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01-18-2014, 05:13 PM   #1
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Which El Cheapo Long Zoom Lens would you pick?

The Sigma APO AF 70-300 F 4-5.6 (NO DG)

Or Pentax FA 100-300 F 4.7-5.8

For the life of me I can't find this particular Sigma lens in the review section. All of them are either DG or something else. Here are a couple of pics I grabbed from Ebay poor as they may be.







Both can be had for well under $100. I'm just interested to see if I like the long end of the 300mm zoom.

01-18-2014, 05:22 PM   #2
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The Pentax FA (silver one -- which I just sold in the marketplace yesterday), no question. The Sigma is a purple fringing monster and has an extremely stiff zoom ring. I think it also has a "macro" function which the Pentax does not have, but for telephoto the Pentax all the way...
01-18-2014, 05:33 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by vonBaloney Quote
The Pentax FA (silver one -- which I just sold in the marketplace yesterday), no question. The Sigma is a purple fringing monster and has an extremely stiff zoom ring. I think it also has a "macro" function which the Pentax does not have, but for telephoto the Pentax all the way...
What did you sell the Pentax for if you don't mind me asking?
01-18-2014, 05:35 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Driline Quote
What did you sell the Pentax for if you don't mind me asking?
As long as you don't say it was too much (since the buyer hasn't even gotten it yet)...$80 shipped. Worth every penny optically, although the build isn't impressive...

01-18-2014, 05:44 PM   #5
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I paid about $30 for a Sigma/Quantaray 100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 and it's quite good optically. Yes it's dreadfully slow after 250mm at f/6.7 but at f/8 and good lighting it works great and is decently sharp, and it focuses faster than the DA55-300. In indifferent light it hunts fast but otherwise it serves me quite well. I had a copy a few years ago that had rather low contrast which implied a soft image; my current copy is quite crisp and hard to beat for the price. The FA also gets good reviews, I've never encountered one of those.
01-18-2014, 05:50 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by vonBaloney Quote
As long as you don't say it was too much (since the buyer hasn't even gotten it yet)...$80 shipped. Worth every penny optically, although the build isn't impressive...
That's a fair price I think
01-18-2014, 06:22 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jimr-pdx Quote
I paid about $30 for a Sigma/Quantaray
Theres one right now on ebay for $49 plus $10 shipping. I wonder how good they are at 300mm. I suppose the Pentax, Sigma and Quantaray are similar at the far end? Soft
01-18-2014, 06:47 PM   #8
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I also had (have? its at my father's place) the FA 100-300 silver. Its a good lens for the price. Whack a hood on it though.

01-18-2014, 06:51 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Driline Quote
Theres one right now on ebay for $49 plus $10 shipping. I wonder how good they are at 300mm. I suppose the Pentax, Sigma and Quantaray are similar at the far end? Soft
The Pentax is superior, and not soft at 300mm. It is not *awesome*, but it is quite acceptable. I've had both of these, and the Pentax is just better unless you need close-focusing. (Pentax is min 5ft or so.)
01-18-2014, 07:01 PM   #10
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These are all from the FA 100-300 silver at 300mm:
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01-18-2014, 07:08 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by vonBaloney Quote
These are all from the FA 100-300 silver at 300mm:
Very Nice. I see Pentax also has available another cheap zoom I hadn't contemplated before. The FA 80-320. I wonder if it is any better at the long end than the FA 100-300?
01-18-2014, 07:29 PM   #12
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Here are a few with the Quantaray / Sigma

Well cropped, minimal processing (300mm 'wide open')


great color and contrast (100mm)


the cat next door (cropped sharpened and contrast boosted) 150mm
01-18-2014, 07:29 PM   #13
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I just got one of those sigma apo (no dl) and I'm fond of it. here's a pic. (I did hit the auto box in camera raw). I tried a few other Sigma -300 but I think this one the best of the lot. Purple fringing ?
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01-18-2014, 07:43 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Driline Quote
Both can be had for well under $100. I'm just interested to see if I like the long end of the 300mm zoom.
Good luck on that.

You have good glass (I have all the same lenses, except the DA21, which I've used nevertheless). So the answer is neither one - but as you can see above, the Pentax FA 100-300 is at least decent.

In a zoom, the F70-210/4-5.6 is a great bargain; the Takumar version even more so. Very good up to about 180mm.


Time to look at 200mm and/or 300mm primes. MF will obviously save you money. Any of the * lenses, or those that "should have been a star" (e.g. K200/2.5 and the like) will do very well.

You appreciate IQ, so you know you'll end up here anyway.
01-18-2014, 08:01 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
You have good glass (I have all the same lenses, except the DA21, which I've used nevertheless). So the answer is neither one - but as you can see above, the Pentax FA 100-300 is at least decent.
Understood. I am a fan of IQ. Again I just want to see if I would use the 300mm on a day to day basis and of course would purchase quality glass ~ $1,300 if I find I have a need for it.

In the mean time I want to purchase the best possible piece of glass I can from among the "budget" long zooms available. When I'm through it will make a nice paper weight for the office
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