Gear advice needed (Zoom lens in the 50 to 200-300mm range )

Started 4 months ago | Questions
Mrik
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Gear advice needed (Zoom lens in the 50 to 200-300mm range )
4 months ago

Hi everybody.

I'm planning on upgrading my gear a bit. I do mostly landscape and love (a bit too much) wide angle so I think I need to change my photography habits to improve my skills.

I'm going on holiday in Iceland this summer and to make sure I make the most of it need some new gear. The trip will be expensive enough so I know I won't be going back anytime soon, hence the need to have a good reliable photography gear.

For now I Have:

- K-7 (with rear dial occasionaly not responding for a while. I can't afford to have it die on me during the trip)

- Pentax kit 15-55 wr + 50-200mm (the later I almost never used)

- Sigma 10-20 f4/5.6 (the most used for landscape)

- Pentax 35 DA f2.4 (almost always on the body)

So I'll be Buying a k-5II (waiting for an hypotethical cashback in June ?) and I already bought a ND64 filter to put on the Sigma for the waterfalls of course

I know I rarely use my 50-200mm but to improve my photography I'd like to give a try to that range, for landscape and at the same time to try portraits and so on...

So What do you think will be a good option to upgrade the pentax 50-200 ?? knowing that after the k-5II my lens budget will not be big.

I'v looked at the sigma 70-300 apo DG macro and it seems a pretty good value for the money + there is the macro.

And there is the the pentax 55-300... but its specs seems to be the opposit of the sigma, and it's twice the price of the sigma..

Any advice apreciated here, anything I will desperately need on this trip, ... shoot

 Mrik's gear list:Mrik's gear list
Pentax K-7 Pentax K-5 II Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM Pentax smc DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR Pentax smc DA 50-200mm F4-5.6 ED WR +3 more
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robbo d
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Re: Gear advice needed (Zoom lens in the 50 to 200-300mm range )
In reply to Mrik, 4 months ago

Firstly the 50-200 is generally accepted as being not quite as good as the 55-300 and it lacks the extra 100mm. I own the 55-300 and always loved it for entry level wildlife work and always seemed to produce consistent results throughout the range. The image quality / price ratio is excellent.

It depends what your trying to photograph as to why you need the extra 100mm unless it's wildlife, then definitely. But leaving the wide angles at home one day, using the 50-200 and going out and spend the day shooting with it to tighten up on some of your shots, getting different perspectives can be fun, interesting and rewarding.

I think Sigma represents good value, but don't have experience with their larger 300mm lenses, but I believe that it would be pretty close and some of their higher spec models would be better IQ. Looking at good second hand glass may yield better value.

The other thing to consider if your looking at sport of birding, that the latest 55-300 is weather resistant, unlike the Sigma's, if that's a consideration.

Pentax have the 60-250mm, but it's upper end and out of your budget range??

The 55-300 should not be that much more expensive than equivalent Sigma.

 robbo d's gear list:robbo d's gear list
Pentax K-x Pentax K-01 Pentax K-5 IIs Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM Pentax smc DA* 50-135mm F2.8 ED (IF) SDM +7 more
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awaldram
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Re: Gear advice needed (Zoom lens in the 50 to 200-300mm range )
In reply to Mrik, 4 months ago

I'll give my opinion of the four cheaper zoom

Sharpness

1 Tarmon Di 70-300

2 Pentax 55-300

2 Sigma 70-300 Apo

4 Sigma 70-300

CA

1 Sigma 70-300 Apo

2 Pentax 55-300

3 Sigma 70-300

4 Tamron Di 70-300

Value

1 Sigma 70-300 Apo

2 Pentax 55-300

3 Tamron Di 70-300

4 Sigma 70 -300

Overall

1 Pentax 55-300

2 Sigma 70-300 Apo

3 Tamron Di 70-300

4 Sigma 70-300

If it was me I'd go with the Sigma Apo for the close focusing over the 55mm but think the 55-300 give more balanced performance

For the record I shoot Sigma 70-200 F2.8 EX OS DG and DA* 300 in this range, But have owned all the above at some points in the past.

 awaldram's gear list:awaldram's gear list
Pentax Q Pentax K-3 Pentax smc DA* 55mm F1.4 SDM Pentax smc DA* 16-50mm F2.8 ED AL (IF) SDM Pentax smc DA* 50-135mm F2.8 ED (IF) SDM +11 more
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Nigli
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Re: Gear advice needed (Zoom lens in the 50 to 200-300mm range )
In reply to Mrik, 4 months ago

I can recommend the Pentax 60-250. It has weather sealing as an added feature.
--
Cheers,
N

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on6702
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Re: Gear advice needed (Zoom lens in the 50 to 200-300mm range )
In reply to Mrik, 4 months ago

before you even think of upgrading the pentax 50-200 why don't you spend some more time with it. After all if you're not using these focal lengths much, why buy another tele lens? You might be surprised by just how good the 50-200, I seem to have a good copy and love its compactness and light weight and its surprisingly good in the 80-150 range. I really like using it at 135 wide open for portraits and it really does well for that purpose. It also has the benefit of sharing the same size of 52mm filter ring with the 18-55 which is handy if you use polarisers etc. I don't doubt that that the 55-300 is a superior lens, its had very good reviews, but the 50-200 is not a bad lens at all.

Oliver

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Msroberts
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Re: Gear advice needed (Zoom lens in the 50 to 200-300mm range )
In reply to Mrik, 4 months ago

The Pentax DA 55-300 is very, very good. And if you're on a budget, track down the DA-L 55-300 — it's the "kit" version of the DA 55-300, having a plastic lens mount and no quick-shift focus feature but optically identical to the more expensive DA version. It's supposed to be sold only with a camera kit, but plenty of dealers split up the body and lens with these kits and sell them separately. I got one from a known camera retailer on eBay for $179.00 new.

Absolutely astonishing value for money.

Here's a shot from this January, 150mm, hand held at 1/45 second (thank you anti-shake!)

http://www.robertstech.com/images/7de00206.jpg

In the full-size image you can see amazing detail in the feathers.

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Mrik
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Re: Gear advice needed (Zoom lens in the 50 to 200-300mm range )
In reply to Nigli, 4 months ago

Nigli wrote:

I can recommend the Pentax 60-250. It has weather sealing as an added feature.
--
Cheers,
N

It is also much more expensive, obviously I'd agree with you if I did not have to watch my budget... and the latest 55-300 is Wr (even if it migh not be as good a wr than the da*).

 Mrik's gear list:Mrik's gear list
Pentax K-7 Pentax K-5 II Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM Pentax smc DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR Pentax smc DA 50-200mm F4-5.6 ED WR +3 more
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Mrik
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Re: Gear advice needed (Zoom lens in the 50 to 200-300mm range )
In reply to Msroberts, 4 months ago

Msroberts wrote:

The Pentax DA 55-300 is very, very good. And if you're on a budget, track down the DA-L 55-300 — it's the "kit" version of the DA 55-300, having a plastic lens mount and no quick-shift focus feature but optically identical to the more expensive DA version. It's supposed to be sold only with a camera kit, but plenty of dealers split up the body and lens with these kits and sell them separately. I got one from a known camera retailer on eBay for $179.00 new.

Absolutely astonishing value for money.

Here's a shot from this January, 150mm, hand held at 1/45 second (thank you anti-shake!)

http://www.robertstech.com/images/7de00206.jpg

In the full-size image you can see amazing detail in the feathers.

-- hide signature --

Well if ever I found (in france) the Kit version of the 55-300, then the sigma 50-300 apo macro which is around 170€ will be equivalent budget wise. But it still has the macro ablility as an advantage...

 Mrik's gear list:Mrik's gear list
Pentax K-7 Pentax K-5 II Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM Pentax smc DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR Pentax smc DA 50-200mm F4-5.6 ED WR +3 more
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math guy
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Re: Gear advice needed (Zoom lens in the 50 to 200-300mm range )
In reply to Mrik, 4 months ago

Mrik wrote:

I think I need to change my photography habits to improve my skills.

I would recommend doing that first. Then buy a new lens if needed.

I have the 55-300 and find it to be a very good outdoor/good light lens. But you might find that the 50-200 suits your needs just fine, with no need for an upgrade. It sounds like you haven't spent much time shooting that lens, so how do you know you need a better lens?

When I know I need a new lens is when, after using what I currently have, I can't get the results I am looking for. For example, last year I began shooting Little League baseball. I quickly found I needed a wider aperture than the 55-300 had in order to get good separation from the background. But it was only then that I bought a 70-200/2.8, after experience told me that what I currently had wasn't good enough for my new needs.

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-- Joe S.
If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. ~ Albert Einstein
http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/artists/josephschmitt

 math guy's gear list:math guy's gear list
Pentax K-x Tamron SP AF 70-200mm F/2.8 Di LD (IF) MACRO Pentax smc DA 55-300mm F4.0-5.8 ED Pentax smc DA 21mm F3.2 AL Limited Pentax smc DA 70mm F2.4 AL Limited +4 more
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Bill Robb
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Re: Gear advice needed (Zoom lens in the 50 to 200-300mm range )
In reply to Mrik, 4 months ago

Mrik wrote:

So What do you think will be a good option to upgrade the pentax 50-200 ?? knowing that after the k-5II my lens budget will not be big.

I'll put a vote in for the 60-250. It's a fantastic lens, but it isn't cheap.

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Mrik
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Re: Gear advice needed (Zoom lens in the 50 to 200-300mm range )
In reply to math guy, 4 months ago

math guy wrote:

Mrik wrote:

I think I need to change my photography habits to improve my skills.

I would recommend doing that first. Then buy a new lens if needed.

I have the 55-300 and find it to be a very good outdoor/good light lens. But you might find that the 50-200 suits your needs just fine, with no need for an upgrade. It sounds like you haven't spent much time shooting that lens, so how do you know you need a better lens?

When I know I need a new lens is when, after using what I currently have, I can't get the results I am looking for. For example, last year I began shooting Little League baseball. I quickly found I needed a wider aperture than the 55-300 had in order to get good separation from the background. But it was only then that I bought a 70-200/2.8, after experience told me that what I currently had wasn't good enough for my new needs.

First thanks for you input.

Well I didn't use the 50-200mm much because I found it lacking sharpness, and also because I usually nedded it around the longer focal, which ment higher iso, hence noisier pictures with the k-7...

I think It would be better in that regard with the K-5II, but I also want to buy a new one because of the extra 100mm.

And because I'm trying to get my wife to use the K-7, so she'll be left in the wild with the kit lenses (at first).

 Mrik's gear list:Mrik's gear list
Pentax K-7 Pentax K-5 II Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM Pentax smc DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR Pentax smc DA 50-200mm F4-5.6 ED WR +3 more
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Mrik
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Re: Gear advice needed (Zoom lens in the 50 to 200-300mm range )
In reply to Mrik, 4 months ago

awaldram wrote:

I'll give my opinion of the four cheaper zoom

Sharpness

1 Tarmon Di 70-300

2 Pentax 55-300

2 Sigma 70-300 Apo

4 Sigma 70-300

CA

1 Sigma 70-300 Apo

2 Pentax 55-300

3 Sigma 70-300

4 Tamron Di 70-300

Value

1 Sigma 70-300 Apo

2 Pentax 55-300

3 Tamron Di 70-300

4 Sigma 70 -300

Overall

1 Pentax 55-300

2 Sigma 70-300 Apo

3 Tamron Di 70-300

4 Sigma 70-300

If it was me I'd go with the Sigma Apo for the close focusing over the 55mm but think the 55-300 give more balanced performance

For the record I shoot Sigma 70-200 F2.8 EX OS DG and DA* 300 in this range, But have owned all the above at some points in the past.

Thanks a lot for that extensive summary awaldram.

Because of the price tag differences (Sigma @ 170€ and pentax @ 370€) and the macro, I'm leaning in the Sigma apo macro direction (for now).

I cant comment on an eventual Pentax LBA when I'll actually be ordering the K-5II and a the lens.
Thanks to all for your advices.

 Mrik's gear list:Mrik's gear list
Pentax K-7 Pentax K-5 II Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM Pentax smc DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR Pentax smc DA 50-200mm F4-5.6 ED WR +3 more
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math guy
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Re: Gear advice needed (Zoom lens in the 50 to 200-300mm range )
In reply to Mrik, 4 months ago

Mrik wrote:

Well I didn't use the 50-200 mm much because I found it lacking sharpness, and also because I usually needed it around the longer focal, which meant higher ISO, hence noisier pictures with the k-7...

In that case, I can recommend you add the Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 to your list of lenses to consider. Not only is it sharp wide open, but it also gives you an extra two stops at the long end. And the price is quite reasonable for a lens of its quality.

but I also want to buy a new one because of the extra 100 mm.

I've found that I can get pretty good crops from the Tamron, and I don't really miss the extra 100 mm compared to my 55-300. If you can get a lens which is f/4 at 300 mm that might not be the case, but I suspect you'd be jumping up in price a good bit for that.

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-- Joe S.
If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. ~ Albert Einstein
http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/artists/josephschmitt

 math guy's gear list:math guy's gear list
Pentax K-x Tamron SP AF 70-200mm F/2.8 Di LD (IF) MACRO Pentax smc DA 55-300mm F4.0-5.8 ED Pentax smc DA 21mm F3.2 AL Limited Pentax smc DA 70mm F2.4 AL Limited +4 more
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snostorm
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Re: Gear advice needed (Zoom lens in the 50 to 200-300mm range )
In reply to Mrik, 4 months ago

Hi Mrik,

I'd say a DA* 60-250 would probably be a good choice, but a better (and cheaper) solution might be a Tamron 70-200 f2.8 and add a good screw drive 1.4x TC (maybe a Vivitar). This combo would give you a 100-280 f4 that will be about 1 stop faster and probably significantly sharper than the consumer grade xx-300 zooms. It'll be a bit pricer for sure, but you'd be getting a pro grade lens, and if you buy used,  both should cost well under $1K since you could get the combo new for $870.

Notice that I specified the Tamron -- Any of the newer Sigma 70-200 f2.8 lenses are HSM and will not AF with any present TCs, apparently including the new Pentax 1.4x. The earlier Sigma 70-200s that were pre HSM would also work with a screw drive TC, but you'd have to do some research because some of the versions were significantly better than others.

Scott

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