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04-12-2010, 02:21 AM   #1
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Old Tokina 100-300mm F4 versus newer lenses

Hiya guys,

I'm looking at sating this weeks LBA by getting a big zoom. At first, I wanted a 300mm f2.8, but now I'm starting to look at an old Tokina 100-300mm F4 SD manual focus lens. While I was about to pull the trigger, the thought hit me: is this lens any better than newer zooms? I mean you can get non F4 zooms in the 70-300 and 100-300mm with AF for less than 100GBP on the bay.

Would I notice much of an IQ difference using a very old MF lens and a newer 'crappy' AF lens?


Last edited by whelmed; 04-12-2010 at 02:34 AM.
04-12-2010, 03:11 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by whelmed Quote
Hiya guys,

I'm looking at sating this weeks LBA by getting a big zoom. At first, I wanted a 300mm f2.8, but now I'm starting to look at an old Tokina 100-300mm F4 SD manual focus lens. While I was about to pull the trigger, the thought hit me: is this lens any better than newer zooms? I mean you can get non F4 zooms in the 70-300 and 100-300mm with AF for less than 100GBP on the bay.

Would I notice much of an IQ difference using a very old MF lens and a newer 'crappy' AF lens?
You get a faster lens with the old Tokina, by a full f-stop at the longer end. The reports I have read in the past were mixed, but generally the Tokina performed nicely. It is certainly no match for the current Sigma 100-300/4 and I personally consider AF for these long lenses being important. But that depends on your preferences and photographic subjects.

Ben
04-12-2010, 03:17 AM   #3
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There is a significant cost difference between the Sigma 100-300/4 and this though. I'd imagine the best price you could get on the Sigma would be 600ish GBP, while this could be had for less than 1/4 that price.

I do agree with you on the AF for the big zooms, which is why I was wondering about the newerish AF lenses. The lens reviews here on pentaxforums seem to say most of the variable aperture XXX-300mm zooms are pretty bad, which is why I had started looking elsewhere. As for my shooting, this lens would be for sport: rowing, football (EU version), and maybe a bit for use on wildlife.
04-12-2010, 03:57 AM   #4
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One of the true advances in optical technology is that newer long zooms are generally better than older ones. The BEST oldies may still be great; the not-quite-the-best oldies are often outclassed by newer designs. I'm currently culling my older zooms, and only keeping Vivitar Series 1 Version 1 and Takumar-A fixed-aperture 70-200x glass. The rest just don't measure up to long FA and DA zooms, let alone a long Sigma.

04-12-2010, 04:11 AM   #5
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Well just checked the newer version of the Tokina 100-300mm versus the Sigma on Photozone.de and, obviously, the Sigma smokes it. The big downside is the tons of CA. However, it does slaughter the 70-300mm . All those links were for the Canon platform because they don't have the Tokina on the Pentax in their reviews.

Hrm, It may be worth a try then. I just wonder if I'll be able to sell it for a reasonable amount when I upgrade.
04-12-2010, 07:45 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by whelmed Quote
Well just checked the newer version of the Tokina 100-300mm versus the Sigma on Photozone.de and, obviously, the Sigma smokes it. The big downside is the tons of CA. However, it does slaughter the 70-300mm . All those links were for the Canon platform because they don't have the Tokina on the Pentax in their reviews.

Hrm, It may be worth a try then. I just wonder if I'll be able to sell it for a reasonable amount when I upgrade.
This refers to the latest Tokina AF version, which I don't know, whether it was even available in KAF mount. But the thread opener was asking about the much earlier SD version, which is manual and much cheaper - for a reason.

Ben
04-12-2010, 07:48 AM   #7
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Only reason I linked to that is somewhere I read they kept the same optical formula.
04-12-2010, 08:12 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by whelmed Quote
Only reason I linked to that is somewhere I read they kept the same optical formula.
I do not know that. These Tokina lenses are quite rare and not well documented. All I can say is, that, if you trust the Photozone numbers, the really interstiung part fo that zoom range is also the weakest. That would be, what I read out of some user reports, distributed in different forums. And that was the reason, why I refrained from buying that lens, when KEH had one or two availöable for a good price.

As an alternative an older, secondhand, Sigma 70-200/2.8 + the Sigma 1.4x tc would be a much better choice. You get one more f-stop for most situations and get a very decent 100-280mm/4 zoom, when you need more reach. With the Sigma 1.4x tc, the IQ of the zoom is really preserved.

Ben

04-12-2010, 08:16 AM   #9
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Hrm, well I've already got the DA* 50-135mm and was looking for a cheapish complementing lens. The 70-200 would overlap substantially. Out of curiosity, what was the lens selling for at KEH / what would be a good price?

The other option is to go for the tammy 300mm f2.8. Lot more cash, but probably more oomph as well.
04-12-2010, 09:06 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by whelmed Quote
Hrm, well I've already got the DA* 50-135mm and was looking for a cheapish complementing lens. The 70-200 would overlap substantially. Out of curiosity, what was the lens selling for at KEH / what would be a good price?

The other option is to go for the tammy 300mm f2.8. Lot more cash, but probably more oomph as well.
The KEH offer was more than a year ago and I really cannot remember. But I think, it was well below 300USD for a "good" copy. The Tamron 300/2.8 – you probably mean the 60B MF version? – is a fine lens. I use it on my K10/K20 and am very happy with it. It works well with the older (but still available in the Pentax webstore) Pentax A 1.4x-L tc, which gives you a still fast 420/4 lens. Some purple fringing, but very good sharpness and contrast and useable wide open.

If you search the forum for the Tammy, you'll find a couple of threads with user experiences.

Ben
04-12-2010, 10:11 AM   #11
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Hi whelmed,

I have one of these. I bought it for a good price after reading some very good reviews from members on another forum who I trust, and on old Pop Photography (?) review that was very favorable. I am a bit disappointed in my copy, but feel it is probably a matter of sample variation. Realize that my bar for 300mm lenses is set very high, as I own and use an FA*300/4.5, FA*300.2,8, Tamron SP 300/2.8 (60B), and a Sigma EX 300/2.8 APO, and I regularly use TCs with these to go longer since I've limited my carrying capacity to this class of lens as a maximum. I wanted to try this lens with the F 1.7x AFA to get an AF 170-510 f6.7 zoom that would balance well with a gimbal since it's a push pull zoom that doesn't get dramatically physically longer like the Bigma or Sigma 170-500 when extended to the long end of their zoom range.

My copy is a little softer than I need, and in addition, shows considerably less contrast, which accentuates the appearance of softness compared to the other 300s I use regularly. Even with the softness, the lens is a step up from most of the xx-300 consumer zooms, especially when stopped down to f5.6 to give similar light gathering performance with their max apertures. The one exception is probaby the DA 55-300, which I don't own, but have seen some stellar shots from, but it's also considerably more expensive than the other "consumer class" zooms with this reach.

If you can get this lens for a good price, it could be a good performer for you, especially if you get a copy that performs on par with the majority of reviews I've seen. If I wanted a "budget" zoom in this FL class, I'd consider the Tamron SP 80-200/2.8 Adaptall 2 with a Promaster 1.7x TC for a 136-340 constant f4.8 zoom with close to pro level credentials.

Scott

Last edited by snostorm; 04-12-2010 at 10:51 AM.
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