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03-19-2014, 04:46 AM   #16
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Wow, thank you all very much for the quick responses. Very informative.

@calc01: I didn't realize there was another WR version of the 55-300. Last time I checked (a few months back) it didn't. Thanks!

As for the 60-250mm being soft, my photog friend was basing it on his experience with Canikon, and the general mechanics of how zooms typically work. He was cautioning me that with such a great range (compared to a 70-200) there is so much more for the lens to account for. Before he mentioned this, I was sold on the 60-250 based on the reviews and photos I've seen.

@gray: I'll do that check on my K5, thanks for the advice. I know I'm also partially to blame for some of the blur/softness in my images too given my inexperience and having shot two winters worth.

Hmmm so DA*200 out eh? That was at the top of my list and hadn't read too many bad things about the AF but I'll take your word(s). I suppose the DA*300 would allow me to shoot and wildlife too however it doesn't seem as much of a walkabout lens and/or would be a little more cumbersome to bring with me skiing although I normally don't have the camera with me all day. Is this a lens I could handhold with good results (provided I'm steady etc)? I understand a tripod is probably best.

@JohnX: The 50-135mm was in the mix but it was the focal length, and potentially slow AF (as you mentioned) that eliminated it.

I'll reconsider the 60-250mm. I've also read where it isn't quite 250mm more like 200mm but I forget the explanation. Something to do with focusing distance (min focusing)?

@Lowell: my friend had also mentioned that WR is not necessary and he has successfully shot in rain/snow with his kit. For me though I feel that's it's really important but maybe I have to get over that mental barrier

Still on the fence here but please keep comments and advice coming. This is very very helpful!

03-19-2014, 12:11 PM   #17
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You don't need to abandon your original idea of the 200mm lens, you just need to switch it from the DA* to the FA*. Buying used is better anyway, as you'll take virtually no loss if you sell it. I think choosing one and trying it out now is your best move - this way you'll know how it works for you. I can assure you you'll get dramatically nicer photos with these lenses, especially the primes, which have excellent IQ when stopped down by only 1/3 or 2/3 stops. The rest (handling, size, focal length) you'll just have to experience by using it.

I've found I don't need AF at both 200 and 300mm. When I have my 200mm with me, I usually think I don't need the 300mm focal length, and visa versa. Granted, I'm not birding, where many (most?) birders think they need longer than 300mm in the first place. For most other uses, you can choose one or the other most of the time. This is especially true for sports where an athlete is generally coming toward you (because you just take the shots when he's slightly farther away with the 300 - you may not be cognitive of the focal length difference when photographing, because you just take the shots when it looks good).

FWIW, the FA* and F*300 lenses are about 25mm shorter and 200g lighter than the DA*300, though I haven't especially thought of the DA*300 being bigger when I've held it. The FA*200 is also slightly lighter than the slow-focusing DA*200.
03-19-2014, 01:05 PM   #18
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You need a zoom lens... your Nikon buddy doesn't know the 60-250 because there is nothing like the 60-250 in Nikon land, and there just isn't that much difference between 250 and 300 to give up the zoom range. The 60-250 is better than the 200mm @ 200mm, but it's not 2.8. Many of us have passed on the 300 for the 60-250. Looking at the numbers over at photo zone the DA 60-250 look like it could be sharper, but they are tested on different sensors so you can't say for sure. In the Pentax database the 60-250 is rated at 9.72, 9.7 for sharpness, the DA*300 is rated at 9.8. Saying one is sharper than the other.... maybe, depends on sample variation... some users rate the 60-250 as 10s right across the board some people don't rate the 300 as a 10 right across the board. Pick your reviewer.

But long story short, you can make an argument for either being the better lens in the long end. You can't make an argument for the 300 being an excellent lens at 60-100-135-150-200-or 250mm. It's definitely the best 300 mm lens. No one I've seen has tested them straight up head to head, and produced images saying one is better than the other, unless I missed it somehow. On the forum, they even use different test charts making a cross comparison impossible. On photozpne one test at 10 Mp one tested a 16 Mp. There's some conspiracy against there being a good comparison of these two lenses.

We've had the 60-250 for a number of years now, and it just seems like it makes the 300 unnecessary, especially since I have the 1.4 TC. Buy the 300 and you'll still want the 60-250.

Long story short, if you're getting one heavy lens, get the 60-250 with the 1.4 TC and 1.7 TC. That will get you 350 and 420 if you need longer without having to carry another heavy lens. That gets you a zoom range of 60-420 with excellent 9.72 out of 10 quality. The 300 might be sharper... with heavy accent on might.. but then again, due to sample variation, your 60-250 might be sharper than someone else's 300, the tested samples have been close. For what you do for me the 60-250 is a no brainer.

More of a no brainer would be ditching the weight and using the 18-135 like mattb123 on this page and many others... https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/179869-da-1...can-do-32.html

Or even the 50-135..you do not want to carry either the 60-250 or 300 all day in a pack, after 2 or 3 hours, they start to get heavy.

Last edited by normhead; 03-19-2014 at 01:27 PM.
03-19-2014, 10:50 PM   #19
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my advice:

60-250mm and x1.4TC

03-23-2014, 07:44 PM   #20
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Okay, I've probably read all the reviews possible for the 60-250 and 300mm. Lots of praise for the 60-250mm...is there anyone that's not happy with it?

I'm still on the fence about the prime and zoom. The prime would be nice for simplicities sake and the extra 50mm. However, I'm most likely going to get a TC at some point too. I've just always liked the idea of a telephoto prime and the IQ. The biggest issue stopping me is that I probably won't be able to shoot watersports with it from the ski boat itself. I'd use my 50-200 for that and suffer IQ. I've also been going through photos from the cottage (not watersports related) and 200mm is at least half the photos and I could have used way more range. For winter sports, I think the 300mm would be amazing.

Anyway, there's still no rush but I'm sure I'd be happy with both. They are close in length (7.2" vs 6.6") and weight (300mm is 30g heavier) to so not a huge deal-breaker either way. It would be interesting to hear more from the prime fanatics. Any more benefits or things people like about primes? My only experience is with my 50mm and it's so fun to use. I just think differently when composing. But 300mm prime is another animal given it's range and I just can't visualize if it's too much range for all the other things I want a lens to do for my lifestyle. I wish I could afford both!

Last edited by Alpiner; 03-23-2014 at 07:50 PM. Reason: forgot a word
03-23-2014, 08:08 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alpiner Quote
Okay, I've probably read all the reviews possible for the 60-250 and 300mm. Lots of praise for the 60-250mm...is there anyone that's not happy with it?

I'm still on the fence about the prime and zoom. The prime would be nice for simplicities sake and the extra 50mm. However, I'm most likely going to get a TC at some point too. I've just always liked the idea of a telephoto prime and the IQ. The biggest issue stopping me is that I probably won't be able to shoot watersports with it from the ski boat itself. I'd use my 50-200 for that and suffer IQ. I've also been going through photos from the cottage (not watersports related) and 200mm is at least half the photos and I could have used way more range. For winter sports, I think the 300mm would be amazing.

Anyway, there's still no rush but I'm sure I'd be happy with both. They are close in length (7.2" vs 6.6") and weight (300mm is 30g heavier) to so not a huge deal-breaker either way. It would be interesting to hear more from the prime fanatics. Any more benefits or things people like about primes? My only experience is with my 50mm and it's so fun to use. I just think differently when composing. But 300mm prime is another animal given it's range and I just can't visualize if it's too much range for all the other things I want a lens to do for my lifestyle. I wish I could afford both!
The 60-250 is great. Very flexible and I haven't found any weakness so far. It's almost suitable as a walk around lens. That is if you don't mind walking around with 4 pound lens and camera combined
03-25-2014, 07:52 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by percy Quote
I don't know about the DA* 200, but I have the DA* 60-250 and the DA* 300.

The 60-250 is not soft at either end - a very good, sharp and versatile lens. Not blazingly fast AF, but still quick enough for most sports action, and with good light it works well with my 1.4 teleconverter.

The 300 is really sharp. I can't see myself ever selling it. The 60-250 is not far behind.

I think if you want the versatility of a zoom, the you won't go far wrong with the 60-250. If you want the ultimate in sharpness, then the 300. Better still, get both

As others have said, the Sigma 70-200 F2.8 is also pretty good. Not WR, bigger and heavier, a bit softer at both ends of the zoom range and needs to be stopped down a bit for best image quality (unlike the Pentax lenses above which are pretty good at all settings) but a cheaper and faster lens, faster auto focus, and still capable of pretty good sharpness.
Hi Percy,

Is the 60-250 a good lens for indoor action/sports. I am looking for a lens for indoor gymnastics, soccer, and field hockey. I understand the sigma and tamron 70-200 options are good for indoor, but if I could use the 60-250 then it could also be my outdoor inclement weather sports shooter.

My goal is to be the team photographer for my 10-13 yo kids sport teams.

Thanks,

radman

---------- Post added 03-25-14 at 10:53 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Gray Quote
I have DA 60-250. It's IQ is great all the way to 250 mm (you get what you pay for). But it's heavy. I also have the DA 55-300, which I've used successfully for soccer, and which now comes in a WR version. The 55-300 is much lighter and still gives very nice IQ. I'd be extremely surprised if you could ski/snowboard successfully and safely with the DA 60-250 on your chest. I'd look seriously at the 55-300 WR - you'll find it focuses faster than the 60-250.

But before blaming your lens you should check your K-5 AF. I have the K-5II, which I upgraded to from the K-5. The K-5II has much more reliable phase detect AF than the K-5. An easy way to check whether it's your lens or you camera's AF that is to blame for your soft images - use LV and compare them with similar images taken through the view finder (phase detect). LV (contrast detect) is slower but much more accurate when it achieves focus lock on the K-5. Are your LV images still soft? If so, then it's your lens. If not, keep your 50-200 and look at getting at least a K-5II or K5-IIs or K-3. There are some good deals around on the K-5II/s. I upgraded from the K-5 and hardly ever get obviously soft or out of focus images.

Here's a recent discussion on the K-5's AF issues: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/6-pentax-dslr-discussion/251495-d-rn-k-5-you.html

Remember too that there is an art to accurate AF - very often the camera will focus on the background behind your subject if the background has higher contrast. But I may be telling you something you already know.

I'd start with the K-5 AF check before changing lenses.

Hi Gray,

Is the 60-250 a good lens for indoor action/sports?

Thanks,
03-25-2014, 09:03 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by radman Quote
Is the 60-250 a good lens for indoor action/sports?
Sorry, radman, I've not used the lens for any indoor work (sports or anything) - only landscapes and seascapes in all weather, which it excels at. I can't offer an alternative either as I don't shoot indoor action. Hopefully other members here will be able to give you their considered opinions based on their experiences.

What I can say, from shooting outdoors, is that your technique is very important. You have to anticipate action, not follow it - that's really crucial and probably more important than which lens you use.

03-25-2014, 09:13 PM   #24
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Hi Radman,

I've not yet used the 60-250 for indoor sports and have only used it on the K-5 IIs, so couldn't really comment knowledgeably on how good it is for indoor sports.

I would expect it to be ok if you have a decent amount of light, but if not then a faster lens might be an advantage.

I had a K-5 and know that it's autofocus is not as good as the K-5 IIs that I currently have, so maybe the Sigma which is a stop faster and has the faster AF system (and is cheaper as well) would work better under those circumstances.

Having read reviews comparing the Sigma and Tamron 70-200's it seems as the the AF on the Sigma is much faster and better for sports action. Fast Sports Zoom Lenses for Pentax - 70-200mm Sigma & Tamron - PentaxForums.com

Even though the 60-250 is my preferred choice and I would be quite happy using it indoors, I also have the Sigma 70-200 (undecided yet whether or not I'll keep it as it covers a similar range) and in lower light conditions that's the lens I would be more likely to take with me. While it's IQ is not as good as the 60-250, it is nevertheless still pretty good.

A tough choice - they're both good lenses with different qualities.
03-26-2014, 06:42 PM   #25
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Radman: sounds like your criteria in determining the "right" lens is the opposite of mine

I would be more likely take the Sigma 70-200mm 2.8 (and eventually get a TC) if it wasn't for the lack of WR. I just can't give the WR up as I'm doing the majority of my photography outdoors in all weather. However, I still want that "all purpose" lens as I don't want to be limited to taking sports-action photos only outdoors but also indoors. But there's a compromise at this price point where it appears a lens will do a couple things really well and there's that 1 thing that could be the deal breaker (no WR, higher/slow aperture value). I'm leaning towards the 60-250mm (again) but have concerns that f4 on my K5 will be limiting for indoor use. From the sounds of it, I should be happy for the 95% of shooting I do currently so will most likely get this and perhaps my 50mm will suffice for indoor action.
03-30-2014, 02:17 AM   #26
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Your inclination toward the 300mm is probably right. You know what usually happens when others say your lens is too long for a given situation? You get more interesting photos than them.

Read this post #7 here from JimmyDranox on why you probably don't want a Pentax DA*60-250 for sports: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/120-general-technical-troubleshooting/251...-af-issue.html

A *300 will give you more reach, better IQ than any of the "similar FL" AF lenses (*200s, Sigma/Tamron 70-200/2.8s, DA*60-250), better wide-open performance, and equal or better AF performance. The weight is also better than the zooms. And because they're very usable stopped down by only 1/3 stop (or not at all if you prefer) they can be used indoors - yes, even in a typical gym situation.

Last weekend I was shooting dance championships inside a rather poorly lit gym (with terrible light color) along with crewl1. I was using the K-5, K-5 IIs, and K-3 (mostly the K-5 IIs). The K-5 AF was frustrating at times. The K-5 IIs and K-3 did very well. The DA*300 AF performance was more or less equivalent to the Sigma 70-200/2.8 OS HSM (latest version). But it was lighter and had nicer IQ, IMO. The Sigma rendering characteristics made the lighting color even worse. But it did allow zooming, and AF was quiet, and AF performance was adequate most of the time. Nevertheless, I think the 2 camera solution is much better than 1 zoom that I don't like as much. I went with either the FA135 or FA*85 plus the F*300. For certain acts I'd switch out the 300 for the FA*24 or FA31, but it was usually much more difficult to get nice shots with those lenses than the 300. Since the K-5 IIs performs well, the 2nd body doesn't have to cost too much either. You can see the photos and the focal lengths used here: http://www.eventtimephotos.com/



The point is that if the DA*60-250 AF is 3 times slower than the Sigma 70-200, then it's also about 3 times slower than the *300 lenses, so you don't want it. Shorter-range birders may love it, but not necessarily sports photographers (even the DA*50-135 can be made to work for sports sometimes, but it can be very frustrating). The *300 lenses are also pretty much the lenses the HD 1.4x TC were made for, not so much the slower focusing DA*60-250 (though IQ is still good with the TC), and certainly not the Tamron or Sigma 70-200s!



I think the main decision is which 300 you need. The F* and FA* have faster AF, are slightly lighter, slightly smaller, the F* has a built in hood, and have slightly better IQ IMO. The DA* has WR and a slightly faster aperture, and focuses more quietly (which can be both good an bad - less aural feedback). So if indoor and overall AF performance is the priority, I'd get one of the screw-drive lenses; if you'd prefer not to use a lens rain cover like all the Canon and Nikon boys do, then get the DA*.


EDIT: As I read through this thread again, I think the DA*300 matches your need. Not some big compromise - there's actually one lens that meets your requirements. And on the K-5 it should even focus nearly as fast as the F* or FA*300 would (while the later lenses are better on the latest bodies). You want the WR, and you want faster focusing than the DA*60-250, so the DA*300 is it. It's either that, or struggling with a DA55-300 WR. Anyway, the DA*300 is the best "non-exotic" long lens for Pentax that anyone makes right now - what's there to think about?

Last edited by DSims; 03-30-2014 at 03:02 AM.
03-30-2014, 02:30 AM   #27
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I'd get both the primes, I use an earlier generation of lenses (SMC Pentax-A* 200mm F2.8 ED, SMC Pentax-A* 300mm F4) but they still both serve me well, but I rarely use a teleconverter on the end unless I'm really up against it.
03-30-2014, 06:51 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
Your inclination toward the 300mm is probably right. You know what usually happens when others say your lens is too long for a given situation? You get more interesting photos than them.

Read this post #7 here from JimmyDranox on why you probably don't want a Pentax DA*60-250 for sports: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/120-general-technical-troubleshooting/251...-af-issue.html

A *300 will give you more reach, better IQ than any of the "similar FL" AF lenses (*200s, Sigma/Tamron 70-200/2.8s, DA*60-250), better wide-open performance, and equal or better AF performance. The weight is also better than the zooms. And because they're very usable stopped down by only 1/3 stop (or not at all if you prefer) they can be used indoors - yes, even in a typical gym situation.

Last weekend I was shooting dance championships inside a rather poorly lit gym (with terrible light color) along with crewl1. I was using the K-5, K-5 IIs, and K-3 (mostly the K-5 IIs). The K-5 AF was frustrating at times. The K-5 IIs and K-3 did very well. The DA*300 AF performance was more or less equivalent to the Sigma 70-200/2.8 OS HSM (latest version). But it was lighter and had nicer IQ, IMO. The Sigma rendering characteristics made the lighting color even worse. But it did allow zooming, and AF was quiet, and AF performance was adequate most of the time. Nevertheless, I think the 2 camera solution is much better than 1 zoom that I don't like as much. I went with either the FA135 or FA*85 plus the F*300. For certain acts I'd switch out the 300 for the FA*24 or FA31, but it was usually much more difficult to get nice shots with those lenses than the 300. Since the K-5 IIs performs well, the 2nd body doesn't have to cost too much either. You can see the photos and the focal lengths used here: EventTime Photos



The point is that if the DA*60-250 AF is 3 times slower than the Sigma 70-200, then it's also about 3 times slower than the *300 lenses, so you don't want it. Shorter-range birders may love it, but not necessarily sports photographers (even the DA*50-135 can be made to work for sports sometimes, but it can be very frustrating). The *300 lenses are also pretty much the lenses the HD 1.4x TC were made for, not so much the slower focusing DA*60-250 (though IQ is still good with the TC), and certainly not the Tamron or Sigma 70-200s!



I think the main decision is which 300 you need. The F* and FA* have faster AF, are slightly lighter, slightly smaller, the F* has a built in hood, and have slightly better IQ IMO. The DA* has WR and a slightly faster aperture, and focuses more quietly (which can be both good an bad - less aural feedback). So if indoor and overall AF performance is the priority, I'd get one of the screw-drive lenses; if you'd prefer not to use a lens rain cover like all the Canon and Nikon boys do, then get the DA*.


EDIT: As I read through this thread again, I think the DA*300 matches your need. Not some big compromise - there's actually one lens that meets your requirements. And on the K-5 it should even focus nearly as fast as the F* or FA*300 would (while the later lenses are better on the latest bodies). You want the WR, and you want faster focusing than the DA*60-250, so the DA*300 is it. It's either that, or struggling with a DA55-300 WR. Anyway, the DA*300 is the best "non-exotic" long lens for Pentax that anyone makes right now - what's there to think about?
I guess if you ask who doesn't like the DA* 60-250 you find out...

Just a couple quick comments, I'd like some more confirmation that the DA*300 ƒ4 focuses as fast as the Sigma 70-200 for low light sports. That's an interesting statement I haven't heard before. The forum consensus seems to be that the current Sigma 70-200 is the fastest focusing in sports and low light conditions. Before I change that I might want to see some images, some real world comparisons etc. I'm certainly not granting the DA*300 that status based on one post with no information on how it was determined.

I'd be really skeptical about making decisions on outdoor, good light conditions using low light specs. I know my 60-25- ƒ4, struggles in low light, but that's because it's ƒ4, not because it's a zoom. And it still is fine in good light. I believe the OP was not discussing shooting in gyms.

I'd be really skeptical of people saying their ƒ4 lens focuses as good as an ƒ2.8 lens in poor light. That really doesn't make a lot of sense. But hey, if you have some evidence to say it's true, I'll look it over.

As a rule, I don't listen to people who dismiss lenses because they are zooms or primes. It's been 25 years since there was much difference, in the high end. A good lens is a good lens. Because someone believes you can't build a zoom that isn't a compromise lens doesn't mean it's true. I read an article back in the 90s done by Pop photography, even then there were expensive zooms that out performed most primes. That kind of thinking is 25 years out of date. These days it's the primes that are the compromise lenses. Are you really going to give up all that versatility, for a teeny tiny little bit of extra IQ that you won't even see unless you pixel peep?

Last edited by normhead; 03-30-2014 at 07:18 AM.
03-31-2014, 02:08 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I guess if you ask who doesn't like the DA* 60-250 you find out...

Just a couple quick comments, I'd like some more confirmation that the DA*300 ƒ4 focuses as fast as the Sigma 70-200 for low light sports. That's an interesting statement I haven't heard before. The forum consensus seems to be that the current Sigma 70-200 is the fastest focusing in sports and low light conditions. Before I change that I might want to see some images, some real world comparisons etc. I'm certainly not granting the DA*300 that status based on one post with no information on how it was determined.

I'd be really skeptical about making decisions on outdoor, good light conditions using low light specs. I know my 60-25- ƒ4, struggles in low light, but that's because it's ƒ4, not because it's a zoom. And it still is fine in good light. I believe the OP was not discussing shooting in gyms.

I'd be really skeptical of people saying their ƒ4 lens focuses as good as an ƒ2.8 lens in poor light. That really doesn't make a lot of sense. But hey, if you have some evidence to say it's true, I'll look it over.

As a rule, I don't listen to people who dismiss lenses because they are zooms or primes. It's been 25 years since there was much difference, in the high end. A good lens is a good lens. Because someone believes you can't build a zoom that isn't a compromise lens doesn't mean it's true. I read an article back in the 90s done by Pop photography, even then there were expensive zooms that out performed most primes. That kind of thinking is 25 years out of date. These days it's the primes that are the compromise lenses. Are you really going to give up all that versatility, for a teeny tiny little bit of extra IQ that you won't even see unless you pixel peep?
Norm, the DA*60-250 is a great solution for you, and admire the photos you take with it. I'm sure it's a great solution for many people, because it has many good reviews. But I'm not convinced it's better for the OP's situation.


I'm the one who thought the performance of the lenses was similar, based on using them at the same event under the same (unchanging) indoor lighting conditions. Ask me if you have a question.

When JimmyDranox wrote only a few sentences in another thread stating that the DA*60-250 was 2 to 3 times slower in focusing, I took his word for it. Especially since it lined up with other information I'd already gathered.


But "low light" is relative. It was around EV5 or EV6 where I was shooting. This isn't a huge AF challenge for modern Pentax bodies, which are still (as far as I know) the best in the industry, and can focus in light as low as -1 to -3 EV. But it's still "low" light when you're trying to freeze action by shooting at 1/640 or 1/800s. But this is still a good 4 to 5 stops brighter than where the AF system starts having trouble. So I think my conclusions are valid.



A lens/body combination that has great AF performance for moderate action can be disastrous for fast action. Skiing and other sports the OP named have very fast action.

Last edited by DSims; 03-31-2014 at 02:13 AM.
03-31-2014, 07:32 AM   #30
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Since the OPs original requested shooting environment was shooting outdoors from 75-200mm and WR, I'm not sure how a 300mm lens indoors is even relevant.

WR lenses
DA 18-55 WR
DA 18-135
DA 55-300 WR
DA*16-50
DA*-50-135
DA* 200
DA*60-250
DA* 300

Lens that cover 70-200 as requested by the OP
DA*60-250
DA 55-300

Best non WR lens for the job. Sigma 70-200 or Tamron 70-200

Since he's shooting a lot of hand held and carrying the lens portability and weight should count for something. SO DA 18-135 and DA 55-300.

I sometimes shoot BiFs with my A-400. It's tough, and a lot more work than it needs to be but, with technique you can overcome the lack of fast AF.
However there is nothing that can overcome the need for specific focal lengths on some occasions.
And with all due respect, nothing, absolutely nothing is harder than catching small birds in flight. At some point, you're going to have to learn some technique, the camera can't do it all for you.



SO for me it comes down to, does he want the possibility of superior IQ with the 60-250, and I say possibility, because hand held no top quality long lens achieves it's full potential. Realizing that the 60-250 (and 300) are a heavy to carry and heavy in the hand when shooting, and need tripods , does he want the portability and utility of the 18-135 or 55-300?

Again, just from personal experience, 135 is about as long as you want to be trying to stabilize without a tripod. Using a lens with a 135 limit means you aren't tempted to try long hand held shots that usually are colossal disppointments. I know the OP thinks his 50-200 is soft in the long end, but has he tried it on a tripod? Remember 135mm APS-c = 200mm on your FF. 20mm is 300mm. It's definitely in the good stabilization techniques need to be used range.
I wouldn't sell either of those lenses short in terms of IQ. And outdoors where he does most of his shooting they are all you need. I've yet to see anyone demonstrate that hand held or on a moving platform, camera motion , not lens quality, isn't the limiting factor in achieving IQ.

Personally given the OPs shooting preferences I would go with the 18-135 or 55-300 for outdoors, and pick up a 17-70 2.8-4 or Tammy 17-50 for indoors.I don't think he has the ability to stabilize an DA* enough to get improved IQ from it. I x-country ski on occasion, and shoot from boats on occasion, and my feeling, is if you're not shooting from a stable platform on a tripod, leave the heavy lenses home.

Last edited by normhead; 03-31-2014 at 08:20 AM.
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