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07-27-2018, 10:22 AM   #1
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Which long lens do you recommend?

Right now I'm using a Pentax K-3 with a Pentax-DA* 16-50mm F2.8 and I recently acquired a Pentax-DA* 50-135mm F2.8.

I also use a Pentax-DA L 55-300mm F4-5.8. As I just spent some dough on the 50-135, I want to find out if there's a better lens out there than the DA L 55-300mm that I can move to for under $300. Ones I've looked at are the Pentax HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8 ED WR Lens and several Sigma lenses (70-300mm, 100-300mm, 135-400mm). I trying to get as good a birding lens as I can get now until I can afford the $800-1200 to get a good used long lens.

07-27-2018, 10:48 AM   #2
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The current HD 55-300 PLM would be my choice, and it’s only $370 on B&H currently.
07-27-2018, 12:32 PM   #3
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The DA 55-300 is optically the same as the DA L 55-300. You pay the extra to get HD coating, a metal bayonet and quick-shift focus override, but you don't get any sharper. The PLM version is a newer design.
07-27-2018, 12:51 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by tncowdaddy Quote
Right now I'm using a Pentax K-3 with a Pentax-DA* 16-50mm F2.8 and I recently acquired a Pentax-DA* 50-135mm F2.8.

I also use a Pentax-DA L 55-300mm F4-5.8. As I just spent some dough on the 50-135, I want to find out if there's a better lens out there than the DA L 55-300mm that I can move to for under $300. Ones I've looked at are the Pentax HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8 ED WR Lens and several Sigma lenses (70-300mm, 100-300mm, 135-400mm). I trying to get as good a birding lens as I can get now until I can afford the $800-1200 to get a good used long lens.
I would recommend you consider spending some money and rent some lenses so you can do your own testing before buying anything

I have successfully used LensRentals.com which I believe is from Cordova TN

there are other companies but I haven't used them

then if you are interested in an " experienced " lens check out the listings by forum members in the market place " buy/sell "

_______________________

have you seen the section of the forum which has the reviews of lenses - " Lenses "

good luck

07-27-2018, 12:59 PM   #5
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You won't find a better lens than the 55-300 in your price range. The HD isn't a big enough upgrade to spend money on, the PLM is just above your price range.

The Tamron 1.4x Pz-AF MC4 teleconverter might be worth the investment until you can afford something else, or just save your money...
07-27-2018, 01:04 PM - 1 Like   #6
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I think the 55-300 is probably the "best" you'll be able to do. The next jump up is the 150-450 which costs much more money. Perhaps you would be best served saving that $300 and applying to the 150-450 later. The 150-450 is a stellar lens, worth every penny and pound.


You could also try a 1.4x or 2.0x tele-converter with your current setup ... but a good one of those may end up costing you the same $300 + a dip in image quality. You might as well just crop your images.


Alternatively, you could jump to u4/3. A used Lumix 100-300 lens is about $350 + a used Olympus M5 or M10 is about $300. That $750 will give you an equivalent focal length of 600mm in full frame terms. I have that lens and it's a pretty good setup. It won't match the 150-450 but it also doesn't cost the same.
07-27-2018, 01:12 PM   #7
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Save a little more and get a used da*300 with a dead sdm, then convert it to screwdrive.
07-27-2018, 02:28 PM   #8
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Telephoto means bigger glass. Almost by definition, there is no cheap good telephoto. But my DA 55-300 PLM is pretty darn good. When weight is an issue I take it instead of my heavier lenses and don't see much drop off. I wouldn't however use it with a TC. It's ƒ6.3 in the long end and locking focus in lower light is going to be an issue.

07-27-2018, 02:43 PM   #9
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Have you considered manual focus lenses? My 30 year old SMC Pentax A 400mm f/5.6 has served my well with both film and digital. You should be able to find one within your budget.
07-27-2018, 03:18 PM   #10
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The 55-300 does a good job for what it is. I am also looking to upgrade to maybe the DA* 300 since i often photograph wildlife and find myself quite often at that focal length but don't want something that would be too large and heavy. I first put much effort into getting everything i could out of the 55-300, on a tripod whenever possible with 2 second timer and stopping down a little really helps at the long end. I find that longer lenses require attention to detail to get out of them what they are capable of.
07-27-2018, 04:43 PM - 1 Like   #11
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I'd save up for a good 300mm prime (F*, FA*, or DA* 300mm) and not replace that zoom with another zoom that will just frustrate you at 300mm...
07-27-2018, 05:27 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by pepperberry farm Quote
I'd save up for a good 300mm prime (F*, FA*, or DA* 300mm) and not replace that zoom with another zoom that will just frustrate you at 300mm...
If you can get a used 300mm, that's what you really want for birding.
07-27-2018, 05:28 PM - 1 Like   #13
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As others have said, the 55-300 is a very good lens for beginner photography. Since you have a K-3 I would recommend the PLM version especially if you intend to use it for photographing birds. I have had the DA 55-300 version and sold it, I went for the newer WR version but still found the autofocus too slow and too noisy for photographing birds. The PLM version which I bought 2 years ago gives much faster and completely silent autofocus which has helped me considerably in bird/wildlife photography. If you can handle the extra cost for the PLM version, it is well worth it. I was considering this same question two years ago and my birding kit is the 55-300 PLM and last year I added a used DA*300 and the 1.4 TC which ups my reach to 420mm. You can start with the 55-300 and add something else later.
07-27-2018, 05:36 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by tncowdaddy Quote
Right now I'm using a Pentax K-3 with a Pentax-DA* 16-50mm F2.8 and I recently acquired a Pentax-DA* 50-135mm F2.8.

I also use a Pentax-DA L 55-300mm F4-5.8. As I just spent some dough on the 50-135, I want to find out if there's a better lens out there than the DA L 55-300mm that I can move to for under $300. Ones I've looked at are the Pentax HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8 ED WR Lens and several Sigma lenses (70-300mm, 100-300mm, 135-400mm). I trying to get as good a birding lens as I can get now until I can afford the $800-1200 to get a good used long lens.
This one Sigma 100-300mm F4 EX APO DG telephoto zoom lens - PentaxForums.com
07-27-2018, 05:45 PM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Brooke Meyer Quote
Not in the OP's budget.
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