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08-03-2018, 06:26 AM   #1
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DA 300 with TC vs. 150-450

I have seen some older threads on this topic, but not much discussion for a long time...

For those of you that have used both the DA 300 with DA 1.4tc and the 150-450, what are your thoughts?

I've been debating trading towards the zoom, but I'm hesitant because I really like the size of the DA 300 and the option of shooting at f/4 comes in handy at times. The AF is a little slow, but I've managed to make it work for me, even with the teleconverter. I haven't seen any comparisons that showed me a "real world" image quality improvement with the zoom, so the question is... Am I missing anything?

08-03-2018, 06:39 AM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by str8talk83 Quote
you that have used both the DA 300 with DA 1.4tc and the 150-450, what are your thoughts?
I have both. The DA*300 is optically than the DFA150-450 (at the same aperture), the DA*300 delivers better colors, better bokeh and sligthly better sharpness even with the 1.4HD TC.
On the other hand, the DFA150-450 has much better AF motoring, AF features such as AF range limiter and AF preset. For static shots, my DFA150450 nails focus every time, while a lot of my shots aren't at the best possible sharpness with my DA*300 due to AF being slightly off target. So, the very best picture when all conditions are there are from the DA*300, but the DFA150450 is the one that deliver good image much more consistently.
08-03-2018, 07:08 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
I have both. The DA*300 is optically than the DFA150-450 (at the same aperture), the DA*300 delivers better colors, better bokeh and sligthly better sharpness even with the 1.4HD TC.
On the other hand, the DFA150-450 has much better AF motoring, AF features such as AF range limiter and AF preset. For static shots, my DFA150450 nails focus every time, while a lot of my shots aren't at the best possible sharpness with my DA*300 due to AF being slightly off target. So, the very best picture when all conditions are there are from the DA*300, but the DFA150450 is the one that deliver good image much more consistently.
I appreciate your thoughts. I have seen a few situations where my DA 300 seemed to miss focus, mostly when targeting very small birds. I'm not sure if it is an issue with the camera or the lens or possible operator error on my part, but it's there. I have been surprised by how good my DA 300 is with the TC. It feels like a native 420mm f/5.6 really.
08-03-2018, 07:15 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by str8talk83 Quote
I have been surprised by how good my DA 300 is with the TC. It feels like a native 420mm f/5.6 really.
Yes, I observed the same thing.

08-03-2018, 07:23 AM - 1 Like   #5
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I don't own either, but from the images I've seen this is not an IQ issue. This is a zoom vs. prime issue.

I go through the same thing every day when I decide to take out the DA*200 or DA*60-250, Most days, I take the DA*60-250 just for the added flexibility. I'd say at least 90% of the time.

However I have positioned my blind in the back yard relative to tree branches and feeders etc. so that I can pretty much use my Tamron 300 2.8 and 1.4 for medium sized birds and with the F 1.7x AF adapter for small birds. In the blind the numbers are reversed. 90% prime 10% zoom.

So to me, this comes down to " I know exactly how I want to shoot." (prime) or "I"ve never been here before, or I've been there before but I could end up shooting in many different scenarios, like a hike in an outdoor nature reserve.(zoom).

I'd hate to be limited. To my mind, get the more flexible option first. To me that's my 60-250 and 1.4 TC, sadly the 150-450 wasn't available when I was purchasing. Since then I've added the DA* 200 and the Tamron 300 2.8, and use them with both the 1.4 TC and the 1.7x, and in the case of the 200, I can stack the TC.s for a decent 476mm ƒ6.3. I wasn't happy with just the zoom, and I wouldn't have been happy with just the primes.

So, my standard answer to questions like this is...
If you have to ask, you probably need both.
08-03-2018, 07:23 AM   #6
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I tested this a few years ago and decided to let my 150-450 go based on the results. But in time I realized what biz-engineer has pointed out so I reacquired a 150-450. The lens has modern focusing and is just excellent to work with except for the great size and weight. I guess we can't have everything.
08-03-2018, 07:38 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mikesul Quote
I tested this a few years ago and decided to let my 150-450 go based on the results. But in time I realized what biz-engineer has pointed out so I reacquired a 150-450. The lens has modern focusing and is just excellent to work with except for the great size and weight. I guess we can't have everything.
Exactly, the prime getting the better image is dependant on optimum positioning of the prime. If you have to crop 20% you've lost the advantage over a zoom cropped to the right framing before pressing the shutter button. The zoom may produce better IQ in that circumstance. So many tests are based on studio shooting, not real world experience. Circumstances that are optimized for a lens in the studio, with everything under control, often does not translate to the best possible image in the field, where nothing is under control.

Another one of my adages.

Buy your zooms first. Fill in desired focal lengths with primes.

And the corollary. Buy zooms for general use. Buy primes for specific purposes.

For me to buy the 300 ƒ4 before the 150-450, I'd have to have a specific set up like my blind where it would excel. If you don't have that, a more flexible zoom is the better option.

And don't even get me started on the advantages of ƒ2.8 (or faster) primes ahead of ƒ4 primes. That's a discussion most forum members , especially 300 ƒ4 owners don't want to hear. But personally, I wouldn't look at an ƒ4 prime under 600mm. (Because my 300 ƒ2.8 with a 2x TC will give 600 ƒ5.6 so the 600 ƒ4 would give me one more stop, and go to 900mm ƒ5.6 with a TC, so I'd actually be getting some added functionality. over what i have.)

Last edited by normhead; 08-03-2018 at 07:54 AM.
08-03-2018, 08:25 AM   #8
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FWIW, I personally found the DA300 to be inferior in sharpness to the F*300, which is a beautiful prime. I also own the DFA150-450 and though I did not compare directly against the DA300, I suspect it wins in IQ vs the DA.

---------- Post added 08-03-18 at 08:26 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I don't own either, but from the images I've seen this is not an IQ issue. This is a zoom vs. prime issue.

...

So, my standard answer to questions like this is...
If you have to ask, you probably need both.
yup - very good points made here!

---------- Post added 08-03-18 at 08:30 AM ----------

the 300 + 1.4xTC is not going to be comparable to the long end of the DFA150-450, not a chance.
The DFA is unique in that the image degradation at the long end of the range is fairly minimal. Many zooms are good up to a point and then fall off at the end, but I think they designed this zoom to perform best at the long focal lengths.

08-03-2018, 08:46 AM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I don't own either, but from the images I've seen this is not an IQ issue. This is a zoom vs. prime issue.

I go through the same thing every day when I decide to take out the DA*200 or DA*60-250, Most days, I take the DA*60-250 just for the added flexibility. I'd say at least 90% of the time.

However I have positioned my blind in the back yard relative to tree branches and feeders etc. so that I can pretty much use my Tamron 300 2.8 and 1.4 for medium sized birds and with the F 1.7x AF adapter for small birds. In the blind the numbers are reversed. 90% prime 10% zoom.

So to me, this comes down to " I know exactly how I want to shoot." (prime) or "I"ve never been here before, or I've been there before but I could end up shooting in many different scenarios, like a hike in an outdoor nature reserve.(zoom).

I'd hate to be limited. To my mind, get the more flexible option first. To me that's my 60-250 and 1.4 TC, sadly the 150-450 wasn't available when I was purchasing. Since then I've added the DA* 200 and the Tamron 300 2.8, and use them with both the 1.4 TC and the 1.7x, and in the case of the 200, I can stack the TC.s for a decent 476mm ƒ6.3. I wasn't happy with just the zoom, and I wouldn't have been happy with just the primes.

So, my standard answer to questions like this is...
If you have to ask, you probably need both.
Thanks for sharing. I had a trip at corkscrew sanctuary (a local wildlife refuge that is great for birding) and that’s the one time I wished I had the zoom. Some of the animals were very close and I missed a few shots.

---------- Post added 08-03-2018 at 09:51 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Mikesul Quote
I tested this a few years ago and decided to let my 150-450 go based on the results. But in time I realized what biz-engineer has pointed out so I reacquired a 150-450. The lens has modern focusing and is just excellent to work with except for the great size and weight. I guess we can't have everything.
Sounds like I might have to go the route of owning both. I’ll probably just start saving and watch for a good price on the zoom. The only issue is I’m looking at picking up a Sony A7 iii or the next model K3 (when it’s released)in the future so it may be a while until I get any more lenses. First world problems I know...

---------- Post added 08-03-2018 at 09:58 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by mikeSF Quote
FWIW, I personally found the DA300 to be inferior in sharpness to the F*300, which is a beautiful prime. I also own the DFA150-450 and though I did not compare directly against the DA300, I suspect it wins in IQ vs the DA.

---------- Post added 08-03-18 at 08:26 AM ----------



yup - very good points made here!

---------- Post added 08-03-18 at 08:30 AM ----------

the 300 + 1.4xTC is not going to be comparable to the long end of the DFA150-450, not a chance.
The DFA is unique in that the image degradation at the long end of the range is fairly minimal. Many zooms are good up to a point and then fall off at the end, but I think they designed this zoom to perform best at the long focal lengths.
Thatís a wise move by pentax. Long zooms are almost always used more at the long end and softness at longer focal lengths has been a common annoyance across all the manufacturers in the past.

Last edited by str8talk83; 08-03-2018 at 08:52 AM.
08-03-2018, 09:41 AM - 1 Like   #10
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Yes, I use the 300 for convenience and absolute IQ and the 150450 for distance, focus and because it is just fun to use. My old arms disagree
08-03-2018, 09:47 AM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mikesul Quote
Yes, I use the 300 for convenience and absolute IQ and the 150450 for distance, focus and because it is just fun to use. My old arms disagree
The weight difference is substantial. After shooting mirrorless for a few years I notice it a lot more than I used to. Even the DA 300 seems heavy to me now.
08-03-2018, 11:37 AM   #12
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you also might want to consider the sigma 100-400 f4. Excellent lens and works well with the teleconverter. Only issue is the exif doesn't pick up the correct f stop but I consider that very minor...my 2 cents. My husband has a 50-500 bigma and has gotten hooked on the lighter sigma with adapter and haven't seen him use it since he started using my lens
08-03-2018, 11:41 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by pearsaab Quote
you also might want to consider the sigma 100-400 f4. Excellent lens and works well with the teleconverter. Only issue is the exif doesn't pick up the correct f stop but I consider that very minor...my 2 cents. My husband has a 50-500 bigma and has gotten hooked on the lighter sigma with adapter and haven't seen him use it since he started using my lens
Good to know someone beside me has a lens stealing spouse. I was starting to feel lonely. Welcome to my little corner. Tess is also liking my K-1. And she really doesn't like the K-3, but that's fine, most days I'm a K-3 shooter, so I can live with that.
08-03-2018, 11:45 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Good to know someone beside me has a lens stealing spouse. I was starting to feel lonely. Welcome to my little corner. Tess is also liking my K-1. And she really doesn't like the K-3, but that's fine, most days I'm a K-3 shooter, so I can live with that.
I guess it is my fault for getting him hooked on pentax

08-03-2018, 11:49 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by pearsaab Quote
I guess it is my fault for getting him hooked on pentax

I'm actually quite happy we can share stuff. When I buy something i can always think "well Tess might like it too." Then if she doesn't I just think "Well I'll just put it in my lens storage space. It's her loss not mine."

But I ended up buying the FA 50 macro, Sigma 70 macro and DFA 100 macro WR after she took my Tamron 90. I just can't bring myself to buy the same lens twice when there are so many I don't own, so even though I probably just wanted the Tammy, I had to look for a unique (to us) lens I'd be happy with.

It ended up being the DFA 100 2.8 macro WR. But those other lenses come in handy from time to time. The 50 when I want increased DoF in macro , and the Sigma is a great portrait lens. There are no bad lenses, just people who want more (or less) than what the lens in question has to offer.

Last edited by normhead; 08-03-2018 at 11:55 AM.
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