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03-16-2012, 09:01 AM   #31
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I finally bit the bullet and got myself a 55-300, arrived this morning.
A quick comparison at 200/210mm, f5.6. The 55-300 wins on IQ.





03-16-2012, 09:16 AM   #32
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The 55-300 is an excellent 55-200, no doubt of that! My copy of the 50-200wr was less crisp at tele, but had 3 nice aspects: wr, compact and more consistent bokeh. The 55-300 is a real champ though.
03-16-2012, 03:20 PM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by kh1234567890 Quote
I finally bit the bullet and got myself a 55-300, arrived this morning.
A quick comparison at 200/210mm, f5.6. The 55-300 wins on IQ.
Hmm. To me, the 55-300 actually looks soft on the right hand side on that shot of yours...
03-17-2012, 01:01 AM   #34
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Merci

QuoteOriginally posted by kh1234567890 Quote
I finally bit the bullet and got myself a 55-300, arrived this morning.
A quick comparison at 200/210mm, f5.6. The 55-300 wins on IQ.
Bonjour kh,

Thanks for your shots ...

Salut, J

03-17-2012, 09:26 AM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by gazonk Quote
Hmm. To me, the 55-300 actually looks soft on the right hand side on that shot of yours...
After some more test shots I would agree, there is definitely something wrong with this one. It is not at all sharp at any focal length compared to my 50-200mm. Off it goes back to Amazon for a refund. Hopefully the next one will be better. Pentax QC (or lack of) strikes again.
03-17-2012, 03:59 PM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by kh1234567890 Quote
After some more test shots I would agree, there is definitely something wrong with this one. It is not at all sharp at any focal length compared to my 50-200mm. Off it goes back to Amazon for a refund. Hopefully the next one will be better. Pentax QC (or lack of) strikes again.
I'm sorry to hear that, but I think I saw decentering immediately when I looked at that picture.

I hope you get a better copy. I got my DA55-300 for christmas, and haven't seen any signs of decentering or other weaknesses so far - the lens is excellent. If I really pixel peep high contrast shots @300mm, I see a little CA at the borders - that's the only weakness I've seen so far.
03-20-2012, 04:06 AM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by gazonk Quote
I hope you get a better copy. I got my DA55-300 for christmas, and haven't seen any signs of decentering or other weaknesses so far - the lens is excellent. If I really pixel peep high contrast shots @300mm, I see a little CA at the borders - that's the only weakness I've seen so far.
Well, it is on its way back to Amazon. Will I be replacing it with another copy ? Probably not.

Having had them both (50-200 and 55-300) side by side for a weekend's play, I wasn't that impressed. Admittedly, I might have had a dodgy copy of the 55-300, but I just did not like the size, weight, stiff zoom, twitchy focus ring, lack of WR, etc., compared to the 50-200.

By the time you'd put the lens hood on the 55-300 is about a foot long and about twice the weight of the 50-200. I tried to convince myself that this was worth it, given the extra reach, slightly wider aperture and rumoured better IQ. I took some test shots of newsprint Sharpness Test PENTAX-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED (and Sharpness Test SMC Pentax DA 50-200mm f4-5.6 ED WR) to see how sharp it actually was. There did not seem to be much in it. Not enough to convince me that this was a 'must have' lens.

Also, if I really needed 300mm then I could use my cheap Super Paragon 300mm f5.6 mirror (285g, only 65mm length) and live with the doughnuts. Or, if I was feeling fit, take out the weighty 10 eBay Miranda 75-300mm f4.5-5.6.

Last edited by kh1234567890; 03-20-2012 at 04:13 AM.
03-20-2012, 10:18 AM - 3 Likes   #38
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I was kind of holding my breath to see how that would play out, but so far, I'm not surprised.

I have no doubt that if one pixel peeps hard enough, a non-defective copy of the 55-300 will slightly outperform a non-defective copy of the 50-200. But whether the *amount* by which the 55-300 outperforms the 50-200 trumps the difference in size & weight, or price, or the potential advantage of WR if that happens to be relevant, is another matter.

I suspect it might be true for people who are *primarily* using the lens at its longest end, as in wildlife photography. But for more general use, I am not so sure at all. When I check my own use of my telephoto zooms, sure, I see myself pegging the long end at times, but mostly I am using somewhere closer the short end. With the 50-200 in particular, my usage between 50-135 completely dwarfs my usage from 135-200. With my 70-300, the same was true of usage from 70-135 versus 135-300. And given that I am seldom printing larger than 8x10 (and not frequently printing even that large), cropping a 200mm image is "practically" as good as shooting at 300mm for me most of the time. Enough so that if I ever spend money on another telephoto zoom, it is much more likeley to be the 50-200 WR, or perhaps the 18-135 WR, than the 55-300. Not that the 55-300 isn't a stellar lens, and a great choice for those shooting long more often, or who are less sensitive to size & weight or don't care about WR. But there is no shame in preferring the 50-200.

03-20-2012, 02:33 PM   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
I was kind of holding my breath to see how that would play out, but so far, I'm not surprised.

I have no doubt that if one pixel peeps hard enough, a non-defective copy of the 55-300 will slightly outperform a non-defective copy of the 50-200. But whether the *amount* by which the 55-300 outperforms the 50-200 trumps the difference in size & weight, or price, or the potential advantage of WR if that happens to be relevant, is another matter.

I suspect it might be true for people who are *primarily* using the lens at its longest end, as in wildlife photography. But for more general use, I am not so sure at all. When I check my own use of my telephoto zooms, sure, I see myself pegging the long end at times, but mostly I am using somewhere closer the short end. With the 50-200 in particular, my usage between 50-135 completely dwarfs my usage from 135-200. With my 70-300, the same was true of usage from 70-135 versus 135-300. And given that I am seldom printing larger than 8x10 (and not frequently printing even that large), cropping a 200mm image is "practically" as good as shooting at 300mm for me most of the time. Enough so that if I ever spend money on another telephoto zoom, it is much more likely to be the 50-200 WR, or perhaps the 18-135 WR, than the 55-300. Not that the 55-300 isn't a stellar lens, and a great choice for those shooting long more often, or who are less sensitive to size & weight or don't care about WR. But there is no shame in preferring the 50-200.
Bonsoir Marc,

Thanks for your input ... and thanks again to everyone else for their comments, advice, photos, etc. It's been very helpful and I am going to get the DA 50-200 WR soon. And when I do get it, I'll compare it to my (wife's) DA 55-300 ... she took it away form me for her "birding".

Salut tous et merci encore, John le Green Grenouille
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