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05-25-2011, 07:23 PM   #1
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Zoom Lens Recommendation Please

Would greatly appreciate a zoom lens recommendation.

I want the optically best zoom lens that meet the following requirements:

1. Under $125
2. 55mm (or so) to 200mm+ (or so)
3. Autofocus
4. Auto aperture
5. Doesn't have lens creep (don't want push/pull zoom I guess)

I know the Pentax DA 55-300 (for $210 or so) is a pretty good deal. But I was wondering if I could get as good or better for less.

I just need another lens to carry in my bag at all times along with my DA 18-55 kit lens.

Thanks

05-25-2011, 07:35 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by geekette Quote
Would greatly appreciate a zoom lens recommendation.

I want the optically best zoom lens that meet the following requirements:

1. Under $125
2. 55mm (or so) to 200mm+ (or so)
3. Autofocus
4. Auto aperture
5. Doesn't have lens creep (don't want push/pull zoom I guess)

I know the Pentax DA 55-300 (for $210 or so) is a pretty good deal. But I was wondering if I could get as good or better for less.

I just need another lens to carry in my bag at all times along with my DA 18-55 kit lens.

Thanks
You aren't going to find anything new at that price. The closest is going to be the Sigma 50-200 at $160, and it's nowhere near the 55-300 performance-wise. Actually, nothing's going to touch the DAL 55-300 for anywhere near it's price. In fact, you'd have to spend considerably more (like 3 times more than the regular DA55-300 at $350) to get a better zoom in that range. See what I'm gettin' at? Save a little longer and get the L55-300, then get a matching hood for about 8 bucks. You'll thank me later.
05-25-2011, 07:46 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by geekette Quote

I know the Pentax DA 55-300 (for $210 or so) is a pretty good deal. But I was wondering if I could get as good or better

Thanks
"They say no."

Do some digging if you have to. I have seen the light version, as in DA L 55-300 for as little as $200 new in a few places around the Interworb. The Tamron Di 75-300 is less money but shows it's flaws easily in harsh light. A lot of zoom lenses will fringe in strong light but the Tamron is really not bad in really favorable light. It seems the Pentax 55-300 can handle whatever you ask of it much, much better.
05-25-2011, 07:48 PM   #4
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I have an FA-J 75-300 that is pretty good. You can get an excellent condition used copy for a little over $100. At the shorter end it is darn good, even at the long end pretty comparable to the DA 18-55. It probably isn't quite as good as the DA 55-300, but I don't use it all that much to justify upgrading.

05-25-2011, 07:50 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by geekette Quote
I know the Pentax DA 55-300 (for $210 or so) is a pretty good deal. But I was wondering if I could get as good or better for less.
I don't think so.
05-25-2011, 07:52 PM   #6
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B+H have a couple of second hand 50-200 DA lenses at $120 and $130 each. Personally I would wait for a better lens but if you need one now, then I would stay with Pentax.

Kim
05-25-2011, 07:53 PM   #7
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Isn't there a DA-L version of the 50-200? If so, that might come close to her price. The 50-200 is a nice lens, though I agree with others who say save a little more and get the DA 55-300.

You could check KEH for the FA-J 80-320. It's supposed to be decent and you might get close to your price. You'll have a gap between 55mm and 80mm, though. Not that big of a deal.

I just checked KEH and they have several older Pentax zooms in your price range. You can check the lens reviews here for information on the specific lenses KEH has. Some of them might be worth the money, though many are junk.

http://www.keh.com/Camera/format-35mm/system-Pentax-Autofocus/category-Zoom-...c=55891&r=WG&f
05-25-2011, 07:55 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by DogLover Quote
You aren't going to find anything new at that price. The closest is going to be the Sigma 50-200 at $160, and it's nowhere near the 55-300 performance-wise. Actually, nothing's going to touch the DAL 55-300 for anywhere near it's price. In fact, you'd have to spend considerably more (like 3 times more than the regular DA55-300 at $350) to get a better zoom in that range. See what I'm gettin' at? Save a little longer and get the L55-300, then get a matching hood for about 8 bucks. You'll thank me later.
+1
Another funky retro alternative might be a 70-210 F SMC. If you can find someone willing to sell you theirs (not me), they can usually be had for about $100 - $150 (got mine foe $112 here on our forum marketplace) I have both this and the 55-300 DAL (sporting the obligatory aforementioned Chinese $8 hood)..... both seem to be about equal in optical quality to me (although I haven't run any side by side tests), just slightly different rendering, the F seeming to be a little warmer.

05-25-2011, 08:00 PM   #9
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You might get lucky on eBay, or not. I got a Tamron AF AL 28-200 a few months ago for not too much, and after finding that I much preferred my DA18-250, I sold the Tammy to a member here who was very happy to get it from me for US$75 (and is very happy using it). Yes, it is a push-pull, but it didn't creep IIRC. You may find various AF zooms within your budget in the 28-200 or 70-200 ranges, made by Tokina or Sigma or Tamron, maybe labeled as Quantaray or Promaster. Rather than searching for a specific lens, just scour the eBay listings for PENTAX 200* and then read reviews on the offerings.
05-25-2011, 08:52 PM   #10
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DA-L 50-200 would be ~$100 I think, but there's no doubt saving another $100 or so for the 55-300 is worthwhile.
05-25-2011, 10:42 PM   #11
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Yes, a DAL 50-200 ought to be available cheaply, and if you get a good copy, it can be a pretty decent lens. I bought my 50-200 in WR form, new, for 109 - it was probably part of a K-7/K-5 kit which had been separated.

Best to buy new, IMO, since you are less likely to be lumbered with a bad copy.
05-26-2011, 10:06 AM   #12
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Agree with others...don't hesitate on a DAL 55-300..this lens rocks (caveat is: in good light)...you can get nice "close up" flower shots and people shots with nice bokeh and its also great for sports.
05-26-2011, 11:02 AM   #13
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So I am gathering the $200-300 DA(L) 55-300 zoom lens is the best zoom lens one can get for their Pentax DSLR under $800? If that is the cast I'll just get one.

Are the optics in some batches of these bad or are they all pretty consistent?
05-26-2011, 11:10 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by geekette Quote
So I am gathering the $200-300 DA(L) 55-300 zoom lens is the best zoom lens one can get for their Pentax DSLR under $800? If that is the cast I'll just get one.
Under $800 would be the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD (IF) Macro AF, which is $730-$770 new. Not as much zoom range as the Pentax 55-300mm, and a physically bigger lens but definitely better optical quality.
05-26-2011, 11:46 AM   #15
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There is a DA 50-200 WR in the market place right now:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/photographic-equipment-sale/144977-sale-d...3-5-d-bg2.html

and a regular DA 50-200mm: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/photographic-equipment-sale/132338-sale-p...worldwide.html

Both are below your $200 budget. I am very pleased with my kit twins and almost all of my pictures in the PPG and PEG were taken with them.

If you need more reach, then you will want to get the DA 55-300.

Tim
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