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04-13-2009, 03:06 PM   #1
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DA* 300 vs Tamron 300/2.8 vs ?

I've been considering to buy a new tele this year. Currently I'm using my Tokina AT-X AF 400 for birding and whatever else that require long reach. I also have a SMC Takumar 300/4 that unfortunately rarely ever gets used.

My main candidates would be the DA* 300 and a manual focus Tamron Adaptall 300/2.8 I already own a PKA adaptall mount that would essentially make the Tamron into an A-series lens. Both would probably cost just about the same online.

To me this really is a tough choice. I would love to have the speed of a 2.8, both for low light birding in the winter season and for combining the lens with teleconverters. On the other hand the DA* gives me autofocus, excellent image quality and a much smaller lens to drag along. I'd love to have the FA* 300/2.8, but that seems to cost more arms and legs than I'm willing to let go of.

Does anyone have any experience with a 300/4 or 300/4.5 vs a 300/2.8 ? In particular does anyone have an opinion of the adaptall 300/2.8 image quality vs for instance the FA* 300/28 ?

04-13-2009, 03:18 PM   #2
Lowell Goudge's Avatar

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you should dust off the 300 F4 and get a 1.7x AF TC.

the quality is pretty good

I also looked at the tamron 300 F2.8 and aside from the extra fstop, found it has just as much PF as the 300 F4 and couldn't justify the expense for something that was no sharper.

Last edited by Lowell Goudge; 04-13-2009 at 03:25 PM.
04-13-2009, 03:49 PM   #3
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DA* 300 f4

I only have experience of the DA* 300 f4.0 , and my experience is that it is a cracker of a lens.

04-13-2009, 04:22 PM   #4
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Very nice tiger Peter
The DA*300mm is excellent, I had a newr tamron 360b 300mm f2.8 and it was very nice but some pf wide open and fringing with my 1.7x afa, it was excellent with the adaptall 1.4x tc. The 1.7x works great with the DA so if you get one to try on your old lens you can still use it if you get the DA. The FA 300 f2.8 is very nice, but alot of money. I paid 3k for mine and had to get the focus adjusted. I think some of the old film lens designs are real sensitive to focus adjustment on digital. I'd get the DA* over the tamron because at f4 I'm pretty sure the DA was as good or better and autofocus is really nice to have. I wish we would hear something on the teleconverter pentax was supposed to be working on.

04-14-2009, 05:47 AM   #5
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I'd sell the tokina and takumar and pick up the da*300 or possibly the sigma 100-300 (and a tc if you need the reach). I have the f*300 and it is a great lens. I'd probably keep it even if I managed to get the fa*300 f2.8 (its a lot of weight for a hiking lens).
04-14-2009, 12:00 PM   #6
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I had the K 300mm f4 but to be honest it's not in the same league as the other big lenses.

These are all hand held

Pentax A* 300mm f2.8

Pentax A* 300mm f2.8 and 2X-L Teleconverter

Sigma 50-500mm Bigma

Last edited by Mike.P; 10-14-2009 at 02:06 PM.
04-28-2009, 04:10 PM   #7
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Original Poster
Thanks for all your comments guys!

After a lot of thinking I finally decided to go for the DA* 300. Right now I'm very happy that I did. It's an amazing lens! In fact it felt heavier than I'd expected when I first picked it up, and I'm pretty sure an f2.8 lens would be a lot more hassle to drag along.

It's incredibly sharp and contrasty, there is almost too much contrast at times. It was definitely worth its price tag. After just two days of ownership I'd say it's a worthy partner for my DA limiteds.

A few handheld tests has showed me that the Tokina is (surprisingly?) not that far behind in sharpness, but has less contrast. I'd say the DA* 300 has about the same sharpness at f4.5 that the Tokina get at f8

There are a couple of cropped shots of a sparrow outside my house available at my flickr account:

Sparrow on fence on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Sparrow on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

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