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03-18-2011, 06:09 AM   #16
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As a travel lens it can't be beat. Couple that with your kit lens and you've got 18-300 covered. Throw in a 50 1.7 and you're good for whatever hits you. It's not a pro quality lens, but I was happy with it for years. I'm guessing I've had mine 5 years now. I still can't get used to the weight of the DA*60-250. There are walks where it stays home. This lens is light enough to throw in the bag and go. I guess it's good to get in shape, I just cover a lot of ground between photo ops. It's a nice lens to have in the bag for hikes, where if you don't see anything to use it for, you're aching shoulders aren't yelling at you for causing them pain for nothing.

03-20-2011, 03:58 AM   #17
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/60712897@N06/5542689684/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/60712897@N06/5542689682/

I was waiting for my Pentax FA 55-300 to arrive to test these side by side.
Fist I must say with Sigma I had hell of a hard time to get stabile shot. Pentax did this at the first try. I do not know why this is so. I shot hand held leaning on the window. Out os 4-6 shots Pentax succeeded almost every time, Sigma just once.
People are saying that Sigma is nice and light to carry on a trip. I have not weighted these but Sigma is almost twice as heavy as Pentax.
Pentax cost me twice the amount I paid for Sigma.
Pentax has no macro although Sigma does not have it in reality either.
So I am much happier with Pentax, its lighter, easier to get good shot, extra range 55 v. 70, better color.
So I hope to get the same money for my Sigma I paid initially, but I doubt.

Last edited by vanakaru; 03-20-2011 at 04:04 AM.
03-20-2011, 04:06 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
As a travel lens it can't be beat.
To my opinion Pentax FA 55-300 beats Sigma in almost every aspect. Ecept price.
03-20-2011, 05:54 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by vanakaru Quote
To my opinion Pentax FA 55-300 beats Sigma in almost every aspect. Ecept price.
Pentax made a FA 55-300??? Don't recall that model. I know there is a FA 100-300, in which the Sigma is better from what the reviews say. If you are referring to the DA 55-300 then yeah the Pentax is better there was not even a doubt in anyone's mind on that.

Weight wise the Sigma will be heavier. It's got a metal mount and good solid plastic shell. Sorry your having such a had time with the Sigma though. I find mine pretty good handheld.

03-20-2011, 06:40 AM   #20
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QuoteQuote:
To my opinion Pentax FA 55-300 beats Sigma in almost every aspect. Ecept price.
For a lot of people price is all that matters. For a lot of people they are going to eat peanut butter sandwiches for a month or two to get this lens. And I'm guessing anyone who has more money and wants sharper images is going to go to another lens anyway.

Anyone who expects to get good shots with a 300mm lens... I have one word for you.... tripod.

If you're going to compare lenses on the forum, I have a word for you.. tripod.

If the gods of camera motion blur favoured one lens over another, that's of no interest to me. I know they can ruin 6 straight shots and then give you 6 good ones in a row, with the same lens. Asking me to believe they aren't involved in a hand held test of 12 shots would be just too crazy.. especially on a 300mm lens. My practice for shooting hand held at 300mm would be shoot as many as you can, hope one turns out. After you've got 10 or so exposures, at least 4 of which look good, get out the tripod and do it right.

There is just no way to guarantee a good shot hand held at 300mm or greater. You're throwing yourself at the mercy of the gods, or taking advantage of blind luck.

Last edited by normhead; 03-20-2011 at 06:53 AM.
03-20-2011, 10:17 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
For a lot of people price is all that matters. For a lot of people they are going to eat peanut butter sandwiches for a month or two to get this lens. And I'm guessing anyone who has more money and wants sharper images is going to go to another lens anyway.

Anyone who expects to get good shots with a 300mm lens... I have one word for you.... tripod.

If you're going to compare lenses on the forum, I have a word for you.. tripod.

If the gods of camera motion blur favoured one lens over another, that's of no interest to me. I know they can ruin 6 straight shots and then give you 6 good ones in a row, with the same lens. Asking me to believe they aren't involved in a hand held test of 12 shots would be just too crazy.. especially on a 300mm lens. My practice for shooting hand held at 300mm would be shoot as many as you can, hope one turns out. After you've got 10 or so exposures, at least 4 of which look good, get out the tripod and do it right.

There is just no way to guarantee a good shot hand held at 300mm or greater. You're throwing yourself at the mercy of the gods, or taking advantage of blind luck.
I completely agree with this. From the old rules of photography, your suppose to use 1/focal length shutter speed as the minimum for okay shots without blur. With our cropped sensors you also have to account for the 1.5x multiple. At 300mm your shutter speed should be 1/450 sec. Even on a good day that is hard to achieve.
03-20-2011, 03:28 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by epqwerty Quote
I completely agree with this. From the old rules of photography, your suppose to use 1/focal length shutter speed as the minimum for okay shots without blur. With our cropped sensors you also have to account for the 1.5x multiple. At 300mm your shutter speed should be 1/450 sec. Even on a good day that is hard to achieve.
That "rule" is only a guideline and it predates (so it doesn't take into consideration) features like SR and burst shooting, which increase the probability of getting a keeper using low shutter speeds. For example here's a shot I got with a 500mm mirror, handheld, at 1/25 shutter speed:



I got a burst of 3-5 shots and this one was somewhere in the middle - the first and the last were blurred due to me pressing/releasing the shutter, but this one came just right.

But I agree that for tests to compare performance of lenses, a tripod should always be used, to guarantee similar stabilization conditions. Plus, mirror lock and remote shutter release to prevent any vibrations from mirror/shutter press. And SR off.
03-20-2011, 05:04 PM   #23
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Dunno, I got great results with it: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/107262-machinery-vintage...a-airshow.html

Every one of those photos were taken with the lens.

03-20-2011, 10:33 PM   #24
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All of the shots I posted on the first page are taken handheld although the frog shot was most likely stabalized on a rock on the ground as I remember taking that shot laying on my belly perpendicular to my mom's pond. Also, for that shot the ISO was 3200, the rest are in the 200-800 range though.
03-21-2011, 05:56 AM   #25
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I can post a lot of great hand held shots as well, but, I also remember a series of shots in one of my texts, taken with a 35mm SLR and blown up to 11x14. The blur from hand shake was evident right up to 1000th of a second. It isn't about getting a clean shot at 4x6.

But on this topic, a great compromise is a mono-pod. It doubles as a walking stick, gives you great stability without being as cumbersome as a tripod, and much easier to get around with. After trying one out for a few days, I'm more like to suggest SR and IS have made a monopod a replacement for a tripod as opposed to going all the way to hand held. My wife and I were out at the local Pow Wow grounds the other day, me with my tripod and her with her monopod. She was able to get shots just as crisp with the monopod as I did with the tripod. She was using a Tameon 90 and I was using a DA*60-250. The lenses are very similar in IQ, and so were the pictures. I should have bought two of those monopods, now she thinks it is hers and I'm sh!t outta luck.

One other caveat, my tripods are all fairly lightweight because I carry them over distance. I've noticed that in a wind, the tripod vibrates at a speed that SR can't compensate for. I'm thinking in that situation, hand held might give you better images. Better to have a chance at a motionless shot hand held than the certainty of vibration on the tripod. Every situation is different

Last edited by normhead; 03-21-2011 at 06:04 AM.
03-21-2011, 10:24 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I can post a lot of great hand held shots as well, but, I also remember a series of shots in one of my texts, taken with a 35mm SLR and blown up to 11x14. The blur from hand shake was evident right up to 1000th of a second. It isn't about getting a clean shot at 4x6.
If it looks sharp at 100% viewing, it will look sharp at 11x14 too. Easily.
03-21-2011, 01:59 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I can post a lot of great hand held shots as well, but, I also remember a series of shots in one of my texts, taken with a 35mm SLR and blown up to 11x14. The blur from hand shake was evident right up to 1000th of a second. It isn't about getting a clean shot at 4x6.

But on this topic, a great compromise is a mono-pod. It doubles as a walking stick, gives you great stability without being as cumbersome as a tripod, and much easier to get around with. After trying one out for a few days, I'm more like to suggest SR and IS have made a monopod a replacement for a tripod as opposed to going all the way to hand held. My wife and I were out at the local Pow Wow grounds the other day, me with my tripod and her with her monopod. She was able to get shots just as crisp with the monopod as I did with the tripod. She was using a Tameon 90 and I was using a DA*60-250. The lenses are very similar in IQ, and so were the pictures. I should have bought two of those monopods, now she thinks it is hers and I'm sh!t outta luck.

One other caveat, my tripods are all fairly lightweight because I carry them over distance. I've noticed that in a wind, the tripod vibrates at a speed that SR can't compensate for. I'm thinking in that situation, hand held might give you better images. Better to have a chance at a motionless shot hand held than the certainty of vibration on the tripod. Every situation is different
I certainly am not arguing with you the importance of using a tripod (or possibly a monopod, but I've never used one) over handheld. I've got a decent manfrotto tripod that seems to do a good job dampening vibrations, but it's not very light like my $30 walmart tripod. LOL

I've printed two of the photos I've posted in this topic at 16x20 and they were sharp as can be!
03-21-2011, 10:49 PM   #28
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With these two shots I wanted to test extreme settings specially - 300mm hand held. I made many shots and just picked the ones without shift/blur caused by movement. Left is shot with Pentax 55-300 and right with Sigma 70-300.
And just by statistic I had more success with Pentax DA 55-300. I got few good shots with Sigma as well. And I have a feeling that my copy of the Sigma is not the best one.

About tripods. This setup - camera+lens is heavy enough to shake medium size tripod (Manfrotto 190X) when mirror jumps. So I found that SR does better job than tripod without SR.
Attached Images
   

Last edited by vanakaru; 03-21-2011 at 10:54 PM.
03-22-2011, 07:54 AM   #29
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I have had the 70-300 for a few years. It is quite capable of very good images. It's best stopped down to f/8 or more but still can produce a fine image at smaller apertures. I find I need a tripod or monopod with the zoom extended unless I am using very fast shutter speeds. SR helps but can only do so much. Make sure your focus is exactly where you want it. The depth of field is very narrow on a long lens and you won't necessarily see that in your viewfinder. It takes a little practice. It is very easy to lock focus on something in the background or foreground. My biggest mistake with that lens was the UV filter I used when I first got it. I no longer use one as it seriously affected the IQ.
03-22-2011, 10:35 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by reeftool Quote
My biggest mistake with that lens was the UV filter I used when I first got it. I no longer use one as it seriously affected the IQ.
This is what I found as well. Good point!
However it did not improve the results entirely to my satisfaction.
Now when you talk about focusing I come to think that maybe my camera does not do it right(known issue with K-5 FF or BF) with this lens.
So more tests to run.
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