We've had our copy of the new HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED WR for a bit now with our in-depth review in the works. Unfortunately, the publication of the review had to be postponed until after the New Year. Already bursting at the seams at 15 total pages and over 100 embedded photos of in-depth analysis and comparisons, we promise the wait will be worth it. In the meantime, we wanted to share with you a very brief run-down of our first impressions as well as the sample photos already taken with the new HD 55-300 coupled with a K-3. Let us also take a moment to compare the new "HD" lens to its predecessor, the SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED.
What Didn't Change
- General Image Quality
The size is exactly the same as that of the old lens, which is a good thing! The 55-300mm is quite the compact zoom for what it can do, and we happy that it's part of the Pentax lens line-up. What we aren't so happy with, is the screw-driven autofocus. We'll touch on it more in-depth in the review and how it compares to the premium DA* 60-250's much quieter SDM, but suffice it to say, there is no difference in AF between the SMC and HD variants. Some may have been worried the addition of weather sealing would have slowed it down. Nope - not at all. And lastly, the bokeh has stayed the same, and in the review we will compare not only the SMC vs HD bokeh (just prove this), but also the HD vs DA* 60-250's bokeh to see what the difference is between the two.
Continue on after the break to see what changed, a quick comparison of the DA* 60-250 F4, and also a gallery of sample photos already taken with the HD 55-300 WR on a Pentax K-3.
If you need a last-minute present for the holidays, or if you're just looking to score one of the latest Pentax cameras at a great price, don't miss this one-day sale from B&H! Save up to $140 on the Pentax K-50, K-500, and GR and get free overnight shipping (USA only) plus bonus gift code rewards and/or extras.
These deals are valid only through the end of 2013. Click on the links in the table below to shop:
A mid-range weather-sealed DSLR.
Includes DA L 18-55mm
Includes DA L 18-55mm & 50-200mm
Includes DA L 18-55mm WR
Includes DA L 18-55mm WR & 50-200mm WR
Includes DA 18-135mm WR with silent AF
DSLR-grade image quality in a truly-pocketable camera. Special includes free case & card.
Have questions about any of these cameras? Don't hesitate to post in our DSLR Discussion forum!
Note: the lower price of $479 for the K-50 is to make up for last week's mishap (the $499 deal was pulled earlier in error).
Artists of any medium, whether it's photography, painting, cinematography, or otherwise, spend a great deal of time composing their images, often adhering to strict guidelines that have proven to enhance the power of a photograph and make it more naturally appealing to the viewer's eye. Arguably the most basic and fundamental of these compositional standards, and thus usually the first learned by aspiring photographers and artists, is the "Rule of Thirds."
In the above image, it's clear that both the horizon line and the center of the tree are placed very deliberately in certain parts of the photo. Read on to discover exactly why that is!
Editorial Note: In conjunction with the recently announced December Monthly Photography Contest, we thought it would be the perfect time to debut the second installment of the Pentax Forums Snap Tutorials! Aptly named (at least we think so), because the name is in fact a double entendre. In a photographic context, 'snap' is obvious. The other meaning refers to simplicity, brevity, etc., and that's just what these are - quick informative little guides to introduce you to a topic of photography that you may not have been previously aware of. Our first tutorial focused on 'Negative Space,' exploring how best to capitalize on not just the subject, but the contrasting void around it as well.
The Pentax K-3 flagship has made it to DPReview's "Best DSLR of 2013" poll, and it is currently in the lead! The full list of contenders in the poll is as follows:
- Canon SL1
- Canon T5i
- Canon 70D
- Nikon Df
- Nikon D5300
- Nikon D7100
- Pentax K-3
- Pentax K-50
- Pentax K-500
- Sony SLT-A58
So, if you love the K-3 and think it deserves to be honored as the best DSLR of the year, don't forget to vote in the poll here (you will need a DPReview account to proceed). With numerous class-leading specifications and innovative features, the K-3 is the perfect candadiate for the title.
To learn more about the K-3, visit our Pentax K-3 Review.
Pentax has just released its first firmware update (v1.01) for the K-3. It is available for download here.
According to Pentax this is what you get:
- Shorter processing time for HDR Capture
- Improved performance of continuous shooting when using phase-detect autofocus
- Extended display time for enlarged live view
- Improved stability for general performance
In other words, this firmware addresses a number of minor bugs in the camera rather than introducing new features. Check out the Pentax K-3 forum to see who will be the first user to report experience with the update!
Read on for instructions on installing the firmware update.
My friend and I decided to drive to the mountains, in San Bernardino, here in Switzerland to shoot the night sky. It was the first cold night of the ending summer but with my Pontiac Trans Am and some great ‘80s music the night was on fire.
After about 45 minutes of driving we were there, in the front of the small lake and the Milky Way, everything was perfect for a great shoot session, like the warm lake that created a constant moving fog, the short woody dock and the swamp (my poor shoes after discovering that it wasn’t only grass). Between every snaps the moment was perfect to tell horror stories, maybe the best one for the location was “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” and the like.
After an hour of shooting and wet foot we decided to drive back home, but the show wasn’t over: in the middle of the trip something very bright cracked the sky, it took me few seconds to realize that it was a shooting star. What to say…amazing night!
The final picture is made from two photographs, one to capture the Milky Way done with a “short” exposure (20 s) and another one with a long exposure (195 s) to reveal the foreground. The lens that I used to shoot was the kit lens used at f3.5 and quite high ISOs. The post processing took me a little bit of time to blend both pictures together and to reveal the Milky Way.
20 s, F3.5, ISO 6400
195 s, F3.5, ISO 3200
|Click any thumbnail to enlarge and browse|
Greetings from Switzerland,
We are very happy to announce the publication of our in-depth review of the SMC Pentax-DA* 200mm, a fast telephoto prime that's part of Pentax's premium telephoto lens lineup together with the DA* 300mm F4. Although the 200mm is an excellent performer overall, it did not impress us quite as much as the 300mm, its longer cousin.
Our in-depth review section now contains reviews of all six DA* lenses and all but three DA lenses. We plan on publishing the missing reviews (DA 18-55mm, HD DA 55-300mm, HD DA 20-40mm) before the end of the year. We will fully complete our in-depth review section with a review of the FA 43mm lens in early 2014.
We hope that this review as well as those posted earlier will help you make the right lens choices based on your needs!
To counter the recent free grip offer from Pentax, B&H has just launched a tempting weekend special on the Pentax K-3 consisting of the camera body, a free 50mm F1.8 lens, 32Gb memory card, and a sling bag. In addition, B&H is offering free shipping and 4% back in gift card rewards (almost $50). All these extras come at no extra charge, as the camera is still just $1296.
Learn more about the Pentax K-3 flagship in our in-depth review.