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10-10-2008, 02:50 PM   #1
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55-300 @ 219 mm or 75-300mm @ 119

Well I'm not too fond of my Tamron 70-300mm lens although I don't plan to get rid of it in a hurry I want to concentrate on investing in a new Pentax lens,

The most anoying thing about the tamron is that the focusing ring is oposite to pentax focusig rings so where on pentax its infinity on the tamron its closeup and naturally the camera will first focus on infinity and then home in but with the tamron it goes closeup making everything so out of focus that I loose a moving subject.

I have found two lenses of interest as i would still like to reach 300 mm, one starts at 55 mm following on perfectly from my kit lens and the other starts at 75mm which I can live with. now the 55-300mm lens is almost double the price of the 75-300mm, is this simply because of the extra zoom range or is it slightly better quality ?

10-10-2008, 05:53 PM   #2
Damn Brit
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You don't say what brand they are. You can't base the value of the lens on how much it zooms.
10-10-2008, 09:00 PM   #3
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I believe when you say Pentax lens you are referring to the DA55-300mm and SMC P-FA J 75-300mm ƒ/4.5-5.8 AL both Pentax lens. The DA 55-300mm is optically superior to the FA 75-300mm and more than worth the difference; SLRGear has a review on the 75-300mm take a read, and its only benefit is its FF (full frame). You will be much better served with the new DA 55-300mm. Thats IMO, from what I see of the tests of the FA and I own the DA55-300mm, also owned the Tamron and Sigma APO. Between those two I can safely say get the DA for sure.

Last edited by jamesm007; 10-10-2008 at 09:01 PM. Reason: added info to make more clear
10-10-2008, 09:49 PM   #4
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I have only heard not-so-good things about the 75-300.
I had a Sigma APO (its aperture blades died). Some people rate the Sigma APO and the Tamron pretty close in IQ. I found the 55-300 is much better than my Sigma (and also better than the Pentax 50-200 which was slightly sharper and contrastier than the Sigma).

10-11-2008, 12:45 AM   #5
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yes it is the pentax lenses I was refering to sorry I meant to put links in:

Pentax smc DA 55-300mm f4.0-5.8 ED Lens - Only 219.00 - SRS Microsystems

Pentax smc FA J 75-300mm f4.5-5.8 AL Lens - Only 119.00 - SRS Microsystems

so I'm better off with the 55-300mm hm I'll have to save my pennies fast then
10-11-2008, 03:03 AM   #6
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If you want to purchase the best "consumer zoom" currently available then the DA55-300 is definitely the one to go for...

I've owned the Tamron 70-300 DI LD & the Sigma 70-300 APO previously, the new Pentax betters them both. It isn't a macro lens however

simon
10-11-2008, 05:04 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by simons-photography Quote
yes it is the pentax lenses I was refering to sorry I meant to put links in:

Pentax smc DA 55-300mm f4.0-5.8 ED Lens - Only 219.00 - SRS Microsystems

Pentax smc FA J 75-300mm f4.5-5.8 AL Lens - Only 119.00 - SRS Microsystems

so I'm better off with the 55-300mm hm I'll have to save my pennies fast then
Forget the FA J, it's one of Pentax's less memorable efforts!

The DA 55-300 on the other hand is one of their best efforts to date, easily worth the extra 100. It's a no-brainer!
10-11-2008, 05:16 AM   #8
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Go for the newer model...

Greater range and newer technology.. The DA is clear winner to me, even if it costs 2x the FAj price.

Cheers

10-11-2008, 02:15 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by simons-photography Quote
yes it is the pentax lenses I was refering to sorry I meant to put links in:

Pentax smc DA 55-300mm f4.0-5.8 ED Lens - Only 219.00 - SRS Microsystems

Pentax smc FA J 75-300mm f4.5-5.8 AL Lens - Only 119.00 - SRS Microsystems

so I'm better off with the 55-300mm hm I'll have to save my pennies fast then
Good choice, but why fast, take your time and save for the DA 55-300mm you will be very happy. In the mean time you are well served by the Tamron, and believe it or not if you got the FA 75-300 it would have been a step down from what you have now.
10-11-2008, 03:58 PM   #10
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The DA55-300 is meant to be the best of the consumer grade lenses.

I have a copy of the supposedly infamously horrible FA-J 75-300mm lens (get it when it first bought my K10D with kit lens) ... and I can safely say ... not all of the FA-J's are tarred with the same brush. Mine takes pretty decent images for the price.

If you have the Tamron .. keep it though ... it's a pretty decent lens ... play more with it ... you can get some amazing shots with it.
10-11-2008, 04:51 PM   #11
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Hi Simon,
If you would decide to go for FA-J I can save you another 25!
Here's the link:
Pentax 75-300mm F4.5-5.8 SMCP-FA J AF Zoom Lens 94 - Black
they are reliable, I bought my DA40 and two sigma lenses from them
and btw, you have 3rd option:
Pentax FA 80-320

BR
Peter
10-12-2008, 12:27 AM   #12
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thanks peter but I think I will stick with the 55-300 it sounds like a much better lens and would mean I would have full coverage from 18-300 mm (equiv. to 27-450 in 135 format)

no I won't get rid of the tamron in a hurry as it can do macro its fine for that for the minuit its just noot a good "on the go" lens and I don't think I'd get anything worthwhile for it
10-12-2008, 03:10 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Damn Brit Quote
You don't say what brand they are. You can't base the value of the lens on how much it zooms.
That's a strange remark because the ONLY advantage of a zoom over a prime IS its zoom capability. All others things equal a zoom with a larger range has more value than an otherwise equivalent zoom with less range. A 55-75/2.8 zoom will not sell very well.

The 55 end of the 55-300 is very attractive when you can not move backwards and the difference with 70mm is substantial.

Note that in some cases a tele zoom is used just as a cheap alternative for a long tele prime (always at 300mm), but I assume that is not the intended usage here.
10-12-2008, 04:07 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by tomtor Quote
That's a strange remark because the ONLY advantage of a zoom over a prime IS its zoom capability. All others things equal a zoom with a larger range has more value than an otherwise equivalent zoom with less range. A 55-75/2.8 zoom will not sell very well.

The 55 end of the 55-300 is very attractive when you can not move backwards and the difference with 70mm is substantial.

Note that in some cases a tele zoom is used just as a cheap alternative for a long tele prime (always at 300mm), but I assume that is not the intended usage here.
Sorry, I don't think it's a strange remark at all. Firstly there was no mention of primes, the discussion was about the relative values of these two tele zooms. There is more than one factor to consider when buying a lens, you must concede that.
Secondly all things are not equal between these two lenses, zoom range aside, design, IQ, which brings me back to there being more than one factor to consider.
Thirdly, these are not indoor lenses, they probably don't start giving good images until about F8 and you can't expect them to be much good wide open. So that puts the 55-300 at about a 70mm.
I agree with you about the long end, it's nice to have it but in all honesty, it's not something that you or I would probably use in the real world. I suspect that's true of most people, if you are going to be using that kind of focal length a lot, you're probably going to want something faster.
Maybe a different way to go for OP would be to forget these two and invest in the DA 18-250 or even the Tamron 18-250, more expensive but much better lenses.
The ultimate solution is probably the DA 50-135 but that's really expensive but it also achieves near prime quality through it's range. Which defeats your suggestion that a zoom has only one advantage over primes. I know it's only a few, but not too long ago there were no zooms that could rival a prime as far as I'm aware.
10-12-2008, 04:25 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Damn Brit Quote
Which defeats your suggestion that a zoom has only one advantage over primes. I know it's only a few, but not too long ago there were no zooms that could rival a prime as far as I'm aware.
Still not sure what you mean. The only advantage of a quality zoom over a quality prime is just that it can zoom. I also cannot place your last sentence in the context of my reply.

In your original post you said that you cannot judge lenses on the amount that they zoom. What I missed is the word "just" or "only".

I said that for zoom lenses (all other things equal), more zoom is more value. It is clear that zoom factor is not the only important factor when evaluating zoom lenses.
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