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05-10-2013, 09:14 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by abmj Quote
I've been pretty happy with my Pentax DA 55-300, too. It is smaller and lighter than the stabilized competition because it doesn't have that mechanism and has reasonable sharpness at the longer end. At the price, it is a steal.
+1 on the 55-300 for me as well!

05-11-2013, 12:57 PM   #17
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Hello Sten Sir, it depends on a) the money you wish to spend, b) the field of photography like wild life, birding, long distance sports or c) just the occasional fun like shooting nudes on the beach, or mountain peaks etc.
I am in the c) category, so I bought a used Sigma 70-300 DG Macro for a whopping $ 45 from KEH. And I got a diamond in the raw. Excellent lens, very sharp at any aperture between 70 & 200 mm, and sharp at f 8 to 16 from 200 to 300 mm. And my "Bargain" lens looks like "mint" with no dust or scratches on the glass.
Write now KEH has the Sigma & the Tamron 70-300 for a song. Jump on it NOW.
Regards.
nanhi - from that far away enchanting land.
05-11-2013, 06:32 PM   #18
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I absolutely love my DA*60-250, it's sharp as a tack down to f4 but of course it's not cheap and weighs a ton...

Buuut while it's being fixed at Pentax, I've re-started using my old DA55-300 (original version, not the new L version) and was surprised at how nice it really was. My only beef with it is some purple fringing in high contrast backlit situations.


K5iis, DA55-300 @ 260mm, 1/500s, f7.1, ISO 2500


K5iis, DA55-300 @ 300mm, 1/400s, f7.1, ISO 200

"For the money" the 55-300 is a really nice lens...

Pat
05-11-2013, 10:14 PM   #19
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Thank you all for your fine answers, and also for your superb pictures!
It works really well to ask this helpful and knowledgable community.
Both the Pentax 55-300 and the Sigma 70-300 seem to be good and sharp lenses.
Right now I am inclined to choose the Pentax because it is smaller and lighter.

Best regards,
Sten

05-12-2013, 07:36 AM   #20
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Sorry Sten Sir, I missed an important point. I am hung on FF lenses with my sights set on the eventual FF Pentax DSLR. So I tend to avoid the DA or APS-C only lenses. Could not avoid the DA 18-135 WR, as it came bundled with the K-5 for at an awesome price, brand new, from Henrys of Toronto - CAD 1108, shipped - CAD & USD were at par then. Also I thought I would keep the DA 18-135 WR, as my copy is brutally sharp and can let me use my gear on a rainy day.
For $ 45 to 99 at KEH for a Sigma or Tamron 70-300 you cannot go wrong. You can always sell it on evilbay, and then buy the DA 55-300. KEH has an excellent return policy and a warranty on used lenses, so you loose nothing. Great people to deal with too. Note: I am thousands of miles from KEH and am not their agent. just that they vowed a retired Advisor from the world's largest conglomerate. Quick, as KEH com's Free Shipping is getting over on Sunday night.
Regards.
nanhi - from that far away enchanting land
05-17-2013, 12:34 AM   #21
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I have the DA 55-300 and the DA* 60-250. I can wholeheartedly recommend the 55-300 for its cost, weight & image value. Here's a quick, unprocessed image from my scratch album here at PF.

DA 55-300: 300mm at f/9.5

05-17-2013, 12:55 AM   #22
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I own the Tammy 70-300 and it is (I cannot really say otherwise) crap! I don't do a lot of stuff in the range above my 50-135mm anyway so for me it's a lens I rarely use anyway, kind of a stop-gap. It has reasonable results in the close-up range (bokeh is really quite OK there) and in the 70-150mm range but beyond 150mm IQ deteriorates very quickly - soft, lots of CA and slow to (mis)focus.

It can be had for less than €100 which makes up for the inconvenience but the results I've seen for the DA55-300mm are lightyears beyond what this lens can produce. My only reason for not getting the 55-300mm is that the range is really of no interest to me anyway.
05-17-2013, 06:34 AM   #23
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I just bought the Pentax 55-300 ED

I just bought the Pentax 55-300 ED in a local shop which had actually the best price. I have taken about twenty test shots, and some are very sharp but some are not sharp at all, especially those at 300 mm. It seems that you have to be quite careful with focusing and perhaps also hold the camera very steadily although it has anti-shake. But the sharp test images show that the lens is promising, and I will probably try it for real on Sunday at an excursion in nature with my photo club.

Sten

05-17-2013, 06:44 AM - 1 Like   #24
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Sten, for best results with that lens you may want to try shooting the lens in TAv mode... F8 and speed at least 1/300 or faster (my preference is 1/500) and let the camera take care of the ISO. Even with the anti-shake, at 300mm it really doesn't take much movement to blur a photo.

Pat
05-17-2013, 09:57 AM   #25
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Thank you Pat!

Yes, TAv mode improved the results, although some noise caused by high ISO appeared.
Pictures of house brick roofs were sharper than pictures of still standing cars (focusing difficulty?)
I guess that a monopod can be used to advantage, and I will bring one on the excursion.

Sten

Last edited by Sten; 05-17-2013 at 10:24 AM.
05-17-2013, 11:50 AM - 1 Like   #26
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You should find that a monopod would improve any of your images when shooting near 300. I have the 60-250 and I have gotten used to balancing it, but when it has to be perfect don't hesitate to use a mono.
05-18-2013, 02:56 AM   #27
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Today I tried the 55-300 lens again outdoors hand held with more than 60 test shots and almost only with TAv 500/F8, just a few shots with M. Nearly all pictures were sharp enough, and ISO was not too high, so no noise. Yesterday I took pictures from indoors through window glass, and maybe this lens is sensitive to that so sharpness will suffer.
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