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07-14-2008, 03:34 AM   #1
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LBA - DA 55-300 images and Tamron 1.4x TC test

To save me the time and effort reposting it all!

LBA - DA55-300 obligatory 1st shots: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

If you want to know anything more specific, I have more images now. My Tamron 70-300 LD Di is going to my son so I won't be able to do any more comparisons, you'll just have to take my word for it that the DA 55-300 is considerably better, I'm a professional tightwad, so believe me I wouldn't spend any money if I didn't think it was worthwhile!

Unless you're really broke, the extra is worth it.

07-14-2008, 06:22 AM   #2
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Nice series as Im looking forward to the same lens and TC if when it becomes available


cheers
07-14-2008, 06:49 AM   #3
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Quite impressive and thanks for the post. I like the non-TC shots better I think but they are very close. As the lens is fairly small, it should have a solid following for a light weight, good quality option.
07-14-2008, 07:11 AM   #4
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I got one on Friday and was impressed with it just tooling around the yard. In fact, I'm thinking about selling my kit lens 18-55 AL II and finding another lens to replace it or just use my FA 50mm f1.4 and get a wide angle or two for my regular bag.

07-14-2008, 08:48 AM   #5
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nice tests Richard, looks like the TC hasn't reduced the quality too much, however i'd imagine w/ the TC and the lens at 300mm, the viewfinder must be close to darkness

these 55-300 posts really need to stop, i'm getting very tempted
07-15-2008, 02:30 AM   #6
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Thanks Richard. Very helpful pics/info. You've sold me on this lens. That's 3 lens on my wishlist now...anyone want to buy a kidney?

Also, Richard...whats the idea posting to that "other" forum before us wonderful folk here?!?!
07-16-2008, 01:37 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by dazman Quote
Thanks Richard. Very helpful pics/info. You've sold me on this lens. That's 3 lens on my wishlist now...anyone want to buy a kidney?

Also, Richard...whats the idea posting to that "other" forum before us wonderful folk here?!?!
Basically habit! I tend to post more on dpr as I find it easier to use as it's a quick 'n dirty format.

I also feel I shouldn't leave it for the trolls to capture, there are too many folk visiting who are interested in Pentax who could be (and are) put off by the nay sayers who try to infiltrate and dominate the forum (some make it over here as well).

Whatever we may think of the site, it is still one of the most influential gear related sites and cannot be ignored, or let the forum degenerate into a facsimile of some of the other larger forums, which it has tended to recently, so a few of us old timers have decided not to let the twits dominate and take over, so we are trying to post a bit more over there again. Some of you may disagree and say let the idiots take over, but I think that would be very sad, not to mention bl**dy irritating!

However, I'm more than happy to post more detailed responses over here where such information is intelligently received and discussed.
07-16-2008, 02:17 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by cupic Quote
Nice series as Im looking forward to the same lens and TC if when it becomes available


cheers
I really don't think that any TC will be of much use with this lens. The Tamron 1.4 TC is very close in IQ to the previous Pentax TC's and it degrades the performance more than a crop from a shot without the TC.

The 55-300 isn't high quality enough to make the drop in IQ barely noticable, you would need at least a decent prime like the DA*300 or FA*300 to benefit from the use of a TC. Unfortunately we are finding that the SDM in the DA* series doesn't seem to like the use of TC's (Tamron 1.4x with the correct contacts), it becomes hesitant and slow, if you use a DA*300 on a non SDM body using screw drive the same TC works fine.

In fact I've been discussing privately with a few stalwarts about TC's and the conclusion is tending towards that even with the FA*300 f2.8 the use of any of the Pentax TC's (1.4x, 1.7x and 2x) still affects the IQ to a noticable degree, especially as you increase the resolution to the level now provided by the K20D sensor where the IQ is more limited by the lens than the sensor, so any degredation is immediately noticable. In most instances a crop without using the TC provides better IQ, the only time a TC is useful is when you need to print really large and you need those pixels and have to sacrifice a bit of IQ.

It will be a very challenging task for the Pentax designers to come up with a TC that doesn't materially affect lens performance. It will be very interesting to see what transpires. Ultimately I expect they may well bring out longer reach tele lenses or leave that area to the independents.

07-16-2008, 02:53 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Richard Day Quote
Whatever we may think of the site, it is still one of the most influential gear related sites and cannot be ignored,
It can be ignored. I do it all the time. If enough folks igmore the site then it no longer has the influence you percieve.

Bill
07-16-2008, 03:33 AM   #10
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Hi Richard,

Great presentation of what looks like another excellent value proposition form Pentax.

Interesting to see the effect of the TC. This is definitely not a lens for use with a TC. But if you don't need more than 300mm and there's ample light, this one should be a bargain.

You mention the challenge Pentax engineers are up to in the design of the upcoming TCs, but I imagine the upcoming Pentax TCs won't be for this one anyway? After all it is a Rear Converter for SDM, and the DA55-300 doesn't have SDM. Good thinking by Pentax actually because that avoids people using the TC on lenses that may give the TC a bad name...

For now I'll stick with the FA*300/4.5 plus the Tamron 1.4x TC, though I am going to do some testing with my K20D to verify whether TC vs crop is the same at all apertures...

tx!!

Wim
07-17-2008, 04:24 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by wlank Quote
It can be ignored. I do it all the time. If enough folks igmore the site then it no longer has the influence you percieve.

Bill
I understand your sentiments, but, whatever you or I perceive, the fact remains that it is an influential site, the hit rates speak for themselves. It would require a complete sea-change for this alter. Nor am I that "anti" that I feel disinclined to visit.

Being one of the first and still one of the most influential and comprehensive equipment review and test sites for all brands determines this. The associated user forums therefore attract a huge number of readers who don't necessarily post (lurkers), but are influenced by those who do post.

If you are not interested in helping or guiding others who may be starting out, or visiting the other forums, both brand and non-brand specific (which can be very interesting) but just in your own particular brand oriented interests, then there is no reason to visit DPR at all, specific brand user forums like this are probably better vehicles.

Personally I'm not that brand specific in my interests, I like to see what lies in other areas and I often visit several other forums, but this and DPR are the ones I post in most often. DPR was the first forum that I actually bothered to register and post in and I've discovered and learnt a lot about digital photography and have made many very good friends and I don't see any reason why I should be pushed away by a vociferous few with other issues or personal axes to grind.
07-17-2008, 04:59 AM   #12
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Thanks for the testing with TC Richard. Your results certainly are an eye-opener. I love the 55-300mm, but it would sure be nice to be able to go beyond 300mm with a light lens. Thanks to you I know a TC isn't an option.

The other disadvantage to a teleconvertor of course is that it increases the focal lengths are both ends, so you lose that nice 55mm wide end.
07-17-2008, 05:17 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Richard Day Quote
... over here where such information is intelligently received and discussed.
A-hem ...
07-17-2008, 05:58 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
Thanks for the testing with TC Richard. Your results certainly are an eye-opener. I love the 55-300mm, but it would sure be nice to be able to go beyond 300mm with a light lens. Thanks to you I know a TC isn't an option.

The other disadvantage to a teleconvertor of course is that it increases the focal lengths are both ends, so you lose that nice 55mm wide end.
Beyond 300mm and light don't go together!

The nearest was the Tokina 80-400, but they don't make a version of their newer D version in Pentax mount. Also I'm not sure that it would be much better than the DA 55-300 anyway, my 80-400 ATX mkII definitely fell off IQ wise after 250mm, I don't think the D version is significantly different.

The only viable wide range tele-zoom is the Bigma, it's no slouch but again not a "fast" lens and it hardly could be considered lightweigt or that affordable!

Physics rules!
07-17-2008, 06:14 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Richard Day Quote
The only viable wide range tele-zoom is the Bigma, it's no slouch but again not a "fast" lens and it hardly could be considered lightweigt or that affordable!

Physics rules!
When you think about it, digital shooters with cropped sensors are pretty spoiled. I have an 83-450mm lens that's F/4.5 up to 300mm, costs less than 400 bucks and weighs one pound... and I'm whining about it not being enough.
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