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05-23-2020, 09:59 AM   #1
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Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE vs Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 Apo DG

Hello all. New member but I've been lurking for ages.

I just upgraded my K200D to KP and I am now considering if I should upgrade my old Sigma 70-300 to the Pentax 55-300.

Has anyone compared those two? Pros and cons?

I'm not too keen on spending more than the price of the 55-300 at the moment. I know there are way better options in the 700 and above price range, but those are currently not an option.

Also, the 300mm is not an absolute maximum, so if there are other options with more (or maybe even less) reach, I am interested in them as well. Although I appreciate the WR feature of Pentax.

Thanks for reading.

05-23-2020, 12:00 PM   #2
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Coming out of the shadows, eh? Welcome to the light! I've never used a K200D, but the KP is fabulous. You may want to consider getting Yvon Bourque's comprehensive Pentax KP guidebook. It makes a great companion to the Pentax user manual, and has extra info and tips. Well worth the $19. Go to the donations page and scroll down until you see its listing. PentaxForums.com PayPal Donations

Have you read the user reviews of these lenses?
Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 APO DG Macro Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database
HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE Reviews - DA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

As you may have noticed, PF members have posted many outstanding images taken with the 55-300 PLM. I have never owned either lens. Based on the reviews though, if you can afford it I think you'll find the Pentax is a significant upgrade from the Sigma.

Enjoy your KP! I think the 55-300 PLM would be an excellent companion.

Last edited by Apet-Sure; 05-23-2020 at 12:31 PM.
05-23-2020, 12:17 PM   #3
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When, over a decade ago, I was looking for 70-300 "'ish" zoom for my Samsung GX10 (AKA K10-D!) and I compared the non-APO version of the Sigma with the original version of the Pentax 55-300 at the then local (but now sadly long gone) branch of SRS Microsystems. Frankly, there was NO comparison - the Pentax was lighter AND sharper, and so that's what I used for a long time (but only occasionally after I realised how slow and uncertain it was to focus!), until a couple of years ago when I bought the PLM version for use with the K30/"K-50" (see my signature).

The latter lens "knocks spots off" the original 55-300 version in pretty much every respect, especially now on the K-70, and thus also any old-style Sigma 70-300 would not really "stand a chance" in a back-to-back comparison. Don't have a KP, but I suspect the same would be true.

PS: see the thread on the PLM that I started over a year ago, and I am sure you will find some examples of what it is capable on the KP

Last edited by jeallen01; 05-23-2020 at 12:37 PM.
05-23-2020, 12:38 PM - 8 Likes   #4
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K-5 and Sigma 70-300..


K-3 and DA 55-300 PLM


There is absolutely no comparison, based on my copies of these lenses. This image taken a few days ago (May 18). I had my choice of the DA*60-250, DA* 200, Tamron 300 2.8, F 70-210, in good light, the DA 55-300 is right up there with them. I do leave it home on over cast days or in low light situations.

Even with the HD DA 1.4 TC on mine produces acceptable images, as long as you have enough light.


The best thing about the DA 55-300 PLM, when you do decide if you do, you won't be throwing out your images when you get a faster lens. Any image you get will stand up, no matter what else you get. Your problem will come from when you don't have a fast enough aperture to actually get the image in the first place.


I even use it (carefully to avoid vignetting) on my K-1.

it


Last edited by normhead; 05-23-2020 at 02:53 PM.
05-24-2020, 04:58 AM   #5
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Great shots Norm. I especially like the one with the blue jay. It illustrates what a nice bokeh the 55-300 PLM is capable of. Do you have a rule of thumb use of ISO with that lens?
05-24-2020, 05:07 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by am1wayfarer Quote
Great shots Norm. I especially like the one with the blue jay. It illustrates what a nice bokeh the 55-300 PLM is capable of. Do you have a rule of thumb use of ISO with that lens?
I quite often shoot the lens wide open, but, ƒ8 is my preferred DoF for bird images on all lenses. ISO isn't lens dependant, but, I always try and use an ISO that will give me at least 1/200s, 1/000 is preferable but I'd rather take a chance with motion blur than lose resolution by cranking up the ISO.

I don't have a K-P and 800 ISO is the highest I like to go. Well actually 640, but from what I've seen I'd be happy with at least 1600 ISO on a K-P. But I really would have to work with the camera for a while to determine that definitively.

For the most part, I try and avoid noise reduction. I'd rather shoot at ISO 400 with faster lens at ƒ2.8 or ƒ4, than 1600 with a slower lens.

Last edited by normhead; 05-24-2020 at 06:14 AM.
05-24-2020, 05:23 AM   #7
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Norm know how to get great images with anything he uses! And he proves it with the PLM. I have used the PLM and with Hummingbirds have had to go up to ISO 10K but I normally sit it to 3200 or less, and if bright out, I will set the upper limit at 1600. Since I shoot RAW+ A little bit underexposed is no problem when it is time for post processing with the large dynamic range the KP has. Run your new PLM through its paces when you get it and yuo will end up with a big smile on your face. Enjoy!
05-24-2020, 05:33 AM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by SSGGeezer Quote
Norm know how to get great images with anything he uses! And he proves it with the PLM. I have used the PLM and with Hummingbirds have had to go up to ISO 10K but I normally sit it to 3200 or less, and if bright out, I will set the upper limit at 1600. Since I shoot RAW+ A little bit underexposed is no problem when it is time for post processing with the large dynamic range the KP has. Run your new PLM through its paces when you get it and yuo will end up with a big smile on your face. Enjoy!
Exactly.... its starts off being a joy because of it's size and weight, and it just gets better and better.

I've focussed on the telephoto end, but Tess used it for landscapes on last summer's trips (with her K-5), and it's also a great landscape lens. It did everything she wanted, even though she had to shoot wide open all the time. 6.3 is pretty much the sweet spot for APS-c.


Last edited by normhead; 05-24-2020 at 06:19 AM.
05-24-2020, 08:03 AM   #9
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Thanks Norm
05-24-2020, 01:59 PM   #10
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Any time...
06-01-2020, 08:51 AM   #11
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Thank you for all the comments and sample pictures. Encouraged by you all, I ordered the Pentax lens last Thursday.

I must say, that the quick responses and the professional comments in this forum blew me away! I am glad I joined the forum.
06-01-2020, 07:34 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by tsode Quote
Thank you for all the comments and sample pictures. Encouraged by you all, I ordered the Pentax lens last Thursday.

I must say, that the quick responses and the professional comments in this forum blew me away! I am glad I joined the forum.
Awesome!!! Great purchase! You'll very very happy!
06-28-2020, 03:55 PM   #13
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I recently upgraded from Sigma 70-300 to PLM 55-300. Do not have enough experience width the last one yet, but at least the focusing speed is unbelievable. It definitely makes sense when we are talking birds and dogs.
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