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View Poll Results: Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 or Pentax FA* 300mm F2.8?
Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 APO EX DG OS HSM 3257.14%
Pentax FA* 300mm F2.8 2442.86%
Voters: 56. You may not vote on this poll

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03-06-2011, 11:17 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
I had access to a K 50/1.2 for months and only used it briefly on two occasions because of the ugly colours it produced.
That is strange, I have a K 50mm f/1.2 and I rather enjoy it's rendering of colours, each to his own. I have a rather substantial collection of pentax glass and so far I haven't observed any unusual colour casts with older pentax M42 through to FA series lenses. But then again, colour perception can be quite different between two individuals. For instance, on average females tend to have better colour perception than males do.

When my Sigma 100-300mm f/4EX DG flares it appears as a yellow haze over part or the whole image. When a pentax lens flares it is usually either green or red - which makes images easier to recover by using the channel mixer. The number of lens elements also has a strong effect on the propensity of a lens to flare. For example, zoom lenses like the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II has 23 elements in it, The canon 200mm f/2.8L prime has only 9 elements the canon zoom lens is substantially more prone to flare additionally, it isn't quite as sharp as the prime at f/2.8. In fact the f/4 version of that canon zoom is regarded as being optically superior to the f/2.8 version.

03-07-2011, 12:15 AM   #17
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I think it highly depends on what you want to use the lens for. I'm mostly a prime shooter but for wildlife I will absolutely make the exception and carry a zoom. Its flexibility will always win for me.

So voted for the Sigma for the above reason.
03-07-2011, 02:35 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
For instance, on average females tend to have better colour perception than males do.
In a physical examination a doctor made a comment about my colour reception stating that I had an unusually high sensitivity to shades of blue, something that is not very common among males.

I'm not claiming that this explains my dissatisfaction with the K 50/1.2's colour rendition. I first thought the lens was defective in some way but then I recognised the family similarities between the older Pentax lenses I tried. They don't all have it to the same degree but I see it in all of them.

I accept that you have more experience with different forms of flare (and with different lenses in general). I trust that the Pentax flare works better for you. In general, however, I don't think that the quality of the lens coatings is very different.
03-07-2011, 02:58 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
In a physical examination a doctor made a comment about my colour reception stating that I had an unusually high sensitivity to shades of blue, something that is not very common among males.
Blue sensitivity is more common amongst young children, as we age our eyes shift from blues to the other end of the spectrum - red. I possess a rather bizarre colour balance inconsistency in my eyes: the left eye sees things with a very slight blue colour cast the other has more of a red/yellow colour cast. So It is safe to say that my colour perception isn't the greatest, but I certainly haven't heard any complaints when people are willing to shell out their hard earned money to buy my prints.

I just hope it isn't because people have never seen purple grass.

03-08-2011, 12:44 AM   #20
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Still only 5 votes apart. I really expected one of these two to shine, but I also expected more people to point out the virtues of the FA*
03-23-2011, 03:52 AM   #21
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read the cons but its the only one that covers the range i need so hopefully my technique + image editing skills can make up for the lens "shortcomings".

unless somehow C/N comes out with a 100-300mm f/2.8 at around the same price.
03-23-2011, 10:15 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
What I do know is that the coatings of all older Pentax lenses I tried a pretty horrible in comparison to the coatings on my Tamron and Sigma lenses. They create an odd green tinge that is hard to correct in PP, as if some colours were removed
I have a number of older pentax lenses and have never run across anything remotely like this.

QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
I had access to a K 50/1.2 for months and only used it briefly on two occasions because of the ugly colours it produced
The K 50/1.2 is the best lens I have ever used. It's in a league by itself and I would be shocked if either Tamron or Sigma ever produced a lens that equalled it.

QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
From my experience modern Sigma coatings blow the old SMC stuff out of the water.
Given how good the original SMC coatings are, this strikes me as rather implausible. I frequently use both old Pentax glass (mostly K series glass) and DA glass. With the DA lenses, I always use with hoods, while I rarely do so with the old Pentax glass. I can't distinguish any difference in coating performance between the older and the newer glass. My most contrasty lens is the K 28/3.5 (although my DA 12-24 and DA 10-17 are nearly as contrasty) and my lens which renders most beautifully is the K 50/1.2. If the Sigma coatings blow the old Pentax coatings out of the water, they should, by extrapolation, blow the DA coatings out of the water as well.
03-23-2011, 03:23 PM   #23
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I descided to go for the Sigma. I think my best/only choice for having 300mm/f2.8.

03-23-2011, 09:53 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
I didn't know that Sigma coatings leave a lot to be desired. I bet it escaped thousands of others as well. What I do know is that the coatings of all older Pentax lenses I tried a pretty horrible in comparison to the coatings on my Tamron and Sigma lenses. They create an odd green tinge that is hard to correct in PP, as if some colours were removed. Really bad for skin tones and foliage. I had access to a K 50/1.2 for months and only used it briefly on two occasions because of the ugly colours it produced. If my interest had been in B&W then it would have been fine. Other older Pentax lenses I tried (e.g., M135/3.5, M 85/2, K55/1.8) show a similar effect, not as strong as the 50/1.2 I had but still.
Interesting. I bet this escaped the thousands of users of the above mentioned lenses in addition to the sigma users.

Honestly, I have no idea what your talking about and I own/have owned every lens you mentioned.
04-01-2011, 08:06 PM   #25
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I have read all the review on the 120-300mm lens. I am not impressed in the least. If image quality is what counts and AF speed. Then the prime will kill the zoom. Also the reports of the 120-300 being sharper than the 300mm prime. Is hard to believe. I read most hear say about that, then some actual tests from germany. Where in high mp good cameras the 300mm prime kills the zoom.
I've got the prime in pentax mount and tested both.. in canon mount. No comparison for me. the prime wins. I bet the FA* would kill the zoom handily.
And the FA* would be better than the prime. But I personally would not have the FA*. A personal decision for me.

120-300mm sigma is a unique lens. alone in its field. Sigma is sitting where they want to be now. Rumors spread about 120-300 being a better lens. Every decent camera company makes a 300mm prime. they know they cannot compete. But the 120-300 rumors are making them $$$$ Perfect stratagy. Excellent smart....

But at 2.8 QC is a joke with sigma in my opinion. be prepaired to send it in for calibration.
My opinion, The new 120-300 will have to be tested and review by a good tester before i will make a plunge like that. Most of the current review of the 120-300 are hog wash.

Last edited by garyk; 04-01-2011 at 10:07 PM.
04-01-2011, 08:21 PM   #26
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Borno,, that really sucks. a very bad lens indeed. I see why you switched to canon. I am converting slowely. No hurry here. I have the sigma version. pretty sharp lens. That lens really needs service. One of the reasions i would never buy a used FA *.
04-01-2011, 08:39 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by garyk Quote
Borno,, that really sucks. a very bad lens indeed. I see why you switched to canon. I am converting slowely. No hurry here. I have the sigma version. pretty sharp lens. That lens really needs service. One of the reasions i would never buy a used FA *.
I am sure I would have been happy with the sigma if I would have known but the FA looked good in my camera.(should have taken a lap top when I tried it) I think good service is hard to come by now, unless it is something simple.
04-01-2011, 08:52 PM   #28
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Borno, even the sigma 300mm prime i had to have serviced three time before i was happy. I cannot imagine the stress that must have been for you. No one cares for my opinions here but at this level i really think canon is the best option. I have the 300mm and 500mm pentax mount. both really good lenses. But for the money?????? Canon for me, here on out in the super tele for sure.

Last edited by garyk; 04-01-2011 at 10:03 PM.
12-12-2011, 04:21 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
It seems to me that many prime designs are quite old and hard to improve, whereas zoom lenses improved in leaps and bounds since the 60's. The new Nikon 85/1.4, e.g., doesn't have a new optical formula. Many would describe the improvements of the DA* 55 over the FA 50/1.4 (very old design) not nearly as dramatic as between old and new zoom lenses. No one would have even begun to compare a zoom to a prime in the 60's.


I didn't know that Sigma coatings leave a lot to be desired. I bet it escaped thousands of others as well. What I do know is that the coatings of all older Pentax lenses I tried a pretty horrible in comparison to the coatings on my Tamron and Sigma lenses. They create an odd green tinge that is hard to correct in PP, as if some colours were removed. Really bad for skin tones and foliage. I had access to a K 50/1.2 for months and only used it briefly on two occasions because of the ugly colours it produced. If my interest had been in B&W then it would have been fine. Other older Pentax lenses I tried (e.g., M135/3.5, M 85/2, K55/1.8) show a similar effect, not as strong as the 50/1.2 I had but still.

From my experience modern Sigma coatings blow the old SMC stuff out of the water. Way more contrast and more natural colours.

Has anyone ever looked into the relationship between Pentax losing their advantage regarding lens coatings (the others caught up, you know) and losing its position as one of the top lens/camera manufacturers? Surely Pentax lost a lot of ground being late to the digital game but I wouldn't be surprised if their demise had some relationship to their lens coatings not being a unique selling proposition anymore.

BTW, I understand once lens coatings become decent their effect on lens flare are not significant. I believe all modern coatings from any major manufacturer are just fine regarding lens flare and the latter is dominated by optical design and the internal built of the lens.
Hoya helped Sigma with lens coatings even when they owned Pentax and I believe they still own Tokina. Perhaps someone can fill me in there? It seems that Pentax has been chewed up and spat out a lot over the years. Let's hope that Ricoh show more respect.
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