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07-07-2007, 08:06 PM   #1
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PhotoZone.DE slams DA 50-200mm on inconsistent IQ ...

Well, PhotoZone.DE finally got its DA 50-200mm f/4.0-5.6 repaired and guess what? They didn't like it ...
Pentax SMC-DA 50-200mm f/4-5.6 ED - Photozone Review / Test Report

I don't know if they were influenced by the fact that they received a defective model originally, or if it was truly poor for them. In looking at their photos, I agree, they've got some various inperfections in image quality -- virtually none of which I'm getting with mine. Hmmm, interesting, I guess I really got a "good one" then? BTW, it was nice to note the bokeh was well-liked on the unit, and I've used it to take pictures of even small flowers to much enjoyment of the results. Not a macro, but still looks good IMHO -- for a lens I got for sub-$100 after $150 rebate.

I'm not a pro or even an amateur for that matter, but I don't see myself buying anything else. It's small, is great for shooting anything non-wide angle (I wouldn't use it a lot at 50mm, but it's great 75mm+), etc...

Other options to compare to that are $500 or under and offer at least a 200mm long end ...
- sub-$200 Pentax AF-J 75-300mm: Heard to be generally disappointing
- $200+ Pentax AF 80-320mm: No better than the DA 50-200mm, sometimes softer at 200mm
- sub-$200 Tamron 70-300mm: Reviews vary in comparison to DA 50-200mm, many like the Macro
- $400 Tamron 28-300mm: Generally considered junk, all models (maybe 2nd to last "Di" is best?)
- $400 Tamron 18-200mm: Generally considered not worth it, at least compared to ...
- $500 Tamron 18-250mm: If you want an "all-in-one" zoom, this is it, but several seem to prefer the IQ of the DA 50-200mm
- Others? Sigmas?

I still love my DA 50-200mm and don't see myself changing, at least not until the planned DA 55-300mm comes out (if it does). Is anyone else in the same boat?

07-07-2007, 08:22 PM   #2
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I am with you on the DA 50-200. For the money it costs, it is a very good lens. The more I use it the better I like the results.
I have the Tamron 18-200 and it is just an ok lens for those occasions that you don't want to be switching lenses. If I know my shooting is at a longer range I will leave the house with the DA 50-200 on the camera and switch to the 16-45 later if needed. Most of my favorite shots in the last few weeks have come from this lens.

I have purchased several lenses in the last few months and most of the time I base my decisions on personal reviews or threads in forums like this one. I think that only people using the lens in the real world can judge it's usefullness and quality for their photography. Each photographer has a different style and preference for the final image from a camera or lens.
07-07-2007, 08:37 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by BrianK Quote
I am with you on the DA 50-200. For the money it costs, it is a very good lens. The more I use it the better I like the results.
The "soft spots" in the full-res shots done by PhotoZone.DE really tell me they have a "bad sample."
But that would mean it's the "2nd bad sample," including Pentax stating the DA 50-200mm they gave them was "to specification."
I have to seriously doubt Pentax would purposely screw themselves in the review, but I can't explain why they did -- indeed -- get some inconsistent IQ at times.

I've really been recommending the DA 18-55mm "kit" plus DA 50-200mm as the "solution" to LBA, especially for those coming from the Point'n Shoot world and just going with the K100D to start.
I've also said the DA 16-55mm is a nice option for those that don't want to stick with the "kit" lens, although I'm pretty satisfied with the "kit" lens myself.
In fact, I was comparing it to the AF 28-105mm f/4.0-5.6 (non-AL) version today, and I don't think I'll be using the AF 28-105mm f/4.0-5.6 anymore at all.
07-07-2007, 08:42 PM   #4
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Interesting... oh well, I only got a few shots with mine before I returned it so I could get the Sigma 70-200 instead, and none of them are particularly useful for checking sharpness.

07-07-2007, 09:23 PM   #5
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I rarely use my Sigma 70-300 since I got the Pentax 50-200 unless I plan to be way out there. Very happy with it.

Here is my non-scientific comparison..
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/4768-lens-comp...-70-300-a.html
07-08-2007, 08:34 AM   #6
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After reading the review I went back and looked at some of my 50-200 samples and found my results quite different. I owned the Tamron 75-300 in Nikon and it was pitiful compared to the Pentax.

For what i paid for this lens it is a great one.

If Klaus got a bad copy it speaks poorly about Pentax's quality control though and is cause for concern.
07-08-2007, 10:52 AM   #7
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before I bought my K10D, I tried out the K100 with the pentax 50-200 and was not impressed. out of 5 test shots, 2 never focused at all.... the preview on the LCD display showed complete blur.
I tried a few more shots and some of them took a few seconds to lock in. this was in a well lit store.
could have been a bad one but it certainly turned me away from buying one...

cheers

randy
07-08-2007, 11:49 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by arbutusq Quote
After reading the review I went back and looked at some of my 50-200 samples and found my results quite different. I owned the Tamron 75-300 in Nikon and it was pitiful compared to the Pentax. For what i paid for this lens it is a great one.
If Klaus got a bad copy it speaks poorly about Pentax's quality control though and is cause for concern.
Yep, that seems to be the case here, as I'm seeing no issues like theirs.
And especially so since they had it replaced already (waiting 7 weeks on it no less)!
You'd figure Pentax would ensure they got a good one! I guess not.

QuoteOriginally posted by slipchuck Quote
before I bought my K10D, I tried out the K100 with the pentax 50-200 and was not impressed. out of 5 test shots, 2 never focused at all.... the preview on the LCD display showed complete blur.
That sounds like another issue, or maybe auto-focus issues.
Maybe the lens is so bad in some samples that it dorks up auto-focus.
I only get "hunting" in low-light due to it being slow -- never in moderate to good lighting.

QuoteOriginally posted by slipchuck Quote
I tried a few more shots and some of them took a few seconds to lock in. this was in a well lit store.
could have been a bad one but it certainly turned me away from buying one...
I think the PhotoZone.DE review, as well as your comments, shows you what can happen, not necessarily what happens to everyone.
But the fact that it does happen is reason for concern, especially since the DA 50-200mm has such a good record for sharpness, IQ and other things when it is a good sample.

07-08-2007, 01:57 PM   #9
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I have a not very good DA 50-200 also. I'm not sure if I've managed to knock something out of alignment to account for the soft, blurry pictures I get with mine. The reason I wonder about damage is that I didn't particularly notice the softness/fuzziness until fairly recently. However, I've always thought my kit lens had better color/contrast than my DA 50-200.

If the aperture blades are working correctly, and the front and rear elements don't show any signs of fingerprints or smudges, what could be causing the problem? One side is definitely blurrier than the other side, with the center being sharper than both. I do drag my equipment around all the time and while I try to be careful, I'm just generally klutzy and have accidentally knocked it into something a couple of times (not been dropped though).
07-08-2007, 04:01 PM   #10
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All manufacturers have consistency issues. I bought a Nikkor 75-300ED that had worse fringing and sharpness than a similar but cheaper Nikon G lens, so the problem is by no means limited to Pentax.
07-08-2007, 04:01 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by mtngal Quote
I have a not very good DA 50-200 also. I'm not sure if I've managed to knock something out of alignment to account for the soft, blurry pictures I get with mine. The reason I wonder about damage is that I didn't particularly notice the softness/fuzziness until fairly recently. However, I've always thought my kit lens had better color/contrast than my DA 50-200.
If the aperture blades are working correctly, and the front and rear elements don't show any signs of fingerprints or smudges, what could be causing the problem? One side is definitely blurrier than the other side, with the center being sharper than both. I do drag my equipment around all the time and while I try to be careful, I'm just generally klutzy and have accidentally knocked it into something a couple of times (not been dropped though).
I'm new to dSLRs and interchangeable lenses, but I'd be less than honest to say I've been "careful" every every second.

Shortly after I bought it, I flipped my DA 18-55mm out of my hands, it hit a hard wall, fell at least 4 feet down to the carpet, but still delivers the same, sharp pictures as it did before the "incident."
I don't think I've done anything remotely like that to my DA 50-200mm though, and it's the exact same sharpness.

Maybe find a local dealer that carries the DA 50-200mm -- it's popular enough I've found two local to me that do.
They might be able to do a comparison for you at no charge.
07-08-2007, 05:23 PM   #12
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I'm sure there's something wrong with my DA 50-200, just not sure if it's always been that way or if something happened to it. There's too many awesome pictures posted with the same lens for me to think that mine is different than others. I'm just not sure that I want to spend money on replacing mine (out of warranty) with the same lens - I have a deposit down on a DA* 50-135. I'll get that and then see how much I miss having 135-200 range. If I miss it too much I'll have to decide what to do. If I do decide to buy another one, I'll definitely buy at my local camera store and try it first.
07-08-2007, 06:40 PM   #13
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I'm not surprised by their findings

QuoteOriginally posted by bjsmith Quote
Well, PhotoZone.DE finally got its DA 50-200mm f/4.0-5.6 repaired and guess what? They didn't like it ...
Pentax SMC-DA 50-200mm f/4-5.6 ED - Photozone Review / Test Report

I don't know if they were influenced by the fact that they received a defective model originally, or if it was truly poor for them. In looking at their photos, I agree, they've got some various inperfections in image quality -- virtually none of which I'm getting with mine. Hmmm, interesting, I guess I really got a "good one" then? BTW, it was nice to note the bokeh was well-liked on the unit, and I've used it to take pictures of even small flowers to much enjoyment of the results. Not a macro, but still looks good IMHO -- for a lens I got for sub-$100 after $150 rebate.

I'm not a pro or even an amateur for that matter, but I don't see myself buying anything else. It's small, is great for shooting anything non-wide angle (I wouldn't use it a lot at 50mm, but it's great 75mm+), etc...

Other options to compare to that are $500 or under and offer at least a 200mm long end ...
- sub-$200 Pentax AF-J 75-300mm: Heard to be generally disappointing
- $200+ Pentax AF 80-320mm: No better than the DA 50-200mm, sometimes softer at 200mm
- sub-$200 Tamron 70-300mm: Reviews vary in comparison to DA 50-200mm, many like the Macro
- $400 Tamron 28-300mm: Generally considered junk, all models (maybe 2nd to last "Di" is best?)
- $400 Tamron 18-200mm: Generally considered not worth it, at least compared to ...
- $500 Tamron 18-250mm: If you want an "all-in-one" zoom, this is it, but several seem to prefer the IQ of the DA 50-200mm
- Others? Sigmas?

I still love my DA 50-200mm and don't see myself changing, at least not until the planned DA 55-300mm comes out (if it does). Is anyone else in the same boat?
I've owned two DA 50-200's and neither has been a stellar performer. The first one had severe front focus problems so I returned it and got a replacement. The second is OK but definitely soft at 200mm and infinity focus. Anything further away than about 150 meters/yards is definitely soft whether I use manual or auto focus. In addition the lens is tough to manually focus, the ring is undampened, and the throw is very short, so very tiny movements of the ring give great differences in where the focus point is. I've kept the lens because it's a pretty good performer at 175mm and below.

NaCl(it's biggest points FOR ME are it's size/weight and it's price)H2O
07-08-2007, 06:55 PM   #14
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I like mine. I bought the 50-200 as a mate to the Kit 18-55 and am happy with both of them. But, I'm not that critical.
07-08-2007, 09:09 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by bjsmith Quote
The "soft spots" in the full-res shots done by PhotoZone.DE really tell me they have a "bad sample."

But that would mean it's the "2nd bad sample," including Pentax stating the DA 50-200mm they gave them was "to specification."

I have to seriously doubt Pentax would purposely screw themselves in the review, but I can't explain why they did -- indeed -- get some inconsistent IQ at times.
I do not own a copy of this lens, but other reviews (e.g., Popular Photography) have stated that it is one of the best kit telephoto zooms.

As I understand it, Pentax did not supply the test lens to Klaus. Klaus receives the test samples from readers who lend him their lenses for testing. So what we see is a test of a single, used sample that may have been damaged in use or just a defective copy.

Reading the text of the review, it seems that the reader send his sample to Pentax for repair after it appeared to be defective during the the initial test. Klaus states: "... this lens has been serviced by Pentax (which took them 7 weeks) so Pentax confirmed that this lens is within specs now." So I think that the fault was with Pentax service in their failure to repair or replace the defective sample.

But this is an inexpensive kit lens, so don't expect the performance to match the expensive, top quality lenses made by Pentax.
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