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05-06-2013, 09:34 AM   #1
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Help choose between DA* 200, 60-250, 300

Hi,

I have very limited experience with tele lenses and was pretty sure that my 15+31+77 kit covers everything I need . However, the amount of missed opportunities already reached critical numbers so I can not ignore that fact any longer.

The primary purpouse of the lens I want is taking some distant views of mountains peaks or rocks or some animal I spot while hiking in the mountains. The wheather there is unpredictable and changes very quickly from heavy rain/snow to bright sunny day so WR is a must (I had to pack K-5 with ltd lens as soon as it starts raining... I wish Pentax released a couple of WA DA* primes). Providing that I'll be carrying it all day long the weight is also a concern.

Taking all the above into consideration the questions are:
1) Which lens is sharper? I once borrowed a 28-300 Sigma lens and it was so soft at 300mm that zoomed at 150-180mm it gave more details after cropping. Can you say if, e.g. DA* 200 at F/4 is so much sharper than 60-250 at the same aperture at 250mm that it provides more details?

2) I read more than one topic on this forum where people complained about bad copies of 60-250. I practically don't have an option to return a lens because shipping cost is very high. Well, I have but I'll have to pay at least half the cost and have a long unpleasant conversation with the seller. The question is how often do you get bad copies of DA*200/300?

3) Which of the lenses focuses faster on K-5? Is AF speed of any of the lens is better on K-5 II(s) than on K-5?

4) Which lens, 200 or 300 is closer to magnification one gets with 8x46 binocular?

5) Which lens, 300 or 60-250 appears darker in viewfinder (or maybe T-value is known somewhere)? I don't really like to compose with DA 15 F/4 lens compared to bright 1.8 on two other limiteds I have or even to 16-50 F/2.8 I had.

6) Is lens creep an issue on 60-250?

7) How easy it is to hand-hold DA* 300 to get decent sharpness? I heard that SR is not that good with tele lens. I mean, the most probable use case of the lens will be quick taking from the bag, reverse the hood and shoot, a half a minute at most, so tripod is rarely an option.

8) Having in mind that Pentax one day will release DA* teleconverter, wouldn't it be more practical to have it along with DA* 200 in the bag than to carry DA* 300?

05-06-2013, 10:26 AM   #2
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I can't answer most of your questions. I will say, however, that I have the DA* 200 and it is my favorite lens. I, too, wander the hills looking for animals and birds to shoot, and it works like a charm. While I generally use manual focus, the auto-focus is very good. I really love the weather sealing. I also shoot sports with it and have been in pretty good rain and snow storms when other photogs were running for the buildings. If the sports keep going, I can keep going. Don't know if this helps or not, but I hope it does a little.



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05-06-2013, 10:33 AM   #3
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i have all the lenses you are asking about
all lens are excellent and excellent copies...i would have to say the 300 is my favorite....absolute beautiful lens and can't be beat...the 60-250 is excellent...no lens creep...my copy is excellent, i take it with me if i need flexibility on the distance i am shooting...the 200 is the least used...it has issues with purple fringing so you really have to be careful to use it at 2.8...otherwise i think it is an excellent lens but i don't use mine because i have the other 2...i prefer prime so it is usually the 300, 77 and 31 that i carry...i don't notice any differences in darkness ion the viewfinder..i handhold all my shots with the 300, 60-250 and 200 but then i would handhold my 500...i am female so it's not like i got muscles ...i will use the pentax 300mm with the 1.7 adapter which isn't made still but you can get and it works very well...will work on all 3 but found the tamron 1.4 worked better on the 60-250...not sure why...i have a K5IIS ON ORDER SO SHOULD BE ABLE TO TELL you NEXT WEEK IF THERE IS ANY DIFFERENCE...sorry didn't know caplock was on...i have a set of binoculars at home and check later to see if i can give you a comparison..sr works fine with all these lens
05-06-2013, 11:24 AM   #4
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I concur with the comments from kyricom. I like my DA*200 and it looks like my selection is similar to your prime setup. The 200 is at the limit of the weight I want to carry. I plan on getting the teleconverter when it comes out but don't find my current setup limiting. I looked at the 300 and 60-250 and personally did not think I wanted the extra weight and concern of also carrying a tripod. The 200 is fast and easy to handhold, it was also cheaper. On hikes I tend to take my 15, 21, 31 or 40, 70 or 100 plus the 200, that is about the limit for comfort on long hikes with my late fifties body. The 200 is also good for indoor sports like hockey and events which is one of my hobbies. Good luck in your decision, I think all 3 lenses are fantastic, it depends on your priorities.

05-06-2013, 11:33 AM   #5
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Without owning all these lenses and with not knowing people who have gotten bad copies I also have a hard time answering some of those questions. But like kyricom I also own the da*200mm. It is my favourite lens in my collection and the one that spends the most time on my camera. I debated between this and the highly reputable da*300mm for a long time and went with this due to wanting to shoot some indoor events as well as wildlife, for which it has worked out exceptionally well and has weathered west coast rainstorms with ease.
I sympathize though because all three of these lenses are absolutely stellar. I suffer a great deal from being indecisive about a lens; after all it is a big investment. I do not know the numbers on the* 60-250 but I think both the *200 and *300 lenses have a good reputation for not having bad copies and it will be hard to go wrong. I find for myself at a certain point of researching to death I just need to close my eyes and buy.
If it helps though, I read something when choosing between the *200mm and the *300mm that helped me. It said you know you are going to buy them both at some point anyways so just pick one.
05-06-2013, 11:40 AM   #6
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if anyone is interested in buying my 200 make me an offer...it is too nice of a lens to be sitting on the shelf...i have a square trade warranty which has 2 years left on it and covers accidental so if you drop it it's covered...uunfortunately i don't think it will do you any good outside the US
05-06-2013, 11:49 AM   #7
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I cannot help choosing, as I do not actually own them all, but I can tell you why I selected the DA*200 myself: it's a /2.8, and having used slower /5 and /4 200mm's in the past (Zuiko's), I've just come to realize that faster is just better (for AF or MF, composition, pretty much everything....) even if I rarely shoot the DA*200/2.8 fully open.

I'm sure that the two other lenses are great, but for me the max-aperture made the choice simple. I got to test the lens throughly in the shop before handing over my CC, and got a perfect copy....I do not know if there're any duds out there of the DA*200/2.8, but I've not heard of any - yet.
05-06-2013, 11:56 AM   #8
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I only have the 60-250. It is a big chunk to take hiking. I like to use mine with a rapid strap (often have my sigma 500 on a second rapid strap on the other shoulder) I don't have problems with lens creep or any other issues.

From a landscape point of view I think the 60-250 is a great choice and I use it all the time for this purpose. I will either have this lens or my 50-135 with me. These zooms take my best landscape photos. I am rather fanatical about using good lenses and the 60- 250 meets my expectations. For my needs to fill the gap between my Sigma 500 and other lenses I must have the zoom. There is no point in me owning or swapping for the 200 or 300.

05-06-2013, 04:40 PM   #9
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I have a 60-250 and a 200. Both are Really nice. I find that I prefer the 200 for walking around for a few reasons. Its lighter and more compact, I find the AF/MF switch easier to use, no time spent zooming, and I thought (no tests done) that the focus was a little faster on the 200. I don't find that the extra length on the 60-250 has been a huge advantage (especially at less than infinity focus) or miss it on the 200. The extra speed is nice, but I got the 200 while there was snow outside and the purple fringing was pretty significant... gonna try to compare more seriously soon here and decide how much the purple fringing bugs me when its not snowy and if its worth keeping the 60-250 for the zoom. I find that the zoom does creep a bit on the 60-250, but not too crazy.

I've taken landscapes I like with both, and have been loving the 200 for panoramas lately.

Would love to try a DA* 300 though... tough to justify all 3 though.
05-06-2013, 07:54 PM   #10
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Of those three, I would choose the DA300, but if you can find an F*300/4.5 , I really recommend it.
05-06-2013, 08:52 PM   #11
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Thanks all for your responses! Not all points are clear yet but now I have information to make the choice.

@pearsaab eagerly awaiting for your tests with binoculars and with K-5 IIs concerning AF speed.
05-06-2013, 10:24 PM   #12
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I think you have to consider the biggest difference: zoom vs prime. Of course you'll want one or the other at different times, for different reasons. I haven't used the Pentax 200, but I had a Minolta 200/2.8 and I loved it. I think it's a similar size. But then sometimes it was limited because it's a tight framing depending on the context. I also used a 1.4 and a 2.0 teleconverter so got a 280 and 400mm sense of things. It's really great to have all that length, but I don't think I'd personally get into a 300 unless I had, say, a 50-135 to complement it. That would be a nice combo.

I've decided to go with a zoom and made the 60-250 my telephoto of choice, and picked one up on the forum last week. Just starting to put it through its paces. So far, it's performing really well. At f/4 and 200mm+ it isn't that it's not sharp but the image is more veiled and lacks contrast. But I've applied some sharpening and tweaked the curves and I still get a really nice image out of it. By f/4.5 it jumps up in contrast and clarity. And then it's both clear and sharp at f/5 even at 250mm. This is about what most people say, so it must be decent quality copy. I've been using a monopod and I've been walking around with it in my hand (don't like neck straps) and it's growing on me. I'm pretty sure I could set it to f/5.6 and take a shot of anything, anywhere at any distance, and as long as there's no motion blur, it's amazingly clear and contrasty. Zoom is stiff. No creepage for me, but it's a pretty new and lightly used lens.
05-07-2013, 05:17 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by disya2 Quote
Thanks all for your responses! Not all points are clear yet but now I have information to make the choice.

@pearsaab eagerly awaiting for your tests with binoculars and with K-5 IIs concerning AF speed.
will try to look when i get home today on the binocs..got home to late to check it out yesterday...will let you know as well on the k5iis when i receive
05-07-2013, 05:31 AM   #14
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I've owned the 200 for a couple of years, bought the 60-250 last year and tried it for a trip, then sold it and bought the 300. I loved the 60-250 as a long landscape lens when walking in the mountains with wide-open views, such as you get in the western US. However, I don't live in the western US and couldn't justify keeping it. My beef with the 60-250 is that its longest true focal length is substantially less than 250 as the focus distance decreases. Somewhere around 6m it gives the same reach as the 200, and as you get closer the true focal length gets shorter still. That doesn't sound like it would be an issue for the use you describe. The 60-250 is quite sharp, perhaps sharper than the 200 even with both lenses at f/4. The 300 is exceptionally sharp.

Comparing the view through the viewfinder with the 300 to a 7x binocular, the binocular has more magnification.
05-07-2013, 07:34 AM   #15
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I have the 300. As others have said, it's a lovely lens, well made and pin sharp. But it's also large and heavy. Though I can get good results hand holding it, for critical work I prefer a tripod. I wouldn't choose it for the use you describe. The 200mm is better suited for hiking -- smaller and lighter. In fact, for hiking I'd consider the basic 55-200 lens.
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