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02-11-2014, 06:34 AM   #16
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Size matters at certain age

I currently have a Canon 7D plus a Sigma 120-300/2 OS HSM anda 2xTC. This combo gives me about 900mm equivalent, and works fantastic. However, the weight and size is big and I am planning in selling it. I am now in the golden age and cannot walk long distances with that weight (although I still do it). I am looking for a smaller lens that can be used for nature. I also have a K5 with a collection of Pentax K and Takumars that I value very well. I really like the manual focus, except for the occasional BIF. I am also waiting to buy a K3 (for the anti alias filter) that promises to be great.

02-11-2014, 11:21 AM   #17
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+1 Vote for the DA*
I had that lens and stupidly sold it, probably my biggest camera-related mistake.
02-11-2014, 11:36 AM   #18
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What stormtech said. I'd consider a F* or FA* for $650 $700 tops. More than that and the advantages of the DA* 300 take over. If you use a TC, that wider aperture will be important. A later design, more corrected for CA and purple fringing... a warranty, that covers you if it's damaged when it gets to you with an over the counter exchange. If you look at what you're giving up, the more modern design and faster Aperture will always be there, no mater how good price you get it for. The only older lenses I'd consider at current asking prices would be the older 2.8 lenses where there is no modern equivalent.

You can look t what you're getting for your money, but also look at what you're not getting.
02-11-2014, 12:15 PM   #19
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I have an FA* 300 /4.5 and considered buying a DA* 300 when it first came out. When I tested them side by side at my local dealer, I found the DA* to be a touch sharper, and, of course, it was a touch faster at f4 vs f4.5. The max aperture is a significant factor for me because I regularly shoot with TCs. In the end, I chose to stick with my FA* because the DA* with SDM would not AF reasonably with my Tamron F 1.4x AF PZ MC4 TC, and the added size and weight of the DA*. I could have lived with the weight difference, and the tripod collar was a plus, but since I normally shoot this lens handheld, this last wasn't a high prioirity factor.

When I originally chose to get the FA*, it and the F* 300/4.5 were about the only AF choices at close to this spec for Pentax. I chose the FA* because of the improved AF/MF switching (the FA* can be switched to MF totally with only a pull of the focus ring while the F* needed both this and moving the AF/MF switch on the body) and the much more substantial hood.

To use a 1.4x AF TC with the DA*, you will need to purchase the newly announced Pentax AW 1.4x TC at @ $600. The Tamron I have and the other 3rd party 1.4x TCs with PZ contacts (most notably the Kenko 1.5x HQ PZ MC4) will power the SDM motor in the DA*, but will not reliably lock focus in my experience (it takes about 3 activations of AF until the focus is close enough for the AF system to lock). With my FA*, both my $79 USD Tamron 1.4x and my $100 USD Sigma EX 1.4x APO AF TCs work as expected with the screw drive AF and deliver excellent IQ. Of course, all of these will AF reasonably with the F 1.7x AFA with sufficient light.

With my priorities -- increased versatility with TCs and smaller and lighter for handholding, the F* or FA* can be the better choice. If your top priorities are ultimate IQ, you don't care to use TCs, plan to use this lens on a tripod, and want WR, then the DA* would be the better option.

Scott

02-11-2014, 12:37 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by snostorm Quote
I have an FA* 300 /4.5 and considered buying a DA* 300 when it first came out. When I tested them side by side at my local dealer, I found the DA* to be a touch sharper, and, of course, it was a touch faster at f4 vs f4.5. The max aperture is a significant factor for me because I regularly shoot with TCs. In the end, I chose to stick with my FA* because the DA* with SDM would not AF reasonably with my Tamron F 1.4x AF PZ MC4 TC, and the added size and weight of the DA*. I could have lived with the weight difference, and the tripod collar was a plus, but since I normally shoot this lens handheld, this last wasn't a high prioirity factor.

When I originally chose to get the FA*, it and the F* 300/4.5 were about the only AF choices at close to this spec for Pentax. I chose the FA* because of the improved AF/MF switching (the FA* can be switched to MF totally with only a pull of the focus ring while the F* needed both this and moving the AF/MF switch on the body) and the much more substantial hood.

To use a 1.4x AF TC with the DA*, you will need to purchase the newly announced Pentax AW 1.4x TC at @ $600. The Tamron I have and the other 3rd party 1.4x TCs with PZ contacts (most notably the Kenko 1.5x HQ PZ MC4) will power the SDM motor in the DA*, but will not reliably lock focus in my experience (it takes about 3 activations of AF until the focus is close enough for the AF system to lock). With my FA*, both my $79 USD Tamron 1.4x and my $100 USD Sigma EX 1.4x APO AF TCs work as expected with the screw drive AF and deliver excellent IQ. Of course, all of these will AF reasonably with the F 1.7x AFA with sufficient light.

With my priorities -- increased versatility with TCs and smaller and lighter for handholding, the F* or FA* can be the better choice. If your top priorities are ultimate IQ, you don't care to use TCs, plan to use this lens on a tripod, and want WR, then the DA* would be the better option.

Scott
No arguments there Scott, and if I'd obtained a FA* 300 or F* 300 at $650- $750 I'd be a happy camper. I have the Pentax 1.7 TC, so I would get partial auto-focus with either, but with my current set up, ƒ4 will probably get me an extra 20 minutes of AF shooting time at the end of the day. But I have experience that says my A-400 ƒ5.6 won't focus assist in less than perfect lights with the 1.7. If I'd bought a 4.5, I'm sure I'd be happy with it. But I'm not paying $900-1100 for one when I can get a brand new ƒ4 lens in the same focal length refurbed for the same money. My recommendations are totally based on what I consider to be the exhorbitant prices asked for older glass. If you can get a deal on one, go for it. From what I've seen the differences are small, not knock your socks off major. I'm guessing sample variation will decide which of any two compared copies is sharper. Just from what I've seen and heard.
02-11-2014, 01:33 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by cali92rs Quote
+1 Vote for the DA*
I had that lens and stupidly sold it, probably my biggest camera-related mistake.
I bought cali92rs DA* and silently thank him every time I bring it out.
02-12-2014, 01:36 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by pearsaab Quote
i had both...the f 300 is an awesome lens but much slower to focus..it is lighter than the da which is a plus...
Which camera body did you use it on? This could make a real difference.

QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
I don't have K-3 nor did I have an F*300, but I did do a comparison with my K-5 at the time with the DA* 300 and FA* 300.

Focusing speed was a draw between the two with a slight edge going to the FA* in lower light since it would hunt just a little less.
I think the F*300 may actually focus faster and/or better than the DA*300 on the K-5 II/s and K-3. But someone needs to do a direct comparison. I'd sure be interested in the results, though I have no intention of selling my F*300 either way, since I really like it. But I never know the answer for sure when someone else asks.
02-12-2014, 02:14 AM   #23
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Some of the points raised in a previous (slightly wider) discussion https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/217196-pros...ml#post2299603

My summing up from that post (and having owned a DA* and F*) are.....

So between the AF versions (I can't comment on the FA* because I haven't really used one) it's a choice of the F* and DA* - and to be completely honest you won't go far wrong with either of them

There is very little between the F* and DA* in the quality of the shots they can produce, I believe it comes down to a few small factors that may be important to you, these are:
WR - If you are likely to be shooting in the rain then the DA* is a clear winner.
Aperture - that extra third (?) of a stop may be important to you, but either lens is very capable at maximum aperture.
Size - the F* is more compact, important for travel?
Build - I prefer the build of the F* and I like the built-in lens hood (cant lose it).
AF Speed - the DA* should be significantly quicker (SDM) but I've never had a particular problem with either.

I still have my F* 300mm f4.5 and am unlikely to part with it any time soon - It is one of the best looking lenses ever produced by Pentax (IMO) oh yes... and Star lenses are worth their weight in gold, or pixie dust or hens teeth

02-12-2014, 02:47 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by LennyBloke Quote
AF Speed - the DA* should be significantly quicker (SDM) but I've never had a particular problem with either.
But isn't this part of the issue? In Pentaxland, "should be" isn't always so.

For example, the SDM on the DA*200 is atrociously slow (for action shooting, at least). The SDM on the DA*300 is much faster. But is the DA*300 faster than the older lenses on the latest bodies?


This is a question I'm still looking for answers to. I don't care to rent a DA*300 just to find out (especially since I don't have a K-3), but I'd sure like to know.
02-12-2014, 03:10 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
But isn't this part of the issue? In Pentaxland, "should be" isn't always so.

For example, the SDM on the DA*200 is atrociously slow (for action shooting, at least). The SDM on the DA*300 is much faster. But is the DA*300 faster than the older lenses on the latest bodies?


This is a question I'm still looking for answers to. I don't care to rent a DA*300 just to find out (especially since I don't have a K-3), but I'd sure like to know.
I didn't do any worthy tests so can't give you a proper answer - but the DA* did appear slightly faster when I owned them both. Without a measured test it is pretty worthless (as you've suggested) - the SDM of the DA* does seem to "snap" into focus quicker than the "micro-hunting" of the F*, but as most of my shooting isn't action I've never really had to prove the speed of either.

Sorry I can't be more helpful - and you're right, if you use a 300 for action shots you do need to know before purchasing
02-12-2014, 03:45 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by LennyBloke Quote
I didn't do any worthy tests so can't give you a proper answer - but the DA* did appear slightly faster when I owned them both. Without a measured test it is pretty worthless (as you've suggested) - the SDM of the DA* does seem to "snap" into focus quicker than the "micro-hunting" of the F*, but as most of my shooting isn't action I've never really had to prove the speed of either.

Sorry I can't be more helpful - and you're right, if you use a 300 for action shots you do need to know before purchasing
Thanks for your useful input. I've based my earlier assertions that the F* is faster focusing for sports primarily on feedback from RonHendriks1966 when I asked him about it a little over a year ago. He does lots of action shooting and found that the DA* was slower, but still fast enough for him and he needed the WR because he shoots some games in the rain.

Apparently shooting runners is one of the more demanding AF tasks and I shouldn't be using Pentax, but I've enjoyed the challenge and got many results I'm happy with. In any case I think the challenge has forced me to become a better photographer - I've had to react and adjust quickly, so now a parade doesn't seem like it's moving fast.


Ron said the Pentax screw drive lenses were all faster in his experience (based mostly on using a K-5). I can't speak for the DA*300 direct comparison, but I can say that the three Pentax primes I use for action (FA*85, FA135, F*300) all do the trick while the other lenses I've used just won't. So, for example, the DA*50-135 is a disaster for shooting runners, but it's great for a parade.



I should add that most of the F*300's "micro-hunting" disappears on my K-5 IIs compared to my K-5. I think it's reasonable to expect it to perform quite well on a K-3.
02-12-2014, 04:10 AM   #27
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Come on. The DA*300 is beyond awesome. Compact, light, stellar IQ, incomparable bokeh, perfect handling, incredibly close focus, reliable (OK, not super-quick) autofocus. One of the very greatest lenses Pentax has ever made.
02-12-2014, 04:18 AM   #28
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The F*300/4.5 is actually 200g lighter than the DA*300/4. It's shorter, better built and has a substantial detachable tripod foot, not to mention a built-in lens hood. The only thing against it is its scarcity (though copies do appear regularly, both in the Marketplace and on eBay) and lack of weather-proofing. The difference in maximum aperture I defy anyone to pick in a real shooting situation. Needless to say, I have a copy of the F*300/4.5, which I chose specifically over the FA*300/4.5 (its optical twin, but bigger, heavier and without the built-in hood) and the DA*300/4. I tried the DA*300 once and found it to be a very nice piece of kit, nonetheless, but I'd still make the same choice again, today.
02-12-2014, 06:04 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
Which camera body did you use it on? This could make a real difference.



I think the F*300 may actually focus faster and/or better than the DA*300 on the K-5 II/s and K-3. But someone needs to do a direct comparison. I'd sure be interested in the results, though I have no intention of selling my F*300 either way, since I really like it. But I never know the answer for sure when someone else asks.
it was the K5 so it could be different on the newer bodies
02-12-2014, 09:34 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dice Quote
I bought cali92rs DA* and silently thank him every time I bring it out.


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