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Old Jul 1, 2007, 5:43 PM   #1
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I'm currently taking a class on Photographing Baltimore's Architecture through one of the local community colleges..

This past Saturday we spent the morning at The Green Mount Cemetary..A 68 acre oasis in the middle of one of Baltimore City's poorer / worst neighborhoods..

Many famous people are buried here..Some examples are Johns Hopkins (the university), Enoch Pratt (one of the first public libraries in the United States), Edgar Allen Poe & Sidney Lanier (poets, writers), John Wilkes Booth (actor & assassin to President Abrahamm Lincoln), & A. Aubrey Bodine (photographer)..Many Civil War Generals, Govenors of Maryland, Mayors of Baltimore, industrialists, philanthropists, & other people of interest are interred within the high stone walls of the cemetary..

Photography is allowed here in this privately owned cemetary on the understanding that the names on the tombs, headstones, mausoleums, etc. will not be shown to someone else in any public way unless you are a descendent of the person's grave that is being photographed..

Anyway, all I had with me was the 18-55mm kit lens that came with the K10D..I found myself wanting both a wider angle than the 18-55 provided, as well as some serious telephoto capability..

I'm really fascinated by the variety of the pediments on top of the many obelisks in this landmark cemetary..

Without a lens with a at least a 200mm or 300mm maximum focal length I think it will be very hard to get the detail that I am looking for in my images..

The problem is that I cannot afford the fast 2.8 kind of glass that I would like to own,and hopefully within the next 6 months to a year Pentax & Sigma will have on the market the longer zooms & telephoto prime lenses that I see are in developement..

Therefore, as a stopgap measure, as well as to build a light-weight travel kit I am looking to purchase one of the following lenses..

1. Pentax FA 28-105mm f3.2-4.5 AL IF zoom

2. Pentax FA 28-200mm f3.8-5.6 AL IF zoom

3. Pentax FA 80-320mm f4.5-5.6 zoom--My first choice (data collected so far)

4. Pentax DA 50-200 f4-5.6 ED

Can anyone provide an opinion on any of these lenses??..Pros & cons as your experience with the lens dictates??..

The 28-105 f3.2-4.5 & the 80-320 f4.5-5.6 seem to garner the most positive comments that I have been able to read..

I'm interested to hear what others on this forum have to say..

Thanks Bruce


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Old Jul 1, 2007, 6:18 PM   #2
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The only one of these that I've owned is the DA 50-200. Mine is quite bright. It has the reputation of being quite sharp, but mine isn't - I've posted before that I thought mine has a problem. I've also not been that happy with the color from it - I took a bunch of comparison photos when I first got the K100, and consistently preferred the pictures taken with the kit lens over the DA 50-200, regardless of which camera took them. Others have the lens and love it, so I think my experiences aren't typical of the lens. It does have the advantage of being small and lightweight.
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Old Jul 1, 2007, 9:17 PM   #3
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"Therefore, as a stopgap measure, as well as to build a light-weight travel kit I am looking to purchase one of the following lenses..

1. Pentax FA 28-105mm f3.2-4.5 AL IF zoom

2. Pentax FA 28-200mm f3.8-5.6 AL IF zoom

3. Pentax FA 80-320mm f4.5-5.6 zoom--My first choice (data collected so far)

4. Pentax DA 50-200 f4-5.6 ED

Can anyone provide an opinion on any of these lenses??..Pros & cons as your experience with the lens dictates??..

The 28-105 f3.2-4.5 & the 80-320 f4.5-5.6 seem to garner the most positive comments that I have been able to read..

I'm interested to hear what others on this forum have to say.."

__________________________________________________ _______________

Hi Bruce,

I have all but the 28-200. As something of an old-timer, I'm not inclined to go over 4x in a zoom ratio, and 3x is preferable -- something of a wierd statement considering that the three that I have are over 3x. . .:?

The three that I have are all good lenses, I'd say that the FA28-105/3.2-4.5 is the most used, and probably the best optically, followed by the DA 50-200, then the FA 80-320. My use, however is a lot different than most, so I wouldn't be taking me as an example. . .:-)

In a med-wide to short tele, I like the 28-105 a lot-- good range, reasonably fast, and sharp throughout the range. It's very compact and light, and it's very often carried in a pocket (I like photo vests with big pockets -- geeky looking but practical) when I have long teles mounted on the camera (which is pretty much all the time). There have been complaints from some that it hunts -- mine doesn't -- this has been attributed to the focus ring getting too free to turn, allowing the AF to overshoot the in-focus point -- again, I've used mine a lot, and it hasn't happened, and apparently can be adjusted if it becomes a problem. Not an easy lens to find though I have seen it both new and used relatively recently. A faster alternative for about $150 more is the Tamron 28-75/2.8 XR Di. . . another lens I have and can highly recommend -- heavier and bigger, but very sharp, even wide open, and a constant f2.8.

The 50-200 is a great little lens. Unbelievably small and light for the FL range, sharp enough to not let you down, and inexpensive considering the inclusion of an ED element. If it were faster, it would be about the perfect lens, but of course, it couldn't be made faster without sacrificing one or more of the qualities that make it what it is. It's a great "stealth" people lens -- you can be shooting head shots from a distance and the people think that you're shooting a group scene, so they're not as self conscious as when you're closer. Other than mtngal's, I haven't heard anything but good about this lens (sorry Harriet!), and my experience with it adds to the good things being said. I don't use it that much, usually either wanting or needing something faster, longer or both, but it's a keeper for me, and because of the size/quality considerations, there really aren't any comparable lenses. IMO, one of the best consumer zooms in this FL range ever made.

The FA 80-320 is a mixed bag for me. My copy is stiff in part of the zoom range, and harder to use than I'd like (but it was really cheap). The lens is a bit soft past @ 200mm wide open, but is sharp enough stopped down beyond f8. I need really good wide open performance at the long end, and have been fortunate enough to get a couple of great fast 300mm primes, so the 80-320 has fallen by the wayside. However -- I've gotten and seen others get great results from this lens when stopped down a bit.

In the DPR Pentax forum, the 80-320 became known as the "bejersey zoom" after a ton of great bird shots from a poster using that nick. He eventually migrated to other systems (he's now owned just about every lower end DSLR made), but is now back with a Pentax K100. Even after over a year's absence and a whole lot of turnover in posters, the 80-320 is still called the "bejersey zoom" by many over there. These are often available from KEH or B&H used, or on ebay. The best 3rd party alternatives are the Tamron 70-300 LD macro or the Sigma 70-300 APO macro, both of which have a lot of fans.

Scott






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Old Jul 2, 2007, 1:02 AM   #4
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Personally opinion, and not having one but everything I have heard and shots I've seen attributed to it.... probably your best bang for the buck and IQ is likely the 50-200mm ED

The AL's may be cheaper, but again in bang for the buck the 50-200mm ED is one of the best (not premuim/limited) lenses Pentax seems to have out right now. And makes a great companion to the kit lens. (Which for it minor cost is none to shabby either)

Budget allows the 80-320mmm would seem a good option too.

And most seem to like the Sigma 70-300mm APO as well as a third option.

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