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View Poll Results: Most Favored 300mm Prime Lens
SMC Pentax-DA* 300mm F4 ED [IF] SDM 3458.62%
SMC Pentax-FA* 300mm F4.5 ED [IF] 712.07%
SMC Pentax-F* 300mm F4.5 ED [IF] 1424.14%
Other 1220.69%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 58. You may not vote on this poll

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12-27-2011, 08:57 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Drom Quote
Thanks very much everyone. The comments are very helpful. I love the polling tool!!
It sounds like the FA* is perhaps not quite as popular as the other two because it doesn't have the tripod mount. And that built-in lens hood on the F* is pretty slick. Several people have mentioned the FA 2.8 which I would love to have. But it's a little rich for my blood right now.
they are also extremely difficult to find.

12-27-2011, 09:53 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
If SDM wasn't slow I'd say get what's new and readily available (the DA*), but because it is, go for the F* because it has a tripod mount.
Thank you for bringing this up. I have the DA*300 and the SDM is quiet but slow. But on my film camera, it uses the screw-drive, noisy but fast.

Pentax is losing new lens sales to the used market. I recommend a firmware fix(selectable drive) and a matched 1.4TC to stop people from going to the F/FA series.. Of course, this is not an original idea and has been discussed plenty in this forum...
12-28-2011, 01:03 PM   #18

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Hi Drom,

I have and voted for the FA* 300/4.5. It's just a functional detail, but I prefer the way I can go from AF to functionally full MF mode without having to move the switch on the camera over the F* (it's just more convenient in situations where I might want to use Focus Trap). I also prefer the hood over either the F* or DA* even though it's a bit fussy to mount and dismount. The lack of tripod ring is irrelevant to me as I use this lens handheld 99% of the time. If I want to use the FA* with a tripod, I use the ring that came with my Tamron Adaptall 2 SP 80-200 f2.8, and it works acceptably. I would pick the F* or FA* over the DA* despite the 1/3 stop slower max aperture (which really doesn't matter) because of the more compact size (67mm front filter size) and lighter weight and screwdrive AF which allows use of AF 1.4x TCs.

The DA* is an exceptional lens, but limiting for my use. In a quick trial when it first came out, I compared my FA* with the DA* and found the new lens a bit sharper wide open (just a touch really), but opted to keep my FA* since it suited my use more. The Sigma EX 100-300 f4 is also a very good lens, but i find myself grabbing the FA* 300/4.5 much more often since I usually want more compact and lighter over the convenience of a zoom.

For tripod use, I prefer either the Sigma EX 300 f2.8 APO or FA* 300 f2.8 for max aperture, optics, and versatility with TCs, but they are big, heavy, and pricey. It's very hard to fault the FA* as a carry around ultra tele.

12-28-2011, 01:19 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
If SDM wasn't slow I'd say get what's new and readily available (the DA*), but because it is, go for the F* because it has a tripod mount.
I tried these two in a head-to-head before buying the DA*. The F* is marginally faster but much noisier (the DA* is virtually silent - important when birding) however the DA* is also marginally sharper, comes with a guarantee and is superbly WR (I took it out in a downpour and it was just perfect). Both lenses are brilliant but for me there were far more pros to the DA*. It also works superbly with either the AFA x1.7 or Tamron x1.4.

Another consideration could be the very highly rated, and exceedingly sharp throughout the range, Sigma 100-300/4 (they do come up now and again - I've seen 2 for sale in the past 3 or 4 months) which depending on your shooting (horses) could be better having the zoom than a prime - or the 60-250 is more than worthy of consideration (TCom over at Pentaxworld used this and a 645D during a loooong safari through Namibia).

12-28-2011, 10:31 PM   #20
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I thought I had explained my "other" vote but can't find the explanation. I voted for other because I lately sold a Pentax A* f4 and a DA* 300 in favor of
the FA* 300 f/2.8. To me the extra f-stop of speed, the auto focus and compatiblity with the Pentax 1.4X-L and 2X-L converters all add a lot of value which more than offset the increased weight....
12-31-2011, 11:59 AM   #21
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Original Poster
Again, really valuable information everyone. Thank you so much. Obviously the DA* is the clear winner here; of course, that one is more readily available and more people are going to own it than the the F* and FA* lenses. So the comments on how these three differ are just great!

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