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05-29-2012, 10:11 PM   #1
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FA100-300 4.7-5.8, or DA55-300, or DA18-250?? (IQ+$$=Best value))

Which one do you think gives the best value for a lens?

And which has the best IQ?

I went over the reviews and similar threads, and couldn't find any conclusive opinion.

05-29-2012, 10:36 PM   #2
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There are big differences in the range of focal length between these three. Solely on the range of focal length, the DA18-250mm is the clear winner.

Ultimately what do you what to shoot? What focal lengthes do you need? Only you can answer...
05-29-2012, 11:18 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by karelson Quote
Which one do you think gives the best value for a lens?

And which has the best IQ?

I went over the reviews and similar threads, and couldn't find any conclusive opinion.

Don't know about the first. It seems like you want a long reach semi-budget lens, though, and the 55-300 fills that niche better than the 18-250.
05-30-2012, 02:31 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by karelson Quote
Which one do you think gives the best value for a lens?

And which has the best IQ?

I went over the reviews and similar threads, and couldn't find any conclusive opinion.
I have owned the DA 18-250 for 4 years, and recently also acquired the DA 55-300 for a good price in an LBA frenzy.
The 18-250 is far more versatile, and is the lens I use the most by far. The 55-300 does have quickshift which the 18-250 lacks, but I don't really miss it, as the AF on the 18-250 is fine.

The 55-300 is a slightly faster lens at equal focal length. I haven't done comparisons in terms of picture quality yet. Neither seems obviously better than the other.
I intend to do some comparison at some point to see if it's worth keeping the 55-300 or not.

05-30-2012, 05:08 AM   #5
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Considering the price, the best VALUE is the FA100-300. You can get it for 100$. If you can find a DAL 55-300 for about 150$ (possible) then value-wise it's a great deal too.

The 18-250 is the most convenient, but it's not the best optically and it's much more expensive.

So I answered for value, but only for that
05-30-2012, 05:30 AM   #6
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I Have the FA 100-300 and it's a very good lens.
Haven't used the others.
As an owner of the lens, I have to say its excellent "value".
05-30-2012, 06:53 AM   #7
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You're comparing a superzoom to telephoto lenses. They do not have the same capabilities. A telephoto needs to be used with at least one other lens. The 18-250 is an all-rounder, whose main purpose is to avoid lens changes. I stopped using the 18-250 because it was a bit disappointing in difficult conditions. I much prefer the 55-300 as a pure telephoto, it has longer range, faster aperture, better colour and contrast, slightly sharper and far less purple fringing.

Note that the 18-250 is an internal focus lens. There are advantages to IF, but the disadvantage is that the lens only reaches its stated focal length at infinity. I compared my Pentax 18-250 to my 55-300 and found for example that at 30 feet subject distance, the 18-250 @ 250mm had the same field of view as the 55-300 @ 200mm. That makes quite a difference for birding.
05-30-2012, 09:46 AM   #8
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Thank you all for replying.

I am trying to decide on one all around lens, or to separate the range to a few lenses including some primes.


I have the Pentax DA18-250, F50/1.7, F35-70, soon I will receive my Sigma 24mm 2.8F AF super-wide ii.

I just heard and read very good things about the Pentax FA100-300 4.7-5.8, and I used to own the DAL55-300, which was very good IMHO. But the letter is more expensive. and since I can't buy them all . I am trying to have a better understanding since I am not planing to keep/buy all of them.

05-30-2012, 10:34 AM   #9
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18-250 vs 55-300

QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
You're comparing a superzoom to telephoto lenses. They do not have the same capabilities. A telephoto needs to be used with at least one other lens. The 18-250 is an all-rounder, whose main purpose is to avoid lens changes. I stopped using the 18-250 because it was a bit disappointing in difficult conditions. I much prefer the 55-300 as a pure telephoto, it has longer range, faster aperture, better colour and contrast, slightly sharper and far less purple fringing.

Note that the 18-250 is an internal focus lens. There are advantages to IF, but the disadvantage is that the lens only reaches its stated focal length at infinity. I compared my Pentax 18-250 to my 55-300 and found for example that at 30 feet subject distance, the 18-250 @ 250mm had the same field of view as the 55-300 @ 200mm. That makes quite a difference for birding.

What he says.
I just sold my 18-250, it was fine on my K100D, OK on my k20D and pretty average on my K5. I now have the 18-135WR which is an excellent, if expensive lens, and my 55-300 - a good lens, but take care at 300mm, I find I need surprsingly high shutter speeds to get sharp images and you definitely need to stop down. 250 is fine and as AudioB said, it really is 250, rather than anything between 190 and 250 for the superzoom (I had the Tamron version btw)
05-30-2012, 11:24 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by karelson Quote
I have the Pentax DA18-250, F50/1.7, F35-70, soon I will receive my Sigma 24mm 2.8F AF super-wide ii.

I just heard and read very good things about the Pentax FA100-300 4.7-5.8, and I used to own the DAL55-300, which was very good IMHO. But the letter is more expensive. and since I can't buy them all . I am trying to have a better understanding since I am not planing to keep/buy all of them.
I have the DA18-250 (from my original K20D kit) and the FA100-300 (silver) as well as the F35-70 (and a couple dozen other zooms). They are different birds.

I've said that the DA18-250 is my basic lens; all others are specialty items. The DA18-250 is mandatory for travel, for dynamic situations (where I don't know what to expect), for not missing shots. The IQ of a missed shot is zero. Its optical shortcomings are only obvious (to me) at near-pixel-peeping close inspection.

I've said that I don't use the FA50/1.4 for wide-open edge-to-edge flatfield sharpness -- I use it to grab otherwise-impossible shots. Similarly, I don't use the DA18-250 wide-open for ARIZONA HIGHWAYS centerfolds -- I use it to record what's happening around me. If I want sharper optics, I replace it with the Vivitar Series 1 19-35/3.5-4.5 and 70-210/2.8-4, and the F35-70/3.5-4.5 -- and hope I don't miss shots whilst swapping lenses. If I want a narrower FL range, I use a Tokina SD 35-200 -- it's optics aren't quite as good as the DA18-250, but it'll do in many circumstances.

For maximum 'coverage' with minimal lenses, I pack the Tamron 10-24, DA18-250, and Lil'Bigma DG 170-500. But not often. The Lil'Bigma is a beast. For reach with fine optics, I carry the much lighter FA100-300 (silver) instead. Its IQ does NOT drop off at FL extremes, as do some long zooms. I'm no birder, but I've got my best bird shots with it. One of my more minimal AF zoom kits contains the Tamron 10-24, F35-70, and FA100-300, a nice mix when circumstances allow.

I can't comment on DA50-200 nor DA55-300. I highly recommend both the DA18-250 and FA100-300 (silver).

QuoteQuote:
I am trying to decide on one all around lens, or to separate the range to a few lenses including some primes.
Primes are good. AF primes at 24mm and 50mm are good. I have just one AF prime, the FA50/1.4, my gotta-get-the-shot lens. I otherwise depend on fairly fast MF primes: 16FE+90M+135/2.8; 24+28CF+35+58+85/2. After the FA50/1.4, my most-used prime is a Vivitar-Komine 28/2 CFWA, which sees more use than my 24/2-2.8's, especially when the Tamron 10-24 is in my bag. Over-generalization: I prefer 28mm outdoors, 24mm indoors. YMMV.

Yes, a mix of zooms and primes is good to have. All are different tools for different purposes; I use both electric-powered and human-powered screwdrivers and drills, eh? Another over-generalization: AF zooms (handheld) for TAKING pictures, MF primes (on tripod) for MAKING pictures. One whittles differently with a chainsaw than with a jackknife.

Last edited by RioRico; 05-30-2012 at 11:36 AM.
05-30-2012, 01:22 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
AF zooms (handheld) for TAKING pictures, MF primes (on tripod) for MAKING pictures.
Nice......
05-30-2012, 01:29 PM   #12
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I bought the 18-250 as my kit lens for the K20D. In the year since I've had a K-5, I've maybe used the lens twice. I find the 55-300 to be sharper at all focal lengths and much sharper above 125-150. I'd say that the 18-250 is good between 25-90mm, decent to 150 or so and quite soft at the long end. If you shoot mostly in the medium focal lengths and only occasionally want the longer reach, it's very versatile. If you do much shooting past 100mm, then the 55-300 is the better lens.
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