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07-16-2008, 09:54 AM   #1
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pentax/tamron 18-250 vs DA 55-300

Those of you that have or have had both lenses, is there a huge difference in IQ with these two? This would be my first long zoom, and I'd definitely prefer the all-in-one qualities of the 18-250. I think I can live with distortion at the extremes and minor IQ differences, but if there's an earth-shaking difference in IQ, I'll live with lens swapping, and grab the 55-300.

I visited the bronx zoo last weekend, and was feeling quite inadequate with my lenses (DA 16-45 and Vivitar S1 90mm (all manual)). . Soooo, LBA time.

I'm pretty new to DSLR, so the thing that most bothered me was how long it took me to set up shots for different situations, keeping me from enjoying being there. And annoying my companion. Outdoor and far, indoor and poor light, sometimes through glass, sometimes needing flash... After a bit, I just left the full auto lens on, even if I needed the reach of the 90mm.

My plan is for outings such as these, e.g. not by myself, I'll take the 18-250 and the DA 35 limited and be happy as a peach.

07-16-2008, 10:56 AM   #2
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Hi deuces

Here are some examples I've taken with my Tamron 18-250mm.....nothing special, but they will give you some idea of what to expect. I've found it to be an indispensible walk-around lens and although there is naturally some barrel distortion at the wide end as well as a little pin-cushioning at the other, this is easily corrected at the editing stage with many of today's inexpensive software packages such as PSP Photo X2 etc.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/83871-post6.html

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/83875-post7.html

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/85055-post8.html

My other lens is a Sigma 10-20mm wide-zoom, which I use when the 18mm end of the Tamron is not quite wide enough. The Sigma is absolutely fantastic for capturing architectural interiors/exteriors and if used creatively, for photographing dramatic landscape shots. I've never used the Pentax DA 55-300 before, so obviously cannot comment on it's qualities. Hope this info helps.....

Emerald Pond on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

gothic symmetry on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Don't forget to click on the "magnify" icon to the top-left of this Gothic Symmetry image, to view it in all it's glory !

Die ganze Welt on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Perurail on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Sunset at the Mount on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Best regards
Richard

Last edited by Confused; 07-16-2008 at 11:17 AM.
07-16-2008, 01:25 PM   #3
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Haven't tried the 55-300, but I have owned the 18-250 and it's incredible for a super-zoom for that price, IMO.

Here are some shots, I think most of these were with the K100D -->Tamron 18-250
07-16-2008, 01:31 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by deuces Quote
Those of you that have or have had both lenses, is there a huge difference in IQ with these two?
I have both lenses. I'm planning on comparing IQ of the kit lens + 55-300mm vs the 18-250mm, but so far I haven't found the time.

I went to the Toronto Zoo with the 55-300mm and 50mm F1.4.
Picasa Web Albums - Dan - Toronto Zoo
All of these photos were taken with the 55-300 except for the flamingoes. I never once wished for a shorter lens, but then a zoo is a rather special situation. It's rarely the entire scene that you want to capture, you want to zoom in on the subject to avoid fences and man-made things.

It's surprising how much difference there is between 250 and 300 mm FL. I often shoot songbirds with the 55-300mm, and even then, there's not enough reach. It's almost not worth bothering with songbirds with the 18-250mm. Even after cropping, they're tiny unless you manage to get really close. I added a yellow-rumped warbler to my 18-250mm album for you. It's been cropped to 2/3 normal size. I was only about 14 or 15 feet away when I took the shot.
Picasa Web Albums - Dan - Pentax 18-250mm

As far as image quality, I'm reasonably certain you'd be happy with either. The 18-250mm is a remarkable achievement for a super-zoom, it certainly beats the crap out of my 18-55mm. But from 200mm up, the 55-300mm is sharper. Somewhere below 200mm it reverses. That question of where would need some study (in other words, why worry?).

Other things to consider:
- The 18-250 creeps (mine doesn't creep, it runs). The lock is an extra thing you have to remember before you take the shot.
- The 55-300mm has quick-shift focus (changes from AF to MF automatically). To me, that's a huge plus on a telephoto lens. I missed many "bird in a tree" shots with the Tamron 70-300mm while I fumbled for the manual focus switch.

As far as which you should get, that's a personal choice. Your 16-45mm with a fast prime and the 55-300mm is a potent combo. But for convenience, there's not much comparison, the 18-250 wins.


Last edited by audiobomber; 07-16-2008 at 01:47 PM.
07-16-2008, 02:42 PM   #5
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Hmm thanks everybody, really really nice images. It sure didn't take much, I've placed an order for the 18-250. My thinking is that the DA35 is my go-to lens in most situations, and I'd like to not carry 3+ lenses. Also, I've been pretty happy without a long lens until that zoo trip.

DA35 + DA18-250 sounds more appealing to carry than DA16-45 + DA55-300 + DA35.


QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
- The 18-250 creeps (mine doesn't creep, it runs). The lock is an extra thing you have to remember before you take the shot.
I found a thread where someone had the Tamron version that creeped, sent it back, and it came back with no creep. So I'm hoping that Pentax can tighten it if my copy has creep.
07-16-2008, 02:45 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by deuces Quote
I found a thread where someone had the Tamron version that creeped, sent it back, and it came back with no creep. So I'm hoping that Pentax can tighten it if my copy has creep.
I may have started that thread. I emailed Pentax yesterday to see whether creep is repairable. Hopefully it can be improved, but I'm thinking they included the lock for a reason.
07-16-2008, 05:27 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
I have both lenses. I'm planning on comparing IQ of the kit lens + 55-300mm vs the 18-250mm, but so far I haven't found the time.

I went to the Toronto Zoo with the 55-300mm and 50mm F1.4.
Picasa Web Albums - Dan - Toronto Zoo
All of these photos were taken with the 55-300 except for the flamingoes. I never once wished for a shorter lens, but then a zoo is a rather special situation. It's rarely the entire scene that you want to capture, you want to zoom in on the subject to avoid fences and man-made things.
Your zoo shots are some of the better ones I've seen from that lens, starting to sway me. Interesting you think the 18-250 is sharper under 200mm? I nearly bought that lens as it's so good, and being all in one is very attractive. I ended up getting the Sigma 17-70 very cheap, so am on the lookout for a tele. Your tamron and pentax comparison pix are striking at 300mm I noticed. One thing has anyone heard quality problems with the 55-300 yet? If not that would be a change!
07-16-2008, 06:05 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by antman Quote
Your zoo shots are some of the better ones I've seen from that lens, starting to sway me. Interesting you think the 18-250 is sharper under 200mm?
Thanks Antman. Believe it or not, those tiger shots were at 300mm, wide open aperture.

I don't think I said the 18-250 is sharper below 200mm. I said the 55-300 is sharper above 200 mm. I said somewhere below 200mm I think it reverses. I can't say where the changeover might be. If I had to guess I'd probably go with 135 mm, but I won't stand behind that until I do a head-to-head test.

QuoteOriginally posted by antman Quote
One thing has anyone heard quality problems with the 55-300 yet? If not that would be a change!
Nope, none that I've heard of.

07-16-2008, 08:42 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
I may have started that thread. I emailed Pentax yesterday to see whether creep is repairable. Hopefully it can be improved, but I'm thinking they included the lock for a reason.
Found the thread I was talking about:

Tamron creep: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review
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