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06-27-2010, 03:32 AM   #16
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The Sigma 18-200 is a decent lens, but it isn't great. I think your two best options would be either (a) moving to primes or (b) moving to higher end zooms. By higher end zooms, look at the 12-24, 16-45, 16-50, 50-135. These lenses all have much smaller zoom ranges than an 18-200, but are super sharp by f4. Primes to me are usually better in areas like bokeh, speed and size.

06-27-2010, 07:56 AM   #17
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Congratulations on getting some positive feedback. Nothing like that to spur a closer look at your equipment.

I'd suggest taking a few test photos in some place like an empty parking lot, where it's really easy to compare something with alot of contrast, like parking lot stripes. A focus test chart works too, but sometimes it's hard to fill the frame with such extreme 18-200 mm focal lengths. Take pictures at maybe 5 different zoom settings, in Av mode, and 4 or 5 different aperture settings for each zoom setting. Use a tripod, and manual focus on something in the center of the frame. You might have to adjust the focus slightly for each zoom setting. It's only 20-30 pictures, and should give you a really good idea how the focus is across the frame.

If you find you still want to supplement your 18-200, go through your photos and note the zoom setting for your favorites, and the subject, landscapes, portraits, sports, etc. This should help narrow the search for another lens. You may find the 18-200mm is fine for longer focal lengths, and you can concentrate on the wide angle end, etc.
06-27-2010, 08:21 AM   #18
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Primes, primes, and primes.


Not just from IQ standpoint. It makes you use the footwork. You will see different angles, different perspective. You will be much more aware of unique characteristics associated with each of the focal lengths you shoot with.

By the way, this is how many of us get sucked into LBA. You and (your spouse if you have one) should know that.

I will say one thing though. Putting aside the SDM issue, DA*50-135 is unlike any zooms I have ever used. I have not used 60-250, but I imagine that is how it is. Ah, that's two things. Oh, and one more. For whatever reasons, DA*16-50 just doesn't do it for me . . . . I really don't know why.
06-27-2010, 08:36 AM   #19
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Back to the OP, I'm currently in this dilemma myself. Unfortunately because of what I do I have opted for both. I cover events where I need the flexibility of zooms however I would ideally like to shoot only primes. I have decided on this path:

DA* 16-50mm and DA* 50-135mm as catch-all zooms.

DA 15mm Limited, FA 31mm Limited, DA* 55mm, and the FA 77 Limited as my prime kit.

I think of all the awesome Pentax lenses out there for my needs (event and portraiture) I have curated the best of the best.

06-27-2010, 09:36 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nubi Quote
Primes, primes, and primes.


Not just from IQ standpoint. It makes you use the footwork. You will see different angles, different perspective. You will be much more aware of unique characteristics associated with each of the focal lengths you shoot with.

By the way, this is how many of us get sucked into LBA. You and (your spouse if you have one) should know that.

I will say one thing though. Putting aside the SDM issue, DA*50-135 is unlike any zooms I have ever used. I have not used 60-250, but I imagine that is how it is. Ah, that's two things. Oh, and one more. For whatever reasons, DA*16-50 just doesn't do it for me . . . . I really don't know why.
Each of us has focal lengths that feel comfortable to us. For a lot of my personal photographic history, I had three focal lengths: 55mm, 28mm, and 135mm on film. I have had more than one 55 and more than one 135, but only one 28.

If I look at these in light of equivalent focal lengths to obtain the fields of view of these three lenses I would use 37mm, 19mm and 90mm prime lenses. My DA* 16-50 covers the first two very nicely, and the DA* 50-135 covers the last one. Both lenses produce quite high quality images and would directly replace the three focal lengths. The 50-135 has image quality equivalent to very good prime lenses, pretty well throughout its focal range. If the SDM fries once again (it was replaced under warranty) I will keep it and use it as a manual focus lens. The 16-50 is not quite as good optically, but most of the defects are readily corrected by passing the images through DxO's RAW conversion before bringing them into Lightroom. I do have a good copy of the 16-50. I have noticed none of the decentering that others have reported. B&H did me right with that purchase.

Now, as to being forced to use footwork because of prime lenses, I have been known to fascinate non photographers while using a zoom lens as I squat, climb on things, get closer, go farther away, go left, go right while looking for the exact combination of focal length, perspective, point of focus and depth of field to give me the image I am trying to see in the viewfinder. A good friend of mine in the Chicago area was sitting calmly on a bench watching me as I took at least 10 minutes to get the best image I could of some a water plant without breaking the regulations, using the MZ-S and the 24-90. I apologized for interrupting our walk, and that is where I get the "fascinate" in my comment above. Perhaps I get that effort from starting with primes, and perhaps not.

We each have things we like to photograph. In my case, I love scenery and birds and wildlife above all else. For big things, such as bison and soapbox racers, the 50-135 is perfect.

We made a weekend camping trip to Waterton Lakes National Park recently, and the combination used for by far the most was K10D + 1.7X + 400 + tripod. I wished I had a longer lens as well. Tiny birds (common yellowthroat warbler) just don't come close enough most of the time. Even huge birds (sandhill cranes) are usually too far away. I am not dedicated enough to have a blind (hide) and use it, and am not at all sure what the park interpreters would say if I did set one up.

The point? We each have our own desires and needs for the pictures we want to produce. No one method is for everyone. I don't have a need in the 200-300 range. Nubi doesn't use the 16-50 range. You, the reader, may have another range of fields of view that you have no desire for. Go with what you like. I cannot tell you that you must have lens X. Feed your own personal LBA - I have mine!
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