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02-05-2014, 09:21 PM   #1
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Best consumer zoom

Im wondering what the best consumer zoom ~$200, starting at around 50 or 60mm and anywhere from 150 to 200mm at the telephoto end.

02-05-2014, 09:38 PM   #3
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There are three variations of the 55-300 they are optically identical.
DAL - Comes with kit available used ~175 here on the marketplace or grey market at a place like adorama
Of note, DAL has a plastic mount, no quickshift, and no lens hood.

DA - Recently discontinued available used ~300-350
Has all of the features the DAL was missing

HD DA WR - Recently Launched available new hard to impossible to find used because it is so new.
Adds Weather resistance and the HD coating.
02-05-2014, 09:48 PM   #4
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The Pentax 55-300 has the best image quality of the budget zooms, but Adorama has the Sigma 70-300 DG APO for under $160 right now. Usually it is about $239. It is decent.

02-05-2014, 09:57 PM   #5
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If you are used to quick shift, the DA 55-300 rather that the DA-L version. I'm getting annoyed because I keep reaching for the focus ring. It's the only lens of the five I usually use where I have to switch the camera to MF to focus myself. Otherwise, not a bad lens for the price.
02-05-2014, 09:59 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Canada_Rockies Quote
If you are used to quick shift, the DA 55-300 rather that the DA-L version. I'm getting annoyed because I keep reaching for the focus ring. It's the only lens of the five I usually use where I have to switch the camera to MF to focus myself. Otherwise, not a bad lens for the price.
I just remember to press the lens release button with my right ring finger.
02-05-2014, 09:59 PM   #7
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What happens if you try to MF with the switch in the wrong position, does the lens resist or are you going to be stripping gears?
02-05-2014, 10:03 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
What happens if you try to MF with the switch in the wrong position, does the lens resist or are you going to be stripping gears?
I never push that hard; it just doesn't move. I wouldn't want to try to move the in body motor with the focus ring. Could be an expensive experiment if it did strip the gears.

As to the lens release trick, my middle initial should really be "K" for Klutz - I'd drop it for sure.

02-05-2014, 10:06 PM   #9
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You would need to crank it pretty hard but I suppose you could do damage. I don't grip the focus ring tightly enough to do anything so drastic. My main trouble is using quick shift on AF.c ... silly me
02-05-2014, 10:48 PM   #10
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I have the DAL version. I like it for what it is & the price I paid. I paid $50 more for the kit with it.
02-06-2014, 09:14 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by jimr-pdx Quote
You would need to crank it pretty hard but I suppose you could do damage. I don't grip the focus ring tightly enough to do anything so drastic. My main trouble is using quick shift on AF.c ... silly me
I guess you don't gain much, do you?
02-06-2014, 09:29 AM   #12
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I just wanted to make sure that it was something where you would have to be pretty stupid to mess it up and it wasn't something where you could accidentally do damage by occasionally reaching and trying because I am tempted to get the DAL next time I see a good deal on one.
02-06-2014, 10:40 AM   #13
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It's pretty hard to miss that the lens won't turn easily. Optically, it's pretty good for a consumer zoom.
02-12-2014, 12:03 PM   #14
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The Pentax 55-300 (any version) is certainly a good lens as far as image quality goes. However I find the lens frustraing when it comes to shooting any kind of action. I find the lens tends to focus hunt and it when it does it is slow to cycle thru the entire range. I have much better luck with two Sigma lenses. The Sigma 70-300 APO macro is actually pretty good and maintains center image sharpness well all the way out. I find it focus hunts much less and if it does cycles thru the range much quicker. The macro is actually a close focus feature that is OK and occasionally quite useful. The other lens is the Sigma 55-200 w/ AF & OS. I have two copies of this lens, one bought new the other bought refurbed from Sigma website. With both copies I have been very surprised and pleased at how sharp and crisp the images have been. Focus can be a little slow sometimes but it rarely hunts. Just checked the Sigma website and a refurbished copy of this lens is now $119. At that price I'm tempted to buy a 3rd copy just to have it on hand because I use mine alot in dusty conditions.

FYI - I shoot the original K5, usually AV priority at F5.6-F8
02-12-2014, 12:21 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by jimr-pdx Quote
You would need to crank it pretty hard but I suppose you could do damage. I don't grip the focus ring tightly enough to do anything so drastic. My main trouble is using quick shift on AF.c ... silly me
Been there, done that But that's one reason I've disabled AF on half press of the shutter button. Much easier to use quick shift then.
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