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01-01-2009, 06:05 AM   #1
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What whould be best 300mm lens for a $400?

Can anyone tell me, I can't to decide, what can I buy for a $400 with best optical quality and minimum PF for 300mm lens?
Maybe Pentax K300/4? or maybe some of new zooms like a 55-300? or what? any advice....

01-01-2009, 06:17 AM   #2
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I've owned the K300mmf4 lens and it's a very good lens. I sold it to buy an FA*300mm f4.5 which is a better lens.

I liked it and it was sharp, well built with excellent colour but manual everything wasn't what I wanted.

I don't own the DA55-300mm lens but have tested one briefly. It's a very good lens. Owners like it a lot and the reviews are good. Pentax Lens Review Database - 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED I think you will like it and it fits the budget.

Your other option (and less money) are either the Sigma 70-300mm or the Tamron 70-300mm. Both nice lenses for generally under $200. The Sigma is reported to be a bit soft from 200-300mm but good CA/PF control and the Tamron is sharper past 200mm but shows more PF(purple fringing). So it's a bit of a toss up. I'd take the Tamron for sharpness and just be careful shooting with it or do corrections in software.

The cheaper option might be the better one since the lens you really want is the DA*300mm f4. Simply a superior lens in every respect.

There is one school of thought (that I agree with) that says, don't spend money on a lens you'll replace when you should just save for the lens you want. The flip side is you can always resell the first lens when it's time to get the next one. Consider the selling loss a "rental" fee.
01-01-2009, 06:50 AM   #3
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I think prime lens, ever old, should be better then zooms. Isn't it?
In this case, can you tell what about CA/PF control on K300/4, it cost not so much and prime. Of course, manual everything not so good, but I want excelent image quality and have no enought money to buy DA*300.

Maybe any other old prime lens in $400 budget can I buy?
01-01-2009, 07:14 AM   #4
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Yes the K300mm is the better choice in terms of image quality. It's sharp and very good colour. It will show a little CA or PF in some situations (but not bad) because it does not have the same lens coatings as the newer DA series lenses.

The sensor in a digital camera is more reflective than film was. So the coatings on the new lenses has been upgraded to take that into account.

Have a look at the reviews here: Pentax Lens Review Database - 300mm F4

I can't think of any other 300mm lens that fits your budget that would be better. Even the Sigma 400mm APO is not as good as the Pentax K300mm.

But the DA55-300mm is still a very good lens. There are reviews of it here and not to discount any one else's opinion but Richard Day has tested this lens and liked it quite a bit. Based on that alone, I would choose the DA55-300mm over the K300mm

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/32099-lba-da-5...x-tc-test.html

Pentax Lens Review Database - 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED

01-01-2009, 07:19 AM   #5
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Not sure of the availablity, but if you can find a Sigma af 300 F4, consider it.

I have one, and it does a very good job.

Dave
01-01-2009, 08:49 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Zack Quote
Yes the K300mm is the better choice in terms of image quality. It's sharp and very good colour. It will show a little CA or PF in some situations (but not bad) because it does not have the same lens coatings as the newer DA series lenses.

The sensor in a digital camera is more reflective than film was. So the coatings on the new lenses has been upgraded to take that into account.
The K300 will show a little CA or PF in high contrast situations for optical design reasons unrelated to the coating on the rear optical surface, but it's a good lens.

Unfortunately, good long glass is going to be expensive, just like the K300 was in its day. If the OP is on a budget, perhaps a good teleconverter might be an option. If $400 isn't a hard limit, a very nice midrange lens between the K300 and F/FA 300 is the M*/A* 300, which IMO is a solid upgrade from the K300.
01-01-2009, 10:14 AM   #7
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nixite,

Peter et al have pretty well covered the issue. In the price range noted the K 300 is the only choice I'm aware of. I have it, like it and use it a lot. There are some CA and PF issues to be sure but this can be expected in a 30 year old plus design. Within its limits it can still deliver some great images if you don't mind working in fully manual mode.

Cheers,

Tom G
01-01-2009, 12:17 PM   #8
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If you are willing to go longer, the Tokina 400mm f/5.6 SD is a very good lens, and you can find it for much less than $400 with a P/KA mount (which I find very useful). It is manual focus, of course.

01-01-2009, 01:43 PM   #9
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A Pentax K-mount manual Sigma 300mm APO 1:4 is for sale on eBay today. The current bid is $75.
Sigma 300mm F4.0 APO for Pentax - Manual Focus - eBay (item 120354118428 end time Jan-02-09 17:40:25 PST)

This ref says it is a good lens:
Sigma 300mm f/4 APO Tele Macro Reviews
01-01-2009, 02:02 PM   #10
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Da 55-300

... it's paired to a K20D and is my 'walk-around' lens for wildlife photography. It's extremely versatile. You should be able to get one for around U$300-350. If you go that route, I'll be very surprised, if you are disappointed.

Cheers...
01-01-2009, 04:48 PM   #11
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I rarely see anyone mentioning the Tamron 28 - 300mm Macro f3.5 - 6.3 lens, but I've had one with my K10D for about a year, and find it VERY versatile and effective. It's fast focusing, has little or no CA, and is very sharp for most of my shots. The only place I still am not certain it's equally sharp is at the outer (300mm) end, but that may not be everyone's experience. I paid $389 for it new. Give it a look.

Olin
01-01-2009, 05:27 PM   #12
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I very much like the DA 55-300mm and I am a picky bastard. I am sure I will like it even more when my K20D arrives.
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