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12-14-2013, 07:50 PM   #1
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Pentax-A* 300mm f/2.8, wow

So this just arrived, sharp as hell, and where are the aberrations?

Question for those who have or have used it -- there is little to no resistance/dampening in the focus ring. My Tamron Adaptall 400/4 is kinda the same way -- both are IF designs -- so probably normal, just wondering. First time I've touched any of these A* big telephotos.

Is the DA* 300/4 this good IQ-wise? I know it isn't as fast, but it is also cheaper, lighter, and has AF. I bought this on a whim since it came up and it was a good price (has some cosmetic paint loss) knowing I could sell it for at least what I paid for it, but it is so awesome I have a feeling the Tamron 400 (which is merely great compared to this) and a few others just became for sale. If I manage to hang onto it until an FF comes out, I imagine the value might go up again...

12-14-2013, 08:56 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by vonBaloney Quote
So this just arrived, sharp as hell, and where are the aberrations?

Question for those who have or have used it -- there is little to no resistance/dampening in the focus ring. My Tamron Adaptall 400/4 is kinda the same way -- both are IF designs -- so probably normal, just wondering. First time I've touched any of these A* big telephotos.

Is the DA* 300/4 this good IQ-wise? I know it isn't as fast, but it is also cheaper, lighter, and has AF. I bought this on a whim since it came up and it was a good price (has some cosmetic paint loss) knowing I could sell it for at least what I paid for it, but it is so awesome I have a feeling the Tamron 400 (which is merely great compared to this) and a few others just became for sale. If I manage to hang onto it until an FF comes out, I imagine the value might go up again...
The DA* 300's image quality is very impressive. I've never compared it directly to one of the faster 300s, but I don't see how it could be any worse, especially considering that lens tech has definitely evolved over the decades.

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12-14-2013, 10:19 PM   #3
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3kg for the A*300 vs 1kg for the DA*300.

That's all I need to know .
I'm not strong enough to lug that around all day, plus camera(s), bag, tripod etc ...
12-15-2013, 12:17 AM   #4
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The DA*300 is an outstanding lens. A reason for using the A* 300mm must be if one need f/2.8.

12-15-2013, 12:48 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by siamthai Quote
The DA*300 is an outstanding lens. A reason for using the A* 300mm must be if one need f/2.8.
Yes, or a full-frame. (DA* 300/4 may do ok there too, we'll see.) This 300/2.8 is basically flawless image-wise, at least in my limited testing so far. Even with the 1.7x AFA, you're still getting top-notch prime quality -- turns it into a very nice semi-AF 500/4.5. Some people complain about the quality with the 1.7x, but it is great on a good prime lens -- I can only assume they are missing focus. Also the perfect lens to put on the Q! What to do, what to do...
12-15-2013, 02:21 AM   #6
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Mine had blue fringing on high contrasted areas, gone at f4.
12-15-2013, 04:05 AM   #7
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Need converter A 2x-l to make good birding machine.
12-15-2013, 04:59 AM   #8
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I have been through some of the lenses you mention. Ended up with the DA 300mm after selling my most excellent Adaptall 400 f4. It gave great reach with the AFA but the handling and use of large tripod and gimbal made it more work. I use the DA 300 without the AFA handheld quite a bit and with the AFA on a monopod. IQ is great and 300mm full AF is nice.


Last edited by GaryH; 12-15-2013 at 07:12 AM.
12-15-2013, 08:35 AM   #9
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Especially for small birds, AF makes your life easier. But I love my A-400, but it's not a * and doesn't work well with the 1.7 converter.
12-15-2013, 10:50 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by goubejp Quote
Mine had blue fringing on high contrasted areas, gone at f4.
What was the focus action like?
12-15-2013, 01:51 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by vonBaloney Quote
Yes, or a full-frame. (DA* 300/4 may do ok there too, we'll see.) This 300/2.8 is basically flawless image-wise, at least in my limited testing so far. Even with the 1.7x AFA, you're still getting top-notch prime quality -- turns it into a very nice semi-AF 500/4.5. Some people complain about the quality with the 1.7x, but it is great on a good prime lens -- I can only assume they are missing focus. Also the perfect lens to put on the Q! What to do, what to do...

Never had a 300. Had a 600 briefly that had just absolutely wretched PF.
12-15-2013, 02:29 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by ElJamoquio Quote
Never had a 300. Had a 600 briefly that had just absolutely wretched PF.
Yes, I've heard that. Seems completely absent here, although I will try to stress it this week. So far just been shooting out the window...
12-17-2013, 02:12 PM   #13
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Dampening of manual focus in A lenses seems to be all a matter of grease. Some lenses seem to have very little grease in the gears or a very thin grease was used. Grease will also take up slop in a slightly loose front lens half (basically hydro locks the helicals together). You would have to send it to someone like Eric to have it completely cleaned out and very carefully and properly re-coated with the appropriate viscosity grease to add dampening. Even though I applied it super thinly and removed all excess before assembly, I used too heavy a grease by accident when I took my A50 1.4 apart (it had an issue) and now its over damped which is irritating considering its super long focus throw, so its easy to go too far the other way too.
12-17-2013, 02:56 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Barbarosa Quote
Need converter A 2x-l to make good birding machine.
Forget that. Results are good with the 1,4L, poor with the 2L (I tried both). No walkaround, must buy a long lens for birding - I went for the FA*600 and it's a great lens.
12-17-2013, 03:08 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by PPPPPP42 Quote
Dampening of manual focus in A lenses seems to be all a matter of grease. Some lenses seem to have very little grease in the gears or a very thin grease was used. Grease will also take up slop in a slightly loose front lens half (basically hydro locks the helicals together). You would have to send it to someone like Eric to have it completely cleaned out and very carefully and properly re-coated with the appropriate viscosity grease to add dampening. Even though I applied it super thinly and removed all excess before assembly, I used too heavy a grease by accident when I took my A50 1.4 apart (it had an issue) and now its over damped which is irritating considering its super long focus throw, so its easy to go too far the other way too.
I have had/do have a number of other Pentax A lenses, some with more dampening, some with less, none of which have troubled me. This is the only internal focusing design though (nothing moves or extends externally on the lens) and you can hardly tell you are moving anything at all (inside) when turning the ring -- you can move it with one finger easily. It is very similar to the Tamron SP 400/4 which also moves pretty freely. (And both of which have a focus limiter so you can snap-in or make a hard stop at any particular position.) It is fine for me, I'm just wondering when it comes time to sell whether someone is going to complain about it so I'm wondering what the "official" amount of dampening is, or just how most of them are. I imagine the other big A* IF lenses would be the same (A* 400/2.8, A* 600/5.6).
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