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03-11-2011, 06:15 PM   #1
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Which to buy? FA 100-300 4.7-5.8, or 55-300 DA-L?

Based on the reviews, I think I've kinda of narrowed it down to either the older SMC Pentax-FA 100-300mm F4.7-5.8, or the SMC Pentax-DA L 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED. I think they're both pretty highly rated.

Which one of these has the better image quality & less PF at 300mm? I'll be using it primarily at the long end. Since I shoot birds a lot, I'd like it to be good for manual focus, with a smoothly operating ring with a decent throw.

I'm assuming since the older FA lens is full frame, I'll get out a bit more with that one on my K100D, and maybe distortion might be at least theoretically less because the APS-C sensor will be hitting the middle?

Cheers,
Bob :-)

03-11-2011, 06:23 PM   #2
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Why don't you save a few more nickles and get the regular DA? You get the metal mount, the hood, and quick shift.

03-11-2011, 06:44 PM   #3
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There's about a hundred dollar difference between the DA & the DA-L. Otherwise, I'd rather have the DA.
03-11-2011, 06:45 PM   #4
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I have the 55-300. Weight is a big issue with me. It's a good lens and surprisingly sharp at 300 for the price. The only 300 zoom that clearly beats it is the Sigma 100-300. But, 300mm a bit short for bird photography. The 55-300's IQ drops noticeably with a 1.4 extender on it.

03-11-2011, 07:05 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by mysticcowboy Quote
I have the 55-300. Weight is a big issue with me. It's a good lens and surprisingly sharp at 300 for the price. The only 300 zoom that clearly beats it is the Sigma 100-300. But, 300mm a bit short for bird photography. The 55-300's IQ drops noticeably with a 1.4 extender on it.
I'm thinking you mean the big sigma f4 apo lens. That's a nice lens, just way outta my price range. I have a 500mm bazooka for bird shots, I was just kinda looking for something smaller I could pack when I didn't wanna throw my spine out of alignment. That's why I was looking at kind of an intermediate size.
03-11-2011, 07:20 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by GibbyTheMole Quote
There's about a hundred dollar difference between the DA & the DA-L. Otherwise, I'd rather have the DA.
.... and half that difference is the hood. There are also used options. Buy what you like, I'm just pointing a couple things out.

03-11-2011, 07:24 PM   #7
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I'm thinking I could probably get a cheap hood for ten bucks on eBay for the da-l
03-11-2011, 07:41 PM   #8
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You can. It would not shock me to find out they are the same hood.



03-11-2011, 08:46 PM   #9
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I took this photo a couple years ago. 300mm, ISO 140. Safe to say its pretty sharp?

Just need to find shots with the FA lens @ 300mm.
03-11-2011, 10:34 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by GibbyTheMole Quote
Which one of these has the better image quality & less PF at 300mm? I'll be using it primarily at the long end. Since I shoot birds a lot, I'd like it to be good for manual focus, with a smoothly operating ring with a decent throw.
None of them has any significant PF. The FA has bokeh fringing, but that didn't mess any shots for me. Without doing any formal tests, it's hard to say which is sharper. I got sharp shots from both at 300mm.

None of them has a smooth focusing ring - they're far from the feel of a MF lens.

The FA has a longer throw than the DA. You can see it in photos of the lenses too.

The DA is more compact and felt better built than the FA (I'm assuming that the DAL is similar to the DA, barring the differences in mount, focusing, etc). The FA is quite long.

Both have close MFD, with the DA focusing a bit closer: 1.4m vs. 1.5m.

If you're going to use AF, get the DAL. If you're going to use MF, the FA might be better because of the longer throw - the DA is trickier to focus manually.
03-12-2011, 02:59 AM   #11
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Greater focal range is tempting. The Bigma 50-500 is tempting. I have a Lil'Bigma 170-500 -- and my FA100-300 gets MUCH more use! I have two other zooms in that general neighborhood, the DA18-250 (my basic lens) and a manual Promaster (Tamron) 60-300/4-5.6 in KA mount. The 18-250 and 60-300 have superzoom ranges, but the FA100-300 is great in its zone, and it's quite affordable. It's a favorite.
03-12-2011, 09:33 AM   #12
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The 55-300 has the edge with more modern coatings and a wider range. The 100-300 is an underrated gem, when used properly. It's a really personal choice, factoring price, availability, range (I do find it a bit confining with the 100-300) and looks if you're into that
03-12-2011, 10:09 AM   #13
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FA100-300 if you can find one..

also you can use manual aperture ring and get F4.7 at 300mm..
03-13-2011, 07:25 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by v3t0 Quote
also you can use manual aperture ring and get F4.7 at 300mm..
Hum... no!

That makes no sense at all.
03-13-2011, 11:15 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
QuoteOriginally posted by v3t0:
also you can use manual aperture ring and get F4.7 at 300mm..
Hum... no!
That makes no sense at all.
The camera may *report* that that the aperture is f/4.7 but one *actually* gets f/5.8 there.
Camera 'bots can be tricked; optical physics can't. I know; I just tried it. Can't fool Newton...
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