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Possible alternatives to the Sigma DC 17-70 f/2.8-4.5 zoom

Discussion in 'Pentax Chat' started by Monobod, Apr 10, 2013.

  1. Monobod

    Monobod Phantom of the forum

    I have been using this lens now for quite some time. I have mixed feelings about it. The zoom range is very useful for general out and about photography, but I am not that convinced about image quality.

    Pentax offer a similar lens, the 17-70 f/4. I understand that this may be based on the TAMRON, but I'm not sure. I saw one review somewhere that said it was not as good as the Sigma, but does anyone have a suggestion for a lens that would be a better replacement. A shorter zoom range at the long end would not be a problem.

    As I am patiently awaiting the long hoped for FF body, so I would prefer to only consider a lens that was itself FF. can't contemplate changing yet again when the time comes, if it ever does..........
  2. AlexMonro

    AlexMonro Old Grand Part Deux

    I don't think you're going to find many choices for full frame coverage in a 17-70. The closest option is probably the Tamron 28-75/2.8, which seems to perform well, according to the reviews I've seen - see SLRgear here.
  3. Monobod

    Monobod Phantom of the forum

    Thanks for that, I think you are correct, the Choice is restricted.

    I already have the Pentax 28-105 f/4-5.6 power zoom, which covers a similar range to the Tamron. This, along with my Pentax 70-210 f/4 one touch zoom, is probably my best two lenses, as they are sharp and have excellent contrast. Both are full frame of course. On my Z1-P film body these were in constant use.

    The 17-70 is equivalent to 26 to 105 in 35mm terms, so on a FF body the power zoom would be back in use as my every day lens. On the K-5 it is just a touch too long.

    Being 'old school' film lenses means that they have been engineered to a higher standard for dealing with chromatic aberration and sharpness. This was necessary because it cannot be corrected post production with film as it can in software with digital lenses.

    I'm just going to have to wait for Pentax to make good with the FF body. Then there will be the problem of paying for it of course! :(
  4. dangie

    dangie Senior Knobhead

    I also have the same Sigma 17-70 which I use on a K10D and K-5. Like you I really can't make up my mind if it is an excellent lens or not. Mostly the images are very good but occasionally (similar aperture, shutter speed, ISO etc) the same quality just isn't there. Maybe it's my old age and wobbly legs.
  5. AlexMonro

    AlexMonro Old Grand Part Deux

    I think that's going to be the big problem with finding a lens for FF and crop. Anything feasible for FF is going to be too long for your current kit. You might find a used Sigma 17-35 2.8-4, but the zoom range is a bit limited. I see SRS have one in excellent condition at £199. Ephotozine review here.

    Despite recent rumours, I think there might still be a bit of a wait. Maybe sometime next year, and I wouldn't be surprised if you have to find a couple of grand.
  6. Done_rundleCams

    Done_rundleCams AP Forum Ambassador to Canada

    Hi David,

    For a FullFramer, I would suggest the same as has already been
    suggested ... CLICK HERE TO SEE

    As for the Pentax 17-70/4, I would have thought it was based on the Sigma 17-70
    lens, simply, due to the focal length. And, should PentaxRicohCanada lightning
    hit PentaxRicohUK, you might have a price reduction coming and, over here, the DA17-70/4 dropped $120.00 CDN .... still a tad high(ish) in my opinion but definitely better :)


  7. Monobod

    Monobod Phantom of the forum

    I think mine needs calibration with respect to focus issues. Some images of 'still life' taken at a distance of about 1.5M or so are definitely a bit soft. Not enough to be rejected, but still not up to scratch. Doing the same shot with the 28-105 power zoom shows the Sigma is softish.
  8. Monobod

    Monobod Phantom of the forum

    Hello Jack,

    The Tamrom is the same wide as my Pentax 28-105, so it would not be any help. There is the 31mm F/1.8 FA AL Limited prime, but it is over a grand......ouch. ;)

    Also, of course, on the K-5 it would be 46mm, so no help either.

    I will sit on my hands and make do with what I have and see what develops. I really need to just get off my butt and go out with the camera and take photos. :)
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2013
  9. AlexMonro

    AlexMonro Old Grand Part Deux

    I'd be very surprised. All the Sigma 17-70s have been variable aperture.

    We can live in hope... :)
  10. johnriley1uk

    johnriley1uk Well-Known Member

    Pentax offer various lenses that might suit. The 16-45mm, if you can still fine one, is excellent. The 17-70mm also has an excellent reputation, although I've not tried that one. The 18-135mm is a personal favourite, making nice sharp, wiry images that look really good.

    Tests on these lenses only tell part of the story and, for example, the 18-135mm gets mixed reviews. It has superb contrast and MTF20 figures, at the expense of finer detail as shown in the MTF50 results. However, this is a characteristic of the way it's designed, a set of choices if you will. Highly recommended for its pictorial qualities.

    Wherein lies a problem of course. No doubt the reassurance of staggering test results makes sales, but lenses have a character, a look. When you find a lens that has the look we like, then that's a winner.
  11. Monobod

    Monobod Phantom of the forum

    Thank you John, but the 18-135 is APS-C of course. I will check the focus calibration on the Sigma and see what that reveals. I can't justify spending over £500 on a new lens that will not work on my Z1-p or a future FF digital.

    I still take colour trannies and scan the results occasionally, just for the discipline of getting it right in camera. Mind you, it doesn't always work out! :(
  12. Done_rundleCams

    Done_rundleCams AP Forum Ambassador to Canada

    Hi David,

    My reply to a fellow who, like yourself, is eagerly awaiting a FF Pentax DSLR:

    So, maybe, hanging on to some of the DA lenses wouldn't be a
    bad idea :)


    Last edited: Apr 13, 2013
  13. Monobod

    Monobod Phantom of the forum

    Hello jack,

    If that were to be added as a feature, I think it would be more as a marketing tool aimed at those Pentax owners who only own DA lenses of which there must be many. It would greatly widen the appeal of the FF body and promote more sales, which would be a good thing.

    On the other hand, I have only two DA lenses, both Sigma, the 10-20 and the 17-70. It would be great to be able to continue with the 10-20 EX, which is a cracking good lens, so I would welcome the feature. The 17-70 would become redundant, as I could use my current Pentax 28-105 F/4-5.6 power zoom instead.

    I would also hope that the FF body would be able to focus at f/8, as in the Nikon, because I have the Sigma 100-300 F/4 and the 1.4x (F/5.6) and 2.0x (F/8.0) converters. Fantastic to be able to use these in autofocus......wow. Gets exciting doesn't it.

    The weather here is holding up, still sunny and warm in the East, so planning on a trip to the Norfolk coast this week, possibly Friday.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2013
  14. Done_rundleCams

    Done_rundleCams AP Forum Ambassador to Canada

    Hi David,

    That "f/8" thing would, indeed, be nice, although, it would only work for half of you 28-105 :rolleyes:. But, seriously, it would be magic for your Sigma 100-300 :cool:

    Sounds like we're both getting some decent "weekend" weather ........ for a change :)

    Cheers and have a great weekend :)

  15. Monobod

    Monobod Phantom of the forum

    Yes, well I went to Titchwell Marsh RSPB reserve last Friday with a friend, but the morning was dull and with a cold North Easterly wind. The birds were mostly grounded, asleep with heads under wings. The afternoon saw some sunshine with a bit more activity. Got a couple of images of Pink Legged Geese, Shelducks and a Robin (see Flickr).

    It is a great place though, if the conditions are right. The Warden said everything was about four to six weeks late, due to the cold.
  16. Done_rundleCams

    Done_rundleCams AP Forum Ambassador to Canada

    That Robin is a beauty David :) Sounds like your Marsh is like the Reifel Centre over here :D


  17. harry_bee

    harry_bee Well-Known Member

    I've seen a Pentax 17-70 locally for £250gbp. Assuming this is fully working, is this a good buy? I have been struggling with a kit lens for too long but the reviews for this lens suggest it has reliability issues and this is not for sale in a regular camera shop.

    I see nobody seems to have experienced both the Sigma and the Pentax.

    Would I be better off going for a new prime in search of affordable sharpness? I am going on holiday soon and was thinking to rent a 12-24 which is otherwise affordable. I want sharp pictures but I don't know if putting that money to a 17-70 that might let me down is a good plan.

    I would welcome opinions!
  18. Monobod

    Monobod Phantom of the forum

    Do you have NIK Colour Efex Pro 4? If you do, it does wonders for a slightly soft image! The Detail Extractor filter option is the one to try.

    if you want to reduce the efect, select the conversion layer and reduce the 'Fill' to, say 85% or whatever.

    Also, if you have Silver Efex Pro 2, you can use that to enhance your image, then, after conversion in PS, you get a file with two layers. SEP and Background. Select the top layer (SEP) and change the blend mode to 'Luminance'. It puts the colour back.

    Who needs sharp lenses any more!
  19. Done_rundleCams

    Done_rundleCams AP Forum Ambassador to Canada

    Exactly, David ... I'm just looking for/trying to get ... sharp images :D


  20. Monobod

    Monobod Phantom of the forum

    In the end, it is the image that matters, not how you get there.

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