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12-08-2013, 11:59 AM - 3 Likes   #1
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HD DA 55-300 WR Lens Review In Progress...

Currently working on the HD 55-300 WR in-depth review. I thought I'd throw it out to y'all to see if there are any specific requests for the review to better maximize it's potential (as well as to let you know it's being worked on ). Before anyone asks, yes the smc version as well as the DA* 60-250 are being compared to the new HD 55-300.

Here's some lens porn for you, taken an hour ago

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For those curious, 2 shoot through umbrellas, 45 deg on either side. The camera is tilted up by the 60-250's tripod foot under the corner

-Heie

12-08-2013, 12:14 PM   #2
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AF speed - I'm interested how much the seals impact this. Not field relevant, but still.
12-08-2013, 06:22 PM   #3
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I for one am anxious to see the results. I've been considering the 55-300WR since most of my shooting is outdoors. A wet forcast finds me leaving my non-WR 55-300 at home and my 18-135WR coming with me. But,,,, the better reputation of the 60-250 for image quality and MUCH quieter and more acurate (I hope) focusing has me wanting to wait and get the *lens (at 3 times the cost, but better for the long run).
12-08-2013, 07:45 PM   #4
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My only issue with the 55-300 DAs has been getting a copy with uniform performance across the frame at all the focal lengths. Either I'd get the left or right side obviously weak at 55mm, or 55mm would be ok but 200-300mm would be weak on one side or the other. Also, even if it doesn't affect centering, I'm wondering if there's less barrel wobble (at maximum extension) in the WR version.

I know it would be a lot more work, but a comparison with the 50-200 would be interesting as well.

12-08-2013, 09:47 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by tibbitts Quote
My only issue with the 55-300 DAs has been getting a copy with uniform performance across the frame at all the focal lengths. Either I'd get the left or right side obviously weak at 55mm, or 55mm would be ok but 200-300mm would be weak on one side or the other. Also, even if it doesn't affect centering, I'm wondering if there's less barrel wobble (at maximum extension) in the WR version.

I know it would be a lot more work, but a comparison with the 50-200 would be interesting as well.
+1, even the 50-200 comparison if possible.
12-08-2013, 11:47 PM   #6
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There is a test of the lens here:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/reviews/pentax-da-60-250mm/introduction.html
12-08-2013, 11:48 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by tibbitts Quote
I'm wondering if there's less barrel wobble (at maximum extension) in the WR version.
If there's one thing that is immediately present, is there is no wobble. Either because of the seals or just tighter tolerances inthe build quality (most likely a combination thereof), it's actually one of the tighter zoom rings I've ever used. Some lenses claim creep is nonexistent. I'm claiming it's impossible on this one

QuoteOriginally posted by tibbitts Quote
I know it would be a lot more work, but a comparison with the 50-200 would be interesting as well.
Sadly I don't have one. And it would take too long for one to reach me as a loaner from B&H. If anyone in Germany has one that would like to meet up, I'll gladly add it to the comparison

QuoteOriginally posted by Wingincamera Quote
Huh? That lens is going to be compared to, but it is not the crux of this review. This review is about the newly announced HD DA 55-300 Weather Resistant which was not compared to during that review because it was not announced at the time....

-Heie
12-09-2013, 07:41 PM   #8
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Too bad about not having access to a 50-200, but anxiously awaiting the 55-300 review anyway...

12-09-2013, 07:58 PM   #9
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It would be interesting to compare the real reach/magnification of the 55-300 to the 60-250, I suspect the 55-300 has a much more significant advantage than the published focal lengths suggest. As well as the long end, I wonder if the zooms are even different at the short end at all.

It would also be interesting to photograph an object at full reach on both lenses at the same aperture, but then crop the 60-250 image and enlarge it to arrive at the same image pixel size, and then see if it is still a sharper/better image than the unenlarged 55-300 one.
12-10-2013, 03:52 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by tibbitts Quote
Too bad about not having access to a 50-200, but anxiously awaiting the 55-300 review anyway...
Ya...tis

QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
It would be interesting to compare the real reach/magnification of the 55-300 to the 60-250, I suspect the 55-300 has a much more significant advantage than the published focal lengths suggest. As well as the long end, I wonder if the zooms are even different at the short end at all.

It would also be interesting to photograph an object at full reach on both lenses at the same aperture, but then crop the 60-250 image and enlarge it to arrive at the same image pixel size, and then see if it is still a sharper/better image than the unenlarged 55-300 one.
And interesting. I hadn't considered that. I will take a look into the "extracting FL through cropping." Any ideas on how to get it exact? Also, wouldn't enlarging both to 100% do nothing? It's 100%, so that doesn't change unless a different camera is used. That's all cropping is - cutting away of unwanted portions, rendering the image smaller than the original (obviously), but the pixels don't change size. Or have I somehow been misled all this time?

Or do you mean upscaling the image (i.e. 100% plus some [i.e. 107%] to increase the total pixel size back to the native resolution) ?

-Heie
12-10-2013, 02:17 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Heie Quote
Or do you mean upscaling the image (i.e. 100% plus some [i.e. 107%] to increase the total pixel size back to the native resolution) ?
I think this is what twitch meant. I agree that would make for a very interesting comparison. The 60-250 is out of my price range, but my HD 55-300 just came today. Haven't had the chance to put it on the camera yet but I'm surprised by how small and light it is, not having used the previous version of it.
12-10-2013, 03:34 PM   #12
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Whether the lens blow or sucks air through the camera body when zooming.
12-10-2013, 05:28 PM   #13
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Yes, take a picture of something, say a vase or a test chart or some other scene, at say 10 meters at full 300mm with 55-300. Take same scene from same distance, same camera, at same exposure settings with 60-250 at 250mm. Now crop the 250mm image to the same framing as the 300mm one, you've lost some pixels here. Now upsize the cropped image back to the same pixel dimensions as the 300mm one. You should now have 2 identically framed images at identical pixel dimensions. The $1.2k question is whether the 250mm sharpness is enough to compensate for the loss in sharpness by upscaling.

If the 300mm pic is sharper then maybe we shouldn't rush to upgrade from 55-300 to 60-250 is we shoot a lot at the 300 end.
12-10-2013, 07:47 PM   #14
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I am looking forward to your report Heie, you have a tract record of some excellent and thorough reviews. I just got the new 55-300WR but haven't had much free time yet. I agree it is light weight and feels very solid and smooth. I hope to take it into the mountains next week.
12-10-2013, 08:22 PM   #15
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I'm not sure if Steve (@twitch) had this in mind but.....

Just note that the 60-250mm being an IF lens is one of the ones where "breathing" is quite noticeable. ie when focusing at closer distances the image taken appears to be much wider (or a shorter apparent focal length) than the 250mm setting would indicate. The 55-300 isn't IF so this doesn't occur to anywhere near the same extent.


I remember this being a discussion that comes around with the 60-250 all the time.
Once I worked out with a basic calculation based on the lense's spec sheet (and some assumptions) what the extent of the focus breathing was on various lenses. The assumption (and its probably(maybe) a halfway reasonable one) is the at the "maximum magnification" occurs whilst at maximum zoom setting and held at the minimum focus distance.

Here it is:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/178902-pent...ml#post1866924

anyway what I'm getting at is that if you take the same scene at 250mm on both the DA*60-250 and DA55-300 at a a shorter distance (say in a typical 3metre room indoors) then they aren't going to be the same image. You'll need to crop the 60-250 shot to match and therefore "lose" a significant number of pixels. As the focus distance gets longer the effect is less noticeable.

I don't have a 60-250 so cant try out but always wondered about this.

Last edited by steve1307; 12-10-2013 at 08:28 PM.
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