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06-22-2013, 03:48 AM   #1
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lens decissions!

hi i have recently purchased the k 30 with the 18-55 wr lens and i would like to purchase another lens!
i mainly shoot wildlife and landscapes so i was thinking about the pentax 55-300, is this a good choice?
any help would be appreciated!

06-22-2013, 04:42 AM   #2
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It's a good lens for a good a price.
06-22-2013, 04:57 AM   #3
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The 55-300mm is a decent lens. Its probably the best bang for buck lens that goes all the way to 300mm. But for most types of landscape photos, i would suggest a wide angle lens.
If I were you, I would get the 55-300mm now, and then plan on getting lenses to replace the 18-55mm. It is WR, which is very useful with your WR camera, but its IQ isn't that amazing. You can try one of the fixed focal length prime lenses between 35mm and 50mm, which are fairly cheap but beat the kit zoom lenses in IQ.
Feel free to take a look at the lens review section in this forum as well. There are some nice reviews and sample photos there, some reviews even mention alternatives.
06-22-2013, 05:57 AM   #4
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I have both the 55-300 and the 35 f2.4 and can recommend both. Go with the 55-300 first, the 18-55 isn't a bad lens and I used mine quite often until I got the 18-135. My 35 doesn't get that much use but is sharp as a tack and small. Now that I have a K30 to go with my Kr the 35 will be mounted to the Kr more often.


06-22-2013, 06:37 AM   #5
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Yeah, the 55-300 seems to be the best for its price. Keep an eye on the used market, too - they pop up once in a while.
06-22-2013, 07:00 AM   #6
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I can highly recommend the 55-300 as a light-weight tele, even though I haven't even tried one myself, judging by shoot other's done with that lens. Good news is that if you ever get a Pentax Q with an adapter that lens is one of few cheap lenses that hold up really well for adapted super tele shooting!
06-22-2013, 07:13 AM   #7
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The 55-300 is an amazing lens. Highly recommended. Some shots off the 55-300 are here, 500px / Uma Mahesh / Photos .
06-22-2013, 07:42 AM   #8
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The DA L 55-300 is optically identical to the DA 55-300, and generally about $100 less. The DA L doesn't come with a hood, but you can buy a clone of the Pentax hood for only a few dollars and still come out ahead. The DA's metal mount? Overrated and adds weight as far as I am concerned. Anything with enough force to damage the DA L's plastic mount will likely also damage the DA version of the lens.

That brings us to the one true difference that counts - Quick Shift. No matter how good the AF system, there will always be circumstances where manual tweaking is needed. Shooting a squirrel in a bush surrounded by twigs is a good example. AF often comes close, but not dead on to focusing on the squirrel's eye, which is the desired target. It gets confused by all those high-contrast twigs. In this situation with the DA L lens you have to use AF, flip the camera to MF and tweak focus. For an identical shot with the DA lens, you can simply go straight to the manual focus ring because there is an clutch integrated with the lens (Quick Shift) that disengages the AF when you turn the focus ring.

If you think you will shoot a lot of wildlife in this situation, getting the DA version is worth the extra cost. Otherwise, you can put the money toward another accessory that might help you more.

For what it is worth, I love my 55-300, and use it almost exclusively between 200-300.

06-22-2013, 12:55 PM   #9
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Thanks for all your comments they have been a great help! I am now definitely going for the 55-300!
06-28-2013, 01:43 PM   #10
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I recently bought a tamron 70-300 automatic for $74 at Henry's. it's amazing! (Before it I tried a new sigmaAPO 100-300, the Auto aperture setting didn't work and the zoom was REALLY sticky, so I returned it for the Used Tamron. Turns out it was a good choice... Take a look at attached sample Foto...
Attached Images
06-28-2013, 02:25 PM   #11
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i was in the same problem, if you are on a tight budget (like i was) i would also recommend the SMC Pentax-FA 100-300mm F4.7-5.8, i bought that one and it will arrive in a couple of days, you can see the reviews and look at some image samples here:
SMC Pentax-FA 100-300mm F4.7-5.8 Reviews - FA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

i bought mine with a hood and a filter for 118 shipped, but there is another one in the store that goes for 95 shipped (without hood or filter). (it's shipped from japan, it's the second lense i buy from them, a couple of weeks ago i bought a 100mm f2.8 wr for 495 shipped, it arrived well and the lense is in agreat condition, almost like new, if you are interested i will provide the link, they have an ebay store, an amazon store and a direct store).

It's a good price for what seems to be a good lense.

If you are not in a tight budget, just go for the 55-300.
06-28-2013, 03:24 PM   #12
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The 55-300 is a great lens. Make sure that when you are using it at the 300mm end you bump your shutter speed up to compensate for shake. I tended to forget about that.

As far a wildlife goes, I'd say that the 55-300 is a really nice zoo lens. You'll be able to achieve those faster shutter speeds (and the corresponding minimum aperture associated with 300mm) when it is bright out - otherwise, the iso will have to go up.

For actual wildlife shooting, I think you need something faster at the long end since most creatures are active during dawn and dusk - when the light is a little lower. Anyways, it is still a great zoom. I had one and I sold it for the above reasons but now when I go to the zoo, my shoulder misses the 55-300mm.
06-28-2013, 11:21 PM   #13
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The nice thing about landscape photography is that the photographer typically has much more time to compose the shot. Where AF is certainly helpful in long focal length wildlife photography, MF lenses are totally justifiable for landscape shots, not only because of the time allowed for each shot, but there is great depth of field achieved when smaller apertures and infinite focus are applied in wide angle lenses. There are some good cost effective options in MF lenses (either old k mounts, or newer third party lenses) if you are willing to go that route. The great viewfinder and the live view focus peaking make MF lenses pretty enjoyable on this body. Good Luck.

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