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12-24-2008, 07:10 AM   #1
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Pentax-F 70-210 vs. Pentax-DA 55-300

I'd like an autofocus tele zoom, and I've been looking at these two, this discontinued 70-210 and the new 55-300. I wonder if anyone who has experience with both could compare them for me. I have the A version of the 70-210, and it's very good. The F version seems to sell on eBay for around $140. The new 55-300 looks very appealing as well, but it's $300, got a mediocre review at photozone, and might not work on my film SLR. Actually, that's one of my questions--has anyone tried the 55-300 on film?

Your impressions would be appreciated.

12-24-2008, 07:22 AM   #2
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Oh, and throw the 50-200 into the mix, too, since it's so damned small and inexpensive.
12-24-2008, 08:23 AM   #3
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I currently have the 55-300 and I used to have the F70-210. Both are excellent lenses, but I really wanted the greater FL range of the 55-300, so that's what's currently in my bag. If you really want to use this lens with your film camera, I'd definitely recommend the F70-210, as it is one sharp, well-built lens.

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12-24-2008, 09:12 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by mabelsound Quote
Oh, and throw the 50-200 into the mix, too, since it's so damned small and inexpensive.
Note that it's almost a stop slower. The DA 55-300mm is F4.5 below 210mm.

I wouldn't be too concerned about the lukewarm review on Photozone. The many user testimonials and great photos shown here and on the other site tell a different story. I guess I have a good copy because I tested my 55-300 vs the Tamron 70-300 and the Pentax was sharper. It also shows markedly better colour and contrast. I don't know how the IQ of the 70-200mm compares, but that range would be too both too short and not wide enough for my needs.

12-24-2008, 09:22 AM   #5
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I realize that Photozone has absurdly high standards (though I trusted him on the DA 70mm Limited and wow was he right). I suppose my main question is whether or not the 55-300 vignettes on a film body. My sense is that it shouldn't, given that it's a tele...but I want to be sure. The DA70 doesn't vignette at all, and at some settings even the DA35 macro doesn't.
12-24-2008, 09:29 AM   #6
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https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/31629-da-lens-...ts-thread.html

according to someone here it's fine. although at 55, i am still skeptical.
i have one but forgot to do some tests.
12-24-2008, 09:50 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by mabelsound Quote
I realize that Photozone has absurdly high standards
There are two things that bother me about the test.
1. The lens he measured was not as sharp as the Tamron 70-300 he measured, which is the opposite of what I found. He said the 55-300 copy was decentered. Maybe that caused the mediocre MTF results.
2. Mostly what I like about the lens is the colour and contrast, which don't really factor into the Photozone tests.

EDIT: The PopPhoto test is more representative of the 55-300 IMO. Pentax DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8 - - PopPhotoSeptember 2008

This was shot at 300mm wide open.


Last edited by audiobomber; 12-24-2008 at 11:09 AM.
12-24-2008, 10:06 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by k100d Quote
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/31629-da-lens-...ts-thread.html

according to someone here it's fine. although at 55, i am still skeptical.
i have one but forgot to do some tests.
Fantastic--that's more than good enough for me. I probably will never use it at 55; indeed, I'd be just as happy if it was a 100-300 lens. The Pentax-M 50/1.4 and DA70 have me covered in the "normal" lengths.

That thread is a great resource.

12-24-2008, 11:12 AM   #9
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I don't have the 55-300 yet (I think there may be one under the x-mas tree, we'll see...) but will tell you that the 50-200 vignettes badly on a film body at both short and long ends of the zoom range so I wouldn't assume that because its a telephoto it won't vignette.
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