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10-03-2014, 08:37 AM   #1
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"55-300 on 300/f8" vs "60-250 on 250/f5.6"

I have DA 55-300 and I like it but I wander if 60-250 on 250/f5.6 will be sharper than the 55-300 on 300/f8.
Normally I use that lens on daylight so one step is not so critical unless I like to use a TC.
So, what is your opinion? If it is a question of sharpness does 60-250 worth the money over 55-300?
Please, upload pictures if you have one or both lenses. One picture is more than a 1000 words :-)

10-03-2014, 08:53 AM - 1 Like   #2
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I've used both. The 55-300 is FAR sharper @ 300 But @ 250 the DA*60-250 is noticeably better, and useable @ f/4 which the 55-300 is not.

55-300 is an excellent lens in good light, stopped down and is remarkably portable. But it is not in the same class as the 60-250.

Whether you need to step up to that level is a personal decision. If you are only shooting in good light and do not need the level of IQ the 60-250 provides there is no reason to buy and carry a much bigger lens.
10-03-2014, 10:12 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Here are a few shots with the DAL 55-300mm at f8 (taken with my K-30):







The point is that it would be real hard to tell apart any modern lens at f8...
so if you are going to shoot in good light, might as well go with the lighter, cheaper option.
10-03-2014, 10:59 AM   #4
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My DA* 300mm is noticeable sharper at f4 than the 55-300mm at f8. At web size pictures - no big deal. However, since you often use a 300mm lens to shoot wildlife etc, the better alens allows additional cropping. Maybe more important, the extra speed allows you to shoot at a higher shutter speed - something that makes a BIG difference when shooting handheld. Most of my DA* 300 shots are at f4 or f5.6. Is it worth the extra $$$? I think so...

10-03-2014, 12:46 PM   #5
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for static object in good light the 55-300 is fine. but IMO for real world wild life scenarios, it is mediocre at best.
10-07-2014, 09:18 AM   #6
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Thanks for answers and pictures. To be honest I feel myself a little bit confused. Probably for wildlife I need a 300/f4 but I can't imagine how different it will be compared to my 55-300. I have to think and read about it again.

The following link is for everyone who still wants to compare 55-300 and 60-250:
Review: HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED WR - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews
10-07-2014, 09:38 AM   #7
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MY guess is a DA*60-250 with the 1.4 TC (350mm) shot at ƒ5.6 (wide open) would out perform a 55-300 at 300mm by a noticeable margin.
10-07-2014, 10:03 AM   #8
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At f8, it will be real hard to tell the difference between all these lenses.
But the problem is, you don't really want to be at f8. The rule of thumb is that you want to keep your shutter speed at 1/(focal length), which in these cases would be ~1/300 second. If you want to keep your ISO at a relatively reasonable amount, like <1600, you're going to start running into problems unless you go with a bigger aperture. That 55-300 is a little dicey wide open @ 300mm. Wide open, the DA*s 60-250mm and 300mm are fine, and even better at 5.6 (the 55-300mm can't even open up that much).

10-07-2014, 10:04 AM - 1 Like   #9
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the 55-300 is a good consumer lens. However, the DA* 300 (or 60-250) are clearly better and sharper even when compared at say f8 or f11. At f5.6 the difference is even bigger. And both lenses are better at f4 than the 55-300 stopped down. In practice this means lower ISO and/or higher shutter speed, plus both DA* lenses have better AF. This I'm my experience translate into much much higher keeper rate.

below picture with DA* 300 1/800 f6.3 at ISO 400 slightly cropped - could have been candidate for a 55-300mm shot



The other attached picture is BIF - DA* 300 handheld at 1/640, f4 ISO 200, 100% crop. Doubt a 55-300 would produce anything useable...
Attached Images
 

Last edited by HenrikDK; 10-07-2014 at 10:14 AM.
10-07-2014, 10:14 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by snimcho Quote
Thanks for answers and pictures. To be honest I feel myself a little bit confused. Probably for wildlife I need a 300/f4 but I can't imagine how different it will be compared to my 55-300. I have to think and read about it again.

The following link is for everyone who still wants to compare 55-300 and 60-250:
Review: HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED WR - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews
Yes, if you're looking to do a lot of wildlife, the DA 300/4 would do better just because you will need the f/4. Wildlife tend to be more active in early morning and late in the day, near the sunrise and sunset. Lower light will require the faster lens although the high ISO capability of the newer sensors will get you better results with a lens like the 55-300. It's not impossible. There are a lot of very fine bird and wildlife shots posted through the forum with the 55-300. I do my wildlife shooting these days with a manual focus 300/4. It actually works out better because much of the time, I would end up having to manually focus anyhow because of branches, high grass and other stuff that would make the AF go crazy.

Another advantage the DA 300/4 and 60-250 have is noise. They are silent. Critters can hear a screw drive lens (and shutters) from a long way off. I took a photo of several white tail deer in a field with a Sigma 70-300 on my K10D several years ago. It was really a landscape shot with deer rather than a wildlife shot and I was at least 1/4 mile away. They lifted their heads up the second the lens focused and looked right at me. I only got one chance because they took off.
10-07-2014, 10:38 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by reeftool Quote
Yes, if you're looking to do a lot of wildlife, the DA 300/4 would do better just because you will need the f/4. Wildlife tend to be more active in early morning and late in the day, near the sunrise and sunset. Lower light will require the faster lens although the high ISO capability of the newer sensors will get you better results with a lens like the 55-300. It's not impossible. There are a lot of very fine bird and wildlife shots posted through the forum with the 55-300. I do my wildlife shooting these days with a manual focus 300/4. It actually works out better because much of the time, I would end up having to manually focus anyhow because of branches, high grass and other stuff that would make the AF go crazy.

Another advantage the DA 300/4 and 60-250 have is noise. They are silent. Critters can hear a screw drive lens (and shutters) from a long way off. I took a photo of several white tail deer in a field with a Sigma 70-300 on my K10D several years ago. It was really a landscape shot with deer rather than a wildlife shot and I was at least 1/4 mile away. They lifted their heads up the second the lens focused and looked right at me. I only got one chance because they took off.
Once on a guided tour I was asked to turn off my camera. I was trying to get images of birds landing on people's hands for a bit of bird seed, but the screw drive was frightening the birds and ruining everyone's pictures. It can happen.

Despite the weight, I am seriously considering 2.8 glass for wildlife, I'd love to have a 300 2.8, but even the old ones are way too expensive, so I'm considering the DA* 200 2.8 for use with the 1.4 and 1.7 converters which I already own. I've taken large wildlife images with my DA-18-135, so I'm really not concerned about the lack of reach...but I want wildlife shots with atmoshere, mist rising off the rivers in the morning, sunset light in the evening... those are typically low light situations, and I've had problems with ƒ4 in the past. It affects the shutter speed, but also the function of the Auto Focus. Whether I go heavy and get the Tamron 70-200 or wait for the new Pentax 70-200, or go for the DA*200 2.8, I'm not seeing a way around this. These opportunities come around too rarely to miss one because of an ƒ4 lens.

A buddy took a great moose shot a number of years ago with a Canon 70-200 2.8 and a full frame. I should be able to get that image with a 50-135 on APS-c, have the same shutter speed and more DoF. So maybe the 200 2.8 is overkill. For some reason, I find it more appealing. With the 1.4 TC it's 280 and ƒ4. Not much different than 300ƒ4.

Last edited by normhead; 10-07-2014 at 11:01 AM.
10-07-2014, 06:29 PM - 1 Like   #12
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Below are three 1:1 crops of pictures taking with a my DA* 300mm and a HD 55-300mm (at 300mm) with a K-3. First two at 1/100 f8, on tripod, mirror lock, focused via live view, remote release, and picked best of two. Below those is the DA* 300mm at F4. The difference between the two F8s are substantial. I believe you will agree that the DA* F4 is better than the 55-300mm at F8.

BTW - below pictures are from about 150 ft - not closeups....

No - you don't usually crop 1:1, BUT shooting wildlife you end cropping all the time, so the difference (as well as the benefits in shutter speed) ends up being substantial.
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Last edited by HenrikDK; 10-08-2014 at 05:25 AM. Reason: add distance for tests
10-07-2014, 08:32 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Venom3300 Quote
for static object in good light the 55-300 is fine. but IMO for real world wild life scenarios, it is mediocre at best.
Do you have a 55-300 ? Looking at your list of published camera equipment, I see no trace of a 55-300.

How do you arrive at your view ?
10-08-2014, 05:24 AM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by lesmore49 Quote
Do you have a 55-300 ? Looking at your list of published camera equipment, I see no trace of a 55-300.

How do you arrive at your view ?
Got my opinon from having used the DA 55-300 extensively for close to two years, before I replaced it, and from rather extensive testing (one set of results above).

I have had three - a DA-L 55-300mm, replaced by a DA 55-300mm (replaced by a Tamron 70-200mm - now gone), and earlier this year a HD 55-300mm which I thought I would use more than I did - ended up selling it again. The DA 55-300 was my goto tele lens for a long time, so I used it extensively until I got the 70-200mm/2.8 and since the DA*300mm, so I have taken thousands of pictures with these.

Don't get me wrong - the 55-300 is a good lens that provides flexibility and is reasonably small. However, I have found the DA* 300 and the Tamron 70-200m/2.8 (and I am guessing the DA* 60-250mm) provide noticeably and usable better results even when compared at lower stops. Of course you are talking lenses that are far more expensive, so it shouldn't be too surprising.

OOPS: Question wasn't directed at me

Last edited by HenrikDK; 10-08-2014 at 07:07 AM.
10-08-2014, 05:47 AM - 1 Like   #15
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A couple of images you might want to consider.... taken with the F70-210, Sigma 70-300, and DA*60-250. It is very rare I select a lens based strictly on IQ. I'm not sure at what level you have to look at these images to make a difference, but for close up subject I'm happy with any of them. Many times when I go out, build quality, WR and SDM are the reasons I take the 60-250. For the purposes of web images, I'm happy with the results of all these images, and I'm not really sure at what point that changes. The further I am from my subject, the more I want to be shooting with the best glass. Every lens is a unique design with unique features. I hate to see people making these kinds of comparison, when IQ is so rarely the over-riding factor in what lens I use.

The further you are from your subject, the more you need the best glass, and there will be times when the best will let you down, so why in that circumstance would you consider less than the best?











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