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05-13-2014, 07:59 PM   #1
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50 - 135 2.8

what is the opinion of the Pentax da 50-135 anybody

05-13-2014, 08:07 PM   #2
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107 user reviews;
SMC Pentax-DA* 50-135mm F2.8 ED [IF] SDM Reviews - DA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

Our in-depth review:
Pentax-DA* 50-135mm F2.8 Review - Introduction - Pentax Camera Forums

"The Pentax 50-135mm lens is a very good performer overall, but it isn't perfect. It delivers excellent sharpness and flare/aberration control but has problems with vignetting and especially distortion. It has silent autofocus, but the autofocus isn't as fast as most would like it to be, and it is prone to failure. It is light, compact, weather sealed, and it doesn't extend while focusing or zooming, but some users will find its zoom range to be a bit restrictive. With that said, this lens goes along very well with the Sigma 17-50mm, Tamron 17-50mm, or Pentax DA* 16-50mm F2.8 premium walkaround zooms in a 2-lens kit. Despite its shortcomings, this lens is largely unrivaled simply because of the fact that it has no competitors. Sigma's 50-150mm F2.8 zoom comes the closest, but that lens is now discontinued for Pentax, plus it lacks weather sealing. Some users may want to consider for a Sigma 70-200mm or a Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 instead of the Pentax 50-135mm, but it should be noted that the former to lenses are much larger and much heaver than the Pentax."

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05-13-2014, 08:14 PM   #3
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Most people here like it. It's not hard to find positive remarks about it here on the forum.

It's one of my favorite lenses. It's the best zoom I have - the best zoom Pentax makes, I think. One of the best zooms anyone makes for any DSLR, IMO.



It's main drawback is the AF motor isn't fast. It's fine for shooting people walking (as in a parade) but not for shooting athletes running toward you at full speed. For that you need something else.

But for portraits, and just about anything else you can imagine (including shooting in the rain) it's a fantastic lens. See for yourself:

PENTAX : Select a PENTAX interchangeable lens camera or a lens model
PENTAX : Select a PENTAX interchangeable lens camera or a lens model


A good number of people have had reliability problems with the SDM focusing motor going out, and you'll not doubt hear about this. But many others of us have been fortunate enough not to experience this. All I can say is I would have missed way too many great photos if I'd allowed the fear of this "potential problem off somewhere in the future" scare me off! I certainly hope it doesn't fail on me, but any repair cost I may (or may not) have to pay someday is much less than the value of all the photos I already would have missed, had I not bought it.

There's no replacement for this lens, so if you let these fears scare you off you'll be missing out.

Last edited by DSims; 05-13-2014 at 08:20 PM.
05-13-2014, 09:01 PM   #4
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The 50-135 is my favorite portrait lens. It also works to capture fast moving athletes headed my way. Image quality is outstanding. Mine is 5 years old, heavily used, well traveled and not babied.

The Border Coliie was moving.









05-13-2014, 10:54 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Brooke Meyer Quote
The 50-135 is my favorite portrait lens. It also works to capture fast moving athletes headed my way.
Would you care to share these images?
05-14-2014, 05:06 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
Would you care to share these images?


I think the border collie WAS the athlete. You'll find no human athlete as fast.
05-14-2014, 05:07 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
Would you care to share these images?
Sure. Most of the time, I'm shooting dance or portraits but occasionally, I cover events for a local online publication. I get to shoot the frisbee dogs once a year. The horse jumping was a scouting visit for a portrait session. Dad bought a 16x20 print.











05-14-2014, 07:24 AM   #8
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I really like the 50-135. Biggest negative is auto focus, which can be really slow -- well, and the size is pretty big, although not compared to 70-200 f2.8 options. As far as optically, it is really an excellent lens. Great for portraits, sealing is handy to have, colors are really nice.





(a couple of photos of my kids where the weather sealing came in handy).

05-14-2014, 08:20 AM   #9
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Mine is a solid performer Very good at 2.8, excellent at 4. It's a bit big, it's a bit heavy but for a 2.8 zoom, it's normal. I do sometimes wish that it would reach a bit further but 135 is still very decent. Tamron's and Sigma's 70-200 should also be on your radar because both are great lenses too, although a bit bigger. The WR of the 50-135 gives you peace of mind if you get into some snowy/rainy/dusty conditions.

It is one of the best lens I own regarding IQ, getting close to some primes.

SDM is slow*ish and prone to failure but so far, mine is working fine and once you've got accustomed to it, the slower*ish AF is not much of an issue. I do prefer a silent but slower AF motor than the faster and louder screwdrive, especially when doing portraits. And if your SDM is to fail after your warranty expires, you can always convert the lens to screwdrive with a bit of firmware hack. Regardless, Pentax mentioned that they did indeed fix the issue with the latter generation.
05-14-2014, 11:24 AM   #10
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The weather sealing can be handy

05-14-2014, 01:09 PM   #11
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Yup, great lens for the outsides. Pretty sharp even wide open, 135mm is long enough for "some" wildlife and AF is still fast enough for tracking dogs apparently
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05-14-2014, 01:53 PM   #12
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Any decent walk-around lens will give you a photo with IQ good enough to work with, that after proper post processing will look as good ( if not better ) than most of the samples I see from this ( or any other for that matter - including limiteds ! ) lens. Look at the exif's - obtaining a good sharp ( centrally at least ) shot at f5.6 is not an issue even with older zooms - not to mentions primes where f5.6 is nearly sweet spot ! In digital era it is the post processing that makes the whole difference - not so much if you have f2.8 constant light - same as darkroom did in the film days.
EDIT: I forgot to mention the obvious things like good breathing technique , good camera handing and shutter-pressing technique, good exposure and focus etc. - but these can make or brake *ANY* lens - no matter how fast or expensive.
Period.
05-14-2014, 02:46 PM   #13
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I just bought a used one from Adorama - its definitely a premium lens. Very nice to handle. I come from Canon cameras and its worthy of an L lens equivalent or better. Unfortunately, it had dust in the front element and Adorama listed it as EX+ so i returned it. I'll probably get one in the future again. Right now my DA 35f/2.4 and 50 f/1.8 should suffice.
05-14-2014, 08:44 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by manntax Quote
Any decent walk-around lens will give you a photo with IQ good enough to work with, that after proper post processing will look as good ( if not better ) than most of the samples I see from this ( or any other for that matter - including limiteds ! ) lens. Look at the exif's - obtaining a good sharp ( centrally at least ) shot at f5.6 is not an issue even with older zooms - not to mentions primes where f5.6 is nearly sweet spot ! In digital era it is the post processing that makes the whole difference - not so much if you have f2.8 constant light - same as darkroom did in the film days.
EDIT: I forgot to mention the obvious things like good breathing technique , good camera handing and shutter-pressing technique, good exposure and focus etc. - but these can make or brake *ANY* lens - no matter how fast or expensive.
Period.
My Toyota Corolla can beat your Corvette Z51 up a mountain road - no problem. I've gone to high performance driving school and I'm a much better driver, so it doesn't matter which car I have.

EDIT: I'm about to sell all my camera equipment, because I discovered that my iPhone can take the same photos. Now that I've passed my Photoshop Wizardry Level 5 certification test it's all I'm going to need.


BTW, some workflows don't allow for PP (my running photo in the post below is an example), and esteemed journals like National Geographic only allow very minimal PP, so suggesting one can simply use cheap equipment and "fix it later" (which never really works anyway) is absurd. The fact that you can show a few good examples with a cheap lens (as I'm sure you can) which were taken in undemanding circumstances proves little. If you're really that good at PP you should stop wasting your talent with cheap glass and get equipment that's worthy of your capabilities. The better capture will make your result much better as well.

Last edited by DSims; 05-14-2014 at 10:35 PM.
05-14-2014, 10:21 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Brooke Meyer Quote
Sure. Most of the time, I'm shooting dance or portraits but occasionally, I cover events for a local online publication. I get to shoot the frisbee dogs once a year. The horse jumping was a scouting visit for a portrait session. Dad bought a 16x20 print.
Thanks for sharing the photos. You got some nice ones. It must be fun to shoot the frisbee dogs - I think I'd enjoy that.

Although I suppose it's strange for me to call it "fun," because as much as I like to shoot runners, it's also exhausting. I'm constantly changing the focus point, camera orientation, framing, and myriad other variables as each new runner or group of runners approaches. And then I do it again 2 seconds later for the next group.



As I mentioned, the DA*50-135 is one of my favorite lenses. But it's of little use in the above situation because it's seldom in focus, whereas the FA135 can do it:

Top Highlights - Central Park Invitational 2012 - EventTime Photos


When your aperture is f/3.5, the athletes fill the frame, and they're coming right at you full speed, focus accuracy is paramount. The DOF is so shallow it leaves little room for error, and the lens must constantly re-adjust in AF-C mode to remain in focus. If the subject is moving across the frame the focus barely changes, and if the aperture is f/8 you have so much DOF you can hardly miss. But this isn't using a lens to its potential, as I'm sure you know.



So while you can get certain types of action shots with this lens, I wouldn't want to mislead the OP if sports is a primary application for him.

Last edited by DSims; 05-14-2014 at 10:39 PM.
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