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05-11-2009, 04:26 PM   #1
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DA 40 2.8 or Tamron 28-75 2.8?

I am in a dilemna whether to buy the DA 40 prime that is lauded by most users or the Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8 SP XR ZL Di LD Aspherical (IF) that has some mixed reviews(Quality control issues with some people getting a bad copy).

The main reason for my wanting a fast lens is to capture my 11 month old indoors. I thought the zoom would come in handy especially with a constant f 2.8 throughout the range (please correct me if i am wrong). Any help in making a decision is appreciated.
Thanks.

Arvindh
Artwork by Aravindhan

05-11-2009, 05:53 PM   #2
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I'd like to approach you question differently:

For an active toddler, I doubt if just a fast lens is sufficient.

I would consider a flash. Buy one with a swivel & tilt head.

If you bounce the flash against the ceiling & walls, the photos will look just as nice as with natural light.

Buy a flash as powerful as you can afford.

Just to give you an example, with my new (newly-restored to be exact) Sunpak 611, I can take photos properly exposed at f/11, ISO 400, the flash bounced off the ceiling 18 ft high. At f/11, I have very decent DOF.

Back to your question: I have the DA40. It is very sharp and attached to my K10D body more often that any other lens I have. But if someone asks me to take photo of a toddler, I'll use my Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8.
05-11-2009, 07:20 PM   #3
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The 40 will focus faster, the 28-75 will of course be more flexible. Neither is going to give you action-stopping shutter speeds without flash. The FA50/1.4 is your best best there, or FA35/2 if you prefer something wider and can find one.
05-12-2009, 01:22 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by SOldBear Quote
For an active toddler, I doubt if just a fast lens is sufficient.

I would consider a flash. Buy one with a swivel & tilt head.

If you bounce the flash against the ceiling & walls, the photos will look just as nice as with natural light.
Exactly. First I was also thinking about getting a fast lens, but later I figured it wouldn't be enough to get decent images. So I bought a flash. Bouncing off the ceiling works great, I can take great pictures of my little daughter at ISO100 with kit lens.

05-12-2009, 02:58 AM   #5
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I agree with the above, I would get an external flash. The other thing is that I would want something a little wider that the DA 40 for indoors. I use my 16-50 a lot indoors and it works well -- I find that I use it a lot in the 20-35 range. I don't know enough about the Tamron to comment, but a zoom is definitely more flexible when it comes to tracking down kids.
05-12-2009, 05:25 AM   #6
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I use the DA 40mm indoors to take pictures of my active kids (now 2 and 4). It's acceptable without a flash, but using a wireless P-TTL flash is basically vital — even if you have nice big windows which admit a lot of light, supplementing with flash will make the pictures better. Using it wirelessly allows you to not worry so much about the extra bulk.

I do find the focal length a little tight sometimes, and have been considering getting the DA 35mm to see how that works out. The image quality from the DA 40mm is so amazing, though, that I'm hesitant.

Here's three samples; the only one with flash is the haircut one. I can find some more, though, where flash would be vital. You can see there's a little more blur than maybe ideal in the non-flash ones, both from the too-low shutter speed and, particularly in the baby-hand one, from too-narrow depth of field. None of these have any post-processing, by the way — jpeg straight from camera.
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05-12-2009, 08:31 AM   #7
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No toddlers here, but a couple of highly animated Boxers that present a similar challenge indoors. Bounce flash is definitely your friend.

The dogs are too fast for me to use AF. I even had problems with my Nikon D80 in these conditions, so it's not a Pentax AF performance thing. By the time the camera locked focus on an eye, a tail would be in its place when the shutter fired.

My usual lens for their living room antics is a 28-105/2.8 MF Tamron with a short throw focus ring. This is one of the few times I keep a UV filter on the lens to prevent scratches (boxers like to 'box' with you - hence the name).

MF is not difficult unless they're running straight toward me - if they are, I'm looking to brace myself rather than focus anyway... But the flash allows me to use a small enough aperture for DOF so that focus need not be spot on for every shot.




Last edited by OregonJim; 05-12-2009 at 09:12 AM.
05-12-2009, 11:14 AM   #8
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Just a noob, I have a 13 month old and have been using a K10d/16-45/AF540fgz. The flash makes all the difference. But I really wanted to mention that the zoom helps alot too. Many times, I find my daughter acting different when she knows the camera is on her. So I've taken quite a few shots from a distance before she notices. What I am using now is a loaner from a relative, I probably will be getting my own gear soon and considering the Tamron since it has better range.

05-12-2009, 11:28 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by caffix Quote
Many times, I find my daughter acting different when she knows the camera is on her.
That may change - the more you use the camera, the less she will notice it. Some take longer than others, but you'll eventually get to a place where you can shoot with abandon.
05-12-2009, 02:18 PM   #10
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I had the same question before, but mine was for outdoor walkaround. At the end i chose DA 40mm, it's fast and compact. I didn't own the Tamron, but i think it's as fast and sharp as the DA, just bigger and heavier, but Tamron provides more flexibility. F2.8 with ISO1600 is ok for indoor still shot, but i don't think it's fast enough to capture an active kid. The bounce flash light is great solution, but if you just want to do portrait indoor, why not the FA 50mm f1.4, I think it's the better lens for your situation.
05-12-2009, 05:05 PM   #11
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Matt and OregonJim, you have some fantastic shots!
Thank you all for your suggestions and comments. It looks like I need to get the flash first and see what I can do with the kit lens that I already have and then maybe add a quality zoon like the Tamron.

Is the 540Z the most advanced of Pentax flashes?
05-13-2009, 05:09 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by mccarvindh Quote
Is the 540Z the most advanced of Pentax flashes?
Yes, but arguably the Metz 58 AF-1 is more advanced. There are a lot of options. See my Pentax P-TTL Flash Comparison: The Definitive Guide for detailed comparisons.
05-13-2009, 12:05 PM   #13
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For those of you using the bounce flash, what angle do typically use? I have the AF280T which came without a manual so I'm struggling a bit to get consistent results.

BTW - I use a *istDL with a Sigma 24 - 135 f2.8 - 4.5 for the majority of my shots
05-13-2009, 01:54 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by thrillerb Quote
For those of you using the bounce flash, what angle do typically use? I have the AF280T which came without a manual so I'm struggling a bit to get consistent results.
That's like saying "I bought a new car, what speed should I drive it at?"

(hey Marc - you *can* sneak in a car analogy now and then)

Seriously, all angles are useful - it depends on the environment and the look you're going for. Usually, you'd want to point it at a neutral surface, like a white wall or ceiling, but even that rule can be broken.

BTW, you can download the manual for your AF280T here.
05-13-2009, 02:13 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by OregonJim Quote
That may change - the more you use the camera, the less she will notice it. Some take longer than others, but you'll eventually get to a place where you can shoot with abandon.

And that lasts about 6 months... eventually you are having to bribe then with Ice cream and other goodies... sadly soon even that fails!!! And you become the bothersome dad with a camera....


Ps I found the 28-75 my most used lens for shots of the kids... I am on a old MF prime run now, but the tammy is a fine family shooter.
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