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04-19-2010, 12:35 PM   #1
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Pentax vs Tamron

I just purchased a k-x as I am new to dslr (have a hassleblad, rollieflex and various other film cameras and been shooting for years) and am trying to learn the Pentax lens lingo.

I understand that I need a "k" mount lens but much beyond that the various abbreviations throw me.

I primarily shoot still/macro and portraits. I prefer prime vs zooms and want a fast 50mm and 85 or 100mm.

So my question is...is pentax glass better (read: worth the $) than tamron?

I realize I may be starting an all out debate with this question...

04-19-2010, 01:01 PM   #2
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One thing that generally sets Pentax glass apart from competition (at least most of it) is SMC. i.e: Super Multi Coating.

I've had only two Tamron lenses: 28-200 XR Di IF and 70-300 LD Di.
None of these (especially the first) can't rival SMC coated lenses.

Looking at your priorities:
Tamron 90/2.8 Macro is well regarded, but then so are various variants of Pentax 100 macro.
Unles you don't use old adaptall glass there isn't many primes by Tamron these days.
Pentax 50/1.7 in various incarnations is considered one of the best 50s ever by any brand. 50/1.4 versions are not considered as sharp, but have better bokeh. 50/1.2 is a cult lens, and worth every penny and so is 55/1.8 which is much cheaper.
Pentax 85mm lenses are hard to get these days (in UK anyway) but are considered to be excellent lenses. Even M85/2 which is considered the "weakest link" of Pentax 85 is still VERY WELL regarded lens!

Quick guide to Pentax glass generations:
K series: oldes K mount lenses. Optically as SMC Takumars, big, heavy, great glass, fantastic build
M series: 2nd generation of K mount. Redesigned optics, smaller, lighter but some are slower than than K counterparts. Still perfect built.

both of above series will work only wide open in Av mode, and with stop down (green button) metering in M mode. They won't pass ANY info to the camera and focal lenght needs to be selected manualy for SR to work correctly.

A series: Has A setting on aperture ring, great MF feel but camera can now use auto exposure modes and PTTL flash with these lenses! Still good build quality but not as good as K or M.

F series: first AF lenses, they pass some data to camera (f stop, focal length) mostly pasctic built some exeptions, well regared series, but scarce

FA series: passes all data (f stop, focal lenght, MTF data...) to camera, otherwise as F but mostly new designs optically.

FAJ series: 3 zooms only, not worth raving about

DFA series: 3 macro primes only. Wery well regarded

DA series: lacks aperture ring, mostly APSC only designs, contains some terrific primes!

other marks to look for:
* - kind of like L for Canon glass, mark of best quality (found in A, F, FA, DA series)
ltd - Pentax limited primes are the best of the best in smallest possible package (FA and DA series only)
WR - Weather Resistant (DA & DFA series only)
SDM - Supersonic Drive Moter - a' la Canon USM, Sigma HSM.....


I think that's it for a quick quide
Good luck getting nice lenses

BR
Peter

PS: since you are mentioning 50 and 85... are you looking for the FOV provided by these lenses on your film cameras or for those focal lengths specifically?
04-19-2010, 01:03 PM   #3
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I for one would agree that Pentax glass is definitely better then tamron glass, but I have only used a select few tamron lenses. One big difference I have seen in the higher end glass is the build quality on Pentax top of line glass is superior to top tamron glass. When using the Pentax 50-135mm, almost everything about it felt better then the tamron 70-200mm lens I got to try. To me the Pentax felt more solid and the focus and zoom rings felt well dampened and not to lose. Now I know that you said that you prefer primes but I have not used any tamron primes yet so I can't really help you there, however, I hope the information that I gave you helps you out.
04-19-2010, 02:42 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tuner571 Quote
I for one would agree that Pentax glass is definitely better then tamron glass, but I have only used a select few tamron lenses. One big difference I have seen in the higher end glass is the build quality on Pentax top of line glass is superior to top tamron glass. When using the Pentax 50-135mm, almost everything about it felt better then the tamron 70-200mm lens I got to try. To me the Pentax felt more solid and the focus and zoom rings felt well dampened and not to lose. Now I know that you said that you prefer primes but I have not used any tamron primes yet so I can't really help you there, however, I hope the information that I gave you helps you out.
You should also remember that some of the Pentax lenses are rebadged Tokina and Tamron (like the 18-250mm) just with the adding SMC coatings and such. Tamron has the longest possible lens names that I have ever seen, the 28-75mm is the XR Di II or something like that, it's ridiculously long and all it means is that it has a focus motor and a special coating on the lens. Pentax does the same thing, just not nearly as severe. I've noticed that Sigma is also starting to get some really long titles, like with the brand new 18-50mm f/2.8-4.5 DC OS HSM *gasps or air*. Try saying that ten times fast.

04-19-2010, 05:47 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by jct us101 Quote
You should also remember that some of the Pentax lenses are rebadged Tokina and Tamron (like the 18-250mm) just with the adding SMC coatings and such. Tamron has the longest possible lens names that I have ever seen, the 28-75mm is the XR Di II or something like that, it's ridiculously long and all it means is that it has a focus motor and a special coating on the lens. Pentax does the same thing, just not nearly as severe. I've noticed that Sigma is also starting to get some really long titles, like with the brand new 18-50mm f/2.8-4.5 DC OS HSM *gasps or air*. Try saying that ten times fast.
This is a little inaccurate. Pentax licenses their lenses to Tokina so that the optical formulas are the same. The only Tokina formula is the DA 12-24. The only rebaged Tamron is the 18-250, which is actually no longer in production (although there are plenty of copies out there still).

There is something special about the Pentax lenses. Quite well built, resistant to flare and sharp from corner to corner. The upper end Tamron and Sigma lenses are good, although it does seem as the quality control isn't the same and people have to try several lenses before finding that special one.
04-19-2010, 11:58 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
This is a little inaccurate. Pentax licenses their lenses to Tokina so that the optical formulas are the same. The only Tokina formula is the DA 12-24. The only rebaged Tamron is the 18-250, which is actually no longer in production (although there are plenty of copies out there still).

.....
inaccurate again, unfortunately. There are 2 Tamron rebadged lenses AFAIK.
DA18-250 and FA 28-200....
04-20-2010, 12:33 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
inaccurate again, unfortunately. There are 2 Tamron rebadged lenses AFAIK.
DA18-250 and FA 28-200....
I also thought that the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye was also used for the Pentax design, along with the 50-135mm...I wasn't going to say anything though because I wasn't entirely sure about it.
04-20-2010, 03:26 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by jct us101 Quote
I also thought that the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye was also used for the Pentax design, along with the 50-135mm...I wasn't going to say anything though because I wasn't entirely sure about it.
with those two I was never sure whether they were co-developed or licensed...

04-20-2010, 04:50 AM   #9
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Sorry about that -- the FA lens has been out of production for a little while now... The lenses that are licensed to Tokina include: DA 35, DA * 50-135, DA * 16-50, DA 10-17, and the original DFA 100mm macro. Optically they are the same, but Pentax puts their own coatings and body on them. Anyway, looks to me like the co development or whatever it was is over as Tokina and Pentax seem to be going their own respective ways on new lenses.
04-20-2010, 05:25 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jessray Quote
I just purchased a k-x as I am new to dslr (have a hassleblad, rollieflex and various other film cameras and been shooting for years) and am trying to learn the Pentax lens lingo.
I understand that I need a "k" mount lens but much beyond that the various abbreviations throw me.
I primarily shoot still/macro and portraits. I prefer prime vs zooms and want a fast 50mm and 85 or 100mm.
So my question is...is pentax glass better (read: worth the $) than tamron?
I realize I may be starting an all out debate with this question...
If you are serious about fast primes, then Pentax is denitiely better, even a Pentax lens cap will do - as Tamron does not have anything remotely "current" in the ranges you mentioned.

The Pentax M 85/2.0 is a cheap and widely underrated option for a 85mm lens. Then there are the various old Takumars of f/19 or f/1.8 designations and then the famous 85/1.4 A or FA lenses. All of these would be good choice at very different price tags. And don't forget the current 77/1.8 Limited lens.

The Pentax A or FA 50/1.4 are as good as 50mm lenses get, but you may also have a look at the slightly faster 50/1.2 A or K modells.

Ben
04-20-2010, 05:30 AM   #11
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For some odd reason, that Tokina 11-16mm/2.8 has never been re-badged to Pentax (just yet?).
04-20-2010, 11:32 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
PS: since you are mentioning 50 and 85... are you looking for the FOV provided by these lenses on your film cameras or for those focal lengths specifically?
I am looking for the "quality" of these lenses. The DOF and overall drama (for lack of a better word) that these focal lengths provide.

I want to accumulate lenses now while I am building a portfolio and then...when I can afford it, upgrade to a professional level DSLR Pentax body.

Am I on the right track with that thinking?
04-20-2010, 12:23 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by jessray Quote
I am looking for the "quality" of these lenses. The DOF and overall drama (for lack of a better word) that these focal lengths provide.
Well, in that case, if price is no object, get the FA Limited primes. They have excellent rendering properties and can do drama very well. There is something about them that is hard to put into words. And they will work with your film camera when you decide to get one.

I think that the FA43 is the most distinctive and perfect for portraits. But the FA77 is likely more generally useful if you want a longer focal length. Think of it as a more compact 85.


film still 5917


(Shot with the FA 43mm Limited.)


Roisin cuddles Thursday


(Shot with the FA 77mm Limited.)


QuoteOriginally posted by jessray Quote
I want to accumulate lenses now while I am building a portfolio and then...when I can afford it, upgrade to a professional level DSLR Pentax body.

Am I on the right track with that thinking?
Sure. It makes more sense to invest in lenses and switch bodies as need be. Though I would be sure to give each one a good amount of attention before going on to "accumulate" more. I didn't really do this myself but have come back to that way of thinking.
04-20-2010, 01:05 PM   #14
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Peter, very nice description of the Pentax lenses line up.

QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
One thing that generally sets Pentax glass apart from competition (at least most of it) is SMC. i.e: Super Multi Coating.

I've had only two Tamron lenses: 28-200 XR Di IF and 70-300 LD Di.
None of these (especially the first) can't rival SMC coated lenses.

Looking at your priorities:
Tamron 90/2.8 Macro is well regarded, but then so are various variants of Pentax 100 macro.
Unles you don't use old adaptall glass there isn't many primes by Tamron these days.
Pentax 50/1.7 in various incarnations is considered one of the best 50s ever by any brand. 50/1.4 versions are not considered as sharp, but have better bokeh. 50/1.2 is a cult lens, and worth every penny and so is 55/1.8 which is much cheaper.
Pentax 85mm lenses are hard to get these days (in UK anyway) but are considered to be excellent lenses. Even M85/2 which is considered the "weakest link" of Pentax 85 is still VERY WELL regarded lens!

Quick guide to Pentax glass generations:
K series: oldes K mount lenses. Optically as SMC Takumars, big, heavy, great glass, fantastic build
M series: 2nd generation of K mount. Redesigned optics, smaller, lighter but some are slower than than K counterparts. Still perfect built.

both of above series will work only wide open in Av mode, and with stop down (green button) metering in M mode. They won't pass ANY info to the camera and focal lenght needs to be selected manualy for SR to work correctly.

A series: Has A setting on aperture ring, great MF feel but camera can now use auto exposure modes and PTTL flash with these lenses! Still good build quality but not as good as K or M.

F series: first AF lenses, they pass some data to camera (f stop, focal length) mostly pasctic built some exeptions, well regared series, but scarce

FA series: passes all data (f stop, focal lenght, MTF data...) to camera, otherwise as F but mostly new designs optically.

FAJ series: 3 zooms only, not worth raving about

DFA series: 3 macro primes only. Wery well regarded

DA series: lacks aperture ring, mostly APSC only designs, contains some terrific primes!

other marks to look for:
* - kind of like L for Canon glass, mark of best quality (found in A, F, FA, DA series)
ltd - Pentax limited primes are the best of the best in smallest possible package (FA and DA series only)
WR - Weather Resistant (DA & DFA series only)
SDM - Supersonic Drive Moter - a' la Canon USM, Sigma HSM.....


I think that's it for a quick quide
Good luck getting nice lenses

BR
Peter

PS: since you are mentioning 50 and 85... are you looking for the FOV provided by these lenses on your film cameras or for those focal lengths specifically?
04-20-2010, 04:10 PM   #15
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Pentax owns the patents and is generally assumed to have done the bulk of the design for most of the lenses they share. So it would be more correct to say the Tokinas are rebadged Pentaxes than vice versa.
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