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05-08-2010, 08:29 PM   #1
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55-300mm vs. 70-300mm: Need Advice...

Looking to buy my first DSLR and am leaning towards the Kx. Now the question is, do I get the Kx 2 lens kit that comes with the 18-55 & 55-300 or do I get the 18-55 kit lens and buy the 70-300 Tamron as an add on lens. Here is how the costs/details break down:


Combo #1 (18-55 & 55-300) will cost $679.95 all-in.
2nd Lens: DA L 55-300mm Zoom Lens f/4.0-5.8


Combo #2 (18-55 & Tamron 70-300) will cost $628.90
2nd Lens: AF 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 Di LD Macro Zoom Lens


Is the 55-300 lens $50 better than the 70-300? Am I losing out on much by going with the less expensive route? Is there anything (situation, etc) that I will be able to do with the first that I won't be able to do w/ the second

Any help/insights I can get are very much appreciated.

05-08-2010, 08:40 PM   #2
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In my opinion, combo #1 is the way to go. Look, both lenses (either the 55-300 or the 70-300) will get you a decent, affordable telezoom and on paper look very similar. The DA 55-300 has an excellent reputation and if you do some quick searching in the "lens "section of this forum along with "post your photos", I think you will find many, many positive things about this lens from owners. From what I gather, this may be the best affordable/budget lens to have been released by Pentax since the FA50/1.4. Re-sale on the 55-300 should be better as well, especially if you decide to upgrade completely in the future and have all matching gear.
Ultimately, you can take the same photos with either lens. One is not necessarily going to be any more advantageous than the other and spec-wise, very similar. If you go on reputation and performance alone, the extra $50 will be a small investment for a rather sizable advantage of choosing a superior lens. What you do with it from there is up to you.


A little reading and comparing from owners in this forum..

https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/SMC-Pentax-DA-55-300mm-F4-5.8-Zoom-Lens.html and https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/SMC-Pentax-DAL-55-300mm-F4-5.8-Zoom-Lens.html - Pentax 55-300
and
https://www.pentaxforums.com/userreviews/showproduct.php?product=353&cat=76 - Tamron 70-300

Good luck and enjoy your new gear!

Jason
05-09-2010, 06:35 AM   #3
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yes, the 55-300 is better than the Tamron, especially between 280 and 300mm (you have to keep the Tamron at 280mm or below for best sharpness) and I think it's worth $50 more...
05-09-2010, 06:48 AM   #4
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x3 vote for the option #1. The 55-300 is a sweet lense

05-09-2010, 06:57 AM   #5
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Also resale of the 55-300mm is ALOT higher than the 70-300mm.

Also 55 is alot wider and more useful than 70mm. It will allow you to use it almost a lot more without switching lenses.

But don't feel you need to have every focal length covered with a lens. This is a classic beginners mistake (I made it) and you really need to almost double the lens length to see a marked difference in FOV (i.e. the classic 15-35mm + 70-200mm as a two lens set).
05-09-2010, 07:13 AM   #6
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Hey I popped this over to the Lens forum as your question is really more about the lenses than the camera itself. Good luck with your decision!
05-09-2010, 08:19 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by InfinitySL Quote
Is the 55-300 lens $50 better than the 70-300? Am I losing out on much by going with the less expensive route? Is there anything (situation, etc) that I will be able to do with the first that I won't be able to do w/ the second.
As an owner of both lenses, I would definitely recommend buying the Pentax lens. The differences are:
- Pentax 55-300 has nicer colour and contrast (punchier looking photos)
- Pentax has a more useful range (55 vs 70 mm)
- Pentax is sharper wide open at 300mm
- Tamron has greater magnification (1:2 vs 1:3.6)
- Tamron more prone to purple fringing
- Pentax corrected for distortion and CA in newer bodies

Spend the $50, you won't regret it. The 55-300 has a regular spot in my kit bag. I only keep the Tamron for backup and to loan to my wife or daughter. Add a Raynox DCR-150 later for real macro magnifications, not 1:2 semi-macro.
05-09-2010, 12:56 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the feedback - Went with the Kx kit w/ 2 lenses -- Should arrive from B&H by Wednesday since I'm right across the river from their headquarters...Can't wait!

05-09-2010, 01:29 PM   #9
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I would recommend the 55-300mm as well. This was posted to day with it @ 300mm, f8, 1/500, ISO 200.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/100853-nature-red-bellie...ther-bird.html

There are some other examples in the DA zoom club thread.
05-09-2010, 06:02 PM   #10
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Enjoy the 55-300, fine lens for its range. It is almost as good as the 60-250 for lot less$$$.
You are lucky to live so close to B&H..
Cheers, Mike.
05-10-2010, 07:44 AM   #11
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At normal nonbundled prices, I'd reccommend the Tamron for its "bang for the buck", sold separately it's on the order of half the price of the Pentax 55-300.

However, at $50 difference - unless you need the close-focusing features of the Tamron, go for the Pentax.
05-10-2010, 07:46 PM   #12
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... a 55-300mm 'plug'.... i've had my version for quite some time now.... and once i learned how to use it... it has been a dream for a shooter like me.... an avid amateur on a budget... good color rendition, sharp when shooting around f8 or so.... and when reviewing the more expensive competition, realized that the performance of the 55-300 is quite the bargain, without sacrificing quality results..... dave m
05-10-2010, 08:13 PM   #13
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The 55-300mm is great fro day time football games.

Pass . . .


Toss sweep . . .


Forward pass . . .


Penalty flag on the punt . . .

05-10-2010, 08:18 PM   #14
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Last edited by Blue; 05-10-2010 at 10:06 PM.
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