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01-13-2010, 06:51 PM   #1
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Walkaround: DA 35 vs. Tamron 17-50 or similar

I'm at a crossroads. Current kit:

K200D
Sigma 10-20
DA 18-55 II
FA 50 1.4
Tamron 90mm 2.8 Macro

I also have a couple of film bodies and 30, 40, 50, 100m primes, which I love shooting with.

I've grown to despise the kit 18-55 for its underexposure and lack of speed, and want to find a replacement walkaround for street shooting and bike trips. The fast(ish) short zooms (24-70, 28-75, 17-70, 16-50) all have their drawbacks in terms of price, size, or reputation at least as far as the internet is concerned

Given the joy the SuperProgram and 50mm 1.7 have provided, is there any reason not to consider the DA 35mm a viable choice for a digital walkaround lens?

01-13-2010, 07:05 PM   #2
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I own a DA35 that I use for walk around, before that I used my 16-45. Except for wide shots, I don't miss the zoom to be honest, and really like using the DA35 for walkaround.
I see you already have the Tammy macro, but you could use the DA35 for close ups when you are walking around I suppose, without changing lenses.
As you have probably already seen, the DA35 is a really sharp lens...

IMO it's well suited to this cause, and it's what I use it primarily at the moment.

p.s. - You could have a nice walkaround kit with your 10-20 wide, DA35 and a fast 50mm.
01-13-2010, 09:17 PM   #3
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I decided that I would take only one lens to CES. I chose the FA 31 and didn't regret it. Yes, I had to walk backwards and forwards a bit, but I am happy with the results. It's what I'll be using as my walkaround lens from now on.
01-13-2010, 09:35 PM   #4
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Cant speak much about the DA35, but I can vouch for the FA35/2 and the Tamron 17-50/2.8 as fantastic lenses in their own right. I own both and they are perhaps the two most often used lenses in my collection. The 35 as a fixed length for our cameras is a very natural field of view and the 2.0 helps in most situations I encounter...not to mention its very very sharp, even at 2.0. The 17-50, also very fast and the wide angle is fantastic. Of course larger than the 35, the 17-50 is more versatile as you may expect, but still compact enough to slip in and out of a standard holster type of bag with no problems....not too heavy either.


Good luck on your decision,

Jason

01-13-2010, 09:57 PM   #5
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The Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 is currently my favorite walkaround lens. It's very sharp and gives great color and contrast. Also, it doesn't overlap with your Sigma 10-20mm and gives you a little more length.
01-13-2010, 09:57 PM   #6
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Well, you already have a nice setup as is, and cover up to 20mm, and 50mm, nicely. Your only weakness, since you are clearly unhappy with the kit, is the wide range between the Sigma and FA 50 1.4. The DA 35 certainly has a great reputation, but I have not shot with it. I have shot with the Tamron 17-50mm & my K20d for close to two years now. This Tamron is my most used lens and I love its performance. The lens goes everywhere with me as I regularly hike the eastern US. It does not let me down, not even when I take it to the Presidential range of the White Mountains, in January, in severe wind and cold conditions. The lens has excellent close focus abilities, excellent sharpness, even wide open. Considering its price, focal range, constant 2.8 aperture, and performance, I would say it is not currently matched by another lens. Oh, then there is the significant 6-year warranty. That is my 2 cents---best of luck.
01-13-2010, 10:10 PM   #7
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I use my DA 35 as my walkaround lens.

Small, light, well made, and sharp sharp sharp. It doesn't have the prettiest bokeh, but its close focusing ability more than makes up for that.

I only use my 18-55 when I need something wider, for landscapes, etc.
01-13-2010, 10:57 PM   #8
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The Sigma 24-60mm f/2.8 is a very good fast zoom, and (as it has been discontinued) is amazing value. I'm pretty happy with my one.

I have no primes but one I really want to get is the Pentax 40mm f/2.8 limited. No speed advantage over the Sigma zoom but the Pentax is meant to be good from f/2.8, is very, very small and very fast focusing. The 35mm limited is versatile, but I've read that it's huge focus throw makes it slow focusing. May or may not be an issue for you.

01-13-2010, 11:01 PM   #9
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grain, I've run through a few lenses, both Pentax and third-party, and the best of the zooms was the Tamon 28-75, while the best of the primes is the current DA-35.

To this point, I haven't found a zoom that approaches it for optical quality, or another prime that better serves my purposes as a walk-around lens than the DA-35 (compared with the excellent FA 50 f/1.4, FA-43 and Sigma 70 macro that I've tried and unloaded).

I don't know if it's the "optical paragon" as Mike Johnson termed it but it's very good indeed: sharp from a bug's butt to a mountain skyline, good for candid portraits and urban street images, light, bright and the macro is handy to have on call even if you don't concentrate on close up work. The color is true to my eye and rich (although I mostly convert to B&W, starting with good color is important), the rendering is sharp from corner to corner, and the only thing more I'd ask of it is a bit more speed . You could say it's recommended by a very satisfied customer,
Brian
01-13-2010, 11:04 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by FHPhotographer Quote
good for candid portraits and urban street images
I have been looking into general and street photography primes.. and I decided the 35mm limited was a no-go because many of the reviews say it takes a long time to swing around it's long focus throw, while the 40mm is probably Pentax's fastest focuser. How do you find the AF?
01-13-2010, 11:56 PM   #11
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Appreciate all the input.

My $0.02 on the zooms:

Tamron 17-50: Seems to be a good compromise for crop DSLR, except that my 10-20 covers the long end. Well regarded, anyway.
Tamron 28-75: probably makes the most sense with my current kit. a little big.
Sigma 24-60: sweet lens, but BIG.

I think my hangup is that I'm a bit of a n00b still. I really enjoy shooting with my film cameras and 40 or 50mm primes, as it seems I pay more attention to the light and the composition when I simplify the process by shooting primes. I could also keep the DA 35 limited on the K200D in my tank bag without worrying too much about weather/dust issues.

I like the 10-20 and 90 for the specific situations they excel in, but feel that I miss shots with the 18-55 and the FA 50 is too long to keep on the camera full time.

I may end up picking up both the 35 and the 28-75, and dumping the FA 50. I don't really like the 50 at wider apertures than 2.0, and I think I'd rather get the other stop back with ISO or bounced/diffused flash...

I'll certainly bump this thread if I make a significant decision.

XS400 - do you have an XS400? I picked up a 77 Yamaha XS400 last summer and love bombing around on it.
01-14-2010, 12:00 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by CWyatt Quote
I have been looking into general and street photography primes.. and I decided the 35mm limited was a no-go because many of the reviews say it takes a long time to swing around it's long focus throw, while the 40mm is probably Pentax's fastest focuser. How do you find the AF?
It is somewhat slow if you're going from say, infinity, to focusing to something a few inches away. But what lens wouldn't be?

If the distance of the object is relatively close where your lens is focused, it snaps into focus fine in my opinion.
01-14-2010, 12:35 AM   #13
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I don't have the DA35, but I have the Fa35/2. Its a great walk around lens which I believe the DA35 would be the same.

However, if you don't mind the size, the Tamron 28-75/2.8 is the better deal for you. Fast, sharp, cheap and not that much duplication of focal lengths. In fact it pairs very well with the Sigma 10-20. I have this lens, and even though I've use primes more often nowadays, the price/performance of the 28-75 just makes it hard for me to consider selling it.

Not to mention that its a FF lens (if ever Pentax releases a FF)
01-14-2010, 12:56 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by flockofbirds Quote
It is somewhat slow if you're going from say, infinity, to focusing to something a few inches away. But what lens wouldn't be?

If the distance of the object is relatively close where your lens is focused, it snaps into focus fine in my opinion.
I use this lens a lot, and flockofbirds is spot on with this comment. I have no problems with the AF. The thing about this lens, is that you actually can focus at something @ 1:2 or even 1:1, then lift up the camera and take a landscape at infinity at 35mm.
01-14-2010, 09:23 AM   #15
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CW, Well, I'm not sure how to answer that because "a long time" is a relative term.

Of the prime lenses I've owned, it's slower than my FA-50 f/1.4 but it was only relatively slower. Personally even if I can sense the difference at that level, functionally I can't see the difference in my ability to get the shot I want. All I can say is that I've never missed a shot with the DA-35 because of the AF speed, and it's small, bright, wonderfully sharp and has macro to boot. Hope that helps,

Brian
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