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09-02-2008, 06:38 PM   #1
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DA 55-300 Quick Impressions

received it today from prodigital2000. ordered it August 15 and received it on September 2. probably they ran out of stock or something and took a while longer than normal to ship. however great price (for canadians at $380) and came with a Tamron UV filter (not sure if this is good or not maybe i'll use it if it rains)

very impressed by the overall package. some nice features included are:
i. circular hood (not petal type) with a rubberized lining inside to prevent reflections and a removable polarizer window
ii. a proper rear lens cap (believe it or not the A50 1.2 came with the plug style)
iii. a nice soft case
iv. nice center pinch cap front lens cap

lens build quality
i. although the lens is made of plastic, it's very solid plastic like the kit lens
ii. focus ring is a bit gritty but i like that
iii. zoom ring is smooth, makes a bit of a zipper noise when rotated
iv. no zoom creep

as for autofocus, i thought it was fast outdoors where the lens is most likely to be used. if you are always focusing on the same subject that is at relatively constant distance, AF is not a worry. if for some reason you need to go from minimum to infinity constantly in the dark, then yes i can see how the lens could be slow, but a quick spin of the quick-shift af will help a lot.

initially this should have been a 77mm "faceoff" but then i botched my FA77 photos. i had initially wanted to use this lens as a backup event lens when i needed to deviate around 77mm and it is f4 around between 55mm to about 105mm. from these simple test shots at almost minimum focus distance, the results are quite good.

70mm Av at f4, f5.6, f8 for your pixel peeping pleasure. i was quite satisfied by this test and am willing to use the lens wide open.
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm317/pf_k100d/IMGP6764.jpg
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm317/pf_k100d/IMGP6765.jpg
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm317/pf_k100d/IMGP6766.jpg

popphoto fwiw thought this lens was great wide open too
Pentax DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8 - - PopPhotoSeptember 2008

overall i think this lens will be fun, should be a good lens when i need the flexibility of the zoom


Last edited by k100d; 09-02-2008 at 06:46 PM.
09-02-2008, 08:38 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by k100d Quote
it is f4 around between 55mm to about 105mm. from these simple test shots at almost minimum focus distance, the results are quite good.
f4.5 to around 200 mm is not too shabby either.

I predict you will experience hunting once in a while with a subject that should not create trouble. It's only a minor problem, easily fixed with the quick-shift focus ring.
09-03-2008, 08:08 AM   #3
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yes, this lens is surprisingly fast :P ... not much far off from Canon's 70-200 F4
it'll be interesting to see the photozone review of this lens
09-03-2008, 08:42 AM   #4
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i like the lens. The focus would be much quicker if it wasnt a simple front ring type, but i guess there is so much glass to move such a long way. I found trouble shooting moving subjects if they are moving towards or away from me (i.e. birds, cats). Also seriously pisses me off when it goes hunting. When i am pointing at the sky trying to catch birds it suddenly decides that it wants to go right down to 1.4 metres, which takes a couple of seconds. mmmmmmmmmmm. It could do with a focus limiter, i.e. "DONT EVEN BOTHER FOCUSING LESS THAN 20 METRES AWAY THANKS". i have seen macro lenses with this feature. would solve a lot of problems, no?

all in all a very nice easy to use lens. easy to handle, quite fast, incredible quality compared to various 70-200s and amazing value too.

makes me wonder what the hell the 60-250 will look like!!

09-03-2008, 09:48 AM   #5
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Got mine last week. A nice lens. Won't replace the DA*300 prime, or the DA*50-135 for portraits and low light work. For its intended purpose (I think as a versatile zoom to be used outdoors) I think it performs quite well. Open apertures are usable and it seems to peak around 5.6 at the wide end to f8.0 at 200mm, at 300, still haven't decided whether f8 or f11 is its best. 55mm is the weak spot, but I would myself generally use this between 100 and 300.

It is very good at 300 as well. Optically this is a really good lens, the only thing holding this lens back from being super-expensive is the clunky AF and/or lack of SDM, weather sealing, and having a faster-constant aperture, not its optics.

Optically, better than Canon's 70-300 F4-5.6 IS (that I sold when I came to Pentax), much much better at 200-300, especially at 300. Now that Canon lens had a very decent rating, and I preferred that lens over the 70-200 F4L IS and 100-400 F4 L IS. (I did also have the 70-200 F2.8L IS, but that lens was in a completely different league from the 70-200 F4 of a different optical design)

I'll probably still get the 60-250 later, but this covers my need for this range for now, and even when I get the 60-250, probably still take this lens "with me" more often.

I was thinking of doing a comparison of the 55-300 at 135, 200 and 300, versus the 50-135 (my all-time favorite zoom) at 135, then 135 cropped to equal 200 and cropped to equal 300, if anyone's interested...
09-03-2008, 11:09 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by augustmoon Quote
Open apertures are usable and it seems to peak around 5.6 at the wide end to f8.0 at 200mm, at 300, still haven't decided whether f8 or f11 is its best.
The Pentax MTF program chooses f5.6 at 55 mm and f8 at 300 mm. Wouldn't that be definitive? They must know the lens' sweet spot when they program the MTF feature.


QuoteOriginally posted by augustmoon Quote
I was thinking of doing a comparison of the 55-300 at 135, 200 and 300, versus the 50-135 (my all-time favorite zoom) at 135, then 135 cropped to equal 200 and cropped to equal 300, if anyone's interested...
I'm interested, though I doubt the 50-135 will compete at 300mm.
09-03-2008, 11:15 AM   #7
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Really looking forward to receiving mine this week from Amazon along with a 360 Flash.
09-03-2008, 11:18 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
The Pentax MTF program chooses f5.6 at 55 mm and f8 at 300 mm. Wouldn't that be definitive? They must know the lens' sweet spot when they program the MTF feature.
good point, haven't tried the MTF program line for this lens yet, thanks..


QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
I'm interested, though I doubt the 50-135 will compete at 300mm.
I doubt so too, but 200 - 250mm would be of interest to me, just to see whether to leave the 50-135 on camera for something in that range.... Anyway, the 50-135 is my favorite lens, so I'm interested to see how far off the 55-300 is or isn't, I am expecting that the 50-135 will be noticeably better in it's own range, especially in the wider range...

09-03-2008, 12:39 PM   #9
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QuoteQuote:
I doubt so too, but 200 - 250mm would be of interest to me, just to see whether to leave the 50-135 on camera for something in that range.... Anyway, the 50-135 is my favorite lens, so I'm interested to see how far off the 55-300 is or isn't, I am expecting that the 50-135 will be noticeably better in it's own range, especially in the wider range...

I have both and use the 55-300 for longer shots especially my outdoor sports and bird shooting.

The 50-135 is a class above in its own range.

I got the 55-300 first and was going to sell after getting the 50-135 but soon changed my mind as for price and IQ its a winner plus reasons as stated above





Neil
09-09-2008, 08:38 PM   #10
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I got my 55-300 about a week ago and got some great wildlife shots. But this evening I went out to do some experimental shots of the moon and photos taken were terrible, they were just a large blur of light. In the view finder they focused in fairly fast and looked nice and sharp but the image taken was not. Anybody have any thoughts about what I did wrong? I was using a K10, 2sec timer, app. priority, iso 100, and multi seg. metering on a tripod. A few months ago I did some moon shots and they turned out ok with my 50-135. I could'nt get the 50-135 to take a good pic tonight either. Jeff
09-09-2008, 09:15 PM   #11
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If you could not get either lens to take a good photo then I would say you have a problem with the camera.

Both those lenses especially the 50-135mm are great lenses.

Are they both working ok in daylight?




Neil
09-09-2008, 10:09 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by k100d Quote
yes, this lens is surprisingly fast :P ... not much far off from Canon's 70-200 F4
it'll be interesting to see the photozone review of this lens
Hopefully the review will be out soon. There is a sneak preview here
Image Galleries

BTW I do like the lens myself a lot.
Few photos here:




09-09-2008, 10:13 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by roverlr3 Quote
I got my 55-300 about a week ago and got some great wildlife shots. But this evening I went out to do some experimental shots of the moon and photos taken were terrible, they were just a large blur of light. In the view finder they focused in fairly fast and looked nice and sharp but the image taken was not. Anybody have any thoughts about what I did wrong? I was using a K10, 2sec timer, app. priority, iso 100, and multi seg. metering on a tripod. A few months ago I did some moon shots and they turned out ok with my 50-135. I could'nt get the 50-135 to take a good pic tonight either. Jeff
Tripod issue, I think. It must be rock-solid. Mine is not :-(
09-09-2008, 10:56 PM   #14
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Nice shots digital asprin

love the cat and the dragon fly as standouts.


SpecialK

your correct there mate... thought though from past night shoots it was suitable, it will be interesting to see how he goes... I feel your right

Neil
09-10-2008, 12:22 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by digital_aspirin Quote
I', not usually a fan of cat pictures (perhaps some people see a beauty in a picture because they know and low the cat), and are unlikely to "wow" one, especially in the company of such other good pictures, but this cat picture is in a league of its own among cat pictures I've seen here at pentaxforum. Great perspective and light!
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