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07-01-2007, 11:48 PM   #1
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I need a good walk-around lens

I have 2 lenses for my k10D - The kit lens 18-55 and the pentax 50-200 both are great lenses and give great photos. The 2 ranges combined cover almost the entire range /type of photos I take. However I find myself changing lenses so very often and on an occasion or two I have missed shots too.

Hence I am looking to get one of those 18-200 m lenses (its a toss between tamron or sigma)

what would you guys say is the perfect walk-around lens and what would I be sacrificing if I goto a single lens rather than the 2 lenses I use now.

Also I am open to suggestions in getting something old-timey as I use manual focus mostly and wouldn't mind getting a film slr lens in the similar range if that covers what I need.

07-02-2007, 12:03 AM   #2
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All depends on your need, your perception of Image Quality and how much you can spend.
The two lenses you have sit in the "OK to good" range for kit lenses. From there it gets quite involved.
One thing to have a look at is what focal length the majority of your shots are now. Just check the data on your photo browser. If you are shooting largely at say, the short end, then look at a quality lens such as the Pentax 16-45 or Sig 17-70, the tamron 28-75 f2.8 also gets good comment. If its the long end then thats a bit harder and I would advise waiting for the new Pentax DA 50-135 or longer.

As for multi zooms such as the 18-200, just remember that the version of one of these that satisfies everyone's needs at every focal length is yet to be made. I have the Sigma 18-125 and like it a lot, and use it a lot, but it has its short comings in low light situations, so I carry a fast prime for that situation.

Happy Hunting.
07-02-2007, 04:13 AM   #3
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I don't own a zoom lens, but if you were amenable to 'old fashioned' lenses, have you considered a 28mm or 35mm prime? I find somewhere in that range presents a good wide-normal field of view that always seems just about right for walks around town or hikes in the woods.

If you do go that route, I would suggest an A-series lens or later. Some examples would be the SMC Pentax-A 28/2.8, SMC Pentax-A 35/2, or the SMC Pentax-A 35/2.8. They also have a benefit of offering much better low-light capabilities. If you are looking to stick with autofocus, the SMC Pentax-FA versions of those lenses are great.

No, they don't ever help you get that 200mm shot...but sometimes enjoying the moment (and enjoying photography) are more important than even getting the shot!

07-02-2007, 04:29 AM   #4
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I am pretty sure you will have to accept lesser quality if you go for a super zoom. Normally it will have a lot of distortions on the wide end (although fixable with software such as ptlens) and be very slow in the long end. And often it will not only be slow in the long end, but it wont be very good wide open so you have to stop it down further. Like my sigma 70-300 which isnt even a superzoom, is f5.6 in the long end but you really need to be using it at f7.0-f8.0 to get something half decent.

I believe tamron is the brand to get if you want something going all the way from wide to 200mm or more. A friend of mine has the sigma 18-125 and I find it a very medicore lens imo.

I guess from reports the sigma 17-70 should be a decent lens, although not as long as you would wish.

Frankly I have seen so many good shots from the pentax 50-200 (did u see the thread at dpr ?) that it seems to me you will take a hit on image quality unless you upgrade to some expensive f2.8 glass. Seems to me that lens is one of the best bangs for the buck there is.

Anyone, my advise is, dont get a new lens that perform worse than your current lenses covering the same range. instead consider upgrading the 18-50 to the excellent 16-45 and gain a bit in the wide end.

07-02-2007, 05:14 AM   #5
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Decent walk around lens? Good question.

This is indeed a tough question, and the answer rests with you! What do YOU want, and what are your acceptable standards in a lens.

I bought my K10D with both DA kit lenses, and have since sold them in favour of other quality lenses. I first purchased the Sigma 18-200 DC and while it is fine for scenary and people shots, it has a problem with architectural shots. I learned to live with the wide distortion by purchasing 'PT Lens' which does a fine job of straightening the distortion, and this lens does a great job for what it is.

I now mostly use the Sigma 17-70 as a walk around lens, and keep the 18-200 for back up and long shots when I do not have the Bigma 50-500 with me.

I have been thinking of the Tamron 18-250 and have seen some good reports and reviews on this, but it will not come close to the Pentax 16-45 or Sigma 17-70, but I do not think it is much better than the 18-200.

These example shots at the links below, were all taken with the Sigma 18-200, if you are happy with this quality, which I am for a walk around lens, then it is a good lens for the right price.


Some 18-200 shots: Storm on the plains

A Sunday Drive in January
07-02-2007, 07:08 AM   #6
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Got a Tamron 18-200 and it's not bad. For what I researched before getting it, it is marginally better than the sigma. The sigma has more CA than the Tamron.

Got it as a walk around lens, and it's a great lens to use on holiday's around f8 it's even great.
07-02-2007, 10:18 AM   #7
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I've been looking for a walk-around lens too and so far, I've settled on a Pentax 28-105mm f/3.2-4.5. I used a 28-70mm f/4 as my walkaround for a while and found it to work pretty well.

I choose my walkarounds based on where I'm going though. In a city, I prefer the 28-70mm and in the wild, I prefer my 18-55mm. My reasoning is that in the city, there are lots of things to see that are in the short telephoto range so the extra reach is nice. The 28-70mm range is also good for taking pictures of people on the streets. When I'm out hiking though, I tend to shoot on the wider end to capture landscapes so the 18-55mm comes in handy. I don't really do any sort of nature spotting so I don't need a telephoto.

The Tamron 18-250mm is actually supposed to be pretty nice for a super zoom, and from what I've read, it's much better than the 18-200mm. It currently costs about $500 USD though, which puts it out of my price range.

Last edited by igowerf; 07-02-2007 at 10:26 AM.
07-03-2007, 02:08 PM   #8
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Both lenses you have pretty much cover your desired range and any single lens to do the same will not have the same quality. The 18-55 is a good kit lens, a little vignetting and some copies have some problems with edge focus. The 50-200 is one of the best zooms for the range and certainly for the price. The manual focus over ride is super, and the 52mm filter size complements the 18-55.

OK, for a single lens solution, there are the 18-200 lenses (I prefer the Tamron, but the Sigma is not bad either). The 28-200 or 300 lenses, which were fine for film, are even more of a compromise. The Pentax version (made by Tamron) was not well regarded, but in real life, performed well (it may not be the best in low light, but for outdoors, it was a fine lens). Unfortunately, these have the limitation at the wide end, and are not the first choice for most digital users. The 24-135 lenses (Sigma and Tamron) are also good walk about lenses, with the edge going to Tamron for consistent results (if you get a late model Sigma, then you will have a good chance of a real nice lens - early copies had some issues). The 18-125 Sigma, although no longer made, is another good one. For a shorter range, there is the 24-90 Pentax lens (a sleeper) or the 24-200 Tokina (now sold under the Promaster label). The Tokina is a nice lens, but heavy. Seems to focus faster than the 50-200 (and even more so in low light), but it is heavy (balances nicely with an ist D, so should be fine with the K10D). The only down side is finding one (got mine on ebay for under $60).

So, to answer the question, which 18-200 to get, I would say the Tamron. To answer the question which walk about lens, I would pick the Tokina followed by the Sigma 18-125. I can live without 200 (or 300), but I really want at least 24 on the side end.


07-08-2007, 10:08 AM   #9
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Sigma 28-300mm

I have a *ist DL and purchased this Sigma lens
Sigma 28-300mm F3.5-6.3 DG Macro (62mm)

I got it from warehouseexpress.
Sigma SLR Lenses (Prime Lenses, Zoom Lenses, Lens Cloth, Convertors)-

I have had very good results with this lens and use it every weekend and every holiday. small and compact but covers the entire range even macro.
07-09-2007, 02:50 AM   #10
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I'm using Tamron 28-200 as my walkabot lens, it is bit long on wide end, but it covers a good range... not too havy either and nice picture quality... Now I want to get something wide to make up for the 28mm (42 on my K100) and I'll be fine
As for the superzooms (well 28-200 is one for film ) I didn't read anything outstanding about whichever you think of. Apparently it's a big compromise. So I rather end up with bigger and havier bag, and couple of shorter zooms with better quality... but that's just me
07-09-2007, 03:24 AM   #11
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My kit is the tamron 28-200 which stays always on my k100d. If I need a wide lens I use the kit lens and have a super takumar 50 f/1.4 for low light/without flash photography.

All the lens fit in my bag and I'm quite happy with them for now. I'm looking for a vivitar 2x macro converter so I can use it with the super takumar to have a compact 1:1 100mm f/2.8 macro lens.
07-09-2007, 05:26 PM   #12
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Any lens can be a walkaround lens, it just depends on the kind of images you want to take - portraits, street scenes, candids, etc. As for me, I generally avoid the wide range superzoom like the plague!

Firstly aside from the barrel distortion at the wide end and pincushion distortion at the tele end, these lenses have noticeable CA and colour fringing. Sure, these lenses have a wide focal range but there are trade-offs one has to accept. Too many in my opinion.

Slow maximum aperture means decent shots in bright light but limitations in low light or indoors. Handheld, you're usually shooting close to the max aperture, which isn't the aperture that gives optimal sharpness. Minimum focusing distance isn't fantastic. Many elements means low contrast and soft images and poor flare control. All in all, you'd be better served with a fixed focal lens or a short range zoom. After all, that's what it means to have a walk-around lens, you walk around!

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