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02-12-2010, 07:47 AM   #1
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Better than 55-300mm?

My "dilema"...
I'd like to get a lens on the tele side (300mm+).
I currently have the 55-300mm which is a great versatile lens but just doesn't satisfy me enough on the tele end.

I need some advice on the options I contemplate, and if my views are correct. Basically, an assessment of my assessment

If I make a sacrifice on gear (might include the 55-300mm) I think I can afford the following options (used):
1. 70-200mm F2.8 + 1.7/2x TC
2. 300mm F2.8 Adaptall2 + 1.7x tc
3. SMC-A* 300mm F4
4.One of Sigmas large zooms:
135-400mm, 50-500/150-500/170/500mm
Less pricey alternatives
5. Tokina/Sigma 400mm F5.6
6. CZJ 300 F4 M42
7. Pentacon F5.6 M42

Numer 1 would give me a great lens for medium tele, but longer tele only with a TC, which decreases quality and F stops. Should still give great results. But this might be the priciest option.
I like this option because it also leaves room to grow without redoing the gear.

Number 2 might be gotten a bit cheaper than 1, provides a very fast 300mm, but a "semi" AF >400mm lens. It'd be ok for stationary subjects, harder on moving ones. Loss of intermediate AF zoom (I have some primes might not sell).

Number 3, great lens, A version for ease. But is it better than the 55-300mm? Not sure. This would be cheaper still, especially if I don't go for one in pristine condition.
F and FA versions too expensive as they are uncommon.

Number 4, with the flexible and far reaching zoom, it would be a good alternative although not very portable. Quality would be about the same as 55-300mm, but only for the later versions, which I might not afford...

Number 5. There are MF and AF versions, both affordable, keeping the 55-300mm if its the MF version. Quality wise I'm not sure they'd be woth it...

Number 6 and 7 I can make it, but is it worth it for the IQ they have? Not high on my list...

It would be nice to get some feedback from users of one or more of these alternatives.

02-12-2010, 12:39 PM   #2
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I have an older, manual version of the Sigma 400mm/5.6. It's a nice, lightweight lens, but since it's a manual it needs a little practice to get good shots. I also find it's not really wide enough to use with a teleconveter (the Pentax 1.7x specifically) unless there's a lot of light. Here's a sample I took hand-held out a school bus window in the rain. There are some other examples near the end of this album.

02-12-2010, 06:46 PM   #3
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I have the Tokina SD 400mm f/5.6 in MF and I used it recently with my Pentax K-x. It is a long lens but light enough that I can manage to shoot short distance objects in hand-holding.


The cost of the prime should fit well into your budget. It should be around $200 used, likely doubled if it is the AF version. Whatever that you do, I will discourage you from selling your 55-300mm first as you need to compare the performance. I think it is worth keep the 55-300mm unless you have much better gear.

Thanks,
Hin
02-12-2010, 10:37 PM   #4
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Remember when you are looking at Tokina lenses that there is also an RMC 400mm f5.6 manual focus lens.

02-13-2010, 12:58 PM   #5
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Original Poster
Those are good results from the Tokina. Better than what I've seen from the Sigma I believe.
Getting that would not require selling the 55-300mm I believe
02-13-2010, 02:24 PM   #6
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Best put the Tair 300A on your list Eduardo. With nearly 360degrees rotation on the focus helicoil it is great for nailing the focus. Just be aware of your back grounds as the can be a bit of CA under certain conditions. Bokeh wise yum.
The DA 55-300 does provide decent results and is in my collection.
The Tamron 300 f2.8 is a bit of a bugger to nail the focus wide open as there is not a lot of rotation in the focus helicoil. It is also prone to a bit of CA.
The Bigma is great for that extra reach and ideal for pics of those little birds that are a bit shy.
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