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View Poll Results: Which one?
Tamron 70-300mm 816.00%
Pentax DA 50-200mm 36.00%
Pentax DA 55-300mm 3978.00%
Voters: 50. You may not vote on this poll

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03-16-2010, 09:27 PM   #1
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Which lens?

I'm sorry to bother you guys again, I'm just a really bad decision maker (also a really smart buyer!).

Currently I have about 100$ and I still need some filters, batteries, and blah blah blahs.

So I'm not sure on this but... The Tamron 70-300mm? Pentax DA 50-200mm? or Pentax DA 55-300mm?

Tamron is $140ish. DA 50-200mm is also $140ish and the 55-300mm is about 200-300$ more than those.

I am still a beginner so, should I...
a) Get the Tamron
b) Settle for a lower focal range like the DA 50-200mm
c) Save up for a 55-300mm but at the expense of waiting a long long long time (half a year maybe or more)

Still debating...

EDIT: Actually speaking of my birthday... I *COULD* pull some strings to get the 55-300mm in april.
EDIT: the actual price of the DA 55-300mm over here with the $50 rebate is $450 and with the tax it would be approx $510 which makes it about 3.6 times the price of either of those two...

So now it REALLY makes me think whether the IQ and PF occurrence rate is worth it on the PENTAX.


Last edited by NecroticSoldier; 03-19-2010 at 07:54 AM. Reason: Adding...
03-16-2010, 10:08 PM   #2
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If you are just buying gear because you like it, get the one that makes you happy. Otherwise consider your specific requirements and fit a lens to them.
Do you NEED 300mm?
Do you NEED 50mm?
Is size/weight a consideration?
Do you NEED WR?
Do you need the sharpest shots possible for cropping?
If your budget does not allow for the 55-300 for 18 months then its not an option is it? Get something to last 18 months and then sell it.
In other words...why are you buying a lens?
03-16-2010, 10:24 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by imtheguy Quote
If you are just buying gear because you like it, get the one that makes you happy. Otherwise consider your specific requirements and fit a lens to them.
Do you NEED 300mm?
Do you NEED 50mm?
Is size/weight a consideration?
Do you NEED WR?
Do you need the sharpest shots possible for cropping?
If your budget does not allow for the 55-300 for 18 months then its not an option is it? Get something to last 18 months and then sell it.
In other words...why are you buying a lens?
Do you NEED 300mm?
I have not tried a 200mm yet, so I'm not sure if I need 300, but I do know I need 200 OR more.

Do you NEED 50mm?I DON'T need 50, but it would be nice to cover 55-70 because I take a lot of photos at 55 currently on my kit lens.
Is size/weight a consideration?
The heavier the better, so no the size or weight is not a consideration as this isn't a 2000mm lens or anything of that size and weight.

Do you NEED WR?
I don't need WR.

Do you need the sharpest shots possible for cropping?
I'd like a decently sharp lens, I don't usually crop, but I'm sure I will in the future, so the sharper the better.

If your budget does not allow for the 55-300 for 18 months then its not an option is it? Get something to last 18 months and then sell it.
My budget is a bit tight at the moment, so yeah, but I do plan to use this lens constantly for the next 4 years... so I will not be buying another lens until then. BUT I just remembered... I may be able to pull some strings...

EDIT: sorry if my answers seem a bit contradictory...

Last edited by NecroticSoldier; 03-16-2010 at 10:32 PM. Reason: Adding ...
03-16-2010, 10:33 PM   #4
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Not contradictory at all, quite clear. Pull the strings and get the best you can and I promise you will never look at it and say "Damn I wish I had gotten a crappy lens instead of this one!"

Of those three that means the 55-300 of course.

I also have a birthday next month and plan on a new lens. Its contageous!

03-16-2010, 10:35 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by NecroticSoldier Quote
Currently I have about 100$ and I still need some filters, batteries, and blah blah blahs.
Save your money and skip the filters, then put that towards the 55-300 which is a fantastic lens.
03-16-2010, 10:39 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by imtheguy Quote
Not contradictory at all, quite clear. Pull the strings and get the best you can and I promise you will never look at it and say "Damn I wish I had gotten a crappy lens instead of this one!"

Of those three that means the 55-300 of course.

I also have a birthday next month and plan on a new lens. Its contageous!
WOAH MY BIRTHDAY IS NEXT MONTH? Just noticed... too busy taking pictures... (high five). Have fun with your new lense as well. The only thing I'm worried is about these businesses about "bad" copies...

twitch, you're right, I have never used filters with my film camera and it has never gotten anything major on the lens, I am a super careful photographer! The photos are amazing even without any type of filter so far.
03-16-2010, 11:10 PM   #7
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The 55-300 has unrivaled IQ to the other two. Would definitely save up for it even if you can't pull those strings by your birthday. Invest slowly and take your time, you'll be much happier having one sharp lens than to have a couple of cheap lenses that aren't as sharp.

Last edited by LeDave; 03-16-2010 at 11:15 PM.
03-16-2010, 11:31 PM   #8
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my mantra again

Ask yourself: 1) Where am I going? 2) What will get me there? 3) What can I afford that will make me happy? Which boils down to: What do I want to do that I can't do with what I have?

If what you have isn't long and/or short enough, and you want to do stuff that requires going longer and/or shorter, then get something longer and/or shorter. And/or faster. And/or fisheyed. And/or macro. And/or some combination of cheap sharp used manual primes. And/or a tilt-shift. And/or German. Whatever.

When you ask, HEY GUYS WHAT LENS SHOULD I GET? you'll hear from people telling you what THEY like. Lots of us have emotional attachments to our gear. Maybe your choices shouldn't be based on our emotions. Hey, I like REALLY REALLY love this old manual M42 Isco-Westron (Schneider) 35/2.8 with 13 iris blades, you just wouldn't believe the creamy smooth bokeh, how ROUND the images look, how it's almost better than a Leica and only cost me US$27, you REALLY REALLY gotta get one, the only problem is that the filter thread is 54mm and it's hard to find hoods and rings in that size. But that's the lens you need. Why? 'Cause I say so.

03-16-2010, 11:41 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
Save your money and skip the filters, then put that towards the 55-300 which is a fantastic lens.
What he said
03-16-2010, 11:45 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Ask yourself: 1) Where am I going? 2) What will get me there? 3) What can I afford that will make me happy? Which boils down to: What do I want to do that I can't do with what I have?

If what you have isn't long and/or short enough, and you want to do stuff that requires going longer and/or shorter, then get something longer and/or shorter. And/or faster. And/or fisheyed. And/or macro. And/or some combination of cheap sharp used manual primes. And/or a tilt-shift. And/or German. Whatever.

When you ask, HEY GUYS WHAT LENS SHOULD I GET? you'll hear from people telling you what THEY like. Lots of us have emotional attachments to our gear. Maybe your choices shouldn't be based on our emotions. Hey, I like REALLY REALLY love this old manual M42 Isco-Westron (Schneider) 35/2.8 with 13 iris blades, you just wouldn't believe the creamy smooth bokeh, how ROUND the images look, how it's almost better than a Leica and only cost me US$27, you REALLY REALLY gotta get one, the only problem is that the filter thread is 54mm and it's hard to find hoods and rings in that size. But that's the lens you need. Why? 'Cause I say so.
Hehe, well... I have looked at the 55-300mm images and they DO look THAT good. Comparing to the Tamron, it really is better not only because it costs more, but they deliver. Tamron is pretty good too I'm not saying it's bad, but I have always believed that Pentax had some pretty dam good IQ. I don't think anyone can compete (or it just could be that Pentax has a really unique warmness to their lenses because that is what draws it to me) I only like the Tamron because of it's price, and it is not crap. The 50-200mm I threw in as a choice because I could sacrifice focal length for IQ of a Pentax. But ultimately a 55-300mm would be THE best, but also in return for higher price.

That is what I believe, I like to hear everyone's opinion before I buy something. I know what happens in guitar gear. People say oh I want a PRS, or I LIKE FENDERS AND GIBSONS. They are decent guitars, good in fact, I have listened to many people say what I should get, but I just heard the Ibanez and felt it and it was MINE.

So what I'm saying is... Pentax lenses call out to me because of it's warmness in tone.

But I am on a budget so I was wondering if anyone would compromise anything, and if it WAS that good, because I am by no means an expert photographer, I just thought that the IQ looked good, but I needed a second opinion.

In fact it is worth it, and my instincts were true all along, it probably is worth it.
03-17-2010, 01:19 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by NecroticSoldier Quote
I am still a beginner so, should I...
a) Get the Tamron
b) Settle for a lower focal range like the DA 50-200mm
c) Save up for a 55-300mm but at the expense of waiting a long long long time (half a year maybe or more)
I am going to go against the grain and tell you to get the Tamron. In between reading your post and the replies from the various members of this community, I did some googling and searched for some methodic reviews/tests of the two lenses, discarding search results showing user opinions. I came across this website Pentax Lens Tests who tested the two lenses in question. Here are the links to the test results.

Pentax SMC DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8 ED - Review / Test Report

Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 LD Di macro (Pentax K) - Review / Lab Test Report

The test method was consistent for both lenses: MTF (Resolution) testing @xx focal lengths, Chromatic Aberration test and so on.

Other than the pronounced CA showing up at 200mm focal length, the Tamron 75-300 lens stack up quite well with the Pentax 55-300. In terms of value for the money, Tamron 70-300 is superior to Pentax 55-300. If I can find another test webiste who can collaborate photozone.de test results, I would not hesitate to pick one up myself.

Thanks,
03-17-2010, 01:39 AM   #12
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Funnily, according to photozone.de, the Tamron 70-300 is a sharper lens, but they acknowledge that they may have received a "bad copy" of the DA 55-300.
03-17-2010, 02:13 AM   #13
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I bought a Tamron 70-300mm and have never looked back.

To be honest, used carefully and with a bit of PP it can give fantastic results.

To fill the gap between the kit lens and the 70mm start of the Tammy I picked up a 2nd hand FA28-70mmF4 which lives on my K100D - the Kit lens is in my sock drawer.

My tuppence worth.............If you can take your body to the shop try the lenses then examine at home before buying.... Thats what I advise (however I have never left a shop empty handed yet!!)

Good luck
03-17-2010, 02:38 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by tokyoso Quote
Funnily, according to photozone.de, the Tamron 70-300 is a sharper lens, but they acknowledge that they may have received a "bad copy" of the DA 55-300.
They did not acknowledge that they may have received a bad copy, but they are not going to give a definitive conclusion based on the results of one single test sample. I also said the results need to be collaborated by one or more independent test, before I would make any conclusion (buy the lens).

By the same token, Tamron lens that was tested was just one copy as well... The copy that was tested, was it an exceptionally well made copy from the production line or could it have been a 'Lemon' like the Pentax 55-300 that you allege photozone.de acknowledged it to be? We just have to believe either of the lenses were a random sample or the test becomes meaningless.

Thanks,
03-17-2010, 08:29 AM   #15
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How about a 4th option, the Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 APO? No one has mentioned it at all. Just curious as I have had the 50-200, 55-300 and the above lens. All are very good. Where I live the Pentax 55-300 is $389, the Sigma 70-300 is $279 (Canadian $).
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