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02-28-2012, 10:16 AM   #1
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DA 55-300 upgrade

This lens is my most used lens, and I feel it is quite sharp for what it is.

I have the itch to upgrade to the DA* 60-250, but everytime I use the 55-300, I don't know if I will get that much better IQ for the cost ($1250).

My wife uses our K-x with the DAL 50-200, and I find the IQ of the 55-300 that much better that I want her to start using the 55-300. But, I don't want to be without this lens for myself unless I upgrade to the 60-250.

So.....my dilemma.....do I pass the 55-300 on to my wife and spring for the 60-250? Will I be that much happier with the 60-250?

I could buy another 55-300, but I hate to do that - I like the idea of us both using the same platform so we can share lenses, and to have 2 of the same lens would be riduculous in my eyes.

Here is a quick shot I just took to show the detail in the grain of the wood - second image is a 100% crop.





02-28-2012, 10:27 AM   #2
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For me, the 55-300 is all I'll ever need from a zoom in this range and I would definitely miss the extra 50mm at the long end. If I need something faster, I am more likely to use a 50/85/135/200mm prime instead of a zoom.
02-28-2012, 10:37 AM   #3
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Why not wait until next year? The lens roadmap shows a new DA Tele Zoom in the 135-350 range. There is also a DA High Magnification Zoom in the 18-250 range listed for this year.
02-28-2012, 10:42 AM   #4
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I have the 55-300 and I used to love it as a great consumer lens in good light. I had an issue with , sent it back to Pentax and paid to have it fixed (all pictures was soft). I used it for a while longer but even now I am not as happy as I once was with this lens. I think given the resources the DA* 60-250 would be a good addition. You get a faster AF (even when I loved the 55-300 the AF was slow and noisy) , weather sealing (if that is important to you) and SDM (which is nice but it is something else that could fail). I am debation on the DA* 60-350 vs a Prime 300. i do have the DA* 50-135 which is a stellar lens IMHO, so it's a matter would I replace both the DA* 50-135 and DA 55-300 with the DA* 60-250 or keep the DA* 50-135 and go for a 300 prime.

It's a rhtorical question you ask and only you can decide. The DA* 60-250 has great reviews and is a fine piece of glass that you would be happy with. It is expensive and in a lot of cases you could probably not tell the differnce between a shot with the DA 55-300 and DA* 60-250 - but in low light on a rainy day ......

I also don't thinnk the extra 50mm is a show stopper - crop can take care of that.

Good luck.


Last edited by daacon; 02-28-2012 at 11:27 AM.
02-28-2012, 10:53 AM   #5
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Well I am all set as far as a 300 prime as I just love my FA* 300 f4.5 - it's a keeper for sure!

As far as waiting until next year, by then I'll probably change my mind 20 times before something new comes out.......

The DAL 50-200 isn't horrible, but since my wife is home all the time and has so much opportunity with all the wildlife around the place, I want her to have something with more IQ and the 55-300 would be perfect for her - I just don't want to give mine up!

Yes, $1250 for the 60-250 is a heck of a lot, and as you say daacon, in a situation with good lighting it would probably be hard to tell the difference. I feel that my copy of the 55-300 must be a good one as I feel the images from it are just great.
02-28-2012, 10:56 AM   #6
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Having had a failed 50-135, the big thing that I miss with the DA-L 55-300 I picked up is quick shift. DxO brings the images up to a standard that I can live with. The 50-135, and according to reports the 60-250 is in the same league, has superb IQ. To quote Photo Life magazine's review of the 60-250,
QuoteQuote:
This is a very fine performer at f/4 but image quality is stunning by f/8
. I'm saving my pennies to move from the 55-300 to the 60-250.
02-28-2012, 10:57 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
I feel that my copy of the 55-300 must be a good one as I feel the images from it are just great.
No, I think it's just a great lens.

Get your wife the DA L, or if you have the DA L upgrade to the DA. See, it's easy to justify.

02-28-2012, 11:00 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
No, I think it's just a great lens.

Get your wife the DA L, or if you have the DA L upgrade to the DA. See, it's easy to justify.
My 55-300 is the DA - the 50-200 my wife uses is a DAL

I just hate to have 2 of the same lenses since we can share and swap.

02-28-2012, 12:00 PM   #9
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The Tamron 70-200/2.8 or the DA*300?
02-28-2012, 12:35 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by kenafein Quote
The Tamron 70-200/2.8 or the DA*300?
If you already have a FA* 300mm, I would second a Tamron 70-200mm/2.8. I replaced a DA 55-300mm I was very happy with, with a Tamron 70-200 - just as interim solution before getting a 60-250. I was quite frankly astonished with how much better the Tamron was. The Tamron defintely produced better pictures cropped at 200mm than the DA 55-300 at 300mm. AF was faster and more quiet than the DA 55-300, but obviously not as quiet as the DA*'s. Also I have used the faster F2.8 option much more than I first thought, so that has been real plus.

Except for the size and lack of WR, I think the 70-200mm/2.8 + 300mm F4 is a great combination, and I am no longer planning on getting the 60-250mm
02-28-2012, 12:49 PM   #11
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Well thank you both kenafein and HenrikDK - I'll be the first to admit to tunnel vision when I start on a mission like this, and hadn't thought of the Tammy 70-200 2.8. This is kind of funny also in that a year ago that same Tammy was on the top of my wish list.

This might be a good solution being the 2.8 glass would certainly compliment my FA* 300 f4.5 and DFA 100 2.8 WR.

Too bad I waited though - that lens was $699 for a lot of last year but now it is $769.

I appreciate everyone's input - as I said I often get tunnel vision and fail to look at all the alternatives, hence my posting my quandary here.

I'll have to see how my finances play out the next couple weeks - that will ultimately determine which way I go - DA* 60-250 f4 or Tammy 70-200 f2.8.
02-28-2012, 12:54 PM   #12
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Just for comparison sake, here is the same bird house shot with the K-x and the DAL 50-200 - second image again is the 100% crop.



02-28-2012, 01:07 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
This lens is my most used lens, and I feel it is quite sharp for what it is.

I have the itch to upgrade to the DA* 60-250, but everytime I use the 55-300, I don't know if I will get that much better IQ for the cost ($1250).

My wife uses our K-x with the DAL 50-200, and I find the IQ of the 55-300 that much better that I want her to start using the 55-300. But, I don't want to be without this lens for myself unless I upgrade to the 60-250.

So.....my dilemma.....do I pass the 55-300 on to my wife and spring for the 60-250? Will I be that much happier with the 60-250?

I could buy another 55-300, but I hate to do that - I like the idea of us both using the same platform so we can share lenses, and to have 2 of the same lens would be riduculous in my eyes.

Here is a quick shot I just took to show the detail in the grain of the wood - second image is a 100% crop.

If I follow your dilemma correctly, you don’t want two of the same lens since you can share/swap and yet you’d rather not give-up that one you have without an upgrade to a DA* but you’re a little hesitant on spending $1,200 for a 60-250 as you’re a bit concerned improvements you gain may not be worth that much?

So basically the dilemma is between sharing one 55-300 and spending $1200 for a DA* (or Tamron) versus spending around $150-$200 and have a “his and her” 55-300mm?

If I were in your situation and use the 55-300mm a lot and love the results, I’d keep it….it’s mine! Get your wife her own 55-300 (DA or DA-L). Yes, you will have two of the same lens but…..something’s got to give. When the time comes you’re ready for an upgrade, whether it be DA* or Tamron then sell or even swap one of the 55-300mm.

I rarely use mine but I have the DA-L 55-300mm and have thought about selling that lens many times until I start using it and realize what an amazing lens it is....Cheers!

Last edited by K57XR; 02-28-2012 at 01:18 PM.
02-28-2012, 01:36 PM   #14
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There's not an absolute correct answer to your question. I'm like you, I wouldn't want to have 2 of the same lens.

Since you already have the FA300, have you compared the FA to the DA55-300 at 300? Do you think that the quality gain you get is enough to justify the more expensive lens? Would you like to see a similar quality gain? How much is that extra gain worth it to you, personally? Do you want to trade a relatively small, light-weight lens for something much larger and heavier?

I own the 55-300, DA*50-135, DA*200 and both the A* and DA*300. I once tried out a DA*60-250 (long after I had bought the 50-135). The quality gain I see with the various * lenses I have are worth it for me to part with my money (I had the 50-135 and A*300 at the time I bought the 55-300, and had those 3 lenses at the time I decided to buy the DA*200 and 300 lenses). I was really impressed with the 60-250, but decided to go with the two primes since I already had the 50-135, and I found the 60-250 really too heavy and large for me to use on a day-to-day basis, replacing the 50-135. If I were in your shoes, I probably would give the 55-300 to my husband for his use and get the 60-250 or the 70-200 f2.8. Oh wait, that's exactly what I did do - gave the 55-300 to my husband for him to use on the K7 (he loves it) and I've kept the DA* lenses to use on my K5.
02-28-2012, 07:35 PM   #15
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To me that FA300 would be the upgrade to the DA55-300, simply because I use my 55-300 at 300mm at least 80% of the time. If you want a zoom, I would also suggest the Tamron 70-200 2.8 for $500 less that the 60-250. I don't have the Tamron but I've read a lot of good things about it here. If you don't need that speed, maybe the Sigma120-400, not as wide but that extra 100mm could be nice, though I've read little about this lens. But of course that weather resistance of the 60-250 sure would be nice. Good luck with whatever you do, all of the ideas above have merit.
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