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02-06-2012, 07:16 PM   #1
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Best Motorsports/Autocross lens for <$500?

Basically what the title says; I'm just wondering what the more experienced shooters would recommend as a solid lens for photographing autocross and other motorsports with a Pentax K-x for under $500 (new or used, zoom or prime). Right now I have a Quantaray 70-300 mm DI f/4-5.6, and the Pentax DA 50-200 mm lenses, but usually find myself using the Quantaray since the extra reach of the 300mm is so tempting. Should I be using the DA 50-200 instead? Is there a much better lens that can be had for less than $500 to fit the bill?

Thanks!

02-06-2012, 07:26 PM   #2
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Take a look at the DA 55-300. While not the fastest lens around, its overall performance (especially image quality) is excellent.
02-06-2012, 09:30 PM   #3
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The DA 55-300 is the best long zoom for the money. Don't waste your money on anything else.
02-08-2012, 07:42 PM   #4
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Sounds like everyone is in agreement then, haha, I will keep my eye out for the DA 55-300.

Any reason to keep the DA 50-200mm once I own the DA 55-300?

I'm a graduate student right now, so I'm trying to thin out my lenses..

Current collection:
Samsung D-Xenon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 (Equivalent to Pentax DA 18-55?)
Pentax DA 16-45mm f/4.0
Pentax FA 50mm f/1.7
Pentax DA 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6
Pentax-A 50mm f/2.0 (Manual Focus)
Quantaray 28-90mm f/3.5-5.6
Quantaray 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6
Quantaray 70-210mm f/4.0-5.6 (Manual Focus)

Considering downsizing to:
Pentax DA 16-45mm
Pentax DA 55-300mm
Pentax-A 50mm f/2.0

Semi-related question, would I be missing out on a lot if I downsize to just those three lenses?

02-08-2012, 07:44 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by alstauffer Quote
Semi-related question, would I be missing out on a lot if I downsize to just those three lenses?
Nope.
02-08-2012, 07:49 PM   #6
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Not really, but: Why keeping the A50 f2 over the FA 50 1.7?
Also, I'd keep the kit lens (18-55) You will not get much for it, and it is still a decent performer. It would be a good backup just in case.
02-08-2012, 08:11 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by ismaelg Quote
Not really, but: Why keeping the A50 f2 over the FA 50 1.7?
Also, I'd keep the kit lens (18-55) You will not get much for it, and it is still a decent performer. It would be a good backup just in case.
I don't find myself using the FA 1.7 often enough to justify keeping it, as it's my second most expensive lens, but I do like the images I get from the A f2, and wouldn't get much from selling it. The money from the FA could pay for a new part for my car, part of a lens I'd actually use, or lots of Ramen

Good point about the kit lens - it's also pretty compact, which neither the 16-45 or 55-300 are, so it might come in handy for travelling or something at some point.
02-09-2012, 11:53 AM   #8
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The FA 50mm f/1.7 is a great little lens you should be able to get enough to pay for a 55-300.

02-10-2012, 05:54 AM   #9
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well....if you could spring for a Sigma 50~500mm and 2x tele, you are set for a lot of things.
02-10-2012, 11:52 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Reportage Quote
well....if you could spring for a Sigma 50~500mm and 2x tele, you are set for a lot of things.
That is so far out of my price range..

I think I am fine on the long end of things @ 300mm. I don't often find myself wishing I had more reach - generally if the 300mm won't cover it, it's too far away for me to take a useful picture of whatever it is anyway. From the suggestions above and the review I've read, the DA 55-300 should work fine for my needs/in my price range at the moment.

I do have to rant about the wider end of my lenses briefly.. While I do very much enjoy the images I get from the DA 16-45, it's such a strange focal range! I just looked through the exif data on the only shoot I've had a chance to do with it so far, and I confirmed what I've suspected for a while: I generally only use my zooms at the extremes. When I only had the DA 18-55, Most of my shots were at 18mm or 55mm, most of my shots with the DA 50-200 are at 50 or 200. The distribution for what I've shot with the DA 16-45 so far is about 80% at 16mm, 19% at 45mm and 1% somewhere in between. And while I was using it, I found 45mm to be too short when I was using that end of the zoom and an awkward focal length for me, and usually felt like I would like the images to be a bit wider than 16mm when using that end of the zoom. The reason I bought the 16-45 was because I always seemed to want wider than 18 when using the kit lens. This makes me think I should drop the 16-45 and F 50/1.7 for something wider.. like the DA 15mm Limited or DA 10-17mm, and use that with the A 50/2.0 and/or try to find a used DA 35/2.4 to help fill in the gap. Unless there's an affordable manual focus lens wider than 16mm? Maybe I will try renting the 15 Limited next photo outing and see how that goes, hmm.. I often find myself zooming with my feet even if I am using a zoom lens, so I don't foresee switching to primes too extremely impacting my shooting.

/rant

Sorry that's probably not the right place for that, but I didn't think that it was worth it to start a new thread and had to get it out there
02-10-2012, 04:08 PM   #11
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I photograph and write motorsport here, and the the lens I use the most is the Sigma 70 - 250 f2.8 hsm os, if you can wait to save some more money then I would highly recommend this lens.
The have been a number of times when the f2.8 has come into play.
The other lens I use is the Pentax 16 - 50 f2.8 and Sigma 24 - 70 f2.8
My photos can be seen on rsw photos.net and my articles are in Auto Sport magazine here in Australia.
I changed last year from Sigma 70 - 250 hsm II (non os) which I still have is for sale.
02-10-2012, 04:32 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by RussellW Quote
I photograph and write motorsport here, and the the lens I use the most is the Sigma 70 - 250 f2.8 hsm os, if you can wait to save some more money then I would highly recommend this lens.
The have been a number of times when the f2.8 has come into play.
The other lens I use is the Pentax 16 - 50 f2.8 and Sigma 24 - 70 f2.8
My photos can be seen on rsw photos.net and my articles are in Auto Sport magazine here in Australia.
I changed last year from Sigma 70 - 250 hsm II (non os) which I still have is for sale.
The 70-200? I can't find anything about a 70-250.
02-10-2012, 07:00 PM   #13
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Sorry it's 70 -200
02-10-2012, 08:39 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by RussellW Quote
Sorry it's 70 -200
Ahh, I see. Maybe I will continue shooting with the Quantaray for now (it seems to be doing the job alright, and I'm having some LBA for something wider), and wait and save until I can get the 70-200 f/2.8.
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