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01-24-2010, 03:20 PM   #1
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55-200mmWR VS 55-300mm

Since 2 weeks I'm the happy owner of an K7 with kitlens 28-55.
The shop didn't have the Pentax 55-200 on stock so I'm waiting on that.
Suppose to be coming in it next week.

However reading a lot the Pentax 55-300 seems to be a much better lens.
But the 55-200 is an WR lens and the 55-300 is not.

Since I take photo's in damp conditions. Like with soccer matches.
Walks in forest etc.
(I live in Holland where we have a little bit of a wet climate.)
The 55-220WR sounds like a sensible choice but if the pictures with the 55-300
are so much better....

So what lens whould you's recommend?

01-24-2010, 03:26 PM   #2
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If the 200mm focal length is long enough for you to take the shots you want and the weather resistance is important to you, go with the 50-200.
If it isn't long enough then you should go for the 55-300 and take precautions when the weather is wet.

Overall, I thing the 55-300 has better image quality but that doesn't mean you would be unhappy with the 50-200.


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01-24-2010, 05:18 PM   #3
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I think optically that the DA 55-300mm is better. They may have tweaked the 50-200mm for the WR version such as adding the Ghostless Coating but I never could figure it out. I had the 55-300mm for the better part of 2 years on I only had 3 complaints about: it wasn't internal focus, no weather sealing, and f5.8 maximum aperture on the long end. However, the latter would have made it huge.
01-24-2010, 07:12 PM   #4
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When people say the 55-300 is superior to the 50-200, it's nitpicking. The 50-200 really is a good lens and whatever benefit the 55-300 has over it is not substantial. In other words, the 55-300 is not "a much better lens." It is somewhat better, though. If you need the minimally better image quality that the 55-300 offers, then you should be using a lens that is even better than the 55-300. The real advantage of the 55-300 is a nominal 100mm longer focal length and it's faster at 200mm. If you really need 300mm, then get the 55-300. Otherwise, enjoy the 50-200 and its weather sealing, you'll be pleased.

01-24-2010, 08:29 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by indytax Quote
When people say the 55-300 is superior to the 50-200, it's nitpicking. The 50-200 really is a good lens and whatever benefit the 55-300 has over it is not substantial. In other words, the 55-300 is not "a much better lens." It is somewhat better, though. If you need the minimally better image quality that the 55-300 offers, then you should be using a lens that is even better than the 55-300. The real advantage of the 55-300 is a nominal 100mm longer focal length and it's faster at 200mm. If you really need 300mm, then get the 55-300. Otherwise, enjoy the 50-200 and its weather sealing, you'll be pleased.
Actually, people aren't nitpicking. No one is saying the 50-200 is a bad lens.
01-24-2010, 08:43 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cor G. Quote
Since 2 weeks I'm the happy owner of an K7 with kitlens 28-55.
The shop didn't have the Pentax 55-200 on stock so I'm waiting on that.
Suppose to be coming in it next week.

However reading a lot the Pentax 55-300 seems to be a much better lens.
But the 55-200 is an WR lens and the 55-300 is not.

Since I take photo's in damp conditions. Like with soccer matches.
Walks in forest etc.
(I live in Holland where we have a little bit of a wet climate.)
The 55-220WR sounds like a sensible choice but if the pictures with the 55-300
are so much better....

So what lens whould you's recommend?
I have a 50-200 and 55-300 both non-WR. The 55-300 is better at 200 than the 55-200. But I find the quality at or near 300 disappointing until stopped right down to f11 or so, which is often not very practical given the light conditions. It's been back to Pentax who confirmed it is within spec. My 55-200 is similarly not fantastic at 200 (actually it's pretty awful at 200) but very good in mid-range. My experience is that both are fine as long as you avoid the zoom extremes at both ends. At 200 the 55-300 is very good. The 55-200 is lighter and smaller and maybe a more comfortable travel lens. The 55-300 seems to be a better lens but by a smaller margin than I expected given the rave reviews it has got, and it is more of a lump to carry around all day. With the benefit of hindsight I would recommend the longer lens ... just.
01-24-2010, 08:52 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by indytax Quote
When people say the 55-300 is superior to the 50-200, it's nitpicking. The 50-200 really is a good lens and whatever benefit the 55-300 has over it is not substantial. In other words, the 55-300 is not "a much better lens." It is somewhat better, though. If you need the minimally better image quality that the 55-300 offers, then you should be using a lens that is even better than the 55-300. The real advantage of the 55-300 is a nominal 100mm longer focal length and it's faster at 200mm. If you really need 300mm, then get the 55-300. Otherwise, enjoy the 50-200 and its weather sealing, you'll be pleased.
This is a really rare post since I am going to disagree rather than just move on. I may not be saying its a bad lens, after all I did just post my review of the DA50-200mm WR and it was mixed, but it has issues. I own the subject lens and the DA55-300mm so I shot a hundred or so comparisons trying to decide if I even wanted to keep it. In the end, I sent the DA50-200mm back for exchange hoping they are not all as weak as the one I reviewed but I expect they are. For the price I guess its fine kit quality but I never had a true kit lens.

The DA50-200mm as I stated in the review is light, feels good to work with and actually compares well to the DA55-300mm up to 90mm. After that it up to 2 extra stops to get close to the sharpness and contrast of the larger lens. Since I just want the smaller lens for the beach, speed is not an issue so I can live with f/9.5 if I have to. Shots at f/6.7 just plan did not cut it.

Am I a pixel peeper? I don't know but I am a feather peeper. Maybe shots of people would look fine instead of my wildlife subjects.

Bottom line, for the price, size and WR the 50-200 is ok. But shots from about 90mm-200mm do not compare well to the 55-300mm at apertures below f/8. If my second lens (which has not arrived yet) changes that I will change the review.

Last edited by imtheguy; 01-25-2010 at 06:20 AM.
01-24-2010, 10:38 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by timo Quote
I find the quality at or near 300 disappointing until stopped right down to f11 or so, which is often not very practical given the light conditions.
that's odd. I had been shooting with the DA55-300 at f5.6 and f8. and there is no much difference whatsoever as to the IQ at f11 except for a darker and deeper DOF. honestly, I find the sweet spot of the lens at 300mm playing in between f5.6 and f8.

01-25-2010, 12:32 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxor Quote
that's odd. I had been shooting with the DA55-300 at f5.6 and f8. and there is no much difference whatsoever as to the IQ at f11 except for a darker and deeper DOF. honestly, I find the sweet spot of the lens at 300mm playing in between f5.6 and f8.
That's exactly what I expected given all the other feedback I had read. It's also why I got the lens checked out - but, as I said, Pentax (and they should know) said it's 'within spec'. So it's our old friend 'sample variation' yet again ... bit annoying though. It improves dramatically somewhere between 200 and 300 - so I try not to go beyond roughly the halfway point between those two marks on the zoom ring. I suspect cropping and enlarging would give me just as good a result as going the full way to 300. In fact I must try cropping and enlarging an image taken at 200mm - I suspect it might be as good, and better edge to edge, than something at 300mm. A job for a boring afternoon ...

Tim
01-25-2010, 01:06 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by timo Quote
That's exactly what I expected given all the other feedback I had read. It's also why I got the lens checked out - but, as I said, Pentax (and they should know) said it's 'within spec'. So it's our old friend 'sample variation' yet again ... bit annoying though. It improves dramatically somewhere between 200 and 300 - so I try not to go beyond roughly the halfway point between those two marks on the zoom ring. I suspect cropping and enlarging would give me just as good a result as going the full way to 300. In fact I must try cropping and enlarging an image taken at 200mm - I suspect it might be as good, and better edge to edge, than something at 300mm. A job for a boring afternoon ...

Tim
I dont think that cropping a 200mm shot to 300mm would look equally as good as something shot at 300mm, except under small print or viewing size. when resizing or blowing up an image, you are also affecting the resolution as well.

anyway, it's too bad that your copy doesn't display something excellent at full length. it's quite a bummer especially you can't use the 300mm to it's real advantage. anyway, photozone also had their share of 2 different results from 2 copies. so there might be a few sample variation.
01-25-2010, 07:34 AM   #11
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Had the 55-300 for a little while, but I changed back to a DA50-200 for its smaller size and less hunting at the tele end, and this time I changed to the WR version, a great match for a weather sealed camera body
01-25-2010, 08:43 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by frank Quote
Had the 55-300 for a little while, but I changed back to a DA50-200 for its smaller size and less hunting at the tele end, and this time I changed to the WR version, a great match for a weather sealed camera body
Less hunting and faster focusing.
01-26-2010, 04:30 AM   #13
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I have them both as well, though I have not really run the 55-300 fully through its paces.

The size difference between the two lens is substantial. The 50-200 is basically the kit lens with a little stretch. The 55-300 is easily twice as large, and when you zoom out, it gets to be eye-catching. The weight difference is not so much. However, if I include either in my little travel bag, it will be the 50-200.

If you shoot newspapers on the wall, you may be disappointed with the 50-200, especially at the edges. However, in real life, at 200mm you can crop the shot immediately below from the frame at the bottom, and still get a pretty nice photo. (K10d 200mm F/6.7 1/250)
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Last edited by GeneV; 01-26-2010 at 04:19 PM.
01-26-2010, 03:26 PM   #14
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Txs for all the answers.
Gonna go with the 55-200WR.

Money left over is a nice start for a future lens
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