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07-10-2009, 07:31 AM   #1
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pentax zoom

I need to get a zoom lens and I am new at this so any help will be appreciated. I am looking at the pentax 55-300mm zoom and comparing to tamron, sigma and others... brand new, used, obviously i am concerned with price but currently only have the 18-55 lens I bought with the camera so I want to get the most I can for now, since it may be a while before I get another lens.
I am very happy with the 18-55mm, but love taking landscape, sky or otherwise photo's from a distance. having a choice of a Pentax brand compared to xxx brand are they that much better?

07-10-2009, 07:35 AM   #2
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Hi and welcome.
The Pentax 55-300 is worth the extra price compared to the Sigma and Tamron 70-300 varieties. Sharper, better contrast and colour rendition, and quite compact and transportable.

To get any better quality, you'd be looking at a significant price jump to the Sigma and Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 monsters, which doesn't sound like what you're looking for.

So yes, the 55-300 is definitely the pick of the bunch, although used well and in the right conditions, the Tamron 70-300 can also produce great images.

All the best in that.
07-10-2009, 07:49 AM   #3
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Welcome to PF.com!

Pentax vs other brand lenses is something that comes up quite a bit here. Usually it boils down to a few things:
  • Your budget
  • Lens range (if zoom)
  • Your understanding of the trade-offs involved with each lens

1. Budget - Some lenses are obviously more expensive than others because of optical performance, features etc. So when you compare Pentax vs. any brands you will need to keep that in mind. DA Star lenses are a good example of this.

2. Lens range - for your zoom you will need to keep in mind what you are looking to cover. If you are okay with the kit and are okay with a two lens solution the 55-300 is a great addition to your kit. If you want a single lens solution then the 18-250 might be what you are looking for.

3. However each one of those lenses have minor things to take into consideration when shooting. The lens database here and numerous posts in the forum will point what those are and how to navigate them when the situation arises.

Here are a couple threads on the different zooms available in the range/prices you are looking at as well as users who were in the same situation as you find yourself now:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/61361-18-250-h...next-lens.html

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/28220-help-ver...-purchase.html

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/31671-good-lens-addition-kit.html

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/57560-tested-p...-70-300-a.html

I would really recommend browsing around in the "Beginner Q&A," "Articles" and "Knowledge Base" forums as well as taking a look at the Lens Review page to gather the information you need and get your ducks in a row before you make a purchase decision. Welcome and good luck!
07-10-2009, 07:58 AM   #4
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thanks, I think I will go with the pentax then, i have been siding that way all along but like I said I wanted something capable of all round and adaptable to outdoors etc since it may be a while before any more new equipment..... appreciate it.....

07-10-2009, 08:01 AM   #5
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you folks on this forum are the best, I love this place.....
07-10-2009, 11:08 AM   #6
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We aim to please.

I had the 55-300, and actually just shipped it off today to another forum member. Reason being that I just upgraded to the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 mentioned earlier in the thread. The 55-300 is a fantastic lens for the price--well worth it.
07-10-2009, 03:12 PM   #7
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there have been a lot of discussion on budget long zooms in these forums.
I (my wife) own Tamron 70-300. And we are happy with it. Though I never warmed up to it, so I ended up getting Tamron 70-200/2.8 (which is becoming my wife's favourite too). The IQ difference is noticable, but so is the price difference....
As to your question, According to people who tried 2 or all 3 lenses you have mentioned, the Pentax offering seems to be favourite in terms of IQ. The only thing that Tamron and Sigma have going for them is that they allow good close up (macro) capability with 1:2 magnification.
But if you're not after close ups/macro, go for Pentax. The resell value will be better too.

BR
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07-10-2009, 03:58 PM   #8
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It's not a brand thing; it's more a matter of you get what you pay for. There are zooms better than the 55-300, both from Pentax and from others - but they are also more a lot more expensive. There are also third party zooms not as good as the 55-300 - again from Pentax and from others - and they are generally cheaper.

07-10-2009, 04:08 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
It's not a brand thing; it's more a matter of you get what you pay for. There are zooms better than the 55-300, both from Pentax and from others - but they are also more a lot more expensive. There are also third party zooms not as good as the 55-300 - again from Pentax and from others - and they are generally cheaper.
hehe...
third party zoom from Pentax
sorry Marc but nice typo
07-11-2009, 08:12 AM   #10
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Grr. Thanks for catching it, though :-)

BTW, I should also mention that there is some sample variation in these lenses - eg, one Pentax DA55-300 might be better than another, and the same is true for pretty much *all* other lenses. Also, there is a large subjective element in evaluating lenses - even comparing the same two image, one person might prefer the one from lens A, another person might prefer the one from lens B. To be honest, from what I've seen, while I do see a *general* trend that more expensive = better, we're talking some pretty subtle differences. There isn't really a whole lot of irrefutable difference in quality between any of the most "consumer" telephoto lenses (Tamron & Sigma 70-300, Pentax DA50-200 and DA55-300, Tamron/Pentax 18-250, etc) to be worth worrying about. So I'd be buying based on focal length range, size/weight, presence of features like weather sealing or quick shift focus, focus speed, macro capabilities (built in close focus, or compatibility with a Raynox), whether a hood is included, etc, as opposed to image quality.
07-11-2009, 08:40 AM   #11
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JCool--good choice on the 55-300. I was among the early adopters of this lens (the only piece of gear that I've actually preordered) when it first came out last year and it is a purchase that I have not regretted. If you either can't afford the more expensive options or just don't want to carry around a big heavy lens, then I consider this to be your best option.

With that being said, I've since gotten an itch for a 70-200/2.8 (most likely the Tamron version), but even if I do get one, I plan on keeping the 55-300, for times where I need telephoto, but can't or don't want to carry the heavier 70-200.

Heather
07-13-2009, 12:04 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Hi and welcome.


So yes, the 55-300 is definitely the pick of the bunch, although used well and in the right conditions, the Tamron 70-300 can also produce great images.

All the best in that.
Thank you. I was about to cry for owning my Tamron.
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