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01-14-2010, 05:27 PM   #1
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50-200mm vs 55-300mm

I just received my Pentax DA 55-300mm. As I play with it the next few days, what differences in image quality (aside from its reach) should I expect compared to my 50-200 kit lens. I noticed it weighs almost twice as much.

I do feel like I have an excessive overlap with my 50-200. Is there much of a market for these if I choose to sell? It appears they are selling in the $70 - $80 range.

01-14-2010, 05:57 PM   #2
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I often carry a DA 16-45 and a Tam SP 28-75 for a mid-distance rural scenes and buildings theme. The DA 50-200 is small and light enough that it almost always goes along in the bag when larger and heavier lenses in the 70-300mm range would be inconvenient. It also often wears a modified 26mm AE-capable extension tube as a substitute for a more 'formal' long close-up/near-macro lens.

I consider it useful enough to hold on to considering the low price you could get for one today. On the other hand, I've had the opportunity to evaluate three of these lenses side-by-side; two were as expected for kit-quality results - not bad at all but limited in speed and 'WOW-factor'. The third was clearly at the high end of the curve for IQ. If it weren't, I might be much more inclined to sell or swap it. Nevertheless, I'd be happy to swap it for a DA 55-300!

It's been kind'a like a consistent third string quarterback that can kick or a utility infielder that bats .225 - just too useful to turn loose for the small cost of keepin' it around and I don't mind exposing it to high-risk environments.

H2

Last edited by pacerr; 01-14-2010 at 06:51 PM.
01-14-2010, 06:06 PM   #3
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I've had both. Sold the 50-200 to pay for the 55-300

I can't tell you about image quality as I don't pixel peep, plenty of others will probably tell you that the 55-300 has excellent image quality and is one of the best amongst its peers (50-200, 75-300, etc....)

Biggest difference aside from focal length and size/weight is that with the 55-300 you get an extra stop at 200mm
You get 200mm at f4 while with the 50-200, 200mm is at f5.6 - 1 stop difference.
01-14-2010, 06:29 PM   #4
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I've used to have the 50-200 and thought it was nice lens, especially for its size.

I have the 55-300 now, which feels about twice as big, but I do find the IQ to be a step up from the 50-200.

Just one thing to note: I believe that at 200mm, both lenses are f/5.6. I believe you lose f/4 just above 100mm on the 55-300mm.

QuoteOriginally posted by PentHassyKon Quote
I've had both. Sold the 50-200 to pay for the 55-300

I can't tell you about image quality as I don't pixel peep, plenty of others will probably tell you that the 55-300 has excellent image quality and is one of the best amongst its peers (50-200, 75-300, etc....)

Biggest difference aside from focal length and size/weight is that with the 55-300 you get an extra stop at 200mm
You get 200mm at f4 while with the 50-200, 200mm is at f5.6 - 1 stop difference.


01-14-2010, 10:16 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by dgaies Quote
...........snip....

Just one thing to note: I believe that at 200mm, both lenses are f/5.6. I believe you lose f/4 just above 100mm on the 55-300mm.

I stand corrected.
The 55-300 is at f5.6 at 210mm and is f4.5 at 190mm. At least on my copy. Somehow I can't get it to be at 200mm based on the top deck reading on my k200d. It toggles between 190 and 210mm.
01-15-2010, 09:57 AM   #6
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That's normal - most zoom lenses only report their focal lengths in discrete leaps like that. You might really be somewhere between 190 and 210, but if its firmware is designed to only report 190 or 210, it's going to report one of those two every time.
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