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04-17-2008, 08:59 AM   #1
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18-250 or 17-70

I'm considering a new lens for my K10: The Pentax/Tamron 18-250, or the Sigma 17-70.

From a statistical standpoint, the Sigma is the better lens in everything except length. But all that extra length would be real nice to have from time to time.

Also, in the 18-55 range, how does the 18-250 compare to the kit lens?

About 80-85% of what I shoot would fall into the 17-70 range. Should I just ignore the length and maybe consider a cheap 70-300 in the future?

Should I be considering another lens?

I know there's no straight answer, but I'm just wondering what everyone thinks.

04-17-2008, 09:12 AM   #2
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I really like the Tamron 70-300mm at ~$130, but it is nice to not have to change lenses all the time. But like you said, most of the time you are using 17-70mm.
04-17-2008, 09:27 AM   #3
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I'll kick in with the thought that super zooms have a great range of focal lengths, and allow a one lens solution, but the trade off is in image quality. The 18-250 has more vignetting at 18mm than the kit lens, and is soft at 250mm. A two lens solution would give higher overall image quality.

For $500, you can get the Pentax kit 50-200, which has quite good IQ, for just about US $150, and the Pentax 16-45 for $350. You could substitute one of the well rated 70-300's for the 50-200 if you really need more than 200mm reach, or wait for the Pentax 55-300.
04-17-2008, 09:27 AM   #4
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Get the Sigma, you won't regret it I use it 90% of the time..

I was in a very similar position, 90% of my photography is landscape so I bought the Sigma 17-70 & find it excellent - I've recently bought a Sigma 70-300 to use on the few occasions I need the tele end

simon

04-17-2008, 09:48 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Canada_Rockies Quote
I'll kick in with the thought that super zooms have a great range of focal lengths, and allow a one lens solution, but the trade off is in image quality. The 18-250 has more vignetting at 18mm than the kit lens, and is soft at 250mm. A two lens solution would give higher overall image quality.

For $500, you can get the Pentax kit 50-200, which has quite good IQ, for just about US $150, and the Pentax 16-45 for $350. You could substitute one of the well rated 70-300's for the 50-200 if you really need more than 200mm reach, or wait for the Pentax 55-300.
I was going dispute the vignetting at 18mm, but you are correct. The kit lens at at 18mm @ f/3.5 is 1.45EV whereas the 18-250 at 18mm @ f/3.5 is 1.7EV.

But I think the review is slightly more favorable for the 18-250 in vignetting at Welcome to Photozone! The vignetting is controlled at other focal lengths and smaller apertures better than the kit lens.

Just saying, as I bought a 18-250mm and sold my kit lens, and I'm much happier with the 18-250mm.

I think the posters question is a bit off -- seems like the two lenses are different animals.

My only experience with Sigma was a poor one, but I'll speak up for the 18-250mm and say it does what I bought it for, which is take all the pictures I want to take that aren't low light.


Stopped down to f/8 it's pretty sharp at 250mm.

Full pixel crop at 250mm f/8


Also I'll add, a 28-200 Tamaron XR used is a much better deal, just on sheer pennies saved -- lots of pennies.

Last edited by konraDarnok; 06-24-2008 at 01:12 PM.
04-17-2008, 09:48 AM   #6
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I have Sigma 17-70 and Sigma 70-300. It is a sweet combination. The first lens covers about 95% of regular day to day shooting and I can still switch to the telephoto if I need it. Though with me, I already had the 70-300 so replacing kit lens with 17-70 was just a better choice than selling all lenses and buying 18-250. Anyway, I do not regret getting Sigma at all. Wonderful lens. Highly recommended.
04-17-2008, 10:09 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by konraDarnok Quote
I think the posters question is a bit off -- seems like the two lenses are different animals.
Oh, no, I agree. The lenses are very different. But my conundrum is that I'm looking for a walk-around lens. Do I sacrifice the occasional long shot, or do I sacrifice a little IQ on every shot? I think I'd rather the better IQ. I was just curious what others would choose in the same situation.

And in so many threads like these, someone brings up a fantastic lens from 1992 that's $50 on eBay. So I was also checking for that.
04-17-2008, 11:06 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by joefru Quote
I'm considering a new lens for my K10: The Pentax/Tamron 18-250, or the Sigma 17-70.

From a statistical standpoint, the Sigma is the better lens in everything except length. But all that extra length would be real nice to have from time to time.

...
About 80-85% of what I shoot would fall into the 17-70 range. Should I just ignore the length and maybe consider a cheap 70-300 in the future?

Should I be considering another lens?
I always begin by acknowledging that I don't know what YOU should do or what will make you happy. But I will comment on my own experience.

I owned the Tamron 18-250, and before that, I had owned its predecessor, the 18-200. The 18-200 was a decent lens, the 18-250 was a bit better still. I bought the 18-200 originally not too long after I made the jump from my old (and very good) Canon PowerShot S3 IS with its 12x zoom lens to a Pentax dslr. I was looking for a lens that would give me the same flexibility that I'd had with the Canon, that "ready for anything" capability. Now, I got the 18-200, but I got a number of other lenses, as well. After a while I noticed I wasn't using the 18-200 very much. I thought it was because the lens wasn't quite as good as my other, less versatile lenses. That was true: it wasn't. SO I upgraded to the 18-250, which was said to be better. And it was. But it wasn't better enough, at least for me. I noticed after a couple of months that I wasn't using it much, either. So I sold it.

Now it's awkward for me to boil this down, because I don't mean to criticize the choice of anybody who thinks these super-zoom lenses are a great idea. But they weren't a great idea for ME. I'm by no means a prime lenses only purist. I own a couple primes, and I don't use them much, either, but I keep 'em because when they fit the case, well, they are indeed really good. (I really like the Pentax 35 f/2.) But generally, I feel that I do need some zoom capability. Generally speaking, I'm a zoom lens guy. But it does seem that there's an inverse relationship between zoom range and image quality, that is, the greater the range, the lower the overall image quality.

So now my default lens is the Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4.5 DC macro - that or the Pentax DA 16-45 f/4. Although I like the fixed aperture on the Pentax lens, I find the Sigma lens to be about as sharp as the Pentax most of the time and of course the range is much better. That 1mm on the wide end isn't a big deal, but the difference between 45 and 70 on the tele end is. I've owned several Sigma lenses (and I currently also own the 10-20) and the 17-70 is the best of the lot, indeed, one of the best lenses I've got.

And beyond 70mm? Right now I have only two longer lenses: the Pentax DA* 50-135 f/2.8; and the Tamron 70-300 macro. Plus a Tamron 1.4x teleconverter. I've tried several other lenses in the 70/75 to 300mm range, including offerings from Pentax and Sigma, and I've also recently tried the Pentax 300 f/4. I have found the Tamron 70-300 LD Di macro to have the best image quality. I was frankly surprised that, in my tests, the Tamron did slighty better than the Pentax manual-focus 300 f/4, at 300mm, and a little more than slightly better if I compared the Pentax at 300 to the Tamron at, say, 250. Maybe the Pentax 300 KEH sent me had a subtle problem. I regret that we don't have more affordable choices for long telephoto lenses.

And what about versatility? I carry my camera around with me a lot. I like to photograph people, but I live by a lake and it's fun to shoot birds and dogs and other critters that are some ways off. Something like an 18-250 would be nice. But I now think the right way to get that versatility would be to buy a top-of-the line fixed-lens camera for carrying around all the time. I'm very tempted to get the Olympus SP-570UZ. Its 20x zoom is said to be the equivalent of 26-520. I think that must be in conventional 35mm film SLR terms, so translated to Pentax dslr terms, that's an 18-370mm lens. I may resist temptation because I can do better than 370, by adding the teleconverter to my Tamron 70-300 (which gets me to 420). And I can cover that entire range now, by simply carrying two cameras around (which I often do). Nevertheless, if I want the maximum in versatility AND convenience, then I should get a fixed-lens camera. That's what those cameras are for, and the image quality can be very good, too.

Will

04-17-2008, 11:12 AM   #9
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By the way, I want to add that I owned and used both the Sigma 28-70 f/2.8 and the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 for a good while. Liked the Sigma pretty well, liked the Tamron even better. But I like the Sigma 17-70 DC macro best of all.

Will
04-17-2008, 11:36 AM   #10
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Thanks for that, Will. You gave me exactly what I was looking for: your own opinion/experiences. No one can make decisions for me, and I know that.

I, too, upgraded to the Pentax system from a superzoom (Panasonic FZ-30). I was very tempted to get the 18-250 right from the start, but my two main reasons for upgrading were that I couldn't shoot in even slightly low light, and I got no background separation in portraits. Those considerations made the FA50 practically scream at me, and I couldn't justify the $500 18-250 AND the $200 FA50, so I went with FA50+kit, which seems to be a popular starting combo.

Anyhow, as is obvious from my original post, I was leaning toward the 17-70 all along. Now, it's all but decided. Unfortunately, it will probably be several months before the purchase opportunity presents itself, but that's what I get for being married, right?
04-17-2008, 12:42 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by joefru Quote
Anyhow, as is obvious from my original post, I was leaning toward the 17-70 all along. Now, it's all but decided. Unfortunately, it will probably be several months before the purchase opportunity presents itself, but that's what I get for being married, right?
Well, I am in the same boat as you. The only thing I can think of is that $300 lens costs about the same as your wife's 3 visits to the beauty salon. So if your wife goes there once a month, you can justify new lens in 3 months without feeling guilty.
04-17-2008, 01:01 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
By the way, I want to add that I owned and used both the Sigma 28-70 f/2.8 and the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 for a good while. Liked the Sigma pretty well, liked the Tamron even better. But I like the Sigma 17-70 DC macro best of all.

Will
I'm trying to decide between the Sigma 24-70 f/2.8, the Sigma 17-70, and the Sigma 18-50 f/2.8. Do you find that you miss the constant aperture of the 28-70?
04-17-2008, 01:08 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by code4code5 Quote
I'm trying to decide between the Sigma 24-70 f/2.8, the Sigma 17-70, and the Sigma 18-50 f/2.8. Do you find that you miss the constant aperture of the 28-70?
I also have the Sigma 18-50 f/2.8. Forgot about that one. I may sell it. The image quality on the 17-70 is noticeably better. I got the 18-50 for wedding work. But last time out, I used the Pentax 16-45 f/4 as my short lens on one camera, with the DA* 50-135 on the other camera. Lost a stop but the image quality of the Pentax 16-45 seems consistently better than that of the Sigma 18-50. :-(

But as I said, the Sigma 17-70 macro's image quality is on a par with the Pentax 16-45's. I do miss the constant aperture on the 17-70 macro, but I don't miss it a lot.

Will
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