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07-14-2010, 06:57 AM   #16
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Hi,
I went through this recently and came to the following conclusion.
If you want/need a lens around 300mm you have 2 choices: 1) if you can afford about $1000-1200 go for DA*300 or Sigma 100-300, or 2) if you can not afford it go for DA55-300.
There's, of cource, the 3rd option of waiting and hunting for a used lens here, craigslist, ebay, etc.
Good luck with whatever you get.

07-14-2010, 08:13 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by olenl Quote
seeing all the 55-300 hype here on pentaxforums I find it hard to make a final decision based on the photozone.de reviews of 55-300 and tamron 70-300 lenses that clearly shows tamron a winner ...

are there any other tests elsewhere suggesting otherwise?

it's really hard to pay double for the inferior lens as people here suggesting ...
I think they were smoking grass that day.
07-14-2010, 09:29 AM   #18
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I asked similar questions here.

The DA 55-300 comes highly recommended. What I noticed however is that for its new price you can actually buy 3 used lenses and still have some change left. Even used, it's probably costlier than the FA 100-300 plus Tamron 70-300 and while it may be better than each (arguable in the case of the FA), it doesn't have the features that both add to the table - in particular the 1:2 magnification at the long end.

If money is no objection and you want one lens, go with the 55-300. If you want to use the lens on film as well, or you don't want to spend as much, check the FA or other older lenses like the Tamron SP 60-300.
07-14-2010, 10:31 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
I think they were smoking grass that day.
I think it's interesting that on the resolution end of things, the Tamron comes out on top. Though the 55-300 definitely takes the lead with CA on the long end(less than 1/2) over Tamron which effectively makes for better IQ also.

Without forking this discussion into another one, I wanted to ask if anyone had an oppinion on the Sigma 120-400 with regards to the DA* 300mm? I guess I'm wondering if there would be any benefit to the Sigma over the Pentax 300 prime as it has a little more reach etc. But more importantly... how it compares at 300mm?

07-14-2010, 06:23 PM   #20
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JB, these are the things to consider that would make your choices a lil bit easier.

1.> how much exactly you are willing to pay for a 300mm focal length?
2.> is f4 a requirement?
3.> is fast AF necessary?
4.> does size and weight matter?
5.> would you carry it all day?


personally, I would invest on a 55-300 and save the extra dough on an another lens. the thing is, the 55-300 is a very good and very capable lens that getting a premium prime or premium zoom just for IQ does not seem practical or reason enough spend the extra cash unless you are really after the built, HSM/SDM, and aperture speed. of course the higher end lenses have better IQ but it doesn't mean the the 55-300 is a slouch. it can deliver great images and much better than the kitlenses if that was your concern.

anyway, if budget wasn't an issue and if I were a rich fella and won't mind spending some crazy cash, I would had gotten an FA*300/4.5. because it is light and fast AF, fast aperture and has better IQ.

Last edited by Pentaxor; 07-15-2010 at 01:45 PM.
07-14-2010, 09:25 PM   #21
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Here is another option - Sigma 70-200/2.8 + 1.4x

I recently went through something similar - whether to get the DA55-300 or pony up for the DA*60-250?

After much internal debate, I ended up getting a 2nd-hand Sigma 70-200/2.8 APO EX (note: not the MkII/Macro). Actually I had been thinking about getting this lens since last year, and just happened to come across another copy recently.

The key in this equation is the 1.4x EX matched converter - making the Sigma into a 98-280/4. Due to the constant rain this week I haven't had a chance to try this out, but some users have reported that the IQ of this combo is just a small step from that of the Sigma 100-300/4, but at a lower cost and size/weight penalty.

And apparently with the 2.0x EX matched converter, the IQ is supposedly no worse than that of the Sigma 400 zooms.

The nice thing of course is without the matched converters you have the fast aperture (f2.8), which makes it nice for portraits.

The cons are the higher cost and size/weight compared to the DA55-300. Also, copies of the Sigma 70-200 EX/EX DG don't come up for sale that often (for good reason).

If you do decide to go this route, make sure you get the older EX or EX DG version of the 70-200/2.8, as the MkII/Macro have sacrificed IQ at 200mm to achieve the closer MFD and secondly, the Sigma matched converters are not compatible with HSM.

I hope this helps, and I'll try to post some samples later if the weather allows me to get out this weekend.
07-14-2010, 09:27 PM   #22
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I forgot to mention that the AF of the Sigma 70-200/2.8 EX is quite fast on my K20D - it's faster than my FA*200/2.8. It also seems to achieve focus lock better/more often.

Again, I haven't tested it with the 1.4x matched converter but I hope to report on this soon.
07-14-2010, 11:05 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by photogerald Quote
and secondly, the Sigma matched converters are not compatible with HSM.
The Sigma teleconverters are supposed to be compatible with the 70-200mm F2.8 II EX DG MACRO HSM. See the Sigma Teleconverter compatibility chart.

07-14-2010, 11:26 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
The Sigma teleconverters are supposed to be compatible with the 70-200mm F2.8 II EX DG MACRO HSM. See the Sigma Teleconverter compatibility chart.
Unfortunately, that chart is not entirely correct. See the following note from Sigma and an updated compatibility chart:

"SIGMA APO TELE CONVERTER 1.4x EX DG for Pentax mount and APO TELE CONVERTER 2x EX DG for Pentax mount are not compatible with lenses epuipped with HSM. Therefore, these Tele Converters cannot be used with the APO 50-150mm F2.8 II EX DC HSM for Pentax mount and APO 70-200mm F2.8 II EX DG MACRO HSM for Pentax mount."

Notice to customers using Sigma Tele Converters for Pentax mount | sigmaphoto.com

Tele Converter matching list
07-15-2010, 10:33 AM   #25
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Strange - the note and the second list you provided seem to contradict each other. In the list, if I am reading it right, there are several HSM lenses that are marked as working on Pentax. It's true that the 70-200 MACRO HSM is marked as not working, but other HSM lenses are shown to keep AF with the teleconverters.

Looks like their guidance is a mess anyway.
07-15-2010, 11:15 AM   #26
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The 55-300 is truly a very good lens that Pentaxians are fortunate to have available to them. It also happens to be a screaming bargain. The only reason I sold mine is because I desired (and was willing to pay for) that last little bit of sharpness and detail that you get with a lens like the Sigma 100-300, which was my choice. It has been worth it to me but I'm sure that not everyone would feel that way.
07-15-2010, 11:23 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by JohnBee Quote
In preparation to complete my Pentax lens kit this year, I was wondering if anyone else feels the DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8 ED is the ultimate choice just short of the DA* 300mm f/4 ED?
If you are talking merely about new lenses, with used lenses taken out of the equation, the 55-300 does appear the best choice after the DA* 300. However, there are some older, 300 primes (e.g., the M and A series 300 f4 lenses) which are clearly superior to the 55-300 yet don't cost as much as the DA* 300. The main problem with the 55-300 is that it not as compelling a lens at 300mm as it is between 55-200, so that if you are primarily buying it for 300, you may be better off exploring your options in used 300 primes.
07-15-2010, 02:15 PM   #28
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Go to Pentax Photo Gallery and you can look at images by lens. The 55-300 ED is well represented. It's much sharper at 300mm than any of the similarly oe lower priced Tamrons and Sigmas. And if you are buying a 300, being sharp at 200 isn't as important as 300. I use my 55-300 mostly at the long end, then the next most used length is 55.
07-15-2010, 05:49 PM   #29
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I thinkthat the 55-300 coupled with the high ISO of a K-x is a superb combo as it is sufficient for high school gyms.

With other cameras it is too slow for most indoor flashless work.
07-15-2010, 06:10 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by newarts Quote
I thinkthat the 55-300 coupled with the high ISO of a K-x is a superb combo as it is sufficient for high school gyms.

With other cameras it is too slow for most indoor flashless work.
I think it would just be a matter of time where slow lenses would be as capable as fast lenses in such demanding situations. although fast lenses will always be there and of demand as usual for their DOF and IQ purposes.
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