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06-14-2011, 05:19 AM   #1
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F/FA*300 vs DA*300

Does anyone have experience with both these lenses? I like the DA on paper and I have the 50-135 which I like a lot but any lens will be either a grey import or second hand (aus pricing is horrible) so there is the niggle of sdm failure which puts me back to the f or fa, I know the sdm failure rate is probably so low it isn't an issue.

06-14-2011, 05:30 AM   #2
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Just based on internet reports, primes with sDM do not seem to be afflicted with SDM failure like the zooms.
06-14-2011, 06:13 AM   #3
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FA*300/4.5 got thumbs up from photozone, DA*300 didnt

http://www.photozone.de/pentax/131-pentax-smc-fa-300mm-f45-ed-if-review--lab...report?start=1

http://www.photozone.de/pentax/643-pentax300f4?start=2
06-14-2011, 06:51 AM   #4
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That statement is somewhat misleading; click on the link for the DA*300 and read photozone's conclusion (as well as the conclusion for the F*300/4.5) and you will see that they think very highly of both lenses.

06-14-2011, 07:18 AM   #5
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Photozone has only ever given 3 thumbs-up on a Pentax lens. The other 2 were the DA 40 and 70mm Ltd. The thumbs up rating doesn't mean flip.
06-14-2011, 07:22 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by wjt Quote
Does anyone have experience with both these lenses? I like the DA on paper and I have the 50-135 which I like a lot but any lens will be either a grey import or second hand (aus pricing is horrible) so there is the niggle of sdm failure which puts me back to the f or fa, I know the sdm failure rate is probably so low it isn't an issue.
I have had the DA* 300/4 for about a year and a half. It is a good lens. I like to use a monopod with it when I can but I had to hand hold it in Africa because I traveled without a monopod. Regarding SDM, I haven't had any problems, but if I do, screwdrive works with my *istD.

The images are downsized but go to the PentaxPhotogallery and look through images from both lenses.
06-14-2011, 08:42 AM   #7
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I wouldn't pay attention to photozone's stars or thumbs. If you pay attention to their stars, you'll only buy slow macro lenses and low resolution DSLRs with cropped sensors.

EDIT:

The 2008 DA 40 f/2.8 page (archived on archive.org) has a "thumbs up":

Pentax SMC-DA 40mm f/2.8 Limited Review / Test Report

The current does not (this is the same test on k10d):

Pentax SMC-DA 40mm f/2.8 Limited - Review / Test Report - Sample Images & Verdict

"The bokeh (out-of-focus blur) is pretty smooth. " was changed to "The bokeh (out-of-focus blur) is slightly sub-average and bokeh fringing can be an issue at very large apertures. "

Last edited by asdf; 06-14-2011 at 09:33 AM.
06-14-2011, 08:43 AM - 1 Like   #8
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Speaking for itself: the F* 300 F=4.5

Both shot at about F8 or so...





Magnificent lens, but the tripod mount is WAY too big for a lens they purposely kept small. I understand they did it so you can spin the camera around when the lens is on a fixed head tripod.

Cheers,
Cameron

06-14-2011, 08:59 AM   #9
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I like the build and performance of the F* but they don't come up often. I do appreciate the WR of the DA* though when I'm on the river or in a cypress swamp given the summer humidity here.
06-14-2011, 09:01 AM   #10
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Both are awesome lens period

QuoteOriginally posted by asdf Quote
DA 40 f/2.8 got a thumbs up on K10D. It didn't get a thumbs up on K5. I wouldn't pay attention to photozone's stars or thumbs. If you pay attention to their stars, you'll only buy slow macro lenses and low resolution DSLRs.
That's right. The methodology used by Photozone to evaluate the IQ of the lens is excellent (although it's only quantitative not qualitative). However, the method used to attribute stars and rank the lens is let's say less than perfect. No composite index, no overall score, nothing. The star system is purely qualitative in nature which is weird considering the rest of the evaluation is purely quantitative.

Conclusion: both are excellent lens. Now, let's go outside and shoot!
06-14-2011, 09:03 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by SylBer Quote
That's right. The methodology used by Photozone to evaluate the IQ of the lens is excellent (although it's only quantitative not qualitative). However, the method used to attribute stars and rank the lens is let's say less than perfect. No composite index, no overall score, nothing. The star system is purely qualitative in nature which is weird considering the rest of the evaluation is purely quantitative.

Conclusion: both are excellent lens. Now, let's go outside and shoot!
Also keep in mind that they use the infinity focus setting.
06-14-2011, 09:08 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by SylBer Quote
That's right. The methodology used by Photozone to evaluate the IQ of the lens is excellent (although it's only quantitative not qualitative). However, the method used to attribute stars and rank the lens is let's say less than perfect. No composite index, no overall score, nothing. The star system is purely qualitative in nature which is weird considering the rest of the evaluation is purely quantitative.

Conclusion: both are excellent lens. Now, let's go outside and shoot!
Also, the photozone folks usually mention that their results shouldn't be compared between different sensors and systems. Suddenly, a lens deemed stellar on a cropped low resolution sensor becomes a lemon on a full frame sensor with a high pixel pitch (usually because of border and corner performance).
06-14-2011, 02:10 PM   #13
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Before i bought my own DA*300,i used 3 different DAīs.
Pentax has given me these 3 lenses when i needed them.
All 4 lenses were amazing,the finest i ever used on Pentax.
But,if you own the old F* or FA*300,you donīt need to buy the DA*.
Ok,the weathersealing is a very important point for me.
And the silent focusing,also i feel the better focusfollowing with the SDM.
But this is another thing.
All 3 300mm are on the highest level compared to Canikon.
Best regards,Andy
06-14-2011, 03:19 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by wjt Quote
Does anyone have experience with both these lenses? I like the DA on paper and I have the 50-135 which I like a lot but any lens will be either a grey import or second hand (aus pricing is horrible) so there is the niggle of sdm failure which puts me back to the f or fa, I know the sdm failure rate is probably so low it isn't an issue.
I've compared both F*300 and DA*300, both are great performers. DA*300 has slightly smoother bokeh and less CA, it's QuickShift is pretty handy when shooting birds in bushes, it can focus much closer too (1.4m vs 2m). F*300 is quite a bit smaller but not much lighter. You can't go wrong w either one.
06-14-2011, 03:24 PM   #15
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