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05-06-2010, 06:50 PM   #1
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Seeking council for next lens

Hi everyone!

Well here I am where almost all of you have been...looking to buy your second lens.

My first (and only) lesns is a Sigma 17-70mm f2.8-4 lens. I got that thinking it would do better than the kit 18-50mm kit lens IQ wise and give me more reach. I think it was a good choice. I like the lens, but lack any insigt having only used this lens.

After a couple of months of use, I have come to the conclution that I need more reach....I'm ok at the 17mm end, but I find myself onften trying to zoom out father than I can....

Here's where you guys (gals!) come in....Not sure how much more reach to get...200mm, 250mm, 300mm....more?! And should I go for Pentax lens or Sigma....Up to now Sigma has been good for me. Ca$h IS an issue. I can't put out more than 600$ (well maybe I could stretch to 700$ but then I'd be REALLY broke...no more beer for me!)

Thanks for reading me. Any insight is goog insight

05-06-2010, 08:33 PM   #2
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The problem with comments like this is that there really are a lot of ways to go and you haven't given us much to go on. If you want to go cheap you could get the DA 50-200 lens. It's a very good lens and is inexpensive (you could even get the WR version). Or you could go a bit longer and get the DA 55-300 lens much better lens and a lot more reach and a bit more expensive. Or you could go with the Tamron 70-200 f2.8 (or Sigma version for that matter). These would push your pocketbook but would give you more reach and more options.

OTOH you could look for a used 70-200 lens or something similar and see how that floats your boat.

Then you could consider primes at 85, 100, 130, or 200.

What do you really think you want to do with this next lens?
05-06-2010, 08:57 PM   #3
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Take pictures....


Hahaha...got ya there!

Seriously, I adressed the budget, mre or less 600$. Main picture taking : family vacations, everyday, candids etc...Also, buildings, nature..etc. When I go picture hunting I define my theme on the go, with waht I see. I think that 300mm is a max. And I want at least 70mm since my other lesns is 17-70mm.

But Iam ALWAYS seeking the best "bang for the buck" lens. i think I got that with my first lens and am looking to do the same on my second.

Someday, when (if) I become a better photographer, I will maybe go for bigger budget lenses, but for now, 1000$+ lenses is too much for me.
05-06-2010, 08:59 PM   #4
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A good tele-zoom at a reasonable price is the 55-300, though a bit slow as most budget zooms in that range are.
The faster f2.8 (and shorter) lenses in the 70-200 range will cost about 2X, but may be handier in lower light and/or sports.
The 50-200 is very compact, but the K-7 will likely push its limitation, as the K20D did.

05-06-2010, 09:06 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
The 50-200 is very compact, but the K-7 will likely push its limitation, as the K20D did.
Do you mean the PENTAX DA 50-200mm F4-5.6 ED WR? That is the kit lens...ist it good..doesn't seem very fast?
05-06-2010, 09:19 PM   #6
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Personally, I have the DA 50-200 non-WR version. It is a very good lens and while some may consider it a kit lens it's much better than what the kit designation might imply. Again, the 55-300 provides more reach and is considered a better lens. I like them both and both are in your price range.
05-06-2010, 10:26 PM   #7
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With new lenses, there are a few ways to go. The Pentax choices are the DA 50-200, same lens in WR and the DA 55-300.

The other makers offer an 18-250 with in-lens optical stabilization (Sigma), a couple of inexpensive 70-300s, some 18-200s and 28-300s. Pentax and Tamron made more or less the same 18-250 that was discontinued last year and can still be found new. The two 70-200/2.8 zooms break the budget.

I would immediately discount all of the zooms with 10x or greater range except for the Sigma and the Pentax/Tamron. Both of these seem to have acceptible quality. The Sigma is easier to find, the Pentax or Tamron might be worth the search. You do still give up quality for convenience, but if you place some value on a one-lens solution, they can work fine. The other lenses in this class have too many image quality compromises.

The Sigma 70-300, Tamron 70-300 and Pentax DA 55-300 are often considered in the same group, and many say that the Pentax is worth its price premium over these two. Since you have the budget, the Pentax should probably head your list too.

If WR is important, the DA 50-200 is the only choice. I always wonder if I'm going to use WR.

What I did for this range was to settle on an SMC Pentax-F 70-210mm f4-5.6 (~$150 used) and an SMC Pentax 300mm f4 prime ($150-200). I started with a Tamron superzoom, with the quality compromises mentioned above. In my opinion, 300mm is not that necessary on APS-C in everyday use or travel. The 300mm prime is big and heavy but it's got great quality and speed, which becomes important at that length. Even with SR you want to avoid shutter speeds below 1/125 at 300mm. Today, I might buy the DA 50-200 WR instead of the F70-210, maybe losing a bit of IQ but gaining a better short end and WR.
05-07-2010, 07:41 AM   #8
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So many lenses, so little money.

Probably the most versatile lens made is the 18-250. I have the Pentax version. I like the ant-glare coating on it better than the Tamron. With the in body vibration reduction Pentax offers, I don't see the need to get the newer Sigma, which pixel peeping the review sites shows isn't as sharp. I did a lot of research and found that the Pentax lens is actually very sharp in the 30-120mm range and still better than kit lenses out to 200mm and down to 18. It absolutely does not limit my K20D in resolution.

For negatives: It is a bit slow and suffers from lens creep. Barrel distortion is noticeable but correctable on the wide end. On the plus side is the ability to cover such a huge range of shots without changing lenses. With a spare battery and a couple of SD cards in pocket, I can go out for a day and leave the bag at home. That is so incredibly convenient.

I have fast 35mm and a 50mm primes for low light situations, a 100mm for macro and a 300mm for long shots. They're all superb lenses, but the 18-250mm stays on my camera 90% of the time.

michael mckee
My Port Townsend A City in Photographs 365

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