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11-01-2013, 11:18 AM   #1
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18-250mm or 50-300mm?

For my next lens purchase i would like to have a bit more "reach" So ive been doing some research.
narrowed it down to two.
The HD55-300mm or the 18-250mm
The 18-270mm seemed to have rather poor reviews so i have excluded it from the equation.

Looking at some of the samples , the 18-250mm seems to have some acceptable resolution between 20 and 90mm.
Havent looked at any HD55-300mm samples yet. but the non-HD version samples seem nice as well, the downside is that i would need to retain a normal zoom in addition.

Anyone here have experience with either or both of these lenses?


Last edited by OldNoob; 11-01-2013 at 12:24 PM.
11-01-2013, 11:39 AM   #2
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The 55-300 will own the superzoom and longer focal lengths. If you're just looking for a telephoto, it's the way to go.

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11-01-2013, 12:00 PM   #3
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Different lenses really. The 18-250 is an all around 'super-zoom'. If you want to travel and not change lenses, well there you go. but IQ will not be as good. it's a great lens, well regarded but it has a specific purpose.

The 55-300 is a telephoto zoom. Not useful at all from 18-54mm So it has to be part of a two lens set, but it has excellent IQ for the price. Pair the 55-300 with the 18-135 and you have a very good kit that covers a long range. Add in a 50mm f/1.4 or 1.7 and you've got a kit that will cover just about anything.
11-01-2013, 12:24 PM   #4
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good points all. i appreciate the knowlageble imput.

Of course having a prime handy is a required.

So maybe the 55-300mm coupled with something like a 17-70mm or 16-45mm

11-01-2013, 12:41 PM   #5
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Tamron -70-200mm F/2.8(Model A001)

Maybe...
11-01-2013, 12:57 PM - 1 Like   #6
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I would recommend the 55-300 if reach is what you want, IQ is outstanding for such a long zoom and price range, I used to own the DA L version of it, I really miss it since I sold it in this forum, so I am thinking in getting the new HD version that also features WR. This lens paired with the 16-45 and a 50mm and you are good to go
11-01-2013, 02:58 PM   #7
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HI OldNoob,

I have both of these and they're not mutually exclusive. The 18-250 has two significant advantages:

The 18-250 has a MFD (Minimum Focusing Distance) of @ 1.5 feet (0.45m) throughout the FL range. This might seem trivial until you start running into situations where you really can't control subject distance (think moving kids and animals). There are times when the longer MFD of the 55-300 can become a frustrating handicap.

The wide to long tele zoom range gives you a single lens solution for events and family get-togethers where carrying and changing lenses is either inconvenient or cumbersome. With a good high ISO body like your K30, you can set Auto ISO to 100-12800, in Av priority with the lens wide open and just shoot it like a P&S, in conditions ranging from normal indoors to bright sunlight without touching any settings. I've done this with my K-5 and K-5 IIs, and it's been something of a revelation -- I can actually enjoy the event, even hand off the camera to novices, and know that I can at least get usable images.

The 55-300 is a better lens for more serious tele lens work in the consumer class lens category. It's longer and has better IQ at the long end. I'm mainly a birder, and though I have quite a few lenses (actually 10) that cover 300mm, the DA 55-300 gets its share of on-camera time as it's easily the smallest and lightest 300mm that I own, and it can give great results. It's obviously not a match in speed, versatility with TCs, or ultimate IQ to the $1K+ pro grade ultra tele primes and zooms, but prints of the best of the shots with the 55-300 can be hung side by side with those from the pro grade lenses and very very few viewers, if any would be able to tell the difference.

Just my 2 worth. . .

Scott
11-02-2013, 01:53 AM   #8
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New 55-300 have wr, thats good to have for protection. Anyway buy superzoom if u need that, its handy on many situations and places where u not want to change lenses all time. I use my tamron 18-200 for this sometimes. If i were u i would also consider da 18-135 for this usage.

But if u need ok quality lightweight tele lens only get 55-300, wr is big plus.

11-02-2013, 11:37 AM   #9
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I'm in a similar situation myself. I currently have the Sigma 17-70 + DA 55-300. I find that I'm not using the 55-300 very often. When I do, I find myself frustrated at times by the long minimum focusing distance. I really do like the 17-70, but I'm thinking about replacing the 55-300 with the 18-250, not only to have a closer minimum focusing distance, but also to have a travel zoom to cover just about any FL that I might want to shoot in 1 lens.
11-04-2013, 03:13 PM   #10
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I think jatrax is on the money. The DA18-135WR is a great 'walk around' lens. Surprisingly good IQ for a reasonably priced zoom and very convenient range on the APS-C camera.

I have a manual aperture SMC50/1.2 which is great for portraits, macro and low light, and have just bought an A50/1.7 for the convenience of body controlled aperture etc..

From all of the research I've done it seems that the IQ at the long end of the range with the superzooms like the 28-250 isn't great, so if you are after a lens to shoot in that 200-300mm range (birds for example), they don't really achieve the required result.

My next purchase will be the DA55-300 for sport and nature photography, as the IQ even wide open at 300mm seems pretty good.
11-04-2013, 03:59 PM   #11
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My bag usually contains a 55-300 in conjunction with a Tamron 17-50 mounted on the camera as the walkabout lens, plus a small prime or two in case I feel creative. The beauty of the 55-300 is that it is quite light and compact for the range it covers, so it can be taken everywhere in a moderately small camera bag. I keep hestitating from buying something more premium because whatever I get would be larger and more likely left at home.

The 55-300 remains F4 up to about 200mm so it is pretty capable in so so light vs a superzoom as you would be about a stop ahead of the superzoom at longer focal lengths. The 55-300 is surprisingly good up to about 250mm, beyond that it falls off a little, but is still not too bad closed down a stop.

The only downside is the need to change between lens in the field - if I am in dusty or windy conditions I occasionally will not swap lenses as I am concerned about gunk ending up on the sensor.

It is worth doing focus fine tuning if you get a 55-300 - I found the improvements very worthwhile. While the initial results without fine tuning were ok on my camera, the tuning brought the sweet spot of focus right onto the intended focus target and provided a much more satisfying outcome.
11-04-2013, 04:18 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by southlander Quote
It is worth doing focus fine tuning if you get a 55-300 - I found the improvements very worthwhile. While the initial results without fine tuning were ok on my camera, the tuning brought the sweet spot of focus right onto the intended focus target and provided a much more satisfying outcome.
How difficult is it and how long does it take to do the focus fine tuning?
11-04-2013, 04:26 PM   #13
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We love our Sigma 18-250… it's not a pro grade lens , but neither is the 55-300, which look suspiciously weak in the long end in the photo zone tests. Really, you can't match the 18-135 as a walk around lens. And you can't match the 18-250 as a do everything lens.

Simply stated, if you need 300mm, get a DA* 300, to go with your DA-18-135. GOod long lenses don't come cheap.
If you want one lens the Sigma 18-250 is the one.
To quote one of the wiser posters, I'll tell you what I think, but don't mistake me for an expert.
11-04-2013, 06:54 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Merts Quote
How difficult is it and how long does it take to do the focus fine tuning?
Once you have done it a few times, not long. Though you need to take the time to set up properly and precisely. The margin of error in a sloppy test is bigger than the actual AF error so you can easily make things worse.

There are several methods, some have purchased targets, others are DIY. Search for AF tuning on the web, lots of info.

Most important thing is to make sure the camera is on a tripod, precisely aligned in all dimensions with the target, and to run repeated tests to make sure you have an accurate sample.
11-04-2013, 07:19 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Once you have done it a few times, not long. Though you need to take the time to set up properly and precisely. The margin of error in a sloppy test is bigger than the actual AF error so you can easily make things worse.

There are several methods, some have purchased targets, others are DIY. Search for AF tuning on the web, lots of info.

Most important thing is to make sure the camera is on a tripod, precisely aligned in all dimensions with the target, and to run repeated tests to make sure you have an accurate sample.
Thanks mate.

The auto focus on the 18-135 seems bang on, but I'm almost expecting to have to do it with the 55-300 when I get it.
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