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07-03-2008, 05:09 PM   #1
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Prime 70mm or Tamron 28-75?

I'm just starting out and have a 50 f/1.4 on the K100D.

Cost aside, would your experience suggest going for a prime (Pentax 70 or 77mm) with the hassle of lens changing but the best possible sharpness, or the top rated Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 for convenience and all-around utility?

I have tried the 18-55 but quickly found I was doing most of my shooting closer at 35> and it just didn't give me the quality I was looking for... plus I'm most interested in tight images converted to B&W best possible sharpness.


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07-03-2008, 06:46 PM   #2
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We're at the point in technology where the practical image quality considerations of top-notch lenses like this are really negligible in all except very specific circumstances.

I think the more important consideration is one of photographic style. For me, prime lenses enhance my enjoyment while shooting, and they help me to be a better photographer.
07-03-2008, 07:36 PM   #3
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my thoughts, you have a 50 so a covered for low light etc. I'd pick up the tamron next, I dont find lens changing a hassle but it is an extremely good lens and will give a lot of versatility, mine is extremely sharp wide open to about 60mm and at 75 from f3.5. the 70 & 77 are both nice and both would be sharper at say 2.8 and would possibly be what I would look at next (or perhaps 100mm macro)
07-03-2008, 07:58 PM   #4
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You have asked here the perfect question to generate possibly 1000 different and correct answers.

I won't start by trying to sell you on my set up, because if I was to start all over, I might approach it differently, but that is me, and this post is about what you should do.

You need to some how figure out the long term plans for your lenses and shooting. I know starting with just a 50mm is a hard way to figure out everything you might want to do in tht future, BUT....

You should consider a range from 10-12mm at the wide end, up to 300-500mm at the long end, assuming you want to do, interior and exterior archectural shots, landscapes, portraits, indoor and outdoor action/sports shots, nature photography, stage performances, and low light shots.

Once you get the range, look at the lenses available and start splitting it up. My approach would be to always have some overlap in a good range of zooms, others accept slight gaps in coverage.

At the wide end, ther are 4 or 5 zooms one of which you will eventually buy. These are:
Pentax 10-17mm fisheye
Sigma 10-20mm (DC APS-C Sensor)
sigma 12-24mm (DG Full frame)
Pentax 12-24mm
Tamron 10-24mm (announced but not out yet)


In the middle range you are looking at 2 slightly different groupings all of which you should consider as F2.8 only lenses.

there are several 16-18mm at the wide end to 50 mm at the long end all of these are for ASP-C sensors only
similairly there are 3 lenses in the 24-28mm at the wide end, to 60-75mm at the long end, specifically Sigma 24-60mm F2.8, Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 and your suggested Tamron 28-75mm F2.8. All of these are full frame lenses.

The slight drawback with the tamron is it is a little long at the wide end with 28mm. You may need something to fill the gap if you go for a 10-17mm, or 10-20mm. I personally own the tamron, and think it is a fine lens, and fill the gap between the 10-20mm and the bottom end of 28mm with the old kit lens from my *istD, an FA-J 18-35mm. This is a perfect lens to combione with the tamron, because it also uses 67mm filters. (you need to watch filters, and the cost of them)

Once you decide on the ultra wide and wide to normal, you need to pick a tele zoom. Again I would go F2.8 on this. Depending on your tastes, this could either be a pentax 50-135, sigma 50-150, or a 70-200F2.8 either tamron or sigma, (these are somewhat rare at the moment), and then add a good teleconverter, for use only with the 70-200

My own line up is

sigma 10-20
pentax 18-35
Tamron 28-75 F2.8
SIgma 70-200 F2.8 with 1.4x and 2x TCs

These 4 make up my basic travel arrangement, and if I cut nature out, I can replace the 70-200 with my 135 F2.5 MF, and also drop the 18-35 and make due with the gap in focal lengths, and have a small compact 3 lens kit if I want.

07-03-2008, 09:17 PM   #5
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I have the Tamron 28-75, the FA50 F1.4, and the DA 70 Ltd. I also had the new DA 35 Macro for a while but I sold it. I did some comparison shots between the Tamron, the DA 35, and the FA 50. The results were extremely close. When I turned up the contrast one notch for Tamron in PP, it was impossible to tell the difference. So I sold the DA 35. If you get a good copy of the Tamron it can't be beat for convenience and quality 95% as good as primes.
07-03-2008, 10:07 PM   #6
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Oh what a decision...

As Lowell said: "You have asked here the perfect question to generate possibly 1000 different and correct answers." It has never been said any better.

All three of those lenses are great at what they do. So the folks that have them are all going to tell you that and they are all right! I have the DA 40 as my only limited and would love the 77 or 70... I also have my 28-75 and it is my favorite and most used lens for my family snaportraits.

Many of my shots are at the long end of the tamron so a 70 or 77 might be the perfect prime for me. But for now the 28-75 is my go to.
It is darn sharp and I do not know exactly what you mean by "tight" but my face shots are way tight.




Attachment 14885





I love this lens.... for a great carry round portrait snapper. And absolutely is on my K100d most of the time.

But since you said "money aside" the FA 77 is the bomb than is not in my bag. And money is the only reason. I want that DA 50-135 2.8 first.

Last edited by Igilligan; 07-03-2008 at 10:40 PM.
07-04-2008, 01:12 PM   #7
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I am mainly a prime lens guy (I have the 21/40/70 DA LTD trio, and the FA50), but I have ONE zoom in my collection and it covers the same range as the primes I mentioned... it's the Tamron 28-75. It is my 'event' lens (birthdays, graduations, holidays, etc), and it is great for walking around and getting shots of single people, couples, or small groups. I feel the focal length range of this lens is perfect for such occasions, and the image quality far surpasses what you'll get from a kit lens (comparing it to the DA50-200... as I don't have the 18-55). I love my primes, but the Tamron has more than earned it's place in my kit (and it is dirt cheap for the quality you get). This post was just to explain why 'I' like the Tamron... your needs may be different. I also have the DA70 that you are considering, and you'd have to pry it from my proverbial cold, dead hands...
07-04-2008, 02:35 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by FHPhotographer Quote
Cost aside, would your experience suggest going for a prime (Pentax 70 or 77mm) with the hassle of lens changing but the best possible sharpness, or the top rated Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 for convenience and all-around utility?
The problem with primes isn't just the hassle of changing lenses. There are at least two other problems.

First, with digital SLRs, the problem is opening up the darned camera to change lenses means risking dust on the sensor. This wasn't such a big problem with film, apparently because the innards of a film camera didn't have the static charge that digital SLRs have and which attracts dust. When I put one of my couple primes on the camera, I plan to leave it there for the entire shoot. Tip: When changing lenses ALWAYS remember to turn the camera off before you do anything.

And second, prime lenses are less versatile than zooms. For some kinds of photography versatility isn't a requirement. May not matter for portraiture, for example, or for landscape photography, and perhaps not even for photographing birds. When I go out to shoot birds (for me, just hobby shooting), I normally keep my Tamron 70-300 zoom fully extended to 300 (often with a teleconverter). I tried a Pentax 300 f/4 lens a while back and returned it to the vendor (KEH) not because it wasn't a zoom but because I didn't find it that big of an improvement over the Tamron lens. Maybe I got a bad one.

Which brings me to the good news about zooms. Due mainly to advances in lens-making technology, it's also the case that good zoom lenses are now able to rival primes in image quality. I can't see a significant difference in image quality between what I get with my Pentax 16-45 f/4 and what I get with my Pentax 35 f/2. I think Matt was making a similar point. Actually, Matt's way of putting it is best: he says simply that the difference in image quality is "negligible" in all but a small set of specific circumstances. I think that's right. Keep in mind that I'm only talking about good zooms (like the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8) and I am sure Matt's only talking about good zooms, as well. There are lots of bad zooms out there.

Shooting with primes, you have to be able to "zoom with your feet" - or else crop. When I shoot events, zooming with my feet is often not an option. I am typically stuck in a fairly restricted area. But people still expect me to be able to get a close-up of the bride's face in one shot AND a wide shot of the whole wedding party in the next photo, and I have to do it without walking around constantly and becoming a distraction myself.

My basic opinion is that primes are a bit old-fashioned. This is close to heresy here, as the Pentax primes are one of the greatest strengths of the Pentax system. But my view seems to be held also by the makers of lenses, who are releasing more zooms than primes these days - even at the high end. One of Pentax's competitors (Olympus?) has almost no primes available at all. I don't see any reason to use a prime if I can achieve comparable image quality using a zoom. Matt says that he feels the primes make him a better photographer - not because the image quality is inherently superior but presumably because the primes force him to shoot with a bit more discipline. I can understand and respect this feeling. But I don't share it personally. I thinking shooting in manual mode most of the time provides me with the discipline that helps me think more clearly about my photos. Manual focus also helps. But using a good zoom lens just means I don't have to move around as much - or change lenses as often - to get the shots I want. And it often means I can get a shot that I would have missed otherwise because I was too close or too far away and didn't have time (or the ability) to reposition myself.

Remember, my photography is mostly events and other situations in which my distance from the subject is changing constantly. If I were doing nothing but formal portraits, I wouldn't NEED zooms as much and might feel differently.

So, while the Pentax 70 is a terrific lens, if the only lens I had now was the medium-tele 50 (= 75mm in film terms), then I'd certainly go for the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8. And I'd add this prime or another later on, when I had a better idea what sort of shooting I was going to be doing.

Just my take. Might not work for you (or anyone else) at all.

Will

P.S. If you do get the Tamron zoom, here's another tip. If you like it, hold onto it. I made the mistake of selling mine last year during a period of budgetary tightness in order to buy the Pentax 50-135 f/2.8. I didn't get enough for the Tamron to make it worth losing it and now I'm about to buy the darned thing again. This isn't the first time I have sold a good lens, knowing it was good, and found myself buying it again.

07-04-2008, 03:05 PM   #9
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I would love the Tamron zoom, I have one of their old SP adaptalls and it is the most detailed (not the same a sharpness: the lens lacks a bit of contrast) I have, close to the good primes.

But, contrary to what is said above, I still find a quality difference, when compared directly, between a good zoom and a good prime. You simply get down a couple of more levels of detail with the prime, and this is in lines of real world resolution as well as tonal gradations.

The 70 is an awesome lens, I feel it made me instantly a 'better' photographer because of its quality. It simply does so many things right! (And it works on full frame too)

If you are looking for the ultimate in image quality, the prime lens is still hard to beat.

That out of the way, a really good zoom gets the photographic story right. You don't notice that there might be a bit extra detail available... because the image parameters are well balanced, the contrast is good, creating an image that says 'sharp'. I don't know enough about the Tamron, but I have a hunch it focuses closer than the Pentax 70, which may be important to you. And of course you get the bonus of being able to zoom.

I often find weight and bulk is a trade off against convenience and flexibility. The 70 is tiny and light as a feather. I often use it, or one of the other primes (including screw mounts) as my walk around lens due to the weight and bulk thing. Yes, doing so imposes some limitations but also teaches me to see differently, to abstract out what the lens is good for in a scene rather than zooming to get the conventional shot.

Of course everyone's mileage will vary, and happy as I am with the 70, there are times I'd love the Tamron.

(my other zooms: 16-45, SP adaptall 35-80, plus a couple of 70-210s)
07-04-2008, 07:32 PM   #10
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Crazy I was just going through the same dilemma and after reading this thread and a few other random sources I've decided that I'm just going to buy both I've found that primes force myself to take a more creative approach to photography... most of my lenses are primes anyway which is probably kind of odd this day in age especially since I have less than a year in photography. One thing that kind of annoyed me with the Tamron zoom I currently have is it's lens creep and the lock only working to keep the lens at its shortest focal length.
07-04-2008, 08:58 PM   #11
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Sorry to hear of your creep

I have absolutely no lens creep with my 28-75... maybe it is the nature of the shorter zoom....
07-04-2008, 09:40 PM   #12
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QuoteQuote:
Igilligan Sorry to hear of your creep

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I have absolutely no lens creep with my 28-75... maybe it is the nature of the shorter zoom....
And I have absolutely no lens creep with my 17-50 2.8 Tammy either.


Regards,

Ernest
07-05-2008, 08:00 AM   #13
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Zoom or prime?

Wow, not a lot of emphasis on weight or aperture in this thread.

I guess cause the the DA70 is 2.4? But it is TINY.

The 77 is 1.8, thats a full stop faster than the zoom.

I dont have either lens, and while I want the Tamron28-75/2.8 .. in fact its probably next on my list... I use my FA50/1.4 most. because I can get a good looking snapshot indoors without flash.

Also, for those "zooms are old fashioned comments" look around here and see if there are any Tamron Zoom club threads... (there arent) while the M club and K club are showing off lovely photos that amount to garden snapshots. There is a certain something in those old primes that isnt manufactured anymore....


-k
07-05-2008, 10:39 AM   #14
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It is heavy

QuoteOriginally posted by kmccanta Quote
Wow, not a lot of emphasis on weight or aperture in this thread.

I guess cause the the DA70 is 2.4? But it is TINY.

The 77 is 1.8, thats a full stop faster than the zoom.

I dont have either lens, and while I want the Tamron28-75/2.8 .. in fact its probably next on my list... I use my FA50/1.4 most. because I can get a good looking snapshot indoors without flash.

Also, for those "zooms are old fashioned comments" look around here and see if there are any Tamron Zoom club threads... (there arent) while the M club and K club are showing off lovely photos that amount to garden snapshots. There is a certain something in those old primes that isnt manufactured anymore....


-k
You know, I should have mentioned the weight. I just always think that if someone is considering the 28-75 lens that they are at least aware of the weight. But you are right, compared the the 70, it is a monster. I dont really notice the weight that much because about the only other lens on my camera lately is the Vivitar 105 and it is solid steel and glass.... In fact the only other lens that has graced my camera of late is the da 40, and when it is on it almost feels like I forgot to put a lens on. But I do have a friend who does not use his 28-75 as much, because of the weight...

As to the Aperture.... not that much difference between the 70's 2.4 and the zooms constant 2.8. After having this constant ap zoom, it would take a very special piece of glass before I ever go back to a zoom lens where the aperture changes as you zoom out. The constant 2.8 thru the zoom is really nice.

And like you, if I know I am going to be in a dark indoor shooting environment, I take my 50 f1.4. But I take my S-M-C tak 50 1.4 and leave my FA 50 at home. At 1.4 or 1.7 in lower light, I just dont trust my FA to auto focus (more misses than hits)... I think I do better with the old MF lens. At F2 up, the FA is a very nice lens. And at 1.4 it is a nice artsy lens. In fact this has inspired me to stick the FA 50 on the camera for a few days and see what I get...

"Also, for those "zooms are old fashioned comments" look around here and see if there are any Tamron Zoom club threads... (there arent) while the M club and K club are showing off lovely photos that amount to garden snapshots. There is a certain something in those old primes that isnt manufactured anymore...."

Actually I would love a "TAMMY Club" but I dont know how well it would be supported... Probably better here than on the 'other' forum. Since there were a lot of folks on here posting great shots with the 28-75 when I was asking for advice about the lens.

Pentax is all about their old glass and their limiteds and I have way too many of the old Taks and M's myself to disagree with the quality of the old glass. I love the fact that my SMC TAK 50 cost me 35 bucks and can compare to just about any lens out there... Someday I will have the 77 and the 31, but for now I am content / stuck with the 28-75.

Anyway, I am all for the "Tammy club' thread with posts from the 28-75, should we add the 90mm macro and all the others.... adaptal II's ? who wants to start it...
07-11-2008, 10:32 AM   #15
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Great shots; the portraits are what I aspire to... what lens did you use for the portraits,
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