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07-16-2016, 01:46 PM - 1 Like   #1
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60-250mm/f4 to cover all needs between 100-250mm?? Opinions/advice welcome

I have to admit, this more than any other lens choice has given me the most pause for thought. I am not much of a telephoto user since I mostly shoot landscapes, travel photos, closeups, macros and some environmental portraits of family. This then is what has probably been the source of my indecisiveness in this range. A bit of background first on what I've used.

1) Da*200mm on K-3: Loved this lens and regretfully sold it a bit back before getting my K-1. The size, image quality and handling were great, but its locked in at 200mm of course and I felt the need at that time to go a little longer so I picked up the Da*300 to replace it.

2) Da*300mm on K-3 and K-1: This is a fantastic lens in most regards but again your locked in but now at 300mm. Even though I am primarily a prime shooter (this is what I personally like so I'm not debating the merits of prime vs zoom)...for anything above 100mm I think I would like a more variable one lens solution since I shoot that range the least.

3) Sigma APO 100-300mm/f4 on K-1: This is a highly regarded zoom and I recently acquired one and although it is quite nice...it is massive. I am mostly a mobile shooter which is an important factor to consider, I do use tripods and have an assortment of them from small to quite large however when out and about I typically would bring a CF travel size one to use for landscapes, macros etc.

Here is what appeals to me about the 60-250mm: It is a very highly regarded lens by most who use it and I've seen wonderful examples of its capabilities here on PF over the years. Its relatively small and compact for its range 81X168mm at 1120g which is not too far off from the 200mm's 83X134mm at 825g and smaller than the 300mm's 83X184mm although 50g heavier. But it is significantly smaller than the Sigma 100-300mm's length of 226.5mm and weight of 1440g!

I should mention that even though the DFA 70-200 is probably most ideal for FF I am neither interested in spending that amount of $ for a lens I won't use very much nor in its size and weight. That being said I am no longer using a K-3 but I would be interested in making the modification to the 60-250mm that reduces the FF vignetting at the long end should I end up going this route.

What I would be using a telephoto lens for: As I mentioned I am currently not a birder nor do I do any wildlife shooting in general...although sometimes when hiking about if an opportunity presents itself I may. Primarily I would be using the telephoto for landscapes (where I would like to add interesting compression characteristics to an image), closeups (mostly flowers, insects such as dragonflies/butterflies) with a unique look, and yes sometimes other subject matter where more reach might be needed and for whatever reason I cannot zoom with my feet.

I would greatly appreciate anyone's thoughts on this especially those of you who have and love this lens or have used this lens but no longer do for some reason. Do any of you use this lens exclusively as your one telephoto and if so do you find that it is enough on its own? Have you decided to add other teles or are you considering adding other teles and if so what do you think the 60-250 is lacking that require the use of other lenses to supplement your kit? Or finally, perhaps a two lens 200/300mm solution would best suit my needs?

Thanks in advance!

07-16-2016, 02:27 PM - 2 Likes   #2
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I have had the lens for going on 2 years now. Last year at this time, I was back east and used it quite a bit - mainly for landscape panoramas off of a tripod. The lens has a lot of really nice touches. For me the ability to just rotate the lens from portrait to landscape with the collar is really nice. Yes, it's heavy - but in comparison to a lot of other lenses, it's not that heavy or even too large.

I'v decided to sell off all my long lenses (other than my 85's) because this is really the only lens over 50mm that I use. I also acquired the 1.4x AW telecoupler to take it out to 350mm.



07-16-2016, 04:46 PM - 1 Like   #3
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I'm definitely a fan of the 60-250, which I've had for a few years. When I'm mobile, it's my long lens, sometimes with the Tamron 1.4 teleconverter. However, with the K-1 I may crop more frequently instead of taking the 1.4 to simplify my kit. I also have the DA* 300 but that does not go on trips because I can't take that much size and weight for just one focal length. That is also a great lens though, as you've stated. With my K-1 I'll primarily use my D FA 24-70 and then the 60-250 for anything longer. That combo should provide high quality images as long as the photographer does their job. I'm already using the 60-250 more than I used to with the K-3 due to the larger sensor and the relatively "wider" view provided. I recently found myself shooting sunsets with the 60-250 on the K-1. I'm undecided on the 60-250 modification for FF as I'm very careful with my lenses. I think I'll use the 60-250 unmodified for a while and then decide if the vignetting is annoying enough for an intervention. I'm still looking for the right wide FF lens, but with the 24-70 and the 60-250 I'm very comfortable saying I've got the longer focal lengths well covered.
07-16-2016, 08:41 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
I have had the lens for going on 2 years now. Last year at this time, I was back east and used it quite a bit - mainly for landscape panoramas off of a tripod. The lens has a lot of really nice touches. For me the ability to just rotate the lens from portrait to landscape with the collar is really nice. Yes, it's heavy - but in comparison to a lot of other lenses, it's not that heavy or even too large.

I'v decided to sell off all my long lenses (other than my 85's) because this is really the only lens over 50mm that I use. I also acquired the 1.4x AW telecoupler to take it out to 350mm.

Yeah, I must admit I am partial to the build design and quality of the DA* lenses as well. I do agree that it is relatively manageable in size compared to others...as I mentioned I recently got to see first hand how large that 100-300 sigma is and it is completely unpractical for what I do as much as I like it. I had the Tamron 70-200mm once before and for me that was also too large. So the 60-250mm seems a good compromise. I do use and will continue to use my 77mm and 100mm macro but it looks like this lens might fit the bill for everything over 100mm and with the K-1 I can always employ crop mode to extend its reach even further. BTW nice example of using it for landscape panoramas!


QuoteOriginally posted by dave2k Quote
I'm definitely a fan of the 60-250, which I've had for a few years. When I'm mobile, it's my long lens, sometimes with the Tamron 1.4 teleconverter. However, with the K-1 I may crop more frequently instead of taking the 1.4 to simplify my kit. I also have the DA* 300 but that does not go on trips because I can't take that much size and weight for just one focal length. That is also a great lens though, as you've stated. With my K-1 I'll primarily use my D FA 24-70 and then the 60-250 for anything longer. That combo should provide high quality images as long as the photographer does their job. I'm already using the 60-250 more than I used to with the K-3 due to the larger sensor and the relatively "wider" view provided. I recently found myself shooting sunsets with the 60-250 on the K-1. I'm undecided on the 60-250 modification for FF as I'm very careful with my lenses. I think I'll use the 60-250 unmodified for a while and then decide if the vignetting is annoying enough for an intervention. I'm still looking for the right wide FF lens, but with the 24-70 and the 60-250 I'm very comfortable saying I've got the longer focal lengths well covered.
It would be nice to have one lens to cover everything over 100mm. I love bringing a variety of small primes with me whenever I head out and I'm well covered under 100mm except for UWA territory but I will probably go with a samyang 14mm for that.

So so far it seems there are several pros to this lens for my typical shooting situations but I wonder if it will be enough...I do miss that da*200mm for its f2.8 but maybe that's a moot point since the ISO capabilities of the K-1 have impressed me thus far.

07-17-2016, 06:30 AM - 3 Likes   #5
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I have both the Tamron 70-200 2.8 and the DA*60-250. Yes the 60-250 is initially smaller but that is before you extend it to 250mm. The 60-250 seems more compact since it uses 67mm filters rather than 77mm ones. I absolutely love my 60-250. It can pretty much cover anything. The 60 -250 is a wonderful landscape lens and I frequently shoot landscapes with it. If you are not shooting sports or portraits then I see no reason to worry about f2.8. The only thing I wish the 60-250 had was internal zoom. However that would have added to the size, cost, and weight. I find the 60-250 to be nothing but a joy to use like Star lenses. I pair it with my 16-50 and Tamron 1.4TC for an all around kit.

Some 60-250 shots
60mm


350mm with the Tamron 1.4TC


Night shot


250mm wide open f4


Last edited by Scorpio71GR; 07-17-2016 at 06:48 AM.
07-17-2016, 07:37 AM - 2 Likes   #6
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Size and weight rather than price alone pushed me to invest into the much lighter 55-300. From own Pentax forum tests, the AF tracking work better with the 55-300 screw drive than 60-250. The price, weight and size are all much better.

At 300mm f/8 is ok, good at 260 f/8, great at 190 f/4.5... You could almost consider it as a 70-200 f/4 with an option to go up to 300mm. A bit like a 18-135 is kind of a 17-70 with good quality and an option to go up to 135mm... People will complain that the long end is not perfect, but forget to formulate complaints that their 70-200 or 17-50 don't go up to 300mm or 135mm respectively.

I don't own the 60-250, my understanding is that at f/8 the 55-300 might be comparable to 60-250 @f/4, maybe not as good; And overall the 60-
250 will be noticably better for anything 250mm and up, especially for distant landscape/infinite were focus breathing don't come into play.

But for anything 250mm and bellow, I am not sure there that much of an incentive. The 60-250 much heavier, bigger, expensive.
The focus breathing make it doesn't have that much reach expect for quite distant objects. For birding you may find yourself at 200mm effective focal length or less. For near objects, the 50-135 provide actually more reach at 135mm.

For me as you only use that occasionnally, it is much easier to justify 300-400 €/$ than 800$/1200€ and in the bag, 450g/11cm much easier to justify than 800g/16cm.

You'll find that some people manage to use it successfully in Kenya or Tanzania for wildlife.

I started a thread on that here: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/315922-tamr...ya-safari.html

You find some interresting photos from FantasticMrFox forum member with that lens.

A few examples from his flickr account:













I'd be happy to get similar shot with any lens! And I hope so as I am going to Tanzania next september.
07-17-2016, 07:42 AM   #7
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Otherwise, in high quality, a bit bigger/heavier, bu quite cheap, f/2.8, near macro capabilities you have the tamron 70-200 f/2.8. You can easily add a TC on it, it can work in really low light, do portraiture and would do a much better job for flowers and other stuff like that. But you'd give up the somewhat low profile of the 55-300.
07-17-2016, 09:02 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Scorpio71GR Quote
I have both the Tamron 70-200 2.8 and the DA*60-250. Yes the 60-250 is initially smaller but that is before you extend it to 250mm. The 60-250 seems more compact since it uses 67mm filters rather than 77mm ones. I absolutely love my 60-250. It can pretty much cover anything. The 60 -250 is a wonderful landscape lens and I frequently shoot landscapes with it. If you are not shooting sports or portraits then I see no reason to worry about f2.8. The only thing I wish the 60-250 had was internal zoom. However that would have added to the size, cost, and weight. I find the 60-250 to be nothing but a joy to use like Star lenses. I pair it with my 16-50 and Tamron 1.4TC for an all around kit.
These are great examples of some of the things I have in mind for using this lens. Yeah your butterfly closeups are some of the images that I had looked at and that help to sway me over to considering this lens. This was the type of thing that I liked the DA*200mm for...the *300mm is also great for this, but as I mentioned I am looking for a one lens solution for above 100mm. 67mm filters seems a bonus perk that I hadn't considered so that's a good point. As far as the extension is concerned...once the lens is on my camera and I'm using it that is not an issue with me but when its stowed away in my back pack that's when something more compact is appealing...so another point to the 60-250mm.

QuoteOriginally posted by Nicolas06 Quote
Size and weight rather than price alone pushed me to invest into the much lighter 55-300. From own Pentax forum tests, the AF tracking work better with the 55-300 screw drive than 60-250. The price, weight and size are all much better.

For me as you only use that occasionnally, it is much easier to justify 300-400 /$ than 800$/1200 and in the bag, 450g/11cm much easier to justify than 800g/16cm.

You'll find that some people manage to use it successfully in Kenya or Tanzania for wildlife.

I'd be happy to get similar shot with any lens! And I hope so as I am going to Tanzania next september.
I have seen mostly good things regarding this lens, I would actually consider this lens to use when I travel to Asia which is usually about once per year. The only thing is that according to the following thread...

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/54-pentax-lens-articles/31629-da-lenses-f...ts-thread.html

... on full frame this is only usable from f/11, but for this kind of trip I think I wouldn't mind using crop mode on the K-1 with it. When I travel internationally I like small lenses anyway so as not to draw much attention so I think perhaps I will get one in the future for this purpose. Some great examples you linked to so thanks for those.

QuoteOriginally posted by Nicolas06 Quote
Otherwise, in high quality, a bit bigger/heavier, bu quite cheap, f/2.8, near macro capabilities you have the tamron 70-200 f/2.8. You can easily add a TC on it, it can work in really low light, do portraiture and would do a much better job for flowers and other stuff like that. But you'd give up the somewhat low profile of the 55-300.
I like the Tamron and forgot to mention that I used to have one. Just too large for my type of mobility, but yes a great lens and the results I've seen on FF are very nice.

07-17-2016, 09:52 PM - 1 Like   #9
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I have the k-3 not the k-1, so my experience is limited to crop sensor usage. I own the DA* 60-250 and the DA 55-300. There are significant differences. First the 60-250 gives up a lot of focal length with close shots (under 9-10 meters). The lens when really close is effectively quite a lot shorter. The 60-250 is quite a bit sharper even if you use the HD 1.4x teleconverter.
07-17-2016, 10:31 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
I have the k-3 not the k-1, so my experience is limited to crop sensor usage. I own the DA* 60-250 and the DA 55-300. There are significant differences. First the 60-250 gives up a lot of focal length with close shots (under 9-10 meters). The lens when really close is effectively quite a lot shorter. The 60-250 is quite a bit sharper even if you use the HD 1.4x teleconverter.
Interesting...so that I have a better idea of what I might be working with, let's say I have a subject 2 meters away using 200mm focal length...what could I expect my effective focal length to be then? Does the amount of focal length given up change with subject distance between the MFD and the 9m?
07-17-2016, 10:49 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by gda13 Quote
Interesting...so that I have a better idea of what I might be working with, let's say I have a subject 2 meters away using 200mm focal length...what could I expect my effective focal length to be then? Does the amount of focal length given up change with subject distance between the MFD and the 9m?
At MFD, you are at something like 135mm. At 9-10m, I don't think you are at 250mm but more 180-200mm. UncleVanya, can likely be more precise.
07-17-2016, 10:53 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by gda13 Quote
I have seen mostly good things regarding this lens, I would actually consider this lens to use when I travel to Asia which is usually about once per year. The only thing is that according to the following thread...

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/54-pentax-lens-articles/31629-da-lenses-f...ts-thread.html

... on full frame this is only usable from f/11, but for this kind of trip I think I wouldn't mind using crop mode on the K-1 with it. When I travel internationally I like small lenses anyway so as not to draw much attention so I think perhaps I will get one in the future for this purpose. Some great examples you linked to so thanks for those.
Then you could check what people think of the tamron/sigma 70-300 on their FF, maybe they are enough. At least for your trip use case.

Second option is that Pentax will likely release a new lens to kind of 55-300 or 70-300 but for full frame. You could buy that once available.

Depend if you are in a hurry or if you can wait (2 years maybe?)
07-18-2016, 05:22 AM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by gda13 Quote
Do any of you use this lens exclusively as your one telephoto and if so do you find that it is enough on its own?
Yes. It is my best lens, I think (and that's saying a lot). It's probably my favourite, too. Above the DFA 100mm macro WR, I hav eonly the 60-250. Below, I have the 21, 40, 16-85.

The 60-250 is a marvelous lens.

QuoteOriginally posted by gda13 Quote
ave you decided to add other teles or are you considering adding other teles
Nope,, for me it works.

I don't do birding (for which even 300mm is not enough). I use it for sports, kids, walkaround (yes I do), I bring it when hiking, camping, it almost never stays home. It's my main summer lens.
07-18-2016, 06:47 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by gda13 Quote
Interesting...so that I have a better idea of what I might be working with, let's say I have a subject 2 meters away using 200mm focal length...what could I expect my effective focal length to be then? Does the amount of focal length given up change with subject distance between the MFD and the 9m?
It does vary. The exact focal length is hard to quantify. I can attest to the mfd being similar in focal length to a 135 due to comparing the lens with the da* 50-135 and takumar bayonet 135. The 200 I have and the 55-300 let me evaluate how quickly it gets back up to the full focal length.

In practice the only time this is an issue is with small birds where you would expect this lens to have greater application as a bird feeder lens. However given the shrinking focal length at closer distances it isn't as good at this as say the 200 or 300. For versatility it is hard to beat. Also if the light permits it the 1.4tc really helps boost the focal length - but the Pentax HD one isn't full frame.
07-18-2016, 09:29 PM - 1 Like   #15
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Plenty of praise around here for the DA* 60-250, and justifiably so, it is an impressive optical performer!

But rather then rehash all that, let me give you the downsides of the lens (based on my experience) - an investment of this sort should be done with both eyes open!

As already mentioned, it is a part-time 250mm lens. From when focusing from about 15m/50ft or closer you will quickly loose that. So it suffers from seriously bad focus breathing, at MFD it is lucky to be a 60-135mm, and I don't think it hits 200mm until a bit after 10m. Not a problem for landscape, but it is for flora and fauna shots.

It isn't small and light. Yes, there are bigger, heavier telephotos out there, but they normally bring either longer focal lengths or shorter focal ratios. I find it too big and heavy for a walk about. The 55-300mm (which I also have) is a brilliant size and makes the 60-250mm feel like a load of dead weight hung around your neck in comparison. Fully extended, it starts to push into hard to handhold territory - saving grace is the brilliantly designed tripod mount.

On the other hand, it is a good size for fitting in a camera bag. But this comes at a price, I could fit a small prime plus the 55-300mm in the same space, and it has a much wider diameter than any of my other lenses, potentially restricting space for other lenses. All depends on how much kit you want to carry, but I think it is better suited to a 2 zoom setup.

The SDM is slow. The 55-300mm likes to hunt, but at least it is zippy. The 60-250mm is one lens I wish I could convert to screwdrive, but no one has worked out how yet. Very sad. The SDM makes me appreciate the DC AF on my 16-85mm all the more!

The AF is even worse with the Tamron Pz-AF 1.4x TC. I don't know if the HD 1.4x TC is any better, but if you want a full frame TC with AF, you will need bucket loads of light. AF on the 55-300mm plays better with the TC, and that both frustrates and surprises me given the faster focal ratio on the 60-250mm.

It is weaker at 250mm. It is, after all, a zoom, and zooms have a strong point and a weak point, in this case, short focal lengths are stronger then longer ones. I wish it was the other way around (who buys the 60-250mm to shoot below 100mm?), but that's the way it is. On the other hand, you step it down to f5.6 and any weakness melts away (which is exactly what the MTF program line does at 250mm), and at 250mm it is stronger than the 55-300mm anywhere. So really, in IQ it's only competition is itself.

All that said, mine is not for sale. It is a great lens, if the downsides don't concern you, then it is an obvious winner. If they do the 55-300mm gives you more reach for less money and less bulk, but it comes with its own limitations.
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