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08-16-2012, 06:26 AM   #1
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Considering Pentax, coming from Olympus 4/3

Greetings,

I'm considering a move from my 4/3 and m4/3 systems to Pentax, specifically the K-5. I do mostly macro and the combination of low noise at higher ISOs and a good selections of lenses has me piqued. Of great interest to me are the Tamron lenses for Pentax, my initial kit would likely consist of:

K-5
17-50/2.8 (general use)
70-200/2.8 (large bugs, dragonflies/damselflies....due to the 1:3 magnification ratio at 200mm, general tele use).
90/2.8 macro (flowers, smaller bugs, etc.)

Can anyone speak to:

1) The quality of Tamron lenses in combination with Pentax bodies? When I shot canon I always found Tamron lenses to be of high quality.
2) The precision and speed of AF with Tamron lenses, specifically on the K-5?
3) Other lenses I should perhaps consider given my uses for the above Tamron combination?

TIA for helping out a potential adopter...anything you might offer would be greatly appreciated!

08-16-2012, 06:39 AM   #2
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The review database is a good place to start. I know the Tamron 90s are well-liked macros. I chose an FA-100 when I bought macro, it has an easy-to-use MF switch and focus limiter, which help with close work. The other 100s, including the WR version are worth considering. I had good luck with the Tammy 70-300 for the kind of work you're considering but found too much purple fringing on high-contrast shots. I find the Pentax 55-300 better all-around. That said, the Tammy 70-300 was a great focuser on the K-10 when I used that.

The only lens I'd consider otherwise is the 18-135 WR as a weather resistant walkaround lens. It focuses pretty close, too.
08-16-2012, 06:52 AM   #3
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The Tamrons all are highly regarded in the review, the 70-200 2.8 is slower focusing than the Sigma (also far less expensive). The Tamron 90 is very capable, you may want to consider the DFA100 macro as well though as it would also add a WR lens to your arsenal

there is a good comparison of the 70-200 options (the Tamron, The Sigma and the only available used Pentax 80-200)

Fast Sports Zoom Lenses for Pentax - 70-200mm Sigma & Tamron - PentaxForums.com

and a similar review on the 2 macro options

Tamron 90mm Macro vs Pentax 100mm WR: Review - Introduction - PentaxForums.com

and one on the 17-50 range as well

DA* 16-50mm vs. Sigma and Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 Comparison - Introduction - PentaxForums.com

Sigma has an edge on the 2 zoom models, but the Sigma 105 macro is no longer made in K mount (at least for now). they do however make a pretty stellar 70mm macro
08-16-2012, 06:54 AM   #4
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Well, heck...review database, whodathunkit? Guess I should have browsed a tad more before posting eh?

Thanks for the links and suggestions, I'll check out the reviews.

08-16-2012, 06:54 AM   #5
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I have a k-x and the 70-200, and used to have the 90 macro.

The Tamron 70-200 performs fantastically from 70-135, soso at 135, fantastic from 135 to 180, and soso at 180-200. It's focus speed is quite good (screwdrive lens), and should be better on a k-5 than my k-x. It is the lightest of the 70-200 2.8s, but it feels well built. Manual focus switch is by shifting the focus ring forward/back, which isn't that great.

The Tamron 90mm macro is a very nice macro lens. It is moderately sharp at 2.8 with some CA. It is fantastic once stopped down to F4. The Sigma 105 and the Pentax DFA 100 are sharper, but the Tamron is no slouch. In addition, it renders very nicely and has very pleasing bokeh. AF performance is good when limiter switch is engaged. Manual focusing is pretty comfortable on this lens. It does feel a bit plastic, but not cheap.
08-16-2012, 07:01 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by JinDesu Quote
I have a k-x and the 70-200, and used to have the 90 macro.

The Tamron 70-200 performs fantastically from 70-135, soso at 135, fantastic from 135 to 180, and soso at 180-200. It's focus speed is quite good (screwdrive lens), and should be better on a k-5 than my k-x. It is the lightest of the 70-200 2.8s, but it feels well built. Manual focus switch is by shifting the focus ring forward/back, which isn't that great.

The Tamron 90mm macro is a very nice macro lens. It is moderately sharp at 2.8 with some CA. It is fantastic once stopped down to F4. The Sigma 105 and the Pentax DFA 100 are sharper, but the Tamron is no slouch. In addition, it renders very nicely and has very pleasing bokeh. AF performance is good when limiter switch is engaged. Manual focusing is pretty comfortable on this lens. It does feel a bit plastic, but not cheap.
I had the Tamron 180 back in my Canon days and for tripod work the AF/MF switch actually works pretty well. Start with AF with your hand on the ring...if the AF needs a tweak, snap the ring down and focus without removing your hand. I can see though how it would not be the best thing handheld.

I'll have to check out the Pentax 100 options. I've just had such good luck with Tamron macros in the past (let's see...original 90 on film, first gen 90 AF on Canon, second gen 90 AF on Canon, 180 on Canon, hahaha) it's hard to consider anything else Funny you mention it, when I adapted a last generation Adaptall 90 to my E-5, yeah, exactly what you describe, little CA at2.8, gone by f4. Sharpest f4-f16, little diffraction at f22...worse at f32.

Thanks for the replies all!
08-16-2012, 07:11 AM   #7
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The 70-200 is a great lens. I tried it against the pentax 60-250 and the sigma 70-200 and I felt the IQ of the 70-200 was the best of the bunch.

Most of the focus speed complaints around the web are talking about the Canon and Nikon versions. I tried the Nikon version, it focused horribly, unacceptably slow.

I don't know anything about the 17-50. The 90 macro is nice but I decided to go with the 100mm Pentax - it's WR, is smaller and lighter, and has quick shift, which is a fantastic feature for macro (the way I do macro at least - handheld).
08-16-2012, 09:04 AM   #8
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all three tamron lenses you listed are awesome performers on the k-5. They focus fast-enough for most situations in decent light, are stupidly sharp and have no major optical flaws. The only downside of getting them over first party or sigma lenses is that they do feel a tad plasticky (not that it matters unless you're shooting in monsoons), and focus a tad noisier than their silent AF motor competitors. I've either owned or had a chance to play with all three and I remember them performing beyond expectations optically.
However, with that being said, I find that the tiny limited primes offered by pentax is just so much more fun, which is why those are in my bag now and not the tamrons

08-16-2012, 10:06 AM   #9
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All three of those Tamrons are, at the very least, excellent. I have the 17-50 and 90 and have tried out the 70-200. If you are looking for a superb lens (though much higher price I'm afraid) for butterflies etc. then the DA*300/4 is fantastic and the working distance is perfect. A few threads of insects I've shot with the 300 (there's more on my SmugMug link below) :

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/176694-macro-dragonflies...and-china.html

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/179621-nature-clearwing-flight.html
08-16-2012, 10:16 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by KHatfull Quote
I had the Tamron 180 back in my Canon days and for tripod work the AF/MF switch actually works pretty well. Start with AF with your hand on the ring...if the AF needs a tweak, snap the ring down and focus without removing your hand. I can see though how it would not be the best thing handheld.

I'll have to check out the Pentax 100 options. I've just had such good luck with Tamron macros in the past (let's see...original 90 on film, first gen 90 AF on Canon, second gen 90 AF on Canon, 180 on Canon, hahaha) it's hard to consider anything else Funny you mention it, when I adapted a last generation Adaptall 90 to my E-5, yeah, exactly what you describe, little CA at2.8, gone by f4. Sharpest f4-f16, little diffraction at f22...worse at f32.

Thanks for the replies all!
Just to be clear - the AF/MF switch is not as good as the quick-shift that Pentax has. It is still useful, of course, but it's not as fast or easy as the quickshift. That's all.

The nice part of the Tamron 90 is that you can get it for pretty cheap. The cool part of the DFA 100 is that it is WR (well, the WR version anyways).
08-17-2012, 09:26 AM   #11
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Well, not due in small part to the kind and thoughtful responses here, and looking through the review database as I should have initially , I snagged a K-5 body on *bay yesterday and will start amassing the lenses. I have two other systems to get out of but, oh well.

One thing though, I'm going to pick up the 18-55WR as my general family snapshot lens. Not that the Tamron is bad, rather, I don't need the critical IQ for those shots and I can spend the difference on a 35/2.4

Thanks again.
08-17-2012, 09:42 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by KHatfull Quote
Well, not due in small part to the kind and thoughtful responses here, and looking through the review database as I should have initially , I snagged a K-5 body on *bay yesterday and will start amassing the lenses. I have two other systems to get out of but, oh well.

One thing though, I'm going to pick up the 18-55WR as my general family snapshot lens. Not that the Tamron is bad, rather, I don't need the critical IQ for those shots and I can spend the difference on a 35/2.4

Thanks again.
Congrats on the purchase you'll like it I'm sure

and you will have a lens you can use in the rain. Iq is better than the average kit lens as well. there are lots of good examples here, you just need to live within the limitations of the lens
08-17-2012, 12:09 PM   #13
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Yup, a WR lens is great for a WR body!
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