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09-18-2008, 09:56 AM   #1
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Telephoto Zoom Conundrum

So, the last lens I really want to complete my DSLR "System" is a telephoto zoom. I'm really stuck on which way to go. I want to be able to shoot sports occasionally (including horse racing and dressage). I want to be able to shoot wildlife as well (big animals, not so much small birds). And I would like it to be good enough for occasional landscape work. I'm worried about lens speed during dusk/dawn wildlife opportunities, but don't know if I need to be. Here's what I'm thinking (I have a K10):

Pentax DA 55-300
Pros: Light/Portable, solid optically, good focal range for sports and wildlife, $
Cons: Slow focus, slow max aperture in low light

Tamron 70-200
Pros: Great IQ, can slap on a 1.4x for max 280/4 or a 2x for 400/5.6, fast 2.8
Cons: Mixed results on focus speed, heavier for hiking/travel, IQ loss with TC?
price double of 55-300

*I have no reason to put the Tamron over the Sigma other than saving $100

Pentax DA* 60-250
Pros: Good range, weather-seal, expected good IQ
Cons: When? Price expected to be high

Sigma 120-400
Pros: Great range, HSM
Cons: When? Loss of IQ at 400mm, would it match Tamron 70-200 with 2x TC?
Heavy

Couple of other notes: I don't plan to make money off of my wildlife or sports pics, but I do like to print my photos, up to 16x20 (occasionally) and 11x14 (often). So, what do you folks think?

Todd


Last edited by gnaztee; 09-18-2008 at 10:24 AM. Reason: fixed repeated word
09-18-2008, 12:00 PM   #2
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Don't rule out longish prime lens, they usually have at least a one, two stop or more advantage over zooms, which would help in low light situations and solves any focusing issues.

You still have a zoom element you could use as well, its either jeep or legs or a combo of both. I appreciate this is not always possible due to oceans and hungry big cats and crocodiles and such.

It is often surprising what can be achieved with the humble fast prime.
09-18-2008, 12:06 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply! I don't have anything against primes, but in terms of price (unless I go manual focus, which I don't want to do) the similar zooms are less expensive. For example, the Tamron 70-200 seems to rate as high optically as the DA* 200, and it's $200 cheaper. The DA* 300 is ideal, but $1100? I can't swing that much dough. So, I think I'll have to stay with zooms on this one.

Todd
09-18-2008, 12:35 PM   #4
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To me the best all-around zooms are the PTX/TAMRON 18-250s; with either you get range, very acceptable IQ and walk-around size and weight. A very good alternative is the PTX 55-300 - less range and less money.......

09-18-2008, 02:21 PM   #5
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I agree with kerrowdown on this one. Fast prime would/could solve your problem. Something like DA*200 or 300 would be great lens whatever you need that range for...
BR
09-18-2008, 02:57 PM   #6
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It seems by your description of your needs that most of the shooting will be outdoors.

I would suggest the 55-300 for value and good quality

I have this Lens and use it for animal and bird shoots. IQ is good and you can bump up ISO in lower light. I also use it for sports shoots.


Why not chek the threads on this lens and read for yourself what other members are using it for and their results


https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/36155-da-55-30...pressions.html


Neil
09-18-2008, 05:09 PM   #7
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Ditto Neil's recommendation of the 55-300. I've been impressed with this lens ever since I've had it and since having some 8x10s printed out that were taken with this lens, I'm all the more impressed with it. If the light's good, you can even use a TC with it.

Heather
09-18-2008, 07:19 PM   #8
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you have left out the sigma 70-200 F2.8 in this discussion.

you can go used, and I have had great results with the origonal APO 70-200 F2.8 EX, both on its own or with the sigma 1.4x and 2X TCs, or you can get the new HSM lens, and wait for a Kaf2 teleconverter from sigma.

09-18-2008, 07:37 PM   #9
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The 55-300 is on my list as an option

QuoteOriginally posted by John Kovarik Quote
To me the best all-around zooms are the PTX/TAMRON 18-250s; with either you get range, very acceptable IQ and walk-around size and weight. A very good alternative is the PTX 55-300 - less range and less money.......
I don't really need the range of the 18-250 as I have the very good DA 12-24, DA 35 and Tamron 28-75. Thanks!
09-18-2008, 07:38 PM   #10
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See...

QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
I agree with kerrowdown on this one. Fast prime would/could solve your problem. Something like DA*200 or 300 would be great lens whatever you need that range for...
BR
...my response to Kerrowdown. I like the idea of primes, but more money than the zooms so they don't make sense for me right now. Thanks!
09-18-2008, 07:42 PM   #11
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Believe me...

QuoteOriginally posted by nulla Quote
It seems by your description of your needs that most of the shooting will be outdoors.

I would suggest the 55-300 for value and good quality

I have this Lens and use it for animal and bird shoots. IQ is good and you can bump up ISO in lower light. I also use it for sports shoots.


Why not chek the threads on this lens and read for yourself what other members are using it for and their results


https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/36155-da-55-30...pressions.html

Neil

...I've read everything on here about the 55-300. I only hesitate for two reasons: 1) I feel like I have pro-grade (optically) lenses with the DAs 12-24 and 35 and the Tamron 28-75, so I'm not sure I want to "settle" (no offense to anyone) on consumer-grade for the last lens in my kit; 2) I worry about not having the speed when I need it. However, looking around the web at "pro" wildlife photos, they are often at f4-5.6 with their f2.8 lenses, so the idea that most wildlife is out during darker hours is true, but not necessarily limiting.
09-18-2008, 07:44 PM   #12
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You're right

QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
you have left out the sigma 70-200 F2.8 in this discussion.

you can go used, and I have had great results with the origonal APO 70-200 F2.8 EX, both on its own or with the sigma 1.4x and 2X TCs, or you can get the new HSM lens, and wait for a Kaf2 teleconverter from sigma.
I had eliminated the new Sigma based on price, but the old one has a pretty good reputation, doesn't it? I'll have to look into this too. Thanks!
09-18-2008, 09:32 PM   #13
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how about the Sigma 100-300 F4
09-19-2008, 12:18 AM   #14
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QuoteQuote:
...I've read everything on here about the 55-300. I only hesitate for two reasons: 1) I feel like I have pro-grade (optically) lenses with the DAs 12-24 and 35 and the Tamron 28-75, so I'm not sure I want to "settle" (no offense to anyone) on consumer-grade for the last lens in my kit; 2) I worry about not having the speed when I need it. However, looking around the web at "pro" wildlife photos, they are often at f4-5.6 with their f2.8 lenses, so the idea that most wildlife is out during darker hours is true, but not necessarily limiting.


Maybe you should let us know which lenses you have put a cross though.



Neil
09-19-2008, 08:43 AM   #15
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Sure

QuoteOriginally posted by nulla Quote
Maybe you should let us know which lenses you have put a cross though.



Neil
Actually, with today's news, I think I'll eliminate the DA* 60-250 as too far away and too expensive for what I want. So here are the lenses that are too expensive for me:

DA* 200
DA* 300
Sigma 100-300
Bigma and new 150-500

Basically, I want to stay at or under the $800 mark. I would definitely take another look at the DA* 200 if there are holiday rebates of $100 or so.

Todd
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