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05-30-2013, 12:06 PM   #1
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help me make a decision

TL;DR version - trip to Canada national parks, should I get a zoom lens, if so should it be the Pentax 55-300 DA-L?
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Hi all, been lurking for a while but finally joined to ask a question. I'm heading out in a few weeks on a trip to western Canada (Vancouver, Banff, Jasper, that region) and will be there for 2+ weeks. Spending several days in the national parks doing short hikes, staying at wilderness hostels, etc.

I've had my K10D for 5 years, but only recently picked it up again and really started shooting more. Main lens has been a Sigma 17-70, which is...fine. Not anything special, but no complaints. Couple months ago, I bought a 40mm limited, and it's freaking amazing, I love that lens. It's really encouraged me to get out and shoot more. So now that I have this trip coming up, I can't decide if getting a telezoom is the right thing to do. Haven't done wilderness trips like this since I got the camera, so I don't really know if 70mm will be enough range for me.

If I decide that I do want additional range, it seems that consensus is the Pentax 55-300 is a contender for best value. I can't really spend more than $300, and I want to keep weight reasonable as well. Looks like I can save a good amount by getting the DA-L version and picking up a cheap hood.

So what do you all think? Would having the zoom be worth it, and if so would the 55-300 be the right option? Or would it just be distracting to have another lens to switch?

Thanks in advance! It's an amazing community here :-)

PS - I was in Dublin last fall, so it's mostly city shots, but you can see a little of my style here - https://plus.google.com/photos/115284349797056538063/albums/5809224340892445681.

05-30-2013, 02:19 PM   #2
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You could do worse than what you havew suggested. It would be a shame to make a trip and not have the ability o get some nature shots
05-30-2013, 02:24 PM   #3
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That is one of the better options for up to 300mm at that price. Most any other option is 2X$.
05-30-2013, 02:41 PM   #4
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The 55-300 is really an under appreciated gem. If it weren't sold as a kit lens I think it would get more praise. Within your budget its the best I can think of for reach out to 300mm.

05-30-2013, 02:50 PM   #5
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The 55-300 is an amazing lens - just stop it down a notch and you'll get some perfect images. I think it has the perfect zoom range for a trip like you are talking about.

shameless plug
05-30-2013, 04:16 PM   #6
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I own a dal 55-300. It's an amazing lens, takes snappy images and holds its own ground against the 5x more expensive da* 50-135, which I also own.
05-30-2013, 04:51 PM   #7
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The 55-300 is a good choice, reasonable weight and IQ. It will be useful for capturing the abundant critters (elk, bear, etc.) that you will see in the national parks.
05-30-2013, 05:55 PM   #8
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sounds good, thanks for all the info. Guess I'll go ahead and buy it

stormtech, you have PM...

05-30-2013, 05:59 PM   #9
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[edit] never mind, it won't let me send a PM until I have more posts? You can send me one...?
05-30-2013, 07:31 PM   #10
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I really wish the 55-300 were WR....
05-30-2013, 07:48 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by dagaetch Quote
[edit] never mind, it won't let me send a PM until I have more posts? You can send me one...?
I received your PM and responded - I think you need either 2 or 3 posts to use the PM function which you've now met.
05-31-2013, 03:56 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kozlok Quote
I really wish the 55-300 were WR....
Yes, that would be a big plus for both the lens and Pentax.
05-31-2013, 05:07 AM   #13
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If you can score one, try to get the Sigma 75-200 3.8 AF. its faster than the 55-300 but has less range. IQ is on par or better than the 55-300. A big pro is that you could get for a lot less than the 55-300 (i got mine for 100 $)
05-31-2013, 05:24 AM   #14
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I think the DA55-300 would be ideal for your needs. Although my copy has been sold on it was a light, compact and very useful lens with surprisingly good image quality stopped down in good light.

Last edited by Sandy Hancock; 05-31-2013 at 06:12 AM.
05-31-2013, 06:08 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by dankoBanana Quote
If you can score one, try to get the Sigma 75-200 3.8 AF. its faster than the 55-300 but has less range. IQ is on par or better than the 55-300. A big pro is that you could get for a lot less than the 55-300 (i got mine for 100 $)
interesting, I hadn't seen that lens come up. Looks like it's a good option. It's significantly heavier than the pentax, almost 200 grams looks like? And more importantly, there aren't any up for sale right now I can see, and my trip is in two weeks thanks for the suggestion though!
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