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04-28-2014, 02:29 PM   #1
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Pentax DA 55-300 WR vs Tamron 28-300

Any thoughts on choosing between these two. Idea is to be able to get some extra reach (I currently have 18-135 WR) but also not have to switch lenses for other close in shots etc.
both priced similarly.
Tamron seems to better as a "keep on camera for the day" all in one but no WR.
Pentax has WR but doesn't get as wide as tamron.
Thoughts on differences in image quality between the two.

04-28-2014, 02:34 PM   #2
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I haven't used the Tamron, but my hunch is that the Pentax lens has much better image quality at the long end, since it's not designed to be a superzoom. There are some reviews of the Tamron lens here:
Tamron 28-300mm F3.5-6.3 XR Di AF Lens Reviews - Tamron Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database

Our review of the Pentax lens is here:
HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED WR Review - Introduction - Pentax Camera Forums

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04-28-2014, 02:54 PM   #3
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I own both--get the Pentax--much better IQ, faster autofocus, much better build plus WR.
04-28-2014, 03:43 PM   #4
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No contest I believe. DA55-300 is also strong from 55-135, so it's likely better there too.

04-28-2014, 05:57 PM   #5
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I don't have the Tamron, but believe the Pentax would give better image quality, based purely on the range of the zoom, assuming you have an equally good copy of both.

Whether WR matters depends on what you're doing. Obviously WR would always be nice to have, but I've used non-WR lenses in bad weather conditions. In this case, I'd say the WR on the Pentax would be offset by the need to change the lens in poor weather conditions. You don't have WR when the lens is off the camera.
04-28-2014, 10:23 PM   #6
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Thanks guys. This is helpful.
For my uses WR is for misty or wet - beach splash, misters at parks and exhibitions, around the pool, and occasional rain during winter (very little of latter).
The point of keeping lens on camera is interesting as in the Middle East we have a lot of dust and sand. The advice of a neighbor who is a professional and told me that one of the most important things is to have a lens that stays on 80+% of the time rather than multiple lenses. Avoids dust. That's why I got 18-135 vs the two kit lenses of 18-55 and 50-200.
So this is what leaves me with the conundrum I posed in terms of getting an additional longer reach lens
04-28-2014, 10:36 PM   #7
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You might also consider the Pentax/Tamron 18-250, which is considered pretty good for a superzoom. It's not WR, however. Otherwise, out of your two choices, my pick would be the 55-300.
04-28-2014, 11:35 PM   #8
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no comparison there. the 55-300 is much better. i also have the 18-135 and 55-300 (non WR) and i am very satisfied with my decision. the only downside with the 55-300 is that sometimes you might find yourself moving really far back from your subject since its not wide enough. happened to me recently during an outdoor event on a windy and dusty day when i had to take group shots and i couldnt change lenses. but it wasnt really a big deal.i did however capture some fantastic close up action shots so no regrets there.

if you definitely want a lens to keep on all the time then other options are :

Pentax 18-250mm (or 18-270)
Sigma 18-250mm
Tamron 18-250mm

Out of the 3 above, the sigma probably has the best IQ, but it is heavy, so can get tiring carrying around all day. if u definitely want WR and dont mind zooming out with your feet then 55-300 is the way to go.

04-29-2014, 03:15 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by schnitzer79 Quote
no comparison there. the 55-300 is much better. i also have the 18-135 and 55-300 (non WR) and i am very satisfied with my decision. the only downside with the 55-300 is that sometimes you might find yourself moving really far back from your subject since its not wide enough. happened to me recently during an outdoor event on a windy and dusty day when i had to take group shots and i couldnt change lenses. but it wasnt really a big deal.i did however capture some fantastic close up action shots so no regrets there.

if you definitely want a lens to keep on all the time then other options are :

Pentax 18-250mm (or 18-270)
Sigma 18-250mm
Tamron 18-250mm

Out of the 3 above, the sigma probably has the best IQ, but it is heavy, so can get tiring carrying around all day. if u definitely want WR and dont mind zooming out with your feet then 55-300 is the way to go.
Thanks. The Pentax and Sigma you mentioned above are marked down $200 at b&h until end of month. Interesting propositions - especially as they have the silent motors vs screw drive of the 55-300.
Any thoughts on this comparison ?
04-30-2014, 07:02 AM   #10
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the 55-300 does not have the SDM. the 18-270 does however. if you do go for any of the above that i mentioned then you will probably find that you wont be using your 18-135. its a shame cos its a great lens, and it has WR capabilities. if your planning in selling it, then by all means get one of those superzooms. otherwise go for the 55-300 WR. its the most expensive of the bunch but a) its the only one with WR b) probably has the best IQ of all of them and is totally worth it
04-30-2014, 07:27 AM   #11
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Thanks
I have no intention of selling the 18-135. That's going to be my "go-to" lens for most days - going to beach; going out with kids to zoo; etc. especially in winter or anything around water.
I find two needs however - a low light situation lens with some range in my usual shooting range (probably mostly indoor). I think the Tamron 28-75/2.8 would fit the bill and probably wouldn't spend the $300 extra to get the Sigma 24-70/2.8 (though I can see how in those situations a silent motor might be make sense - still thnking about it).
the second need is the extra reach - basically for going out on hikes, animals father away, etc. when I know I will want extra reach. Here I can see the advantage to the Pentax with faster AF and WR over the Tamron which offers a bit wider angle on the short end - price is close together on these two and will probably stay with Pentax on this choice
I'm not rushing on this decision so if theer are any Pentax, Sigma, Tamron, (Samyang?) or others with stuff on the lens roadmap would be happy to hear about what's in the pipeline as well.
05-01-2014, 12:11 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by TzalamChadash Quote
the second need is the extra reach - basically for going out on hikes, animals father away, etc. when I know I will want extra reach. Here I can see the advantage to the Pentax with faster AF and WR over the Tamron which offers a bit wider angle on the short end - price is close together on these two and will probably stay with Pentax on this choice
I'm not rushing on this decision so if theer are any Pentax, Sigma, Tamron, (Samyang?) or others with stuff on the lens roadmap would be happy to hear about what's in the pipeline as well.
The DA55-300 is good, but I sold mine because the IQ over 135mm wasn't as good as I wanted. I admit I'm particular about IQ, so you might be happy with it, as I was for a while until I realized none of my longer shots with it were very exciting (the opposite is true with my F*300, so it was the lens - not the shooter - in this case!). Therefore I now shoot only primes over 135mm (which is only 2 lenses - K200/2.5, and the F*300/4.5). Most of the time I have just 135mm (either the FA135/2.8 or DA*50-135/2.8) and 300mm with me - I don't need anything in between. The IQ from the F*300 is so good that it makes up for any lack of zoom. Plus, it's lightweight for such a quality lens.

I'd suggest you consider the DA*200 (or FA*), DA*300 (or F* or FA*), and Tamron 70-200/2.8 here. If you want a zoom the Tamron is a really good value. And the *200 and *300 lenses are even a little better, IMO (but you normally wouldn't need both).


From your other comments it sounds like your budget is just flexible enough that you could fit one of these in.


I'd suggest either a *300 or the Tamron 70-200/2.8 be added to your DA18-135 for now. Then use your DA50/1.8 indoors a little more, and determine whether you mostly need a longer lens, a shorter lens, or both equally. This will help you determine your final step.



The Tamron 28-75/2.8 has proven to be a good solution for other Pentaxians indoors (I know crewl1 likes it on his K-3, for example) so I'd be hesitant to spend more without a good reason. I would think the DA50/1.8 would already suffice in some of those situations, but if you find you need longer most of the time consider an (unfortunately more expensive) FA77/1.8 or maybe DA70/2.4 rather than a 28-75 which you're going to keep zoomed out most of the time. Both of those primes are excellent wide open, while the Tamron should be probably be stopped down a little for better performance (to f/3.2 or f/3.5). So while on paper the Tamron looks nearly as good - with the benefit of zoom - in practice you're comparing f/3.5 with f/2.4 with f/1.8 - hence the correspondingly rising prices!

OTOH, a Tamron 28-75/2.8 plus a 70-200/2.8 would make a nice combo!

Last edited by DSims; 05-01-2014 at 12:34 AM.
05-01-2014, 04:17 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
The DA55-300 is good, but I sold mine because the IQ over 135mm wasn't as good as I wanted. I admit I'm particular about IQ, so you might be happy with it, as I was for a while until I realized none of my longer shots with it were very exciting (the opposite is true with my F*300, so it was the lens - not the shooter - in this case!). Therefore I now shoot only primes over 135mm (which is only 2 lenses - K200/2.5, and the F*300/4.5). Most of the time I have just 135mm (either the FA135/2.8 or DA*50-135/2.8) and 300mm with me - I don't need anything in between. The IQ from the F*300 is so good that it makes up for any lack of zoom. Plus, it's lightweight for such a quality lens.

I'd suggest you consider the DA*200 (or FA*), DA*300 (or F* or FA*), and Tamron 70-200/2.8 here. If you want a zoom the Tamron is a really good value. And the *200 and *300 lenses are even a little better, IMO (but you normally wouldn't need both).


From your other comments it sounds like your budget is just flexible enough that you could fit one of these in.


I'd suggest either a *300 or the Tamron 70-200/2.8 be added to your DA18-135 for now. Then use your DA50/1.8 indoors a little more, and determine whether you mostly need a longer lens, a shorter lens, or both equally. This will help you determine your final step.



The Tamron 28-75/2.8 has proven to be a good solution for other Pentaxians indoors (I know crewl1 likes it on his K-3, for example) so I'd be hesitant to spend more without a good reason. I would think the DA50/1.8 would already suffice in some of those situations, but if you find you need longer most of the time consider an (unfortunately more expensive) FA77/1.8 or maybe DA70/2.4 rather than a 28-75 which you're going to keep zoomed out most of the time. Both of those primes are excellent wide open, while the Tamron should be probably be stopped down a little for better performance (to f/3.2 or f/3.5). So while on paper the Tamron looks nearly as good - with the benefit of zoom - in practice you're comparing f/3.5 with f/2.4 with f/1.8 - hence the correspondingly rising prices!

OTOH, a Tamron 28-75/2.8 plus a 70-200/2.8 would make a nice combo!
Those primes are way beyond my budget. My wife will divorce me if I get any of those... :-)

I can't see walkinga round with a heavier lens or a heavier prime. The idea is that I'm going out on a hike or excursion with kids and want one lens to handle "most" of the day. That's why the 55-300 seems so attractive.

I hear what you are saying about giving the DA50/1.8 some more time. Actually if I was shooting indoors (kids, parties, low light etc.) I think that the majority of the time I would be going shorter than 50 - not longer. I'd say that the range I'd shoot in would be 30-60 (maybe a tiny bit longer). The truth is that in retrospect maybe I should have taken the DA 35/2.4 as my first prime rather than the DA 50/1.8. this is a live and learn experince (but the 50/1.8 is a GREAT lens and a lot of fun - see my recent photo uploads from Jerusalem open market. That was a fun first time with that lens). The Tamron seems like a nice walkaround lens for these low light purposes

what do you think about putting the new WR teleconverter on the 18-135, instead of getting a telezoom? would that still be too short in any event? not make sense for apertures of the 18-135?
05-01-2014, 05:59 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by TzalamChadash Quote
Those primes are way beyond my budget. My wife will divorce me if I get any of those... :-)

I can't see walkinga round with a heavier lens or a heavier prime. The idea is that I'm going out on a hike or excursion with kids and want one lens to handle "most" of the day. That's why the 55-300 seems so attractive.

I hear what you are saying about giving the DA50/1.8 some more time. Actually if I was shooting indoors (kids, parties, low light etc.) I think that the majority of the time I would be going shorter than 50 - not longer. I'd say that the range I'd shoot in would be 30-60 (maybe a tiny bit longer). The truth is that in retrospect maybe I should have taken the DA 35/2.4 as my first prime rather than the DA 50/1.8. this is a live and learn experince (but the 50/1.8 is a GREAT lens and a lot of fun - see my recent photo uploads from Jerusalem open market. That was a fun first time with that lens). The Tamron seems like a nice walkaround lens for these low light purposes

what do you think about putting the new WR teleconverter on the 18-135, instead of getting a telezoom? would that still be too short in any event? not make sense for apertures of the 18-135?
A TC would make no sense. A lot depends on what you're doing. I made do with a 70-210 in the film era - basically a 135 top end, and seldom missed more. But now that I have a 300/450 on digital, I'd probably miss the longer ranges if I had to go back.

If you want longer and have weight/budget constraints, consider the Tamron 70-300, although if Pentax could fix its 55-300 quality control, I'd honestly prefer that. My opinion is influenced by buying one used 70-300 with no apparent issues, and 5 new 55-300s, all with one issue or another (alignment/decentering, etc.). The Pentax is theoretically a little better, but you can't take pictures with theory.
05-01-2014, 07:46 AM   #15
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Pentax roadmap looks interesting in this regard

the 18-80 range shown for 2014 might be something to compete with the sigma 24-70/2.8 or tam 28-75/2.8

the 120-350+ range shown might be interesting in terms of a teel zoom
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