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Old Mar 4, 2010, 3:12 PM   #1
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Default Looking for a single lens to take on trips

WIth a trip to Kauai and Orlando coming up I am considering getting a more all purpose zoom for my K10D since my kit lens, 50-200 and 50mm are great as a set but not one does it all. I do not want to have to start changing and carrying extra lens on these trips. For about $500 I have seen a Tamron 18-250, a Sigma 18-250 and a Pentax 18-250 (made by Tamron). For 150-200 less there is a Tamron 28-200 and a Tarmon 18-200. Any thoughts on how to proceed. These trips are very special and I do not want to have any regrests by bring the wrong lens. Thanks
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Old Mar 4, 2010, 8:22 PM   #2
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I don't own any of the lenses you mentioned, so I can't speak from first-hand experience, but here's my take: I like wide-angle lenses, so for me, a 28-200 would be inadequate. I'd go nuts not having anything wider than 28mm. (My wife, on the other hand, rarely uses a wide angle lens. She walks around with the Pentax 55-300 on her camera, and rarely puts on her 18-55 kit lens.) Naturally, it's up to you to decide which focal length is most important for you.

I would recommend going with one of the 18-250 lenses, and I have read that the Tamron is slightly sharper than the Sigma. The Pentax 18-250, as you noted, is made by Tamron so it's identical except that the Pentax-branded one has Pentax SMC coatings, while the Tamron has Tamron's coatings. Pentax's coatings are said to be excellent, so that lens may control flare a bit better, but Tamron's coatings are very good.

The optics of an all-in-one lens are a compromise; they provide good sharpness at both the wide and telephoto ends, but not stellar sharpness at either end. Even though they will not produce excellent sharpness, these lenses are very popular because they truly are all in one lenses, and there's a lot to be said for one lens that can do it all. And if you don't plan to make big enlargements from your images, the slight compromise in image quality probably won't matter.

One thing to keep in mind is that these 18-250 lenses are quite slow: f/6.3 at the long end, if I recall correctly. They will be just fine on a bright sunny day, but during dawn and dusk they'll be very iffy, and indoors they'll be nearly useless without flash.

Hope this helps. Have a great time on your travels
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Old Mar 4, 2010, 10:01 PM   #3
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Welcome nhindallas. I had the same dilemna as you about a year ago. I had the 18-55, 50-200, 50, 70-300 and 28-80. I took the 28-80 on one of my vacations and found myself too many times wishing I had wider.

I eventually bought the Tamron 18-250 and haven't regretted it one bit. I had bought a used Pentax from someone locally that ended up having issues and I returned it. But, I think either one is fine. I love my Tamron 70-300 and the 18-250 is now always on my camera. Well, except that I recently bought a Zenitar 16mm that I've been enjoying playing around with.

You will find that the 18-200 is cheaper, but when I was doing my research kept finding minimal good reports on it. The 18-250 is definitely worth the extra $$. I tend to carry my 50mm 1.4 with me when I have the 18-250 on so if I do get into a low lit situation I am covered. It doesn't weight much, so isn't a bother to stick in the bottom of my bag.

Good luck with whatever you decide. You'll have to post some of your travel images here once you go.

Patty
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Old Mar 4, 2010, 10:50 PM   #4
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I would second the recommendations for the Tamron (or Pentax) 18-250 (or the more expensive Tamron 18-270 which has replaced it, and which has had excellent reviews), if you are taking only one lens - it is an excellent lens and gives you the versatility of the widest range of focal lengths. I have no experience with the Sigma, and so cannot comment on its quality.
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Old Mar 5, 2010, 6:23 AM   #5
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Have been very pleased with the results from my Tamron 18-250, purchased used from KEH. Good colors, sharp when stopped down a bit, and even does semi-macro. A good all-around lens...
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Old Mar 5, 2010, 6:46 AM   #6
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I carry my 18-55mm kit lens and my 50-500mm Sigma "bigma" lens. Goes from 18mm to 500mm and only two lenses. But if you are going to go with a 18-200 or an 18-250, I'd opt for the 18-250 as that little bit of extra zoom could come in handy. Also as suggested take a fast 50mm or 85mm for those low light indoor shots and for those portraits indoors or out.
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Old Mar 5, 2010, 7:43 AM   #7
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I own and use a Pentax DA 18-250 and am a big fan especially for travel. At f/8 it is great! It is light and compact and IQ is (IMHO) excellent for a zoom of that range.I think that Pentax has taken their 18-250 off the market and therefore you may not find a new lens for sale. However, it is said that the Pentax was made by Tamron. I think Tamron also makes a 18-270 if you are looking for even more reach!
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Old Mar 5, 2010, 12:31 PM   #8
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I would go with a pentax or the tamron over the sigma. It is a better lens then sigma. The tamron 18-270mm only fits canon and nikon I believe. It is a lens IS system.
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Old Mar 5, 2010, 1:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jelpee View Post
I own and use a Pentax DA 18-250 and am a big fan especially for travel. At f/8 it is great! It is light and compact and IQ is (IMHO) excellent for a zoom of that range.I think that Pentax has taken their 18-250 off the market and therefore you may not find a new lens for sale. However, it is said that the Pentax was made by Tamron. I think Tamron also makes a 18-270 if you are looking for even more reach!
The Tamron 18-250 is still in their line:

http://www.tamron.com/lenses/prod/all_in_one_zooms.asp
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