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08-20-2011, 05:54 AM   #1
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All Purpose Zoom Comparison

I really would like to have an all-purpose zoom in the 18-135 or 18-200 range. I could probably afford the Tamron 18-200 now at $230+/- after rebate, or the Pentax 18-135 at $430+/- sometime in the future. If someone has access to both, it would be really interesting to compare identical photos to see if the extra $200 gives significantly better results under identical conditions. Personal observations would also be very welcome

08-20-2011, 12:38 PM   #2
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Have you looked at the lens reviews here? My personal favorite is the Tamron / DA 18-250, no longer in production but widely available on the used market. Nothing else is quite as flexible for dynamic situations. As for IQ: What will you do with your shots? How will you display them? Small or large prints, or slideshows, or just peering at your monitor, or what? Unless you're printing large for close inspection, or pixel-peeping, qualitative differences can be hard to see. Good luck!
08-20-2011, 12:47 PM   #3
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Mind you, the 18-135 is great for the weather resistance.
08-21-2011, 07:51 AM   #4
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There are other cheaper alternatives than that if you don't need to go as wide as 17mm or 18mm.
You could also consider the 28-200mm or the 28-300mm.
Both Tamron and Sigma also have these lenses.
These usually go for less than $200.

08-28-2011, 09:33 PM   #5
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I've been extremely happy and impressed with the Tamron/Pentax 18-250mm as well. It is quite the well liked lens by the large majority of its owners, and why wouldn't it be!? In general, it will give you better IQ than the kit equivalents, 18-55 and 50-200 without the hassle of ever having to swap lenses.

My vote would be for finding a good used 18-250mm Tamron/Pentax as long as you don't need the weather sealing of the Pentax 18-135.

Good luck and let us know what you end up going with!
08-29-2011, 06:59 AM   #6
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Really like my Promaster 28-105.Wish it was faster but then it would be a lot more expensive.
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08-30-2011, 05:21 AM   #7
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And more non-existent. There are no fast superzooms. Not only would they be expensive, but enormous and unbelievably heavy.
08-30-2011, 05:45 AM   #8
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Part of the IQ equation is how much post processing you are comfortable with. I've owned my DS since 2005 and only used the two kit lenses for the first 4 years. Last year, I bought the Sigma 10-20mm. The IQ of this lens is noticeably better than the DA 18-55 and DA 50-200. However, since I shoot in raw and enjoy post processing, the end product from the Sigma lens is about the same as from my DA's. It just takes a different PP workflow.

I recently picked up a used Promaster 20-200 autofocus lens (Built by Tamron). I give it a slight edge in IQ over my DA's. But after PP, the end product is very similar.


Promaster 28-200 at 200 mm with mono-pod.



DA 50-200 at 200 mm with mono-pod



Both shots were taken at ISO 1600 on my DS. The Promaster shot was from earlier this year. The DA 50-200 shot was from 4 years ago. My camera and post processing skills have improved between images.

Tim

08-30-2011, 05:57 AM   #9
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I have the 18-250 DA Pentax and love it.
08-30-2011, 08:08 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Koenig Quote
I've been extremely happy and impressed with the Tamron/Pentax 18-250mm as well. It is quite the well liked lens by the large majority of its owners, and why wouldn't it be!? In general, it will give you better IQ than the kit equivalents, 18-55 and 50-200 without the hassle of ever having to swap lenses.
I can't agree with that. The IQ of my 18-55 II is virtually indistinguishable from my Pentax 18-250 in their common range. There are a couple of differences at 18mm, where the 18-250 shows more vignetting and distortion and the 18-55 loses some contrast.

QuoteOriginally posted by Koenig Quote
My vote would be for finding a good used 18-250mm Tamron/Pentax as long as you don't need the weather sealing of the Pentax 18-135.
The 18-55, 18-135 and 18-250 are in the same class of IQ, with some small differences. My 18-135 is a bit sharper across the frame than my 18-55 II and 18-250. The big difference though is mechanical. I love the 18-135's superior build quality, silent AF, quick-shift focus and of course weather resistance. Also, I hate the lock and zoom creep on the 18-250.
08-30-2011, 07:01 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
I can't agree with that. The IQ of my 18-55 II is virtually indistinguishable from my Pentax 18-250 in their common range.
Good point, I should have specified which 18-55 version when I made that statement. I had version 'I' when I upgraded to the 18-250mm so my personal experience was between those two. As you said, the Pentax 18-55/18-135/18-250/50-200 are all in the same ball park for IQ. That is part of what amazes me about the 18-250 the fact that it can bring that level of IQ and range in one lens.

As you said, the OP will definitely need to consider the value to him of having SDM, WR, Quick Shift and the build quality of the 18-135 at the cost of the extra range that the 18-250 would give him.

Hopefully he posts back and lets us know what his decision ended up being!
08-30-2011, 08:26 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Koenig Quote
Good point, I should have specified which 18-55 version when I made that statement. I had version 'I' when I upgraded to the 18-250mm so my personal experience was between those two.
Then I agree. My experience was similar. I preferred the IQ of the DA 18-250 to my original version DA 18-55. The 18-55 II, DA L 18-55 and 18-55 WR are an improvement over the original.

QuoteOriginally posted by Koenig Quote
As you said, the OP will definitely need to consider the value to him of having SDM, WR, Quick Shift and the build quality of the 18-135 at the cost of the extra range that the 18-250 would give him.
I really grew to hate the lock on the 18-250, and the zoom creep. It's not likely available new anywhere either.

Last edited by audiobomber; 08-30-2011 at 08:32 PM.
08-31-2011, 01:36 AM   #13
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Zoom creep is a bit annoying to me, if I forget to engage the lock. But nowadays I'm almost automatically locking it at 18mm when I finish. I got mine unused via ebay and paid a painful price (including shipping and import duties)
08-31-2011, 04:37 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Francis Quote
Zoom creep is a bit annoying to me, if I forget to engage the lock. But nowadays I'm almost automatically locking it at 18mm when I finish.
Locking and unlocking is annoying too. Especially since the 18-250 is my only lens that requires it.
08-31-2011, 09:05 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
Locking and unlocking is annoying too. Especially since the 18-250 is my only lens that requires it.
Yes, it's an annoyance. No, the 18-250 isn't the only zoom that creeps, but it's the only one AFAIK with a lock! I wish I had such a lock on my Lil'Bigma, not to mention a few push-pulls. My shorter and two-ring zooms don't creep; my longer one-ring zooms ALL creep. So my FA100-300 and most under-150mm zooms (Pentax, Schneider, Tamron, Tokina) are creepless; and ALL my other 135mm-plus zooms (Kiron, Pentax, Samyang, Sigma, Tamron, Tokina) are creepy.

Yes, zoom creep is an annoyance. So are most other people. I just must learn to live with them. Oh bother.
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