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10-14-2011, 04:49 PM   #1
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the joy & peril of choosing lenses

I have a very nice DAL 55-300.. but like all lenses it isn't perfect. No quick shift, which I find useful. Also 58mm filters, of which I have but one - but I have several nice 52mm filters for various needs. So I search high, low and in between, and finally find a well-priced DA 50-200. Not the WR since that takes 49mm filters (why Pentax, why?) - and not a DAL despite bargain prices, I really want that quick shift!

But as the 50-200 approaches, I wear myself out wondering. I have a Quantaray 100-300 so no focal length is lost, just another lens to change when needed - and when I don't need 200+ I have a very nice and compact lens in my pocket. But how many of us know when 220mm is ideal, in advance? And can't I just buy another filter or two and be happy without the occasional quick shift? After all the 55-300 has a great rep, and I know from experience that it is well earned.. plus it's f/4.5 just short of 200, so a bit of speed gain for a few grams. I've found myself to be a real gram counter with cameras, but on yet another hand I went from k-x to k-r and put on a few grams with little complaint. And I had the WR 50-200 with my K-7 and liked it a lot.. except for those 49mm filters I don't own. And if I keep the DA and sell the DAL, it frees up some funds for the next obsession.. but it could be cheaper still to buy two or three 'decent' filters (and oh yes a hood!) and refuse the 50-200 so it goes back unopened.

Or I can let it in the door, take the two lenses & test the stuffing out of them before the return period ends. Thing is I suck at lens testing, it always seems that or more variables are varying due to my lack of foresight. And in the end it's always very close unless a copy is just bad, which I've seldom encountered. As of 4:30 Friday that's the plan (give or take the 'rigorous' tests ) .. but it's a risk! It wouldn't be the first time an either/or decision comes down to 'heck why not keep them both?' - that path has deep ruts from my taking it so often.

Not expecting any wisdom from you folks that I haven't heard before - just thought I'd share my story and you can shake your head in sympathy ... and count how often you've done this very thing. If you can honestly say you haven't, you have my deep respect! And some day perhaps I can share this story with DA* in place of DAL, perhaps but today is not that day.

10-14-2011, 05:13 PM   #2
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That is messed-up.
Try going out for a beer and a nice dinner. Could make you feel better and help forgetting about lenses and sh**t
10-14-2011, 05:49 PM   #3
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I only use fixed focal length lenses. If I think I will need more than one lens, I carry more than one body. I have 3 zoom lenses, which I don't use anymore.
10-14-2011, 05:49 PM   #4
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You have a lot of duplication.

Keep the 55-300.
Dump the 50-200, 100-300 and 70-150, 135 and 200.

10-14-2011, 06:04 PM   #5
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i'm pretty sure if you sold all your teles, you'd be able to get the 55-300 with quick shift
10-14-2011, 06:35 PM   #6
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If you need a little motivation:
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10-14-2011, 07:59 PM   #7
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SpecialK: I've tried dumping the 35-135 and 100-300 on two sites, and the 50-200 probably won't survive this cut; SMC-M 200 is gone, 135 on hold. And that Rikenon XR 70-150/4 is too much fun! My most pressing need is to update my sig line, apparently¹. Now to pick a 50 and sell off two more (all three Rikenon 50s show FF below f/4, I will need to use LV when opening up).

Adam: I actually had the DA55-300 but let it go when I bought the K-7 and wanted WR lenses. Wish I could afford to keep all that I've had in the past, but life does not allow that & won't for a while.

Guess this group doesn't react the way I expect, so I'll retreat to my blog where I happily talk to myself. Still the champion thread-killer, it seems.

¹ You should have seen it a few weeks ago - it's already had quite a cleaning. Goodwill will soon have two more lenses.
10-14-2011, 08:57 PM   #8
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Tech stuff:
I think it would be interesting to test between the DA 50-200 and the DA 55-300. I have an F 70-210 that I mostly use for travel, excellent performance and a good size, but double the weight of the DA 50-200. I keep thinking about trying one of the DA zooms but the older lens only cost me $50. For the amount it's used, it's hard to justify spending more in that area.

Psych stuff:
I like to maintain a certain degree of balance. OK, it's a balance of like 50 lenses, but the actual investment is maintained at one point. Any new lens really throws this off, even if it's the best lens ever made and I'm selling unused stuff to buy it. Testing is somewhat of an excuse to let usage and time restore the balance. We're all going to balance in a different way, but take some time to do it.

10-16-2011, 02:10 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by jimr-pdx Quote
So I search high, low and in between, and finally find a well-priced DA 50-200. Not the WR since that takes 49mm filters (why Pentax, why?)
That's easy:

a) because they can, and having it 49mm allows it to take *either* 49mm or 52mm filters with no vignetting
b) because 49 is a much, much, much more common filter size - shared with almost all the DA, FA, F, A, and M series primes except the very widest and very longest.

QuoteQuote:
plus it's f/4.5 just short of 200
That's kind of an illusion. It's not like zoom lenses are exactly f/4.5 until 180mm and then suddenly change to f/5.6. It's just a constantly decreasing maximum aperture that happens to be reported in half-stop increments (presumably, in third-stop increments if you configure your camera that way, although I've never tested that assumption). So there is no free lunch in terms of trying to finesse at what focal length length you can get what maximum aperture.

QuoteQuote:
I had the WR 50-200 with my K-7 and liked it a lot.. except for those 49mm filters I don't own.
So get a steeping ring and leave it mounted on the lens. What's the big deal?
10-17-2011, 05:05 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jimr-pdx Quote
Not the WR since that takes 49mm filters (why Pentax, why?)
Because they're smaller, less expensive, and most primes use those?

You could get a step-up ring if that's the only issue.

Or, as others pointed out, you could sell all your duplicates and get a non-L 55-300.
10-21-2011, 08:17 AM   #11
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I no longer see the big deal either: my gear is sold now, so you may all cease & desist your attempts to save me from myself. I'll take my anecdotes elsewhere.
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