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01-22-2014, 12:43 AM   #1
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Focusing performance 55-300 vs 60-250 on K5

Is there a real difference how camera (K5) catches focus with 55-300 compared to 60-250?
I have currently 55-300 and it is sometimes very annoying when it looses the focus totally when shooting moving objects.
Generally 55-300 does its job well, but this focusing issue is annoying me.

Now thinking, should I upgrade the lens to 60-250 or maybe start looking a completely different system for wildlife / action shooting.

01-22-2014, 01:15 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by mattipuh Quote
Is there a real difference how camera (K5) catches focus with 55-300 compared to 60-250?
The biggest difference will be on the K-3. I'm working as hard as I can to finish the 55-300 review, and there are four (4!) seperate AF tests against the 60-250. Should be up by next week the latest.

The 55-300 w/ the K-3 holds its own very well against the 60-250, the latter of which is hampered by its slower SDM motor. I haven't finished tallying up all the af results from the hundreds and hundreds of photos taken between two cameras, but the 55-300 so far has a higher keeper rate for one of the four tests.

Seriously, the K-3 is very much worth a consideration, especially if you have the original K-5.

-Heie
01-22-2014, 01:23 AM   #3
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thanks for reply - waiting eagerly comments! k3 seems to have improved performance in Focusing + slightly ISO performance. have to think this through..
01-22-2014, 01:40 AM - 1 Like   #4
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You will 100% notice a difference in sharpness and AF performance, both in low light and continuous focus (tracking).

Noise, though, won't be very noticeable unless to a trained eye - the K-5 is incredible in its noise prevention, and the K-3 will inherently have the appearance of having more noise when viewed at 100% (i.e. pixel peeping) on your screen because the resolution is much higher, making the grain appear 'more.' But after resizing down, the noise is finer (because of the higher resolution) and will seem like its less. But in the end it's pretty identical, which is in itself pretty remarkabl considering the difference between 16 and 24 mpx.

In short, don't buy the K-3 over the K-5 for pure noise benefits. But if you are interested in autofocus, both in near darkness and tracking, and total resolution, the K-3 will trounce the K-5. A great camera, but overall the K-5 is no match for a K-3 (for many, many, many other reasons than the two quickly mentioned).

If I were you, considering similar price points (about $1000-1200 for the K-3 or the DA* 60-250 each), I would go for the K-3, especially now after using the K-5, K-5 IIs, and testing extensively the 55-300 (both smc and HD WR) against the DA* 60-250 on two K-3 bodies.

And if you can stretch it a bit, I'd go the K-3, sell your 55-300, and replace it with the HD 55-300 WR

-Heie

01-22-2014, 02:40 AM   #5
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Focus performance 55-300 vs 60-250

I was contemplating a 55-300 HD WR to compliment my K-3 & 18-135 WR. Then I saw a 55-300 DAL for $179 NEW from a reputable dealer on the "bay", so I bought it. I don't care about the plastic mount or the distance scale and I will buy a hood. I can get by with the 18-135 for WR needs. What I do care about is IQ. Do you think it is that much better with HD coating? 2 1/2 times the price. I like 55-300 for compactness and weight. 60-250 is more than I want to pack around. It is a beauty of a lens though. Look forward to reading your future review.
01-22-2014, 03:20 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by PKMike Quote
Do you think it is that much better with HD coating? 2 1/2 times the price. I like 55-300 for compactness and weight.
There's no way based on what I've seen. It's still the same basic lens. And you've already got the lightest version. If that's your current lens set (DA18-135 plus 55-300) you're way out of balance - spent way to much on the body (or way too little on the lenses). The DA55-300 is a great lens for the money. The DA*50-135 is a great lens. You need to start looking at lens(es) in this class, if you don't already have them - especially with a top body like the K-3. Right off the top of my head, I can think of at least a half dozen Pentax lenses that would be a better use of that money (than "upgrading" to the HD 55-300). But with the big gap in price between the 55-300 and the 60-250 or 50-135, and with nothing obvious in between, it may take some judicious choices with primes or the few 3rd party options - or it may take just waiting until you can afford the better models. However, if you need AF speed, look for Pentax screw drive primes, in general (especially with the K3's AF improvements!).

I'm still interested in what Heie says though - he seems to think there's some advantage to the newer HD version.
01-22-2014, 03:28 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
I'm still interested in what Heie says though - he seems to think there's some advantage to the newer HD version.
Duh, weather sealing

But if AF performance is really that critical, the single best upgrade you can do is the K-3 (comparable in price to the 60-250 since he's thinking that price level). The difference he wil experience with the K-5/55-300 --> K-3/55-300 (DA L, DA, or HD DA) will be far greater than K-5/55-300 --> K-5/60-250.

The review will answer all your other questions. Now let me finish

-Heie
01-22-2014, 03:41 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Heie Quote
I would go for the K-3, especially now after using the K-5, K-5 IIs, and testing extensively the 55-300 (both smc and HD WR) against the DA* 60-250 on two K-3 bodies.
Heie, did you find a greater improvement in AF speed (especially for sports/action with screw drive lenses) going from the K-5 to K-5 IIs, or from the IIs to the K-3? I made the first move, but not the second. I found the improvement going to the IIs was worthwhile - especially noticeable on my F*300, which tends to nearly stay in focus in AF-C, rather than re-focusing every second or "micro-hunting." Is the difference from the IIs to the K-3 just as good?


Also, I can't seem to find an answer to this elsewhere: Do you think the FA77 is fast enough focusing for sport?

My FA*85 and FA135 do very well here, but since I sold my FA77 to get the FA*85 I never got a chance to test its AF speed for action shots. I've always wondered whether it or the DA70 focus as quickly as the FA*85 (it's not that I need one, it's that I never know whether I can recommend a cheaper and more available alternative to the FA*85). For that matter, how's the DA*55 for action (despite the possibility that it's too wide, like the FA43)?

01-22-2014, 03:55 AM   #9
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The K-5 IIs doesn't offer too much ahead of the K-5 in terms of pure tracking, however it is more decisive and more consistently accurate, which will definitely help, but it's overall the same AF-C algorithms. You will see a very marked improvement in tracking in the K-3 over the K-5 and K-5 IIs (at least I have). Also the much smaller AF points help for more accurate AF, minimizing the micro hunting.

But pure speed? You won't find the K-3 leaving the K-5 IIs in the dust regarding just pure point to point AF-S.

I've never tried, but the FA 77 is very fast to AF. The DA* 55? It's the slowest AF lens I've owned, but for portraits it's not a problem at all. And I think the "molassess-ness" of it is a bit exagerrated around here, but it isn't fast. For portraits it's perfectly fine, but I wouldn't use it for serious movement. Namely for its AF speed (really long focus throw is the bigger issue - great for portraits and focus accuracy but it takes time to cycle through it) and it's short like you said.

-Heie
01-22-2014, 04:52 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Heie Quote
I've never tried, but the FA 77 is very fast to AF.
Thanks. So I take it your best guess is that the FA77 may have AF-C performance similar to other screw-drive primes like the FA*85 and FA135.
01-22-2014, 05:41 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by PKMike Quote
I was contemplating a 55-300 HD WR to compliment my K-3 & 18-135 WR. Then I saw a 55-300 DAL for $179 NEW from a reputable dealer on the "bay", so I bought it. I don't care about the plastic mount or the distance scale and I will buy a hood.
The problem with the DA L is not the plastic mount, it's the lack of quick-shift focus. The 55-300 often gets lost, that's when you need QS. Grab that focus ring and bring it back to the target.

PS To minimize hunting, I reset focus to infinity, or at least past the subject distance before auto-focussing. I do this because the camera invariably looks for focus by racking inward. Also, it is more likely to miss focus when racking out.
01-22-2014, 10:22 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
There's no way based on what I've seen. It's still the same basic lens. And you've already got the lightest version. If that's your current lens set (DA18-135 plus 55-300) you're way out of balance - spent way to much on the body (or way too little on the lenses). The DA55-300 is a great lens for the money. The DA*50-135 is a great lens. You need to start looking at lens(es) in this class, if you don't already have them - especially with a top body like the K-3. Right off the top of my head, I can think of at least a half dozen Pentax lenses that would be a better use of that money (than "upgrading" to the HD 55-300). But with the big gap in price between the 55-300 and the 60-250 or 50-135, and with nothing obvious in between, it may take some judicious choices with primes or the few 3rd party options - or it may take just waiting until you can afford the better models. However, if you need AF speed, look for Pentax screw drive primes, in general (especially with the K3's AF improvements!).

I'm still interested in what Heie says though - he seems to think there's some advantage to the newer HD version.


I didn't spend too much on K-3 as there are far to many features to like and utilize beyond just IQ. I have not spent too little on lenses since I own 21 of them including a couple of limited, an A* 85F 1.4, as well as several other primes in the K,M,A,F and DA categories. Many of these are great performers. I use the 18-135 and 55-300 mainly for versatility, speed and convenience. If I want tack sharp photos I break out my primes along with my tripod. I feel fairly in balance.
01-22-2014, 10:51 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
The problem with the DA L is not the plastic mount, it's the lack of quick-shift focus. The 55-300 often gets lost, that's when you need QS. Grab that focus ring and bring it back to the target.

PS To minimize hunting, I reset focus to infinity, or at least past the subject distance before auto-focussing. I do this because the camera invariably looks for focus by racking inward. Also, it is more likely to miss focus when racking out.


I have lenses with quick shift and almost never touch the focus rings on any of them. My 55-300 does not "get lost" on my K-3. I have spent many hours and hundreds of frames chasing a Labrador Retriever in and out of brush and other obstacles while he runs to and fro, near and far. The lens focuses very well. For the sake of curiosity I just measured the EV level in the room I am in. It is -1EV according to my Minolta flash meter (ambient light reading). The only thing the 55-300/K-3 combination failed to focus on at this light level was a solid colored wall with virtually no detail! If I ever need to focus manually I can always flip the lever on the body to "M".

Last edited by PKMike; 01-23-2014 at 12:14 AM. Reason: Ad a sentence.
01-23-2014, 12:03 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by PKMike Quote
I didn't spend too much on K-3 as there are far to many features to like and utilize beyond just IQ. I have not spent too little on lenses since I own 21 of them including a couple of limited, an A* 85F 1.4, as well as several other primes in the K,M,A,F and DA categories. Many of these are great performers. I use the 18-135 and 55-300 mainly for versatility, speed and convenience. If I want tack sharp photos I break out my primes along with my tripod. I feel fairly in balance.
Sorry 'bout that. It sounded like this was all you had. There was nothing in your profile or signature that indicated you had anything else, plus with so few posts ...
.
.
.
... I made a poor assumption!
01-23-2014, 12:21 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
Sorry 'bout that. It sounded like this was all you had. There was nothing in your profile or signature that indicated you had anything else, plus with so few posts ...
.
.
.
... I made a poor assumption!
Its all good. I haven't been a member for long. Still learning the ropes. I feel more at home with a camera than a PC. Really love this forum. Lots of friendly members and lots of good info and discussions.
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