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Old Jun 2, 2008, 10:57 AM   #1
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Hi Folks ā€“

I'm not new to this site, but I have not posted in quite a long time. I bought my K 100D almost a year ago, and have been a regular reader on this forum since I got the camera. I haven't posted because most of you know much more than I do, and I have little to contribute. I'm hoping you can help with the lens selection process for my wife.

My wife was a die hard film hold-out; she only recently jumped on the digital bandwagon. For several months she has used my Panasonic FZ 30 and found it quite a nice camera, but naturally she reached the point where she wanted to move up to a DSLR. We've settled on the K 200D with the 16-45 f/4 lens. She likes taking both macro and wildlife shots, so obviously there will be more lenses coming soon. That's where I need your help.

I have a Sigma 70-300 APO zoom, which I have found to be very good mated with my K 100D. Some people say that lens is soft at 300 mm; I have not found that, but perhaps my standards are not as high as others. But my wife does a lot of shooting with a polarizer, and one major weakness of my Sigma lens is that the front element rotates when it focuses. Does anyone know if the front element of the Pentax 55-300 rotates when focused? And, has anyone seen any reviews of the 55-300? I assume its optics are at least as good as my Sigma, but I don't know that for sure.

Regarding macro lenses, we're leaning toward either the Sigma 50mm f/2.8 EX or the Sigma 70mm f/2.8 EX. I think I recall Popular Photography saying very positive things about both those lenses, though I can't find the lens tests on line. I would welcome your opinions on either of those macro lenses, and any suggestions for a different macro lens.

Thanks in advance for your helpful suggestions.
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Old Jun 2, 2008, 11:10 AM   #2
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Try this one...It gets you out there but has inner focusing so you can use a Polorizer. Also is a macro lens!

http://www.sigmaphoto.com/lenses/len...mp;navigator=3

Dawg
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Old Jun 2, 2008, 7:22 PM   #3
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If you want a true 1:1 macro, then either the 50 or the 70 Sigma would be better than the 70-200 lens Dawg recommended (which sounds like a good lens for other things and would makea nice close-up lens but only does 1:3.5). Are they shipping yet? Adorama still shows it as not yet available. I'm actually thinking about it since my DA 50-200 has a problem and I haven't decided whether to get it fixed or replace it with a faster 2.8 lens.

I don't know much about the shorter focal length macros - I decided that I wanted the ability to get 1:1 and be able to stand off a bit, so I've bought a 105mm lens(Vivitar Series One). From examples I've seen posted, the Tamron 90mm appears to be a slight hair better than the Sigma 105, but only just - I've seen outstanding shots taken with the Sigma (and the Pentax 100mm, too, for that matter). When I took a couple of comparison shots with my Viv and a rep's Pentax, I couldn't see any difference - they both looked good to me.

The big thing about lenses, or anything photographic really, is whether it satisfies you. If the pictures you take with the Sigma satisfy you, then be happy. I've seen lots of wonderful pictures posted here taken with them, and very few complaints.

I've seen some comparison shots taken with the Tamron 70-300 and the Pentax 55-300 on another Pentax board, and the Pentax looked very good in comparison. Not hugely better, other than it had less purple fringing in high contrast situations. The person also included the DA*300 in the comparison, which wasn't fair at all - it (as expected) outperformed the zooms. But if you are happy with the quality of the Sigma, why spend all that extra money?

Since I don't have the lens, I don't know about how it focuses. I looked at a couple of my usual resources for information (Pentax's website, specsonAdoramaand http://www.bdimitrov.de/kmp/lenses/z...300f4-5.8.html- a site with lots of technical information about everything Pentax)but couldn't find anything that specifies it one way or the other - leads me to believe that it will rotate for focusing (it's usually mentioned if it doesn't).
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Old Jun 2, 2008, 7:40 PM   #4
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Thanks for your input Dawg and mtngal. I should have explained better that we're getting some gear for my wife. I suggested that we share the Sigma, but she pointed out (correctly) that if we're out in our canoe, and we come upon a moose, we'll both want to grab that lens. better for domestic tranquility that she be able to grab her long lens, and be able to grab mine. (Of course there's the other issue of just how long will I be happy with my K 100D,when she is using her brand new K 200D.)!

By the way, just in case anyone is curious, I learned the hard way last fall that even though it is not said to be weather sealed, the K 100 is pretty tightly constructed. As I stepped out of my kayak I slipped and fell into the water. The K 100 was fully submerged (in fresh water) forseveral seconds. I was afraid that I had ruined the camera, but after a few hours next to the fire place, I turned it on and it worked perfectly. It has continued to work flawlessly since. If a non-weather tight Pentax can survive that, just imagine what the weather tight cameras can put up with!
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Old Jun 3, 2008, 8:31 AM   #5
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The more I think about it, the more I think that the DA*300 would be a better choice for you, if your budget can stretch that far. First, it's weather sealed, while the DA55-300 isn't and that would be a nice option for the K200. Second, you already have the Sigma, which is working well for you, and you are talking about having a lens for a second body/person. So do you really need another zoom? What about getting the 300 prime for one of the cameras, which would give you a significant upgrade in quality/sharpness, while still keeping the zoom on the other camerafor the convenience?

Same with the macro lens - getting a dedicated macro prime lensis the best thing - you need a really sharp lens for good macros. Another option would be to pick up an inexpensive manual focus fast 50mm lens, such as the M 50mm 1.7 or A 50mm 1.4 or 1.7 and add extension tubes. That gives you the option to use the lens as a fast low-light lens, while also doing macro stuff., allfor less than what you'd spend on a new macro lens. I personally found manual focus more useful for macros (but then, I don't mind manual focus anyway). Asa disclaimer - I tried something like this with a home-made extension tube and got frustrated. I might have done OK with proper tubes but I ended up deciding that it was just easier to get a proper macro lens.
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Old Jun 3, 2008, 8:39 AM   #6
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Hi MM,

I also have the 70-300 Sigma APO and use a polarizer on it. The trick I use is to set it on the weaker side of where you would like to have it set. So when the lens rotatates it put the polarizer almost or right where I want it to be...

I have an ist D. I have no plans of getting a newer camera till this one is Old and Grey....

I use four lenses. A Pentax 18-55mm (This is NOT the kit lens for this camera),

Pentax 28-70mm f4, Sigma 28-200mm and the Sigma 70-300 APO (older model, Not the DG Version).

Rudy


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Old Jun 4, 2008, 7:29 AM   #7
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two zooms i think should be in everyone's kit. both capable of close focus of 1:3-4.
not Af but have the A setting..

pentax A35-105/3,5
and the pentax A70-210/4

roy
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Old Jun 4, 2008, 6:23 PM   #8
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Thanks again to everyone for your suggestions. Mtngal, my wife and I fully agree, the 300 mm prime would definitely be the best choice, but the price tag is more than we had figured on. We have several options to thinkabout.
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Old Jun 14, 2008, 8:25 AM   #9
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mtnman wrote:
Quote:
Thanks again to everyone for your suggestions. Mtngal, my wife and I fully agree, the 300 mm prime would definitely be the best choice, but the price tag is more than we had figured on. We have several options to thinkabout.
hey guy,
haven't seen you around much.. if you are thinking of a prime 300mm just let me say is that ALL of pentax's 300mm/f4 are very good at a fraction of the cost for a DA*..
ck them out as well.

roy
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