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08-07-2013, 02:13 PM   #1
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Suggestions for a mid-priced tele

I am buying a new camera and am upgrading my lenses as I go. My plan is to start with the 18-135. I hike often and usually shoot landscapes so having a versatile weather resistant lens seems like a good start. My next lens I plan on buying is the 15mm limited to get a little wider. So now I need ideas for the telephoto end. I am looking for a suggestion for a good lens, prime or zoom, that is around the 200mm plus range. I own a Sigma 170-500 but it rarely makes it into the back pack due to it's size and weight. I am looking for something in the $400 - 500 price range. I would really like to spend less but I realize a decent lens in this range doesn't come cheap. It would be nice if it is not too heavy so that it can be hand held if needed, but image quality is always the first requirement. Thanks for the help.

08-07-2013, 02:21 PM   #2
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The DA 55-300 is a good performer and good value, and within your budget (even new; well within your budget used), and reasonably compact and light.
08-07-2013, 02:44 PM   #3
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+1 on the DA 55-300mm. I am very happy with mine and the lens is almost always in my bag.
Read up on the lens reviews and forum posts and I think you will see most people will recommend this lens.
08-07-2013, 02:47 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies. It looks like a nice lens.

08-07-2013, 02:48 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by baro-nite Quote
The DA 55-300 is a good performer and good value, and within your budget (even new; well within your budget used), and reasonably compact and light.
+1 on this. I just bought one used on the marketplace here and I am eagerly awaiting it's arrival.

If you want to see example photos go here:

Pentax Camera & Lens Sample Photo Search Engine - PentaxForums.com

then select 'SMC PENTAX-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED' in the second drop down menu (Lens).
08-07-2013, 03:00 PM   #6
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Or the Lens Sample Photo Archive...

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/lens-sample-photo-archive/153150-pentax-d...d-samples.html
08-07-2013, 03:04 PM   #7
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+1 or whatever on the 55-300. Light and easy to pack and a perfect complement to the 18-135. That's my wife's kit: 18-135 and 55-300. You would have to go to DA*60-250 to get much better and that is a lot heavier and a lot more expensive.
08-07-2013, 03:07 PM   #8
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Is there a noticeable difference between the DA-L version and the DA version? It looks like there is about a $100 price difference. Amazon has the DA-L new for $250.

08-07-2013, 03:11 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ace Quote
Is there a noticeable difference between the DA-L version and the DA version? It looks like there is about a $100 price difference. Amazon has the DA-L new for $250.
The only difference is in the camera mount. The DA-L has a plastic mount while the DA has a metal mount.

EDIT: Double check what it comes with as the DA-L might not come with a lens hood as standard from some suppliers.
08-07-2013, 03:14 PM   #10
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The difference betwee the DA and DAL are plastic mount and no quick shift on the DAL. The glass is all the same.
08-07-2013, 03:16 PM   #11
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Also the DAL does not come with a hood while the DA does.
08-07-2013, 03:22 PM   #12
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Having owned a DAL the quickshift does make a big difference especially if you are focusing across the zoom range. It can hunt abit which can be alleviated by a quick twist of the manual focus.
So I recommend the DA for this feature alone.
08-07-2013, 08:09 PM   #13
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Get the DA 55-300 as it has metal mount, quick shift and a great lens hood. All three are important in my opinion.
08-08-2013, 06:58 AM   #14
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Thanks for all of the input. The DA 55-300 looks like a great option.
08-08-2013, 07:31 AM   #15
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Regarding the DAL 55-300:

1) Lack of hood: A hood identical to the original DA hood is $3 on eBay.

2) Lack of quickshift: Press the lens release button and you can turn the focus ring. The lens won't come off by itself, so don't worry. I've done this many many many many times with no problems. No biggie.

3) Plastic lens mount: Very unlikely to break unless you drop it on a hard surface or bang on it. If you do either of those things, your lens is probably going to be hosed anyway.

I personally would go for the DAL & save the $100. (well, $97 after you buy a hood) But yeah, either version of the 55-300 is a superb choice.
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