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07-30-2019, 12:36 PM - 4 Likes   #1
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DA* 60-250 vs D-FA 150-450 (SDM vs DC) birds in flight

Just wanted to share my video review/comparison of focusing on birds in flight between the DA* 60-250 and the D-FA 150-450. Not many doing Pentax vids, but I'm one of the few. Hope you enjoy!

I don't have ultra high end lenses. I borrowed these from a very good friend of mine.
I plan on doing more like this but with more economically priced lenses. Comparing screw drive (both short and long throw lenses) vs DC and Sigma HSM. And of course there will be one regarding quality of vintage glass VS modern lens glass.

07-30-2019, 01:23 PM - 2 Likes   #2
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Don't forget to throw in the DA 55-300 PLM.
07-30-2019, 01:33 PM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Don't forget to throw in the DA 55-300 PLM.
I would if I had one to test with. It is on my list to buy, but the house, bills and car maintenance come first
07-30-2019, 01:54 PM - 1 Like   #4
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You are in Bowmanville. I applied for job there once... how long would you need it for?
We will be using ours extensively for the rest of the summer, but we might be able to work something out after things slow down in November or something.

07-30-2019, 02:08 PM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
You are in Bowmanville. I applied for job there once... how long would you need it for?
We will be using ours extensively for the rest of the summer, but we might be able to work something out after things slow down in November or something.
A week at the most to learn the quirks of the lens and then record the video on the weekend (more time available since I work evenings).
I don't like making videos when I'm not versed in what I'm using. Too many already seem to do that and misinformation isn't my style lol.
07-30-2019, 04:01 PM - 1 Like   #6
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Thanks for posting the video... Interesting and enjoyable

I don't own the D FA150-450 (yet ), but I do have the DA*60-250 and the older screw-drive HD DA55-300.

The DA*60-250 is one of my favourite lenses, but it's definitely one of compromises. I love the image quality (both resolution and rendering), and of course the build quality. Focus speed is leisurely, as you point out - but I find that pre-focusing at minimum or infinity depending on the rough distance of the subject helps significantly with initial focus acquisition (something that works with a bunch of other lenses too - especially some Pentax macro lenses). Tracking is OK if large changes in focusing aren't required and sensible depth of field is applied using a suitable aperture setting. The biggest issue for me is the focus breathing, which results in a much wider field of view than expected at shorter distances. If I'm shooting (or likely to shoot) close range subjects with the 60-250, I fit (or at least carry) the HD DA 1.4x rear converter. It pairs beautifully with the lens, such that I see only the tiniest differences in image quality on my 24MP K-3, and it more-or-less offsets the focus breathing issue. Plus, it extends the reach considerably for distant subjects.

Increasingly, though, I find myself using my older screw-drive HD DA55-300. I've always quite liked it, but didn't use it much for some time... yet I've come to realise it really is capable of excellent results, and it's becoming a favourite of mine. For some reason it will sometimes rack back and forth through the entire distance range during initial focus acquisition (rather like the D FA100/2.8 Macro) - but the same approach I use with the 60-250 (i.e. pre-focusing at minimum distance or infinity depending on proximity of subject) makes a huge difference here. After that, it tracks well, albeit more noisily than DC or SDM lenses. And the image quality, whilst a step down from the DA*60-250, is remarkably good. When a slower focal length / aperture combination is viable, I'll admit that I'm coming to favour the HD DA55-300 over the DA*60-250... something I never thought I'd say. It's just so compact and light-weight, but capable of very decent image quality and AF performance (once you work around initial focus acquisition)...

Last edited by BigMackCam; 07-30-2019 at 04:29 PM.
07-30-2019, 04:43 PM - 2 Likes   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
Thanks for posting the video... Interesting and enjoyable

I don't own the D FA150-450 (yet ), but I do have the DA*60-250 and the older screw-drive HD DA55-300.

The DA*60-250 is one of my favourite lenses, but it's definitely one of compromises. I love the image quality (both resolution and rendering), and of course the build quality. Focus speed is leisurely, as you point out - but I find that pre-focusing at minimum or infinity depending on the rough distance of the subject helps significantly with initial focus acquisition (something that works with a bunch of other lenses too - especially some Pentax macro lenses). Tracking is OK if large changes in focusing aren't required and sensible depth of field is applied using a suitable aperture setting. The biggest issue for me is the focus breathing, which results in a much wider field of view than expected at shorter distances. If I'm shooting (or likely to shoot) close range subjects with the 60-250, I fit (or at least carry) the HD DA 1.4x rear converter. It pairs beautifully with the lens, such that I see only the tiniest differences in image quality on my 24MP K-3, and it more-or-less offsets the focus breathing issue. Plus, it extends the reach considerably for distant subjects.

Increasingly, though, I find myself using my older screw-drive HD DA55-300. I've always quite liked it, but didn't use it much for some time... yet I've come to realise it really is capable of excellent results, and it's becoming a favourite of mine. For some reason it will sometimes rack back and forth through the entire distance range during initial focus acquisition (rather like the D FA100/2.8 Macro) - but the same approach I use with the 60-250 (i.e. pre-focusing at minimum distance or infinity depending on proximity of subject) makes a huge difference here. After that, it tracks well, albeit more noisily than DC or SDM lenses. And the image quality, whilst a step down from the DA*60-250, is remarkably good. When a slower focal length / aperture combination is viable, I'll admit that I'm coming to favour the HD DA55-300 over the DA*60-250... something I never thought I'd say. It's just so compact and light-weight, but capable of very decent image quality and AF performance (once you work around initial focus acquisition)...
Same here, I feel guilty about leaving my trusty companion of so many years (the 60-250) home, but the weight and size have become prohibitive.
07-31-2019, 05:31 AM - 1 Like   #8
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Nice video comparison. Thank You! I do not have either lens tested here but I did some informal assessments of my DA* 300 compared to my 55-300 PLM on some laughing gulls in flight at the Chesapeake bay shore areas. My subjects are a smaller and more agile gull species so I was able to make a good informal comparison of autofocus capability. No doubt, the PLM was much better at getting birds in flight than my DA* 300. My DA* 300 autofocus works perfectly fine with absolutely no autofocus issues but it is just not anywhere as fast for locking focus on fast moving targets like birds in flight. It is possible that if I did not have such bright sunny conditions (I was shooting in AV mode with f 8.0 and ISO at 200) the DA* 300 might have been the better performer in poorer lighting conditions

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