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01-23-2008, 07:50 AM   #1
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Lens Suggestion For my K10D

Hello,

First I would like to thank the forum members for all of the help and guidance that I have received over the past year. Although I do not post very often many of the question that I have get answered just by scanning the existing posts.

I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions on a telephoto lens for my K10D. My budget is around $600.00. I am using a cheap(150.00) Sigma 70-300mm at this time and I am looking to upgrade. I am aware that to get a GOOD 300mm lens I would need to spend much more than 600 dollars but unfortunately that's my limit. I have looked at the Pentax 80-320mm f4.5-5.6 but the reviews are mixed. Is there any other lens manufactures that have quality glass in this price range?

Thanks,

Tim

01-23-2008, 07:59 AM   #2
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If you aren't in a rush, Tamron have their 70-200 f/2.8 out in a few months. Early prices listed on Amazon and a few other sites put it in the $600-$700 range.
01-23-2008, 08:16 AM   #3
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What about the 135mm-400 Sigma? That would fit just inside that budget and it's reported to be a good lens. There's a review here: Sigma AF 135-400mm f/4.5-5.6 APO Aspherical RF - Test Report / Review

The other thing might be to pick up a Tamron 70-300 macro. It seems to produce very good results and you could sell the Sigma to offset much of the cost.
01-23-2008, 09:09 AM   #4
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I have the Tamron AF70-300 Di LD f/4-5.6 macro. It's a decent lens. Here are a couple of simple shots taken recently with this lens + the Tamron 1.4x teleconverter, on my K10D:

Picasa Web Albums - William Porter - 20080112 lake

These shots were focused manually. Effective focal length in 35mm terms = ( 300 + 120 ) * 1.5 = 630mm. Shutter speed = 1/320th sec. Either shake reduction works really well, or I have a very steady hand, or a bit of both.

Be sure to look at a slideshow or zoom in on the first photo so you can see the detail in the pelican's feathers. I think the detail is quite satisfactory.

Zoom in on the second shot, too. Note that the in-focus duck's head and bill are quite sharp. I think the out of focus areas here (bokeh) are appealing, too. You will notice some funkiness in the color--say, along the neck of the second duck--that is, I guess, chromatic aberration. Sort of green fringing. I am pretty sure this was exacerbated by the way in which I post-processed this shot in LightZone: I did some selective editing with regions and may not have done a great job feathering the line between the selection and the non-selected part of the photo. But this is the kind of shot that generates chromatic aberration--strong backlighting. Anyway, while connoisseurs might look at this and decide to burn the lens, I still rather like the photo, and this problem (if it is a problem) doesn't occur often, in fact, this is the only time I remember noticing it.

Now, the deal here is that this lens + the converter cost me $300 or less. The superior alternatives are much more expensive. I continue to eye the Sigma 135-400 which looks very good and is the only long K-mount lens that is within my reach, but I doubt I'll get it any time soon. What I'd really like is a 300mm or 400mm f/4 prime. But I have not seen one for sale anywhere.

Note that both Sigma and Tamron make a couple 70-something-to-300 lenses. Both companies make a cheaper (older) version in this range and a slightly more expensive, newer and presumably better counterpart. The Tamron 70-300 Di II macro is the "better" one (it's "Di" and the other one isn't). I have heard that Sigma's "better" version--the 70-300mm F4-5.6 APO DG MACRO--has very similar specs, but more blades/groups (not sure what that matters). It's also slightly more expensive. I suspect that the Sigma might be slightly better, but I would not expect a major difference.

If I had $600 to spend, I'd get the Sigma 135-400. If you want something longer or better, well, keep saving.

Will

01-23-2008, 11:58 PM   #5
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Will, today's Pentax announcements included a DA* 300mm f/4 list priced just under $1,300 and due out in May. I've been saving for the Sigma 135-400mm, but might just keep plugging away and go for the Pentax glass.
01-24-2008, 12:45 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by christinelandon Quote
Will, today's Pentax announcements included a DA* 300mm f/4 list priced just under $1,300 and due out in May. I've been saving for the Sigma 135-400mm, but might just keep plugging away and go for the Pentax glass.
Oh, thanks for that tip. I completely failed to notice anything today except the news about the K20D body.

I personally will probably spring for the K20D rather than the DA* 300 f/4, although that's tempting. As I may have said, whatever I do with my long telephoto lens is just hobby shooting for me and so my budget is tighter. The DA* 50-135 f/2.8 was a business necessity, but I don't NEED a 300mm lens in the same way. And if I do decide to upgrade from my Tamron 70-300 + 1.4x teleconverter, I would want not just a better lens, but a LONGER lens. So I'd still be tempted by the Sigma alternatives.

But I'm sure the Pentax 300 f/4 will be a good lens and I'll look for it when it's out.

Will
01-24-2008, 05:48 AM   #7
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At $1300 MSPR (and I bet dealers will sell for a little less) plus maybe some USA rebates on glass, I bet that's going to slow down some of the overblown Ebay prices this spring and summer. The more glass they get out there the less people should spend on the old stuff.

I sure hope the 60-250 gets done sometime soon as well. A nice range for a DSLR and with an AF1.7 TC this could be a great lens.
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