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05-19-2012, 09:51 AM   #1
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Best budget telephoto lens?

I've only really used my da 50-200 at the 200 end and my results seem very soft. I'm wondering which of the older 200-300 primes would be a good choice to replace this lens with that would give me sharper images. I don't want to spend too much so I'm thinking one of the M lens or screw mount....Thanks Bob

05-19-2012, 10:11 AM   #2
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m 200 f4 is sure sharper than your 50-200
SMC Pentax-M 200mm F4 Reviews - M Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
if you are interested in one particular lens, you can always go check the user review section. there are a lof of feedback.
05-19-2012, 10:57 AM   #3
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My favorite longer-than-180mm primes are mostly M42, mostly cheap, and rather different.

* T2-mount Vivitar 200/3.5, 2-ring preset, 18 iris blades, sharp with distinctive bokeh
* M42 Super-Takumar 200/4, very nice performer, but nothing really distinctive about it
* M42 Jupiter 21-M 200/4, a great heavy beast (almost a kilo) with intimidating optics
* M42 Tele-Takumar 200/5.6, rather slow, very small, very sharp, a good backpacker's tele
* M42 Enna tele-Ennalyt 240/4.5, sharp, lightweight, with distinctive 'period' character
* M42 Alpa (Chinon? Cosina?) 300/5.6, VERY sharp, nice rendering, an elegant lens

I may use any of the M42s with a wide-flange no-infinity-focus M42-PK adapter when I don't care about infinity wide-open. Such an adapter usually pulls their far-focus in to 150-200m, and forces me to LOOK and SEE within a narrower range than with a 100-300mm zoom.

Another great way to reach that neighborhood is with a better longer zoom. My best:

* M42 Vivitar-Kiron Series 1 (v1) 70~210/3.5, an absolute classic
* PK-A Vivitar-Komine Series 1 (v3) 70~210/2.8-4, almost as good, easier to use
* PK-A Sears-Samyang 80~200/4, a remarkably good cheap sleeper
* FA 100~300/4.7-5.8 (silver), the best bargain in longer AF zooms

Other folks have other favorites. Those are what I could afford.
05-19-2012, 12:08 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by robert Quote
I've only really used my da 50-200 at the 200 end and my results seem very soft. I'm wondering which of the older 200-300 primes would be a good choice to replace this lens with that would give me sharper images. I don't want to spend too much so I'm thinking one of the M lens or screw mount....Thanks Bob
Why not the 55-300mm? You should be able to get the DA L version (plastic mount, no quick focus) for less than $200 (that is what I sold mine for), sell your 50-200mm for a reasonable price and it should only be about another $100 investment total. Worth every penny as the 55-300mm is a much better lens optically than the 50-200mm.

05-19-2012, 03:18 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by pxpaulx Quote
Why not the 55-300mm? You should be able to get the DA L version (plastic mount, no quick focus) for less than $200 (that is what I sold mine for), sell your 50-200mm for a reasonable price and it should only be about another $100 investment total. Worth every penny as the 55-300mm is a much better lens optically than the 50-200mm.
In reality there is actually not that much difference between the two as far as IQ goes. I have both.

If you can live with a zoom then I'd recommend the Sigma 75-200 F3.8 Autofokus if you can find one. All depends what is a 'reasonable' price to you and if you want the hassle of a M42 adaptor and/or of a fully manual lens. In any case, an older lens is likely to be a fair bit heavier than your 50-200mm.
05-19-2012, 06:23 PM   #6
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If you want a fast, long, and affordable 200mm, check out the Tak 200mm f/3.5 preset. It's an amazing lens. I have mine listed in the Marketplace, since I have a Tamron 70-200 now.
05-19-2012, 09:00 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by robert Quote
I've only really used my da 50-200 at the 200 end and my results seem very soft. I'm wondering which of the older 200-300 primes would be a good choice to replace this lens with that would give me sharper images. I don't want to spend too much so I'm thinking one of the M lens or screw mount....Thanks Bob
I'd start by posting samples. the DA50-200 might be *slightly* softer than some more expensive options, but you'd never be able to tell except pixel peeping at 100%. If you are seeing images that are "very soft", it is most likely not the a problem with the lens, but rather, technique (ie, too slow a shutter speed, not controlling focus well enough, etc).
05-20-2012, 06:37 PM   #8
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Looking for an F 100-300, found one at BH - but does that lens have a metal lens mount? Just got a K20D almost new.

stanschmit

05-20-2012, 09:08 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by stanschmit Quote
Looking for an F 100-300, found one at BH - but does that lens have a metal lens mount?
By all accounts the FA100-300/4.7-5.8 (silver) is much better optically than the older 100-300s. The mount is a mix of metal and polycarbonate|Lexan; the gripping parts are metal. Highly recommended.
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