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06-12-2018, 02:53 PM   #1
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Which Two Lenses Should I Take? (Need Advice ASAP)

Tomorrow I'm going on a trip for a few weeks, and will take lots of landscape photos.

I have the wide angle lenses covered, but am looking for suggestions on the telephoto side. What I own:

Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm (Kino)
Pentax A 70-210mm
Pentax F 70-210mm
Tamron 60-300mm
Tokina 60-300mm
Pentax DA 55-300mm

(I own only one of the 60-300's, but do not remember which and am not at home).

As you can see, only 2 of these lenses is AF, but I'm not sure it's that important for landscape. I care heavily about sharpness, particularly stopped down (e.g. f8-11 or beyond). I know some of these lenses are heavy, but let's ignore that aspect for now.

So, ignoring weight, if I can take only 2 of these, which should I take?

06-12-2018, 03:01 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Beetle B. Quote
Tomorrow I'm going on a trip for a few weeks, and will take lots of landscape photos.

I have the wide angle lenses covered, but am looking for suggestions on the telephoto side. What I own:

Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm (Kino)
Pentax A 70-210mm
Pentax F 70-210mm
Tamron 60-300mm
Tokina 60-300mm
Pentax DA 55-300mm

(I own only one of the 60-300's, but do not remember which and am not at home).

As you can see, only 2 of these lenses is AF, but I'm not sure it's that important for landscape. I care heavily about sharpness, particularly stopped down (e.g. f8-11 or beyond). I know some of these lenses are heavy, but let's ignore that aspect for now.

So, ignoring weight, if I can take only 2 of these, which should I take?
I'm not certain why you need to take 2 of them. These are all very simliar coverages for the most part...
But that said, what kind of trip are you taking? Will there be hiking? How long/far? Is weight or weather a concern? And (a useful tidbit) what camera?


Those Series 1s are some of my favorites.
06-12-2018, 03:01 PM   #3
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I"m pretty sure the best of the lot is the DA 55-300 lens and it covers the entire spectrum of the other lenses. I'd only take it. Having said that, the Viv 70-210 is an excellent lens.
06-12-2018, 03:04 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by chickentender Quote
I'm not certain why you need to take 2 of them. These are all very simliar coverages for the most part...
But that said, what kind of trip are you taking? Will there be hiking? How long/far? Is weight or weather a concern? And (a useful tidbit) what camera?


Those Series 1s are some of my favorites.
The coverages are similar - I was looking more at performance (sharpness stopped down - preferably edge to edge). Aberrations matter somewhat, if they're the type that are hard to correct later.


Several national parks. Let's pretend weight is not a concern. Of course, if two lenses are almost the same, I'll go with the lower weight. The reason I'm asking for 2 recommendations is if I feel I can't handle the heavier one, I'll take the lighter one.

Weather is not a concern - I will not shoot if it is raining.


Camera = Pentax K-30.

06-12-2018, 03:06 PM   #5
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DA 55-300 and the Vivitar Series 1
06-12-2018, 03:08 PM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by twilhelm Quote
DA 55-300 and the Vivitar Series 1
In that case, what he said.
06-12-2018, 03:28 PM   #7
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My A 70-210 has gorgeous colors and does very well in landscapes. It is pixel sharp at f5.6 and down which is the reason I sold the SMC-A 135 2.8, the zoom was sharper and being at its best at 135mm, it really was no contest.
Maybe my copy is special?

I have yet to see pictures from the DA 55-300 (f4-5.6 version) that is nearly as sharp as my A 70-210 which is why I never got one. But the DA does have nice colors and contrast and its pictures are very pleasing to look at.

Which brings me to the 60-300 design. I have one named Craigs Optics but it's identical to one of the latter models of the 60-300 one touch designs made by Cosina. And nearly identical (other than fonts and colors where the Craigs perfectly matches the Cosina).
So I'm thinking the Cosina and Tokina (and all its rebrands other than the Tamron which is clearly its own design) share the optical design but are built separately - which is also something that they did with their 19-35 and 24 2.8 designs of about that same era. The 60-300 is pretty good but not quite the same as the A 60-300. So why do I keep it? I like the colors and rendering very much, as good as the A 70-210, and it's sharper than my Tamron LD DI 70-300 in the 200-300mm range.

So what I am trying to say is, try out the A 70-210 even though all your lensrs aren't bad and should bring very pleasing results.
06-12-2018, 03:31 PM - 2 Likes   #8
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There's a simple rule. Take the lens(es) you're most comfortable and familiar with on "only one chance' trips. You'll use then to 'make' shots based on prior experience. Anything else is gonna just be experimentation with gear and opportunities you may not ever be able to duplicate.

Really great images have historically been made withe the gear in hand when the opportunity presented itself. An enjoyable image you captured is much 'mo' betta' than one you fumbled owing to inexperience and no one else will be aware of the difference anyway.

Just ensure you know the FOV and characteristics of the lens you do have in hand and make it work. Look through the mounted lens often to maintain situational awareness and anticipate potential opportunities with pre-set exposure.

06-12-2018, 03:34 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by chickentender Quote
In that case, what he said.
55-300 and Vivitar
06-12-2018, 03:54 PM   #10
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I'm partial to M lenses... so, I would take the M 80-200/4.5
The A 70-210 is very similar though - provided we are talking about the SMC version, so I'd take that one and the 55-300 for AF.
my 0.02c
06-12-2018, 03:57 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by pacerr Quote
There's a simple rule. Take the lens(es) you're most comfortable and familiar with on "only one chance' trips. You'll use then to 'make' shots based on prior experience. Anything else is gonna just be experimentation with gear and opportunities you may not ever be able to duplicate.
In my case, I'm familiar with none of them. I do most of my photography on the wide angle range, so I know those lenses better. With the exception of the 55-300, almost all the lenses I listed here were bought in the last month. I did use the F 70-210mm recently and it was OK as far as sharpness went, but I didn't thoroughly test it out. I've had the 55-300 for several years but rarely used it.

So I view all of them as "new to me".
06-12-2018, 03:58 PM - 1 Like   #12
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55-300 and done.
06-12-2018, 04:02 PM   #13
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It's interesting so many people mention the 55-300. I know in many forums people don't like DxO scores, but looking at the 55-300 sharpness field map is scary - only good sharpness is near the 300mm range. Up to 100, the sharpness is not great off center. At the corner almost none of the focal lengths are:

Pentax smc PENTAX DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED mounted on Pentax K-50 : Measurements

I'll probably take it because it's so light. But I would like another lens as as well. It seems most people are suggesting the Series 1 (had to be the heaviest one :-) )

So I'll probably ask: Other than these 2 lenses, what would the next best choice be?
06-12-2018, 04:04 PM   #14
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I would think you'll need only one: The DA 55-300.
06-12-2018, 04:14 PM   #15
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Maybe itís an opportunity to get to know the 55~300mm better?
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