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06-30-2012, 10:53 AM - 1 Like   #1
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Garden Tests : DA*300 vs Tokina 300/2.8 vs Tamron BB 500, plus TCs

I have just acquired the Tokina 300/2.8 so wanted to give it a workout against my current 300-500 lens/TC combinations to see how it would stack up and when/if it would have an advantage over the DA*300/4 with or without the Tamron x1.4 Pz-AF MC4 and AFA x1.7. I threw the Tamron BB 500 Mirror into the mix just because I wanted to show some people how good this cheap lens can be if you can get past the occasional doughnut rendering of specular highlights !

So just down and dirty, these shots were taken the way I'd take them in the field (birding) and that means the DA*300 and Tokina 300/2.8 were used on a monopod (the Tokina especially is really just too heavy for handheld shots - though I did grab a few of a swallowtail butterfly that entered the garden just as I was packing up). The Tamron BB 500 was handheld - because currently in the field the DA*300 is on the monopod - so that is how I'd use it.

In all cases I kept the shutter speed at 1/500 and shot in RAW. And except for a few shots of some willing subjects at the end there has been no PP, i.e. no sharpening aside from when the RAW were imported into Aperture 3 and no Noise Reduction, but in a few cases I did use the auto-exposure and auto-curves button.

Note there is no systematical testing here - it's just what was of interest to me (and maybe someone else out there) !

So take of it what you will. If you like it then give me a Like ! If you don't think it's of any value then you can exit the thread and go onto another more interesting one. Hope this is of value to someone at least.

DA*300 vs Tokina 300 @ 100%


Tokina 300 + Tamron x1.4 @ 100%


B]Tokina 300 + Tamron x1.4 cropped vs AFA x1.7@ 100%[/B]


DA*300 + Tamron x1.4 equalised to AFA x1.7 @ 100%


DA*300 cropped to 500mm FoV vs Tamron BB 500 @ 100%


Tokina 300 at f4 and at f2.8 @ 100%


Tamron BB 500, out of camera and @ 100%



My test subjects, these shots have had minor PP (sharpened but no NR applied). The lens and TC used are written in Red on the shots




Tokina 300 @ f5.6, 1/500 and ISO 1,250


Proud Mama & Papa and their brood (there are 3 one is out of shot).


Tokina 300 + AFA x1.7 @ f5.6, 1/500 and ISO 500



Last edited by Frogfish; 06-30-2012 at 11:03 AM.
06-30-2012, 01:40 PM   #2
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Thanks for the comparisons Kevin. I've been reading about Tokina glass, so it's good to see those shots. I thought the Tokina compared favorably to the DA 300 without the teleconverters, but did not hold up so well with them. I thought your first two shots of the locks were very close in quality (with the Tokina clearly warmer), though I notice the Pentax is shot at ISO 200, while the Tokina is shot at ISO 400; it is hard to judge how much closer resolution would be if you shot them the same. I do think I noticed the edges and corners are a bit sharper with the Tokina, but the Pentax wins the center. I've seen the Tokina for half the price of the Pentax, and for nearly twice the price too!
06-30-2012, 02:01 PM   #3
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Thanks for sharing your comparison study.

I go through the same testing whenever I acquire a new lens. I need to know what the capability is of any lens I own so I know which one to use for certain subjects.

Your testing also reminded me why I keep my Tamron 55BB around - haven't touched it in a long time - will have to bring it out again.
06-30-2012, 02:17 PM   #4
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Thanks for sharing.

The shots from the tamron 55BB has some motion blur. I think 1/500 might be to slow. I use this lens with 1/2000 or faster, but no slower than 1/1000.
The Tokina at f2.8 is not bad at all.

07-02-2012, 08:36 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by les3547 Quote
Thanks for the comparisons Kevin. I've been reading about Tokina glass, so it's good to see those shots. I thought the Tokina compared favorably to the DA 300 without the teleconverters, but did not hold up so well with them. I thought your first two shots of the locks were very close in quality (with the Tokina clearly warmer), though I notice the Pentax is shot at ISO 200, while the Tokina is shot at ISO 400; it is hard to judge how much closer resolution would be if you shot them the same. I do think I noticed the edges and corners are a bit sharper with the Tokina, but the Pentax wins the center. I've seen the Tokina for half the price of the Pentax, and for nearly twice the price too!
That is what I've found Les. The Tokina seems fine by itself and gives an advantage of one stop which could be important in low light (though a little softer as the comparison of the Tokina at f2.8 and then at f4 shows) and is important when adding a TC such as as the AFA x1.7 which on the DA*300 is f6.7 and on the Tokina is f4.8 so even allowing for the additional sharpness of the DA*300 that's over a stop which when stopped down may even them out (haven't tried that yet).

TBC the ISO200 difference is not going to make up the difference in sharpness as on the K5 everything is sharp until at least ISO800 ! The Tokina is much warmer though, much warmer, and I do prefer the Pentax colours - they look a lot more natural IMO.
07-02-2012, 08:37 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
Thanks for sharing your comparison study.

I go through the same testing whenever I acquire a new lens. I need to know what the capability is of any lens I own so I know which one to use for certain subjects.

Your testing also reminded me why I keep my Tamron 55BB around - haven't touched it in a long time - will have to bring it out again.
Thank you for your comments Stan. Yes the T BB 500 is amazing value for money (and very light if you want to pack a 500mm with you and don't have room for much additional weight (whether traveling or on a shoot).
07-02-2012, 10:03 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by hoanpham Quote
Thanks for sharing.

The shots from the tamron 55BB has some motion blur. I think 1/500 might be to slow. I use this lens with 1/2000 or faster, but no slower than 1/1000.
The Tokina at f2.8 is not bad at all.
Thanks HP. Maybe a touch of motion blur - but that's how I use it, hand-held, and so long as you can get the SS up there then it's pretty good - and amazing value for money. Easiest and cheapest way to 500mm !

Tokina is a very decent lens indeed - I'd give it 4 stars to the DA*300's 5 stars !
07-18-2012, 02:30 PM   #8
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Kevin, perhaps you have made this comparison in the past, but thought I would ask (feel free to send me to another link.)

I have a DA*300 and a a Kenko 1.5 PzAF Teleplus SHQ that gives good results but the autofocus with the SDM is unreliable. (I have heard this adapter is similar to the Tamron 1.4x?)

I am considering a Pentax AFA 1.7x - will there be any improvement to IQ and is it worth the switch for the better AF, or should I just try to get the best results with what I have?

07-19-2012, 10:03 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by crewl1 Quote
Kevin, perhaps you have made this comparison in the past, but thought I would ask (feel free to send me to another link.)

I have a DA*300 and a a Kenko 1.5 PzAF Teleplus SHQ that gives good results but the autofocus with the SDM is unreliable. (I have heard this adapter is similar to the Tamron 1.4x?)

I am considering a Pentax AFA 1.7x - will there be any improvement to IQ and is it worth the switch for the better AF, or should I just try to get the best results with what I have?
Hi Larry.

I haven't tried the Kenko (although I've heard it's a good TC) but the Tamron x1.4 I sometimes use is recognised as being excellent. However no matter, if you look at the two shots above (DA*300+Tamron and DA*300 + AFA) in which the shot with the Tamron has then been cropped to the same FoV as the AFA you can see there is barely any difference at all. There is a tiny amount more PF with the Tamron combo, the AFA is a tiny bit sharper and possibly the colour fidelity with the Tamron is a touch more accurate (irrelevant when shooting in RAW).

The advantage to my mind of the AFA is the focus throw is tiny and the AFA is incredibly fast - because it relies on you to get it close to focus before it takes over, so you need to use the Quick-shift first. So it's great in some instances and not in others. Maybe focus accuracy is helped somewhat with the subject being larger in the frame, I don't know, it makes sense to me that it would be but can't offer a definitive on that. The downside is that you lose the ability to switch completely to MF in difficult situations (small bird in the bushes or canopy) as you can't disable the AF in the AFA - even when in MF (and with MF lenses) it still AFs !

IMHO I don't know that you would be gaining anything at all switching up (if the Kenko is as good as the Tamron - if it's not then you would be).
07-19-2012, 10:15 AM   #10
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Thanks very much for your comments, I'll stick to the Kenko and use it in manual focus.
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