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01-27-2014, 02:53 PM   #1
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HD 55-300 WR In-Depth Review Posted



HD 55-300 WR In-Depth Review


-Heie

01-27-2014, 03:00 PM   #2
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I love the teaser image!
01-27-2014, 03:53 PM   #3
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Excellent use of jifs. The ones showing the lenses zooming in/out was particularly illuminating.

That is a very thorough review. Well done!
01-27-2014, 04:04 PM   #4
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This is most likely going to be my next lens in a month or so. I've also been reading a lot about the DA 60-250 SDM, but the much higher cost and lesser reach make me lean toward the 55-300 WR. The image samples from the 55-300 WR look pretty good, too.

Tony

01-27-2014, 05:19 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by TonyTurley Quote
This is most likely going to be my next lens in a month or so.

3 months here......need to get something other then keep using my Kit lense
01-27-2014, 05:57 PM   #6
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Good job, Alex! I own the original version of the DA 55-300. I also own the DA *200 and the 200 is just a lot sharper with better contrast at similar apertures. But I agree, as a decently priced option, it can't be beat.

I shoot mine at f8 as much as I can and it's pretty good there...
01-27-2014, 08:33 PM   #7
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Good Evening Alex! - well its evening here in Aridzona. I think that most everyone else is frozen/snowed in across the country.

I really like and very much appreciate the lens review. The amount and quality of the analysis is excellent - especially the construction of the test methodologies / approaches - plus the very descriptive and well illustrated explanations. I have the original 55-300 and apparently I have under-appreciated it by a large margin. Actually, I am a wide angle person, but still I have not used it up to its full potential. I have also acquired a older A*300/f4 a while ago.

One of your observations has struck/intrigued me....
QuoteQuote:
By now it's obvious that the DA* 60-250 lags behind the HD 55-300 in magnification, with the latter having a significant advantage across the entire range of focusing distances. Because of the rather daunting discrepency, we can't help but wonder if the lenses are both accurately measured for their reported focal lengths. Is the 55-300 really a 55-400? Or maybe the 60-250 is really a 50-200? We don't have the means to accurately answer that question, however it is certainly a thought worth pondering. Regardless, at the end of the day, users of the HD 55-300 will reap the benefit of significantly higher magnification at all focal lengths and focus distances.
While reading this, I started thinking. A couple of years ago, I started a thread on the actual field of view of the 10-17 a fisheye (Pentax never answered a question that I had posed to them a couple of times). I actually wound up doing a measurement on a near by culd-a-sac situated on a hill side, taking some images, and then using Google Earth's tape measure functions to measure locations out to the two edges points that I could identify with very good accuracy and precision. I was also lazy so I used WolframAlpha to do the math. The measured field of view can then be compared to the calculated (theoretical) field of view provided by a photographic calculator (Dimensional Field of View Calculator) - note that I believe that the Pentax crop factor is 1.53.Anyway, I don't have a 60-250, but with my 55-300 and the A*300, I could easily compare them and test out if the above methodology even appears to be reliable (the lenses are rectilinear, so projections are not a problem as with the fisheye). The A*300 I think can be the measured standard, while the calculator would represent the theoretical standard. The actual measurements can also be used to calculate the actual or measured focal length (to a rough degree). Off the top of my head, I don't have any other easier or better methodology to suggest. This should be relatively easy - an hour or so this weekend.

I would like to know if the 55-300 is a 300 or 300+/++ or even if your pondering if a near 400- is a possibility. Anyway, it should be a balmy 70 here this weekend, with the sun out, sun stroke may even be a slight concern. I'll have to wear a hat.

... sunglasses in place....
01-27-2014, 10:14 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
The measured field of view can then be compared to the calculated (theoretical) field of view provided by a photographic calculator (Dimensional Field of View Calculator) - note that I believe that the Pentax crop factor is 1.53.Anyway, I don't have a 60-250, but with my 55-300 and the A*300, I could easily compare them and test out if the above methodology even appears to be reliable (the lenses are rectilinear, so projections are not a problem as with the fisheye). The A*300 I think can be the measured standard, while the calculator would represent the theoretical standard. The actual measurements can also be used to calculate the actual or measured focal length (to a rough degree). Off the top of my head, I don't have any other easier or better methodology to suggest. This should be relatively easy - an hour or so this weekend.

I would like to know if the 55-300 is a 300 or 300+/++ or even if your pondering if a near 400- is a possibility. Anyway, it should be a balmy 70 here this weekend, with the sun out, sun stroke may even be a slight concern. I'll have to wear a hat.

... sunglasses in place....
Yup, all it would take is a measuring tape to mark off the distance from a nice wall, setup a tripod, put the measuring tape against the wall, and take a couple shots.

01-28-2014, 12:37 AM   #9
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Great review, thanks!

One thing I noted... you said the K-30 was often sold without WR lens. I think this was a US thing only. At least in Sweden I never saw any K-30 kits with the DA L lens. So the WR lenses were definitaly not announced with the K-50, they were available before that.
01-28-2014, 02:17 AM   #10
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Excellent review! I owned the non-WR model and upgraded to the WR version as soon as it came out. I've been very impressed with the quality of the pictures I get out of it considering it is one of my cheapest lenses. Having 300mm reach in such a small package makes it a worthwhile lens to own even if cost is no object. If I do ever get the big 60-250 or 200mm or 300mm primes I'm sure this will stay in my kit for when I don't want to be weighed down by the heavy glass.
01-28-2014, 04:37 AM   #11
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Page 8: "In the event you stopped counting, the HD 55-300 WR debuts as the 12th lens in the Pentax lineup not including the 645D medium format system to offer weather sealing. Note that this does not include the 645D medium format system."
Page 12: "Another bokeh comparison up next, this time between the HD 55-300 and the DA* 60-250 for both highlight bokeh and how they deal with cluttered background branches." is repeated.

Nice review, and nice lens... Rip-off Britain rears its ugly head yet again though - $450 converts (currently) to £272. Even adding VAT, that's nowhere near £400!
01-28-2014, 05:01 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Moo Quote
Page 8: "In the event you stopped counting, the HD 55-300 WR debuts as the 12th lens in the Pentax lineup not including the 645D medium format system to offer weather sealing. Note that this does not include the 645D medium format system."
Page 12: "Another bokeh comparison up next, this time between the HD 55-300 and the DA* 60-250 for both highlight bokeh and how they deal with cluttered background branches." is repeated.

Nice review, and nice lens... Rip-off Britain rears its ugly head yet again though - $450 converts (currently) to £272. Even adding VAT, that's nowhere near £400!
272 +20%Vat = 326 +6% import duty = 346 = rip off Pentax UK !!

Chances are you can personally import it cheaper than Pentax UK will sell you one .!
But buy in UK from pro dealer and you get 2 years warranty.
01-28-2014, 08:36 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
Yup, all it would take is a measuring tape to mark off the distance from a nice wall, setup a tripod, put the measuring tape against the wall, and take a couple shots.
OK, With the DA 55-300 (original version) on the tripod mounted camera 16' from the wall, and two tape measures taped to make a target - stolen (borrowed, liberated or contributed) from my wife's sewing stash - I took the following image. Then using the Photographer's Calculator (Dimensional Field of View Calculator) from...
Focal Length :300mm
Crop Factor: 1.53
Distance to Target: 16'
  • The calculated FoV is: 1' 3.1" by 10"
  • The measured Fov is: 1' 2.375" by 10"
I think that its close enough, depending on what axis you want to use - it measures between 300 to 315mm. Good enough for either horseshoes or hand grenades.

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02-10-2014, 07:51 PM   #14
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I will get this lense..........in 2 months :P
02-11-2014, 06:04 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
OK, With the DA 55-300 (original version) on the tripod mounted camera 16' from the wall, and two tape measures taped to make a target - stolen (borrowed, liberated or contributed) from my wife's sewing stash - I took the following image. Then using the Photographer's Calculator (Dimensional Field of View Calculator) from...
Focal Length :300mm
Crop Factor: 1.53
Distance to Target: 16'
  • The calculated FoV is: 1' 3.1" by 10"
  • The measured Fov is: 1' 2.375" by 10"
I think that its close enough, depending on what axis you want to use - it measures between 300 to 315mm. Good enough for either horseshoes or hand grenades.

I'm just impressed that you can see some texture in all four corners; at least at first glance, your copy looks pretty good at (approximately) 300mm.
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