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12-13-2011, 12:54 PM   #1
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Clarify on Lenses Please

I just bought a K-X yesterday and I can already tell I would want a zoom lens up to either 200mm or 300 mm. And I'm pretty sure I want it to have a range of aperture values, so I can zoom in on someone or something and have a blurred background. I am very, very new to the DSLR world and would like input on different lenses. I see some on the marketplace for about $89-$100, which is what I would be able to spend at this time since I just bought the camera. What brands of lenses are better....Tamron, Sigma, Pentax? I just don't know.
Thanks so much!

12-13-2011, 12:59 PM   #2
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if you want to have out to a 300mm reach and you want AF you will be spending more than 80-100.
Watch for a used 50-200 kit lens or the 50-300. the 50-300 is the better lens but it will cost more

there are lot's of old manual focus 70-200 zooms out there for not a great deal of money if you want to experiment with it. But given you are a complete newbie I would suggest an AF lens so you can spend some time learning how the camera works.
12-13-2011, 01:17 PM   #3
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Buy yourself a used Tamron 70-300 for under $100.00, this is the best value for your money. Optically the three you have mentioned is more or less on par with each other (all are entry level 300mm zoom), Pentax 55-300 has quick shift for manually fine tuning the focus you can press the lens release button to do the same with either Sigma or Tamron 70-300 lenses.
12-13-2011, 01:21 PM   #4
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Thanks. what do you all think of this one listed in the Marketplace....Tamron 28-200mm Aspherical LD IF 1:3.8-5.6 Macro Autofocus
Listed for $89.
THanks.


12-13-2011, 01:21 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by eddie1960 Quote
Watch for a used 50-200 kit lens
There's one for sale in the Marketplace.
12-13-2011, 01:28 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by j2n2d1 Quote
Thanks. what do you all think of this one listed in the Marketplace....Tamron 28-200mm Aspherical LD IF 1:3.8-5.6 Macro Autofocus
Listed for $89.
THanks.
if your intent is to blurr backgrounds you may be disappointed due to the rather small maximum aperture.

the only way to get a big aperture (i.e. F2.8) is to spend $$$$$ unfortunately

You can also look for a couple of MF primes. Maybe a nice 135mm or something that would do. Also consider a 50mm lens, even an f,17 or F2 is many stops faster and infinitely sharper than the tamron super zoom
12-13-2011, 01:35 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by j2n2d1 Quote
Thanks. what do you all think of this one listed in the Marketplace....Tamron 28-200mm Aspherical LD IF 1:3.8-5.6 Macro Autofocus
Listed for $89.
THanks.
Not what I'd buy for Blurred backgrounds (I have one and it's up for sale on craigslist locally). I used it as a travel lens on my MZ5, rarely touch it now

Lowell is right a fast manual prime (easily available under $100) will do a much better job of isolating a subject

an m 100 2.8 is a good one too look at for this, but I'd say for most portrait style shots the super tak 55 1.8 does a pretty fine job

so does the m50 1.7 - $60 or less easily

12-13-2011, 01:37 PM   #8
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The effect of having a blurred background is also dependent on the distance between your subject and the background. So even with a "slow" zoom, slow meaning small aperture, you can get nicely blurred backgrounds if your subject is a good distance from the background.

The 28-200 is a pretty good superzoom for cheap, especially if you are just starting. Also good are the Tamron/Sigma 18-200, and Pentax DA 55-300 (that 55-300 is reaaaally gooood).

Please understand that variable aperture values on your zoom lens does not mean it's better for getting the "blurred" backgrounds. For example, on that 28-200, the F3.8-5.6 means that at the 28mm end, it's F3.8, while at the 200mm (and probably shorter) end it's F5.6. However, as far as cheap zooms go, that range of aperture value is pretty much standard.

12-13-2011, 01:45 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by JinDesu Quote
The effect of having a blurred background is also dependent on the distance between your subject and the background. So even with a "slow" zoom, slow meaning small aperture, you can get nicely blurred backgrounds if your subject is a good distance from the background.

The 28-200 is a pretty good superzoom for cheap, especially if you are just starting. Also good are the Tamron/Sigma 18-200, and Pentax DA 55-300 (that 55-300 is reaaaally gooood).

Please understand that variable aperture values on your zoom lens does not mean it's better for getting the "blurred" backgrounds. For example, on that 28-200, the F3.8-5.6 means that at the 28mm end, it's F3.8, while at the 200mm (and probably shorter) end it's F5.6. However, as far as cheap zooms go, that range of aperture value is pretty much standard.

You could also watch for the Pentax version of the Tamron (I've had both my dog knocked the Pentax out of my hand and i replaced it with the tamron (for $40 less at the time)

Not saying you can't get bokeh with it, but it's not a strength. a $30-40 (or less) k55 f2.0 will beat it hands down
12-13-2011, 02:01 PM   #10
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And just for comparison purposes this is what you get when price is less of a consideration.
QuoteOriginally posted by j2n2d1 Quote
I want it to have a range of aperture values, so I can zoom in on someone or something and have a blurred background.
And just to clarify what you are looking for is shallow or narrow depth of focus. Which means the portion, maybe 'slice' is a good word, of what you see in the view finder is in focus. With narrow depth of focus think of a vertical slice taken out of your view at some distance to you that is say 6" wide front to back. Everything in front of that 6" is blurry, everything beyond that 6" is blurry. That is an example of narrow depth of focus. The way to achieve that is with very big apertures which are actually the smaller numbers. So a small number (large aperture) like f/1.4 yields a very narrow depth of field. A large number (small aperture) like f/11 yields a wider depth of focus. Maybe several feet or yards in the example I used.

To better understand this check this depth of focus calculator. The problem with the lenses you are looking at is they do not have the very large apertures (often called fast lenses) that you need for this. Not that it can't be done, because aperture is only one part of the equation, check the calculator link, but it is harder to do.

The examples above for fast primes are your best way to achieve what you want, a long super zoom has its uses but it is not the best for isolation and blurry background.
12-13-2011, 02:31 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote

The examples above for fast primes are your best way to achieve what you want, a long super zoom has its uses but it is not the best for isolation and blurry background.
Bang on

Like i mentioned I own the Tamron and I would not use it for isolation and narrow DOF (I'm not even sure if i have a sample of it doing that)

Nothing i could find on a quick look through flickr in any case. I'd have to go through old film shots
12-13-2011, 03:23 PM   #12
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I agree about fast older primes giving you more control over bokeh and DoF and such but if you want a zoom specifically and you are on a tight budget I'd check for a good used copy of a Pentax SMC FA 100-300. Its old and its a silver lens but the reviews are actually very strong for it and the average sale price is right around $100. It's not the fastest around but it will give you the reach you want, allow you to experiment with different focal lengths to find what you like and use most, and its not too big an investment to learn on.

The marketplace here is excellent and I can also recommend KEH.Com for used lenses that are honestly rated. My strongest suggestion is to go and spend a couple weeks reading the Lens Reviews here on the site!

Pentax-FA 100-300mm F4.7-5.8 Reviews - FA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
12-13-2011, 03:56 PM   #13
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Good suggestions above. Be aware that long + fast + autofocus + cheap + good are mutually exclusive.

You can approach such a goal with a fairly long + fairly fast + manual focus + cheap + pretty good zoom. A great candidate is the classic Vivitar Series 1 70-210/3.5 zoom, probably still going for well under US$100. Absolutely brilliant optics and almost as fast as an f/2.8 monster that costs much more.

For even less money, you can find an 80-200/4 or 70-210/3.9 zoom made by Samyang (often labeled as Sears, Focal, Albinar, etc), and even the Pentax Takumar-A 70-200/4. Those should all be in the US$20-$50 range. A lens at 200mm with an aperture of f/3.5-4 will have very thin DOF, great for subject isolation and blurred backgrounds.

As mentioned, zooms with variable maximum apertures, labeled like f/3.5-5.6, will have the faster f/3.5 aperture at the shortest focal length and the tighter/slower f/5.6 aperture at the longer focal lengths. Zooms with fixed maximum apertures, like the f/3.5 and f/4s that I mentioned, are usually considered to have better image quality (IQ). Even an 80-200/4.5 is likely to have better IQ than an 80-200/3.5-4.5.

My recommendation: If autofocus is a MUST, be prepared to spend money. If you can handle manual focus, you can find something in the 80-200 or 70-210 neighborhood at f/3.5 or f/4 for very little. Good luck!
12-14-2011, 08:45 AM   #14
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there is a vivitar series 1 70-200 f3.5 in the market for $50 shipped. Can't go wrong at that price

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/photographic-equipment-sale/166887-sale-p...210-zooms.html
12-14-2011, 09:07 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by eddie1960 Quote
there is a vivitar series 1 70-200 f3.5 in the market for $50 shipped. Can't go wrong at that price

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/photographic-equipment-sale/166887-sale-p...210-zooms.html
That is a buy-it-now price. As in, Hey j2n2d1, BUY IT!! NOW!! There are absolutely no better optics in that range at that price, period.
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