17-70mm lens (Pentax or Tamron advice please)

Started 5 months ago | Discussions
Nipan_51 Senior Member • Posts: 1,144
Re: 17-70mm lens (Pentax or Tamron advice please)

Sigma 17-70 F/2.8-4.0 Contemporary  is a very good all around lens. It is fast, quick focusing, and it may be used for close-ups, too. I used it first on my KS-2 and now it is almost permanently coupled with my K-70. No issues, except some vignetting is low focal lengths.

MaciekPruski Regular Member • Posts: 264
Re: 17-70mm lens (Pentax or Tamron advice please)

I have the Pentax 17-70 f4 and also had the Tamron 17-50 f 2.8.

I'm not really a huge fan of either one, I much prefer primes at shorter focal lengths.

However, If you're looking at these lenses, here's my take:

the Tamron is better for bokeh and shallow DoF and seems sharper at f4, also it works on Full frame, while the 17-70 is APSC and will go to crop mode on FF.

The 17-70 is a nice walkaround lens and I do use the longer end on it quite a lot. It's the lens that I decided to keep from these two. However, it's not great for bokeh, I never use it wide open because the photos just lack punch, sharpness and contrast.  The sweet spot is when you stop down to around f7, at these apertures it can give very pleasing results. I like the colors more on the Pentax lens.

As far as build quality, the Pentax is a bit fragile, I had an SDM failure on mine and had it replaced under warranty. The Tamron feels sturdier.

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Kobie M-C
Kobie M-C Regular Member • Posts: 128
Re: 17-70mm lens (Pentax or Tamron advice please)

There's 3 versions of the SIgma 17-70 series of lenses.

V1 = 17-70 F/2.8-4.5 DC Macro

V2 = 17-70 F/2.8-4 DC Macro HSM

V3 = 17-70 F/2.8-4 DC Macro HSM "C"ontemporary.

I personally have the V2 and I've found it to be a very versatile, tack sharp, smooth bokeh producing lens. The ONLY things are that it's not weather sealed, and in backlit situations with the light hitting the lens at the right angle, it severely struggles to nail focus unless you have the lens hood on to block some of the light. This is definitely a lens that absolutely requires its hood.

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I am not a Pentax insider. I just have a unique way of gaining insight.

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Jhaakas
Jhaakas Senior Member • Posts: 1,166
Re: Sigma!
1

TheLastMan wrote:

Massao wrote:

Stephen_H wrote:

Hi all

I'm looking at replacing my 18-55 kit lens on my K-50. This 17-70 looks like the perfect replacement, and the reviews on both are favorable.

What are your opinions on the two?

Native or third party? Which is sharpest? Which focusses better? Which just feels better and gives that warm glow inside?

I've compared both the Pentax 17-70mm f/4 and Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5. Pentax is an absolute junk compared to Sigma's iteration.

Better still, the Sigma 17-50mm f2.8, super sharp - much better quality than either the Pentax or Tamron. Cheaper than the 17-70 and probably better too, if you can manage without the extra 20mm of reach

The sigma might have physical build quality that is better than Tamron, but I tend to differ that I like the images from Tamron .. they are so much Pentax like... In fact Pentax does share some Tamron lenses.

I had a Sigma 10-20 and did not like the iQ from it at all, replaced it with Pentax 12-24 and couldnt be happier.. Again a personal choice.

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MarcosBaez Junior Member • Posts: 31
Re: 17-70mm lens (Pentax or Tamron advice please)

Stephen_H wrote:

Hi all

I'm looking at replacing my 18-55 kit lens on my K-50. This 17-70 looks like the perfect replacement, and the reviews on both are favorable.

What are your opinions on the two?

Native or third party? Which is sharpest? Which focusses better? Which just feels better and gives that warm glow inside?

Definitely the Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4 Contemporary, even compared to the Sigma 17-50 f2.8. And focuses better too.

Only the Pentax 16-85 is sharper than the Contemporary, but it's darker.

Massao Senior Member • Posts: 2,580
Proof is in the pudding
1

Hythloday wrote:

Massao wrote:

Pentax is an absolute junk compared to Sigma's iteration.

A faulty copy? Or you cannot handle the lens?

I also had a Sigma 17-70, but sold it because of the yellow colour cast it produces.

There's a difference between biased opinions based on sentiments (e.g., "lens A is better because its produced by manufacturer X") and actual proof. Here is some proof below:

Comparison 1

Comparison 2

Comparison 3

By the way, I'm loving the "nice rich colours" (?) of DA 17-70mm hidden behind terrible image quality. In any case, you can always edit the colour profile but can't make a lens sharper in PP. Increasing (micro) contrast in PP is not the same as actual sharpness captured by lens.

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Kind regards,
Massao
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Hythloday Senior Member • Posts: 2,220
Re: Proof is in your pudding
1

Massao wrote:

DA 17-70mm hidden behind terrible image quality. In any case, you can always edit the colour profile but can't make a lens sharper in PP. Increasing (micro) contrast in PP is not the same as actual sharpness captured by lens.

A zoomlens is a compromise and will give its best result when you stop it down two stops. Your tests are too limited because you tested the lenses nearly wide open. That may be valuable to you, but is worthless for me. Nearly wide open a zoomlens will hardly produce excellent results. The DOF is very shallow and when you have made focussing errors, the IQ will suffer.

For landscape photography I always use aperture 8, in which case the DOF is better. As The DA17-70mm is parfocal, you can focus at 70mm, lock focus, zoom out and take your picture. Focussing speed is not important for my kind of photography.

If you want to use aperture 4, you had better use a prime. The Pentax plastic fantastics are an excellent choice in that case. My 50mm backfocussed on my KS2, but is focussing OK on my KP.

I used to have a Sigma 17-70mm on my Canon 300D and on my K100D Super. The yellowish colour cast was a bit of a let down for me. The Sigma 17-70mm was at its best at the tele end. At the WA end the sharpness was not perfect. The DA 17-70mm is best at the WA end and a bit weaker at the tele end. The test of the Sigma 17-70mm at DXOMARK reaches the same conclusion, see:

Pentax smc PENTAX DA 16-45mm F4 ED AL on Pentax K-3 vs Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC MACRO HSM C Pentax on Pentax K-3 (dxomark.com)

I used the DA16-45mm because a test of the DA17-70mm is not available.

Does this mean that Sigma lenses are a bad choice? No, but it depends on your photographic needs. In everyday photography there is not much difference in sharpness. I sold my Sigma 17-70mm because of the yelllowish colour cast it gave. The SMC coating gives a typical Pentax colour cast, whereas the HD coating gives a more neutral colour cast. I have had the DA16-85mm for over 5 years now, but it has never become my favourite lens.

If you need wide apertures, Pentax may not be the right choice for you. You can find far better lenses for your needs, such as a Sigma 85mm/f1.4 or a Carl Zeiss Distagon lens.

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Massao Senior Member • Posts: 2,580
Re: Proof is in your pudding
1

Hythloday wrote:

Massao wrote:

DA 17-70mm hidden behind terrible image quality. In any case, you can always edit the colour profile but can't make a lens sharper in PP. Increasing (micro) contrast in PP is not the same as actual sharpness captured by lens.

A zoomlens is a compromise and will give its best result when you stop it down two stops.

For sure but some zoom lenses are better than others and Pentax DA 17-70mm is amongst the worst one in this case.

Your tests are too limited because you tested the lenses nearly wide open.

yet some lenses performed better.

For landscape photography I always use aperture 8, in which case the DOF is better.

Are you saying DA 17-70mm is not good for aperture below f/8? If so, we agree:-D

If you want to use aperture 4, you had better use a prime.

Again: and yet some zoom lenses perform better than others.

The Pentax plastic fantastics are an excellent choice in that case.

OP did not ask for advice on primes.

If you need wide apertures, Pentax may not be the right choice for you. You can find far better lenses for your needs, such as a Sigma 85mm/f1.4 or a Carl Zeiss Distagon lens.

Disagree. Many wide-aperture/fast Pentax lenses are fantastic.

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Kind regards,
Massao
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Hythloday Senior Member • Posts: 2,220
Re: Proof is in your pudding

Massao wrote:

Are you saying DA 17-70mm is not good for aperture below f/8? If so, we agree:-D

Some 14 years ago I tested the DA16-45mm qnd the Sigma 17-70mm, see:

Pentax 16-45mm vs Sigma 17-70mm: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

The best aperture is 8. The Pentax DA16-45mm is slightly less good below that aperture, whereas the Sigma 17-70mm is really horrible, at the WA end. This is conformed by the DXOMARK test.

The Pentax DA117-70mm performs slightly better than the Pentax DA16-45mm.

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Massao Senior Member • Posts: 2,580
Re: Proof is in your pudding

Hythloday wrote:

Massao wrote:

Are you saying DA 17-70mm is not good for aperture below f/8? If so, we agree:-D

Some 14 years ago I tested the DA16-45mm qnd the Sigma 17-70mm, see:

Pentax 16-45mm vs Sigma 17-70mm: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

The best aperture is 8. The Pentax DA16-45mm is slightly less good below that aperture, whereas the Sigma 17-70mm is really horrible, at the WA end. This is conformed by the DXOMARK test.

The Pentax DA117-70mm performs slightly better than the Pentax DA16-45mm.

Unfortunately, can't see those images.

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Kind regards,
Massao
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Hythloday Senior Member • Posts: 2,220
Re: Proof is in your pudding

Massao wrote:

Unfortunately, can't see those images.

The images were on Photobucket, but the reactions are clear enough.

How good/bad a lens performs is also depended on the camera. Below is a link to the Sigma 17-70mm in a Pentax K200D and a Pentax k3:

Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC MACRO HSM C Pentax on Pentax K200D vs Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC MACRO HSM C Pentax on Pentax K-3 (dxomark.com)

Generally speaking,  lenses perform better in newer cameras. My Pentax DA17-70mm scores better on my K-3. The sharpness in the centre and borders is better. My Pentax DA16-45mm also scores better on my K-3II, at least in the centre, but at the borders the sharpness is slightly better.

The Pentax DA17-70mm and the Sigma 17-70mm have one thing in common: the AF system is the weakest point. The Pentax DA17-70mm sometimes refuses to focus at 70mm, when contrast is low. Simply use quick shift and the problem is solved. But the Sigma 17-70mm is unreliable at focussing, as you will read in the link to my test.

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MarcosBaez Junior Member • Posts: 31
Re: Proof is in your pudding

Hythloday wrote:

Massao wrote:

Are you saying DA 17-70mm is not good for aperture below f/8? If so, we agree:-D

Some 14 years ago I tested the DA16-45mm qnd the Sigma 17-70mm, see:

Pentax 16-45mm vs Sigma 17-70mm: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

The best aperture is 8. The Pentax DA16-45mm is slightly less good below that aperture, whereas the Sigma 17-70mm is really horrible, at the WA end. This is conformed by the DXOMARK test.

The Pentax DA117-70mm performs slightly better than the Pentax DA16-45mm.

The Sigma lens that you mention is an older model than the one we are talking about: the Contemporary. The Contemporary is only 7 years old.

From dpreview:

https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sigma-17-70mm-f2-8-4-os-hsm

Check the conclusion from opticallimits:

https://www.opticallimits.com/nikon--nikkor-aps-c-lens-tests/822-sigma1770284os?start=2

The Sigma AF 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC HSM OS | C delivers very solid performance, with very good to excellent resolution in the image center and very good border and corner resolution and most focal length and aperture settings. The only exception are somewhat soft borders and corners at the shortest focal length with large aperture settings.

Like many standard zooms, the lens shows quite pronounced barrel distortion at the widest zoom setting, but only moderate pincushion distortion at the upper end of the zoom range. Vignetting is a bit pronounced especially at the shortest focal length and large apertures, but is no longer an issue when stopped down. CAs are well controlled.

The build quality is on a high level for a consumer zoom. Thanks to HSM, the AF is reasonably fast and nearly silent. It's a little disappointing though that focus ring rotates during AF operation.

Compared to its predecessor, the lens delivers improved performance in terms of sharpness, and comes in a slightly smaller and no doubt better looking package.

MarcosBaez Junior Member • Posts: 31
Re: 17-70mm lens (Pentax or Tamron advice please)

Stephen_H wrote:

Hi all

I'm looking at replacing my 18-55 kit lens on my K-50. This 17-70 looks like the perfect replacement, and the reviews on both are favorable.

What are your opinions on the two?

Native or third party? Which is sharpest? Which focusses better? Which just feels better and gives that warm glow inside?

Here are 3 snapshots from yesterday. The Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4 Contemporary is sharp, fast focusing, and has no color cast that I can see.

Marina

Street Art

Downtown

You'll be happy with the Sigma 17-70 Contemporary if you decide to purchase it.

Hythloday Senior Member • Posts: 2,220
Re: Proof is in your pudding
2

Massao wrote:

For sure but some zoom lenses are better than others and Pentax DA 17-70mm is amongst the worst one in this case.

The Sigma AF 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC is a very good standard zoom and a viable alternative to the Pentax offerings in this range. Generally it is capable to produce very sharp results although the corner performance leaves a bit to be desired at 17mm at large aperture settings. The vignetting level could also be a bit better here but most competitors don't offer a f/2.8 settings anyway and from f/4 it follows the mainstream. The level of distortions is about typical for a standard zoom whereas chromatic aberrations (color shadows) are comparatively low. The build quality is very fine for a lens in this price league.

Sigma AF 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC (Pentax K) - Review / Test Report - Sample Images & Verdict (opticallimits.com)

The Pentax DA SMC 17-70mm f/4 AL [IF] SDM is undoubtedly the most desirable standard zoom lens in the current Pentax lens lineup. The resolution characteristic is very good without any significant weakness. The vignetting and distortion are about average for a lens in this class. The lateral CAs are relatively well-controlled although you may spot some traces in field conditions when using wide-angle settings. The quality of the bokeh (out-of-focus blur) seems to be very fine albeit limited compared to fast prime lenses naturally. Contra-light situations are handled fairly well with comparatively underdeveloped ghosting problems. Typical for most Pentax DA lenses the build quality is on a very high level. The fast and near-silent ultrasonic AF is also a very welcome new feature. All-in-all a very harmonious package selling for a very fair price of around 480€/US$.

Pentax SMC DA 17-70mm f/4 AL [IF] SDM - Review / Test Report - Sample Images & Verdict (opticallimits.com)

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Tatouzou
Tatouzou Senior Member • Posts: 2,049
Re: Proof is in your pudding

Hythloday wrote:

Massao wrote:

For sure but some zoom lenses are better than others and Pentax DA 17-70mm is amongst the worst one in this case.

The Sigma AF 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC is a very good standard zoom and a viable alternative to the Pentax offerings in this range. Generally it is capable to produce very sharp results although the corner performance leaves a bit to be desired at 17mm at large aperture settings. The vignetting level could also be a bit better here but most competitors don't offer a f/2.8 settings anyway and from f/4 it follows the mainstream. The level of distortions is about typical for a standard zoom whereas chromatic aberrations (color shadows) are comparatively low. The build quality is very fine for a lens in this price league.

Sigma AF 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC (Pentax K) - Review / Test Report - Sample Images & Verdict (opticallimits.com)

The Pentax DA SMC 17-70mm f/4 AL [IF] SDM is undoubtedly the most desirable standard zoom lens in the current Pentax lens lineup. The resolution characteristic is very good without any significant weakness. The vignetting and distortion are about average for a lens in this class. The lateral CAs are relatively well-controlled although you may spot some traces in field conditions when using wide-angle settings. The quality of the bokeh (out-of-focus blur) seems to be very fine albeit limited compared to fast prime lenses naturally. Contra-light situations are handled fairly well with comparatively underdeveloped ghosting problems. Typical for most Pentax DA lenses the build quality is on a very high level. The fast and near-silent ultrasonic AF is also a very welcome new feature. All-in-all a very harmonious package selling for a very fair price of around 480€/US$.

Pentax SMC DA 17-70mm f/4 AL [IF] SDM - Review / Test Report - Sample Images & Verdict (opticallimits.com)

I agree with this review. My DA 17-70 f4 is a very good lens, which delivers sharp and very pleasing images, and has some kind of weather profing (there is a rubber gasket around the mount). Yet, there are two "caveat":

  1. it is big and heavy, which is why I often mount my DA18-135 for general photography, though the DA 17-70 is obviously better
  2. the focus ring is too loose, with a very short focus throw: if you dont care, it can easily be bumped which can lead to misfocus at the long end.

I cannot speak for the Sigma, I never handled it.

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Massao Senior Member • Posts: 2,580
Re: Proof is in your pudding
2

Hythloday wrote:

Massao wrote:

Are you saying DA 17-70mm is not good for aperture below f/8? If so, we agree:-D

Some 14 years ago I tested the DA16-45mm qnd the Sigma 17-70mm, see:

Pentax 16-45mm vs Sigma 17-70mm: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

I'm not sure why you keep jumping to DA 16-45mm lens. Its not a topic of this discussion and its performance cannot be used to infer anything about DA 17-70mm lens except the logo.

The Pentax DA16-45mm is slightly less good below that aperture, whereas the Sigma 17-70mm is really horrible, at the WA end.

As I've shown with test images, DA 17-70mm is among the worst options while Sigma 17-70mm is among the better options. Sigma 17-70mm is certainly not ideal at 17mm but the question here is: is DA 17-70mm better at 17mm than the older version of Sigma 17-70mm? the second question is: can a lens be recommended to others if it only produces acceptable results at f/8? Lastly, have you found the "yellow colour cast " of Sigma and "nice rich colours " of DA 17-70mm in the comparisons I posted?

Here are images from both DA 17-70mm and Sigma 17-70mm at 17mm

DA 17-70mm at 17mm

Sigma 17-70mm at 17mm

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Kind regards,
Massao
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Massao Senior Member • Posts: 2,580
Re: Proof is in your pudding
1

Hythloday wrote:

Massao wrote:

For sure but some zoom lenses are better than others and Pentax DA 17-70mm is amongst the worst one in this case.

The Sigma AF 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC is a very good standard zoom and a viable alternative to the Pentax offerings in this range. Generally it is capable to produce very sharp results although the corner performance leaves a bit to be desired at 17mm at large aperture settings. The vignetting level could also be a bit better here but most competitors don't offer a f/2.8 settings anyway and from f/4 it follows the mainstream. The level of distortions is about typical for a standard zoom whereas chromatic aberrations (color shadows) are comparatively low. The build quality is very fine for a lens in this price league.

Sigma AF 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC (Pentax K) - Review / Test Report - Sample Images & Verdict (opticallimits.com)

The Pentax DA SMC 17-70mm f/4 AL [IF] SDM is undoubtedly the most desirable standard zoom lens in the current Pentax lens lineup. The resolution characteristic is very good without any significant weakness. The vignetting and distortion are about average for a lens in this class. The lateral CAs are relatively well-controlled although you may spot some traces in field conditions when using wide-angle settings. The quality of the bokeh (out-of-focus blur) seems to be very fine albeit limited compared to fast prime lenses naturally. Contra-light situations are handled fairly well with comparatively underdeveloped ghosting problems. Typical for most Pentax DA lenses the build quality is on a very high level. The fast and near-silent ultrasonic AF is also a very welcome new feature. All-in-all a very harmonious package selling for a very fair price of around 480€/US$.

Pentax SMC DA 17-70mm f/4 AL [IF] SDM - Review / Test Report - Sample Images & Verdict (opticallimits.com)

You do realise that: 1) those tests and conclusions are from 2007/8? and; 2) both those conclusions were written independently without drawing any direct comparison with the other lens? Posting them together would not create an automatic comparison between both lenses.

The 480Euro/USD maybe a fair price (relative to performance) in 2007/8 but is it a fair price in 2020? Actually, the price is even higher today--at least here. About 660 Euro/800 USD in Norway by today's exchange rate.

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Kind regards,
Massao
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