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05-31-2012, 10:14 AM   #1
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DA* 60-250 — new purchase!

I've been looking to add some telephoto capability to my arsenal, and had been planning to solicit some opinions from forum members before I made a purchase. The two lenses that I've been considering:

Pentax DA* 60-250mm f/4 ED (IF) SDM
Pentax DA* 300mm F/4 ED (IF) SDM

Well… as luck would have it, I just found (and have subsequently purchased) a used copy of the DA*60-250 on Adorama.com for $1,150. The condition was marked "D," which—as I understand it—is equivalent to "Demo" (i.e., basically like new). I'm excited (I think)… That seems like a great price, doesn't it? I just hope it's not too good to be true. I'm mildly apprehensive about it being a sub-standard copy. Should I be concerned? Elated? I don't generally like to buy used anything—especially lenses… but at this price (and at this condition), this lens went from the outer fringes of my budget into "I think I'd be a fool to not buy this at this price" territory.

My rationale for adding a telephoto is to start getting into some bird/wildlife-type stuff. I spend a fair amount of time in the mountains and on the coast of South Carolina, so there would seem to be plenty of great opportunities (beyond the landscape-type stuff I've been doing). The longest lens in my arsenal up until now has been the D FA 100mm Macro WR (which I adore).

I'd love to hear any opinions, so please share 'em if you have 'em. One question I have in particular: would the extra 50mm on the 300mm have made that much of a difference (compared to the 250), or is it relatively minor at that length? FWIW, at the moment, I'm shooting with a K-7, and plan to upgrade to the K-5's successor whenever it's out.

-J

05-31-2012, 11:56 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by jasonwarth Quote
That seems like a great price, doesn't it? I just hope it's not too good to be true.
It's a good deal and quite possibly it is "new" and not a demo lens. I have seen a few pop up recently from the big sellers that noted demo on them (all with similar pricing), apparently this is the way for the retailers (authorized retailers) to get around the UPP pricing policy that pentax is enforcing.

Keep us posted, let us know how it turns out...
05-31-2012, 12:10 PM   #3
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A great lens! It's my favorite.

It is a tad heavy, but I don't mind at all.

Pat
05-31-2012, 12:10 PM   #4
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One question I have in particular: would the extra 50mm on the 300mm have made that much of a difference (compared to the 250), or is it relatively minor at that length?

i have both and use both...if i am going out specifically for birding i take the 300 but there are limitations...if you get lucky and a bird or animal is closer than the 300 can handle then the 60-250 will take care of it...i think in the end you will be happy with the 60-250 and if you get into long distance wildlife then you will be looking for something longer than the 300...like maybe the sigma 50-500 imo...
i also agree with joe and you shouldn't worry about the quality of the lens..you will find that people buy and sell used lens all the time and "knock on wood" there hasn't been a used lens that i have been unhappy with...have fun with the 60-250 and after you use it for awhile it will help you to decide what range you are looking for...you can always look for a tamron 1.4 extender that will work reasonably well on that lens and give you an idea how the longer range works...good luck!! amy

05-31-2012, 12:13 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by jasonwarth Quote
One question I have in particular: would the extra 50mm on the 300mm have made that much of a difference (compared to the 250), or is it relatively minor at that length? FWIW, at the moment, I'm shooting with a K-7, and plan to upgrade to the K-5's successor whenever it's out.
Congratulations! I saw this lens at Adorama. It is fantastic lens. I chose it deliberately over DA*300/4 for versatility. It was sharper than two copies of Sigma 100-300/4 that I used to own. The images could be cropped to very high degree (2x-3x). So extra 50mm doesn't matter too much. However, the 300/4 is a bit sharper by itself, I guess. There is a noticeable difference when the TC is used with 300mm. At the long end I shoot mostly FA*300/4.5+Tamron 1.4X Pz-AF TC. And I chose FA*300 over DA*300 deliberately again for the option of AF screw driven converter to be used with. The DA*60-250 also works very well for me for city/streets photography. However, it might scare some people when it is extended to the full 250mm and the hood is attached .
Looking forward to see your pictures,

SG

P.S. Don't forget to check for BF/FF. My lens was back focusing initially on my K-5.
05-31-2012, 12:46 PM   #6
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As stated before, it's a great lens, but it is a little heavy. Not compared to those huge ones other manufacturers make (and Pentax used to make) but after a long hike, it does wear on you a bit.
05-31-2012, 01:33 PM   #7
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Thanks to all for the great responses! That was just what I was looking for: some helpful info, some validation, and some enthusiasm! I'm looking forward to testing this baby out… I'm not all that well-versed on BF/FF… Should I perform some proactive tests to check for that, or is it something that will be apparent through normal use?
05-31-2012, 02:39 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by jasonwarth Quote
Thanks to all for the great responses! That was just what I was looking for: some helpful info, some validation, and some enthusiasm! I'm looking forward to testing this baby out… I'm not all that well-versed on BF/FF… Should I perform some proactive tests to check for that, or is it something that will be apparent through normal use?
When you get the lens just shoot any repeatable pattern: brick fence or wall, edge of the neighbor’s tile roof (that’s what I usually do), etc. Stick Post-it sheet somewhere or just remember the focusing point (nail, some imperfection, and so on) and shoot it at approx. 45 degrees angle from the distance that allows you to have at least 15-20 pattern pieces in the frame with the aperture set to f/4. Do it at 250mm first. If you care the most about other FLs, do it too. For zooms the issue may vary for different FL. You don’t need to maintain exact 45o for the first test, just look how it goes: is the focus point is sharp enough; or there is a sharper area before or behind it.

Good luck,

SG


Last edited by Greyser; 05-31-2012 at 02:48 PM.
05-31-2012, 02:49 PM   #9
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I just bought a used one (2 months old) , it's my favorite lens for birding and wildlife , it's a dream you will enjoy it immensely and you owe me some money cause I paid more than you did
05-31-2012, 05:04 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by daacon Quote
I just bought a used one (2 months old) , it's my favorite lens for birding and wildlife

To me 250mm is a bit short. You have to get really close to a small bird (2-3m) to get all fine details sharp. And the Tamron/Kenko Pz AF 1.4X TC are not always reliable; they need some pre-focusing on SDM lenses, which slows down everything. However, last year I got decent shots of large and medium sized birds: egrets/herons with DA*60-250. Kingfishers did not come out good enough though.
P.S. I mostly shoot small birds at 420mm.
05-31-2012, 05:15 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Greyser Quote
To me 250mm is a bit short. You have to get really close to a small bird (2-3m) to get all fine details sharp. And the Tamron/Kenko Pz AF 1.4X TC are not always reliable; they need some pre-focusing on SDM lenses, which slows down everything. However, last year I got decent shots of large and medium sized birds: egrets/herons with DA*60-250. Kingfishers did not come out good enough though.
P.S. I mostly shoot small birds at 420mm.
Points taken there is a wetlands in the area where I can get relatively close to birds and I don't really do a lot of birding. I do have a Sigma 50-500 that in decent light does a fine job. Just saying my expereince is the DA* 60-250 is on par with the DA* 50-135 for picture quality I think.
05-31-2012, 10:48 PM   #12
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I love my 60-250... It is my favorite zoom. And I wouldn't worry about buying a used copy. I have purchased almost all of my lenses used and I have never been disappointed. Sometimes when I am choosing between two lenses I ask fate to help me out on the decision - I'll buy whichever had the better opportunity present itself. It sounds like that is exactly what happened to you here. Fate made the decision for you by presenting a really good deal on the 60-250.
05-31-2012, 11:01 PM   #13
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DA*60-250: ISO100, f/6.3, 1/250, -0.7EV



There are a few more pictures taken with this lens here:

Greyser's Album: Pentax DA*60-250 - PentaxForums.com
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