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07-13-2010, 08:52 PM   #1
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Opinion needed on 55-300mm

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?

And.. if not... what recommendations would you have and why?

07-13-2010, 08:54 PM   #2
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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?

And.. if not... what recommendations would you have and why?
I'm not sure about ultimate but it's a remarkable lens for the money. Look around in the galleries. You'll see it's potential.
07-13-2010, 09:06 PM   #3
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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?

And.. if not... what recommendations would you have and why?
Let me put it to you this way. That's the lens I used until I got the DA* 300mm f4. Its optically a good zoom. The only complaints I had was that it wasn't IF, and the f5.8 at 300mm. The aperture is understandable for a lens that small though.
07-13-2010, 09:06 PM   #4
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There are probably 10 other threads about it. All agree it's probably the best xx-300mm bang for under $350.

07-13-2010, 09:10 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
There are probably 10 other threads about it. All agree it's probably the best xx-300mm bang for under $350.
Don't know if there was room for this, but is there anything you would recommend above the $350 mark?
07-13-2010, 09:29 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by JohnBee Quote
Don't know if there was room for this, but is there anything you would recommend above the $350 mark?
How much above the $350 mark? There is the DA* 60-250mm/4 and the Sigma 100-300mm/4 but those are above DA* 300 territory. (I've gone through this in January ).
07-13-2010, 09:51 PM   #7
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Subscribed for interest.. Same boat here.. And like the OP, looking at options *slightly* about the $350 mark.. Is there anything out there that's a worthwhile improvement over the 55-300 DA, able to be had for a little more? Or is there quite a large gap - I.e. some of the $700 US lenses that have been previously recommended I would consider to be a large gap.
07-13-2010, 10:44 PM   #8
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The reviews of the 55-300mm in the database may mention some other possibilities. I have the 55-300mm and it is a great lens. I don't know that you'd find anything above the $350, but below the $700 range though, that would make it worth spending the extra money. My plan is to keep using the 55-300mm, which I can use successfully hand held, until I save up enough for a *200 or *300mm lens. The lens is plenty sharp, with good contrast and color rendition. I think folks tend to discount it because it isn't an SDM lens, but I frankly don't miss the anxiety that goes with having an SDM lens and wondering if, or when, the motor will croak on me. I do notice that not many 55-300mm lenses are found for sale in the market place at any one time. The folks that have it seem to be pretty satisfied with it, or we'd likely see more of them up for sale there.


Last edited by loveisageless; 07-13-2010 at 10:47 PM. Reason: Add a thought.
07-14-2010, 03:03 AM   #9
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The down sides of the DA 55-300 are that it is slow on the long end and tends to be slow auto focusing. I often find that it misses focus and will cycle all the way from end of the focus range to other. That said, I got mine for a little less than 300 dollars after a rebate and it is amazing in decent lighting. With the Kx, it seems that the meaning of the words "decent lighting" has changed somewhat and made the DA 55-300 useful in a lot more situations.
07-14-2010, 04:01 AM   #10
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If you have the money, 60-250 does a nice job. It is freaking heavy thou.
Focus is lightning fast, good colors and contrast, undetectable fringing.
You get what you pay for.
07-14-2010, 04:26 AM   #11
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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 ...
07-14-2010, 04:30 AM   #12
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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 ...
Ignore the reviews, look at the examples and listen to the people that actually shoot with the lens. The 55-300 blows the Tamron and Sigma 70-300's away..
07-14-2010, 04:43 AM   #13
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The 55-300 trumps the Tamron 70-300 by all accounts.

If you want to pay less, get your hands on a used FA 100-300 f4,7-f5,8. No CA, plenty sharp, good colours, reliable (but loud ) AF.

In my humble opinion, the two best xx-300 zooms for Pentax are the FA 100-300 f4,7 (NOT the f4,5) and the 55-300. I would not be getting anything else. and as long as I don't get too bothered by the 100 mm lower limit, I'll be keeping my FA.

The 300* is in anotherr league, regarding colours, and more importantly max aperture. But in the consumer range there's nothing above the 55-300.

One last option : you could also lay your hands on a used Vivitar series 1 70-210, which would come near the 60-250 in terms of quality, would be slightly faster in terms of aperture, but would be MF.
07-14-2010, 06:33 AM   #14
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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'd say the tests show these two lenses to be comparable to the point that the tests don't really factor in. However, the price of the Tamron is a screaming bargain if it really does perform up to the DA55-300 in the real world. I got my DAL55-300 in a package with the K-x, where all the components were a bargain when purchased together.

One other aspect of the DA55-300 that may or may not be a factor is that it is a decent lens on film. I don't know whether, how or at what apertures the Tammy covers full frame, but I've gotten some nice shots with the DA55-300 and my SuperProgram.
07-14-2010, 06:52 AM   #15
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I prefer the FA135/2.8 for the nice bright image in the viewfinder, faster autofocus, f/2.8 aperture and taking less space in my bag. I prefer the DA 55-300 for it's zoom capabilities and its 300mm reach. I love both and they complement each other well, but I only choose to take one of them depending on which virtues I wish to have for the day.
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