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07-27-2012, 06:10 PM   #1
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55-300DAL & Tamron 70-200mm--Please help

I currently own a Pentax 55-300DAL. I am very pleased with this lens...

I am also considering buying a Tamron 70-200mm f2.8.

Before I fork out yet another several hundred dollars I am interested in comparing and contrasting the pros and cons of each and discussing 'why' I want the second lens (or if its justified)...and what I am 'thinking' I want it for... or if it will be superior or not...hence worth (or not worth) the investment.

I like the DAL because

1. it is relatively sharp.
2. the 300mm is nice! especially in a small package

The downside to this lens is after using it for a while its much slower than I want. You have to shoot in pretty bright light (relatively speaking) to be able to shoot fast shutter speeds.

I am shooting with the K-5 so I technically 'can' crank up the ISO... I will have to run more tests to see 'really' what kind of shutter speeds I can get....

This is where I am thinking the Tamron will come into play.

1. I don't want to give up 300mm...in fact I want to go longer than that...but they don't make em.
2. I find the constant f2.8 very attractive.
3. I heard through my reading that the Tamron is sharp.

I am thinking the Tamron will allow me to shoot in a lot lower light levels, typically later in the evening or earlier in the mornings...or especially indoors... I am thinking the Tamron would be pretty good for indoor events (please note I have only been to one wedding in around 10 years)...

Anyway I am debating forking out the $700++ for the Tamron when I already own the 300mm....true I have to focal length covered already but I seriously prefer the constant f2.8...and even at 200mm I can only get f5.6 with the 300mm, so in other words... twice the light...

I did some basic tests and with 'evening lighting' with the 300mm...if I crank the ISO up to 3200 I can shoot with about 1/1000-1250 shutter speed at f5.6. I did another test with a f2.8 tamron 17-50 and I was able to achieve the approximate same shutter speeds at ISO 800 in the approximate same lighting conditions.

To get that aperture I am sacrificing 100mm though...

I am not writing everything down here...but hopefully you get the idea of where I am going with all this...

If I go with the other 'long zooms' we are talking about I will need more than 'twice the light' to get the same results of my random test above with the f2.8.

I am really trying to sort out if it will be worth it for me to invest in that lens or not...really where would it 'shine' in comparison to the DAL?

07-27-2012, 06:24 PM   #2
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The sharpness and image quality of the Tamron 70-200 is spectacular but keep in mind that it is a big, heavy lens. I don't have a Pentax 55-300 but the Tamron is triple the size of the 50-200 at 50mm and more than triple the weight.
07-27-2012, 06:24 PM   #3
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Another side question would be if I really ponied up the cash (very expensive) I can get a Sigma 300mm prime f2.8.

If I get a 1.4 teleconverter and a 2x teleconverter I will technically be able to have 3 seperate focal lengths...

300mm@ f2.8
420mm@ effectively f4
600mm@ f5.6

The teleconverters run $250 for the 1.4x and $300 for the 2x.....thats $550 for the teleconverters + $3400 for the lens...basically $4000 for that particular set up...

A side question would be do teleconverters degrade the image quality? if so how bad is it? For having that diversity of focal lengths though that is actually pretty inexpensive vs buying a series of long lenses....it would be maybe 1/3 or 1/4 the price for equivalent dedicated lenses...

If Pentax has teleconverters I could do the same thing with the 200mm f2.8...but for even cheaper.

Last edited by alamo5000; 07-27-2012 at 06:39 PM.
07-27-2012, 06:26 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by cheehee Quote
The sharpness and image quality of the Tamron 70-200 is spectacular but keep in mind that it is a big, heavy lens. I don't have a Pentax 55-300 but the Tamron is triple the size of the 50-200 at 50mm and more than triple the weight.
I am not too concerned about weight. I have heard its heavy (for a lens) but I am young and carrying a couple pounds around all day isn't a big deal.

07-27-2012, 07:00 PM   #5
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Teleconverters do degrade the image, some more than others. Some lenses don't work well with TCs, while others do. Search teleconverter and you'll see what has been written about them.
07-27-2012, 07:39 PM   #6
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I have the DA 55-300 and also have a Tamron 70-200. I use both a lot. What kinds of shooting do you plan to do that might require the Tamron?

The Tamron is much sharper than the 55-300 and obviously much faster. I use it to shoot basketball, volleyball, and indoor activities such as choral and/or band concerts or dramas. I also use it a good bit for outdoor sports that are played under artificial lights and even in daylight when I really want or need high shutter speeds. I don't use a TC bit have seen some folks that do. I shoot mainly for web galleries so I just crop when needed and the Tamron is sharp enough that cropping is not a problem. I also use the A 55-300 for outdoor sports such as football, baseball, or soccer. I am using my Sigma 50-500 more and more instead of the 55-300, however, especially for shooting birds.

I can say that if something were to happen to my Tamron, I would waste little time in replacing it. Last I checked there was one available in the Marketplace.
07-27-2012, 07:44 PM   #7
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at same aperture, the tarmon shoud be a lot sharp
but I do not know if tarmon at f2.8 is still sharp than pentax at f5.6. that is two stop difference....
07-27-2012, 07:45 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by alamo5000 Quote
I am not too concerned about weight. I have heard its heavy (for a lens) but I am young and carrying a couple pounds around all day isn't a big deal.
but try holding it out in front of you for long periods and keeping it still. I tried shooting a Sig 100-300/4 handheld and literally couldn't do it for more than a minute before having to take it away from my eye.

07-27-2012, 07:54 PM   #9
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I have the DA 55-300 and the Tamron 70-200. When I bought the Tamron I thought I was going to want to get rid of the 55-300. The Tamron produces amazing images. I love it. What I don't love is the weight and the loss of 100mm. I have found that both lenses serve me in two completely different ways.

I use the DA more than I use the Tamron. Every time I know I'm going to be outside with some good light, the DA comes with me. Whenever I'm going to shoot indoors or I care more about image quality, I take the Tamron with me.

The DA produces some great images as well (most of my best shots are with the DA), but I've designated them for different uses. I don't regret having either.
07-27-2012, 08:43 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by GvilleRick Quote
I have the DA 55-300 and also have a Tamron 70-200. I use both a lot. What kinds of shooting do you plan to do that might require the Tamron?

The Tamron is much sharper than the 55-300 and obviously much faster. I use it to shoot basketball, volleyball, and indoor activities such as choral and/or band concerts or dramas. I also use it a good bit for outdoor sports that are played under artificial lights and even in daylight when I really want or need high shutter speeds. I don't use a TC bit have seen some folks that do. I shoot mainly for web galleries so I just crop when needed and the Tamron is sharp enough that cropping is not a problem. I also use the A 55-300 for outdoor sports such as football, baseball, or soccer. I am using my Sigma 50-500 more and more instead of the 55-300, however, especially for shooting birds.
Now you have hit on something important. I am still pretty new to 'real' photography so I am doing a lot of experimenting....It is expensive experimentation though that's for sure.

I am still developing my style and what I really like to shoot. Firstly, its worth noting that for some reason or another I prefer zoom lenses over prime (so far)...reason being that they give me convienient access to do different kinds of framing and composing and so forth. I do have a vision of where I want to go and 'so far' zoom lenses seem to be right up my alley...

It might seem a bit 'off topic' but here is what my 'ultimate aim' is...I love travel and as soon as I get the chance to go out again I am going to roll. My last 'quick trip' I spent about 2 weeks in/around Bogota...before that I went to something like 15 countries back to back over about 2-3 years...I have lived in 7 countries (I think) so far...that being said I want to mesh my love of that with photography (I have always been interested in photography, I just never bought all the stuff and took the time or money to learn before)...

In short I want an overall 'light easy package' to carry around. My definition of light would be one pack that I can wear on my back and put in the overhead bin. I already have two tamron lenses (the 10-24, the 17-50)...and if I get this one that will make three. I can then put those three lenses in a small pack and just go. I will probably have to pack a tripod too, but for the most part it will be 'street photography' more or less.

On the other hand I already own several prime lenses but I don't find myself using them that much. I am not so much of a 'studio' kind of guy although I might carry around some primes too... Just to put this in context one of my friends who is a professional shooter went around Africa and literally had to buy a donkey and a cart to haul all his gear. It was outright ridiculous. He probably had at least $50,000 or more worth of stuff on a donkey cart. Wouldn't it be nice, but dang. I can't afford all that.

I might invest in another camera body but everything needs to be able to fit into the overhead bin. This will support and be able to fit into my nomadic lifestyle. I have a ton of photos from all around the world but everything was taken with a point and shoot and none of it was taken with 'artistic' ideas in mind... it was just snaps and thats it.

I don't have kids and stuff, but I do love sports... baseball and hockey---I attend games of the latter a lot...as much as possible. I do know what I want, but I don't know either. If I wasn't on a budget I would just buy them all, primes and the lot, and go from there but I am trying to do a crash course in everything from composition to post processing...and to be honest having a sharp lens is way more important than anything else.

I don't really want to limit myself though...without a big budget and just by trial and error its hard to make up my mind what to get.
07-27-2012, 08:59 PM   #11
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All that being stated if money were no object (or if I can simply collect over time) the lenses I can have one 'pack' that is a travel rig and another that is for other things. I could see that 'pack' being two K-5 bodies one with the 17-50 on it and the other body with the 70-200...and I can carry the 10-24 extra. For 90% of the shots I would be able to just 'go for it' and have a constant 2.8 all the way through.

As I am still very inexperienced as a photographer I don't really know 'why' primes would be superior...but if I collect over time those lenses...who knows... I might use them. I don't know yet.

I am however a very experienced traveller so I know what its like to be out on the road.

I am genuinely trying to put a lot of thought into this.
07-27-2012, 09:05 PM   #12
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buy new and you can try any lens for 1 month
if you do not like it, just return.
I think 1 month is plenty of time to get an overall idea of what you like or dislike about the lens.
07-27-2012, 09:21 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by liukaitc Quote
buy new and you can try any lens for 1 month
if you do not like it, just return.
I think 1 month is plenty of time to get an overall idea of what you like or dislike about the lens.
I have dropped about $5000 bucks on stuff already just within the past 2 months...I have all kinds of lenses I would 'like to own' but man, they add up quick. I need to win the lotto. I am not very patient...I want em all and I want them now.

That being said, having $10,000 in lenses does not a good photographer make. I do want super sharp lenses...no doubt about it...I do want the tools... but I need to put 10 years worth of know how in my head. Its not all about lenses.

Where I live now too... to me its not very inspiring as far as photography goes. I struggle to find good subject matter.

I try to do my homework before I buy....but I am for sure diving in head first....
07-27-2012, 11:17 PM   #14
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Wait a sec. Are you guys saying that Tamron makes better 300 zoom lenses than Pentax does? I always thought the Pentax 55-300 was a definitely a step up not a step down? I've got a Sigma 75-300 and a Tamron 75-300. I think they are okay to pretty good depending but I was really hoping the Pentax was a lot better actually.
07-27-2012, 11:17 PM   #15
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Remember, it isn't just weight but size.

Also, note that except in very large rooms, a 70-200mm lens is serious overkill. The 50-135mm is usually a smarter choice all around, and even then, only for the shots that require telephoto. Most event shots are probably much wider than that.
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