Best short zoom for K3

Started Jul 13, 2014 | Discussions thread
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miles500 Contributing Member • Posts: 949
Best short zoom for K3

I have been a big fan of the ltds ( 15;21;35;70) largely because of their size and weight and IQ.  I also have the DA 18-135 as an alternative, but get better results with the ltds at the cost of considerable lens changing - largely between DA 21 and DA 35.  The DA20-40 solved this latter problem but I found it was not really a satisfactory replacement for the DA 21 and DA 35 because it was simply not as sharp across the frame and I returned it.  Some reviews reflect this whereas others say the opposite. I am not confident that I will get a better one so I am not anxious to repeat the experience, bearing in mind that none of the copies which my dealer tested for me, was any better.

The experience has caused me to reflect upon whether there are any alternative short zooms which could be used in conjunction with my 15 and 70 ltds.

The Sigma 18-135 Art seems to have stellar quality but is very heavy. Subject to trying it, I might well learn to live this, but there are worrying reports of  inconsistent autofocus  and some users say that their copy focuses only at short or long focal lengths rather than at all.  There has only been one such report on this forum, but otherwise surprisingly little comment on this lens which on paper seems to be really ground breaking in its capabilities.

The Pentax 16-50 is just a little less heavy but more expensive. Reviews are not enthusiastic about its sharpness across the frame. On the other hand it is very robust, sealed and well built, but does raise the question of SDM reliability.

Sigma 17 -50 is about the same weight as the Pentax 16-50, well built but not sealed and costs much less than the above lenses. A review I read of this, the tamron 17-50 and the Pentax 16-50 favoured the Sigma above the others.

Tamron 17-50 is the lightest of the DA 20-40 alternatives and has a good reputation for sharpness.  It is also the cheapest of the bunch although more lightly built.  It does however have a 5 year warranty.

It is difficult to decide whether to remain as I am, mainly using the Ltds and suffering the lens changing or to try one of the above teamed with the 15 and 70 ltds. I am tempted by the Sigma 18-35 Art but it seems a big risk. I am also tempted to try the Tamron and to keep the whole set of Ltds until I see how things work out?

Only a sufferer from LBA  and a pixel peeper would have this sort of problem!! Maybe I should get a life and just use my DA 18-135!  What do other think?

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