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07-21-2018, 04:10 AM   #1
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Which zoom for the lunar eclipse?

Hi all, I am think of upgrading my zoom before lunar eclipse on July 27th. At the moment I use a old Sigma 28-300 that needs to be upgraded. I want to get one of the Pentax 55-300 zooms but am not sure which one to go for. Is it worth spending extra for the HD version or will one of the cheaper versions suffice? How is the DA-L version?? I will be buying second hand. Thanks!


Last edited by Alnjpn; 07-21-2018 at 04:41 AM.
07-21-2018, 04:22 AM   #2
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Optically the DA-L is the same as the DA. The HD version just has different coatings, but I doubt that it would make a significant difference for you. The newer PLM lens is completely different with a much faster auto focus system.
07-21-2018, 04:28 AM   #3
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neither - if you are buying a lens with moons shots in mind, you want a long, quality prime... think F* or FA* 300, or go modern with a DA* 300...

however - if you are indeed buying a consumer 300mm zoom, the DA L is difficult to beat...
07-21-2018, 04:34 AM - 3 Likes   #4
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Perhaps a Little short but is does the job. The Takumar 200mm F3.5. It is spot on at infinity and sharp.

Shot hand held:


07-21-2018, 04:49 AM   #5
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I have the 50-300 DA-L and the image quality is good, but the body-driven focus is very loud. Also, the DA-L does not have Quick-Shift focus, which can be very annoying if you are used to having it on other Pentax lenses. I bought it used and don’t use it often, so I live with it. If I were birding or doing lots of sports, I would probably go for the PLM WR version... (which happens to be on sale at B&H). The DA (no L) and the non-SLM WR version do have quick-shift focus. I also don’t think the DA-L comes with a hood, but you can buy the DA one and it fits.
07-21-2018, 06:17 AM   #6
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Correct, no hood with the DA-L, and it has a plastic mount.
07-21-2018, 07:00 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone. I have just found a DA - L version for the equivalent of 60 US dollars on line. I am not really a zoom person - only for events like this so I am going to pick this up first and see how it goes. Picked up a lens hood as well.
Thanks again!
07-21-2018, 03:07 PM   #8
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Find some threads on previous lunar eclipses and there should be 55-300 shots. Look for ones with EXIF and you'll see what settings you can try. The moon gets really dark so don't hesitate to raise ISO a lot. I think the 55-300 is a good choice because although you might get more moon detail with a prime lens, the eclipse might offer other shots. You can take a 55mm shot and get a field of stars along with the moon.

07-21-2018, 03:19 PM   #9
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Any of the 55-300 Pentax lenses should work well for this. I myself cannot take a good image of the moon to save my life but have gotten nice astro images to play with. That sounds like a very good deal on the DA-L for 60.00. Post some images from it after the eclipse!
07-21-2018, 03:36 PM   #10
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I agree with Just1MoreDave; if you have not taken lunar eclipse shots before, be careful with your settings. I took a bunch of shots and my shutter speed was too slow so the moon was out of focus. They looked good on the camera LCD, but when I looked at them on the computer, they were fuzzy. The moon moves faster than the stars, so you need a shutter speed of about 1/100th of a second to “freeze” it and get good detail of the moon’s surface. This is easy to do with a full moon, but there is a lot less light available during the eclipse.
07-21-2018, 05:27 PM - 1 Like   #11
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A reminder that the Total Lunar Eclipse of July27/28 is not visible to everybody. This one is mainly for S.America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia.

https://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/LEplot/LEplot2001/LE2018Jul27T.pdf
07-22-2018, 01:12 AM   #12
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You could also go with a used 300mm or 400mm prime.
07-22-2018, 01:48 AM   #13
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The size of the moon image is roughly 1mm in diameter per 100mm of focal length eg a 1000mm focal length lens will produce an image of the moon roughly 10mm in diameter.
07-24-2018, 04:07 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by pixelsaurus Quote
A reminder that the Total Lunar Eclipse of July27/28 is not visible to everybody. This one is mainly for S.America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia.

https://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/LEplot/LEplot2001/LE2018Jul27T.pdf
Thanks for the lowdown. I will be peering at the moon through my 400mm and 1.4x teleconverter on Friday evening. It is winter in the southern hemisphere. Might be cold but there should not be clouds to spoil the show.
07-24-2018, 04:14 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wasp Quote
Might be cold but there should not be clouds to spoil the show.
I'm in NZ. It will probably rain.
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