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06-09-2008, 11:47 PM   #1
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Briefly played with the DA 55-300

...and came away very unimpressed.

I was hoping it would be an improvement over the FA 80-320, which never gets used over 260mm due to softness.

Odd thing...the FA's AF locked onto my target (a picture frame sitting at an angle to a window) without fail, while the DA would hunt and hunt...EVEN AFTER having been already focused! TG for the AF button.

Pentax...what's up? If I want one AF lens for the occasional wildlife, why does my old n crusty FA dominate the DA? In a controlled setting, with stationary objects, why does the AF have issues my 15+ year-old lens doesn't?

Has anyone else noticed this? Bring the flame...the lens went back on the shelf after less than 5 minutes. Again TG a local shop now stocks Pentax and I didn't waste any money.

06-09-2008, 11:58 PM   #2
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Oh, that's really strange for a new DA lens. I'd really love to hear some other opinions on this lens...
06-10-2008, 12:46 AM   #3
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ryan, i received mine this morning and found it's hunting badly as well. At first i thought it was just my imagination. Mine seems at it's worst around F5.6 -F8. I'm disappointed too, it looks like after i receive my International Warranty ( will take about 2 weeks), i'll have to send it to C.R. Kennedy. *sighs*

I'm also interested in hearing from anyone who has just received theirs from the latest batch.

Last edited by AML; 06-10-2008 at 12:56 AM.
06-10-2008, 02:00 AM   #4
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^^^Make sure that you have the latest firmware available


cheers

06-10-2008, 03:01 AM   #5
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Thanks for the suggestion cupic, but i am using the latest firware.
06-10-2008, 06:04 AM   #6
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I have used the 55-300 for several weeks now and on ocassion have noticed the AF hunt. I find this usually happens when changing from a relativley closer FL to infinity (or vice versa) . It is very nosiy. However it locks in relativley quick and then if shooing at infinity again there are no issues. As for a wildlife lens you have to be at a close FL ypu want to begin with (nosie). I have scared many a bird with the whirling sound - but as mentioned once there got some decent shots.

There are several posts here about the DA 55-300 some reviews as well. Noise was the biggest complaint so far - no so much about the AF hunt. What type of metereing ? Were you using AF C as well ?
06-10-2008, 07:11 AM   #7
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Are you sure it's fair to say that it's lens that's 'hunting', or is it your camera body that's recalibrating to accept the lens?

When I mount the 55-300 on my K20D, I simply AF on a distant object using my planned focal length and let the camera and lens synchronize. Once that's done (it takes a couple of seconds), I've found it to focus as quickly and accurately as my other non-motorized lenses using about the same focal length. As to noise level, it's about the same as the others, too. I see all of this as part of 'getting ready to go' and no big deal.

Of course, you can always use MF, too. It takes some skill, but it's total stealth and you are 'spot on.'

...my 2 cents...
06-10-2008, 12:36 PM   #8
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Dave: I was using center-everything as always, with AF-S. It was weird...deliberately setting the lens at a nearer focal point and focusing on something 40 feet from me, it would go to minimum focus first, then go out near infinity. The FA looked like a Canon USM lens as it locked from near-minimum to near-infinity.

Even stranger...a slight re composure and half-press of the shutter would do the same thing with the DA. Back to minimum, out to maximum. It was acting like a compact camera, starting over with focusing at every shutter press.

Michael: I'd be curious to know how long it takes a lens to become "acclimated." Since the FA is my only AF lens, I don't have a lot of experience here. I've had it for 4-ish months, but can't remember if it was "plug n play" or if it did take some time to adjust...

I agree with the noise. It's pretty much the same as the other AF lenses I've tried out. (Side note...why is the K20's shutter still as loud as the K10? That's the single thing I don't like about the camera.)

06-10-2008, 01:45 PM   #9
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Oh don't say that, I had more or less decided to buy the 55-300mm to replace my 80-320mm .. I have thought about it long and hard.
Then this morning I decided to put the FA back on and took these ...





Is the 55-300mm going to do much better?
06-10-2008, 02:44 PM   #10
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ryan s. "why is the K20's shutter still as loud as the K10?"

Can't speak to this as I have no experience with a K10D. I will say that the K20D's shutter is light-years quieter than my K100D. On the other hand, its been reported that the K20D's low light behavior is noticeably improved over the K10D. It seems only reasonable to me that some of that improvement would remain evident when lighting conditions are better.

Mike P @...: "Is the 55-300 going to do much better?"

Again, can't comment other than "Uhhh... May I ask why would you want it to do better?" BTW: While they look nice, it's hard to get a handle on the technicals of your image samples. They appear tricked-out to the point that their EXIF data has been destroyed.

When I use my 55-300, I try to keep in mind that it is just a consumer grade hobby lens. If I was looking for "professional" National Geographic quality, I will probably need to up my hardware/software ante, improve my skills and get luckier with the subject.
06-10-2008, 02:58 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Michaelina2 Quote

Mike P @...: "Is the 55-300 going to do much better?"

Again, can't comment other than "Uhhh... May I ask why would you want it to do better?" BTW: While they look nice, it's hard to get a handle on the technicals of your image samples. They appear tricked-out to the point that their EXIF data has been destroyed.
Strange, I can read the EXIF data no problem.
First picture:

PhotoME version: 0.79 (Build 834)
File name: C:\Users\Mike\Desktop\Untitled Export 1\IMGP2104.jpg
File type: JPEG
File size: 1,387.2 KB
Creation date: 10/06/2008 11:07
Last modification: 10/06/2008 11:44
Make: PENTAX Corporation
Camera: PENTAX K10D
Software: K10D Ver 1.30
Dimension: 2018 x 1269 px (2.6 MP)
Focal length: 320 mm
Aperture: F8
Exposure time: 1/500"
ISO speed rating: 200/24, 200/24
Program: Aperture priority
Metering Mode: Pattern
Flash: Flash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
06-10-2008, 02:59 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by AML Quote
ryan, i received mine this morning and found it's hunting badly as well. At first i thought it was just my imagination. Mine seems at it's worst around F5.6 -F8.
There's no reason that your aperture setting should affect autofocus. It's probably in your head.

This talk about the body acclimating or recalibrating with the lens--I've never heard of anything of the sort. As far as I know, everything is supposed to be plug-n-pray.

This is a little disappointing as I've also been wondering if I should trade-in my 80-320--not that I ever thought AF on the 80-320 wasn't noisy...but starting at 55 instead of 80 sounded attractive as this lens would then have pretty much replaced both the 50-200 and 80-320 (not that I usually carry both).
06-10-2008, 03:00 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by ryan s Quote
The FA looked like a Canon USM lens as it locked from near-minimum to near-infinity.
What is this supposed to mean?
06-10-2008, 03:40 PM   #14
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This is sad - I was banking on the 55-300 to be my next telezoom, avoiding the 50-200 and the 70-300s by Tamron & Sigma. Does this mean one needs the DA* primes to get some sharp images in this focal range?
06-10-2008, 04:14 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by ryan s Quote
(Side note...why is the K20's shutter still as loud as the K10? That's the single thing I don't like about the camera.)
The K20 is noticeably quieter in every respect. It surprised me, when I added mine, but it is a welcomed suprise...

Ben
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