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04-12-2012, 05:55 PM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by jpyykonen Quote
I just returned from 2 week trip and my most used lens was DA 18-250. I did day hikes, where I needed lens for landscapes to wildlife and macro. In good light at least DA 18-250 is very capable lens, at F8-F10. There simply is not another kind of lens which does all this. But it's not too good in the corners and not at full aperture. So I would not use this lens in low light, especially the autofocusing is slow and the lens lacks the quick-shift. It is not too good over 200mm either.
No, it's not a vivid low-light lens, nor a publication-quality birding lens. Think if it as a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none. In situations where it isn't great, I try to shoot around its weaknesses:

* Make sure content is more important than absolute image quality.
* Concentrate on a fairly-centered subject, and to hell with the edges.
* Bump ISO as needed in low light. Noise can be fixed; motion blur can't.
* Also in low light, shoot B&W for shapes and shadows rather than pixels.

And remember its strength: It's THERE! The most perfect lens is useless if it's not mounted.

04-13-2012, 08:10 AM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote

And remember its strength: It's THERE! The most perfect lens is useless if it's not mounted.
Well said! My problem with using the 50-200 as my walkaround is that many times the shot I want to take requires a wider angle, so I have to switch to my 18-55, assuming I didn't leave the bag in the car or something. It just always seems like I have the wrong lens on at the wrong time! Hence my quest for a "jack of all trades" lens for everyday use.
04-13-2012, 09:13 AM   #33
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There is another alternative, the Pentax 17-70 F4. I've been considering it a long time and it finally arrived yesterday.I've had it all of 16 hours so far and found no deficiencies.

a. Because its got a short throw for focusing, it focuses fast with SDM and quietly of course
b. The real annoying thing with my Tamy 18-250 was its lens creep. this 17-70 has no lens lock because it doesn't need it. very nicely damped down so it doesn't move once zoom is set.
c. Close focusing. Its supposed to focus at a minimum of 25cm or so, about 10 inches. Mine doesn't seem quite that good, more like 12 or 13 inches from the sensor plane, or about 3 inches from the front element at 17mm. But i like that a lot!
d. Some early reports talked about problems with infinity focus or problems with focus locking at the tele ends. My copy has neither of those problems. In my dim basement, at 70 mm, shutter 1/100, iso 12,800, it locked just fine. Outdoors, infinity was fine also.

As i said, phase focus is quite snappy, but close contrast focus with liveview is quite leisurely, i can watch the focus ring travel slowly all the way to the short side. Probably due to the close focus i was trying - about 3 inches from the front element.

Haven't done the pixel peeping on the monitor yet, but using the 8x lcd, it appears fine so far.

Pentax's assist light runs into the wide hood on the lens and probably makes it much less effective, i guess thats the price of a 17mm wide end :-) Ditto with the onboard flash.

I like the overlap between this lens and my 50-135. A 2 lens solution for walking around, but i bought it mostly for theatre work.
04-13-2012, 10:25 AM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
No, it's not a vivid low-light lens, nor a publication-quality birding lens. Think if it as a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none. In situations where it isn't great, I try to shoot around its weaknesses:

* Make sure content is more important than absolute image quality.
* Concentrate on a fairly-centered subject, and to hell with the edges.
* Bump ISO as needed in low light. Noise can be fixed; motion blur can't.
* Also in low light, shoot B&W for shapes and shadows rather than pixels.

And remember its strength: It's THERE! The most perfect lens is useless if it's not mounted.
I completely agree with you. At first when I got the lens I thought it's not good enough for my needs. But after shooting with it over 1000 frames I've learned to respect what Pentax (Tamron) has made with this lens. As you said, it masters nothing but does everything reasonably well. Image quality is enough when you know the restrictions of the lens. Here are some examples

18mm F10



110mm F10



250mm F6.3



"Macro" 250mm F8



04-13-2012, 10:36 AM   #35
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I bought the 18-250 originally as my "all-in-one" lens but then discovered it's failings when the light isn't great. When I went to Disney World 2 years ago, it was pretty much the only lens I used and I got some good shots, but only those outdoors in decent sunlight really turned out great.

I recently got a Tamron 28-75 and have found that to be much better at a wider variety of lighting conditions, but, obviously more limiting in range.

So, I've pretty much resigned myself to having two walkaround lenses and which I bring depends on where I'll be walking. If I were going on a day hike and/are planning to be outdoors most of the time, I'd bring the 18-250. If we're going to a museum or some other indoor event, the 28-57 gets the nod. They're both about the same size & weight, so handling and ergonomics are pretty much the same with either of them, which means greater consistency on my part.

The only other AF lens I currently have, actually, is the DA35/2.4, which is small & light enough that I can usually keep it in a jacket or cargo-pant pocket. This is great for when I've got the 18-250 and need to take a low-light, fairly close-distance shot. I rarely do this, but knowing that it's there if needed is a bit of comfort.

-Chad
04-14-2012, 06:50 AM   #36
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The Pentax 18-250 is my walk around lens and it stays on my Kr unless I know for sure I need a faster lens. It's a great all purpose lens which for me is the definition of "walk around". I just posted some examples of shots with the
Kr and the 18-250 in this thread one of which is a 1917 Model T Truck was taken at ISO 3200, in a very dimly lit building.
04-14-2012, 07:15 PM   #37
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I love love love my 18-250. I bought it last September for a trip abroad because I needed to pack light and only wanted to take one lens... and I have only taken it off my camera a few times since then. It is bulkier than what my "dream" walk-around lens would be, but it performs admirably in such a wide variety of circumstances that it is definitely my favorite lens.
04-15-2012, 06:55 AM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by geru2000 Quote
The Pentax 18-250 is my walk around lens and it stays on my Kr unless I know for sure I need a faster lens. It's a great all purpose lens which for me is the definition of "walk around". I just posted some examples of shots with the
Kr and the 18-250 in this thread one of which is a 1917 Model T Truck was taken at ISO 3200, in a very dimly lit building.
Great shots! Thanks for posting, I can see that the DA 18-250 is a great lens. Wonder why they discontinued it? The only current 18-250 is the Sigma, any idea if it is comparable?

04-15-2012, 06:57 AM   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by shellie Quote
I love love love my 18-250. I bought it last September for a trip abroad because I needed to pack light and only wanted to take one lens... and I have only taken it off my camera a few times since then. It is bulkier than what my "dream" walk-around lens would be, but it performs admirably in such a wide variety of circumstances that it is definitely my favorite lens.
This is exactly my desire as well, a single lens that can handle a variety of situations. Doesn't have to be the best lens for every situation, but I'd like to not have to miss shots because I have the wrong lens mounted!
04-15-2012, 08:49 AM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by speedtrap63 Quote
I can see that the DA 18-250 is a great lens. Wonder why they discontinued it? The only current 18-250 is the Sigma, any idea if it is comparable?
Why were the DA and its Tamron twin discontinued? Good question. What is comparable? By all accounts, the Sigma is not in the same league. As for upcoming lenses: who knows?

QuoteOriginally posted by speedtrap63 Quote
This is exactly my desire as well, a single lens that can handle a variety of situations. Doesn't have to be the best lens for every situation, but I'd like to not have to miss shots because I have the wrong lens mounted!
The IQ of a missed shot is zero. The DA18-250 is a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none (I may have written that here earlier). I have a zillion lenses. The DA18-250 is my basic lens; all others are specialty items. It's just the most flexible tool in the kit.
____________________________

EDIT: I wrote the above this morning. This afternoon I walked around tiny vertical quaint Bisbee Arizona with my #1 backup walkabout, the F35-70. My #2 backup is the Tamron 10-24 -- or maybe their ranks are reversed? Anyway, the DA18-250 would have been overkill for today's stroll, and the Tamron would have been underkill. Both of those were in my bag but the F35-70 stayed on the camera and it turned out to be Just Right. Moral of the story: Sometimes it's good to have a couple walkarounds ready.

Last edited by RioRico; 04-15-2012 at 05:55 PM.
04-15-2012, 04:50 PM   #41
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I just got the DA 18-135 for a walk around lens, fast focusing, short, a bit heavy but I like the range and IQ. I found my 55-300 too long and only use it for birding and sports and I didn't want to carry 2 lenses. So far the 18-135 is great.

Hans
04-15-2012, 07:35 PM   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by speedtrap63 Quote
Great shots! Thanks for posting, I can see that the DA 18-250 is a great lens. Wonder why they discontinued it? The only current 18-250 is the Sigma, any idea if it is comparable?
Thank you! Everything I've read about the Sigma lens is that it suffers in IQ but focus is quicker. If I were in the market for the 18-250 I'd look for a used Pentax or Tamron. If I couldn't find one then I'd order the Sigma from a reputable dealer and have a go with it. If it doesn't work out you could always return it.

The lens has it's limits but if you know them then you can work with the lens to get the best out of it.
04-15-2012, 08:13 PM   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
EDIT: I wrote the above this morning. This afternoon I walked around tiny vertical quaint Bisbee Arizona with my #1 backup walkabout, the F35-70. My #2 backup is the Tamron 10-24 -- or maybe their ranks are reversed? Anyway, the DA18-250 would have been overkill for today's stroll, and the Tamron would have been underkill. Both of those were in my bag but the F35-70 stayed on the camera and it turned out to be Just Right. Moral of the story: Sometimes it's good to have a couple walkarounds ready.
Excellent advice! Working in IT has taught me the value of always making sure to have a good backup!
04-15-2012, 08:13 PM   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by hnikesch Quote
I just got the DA 18-135 for a walk around lens, fast focusing, short, a bit heavy but I like the range and IQ. I found my 55-300 too long and only use it for birding and sports and I didn't want to carry 2 lenses. So far the 18-135 is great.

Hans
Another good option, thanks!
04-15-2012, 08:14 PM   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by geru2000 Quote
Thank you! Everything I've read about the Sigma lens is that it suffers in IQ but focus is quicker. If I were in the market for the 18-250 I'd look for a used Pentax or Tamron. If I couldn't find one then I'd order the Sigma from a reputable dealer and have a go with it. If it doesn't work out you could always return it.

The lens has it's limits but if you know them then you can work with the lens to get the best out of it.
Been looking for a used version, but have not had much luck as yet.
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