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06-01-2007, 04:50 AM   #1
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Newbie needs help a pick a normal zoom lens

Hi all
After watching the forum from a while, I am ready to post my first question but before I do, I just want to compliment everyone has contributed to making this the civil and useful forum it is. I enjoy reading the posts.

OK, so I have only recently purchased my first DSLR, the K10D and I'm loving it. This summer, I am a visiting a number of cities and would like to pick a walk-about normal zoom lens. I have been waiting for the DA* 16-50mm and because of this didnt buy the kit lens (instead I purchased the FA 35 and FA 50 f/1.4).

It doesn't look like the DA* 16-50 will hitting the stores anytime soon I'm looking for a quick fix.

Based on what I have read on this forum, I have narrowed my choice down these three

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8
Sigma 18-50mm F/2.8
Sigma 17-70

Please help me pick one (criteria: fast, good available-light performance, sharp, and consistent if any of this makes sense)

06-01-2007, 05:07 AM   #2
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From what I have read, Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 seems to be a good performer.

Sigma 17-70 is too bulky and its images are "flat" lacking the vividness look. However, these zooms are all very sharp in the centre.

I doubt you could get wrong with any of these zooms; after all, zooms with these focal range are good enough to defeat most primes these days
06-01-2007, 10:02 AM   #3
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I have the Tamron 28-75mm and I love it! Great lens, even wide open. However, you might find that f/2.8 is still too slow indoors with little light. That's when you pop on your FA 50mm or 35mm. How do you like your 35mm? UPS just dropped mine off at home, but I'm stuck at work until 5 or so

Another issue with the 28-75 is the lack of wide-angle. I have the kit lens (18-55) and the Sigma 10-20mm if I need to go wide. For most of my shots though, 28mm works fine for me. I like going up to 75mm though!

Welcome to the forum!
06-02-2007, 08:31 AM   #4
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Thanks to both of you for your responses. OK, so its down to the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8. Egordon99, sorry my post was misleading. I just ordered the FA 35 and its on its way. Im really looking forward to getting it. What are your first impressions of yours?

One more question, how does the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 compare with the Pentax 16-45 (I had passed on it for the same reasons I passed on the kits lens, my belief that the DA* 16-50 would be shipping this summer but that is not looking likely) so the 16-45 is now being considered.

Many thanks

06-02-2007, 03:00 PM   #5
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I have't really had too much of a chance to play with my 35mm, but I've been impressed with the quick little snaps I've taken around the house (most at f/2) I've since made up a little "prime" bag with my *ist DS, my FA 50mm f/1.4, FA 35mm, and Sigma 105mm f/2.8 for traveling light.

As for the Tamron vs. the Pentax 16-45, they are very different animals. The Pentax starts at fairly wide (although not quite ultra-wide) but doesn't go out as far. It's also only f/4 throughout. The Tamron is a stop faster and a bit longer, but starts out at 28mm, so it all depends on your shooting style. I like alot of event/photojournalist/candid stuff, so the 28-75mm range is great for me. I also like having f/2.8 (especially at 75mm, some great shallow DOF!)

So it all comes down to do you want apples or oranges? (or both!)

Good luck!
06-02-2007, 11:06 PM   #6
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I would suggest you select your lenses based on the relative angle of view.

The Pentax 16-45 f4 is an excellent lens but has a tendency to slightly underexpose. This is predictable and easy to correct. You don't really need fast apertures for wide angles in my opinion.

The Sigma isn't as wide as the Pentax (that 1mm focal length is a lot at the wide end) but is more versatile on the long end. It may be faster in aperture wise on the wide end but that's not that significant as it is a variable aperture lens. Edge sharpness and occasional BF issues are some grouses, but with Sigma, it pays to check before you leave the store.

The Tamron 28-75 I won't really consider because it isn't wide enough on the wide end (try the party group shot test and you know what I mean); even the Pentax kit lens is better here. It can work as a portrait zoom but if you're seriously shooting portraits, you'll probably be looking at a short tele prime lens anyway.
06-04-2007, 06:14 PM   #7
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The Tamon 28-75 is a dandy of a lens. I use it wide open quite often with very acceptable results. It's certainly not the widest lens, but I find the focal length to be very, very useable. It's really a great bang for your buck lens.

If I needed a wider lens, I think I'd go for the 16-45 or wait for the 16-50 2.8.

Here are a bunch of samples from the Tamron...







Wide enough for groups...



Oh, and did I mention it's quick to focus?

06-05-2007, 12:18 PM   #8
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For whatever reason, the Sigma 18-50 f/2.8 doesn't seem to get much love in the forums. Apparently the first version was particularly mediocre though perhaps the recent update is better. I'd say if you're out of patience for the DA* 16-50, pick up a DA16-45 or Sigma 17-70. I have a DA16-45 and find the 16mm wide end such that I usually don't want to bother changing to the wider 12-24. If you want more speed, use those primes.

I also just got a FA35 and am liking it so far. It joins the FA28, FA43 and FA50. I am suspecting I just may like it best of all. I've been thinking that DA16-45 + FA35 + DA70 might make for a super compact kit.

06-05-2007, 12:37 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
The Sigma isn't as wide as the Pentax (that 1mm focal length is a lot at the wide end) but is more versatile on the long end. It may be faster in aperture wise on the wide end but that's not that significant as it is a variable aperture lens.
The Sigma may have a variable aperture, but it is always faster than or equal to the DA over their common range. It does not get to f/4.5 until the very end of its range (65mm or so).
06-05-2007, 08:47 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by roentarre Quote
From what I have read, Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 seems to be a good performer.

Sigma 17-70 is too bulky and its images are "flat" lacking the vividness look. However, these zooms are all very sharp in the centre.
...
Well, the Sigma 17-70 isn't the biggest lens among these three

Sigma 17-70/2.8-4.5 macro: Diameter 79mm x length 82.5mm, 455g
Sigma 18-50/2.8 macro: Diameter 79mm x length 85.8mm, 450g
Tamron 28-75/2.8: Diameter73mm x length 92mm, 510g

And I agree, all three zoom lenses are very good. I chose Sigma 17-70 for its versatility.
06-05-2007, 10:57 PM   #11
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Hey Frank. I meant bulky as the size being big rather than its weight...

I should have made it clearer.

p.s. I used sigma 17-70 when Joel purchased it a while back and then sold it off ... It is a nice lens but both of us felt the lens was rather chunky to hold, certainly not too heavy considering its size

06-06-2007, 05:00 PM   #12
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What do you mean by "quick fix"? Are you giving up on the 16-50? Do you want a lens that you will sell for a loss later to buy a 16-50?

You will want something wider than a 28.

You can get a 16-45 then dump it for the 16-50.

You can get a superzoom like the Tamron 18-250. It's not great but you can keep it for times you only want to carry one lens. Then buy the 16-50 when it comes out.

You can get a DA14 and use the three primes until the 16-50 comes out.
06-11-2007, 11:09 AM   #13
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Thanks to all who wrote. I traveled to a place with limited internet access so I couldn't respond earlier.

Before I traveled I had pretty much settled for the Pentax 16-45 but now Hamidlmt's pics have me totally confused. I think they look really great especially the first three. So now its a choice between the Tamron and the Pentax.

Could someone who has worked with both help me out of this knot. All I'm looking for is a wide, sharp, fast, walk-about zoom (I have the 50-200mm). I plan to sell is when the 16-50mm comes out
06-11-2007, 11:22 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by jazzman Quote
Before I traveled I had pretty much settled for the Pentax 16-45 but now Hamidlmt's pics have me totally confused. I think they look really great especially the first three. So now its a choice between the Tamron and the Pentax.

Could someone who has worked with both help me out of this knot. All I'm looking for is a wide, sharp, fast, walk-about zoom (I have the 50-200mm). I plan to sell is when the 16-50mm comes out
With respect to hamidlmt, any of these lenses can take really great pictures in skilled hands.

The focal length/field of view range between these lenses is substantially different and is probably a more logical deciding factor than relative "quality". My suggestion is that 28mm (42 equiv.) is for many people too narrow a field to qualify as their standard primary walkabout lens.
06-11-2007, 01:54 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by jazzman Quote
Thanks to all who wrote. I traveled to a place with limited internet access so I couldn't respond earlier.

Before I traveled I had pretty much settled for the Pentax 16-45 but now Hamidlmt's pics have me totally confused. I think they look really great especially the first three. So now its a choice between the Tamron and the Pentax.

Could someone who has worked with both help me out of this knot. All I'm looking for is a wide, sharp, fast, walk-about zoom (I have the 50-200mm). I plan to sell is when the 16-50mm comes out

I have the Sigma 18-50 2.8 non macro version. It shows up frequently on gear lists and has good reviews - except in this thread :-) Perhaps there were 2 earlier versions? Anyway, it was the sharpest lens photodo had tested up to that point (at 28mm and a particular f-stop).

I think Cameta Camera may still have them for $300.

Anyway, I would suggest 18mm (or smaller) to whatever. You can not go too wide:-) Buildings and cramped streets will make you glad you have a wide lens.

The 12-24 would also be a pricier option assuming you have that 35 to fill the gap. It also has good reviews.

Last edited by SpecialK; 06-11-2007 at 09:01 PM.
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