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10-18-2013, 08:15 AM   #1
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zoom for K5?

hello all,

I have a K5 with ltd 40, which I really love for its compactness and sharpness. Now I'm looking at expanding with the telephoto range.
Although I like shooting with prime lens (size, fast lens, fast AF), I'm looking at a zoom. I'm undecided between 50-135 da* and the new 55-300 WR. I'm listing the pros and cons I can think of:
55-300:
Pros: longer range, light, price, good review of sharpness (at least central) now hopefully improved the newer HD version
Cons: not fast, fair on border sharpness, CA, vignette at longer range.
50-135
Pros: sharpness, contrasts, overall great optics, fast lens
Cons: questionable SDM focus (although new versions seem more reliable), price, weight

My tendency would lean toward the da* to take full advantage of the K5

What are your opinions?

Thank you

10-18-2013, 08:23 AM   #2
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Depends on how long you want that zoom. The difference between 135 and 300 is really huge. To me that's the primary factor here. If you're outdoors trying to get wildlife images the 55-300 is just adequate and 135 is simply not enough reach.
10-18-2013, 08:28 AM   #3
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Apples and oranges.

You need to think about what you will use it for. Those two lens are not really comparable. The 50-135 is a pro level medium telephoto excellent for portraits. The 55-300 is a consumer level long zoom. For general outdoor use and wildlife the 55-300 is great, it is slow and too short for a lot of wildlife but for the price you cannot beat it.
10-18-2013, 09:57 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Apples and oranges.

You need to think about what you will use it for. Those two lens are not really comparable. The 50-135 is a pro level medium telephoto excellent for portraits. The 55-300 is a consumer level long zoom. For general outdoor use and wildlife the 55-300 is great, it is slow and too short for a lot of wildlife but for the price you cannot beat it.

Agreed. The 50-135 is an amazing lens. It excels in portraiture. Whereas the 55-300 is going to be a good all around lens with a lot more reach.

10-18-2013, 11:11 AM   #5
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Not sure about your budget, but since you mentioned the DA*50-135, don't miss the DA*60-250. It's a stop slower than the 50-135 but has much longer reach if you need it. If I had to choose between the two, I'd go for the 60-250. It's on my wish list.
10-18-2013, 11:53 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by cbope Quote
Not sure about your budget, but since you mentioned the DA*50-135, don't miss the DA*60-250. It's a stop slower than the 50-135 but has much longer reach if you need it. If I had to choose between the two, I'd go for the 60-250. It's on my wish list.
I own the DA*50-135 and have tested the 60-250 in the camera store. The 60-250 is a Huge lens. The difference to me between the long end of both lenses didn't justify the purchase. I stayed with the DA*50-135.
10-18-2013, 12:11 PM   #7
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Sounds like you are looking to expand your photographic horizons, perhaps without having a specific use in mind? If so, for my money the 50-135 provides more photographic options, with its silent focusing, weather resistance, and faster lens -- unless you really need the additional range. It is excellent for portraiture and stage events. Build and handling are superb. Although there have been SDM problems, I have personally used mine extensively over 5 years without a hitch, and the SDM issues do seem to have been largely resolved. I had the 55-300 for 2-3 years but never really warmed to it. For me, the image quality was marginal above about 250mm, a range that I frequently wanted. Indoor and other low-light use was limited by its slow max aperture. Edge sharpness is also marginal if not stopped down a bit, and is never really good (I frequently shoot dog shows, where the important head is usually near the edge of the frame). And the feel, handling, and smoothness of manual focusing and zoom are simply not comparable to the 50-135. So if you have the bucks, no contest --- unless you really need that long-end range.
10-18-2013, 02:11 PM   #8
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Original Poster
Thanks a lot for your opinions, that really helps about my decision. Since I'm thinking about a lens that'll be used more for portraits, indoor sports, indoor events (kids shows...), I might bite the bullet and go for the 50-135 due its wide aperture. The 60-250 could be a nice option but the size of it would deter me from carrying it around.
Now one more question: how can I make sure that the purchased lens is recent? If all possible, I'd like to buy a recently made one.
Thanks again

10-18-2013, 05:34 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by gf1 Quote
Now one more question: how can I make sure that the purchased lens is recent? If all possible, I'd like to buy a recently made one.
Not sure you can be 100% positive but buying through a high volume retailer would likely help. (B&H or Adorama for example) Assuming you are buying new of course. According to the comments made by Pentax all SDM lenses made in 2012 or later have updated components and should not have issues. So at this point an 'old' SDM lens would have to have been sitting on the shelf for 18 months or more. There was a serial number database created back then for the 16-50, (not sure about the 50-135) but I can't find it right now. Maybe someone can post a link or you can search for it.
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