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03-01-2015, 10:26 AM   #1
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55-300WR focus issue on K50

Hi Friends,

I have a K50 that usually has the 55-300WR mounted on it. I'm finding the focus hunting, in anything but bright sunlight, to be almost unsatisfactory. I think it will cost me some shots on wildlife in early morning and evenings. I will admit that the lens has good IQ.

Is there a better option with similar IQ? I realize I would be giving up the WR feature but I'm willing to do that for better focus. My 55-300WR is new and I can still return it. Wondering if I got a bad copy or if this is just the way the lens is on the K50.

Thanks for any suggestions!

Jack

03-01-2015, 10:33 AM   #2
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I assume the price needs to be similar? If not the 60-250 is a stellar option but heavy and expensive. I own the SMC 55-300 and there are few comparisons that I can make that don't show the 60-250 as superior. However weight, cost, close focus magnification, and size are all factors in the favor of the 55-300.

I wish my FA 80-320 worked correctly (no A mode and no AF) so I could adequately test focus hunting on my K50. I did see more CA using it manually than the 55-300. It is a possible low cost option you could look into. The lens is slightly faster than the 55-300 as far as f/stop is concerned. If you get it - find a hood of some type for it.

---------- Post added 03-01-15 at 12:39 PM ----------

Just read the 80-320 does suffer from focus hunting. Sorry. FA 100-300 in the marketplace gets good reviews and may not be any better but it is inexpensive to try it.

Last edited by UncleVanya; 03-01-2015 at 11:25 AM.
03-01-2015, 10:51 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
I assume the price needs to be similar? If not the 60-250 is a stellar option but heavy and expensive. I own the SMC 55-300 and there are few comparisons that I can make that doesn't show the 60-250 as superior. However weight, cost, close focus magnification, and size are all factors in the favor of the 55-300.

I wish my FA 80-320 worked correctly (no A mode and no AF) so I could adequately test focus hunting on my K50. I did see more CA using it manually than the 55-300. It is a possible low cost option you could look into. The lens is slightly faster than the 55-300 as far as f/stop is concerned. If you get it - find a hood of some type for it.

---------- Post added 03-01-15 at 12:39 PM ----------

Just read the 80-320 does suffer from focus hunting. Sorry. 100-300 in the marketplace gets good reviews and may not be any better but it is inexpensive to try it.
Thanks UncleVanya,

I should have been more specific. I'm looking for something of similar size at less than $500 or so. I have used a Sigma 18-250mm macro on other cameras with good results. I'm hoping to hear from someone with a specific focus comment on an equivalent Tamron or Sigma model. Focus is my only complaint with the Pentax 55-300WR.

Jack
03-01-2015, 10:53 AM   #4
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The 55-300 is as good as it gets in that price range. As UncleVanya noted the 60-250 is much better but at a higher price point and far heavier. Also, I think the 60-250 is actually a little slower to focus, though it rarely if ever actually hunts. The 55-300 is quite quick in good light but suffers in poor light. Remember at 300mm you are at f/5.8 a bit slow for good AF on that camera. The k-3 would improve on that noticeably.

Another option is the Sigma 100-300 f/4 but again that is in a different price range. And hard to find.

One trick you can try in low light is to manually focus first to get close then hit the AF button to lock the exact focus. Also, try using center point AF only and see if that improves things. Another thought, make sure you are not using any filters in low light as even a slight reduction in light caused by a filter might have an impact. A CPL especially would have a negative impact in that situation.

03-01-2015, 11:05 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
The 55-300 is as good as it gets in that price range. As UncleVanya noted the 60-250 is much better but at a higher price point and far heavier. Also, I think the 60-250 is actually a little slower to focus, though it rarely if ever actually hunts. The 55-300 is quite quick in good light but suffers in poor light. Remember at 300mm you are at f/5.8 a bit slow for good AF on that camera. The k-3 would improve on that noticeably.

Another option is the Sigma 100-300 f/4 but again that is in a different price range. And hard to find.

One trick you can try in low light is to manually focus first to get close then hit the AF button to lock the exact focus. Also, try using center point AF only and see if that improves things. Another thought, make sure you are not using any filters in low light as even a slight reduction in light caused by a filter might have an impact. A CPL especially would have a negative impact in that situation.
Thanks Jatrax,.....I also have a K3, which generally wears a 18-135WR. I'll try the 55-300WR on it. If there's not a better option, I'll just stick with the Pentax. As I noted, the IQ is good and the lens is fine otherwise.

Jack
03-01-2015, 01:12 PM   #6
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I agree to use only the center focus point and don't be afraid to take control and use the quick shift for manual focusing. I had a 55-300 dal that did not have quick shift, and it was annoying to use since 55-300 is a rather large range to cover and hunting was common for me too. I ended up getting rid of it and bought an older Pentax 80-200 that is sharp, and focuses quickly as well as accurately. I guess I preferred better af results in a smaller, lighter package over the extra 300mm the 55-300 dal gave me.
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