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01-26-2015, 04:52 PM   #1
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What do you photograph with the 60-250, 70-200?

I recently obtained a 60-250 Pentax that is in great shape (like new) and at a great price. However after getting it I'm stumped. The lens is large and heavy and while it can be handheld for some uses it's really more of a tripod lens I think. I can think of a lot of uses for it but they are all pretty narrow. I wanted to know what others are doing with this or similar large heavy sharp long zooms.

I also have the 55-300 and the 50-135 as well as the Pentax HD TC 1.4x and a 400mm Sigma f/5.6 lens that is low contrast and soft but fun due to the size/weight/focal length. My current uses would be Birds at the feeder, squirrels in the yard, model & high powered rockets on the pad or in flight, wild animals in zoos and animal parks, etc. The 55-300 and Sigma 400 are also used in this way. The 50-135 with TC might be useful for some of this as well.

With that in mind let me know what you use your big zoom for and how much you use it. Also if you have lighter options with limitations tell me what drives you to use the heavy one or the light one.

01-26-2015, 05:31 PM - 1 Like   #2
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I plain love the 60-250 as my car lens. The focal length is just perfect for driving down the road and stopping along the berm to shoot just about anything. I do not usually carry it on the camera when walking but when driving it is excellent.

Landscapes, wildlife, old barns, flowers, airplanes, wild fires, cows, you name it.
01-26-2015, 05:46 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Well, I'm probably not the right person to answer you, since I don't have either the 60-250 or the 55-300, but my understanding is that the 60-250 has much better optics than the 55-300. Methinks that helps explain why the 60-250 is heavier and larger. Does that extra IQ and speed matter to you?

I have an older Sigma EX APO 70-200mm f2.8. It is my "go to" zoom for high quality images as well as for that focal range. I shoot concerts, portraits, some wildlife, some landscapes, objects in churches, etc.... a very wide range of subjects. I now have a DA*300 that I can use alone or pair with the HD 1.4x for long telephoto: I expect that combination will be mostly for wildlife and birds (and planes), but who knows what it will turn out to be good for? Maybe I'll try it on one side of a street to do surreptitious street photography of folks on the other side of the street. I enjoy discovering uses for lenses that I would not have expected. I rarely think of lenses as being appropriate for subjects, other than not turning my 12-24 into a portrait lens. Then again, I wouldn't have thought that my DA*300 would make a better portrait lens than the 70-200, but the other week I took what I and others judged to be a very good audition headshot for my daughter--with the 300.

Unless I expect to be in a tiring situation (long difficult hike, for example), I will err on the side of taking my better lenses, which are heavy, because I want the best image quality for my shots. If I didn't feel that way, I would have joined the superzoom bandwagon and picked up an 18-250 or something similar. I'd rather my shoulders hurt but my computer screen show what I wanted to capture than be physically comfortable but my computer screen show soft or blurry images. That's me, though. Plenty of people love their superzooms, which, to be fair, have gotten much better over the years.

When I had the Bigma (early version), I took it to the zoo. It has lots of advantages, but it was never sharp enough for me, even on a tripod, and it was slow. With the K-5iis, I have reasonably good low light performance and nice cropping capability, without too much noise. These days, I'd probably take the 300 and 1.4x, along with the 70-200.

I've used (and recently sold) a 400 f5.6 (Tokina, but still). It was a fine lens for what it was. Had I kept it, it would have helped with wildlife. Are you too dissatisfied with the limitations of the 400?
01-26-2015, 05:55 PM   #4
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Wild life (or zoo life), here the flexibility and the range of a long zooms is required. The arctic, where you can't get close enough otherwise, is another example. The 60-250 is just plain sharp and is my goto lens besides the FA* 400mm F5.6 when I need range.

The 60-250 works well with the HD 1.4x rear converter, I got some good shots at an air show with that combo.

With shake reduction enabled I haven't had problems handholding this lens. If you feel a tripod is needed you may want to consult Heie's tutorial on handholding long lenses.

01-26-2015, 06:50 PM   #5
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I'm with Jatrax. This is one fantastic lens and not only for car travelling, but also for short hikes. For me it's fine to carry this with couple other lenses for ten or so miles and it also went with me all the way up to Huaynapichu mountain in Peru.
My usage for this lens is mainly landscapes and wildlife. It's very good to shoots of landscape details for example. The zoom range is just perfect for that. For birds it's a bit short but the new tc solves that problem.
For wildlife I mainly shoot handheld with this lens, but landscapes on the other hand mainly on tripod.

edit: I have to add that this is my most used "long" lens. And it was for long time the only one also. On this focal range I have only the 100mm WR macro and the M135. On the short end I have more overlapping lenses, but on the long end this with FA*300 f2.8 are the only ones I own.

Last edited by reytor; 01-26-2015 at 07:03 PM.
01-26-2015, 06:54 PM   #6
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I use the 60-250 for everything from landscape to portrait, sport, wildlife. It's just a superb lens. Picture are outstanding. Yes, it's big and heavy but managable, it's worth it when looking at the rewards. I suggest getting the manfrotto PL 3 in 1. Fantastic bag that can be a sling, bag back...Makes it really easy to carry heavy equipment, plus it helps you to stabilize the lens.
01-26-2015, 08:00 PM   #7
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I use my 70-200 for zoos, mostly. I will also use it for the occasional concert shoot or sporting event or any time indoors when I want range and the light will be poor. It's too heavy to carry around on the off chance I will use it, so when I do use it, it tends to be the only lens I shoot for the day. If I'm not walking around and can park my bag in a safe location on the floor (e.g., friend's house), then I take it with me. Otherwise, I carry an F 70-210 in my day bag for those random moments I might need a telephoto.

I do love the 70-200. I actively seek out chances to use it. I've become a big fan of zoos. You can see some of my subjects with it here:
01-26-2015, 08:10 PM - 3 Likes   #8
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I shoot mainly wildlife and landscapes and the DA*60-250 is good for both. It's fine hand held, but you do have to be careful about focal length and shutter speed. At 60mm it's easily hand held. At 250mm, not so much. I do a lot of hikes with the 18-135 on the camera and the 60-250 in the bag or on a waist belt carrier. The question isn't so much what do you do with it, it's what doesn't it do? And it works great with both the FA 1.7 TC and the HD DA 1.4 TC.

OK, I admit, I shouldn't have been this close with a 250, but hey, I lived didn't I?

Slideshow..... 91 images....

Last edited by normhead; 01-26-2015 at 08:25 PM.
01-26-2015, 08:12 PM   #9
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Thanks folks keep the info coming. I recently shot with it handheld without a lot of trouble.
01-26-2015, 08:56 PM - 1 Like   #10
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I don't have the 60-250, but you also asked about 70-200, which I have the Tamron. I use it for the obvious, sports, but actually it's pretty versatile as a low light telezoom. Yes it's a big heavy lens but I've found no need to use a tripod with it, it's balanced pretty well. I'll have to say that I've not used it as much as I thought I would by now (I've had it a little over a year), but some unforseen interferences with photography (including sending my K-30 in for repair and getting caught up in the repair center fiasco of last summer) kept me from several events I had planned using it at. Anyway, some of the uses I've done have been soccer, basketball, a nephew's wedding, and landscapes. It does a nice job on landscape where you need to compress things and show a nice big moon or sun.

01-26-2015, 09:14 PM - 1 Like   #11

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I own the Tamron 70-200, which I bought a year ago for zoo photography. I had been shooting at the zoo almost exclusively with the DA* 300, but I was being asked by the zoo to produce shots that required wider focal lengths, so I needed in the 70-200/60-250 range. I would have liked to have gotten the DA 60-250, but I considered it too expensive for a lens I didn't expect to use all that much. Nonetheless, by the end of 2014, I had taken more shots in that year with the Tamron 70-200 than any other lens! So it proved more useful than I originally expected it would. Some samples:

01-26-2015, 09:39 PM   #12
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I have the hd 1.4x TC and plan to try it on the 60-250, but I've seen mixed reviews where cropping seemed just as good in about 50% of the photos. I've also seen amazing shots with 1.4x and the 1.7x TC. How does the big zoom auto focus with the 1.7x?
01-27-2015, 12:29 AM   #13
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I've got a Sigma 70-200 f2.8 APO DG HSM and a 55-300 ED. I've also got a DA*300 and a 1.4x TC.

I bought the 70-200 mainly to photograph my 2 year old grandson. It's fast with lightning quick AF covers almost everything he does from running around in the Park or beach to close ups and portraits. The downside is it is big and heavy and won't work with the TC. It's also superb for sport.

The 55-300 is a very capable lens with great IQ but tends to 'hunt' a bit if the light isn't great. I don't think it's been on my camera in the past 18 months since I've had the Sigma.

The Sigma's IQ is better than the Pentax.

The DA*300 is in a completely different league.
01-27-2015, 12:47 AM   #14
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I don't have the 60-250 but I do use a Sigma 70-200OS mainly for night outdoor football and inside high school gym for dance competition.
I appreciated the starting aperture of f2.8

I would not get a DA*60-250 since I have the Sigma and also a DA*300 for wildlife. For daylight wildlife I also have a Bigma.

If you like your Sigma 400 handling you would like a DA*300 as it is similar in size and the IQ is phenomenal.
01-27-2015, 01:05 AM - 1 Like   #15
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I have or had the DA*50-135, DA55-300, DA*60-250 and Sigma EX DG 70-200/2.8 II
The short story is that I have sold all but the DA*50-135.

I loved the size and weight of the 55-300, but speed, autofocus and ultimate IQ were the deciding factors.
The 60-250 had excellent IQ, but I missed the faster maximum aperture, and really disliked the lack of internal zoom. Also, unless the subject was near infinity, it gave no more reach at 250 than the sigma at 200.
I had the Sigma the longest. It was a superb workhorse for my live music work, but now that is drying up, it's just too much lens.

So I'm left with the 50-135. It has great IQ from wide open, the AF is decisive (but not super quick), it is relatively small and compact (and stays that way at maximum focal length) and is WR. If I really want reach I use the DA*300 +/- 1.4TC

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