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11-26-2013, 06:45 PM   #1
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Tokina 80-400 vs HD 55-300 WR

Hi,

I can really appreciate some input from folks with experiences with both or either one and used/tested the other.

The Tokina has 400mm reach in a light weight 2.2lb built & f4.5 all the way thru 300mm.
Tokina AT-X 80-400mm F1: 4.5-5.6 Lens Reviews - Tokina Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database

HD 55-300 WR as we all are familiar with is the latest offering for a well liked lens upped by weather resistant seals & new glass coating.
HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED WR Reviews - DA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

I'll be using it for moving objects (kids' sports & stage performances) & evening functions ( gigs & weddings)

I have ruled out 70-200 because of the weight & short range. Am hoping to know the comparison of AF speed in different light situations & at long ranges. Some pics will be great to flaunt the technique & sweet spot of these lens!

Thanks ahead!

11-26-2013, 07:36 PM - 1 Like   #2
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For the uses you're describing: No way are those lenses going to do what you want!

I have a 55-300 and I can 100% say I wouldn't dare use it for weddings. The screw drive auto focus is easily loud enough to get you kicked out of the venue!
Neither is the sort of lens that would be suitable for indoors - just too slow an aperture. Plus you need to be at least 3m away from your subject with those lenses.

You would be better off with 50-135 2.8 (silent, fast and not excessively large) for gigs and weddings and then get a longer lens for outdoors use. Either that or a short prime like the DA70, if you can work with the limitations of prime lenses.
11-27-2013, 02:05 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Based on the photos I've seen, the Tokina 80-400 is going to give you nicer looking images (and I used to own the DA55-300, which is still impressive for the price).

So while the Tokina might almost do the job, I mostly agree with what Calsan said. If anyone's paying you for your photos, then you're going to have to get better lenses. The Tokina might give you nice enough images, but it probably won't have a fast enough aperture for some of those situations. In fact, for stage performances, I most often use my FA*85/1.4 (and I mostly used my FA77/1.8 before I made the minor but worthwhile upgrade to the FA*85). Even the DA*50-135/2.8 wasn't a fast enough aperture for that much of the time.


Nevertheless, the DA*50-135 is your optimal choice here, except for shooting some sports (AF speed is a bit slow) or really low indoor light (like most stage performances). The alternative is to get this lens, which also has fast AF speed:

Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG APO OS HSM for Pentax 589109 B&H

I don't have the Sigma, because I don't like the image rendering as much. But if you have to get only one lens, it'll be the best at doing all these things.


As far as shooting weddings goes, if you're doing it seriously, you'll have to have a minimum of 2 bodies, which means you can put a different prime on each (or 1 prime and 1 zoom) - which many photographers do.



Honestly, the Tokina is one of the very few lenses with such a wide zoom range that I actually like the image quality of. But its limitations may still come back to bite you. You're going to have to limit your zoom range to no more than 3x zoom (or use primes) with a constant aperture (such as f/2.8) if you want to get those professional looking photos that are going to get people's attention without them really knowing why.

Last edited by DSims; 11-27-2013 at 02:14 AM.
11-27-2013, 10:28 AM   #4
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Not a pro....

QuoteOriginally posted by calsan Quote
For the uses you're describing: No way are those lenses going to do what you want!

I have a 55-300 and I can 100% say I wouldn't dare use it for weddings. The screw drive auto focus is easily loud enough to get you kicked out of the venue!
Neither is the sort of lens that would be suitable for indoors - just too slow an aperture. Plus you need to be at least 3m away from your subject with those lenses.

You would be better off with 50-135 2.8 (silent, fast and not excessively large) for gigs and weddings and then get a longer lens for outdoors use. Either that or a short prime like the DA70, if you can work with the limitations of prime lenses.
Perhaps I should mention that I'm not a pro & it's not work for me. Mostly shooting my kids & family gatherings, therefore better keep rate with moving objects & low light in an affordable tele would be great. I'm trying to consolidate my 'requirements' & pack it into a budget lens below usd500 or lower in used market. Like you said 55-300 is too slow at times unless I master the overexpose/underexpose technique used in sports' shoots in some flickr sets but that's a different angle altogether. I'd consider fa 100-300, tokina 70-200, sigma 50-150 & even a sigma/czj 75-200 at some point. My hunt is getting close.

50-135 keeps popping up but it's out of range and slow.. 2 cons that's pretty much the deal breaker.

11-27-2013, 10:46 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
Based on the photos I've seen, the Tokina 80-400 is going to give you nicer looking images (and I used to own the DA55-300, which is still impressive for the price).

So while the Tokina might almost do the job, I mostly agree with what Calsan said. If anyone's paying you for your photos, then you're going to have to get better lenses. The Tokina might give you nice enough images, but it probably won't have a fast enough aperture for some of those situations. In fact, for stage performances, I most often use my FA*85/1.4 (and I mostly used my FA77/1.8 before I made the minor but worthwhile upgrade to the FA*85). Even the DA*50-135/2.8 wasn't a fast enough aperture for that much of the time.


Nevertheless, the DA*50-135 is your optimal choice here, except for shooting some sports (AF speed is a bit slow) or really low indoor light (like most stage performances). The alternative is to get this lens, which also has fast AF speed:

Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG APO OS HSM for Pentax 589109 B&H

I don't have the Sigma, because I don't like the image rendering as much. But if you have to get only one lens, it'll be the best at doing all these things.


As far as shooting weddings goes, if you're doing it seriously, you'll have to have a minimum of 2 bodies, which means you can put a different prime on each (or 1 prime and 1 zoom) - which many photographers do.



Honestly, the Tokina is one of the very few lenses with such a wide zoom range that I actually like the image quality of. But its limitations may still come back to bite you. You're going to have to limit your zoom range to no more than 3x zoom (or use primes) with a constant aperture (such as f/2.8) if you want to get those professional looking photos that are going to get people's attention without them really knowing why.
I'm very interested in Fa 85/1.4 and it will surely take care of many situations. It's a bit further in my list & when $$ permits. For constant aperture tele, I'm seeing more used Tokina At-X 828 70-200 falling in my budget. It look to be a good performer because it's AF seem to be quick, as oppose to Da 50-135. The main usage of the tele is for sports/stage of my kids.
12-05-2013, 11:58 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by blisskid Quote
I'm seeing more used Tokina At-X 828 70-200 falling in my budget.
I've heard it's heavy and may even torque/twist a bit as it focuses, but based on the IQ I'd say it's the best bet in your price range (probably nicer images than Sigma and Tamron, but for less $).
12-07-2013, 10:32 AM   #7
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I have given up the idea of Tokina 80-200 due to the CA issue. A good copy is hard to come by as well.

Last edited by blisskid; 12-07-2013 at 10:37 AM.
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