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01-24-2007, 11:15 AM   #1
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Pentax lens all-in-one with moderate zoom

I have a k100d with 18-55 kit lens , but I want a little more zoom. It is important for me to shoot flowers with butterflies and other interesting small things. I had a Canon S2is that had great macro ability.
I was deciding between a Pentax 28-105mm 3.2-4.5 lens vs. the current 50-200 ED glass zoom from Pentax. I have been hearing wonderful things about the 50-200, and would lean toward that lens . I also had a Canon d60 EOS with 28-105 usm ii lens (will attempt to attach a photo from that camera, which is a loaner, showing the kind of closeups I like to take).
Would really appreciate any advice since I am new to DSLR's. Thanks, freddy


Last edited by fevbusch; 01-24-2007 at 01:02 PM.
01-24-2007, 11:53 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by fevbusch Quote
I have a k100d with 18-55 kit lens , but I want a little more zoom. It is important for me to shoot flowers with butterflies and other interesting small things. I had a Canon S2is that had great macro ability.
I was deciding between a Pentax 28-105mm 3.2-4.5 lens vs. the current 50-200 ED glass zoom from Pentax. I have been hearing wonderful things about the 50-200, and would lean toward that lens .

Freddy,

I don't know where you are going, but I do know exactly where you're coming from. Before I got my K100D about six weeks ago, I had the Canon PowerShot S1 IS, then the S2 IS, then finally the S3 IS. I gave the S1 to my daughter, and sold the S2 and the S3 in order to buy the K100D. I'm very happy with my new camera, but there is simply no question that the Canon S-series fixed-lens cameras were remarkably versatile - great zoom, great macro, good mid-range, not to mention video! - and I miss some of that versatility with my K100D.

I bought the K100D with the kit lens, and the Pentax 50-200 lens was my second purchase. It's a fine lens, I took a few very good photos with it. Perhaps I should have kept it, but - perhaps because I was coming from the Canon S3, where I could go from very wide angle to pretty good telephoto in no time flat - I personally felt that using the 50-200 was a bit like trying to play the piano using just my right hand. I don't routinely need to go to 28mm or 18mm, but I do occasionally, and it's nice not to have to carry around a second lens just for that occasional purpose. And I do want to go down to 35 or 40mm pretty frequently. When I had only the kit lens (max FL = 55mm) and the 50-200, I felt like I wanted to switch lenses every five minutes while I was out taking photos.

So I sold the 50-200 to another photographer here on this forum who probably has a better idea what he's doing than I do, and I replaced it with two lenses, which I now think of as my indoors lens and my outdoors lens.

The indoor lens is a Sigma 28-70 which has a fixed max aperture of f/2.8 throughout the range. The 70mm max focal length is fine for indoor shooting, especially inside a home or classroom where I'm never far from the subject. I'm also using it in school gyms now to shoot fifth-grade basketball games. The limited range means I tend to do most of my shooting when the players are at my end of the court, but the results are pretty satisfactory. And I need that F2.8 max aperture, since I can't use a flash shooting basketball.

The "outdoor" lens is a Tamron 18-200 F3.5-6.3 DiII lens, which provides pretty good pseudo-macro capability, as well as something similar to the zoom range that I used to have with my Canon S3. I use that lens now as my default walking-around lens, then lens I keep on the camera most of the time. With that lens on the camera, I'm ready for just about any kind of photo, either indoors (provided the light's good or I can use flash) or outdoors.

Here's the rub. With the Canon S2/S3, you had very few choices, although the few that you did have were pretty good. I owned both of the Canon extension lenses (the wide angle and the telephoto) and loved them. The total cost of my S3 system was under $700. It was extremely versatile, pretty powerful, and I took some photos that I'm rather pleased with using that camera. Now, with the K100D, getting something similar to the same versatility is rather more expensive. Perhaps if I knew in early December what I think I know now, I'd have bought the K100D body only and the Tamron 18-200 as my first lens. But with the digital SLR, you have a dizzying number of choices - and you soon feel like you need to get a second job to deal with them.

I can't tell you what you'll like, nobody can. But my GUESS - knowing that you are coming from a Canon S2 and knowing also that you like to shoot flowers and butterflies, etc. - my guess is that you'll be happier if you get yourself a zoom that goes from wide angle to some degree of telephoto and that includes some kind of macro capability as well. If you don't very often need some kind of telephoto capability, then there appear to be some good lenses in the 28-110 or similar range.

Will
01-24-2007, 01:17 PM   #3
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Pentax lens all-in-one with moderate zoom

Will, thanks so much for your input. You know exactly where I'm coming from. Boy, those Canon S series were remarkable cameras. I still have mine. Can't part with it but will only use it for backup. I also appreciate your suggestions about the 28-110 ( or maybe 28-105 Pentax 3.2x4.5). Will, did you have any success with closeup shots like my butterfly shot , with the 50-200. I'm dying to get that lens because its such good glass. I want to use it as my only lens.
Advise if you get a moment, please. Regards, Freddy
01-24-2007, 01:33 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by fevbusch Quote
Will, thanks so much for your input. You know exactly where I'm coming from.
Indeed, I do. It's superzoom withdrawal. Let's see, right about now you're probably thinking, "Gee, I took better pictures with my S2 than I can take with my K100D and for a lot less money." :-)


QuoteQuote:
Boy, those Canon S series were remarkable cameras. I still have mine. Can't part with it but will only use it for backup.
I sold my S2 and my S3 for two reasons. First, I needed to raise the cash to buy the K100D. But second, my personal feeling was that I would probably only want to have one "serious" camera around. The S3 has as many manual control options as the K100D - more, possibly - but the menus were different, the lenses were different, and using the two cameras really calls for two different modes of thinking. As my mind isn't as agile as it used to be, I decided that it would be easier on the ol' gray cells if I asked them to speak in only one language, so to speak. Pentax is a harder language to speak and understand than Canon, but I'm finding that I can say some things in Pentax that I could not have said in Canon no matter how much I was willing to pay.


QuoteQuote:
I also appreciate your suggestions about the 28-110 ( or maybe 28-105 Pentax 3.2x4.5). Will, did you have any success with closeup shots like my butterfly shot , with the 50-200. I'm dying to get that lens because its such good glass. I want to use it as my only lens. Advise if you get a moment, please. Regards, Freddy
Hope somebody else will jump in here. The Pentax 50-200 is not a macro lens in any way, I don't think. I don't have any close-up shots like yours taken while I had that lens, sorry. But you could do it. I don't know off hand what the minimum distance to subject is or the max magnification.

Will

01-24-2007, 01:57 PM   #5
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You're so eloquent, Will. I think we get that way when we hit our 60s.
I noticed a while ago that someone in the forum sent me about a dozen great photos taken with the 50-200. I would be very happy with those.
I'll let you know what I decided to do. Thanks again for your thoughtful comments. Freddy
01-24-2007, 02:10 PM   #6
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for what its worth the 18 x 200s macro ability 1:3.7 can be brought down to something akin to a real macro lens by the simple addition of a decent hoya 62mm x4 close up filter..

certainly good enough for butterfly and small flower shots.. u still get a reasonable working range as well..

trog
01-24-2007, 02:42 PM   #7
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Freddy,

I know you asked for a photo taken with the Pentax 50-200, but as I said, I don't have that lens any more. So instead I stepped outside and took a quick shot with the Tamron 18-200, which I'm attaching. Could not find a butterfly handy so I used some primroses instead. Not a great shot but might give you an idea what a bad photographer can do with the lens in a hurry, handheld with not very good light (it's quite overcast here) so no fast shutter. This shot was taken from a distance of about 12 inches from the flowers.

Will

NOTE added 1-24-07 5:12PM: The picture as shown here doesn't look quite as good as it does in Lightroom or Picasa. The veins in the leaves in the center of the picture seem to have been washed out completely. A slightly sharper/better version of the picture can be seen here.

lens: Tamron 18-200 F3.5-6.3 DiII @ 200mm
aperture: f/9
shutter: 1/200s
ISO: 800
Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K100D  Photo 

Last edited by WMBP; 01-24-2007 at 05:19 PM. Reason: Added URL to better version of the photo
01-24-2007, 03:30 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
I don't know off hand what the minimum distance to subject is or the max magnification.
As I had written in an earlier incarnation of this thread (not sure what happened to it ), the DA 50-200's max magnification is 1:4 (0.24x), and the minimum focusing distance is 1.1m.

01-24-2007, 04:02 PM   #9
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Nice primroses.

No, you will not be doing that with a DA 50-200. You can fake it at 200 mm and be 40 inches away though, but you won't be getting the same kind of butterfly closeups.

At the same time, I think a compact digicam with the rear LCD viewscreen makes an easier to use camera for getting butterfly shots while a DSLR with a macro lens might get you better image quality - depends on what we compare - but is going to require more physical effort to get the shot.





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01-24-2007, 04:03 PM   #10
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I'm also a (relatively) new K100D user (which is my first DSLR). I began with the 18-55, then bought 70-300 APO Sigma and F 70-210 Pentax, sold both to buy 50-200 (lightweight, wider range than 70-210, more useful range than 70-300). I sold the 18-55 and bought an 18-125mm Sigma as well.

Currently I have 18-125 Sigma and 50-200 Pentax (just received it yesterday), and I've been wondering whether I should sell both of these for a single 18-200 lens ($300-400) or to sell 18-125 and get an 18-55 again

With 18-200, it'll be a single carry-around lens, but it'll be a heavy one (~400g).

With 18-55 + 50-200, it'll be a hassle of changing lenses, but both are very lightweight (18-55 is 252g and 50-200 is a little more than that, but much less than 300g).

I'm not sure what I want, but I'm leaning towards the two lens kit As far as better quality/sharpness is concerned, the 18-125 or 18-200 are not as bad as we're told by the prime lovers :P I recently saw a comparison of 18-200 Sigma against a Pentax 50mm 1.4 prime (on dpreview pentax forums) and the Sigma shots looked better (it wasn't a scientific test, also, the shots were daylight shots, but still it showed that the "all-time carry-around lens" category isn't just junk).

That said, I'd like to get the 17-70 Sigma or the 15-45 Pentax sometime later when I have $400 to spend on that focal length range.

For now, if you want to sell your 18-55, maybe we can have an exchange, your 18-55 + some cash for my 18-125.
01-24-2007, 04:31 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by RBellavance Quote
As I had written in an earlier incarnation of this thread (not sure what happened to it ), the DA 50-200's max magnification is 1:4 (0.24x), and the minimum focusing distance is 1.1m.
I just checked the page for the 18-200 zoom on Tamron's site. Minimum focal distance = 17 inches (0.45m); maximum magnification is 1:3.7. As I have said elsewhere, this is macro only in a somewhat generous sense of the term, but it seems to do okay.

Not sure how the Pentax 50-200 gets nearly as good magnification as the Tamron (1:4 vs 1:3.7) at the same 200mm focal length as the Tamron when the Pentax has to be twice as far away from the subject, but there's a lot I don't understand about these things.

Will
01-24-2007, 04:39 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by fevbusch Quote
You're so eloquent, Will. I think we get that way when we hit our 60s.
Freddy
freddy,
the kit lens works great for flower, butterflies, and the like.



and i met will last week. we had a good shoot together.
eloquent????? maybe because he's an X professor of ancient languages..
01-24-2007, 04:49 PM   #13
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Freddy,
I have had the 28-105 f3.2-f4.5 for about a year now. It is practically glued to my cameras. I can not explain it in an objective way, but this lens produces images with a quality about it that is just unbelieveable for a consumer lens. I am constantly amazed by it.

Here are some recent examples (If they don't show, keep hitting refresh, they will eventually come up:

Pentax K10D ,Pentax smc P-FA 28-105mm F3.2-4.5 AL IF 1/60s f/4.5 at 105.0mm iso320


Pentax K10D ,Pentax smc P-FA 28-105mm F3.2-4.5 AL IF 1/60s f/4.0 at 60.0mm iso125



Pentax K10D ,Pentax smc P-FA 28-105mm F3.2-4.5 AL IF 1/180s f/8.0 at 50.0mm iso200
01-24-2007, 05:42 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by waqas Quote
As far as better quality/sharpness is concerned, the 18-125 or 18-200 are not as bad as we're told by the prime lovers :P I recently saw a comparison of 18-200 Sigma against a Pentax 50mm 1.4 prime (on dpreview pentax forums) and the Sigma shots looked better (it wasn't a scientific test, also, the shots were daylight shots, but still it showed that the "all-time carry-around lens" category isn't just junk).

Old hands especially tend to overlook the fact that lens making technology has made major improvements in the last couple of decades, due I assume to help from lasers. The lenses in relatively inexpensive fixed-lens/compact cameras are now on a par with the lenses we're all spending quite a bit more money to buy for our digital SLRs. And the problems with zooms that used to make primes so desirable seem also to have been addressed pretty effectively. Here are some test shots I took myself comparing three lenses at a focal length they have in common (50mm): the Pentax 50mm F1.4, the Sigma 28-70 F2.8 and the Tamron 18-200 F3.5-6.3. It was not a scientific test by any means but I found it interesting nonetheless. Especially when I view the images on my computer at 100%, I think the photos from the Pentax prime are best in terms of acuity/detail and color. That's not too surprising. What is surprising is how close the two zooms come to the prime.

Will
01-25-2007, 05:48 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by roscot Quote
Freddy,
I have had the 28-105 f3.2-f4.5 for about a year now. It is practically glued to my cameras. I can not explain it in an objective way,
roscot,
everyone i know that has that lens says the exact same thing-- never leaves their cam.
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