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05-04-2013, 11:04 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bcrary3 Quote
Is the SMCP FA any different than the ones labeled as 'FA'?
No. SMC means "super multi coated" P = Pentax. SMCP is not really correct but some sellers use that. It means nothing.

Rotating front element is bad for polarizers or ND grads. Not sure it matters too much for anything else.

QuoteOriginally posted by Bcrary3 Quote
50mm mark to the 300mm mark (it would more realistically be like 75mm-300mm range in APS-C)
Be careful when doing APS-C / FF conversions. Unless you are shooting both film and digital (or FF digital and APS-C digital) it really does not mean much. What you see is what you see. If you have a strong film background and are used to that perspective that is different. But if you are going to convert you have to do both so 50-300 is 75-450 on APS-C.

QuoteOriginally posted by Bcrary3 Quote
I'm not at all concerned about weight really. I prefer a heavier body/lens.
That's fine, but I still would avoid the power zoom models. First the power zoom will not work, second the switch covers have a reputation for falling off. I don't have a problem with heavy lenses either but I don't see the sense in carrying around dead weight.

05-04-2013, 11:11 PM   #17
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That makes sense. AF does seem very important to me, however, I don't know if you've had much experience with manual focus, I just started using my MF Sigma 21-35 and my Ricoh lens is also MF, but have you ever used MF at 300mm? If so, is it difficult when you are shooting anything from leaves on trees, birds, or race cars/aeroplanes?
05-04-2013, 11:37 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bcrary3 Quote
That makes sense. AF does seem very important to me, however, I don't know if you've had much experience with manual focus, I just started using my MF Sigma 21-35 and my Ricoh lens is also MF, but have you ever used MF at 300mm? If so, is it difficult when you are shooting anything from leaves on trees, birds, or race cars/aeroplanes?
Manual focus at long lengths can be done. I`ve shot quite a bit with a 400mm s-m-c takumar. You need good eyes and good technique. And the focusing screens in aps-c cameras are barely sufficient to the task. Most of my lenses are manual focus, but AF is nice to have. I do not have any manual zooms, well I do have 1, but it gets no use. I think older primes hold up well against new ones but older zooms just don`t. Modern zooms have much better tech in them.
05-05-2013, 05:17 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bcrary3 Quote
I'm not at all concerned about weight really. I prefer a heavier body/lens. I am mostly concerned with my budget. The lenses I have currently consist of a Sigma 21-35, Pentax 18-55, Ricoh Rikenon-P 50, and (for the time being) a Takumar-F 70-210. I really just need something to push me from about the 50mm mark to the 300mm mark (it would more realistically be like 75mm-300mm range in APS-C) Also, does a rotating front element mean much in terms of anything important? I've only heard that it can mess with a polarizer.

Is the SMCP FA any different than the ones labeled as 'FA'?
A rotating front element means your lens hood rotates too. This is only a problem if you're using a petal hood.

SMCP just means SMC Pentax. Kind of redundant as SMC is a Pentax trademark and no one else uses it. The correct labeling would be SMC Pentax-FA.

05-05-2013, 05:30 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bcrary3 Quote
That makes sense. AF does seem very important to me, however, I don't know if you've had much experience with manual focus, I just started using my MF Sigma 21-35 and my Ricoh lens is also MF, but have you ever used MF at 300mm? If so, is it difficult when you are shooting anything from leaves on trees, birds, or race cars/aeroplanes?
Of course it works. There was a time when all sport journalists shot with manual tele lenses, and still managed to capture great shots. But it takes training. A lot. And a bright viewfinder with a split prism on the focus screen helps.
05-05-2013, 05:31 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
A rotating front element means your lens hood rotates too. This is only a problem if you're using a petal hood.
...and when you use a polarizing filter.
05-05-2013, 05:58 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
That's fine, but I still would avoid the power zoom models. First the power zoom will not work, second the switch covers have a reputation for falling off. I don't have a problem with heavy lenses either but I don't see the sense in carrying around dead weight.
The power zoom certainly works on my K-5 and K-7. Not sure if it does on all DSLRs. Not that it is very useful...well, perhaps for video. Anyway, the long consumer power zoom isn't a very good lens.

I would rate the Pentax lenses in this range according to:

poor:
FA 70-200/4-5.6 powerzoom
F/FA 100-300/4.5-5.6

mediocre:
FAJ 75-300/4.5-5.6
A/F/FA 80-200/4.7-5.6
FA 80-320/4.5-5.6

good:
F 70-210/4-5.6

very good:
A 70-210/4
M/K 80-200/4.5
DA 55-300/4-5.8

excellent:
DA*60-250/4

outstanding:
FA* 80-200/2.8 powerzoom

But I haven't tried the two * lenses here, their ranking is just hearsay for me. Of course, they cost much more than the rest.
But in the category "long consumer zoom", the DA 55-300 is the best Pentax has made since the 1980's.
05-05-2013, 08:20 AM   #23
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Okay, after much consideration, I've decided to look at older prime 300's if there are any in the 0-$200 range.. I figure if I hold on to my Takumar 70-210 and get a 300mm prime I should be fine.

05-05-2013, 09:16 AM   #24
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That is no small ask. Good luck, as old 300mm primes are a special select group, and will likely exceed your target price range if reasonably good optically. You might be back to the consumer zooms sooner than you think.

As others have said, I can also highly recommend the DA55-300; while my assimilation of others' opinions is that the SMC Pentax-FA 100-300mm F4.7-5.8 and the SMC Pentax-FA 80-320mm F4.5-5.6 are the best alternatives from the older zooms.

The Sigma and Tamron 70-300 are good value, but I would not personally recommend these without a really good personal try-out. I have Tamron DI (fairly sharp and good colors, but a purple fringe monster in high contrast images, which I hate) and older Sigma APO (not as sharp as Tamron and cold colors).

If longer reach of interest, you might also look at older Sigma 120-400,135-400,170-500,150-500 as these would be good in 300 range (but obviously much larger and heavier).
05-05-2013, 09:20 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by KevinR Quote
If longer reach of interest, you might also look at older Sigma 120-400,135-400,170-500,150-500 as these would be good in 300 range (but obviously much larger and heavier).
Now you're starting to talk real money again. You can get a used DA* 300 for less than a K-mount Bigma or Lil' Bigma on eBay...
05-05-2013, 09:57 AM   #26
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I don't need 'the best' right now, just something that will hold me over until the DA* 300 is in sight haha
05-05-2013, 11:06 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Be careful when doing APS-C / FF conversions. Unless you are shooting both film and digital (or FF digital and APS-C digital) it really does not mean much. What you see is what you see. If you have a strong film background and are used to that perspective that is different. But if you are going to convert you have to do both so 50-300 is 75-450 on APS-C.
Haha forgot to convert both numbers. Anyway, since Pentax DA lenses are specifically designed for digital cameras' APS-C size sensor, do these lenses have any crop factor? Like say the 55-300 is that 55-300 in the APS-C format or would it adhere to the crop factor rule (multiply by 1.5 to get equivaliant focal length)?
05-05-2013, 11:09 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by Douglas_of_Sweden Quote
The power zoom certainly works on my K-5 and K-7. Not sure if it does on all DSLRs. Not that it is very useful...well, perhaps for video.
I stand corrected then. I was under the assumption that the SDM contacts would not power the power zoom lenses. My error.

QuoteOriginally posted by Bcrary3 Quote
I've decided to look at older prime 300's if there are any in the 0-$200 range.
IMHO there are no 300mm primes in that price range that will give you the image quality of the 55-300. And they will be manual focus and manual exposure. Please do yourself a favor and get a 55-300.

I just did a completed listing search on fleabay. I found 3 sales for DAL 55-300: $250, $225 and $199. I also checked the market place here and found one that sold just recently for $170. I found 1 sale for a 300mm m42 f/4 takumar @ $325. The 300mm f/4 Tak is quite good, I have one, but IMHO it is not as good as the 55-300 and certainly is not as 'usable', usable being defined as auto focus, auto exposure, data contacts, k-mount, modern coatings, zoom range.

Out of 7 people who gave you a recommendation, 7 recommended the 55-300........
05-05-2013, 11:16 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bcrary3 Quote
Join Date: Feb 2013 Location: Wisconsin Photos: Gallery Posts: 156 | Likes: 12 Original Poster QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote Be careful when doing APS-C / FF conversions. Unless you are shooting both film and digital (or FF digital and APS-C digital) it really does not mean much. What you see is what you see. If you have a strong film background and are used to that perspective that is different. But if you are going to convert you have to do both so 50-300 is 75-450 on APS-C. Haha forgot to convert both numbers. Anyway, since Pentax DA lenses are specifically designed for digital cameras' APS-C size sensor, do these lenses have any crop factor? Like say the 55-300 is that 55-300 in the APS-C format
No, focal length is a property of the lens and is always the same no matter what camera you put it on. The confusion arises in that the angle of view changes with different size sensors (or film) so it 'looks' different but it is still the same focal length. As I noted before unless you shoot both APS-C and FF just forget you ever heard the words "crop factor". It means absolutely nothing as long as you always use the same sensor size. And despite various marketing departments and ebay sellers trying to convince you that their lens is now 5 bazillion millimeters just because you put it on an APS-C camera all that really happens is that an APS-C sensor takes a chunk out of the center of a FF designed lens instead of using the entire image circle. A lens designed for APS-C has an image circle that only covers the APS-C sensor a lens designed for FF has an image circle that covers a larger sensor but the focal length is the same.
05-05-2013, 11:20 AM   #30
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It looks like that'll be my choice then! But for some reason every one I am able to find on Ebay and even the forum market place, none of them have a hood... Even though some of them are brand new in the box. Is it supposed to come with a hood?
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