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Thread: Choosing a telephoto lens (zoom or not)

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    Senior Member Jim Radcliffe's Avatar
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    Choosing a telephoto lens (zoom or not)

    I have decided I need a lens with a bit more reach than my 18-135mm (which I see has been under attack in other forums).. I like mine, thank you.

    There are a number of choices but not sure which route to go.. The DA* are quite pricey but I am only looking to buy one telephoto to compliment the 18-135 which I find makes a good walkaround single lens on my K5.

    I somewhat prefer zooms for their versatility because I can not always zoom with my feet and a fixed focal length may be limiting under certain situations... but I am open to all arguments regarding this and wish to hear from personal experience regarding the Pentax tele/zooms.

    Question 1: Which fixed focal length tele is the best?.. and why
    Question 2: Which tele-zoom is the best?... and why

    Sample photos would be welcome... the good the bad and the ugly.

    Thanks in advance for the input..
    Jim Radcliffe
    www.boxedlight.com

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    Re: Choosing a telephoto lens (zoom or not)

    Hello, Jim. I can recommend the Pentax 200/2.8...heavy, but hand holdable.
    Very sharp...much like the Nikon 180s in sharpness, brilliance, and contrast.
    Whisper quiet, accurate AF. Not cheap, however. Here's a couple of examples I had posted in the "fun with K-5" thread.

    Roy Benson
    Last edited by benroy; 15th May 2011 at 03:07.

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    Senior Member Jim Radcliffe's Avatar
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    Re: Choosing a telephoto lens (zoom or not)

    Quote Originally Posted by benroy View Post
    Hello, Jim. I can recommend the Pentax 200/2.8...heavy, but hand holdable.
    Very sharp...much like the Nikon 180s in sharpness, brilliance, and contrast.
    Whisper quiet, accurate AF. Not cheap, however. Here's a couple of examples I had posted in the "fun with K-5" thread.

    Roy Benson
    Roy, yes, I saw those in the other thread, very nice. I am really hesitant to go with a fixed focal length lens in a telephoto. I never know what I may be shooting. I have a couple of concerts coming up and may also be shooting at Willie Nelson's 4th of July Picnic.. from previous experience, the Canon 70-200L f/2.8 with IS saved the day for me a number of times. That's one of the reasons the FF of 200mm is throwing a yellow flag.

    The versatility of a zoom is one of the reasons I bought the 18-135. Plus it is WR and pretty compact.

    Thanks for the input and the 200 is not out of consideration.. just really have to think this one through.
    Jim Radcliffe
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    Senior Member JMaher's Avatar
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    Re: Choosing a telephoto lens (zoom or not)

    I am also curious about this.

    Roy your 200 shots are impressive. I envy this lens but not sure what I really want - longer or faster or both.

    By the way I am also quite happy with my 18-135.

    Jim

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    Re: Choosing a telephoto lens (zoom or not)

    Jim,

    If you liked the 70 -200 Canon (I still have the f4 IS version of that lens) what about the 50-135 2.8? I have not used it but it has approximately the same focal length of the 70-200 if you used that lens with the 5D. By all reports the 50-135 seems like a very nice lens.

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    Re: Choosing a telephoto lens (zoom or not)

    Jim, sounds like the 50-135 would be a good fit, but too short, then? there's . I have and love the 135 mm f/2.5 K mount (manual focus) lens and the 200 mm f/2.8 lens, also a stunner with modern signature...don't have the 50-135, can't get afford it, but would be on my list if I were to choose a zoom....

    The 18-250 DA seems to be relatively well regarded, but the 60-250 DA may be the one for you, though it is a pricey one at $1300
    Ashwin Rao
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    Senior Member Jim Radcliffe's Avatar
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    Re: Choosing a telephoto lens (zoom or not)

    Quote Originally Posted by JMaher View Post
    Jim,

    If you liked the 70 -200 Canon (I still have the f4 IS version of that lens) what about the 50-135 2.8? I have not used it but it has approximately the same focal length of the 70-200 if you used that lens with the 5D. By all reports the 50-135 seems like a very nice lens.
    That certainly is a thought but it does not really give more reach than I already have with the 18-135.. just faster. I'll peruse the flickr hives for samples.

    Thanks
    Jim Radcliffe
    www.boxedlight.com

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    Senior Member Jim Radcliffe's Avatar
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    Re: Choosing a telephoto lens (zoom or not)

    Quote Originally Posted by ashwinrao1 View Post
    Jim, sounds like the 50-135 would be a good fit, but too short, then? there's . I have and love the 135 mm f/2.5 K mount (manual focus) lens and the 200 mm f/2.8 lens, also a stunner with modern signature...don't have the 50-135, can't get afford it, but would be on my list if I were to choose a zoom....

    The 18-250 DA seems to be relatively well regarded, but the 60-250 DA may be the one for you, though it is a pricey one at $1300
    Ashwin, yes, I'm going to need AF.. one of the reasons I divested myself of the Leica M8 was missed or OOF shots caused by MF and it's baggage. (please don't anyone start on how easy Leicas are to focus)

    I read a few reviews on the 6-250 DA everything was positive except the price.
    Jim Radcliffe
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    Re: Choosing a telephoto lens (zoom or not)

    I'm one of those that buy long zooms and end up using the lens almost exclusively at the long end. The 18-135 is my "main zoom" which does see a wide range of focal length use and it is one of my favorite lenses. The long zoom that I bought for "more reach" is the 55-300. It meets the need for more reach, but I could just as well have bought the DA* 300 given the fact that I use the 55-300 mostly at 300mm. On the other hand the DA* 300 is significantly more expensive and for the type of shots (backyard birding mostly) where I need the reach it would not (IMO) provide that much gain in image quality for the cost involved. Bottom line is the 55-300 is inexpensive, not so nice ergonomics or construction, no WR, slow, but optically satisfactory for my needs at 300.

    Another bird watcher, K5+DA 55-300
    Carl
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    Re: Choosing a telephoto lens (zoom or not)

    Quote Originally Posted by ashwinrao1 View Post
    Jim, sounds like the 50-135 would be a good fit, but too short, then? there's . I have and love the 135 mm f/2.5 K mount (manual focus) lens and the 200 mm f/2.8 lens, also a stunner with modern signature...don't have the 50-135, can't get afford it, but would be on my list if I were to choose a zoom....

    The 18-250 DA seems to be relatively well regarded, but the 60-250 DA may be the one for you, though it is a pricey one at $1300
    If you don't need the extra reach the 50-135 is a STELLAR lens. I had it back when I had the Kx and hated to sell it when I did (needed the money)... and plan to buy it again. It was perfect for small theaters. The 60-250 will give you more reach though, even if a bit slower and quite a bit more expensive...

    K-x + 50-135 DA*


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    Re: Choosing a telephoto lens (zoom or not)

    Jim (and others)....any more thoughts on this?

    Jono (among others) has the DA*60-250......Carl has the DA 55-300. A friend is going to loan me his DA 55-300......but I just purchased (but not shipped yet) the Sigma APO 100-300mm F4 EX DG (think large... ).

    We all have our photo niches to fill (and photo bags to carry). Large vs small..weather sealed or not....fast lens vs slow(er)....best image quality vs acceptable.

    Lets post some pictures. I am VERY curious.

    R

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    Senior Member Jim Radcliffe's Avatar
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    Re: Choosing a telephoto lens (zoom or not)

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich M View Post
    Jim (and others)....any more thoughts on this?

    Jono (among others) has the DA*60-250......Carl has the DA 55-300. A friend is going to loan me his DA 55-300......but I just purchased (but not shipped yet) the Sigma APO 100-300mm F4 EX DG (think large... ).

    We all have our photo niches to fill (and photo bags to carry). Large vs small..weather sealed or not....fast lens vs slow(er)....best image quality vs acceptable.

    Lets post some pictures. I am VERY curious.

    R
    The only reason I need a good/fast telephoto/zoom is because of some of the concert work I do.. Never know where I will be shooting from (crowd, pit, on stage, Etc..) when in the crowd, I need reach.. which is why I am considering adding something longer than my 18-135.

    I also use telephoto zooms when out on the west coast doing the Highway 1 thing as well in the Bay area.

    Jury is still out on what I will get but I do have a concert gig coming up in June so I will need to make a decision before too long.
    Jim Radcliffe
    www.boxedlight.com

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    Senior Member Jim Radcliffe's Avatar
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    Quick Lens Update....

    Just an update... ordered the 43mm Ltd. today from B&H.. it is back in stock and they have a very good price $569... other places like Amazon and Adorama have it at $749. I've been trying to buy this lens for the last month but couldn't find a decent price. B&H has been out of stock forever... they sent me a notification today and I ordered the 43 the moment I received the notice.. should be here Friday.

    Now I have the 3 Amigos... 31, 43 and 77.

    Now just need a good wide prime and.....

    Just found out today that I will be shooting Willie Nelson's 4th of July Picnic and now I know I will have to find a fast tele/zoom before that date. I've shot it before and you gotta have something with a bit more reach than the 18-135.
    Jim Radcliffe
    www.boxedlight.com

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    Re: Choosing a telephoto lens (zoom or not)

    Hello, Jim. Have you looked into Sigma's Pentax mount 70-200/2.8? It's no Nikon or Canon, but neither is it's price.

    Roy Benson

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    Senior Member Jim Radcliffe's Avatar
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    Re: Choosing a telephoto lens (zoom or not)

    Quote Originally Posted by benroy View Post
    Hello, Jim. Have you looked into Sigma's Pentax mount 70-200/2.8? It's no Nikon or Canon, but neither is it's price.

    Roy Benson
    Roy, this is going to be a silly reason... but no, I have not. I've not had a lot of luck with Sigma products and I would really prefer to use and all Pentax system if possible.

    The silly reason is I'm not a big fan of how they finish their lenses... that's minor compared to some of the issues I have had with Sigma lenses in the past when used with my Canon gear. It just did not work for me and Sigma seems to have an issue with enhanced red colors.... or maybe they have fixed that.
    Jim Radcliffe
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    Re: Choosing a telephoto lens (zoom or not)

    Tamron has a 70/200/2.8 zoom in a Pentax mount for $769.00...reviews on B&H pages are pretty good.

    BTW: 50-135 in a crop mount K-5 = 75-200...very fine lens...just not the reach as the 70-200, but a little careful cropping with its great sharpness should compensate .

    Roy Benson

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    Re: Choosing a telephoto lens (zoom or not)

    @Jim: not sure if you made up your mind already, but have a look at this post with the DA*300 in the DPreview Pentax forum.

    http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...ssage=38448304

    Pretty cool results by this lens if you're asking me.
    I know I'm tempted ...

    Kind regards.
    Bart ...

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    Senior Member ecsh's Avatar
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    Re: Choosing a telephoto lens (zoom or not)

    After preordering this lens from Adorama some time ago, it finally showed up. Have not had a chance to try it yet, but its build quality is excellent.
    Joe

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    Re: Choosing a telephoto lens (zoom or not)

    Quote Originally Posted by ecsh View Post
    After preordering this lens from Adorama some time ago, it finally showed up. Have not had a chance to try it yet, but its build quality is excellent.
    Joe
    Congrats Joe !
    Well shoot some please ...

    Kind regards.
    Bart ...

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    Re: Choosing a telephoto lens (zoom or not)

    Here in New England, we are in a wonderful week long drizzle fest. As soon as the sun makes a return, i am looking forward to it.
    Joe

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    Re: Choosing a telephoto lens (zoom or not)

    Quote Originally Posted by ecsh View Post
    Here in New England, we are in a wonderful week long drizzle fest. As soon as the sun makes a return, i am looking forward to it.
    Joe
    Ow bummer, but otoh what a great opportunity to test your kit's weather resistant

    All the best.
    Bart ...

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    Re: Quick Lens Update....

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Radcliffe View Post
    Just an update... ordered the 43mm Ltd. today from B&H.. it is back in stock and they have a very good price $569... other places like Amazon and Adorama have it at $749. I've been trying to buy this lens for the last month but couldn't find a decent price. B&H has been out of stock forever... they sent me a notification today and I ordered the 43 the moment I received the notice.. should be here Friday.

    Now I have the 3 Amigos... 31, 43 and 77.

    Now just need a good wide prime and.....

    Just found out today that I will be shooting Willie Nelson's 4th of July Picnic and now I know I will have to find a fast tele/zoom before that date. I've shot it before and you gotta have something with a bit more reach than the 18-135.
    Jim

    For the wide prime you might want to look at the Zeiss ZK 18mm. The wides from Pentax are not very good, particularly the 15mm.

    Popflash photo had some 18 ZK's left when I bought mine and may still have a few. Apparently they bought the last run produced by Zeiss

    Best

    Woody

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