sigma 18-50 f2.8 also seems good, and if you ask me thats a much more usable FL on digital. But that depends on your shooting style/preference of course...
06-21-2007, 03:00 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Toonahfish Quote
Hang on, why do you want a macro lens to replace a normal lens? Or have I got the wrong end of the stick....
Its still a "normal" lens, its not a true macro lens, but rather a zoom that has some macro ability, meaning it can focus closer than normal.
06-21-2007, 03:13 AM   #12
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when I was in the same boat I chose the Sigma 18-125mm.


The 28-nn-lenses just aren't wide enough.

The 18-125 is optically at least same quality (I made some comparison shots then) but has less vignetting and distortion than the kit-lens.
It's told to be better than those 18-200-lenses - and a lot cheaper too.

:-) P
06-21-2007, 04:49 AM   #13
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i've some great results from the sigma 17-70mm. i think you will miss the WA capability if you go to a 28mm at the low end. just my 2
06-21-2007, 08:11 AM   #14
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I've got an old Sigma 28-84, and I very rarely miss not having a wider lens. Although I still have the kit lens for when I do.

I'm hoping that I can get my 28-84 cleaned (internally, there appears to be a speck of fungus, probably from before I got it used) but if I can't I'll be replacing it with a Sigma 28-70 although I don't know which one.
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