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08-17-2008, 04:55 PM   #1
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DA 55-300mm test (PopPhoto) and my thoughts

Since this doesn't seem to have been posted yet, here's a link to the only review I've found so far for the new DA 55-300mm.

They seem impressed, especially with the resolution and lack of distortion, and their grades for "subjective quality factor" are fairly impressive. Which is all reassuring to me, since my lens arrived yesterday, and I haven't had a chance to give it a decent test yet. From what I've seen so far it does seem better than the Tamron and Sigma 70-300mms I used previously. Having the lens start at 55mm is definitely useful, and personally I don't miss the "macro" ability of the other lenses.

Since selling my kit lens, all my glass has been "full-frame", so I was quite surprised by how small the 55-300mm is. This is a good thing and it doesn't seem to suffer vignetting. In terms of build quality, it seems similar to the 18-55mm kit lens, maybe slightly nicer. The focusing ring does feel very slightly rough or 'gritty' to turn, but no worse than the third-party lenses, and I much prefer the Pentax due to the ability to autofocus and then instantly go to manual without having to press any switches. Autofocus is definitely not fast, but that's inevitable with a body-driven lens of this spec, and I wouldn't personally benefit from SDM since I'm using a K100d. For those of you with SDM bodies it would have been nice to have the option, but then that would increase the price too.

So far it looks and feels well worth the money... now I can't wait to go out and use it I will of course post samples once I have shots worth posting.

08-17-2008, 07:01 PM   #2
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i've got one coming in too. it was too hard to ignore my need for a longer lens and the great remarks posted by everyone here. it will be my fun lens for events where the photos really don't matter and i'm only looking for a few keepers.

LBA posts require photos :P
08-17-2008, 07:30 PM   #3
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It really looks like Pentax did a really great job with this lens and have learnt from some past lens errors. I had the FA100-300 f4.5-5.6 and it was not that good.

This could be a fantastic travel lens for those that don't want to lug their f2.8 zoom, like me , but still have exemplary image quality, albeit with a slower max aperture. Having said that, the high ISO reponse from the modern Pentax DSLR's is very good, so it is just a matter of cranking up the ISO in low light.

Congrats on your very good purchase!
08-18-2008, 03:19 PM   #4
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I was just going to post a link to this review myself but noticed this thread...

I believe the review confirms what many of us current owners know...it's a very good lens, especially for a "consumer" lens.

I've just being loaned a Tamron TC ( 1.4x PZ MC4) to try with it too, I'll post my thoughts once I've had a good chance to test it out

simon

08-18-2008, 04:11 PM   #5
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I remember when this lens was announced a big chorus of winning "oh, it's waaay too expensive", "overpriced for a consumer zoom", "It can't be THAT much better than Sigma and Tamron", "they can't make a 55-300 zoom as good as 70-300 by others" and so on. And when reviews start to come ...hmmm ... story changes.

Same treatment it's now applied to the DA 17-70 and I am affraid in few months will see about the same we see now for DA 55-300.

BTW, the DA 55-300 review it's in pipeline at photozone's you may wanna watch for it in a few days/weeks.

Radu
08-26-2008, 11:00 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by k100d Quote
i've got one coming in too. it was too hard to ignore my need for a longer lens and the great remarks posted by everyone here. it will be my fun lens for events where the photos really don't matter and i'm only looking for a few keepers.

LBA posts require photos :P
Curious if you had gotten this in and tried it out or not?
08-26-2008, 11:07 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by augustmoon Quote
Curious if you had gotten this in and tried it out or not?
ordered it 2 fridays ago from Prodigital2000, still not here yet
a call should be made soon
08-26-2008, 11:55 AM   #8
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Help me understand this:

"Surprisingly, as we'll see, this extra zoomability comes at little cost in image qualtiy. Streeting for only $350, this digital-only lens that coverts up to an 82.5-450mm on Pentax DSLRs, dropped nearly $50 during its first months on the market."

I thought that a digital designed lens had the correct mm rating for DSLRs. In other words, I thought this would be a true 55mm-300mm on a DSLR body.

08-26-2008, 11:59 AM   #9
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focal length is focal length. it does not change.
what popphoto quotes is the 35mm equivalent range

designed for digital (depending on the brand) may / may not include
i. only covers aps-c sensor
ii. special coatings to minimize sensor reflection back into the lens
08-26-2008, 12:18 PM   #10
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The focal length doesn't change no matter what the body. Focal length is a property of the lens alone.
08-26-2008, 12:19 PM   #11
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Snap!



08-26-2008, 01:34 PM   #12
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I'm considering this lens myself. Can anyone tell me if the front element rotates while focusing? I currently have the Tamron 70-300mm di, and find the spinning element annoying with a polarizer. I also think the quick shift focus would be great to have, as my Tamron has a tendency to hunt if light is less than stellar.
08-26-2008, 04:37 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by k100d Quote
focal length is focal length. it does not change.
what popphoto quotes is the 35mm equivalent range

designed for digital (depending on the brand) may / may not include
i. only covers aps-c sensor
ii. special coatings to minimize sensor reflection back into the lens

I understand that focal length is what it is, but I don't understand why Pop Photo said this lens would have a conversion to 82.5mm / 450mm for digital use, when it was designed for digital use. The lens is marketed as 55-300mm, so why would there be a conversion for it?
08-26-2008, 04:45 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vmax911 Quote
I'm considering this lens myself. Can anyone tell me if the front element rotates while focusing?
No, the front element does not rotate during zoom or focus.
08-26-2008, 05:24 PM   #15
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It looks like the price is beginning to come down a bit, as well; BuyDig has them for $329, shipped.
Pentax smc P-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED Lens f/ Pentax & Samsung Digital SLR w/ USA Warranty | BuyDig.com, The Internet's Digital Superstore

It looks like Pentax has finally caught up to the demand for this lens since BuyDig, Beach Camera, and Prodigital 2000 all have it now.

Last night, I ordered a Promaster 1.7x TC to try on the 55-300, as well as some of my other lenses. After seeing the examples that Hin put up using this TC and his Tamron 70-300, I can't wait to see what it'll do with the even better 55-300.

Heather
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