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12-13-2015, 10:58 AM   #1
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Need more reach than 55-200 kit lens

Now that kids soccer season is over looking to get a lens with more reach than 55-200 kit lens. Picture quality is good for my needs but felt that from my location-sidelines and stands- I could use a longer lens. We have basketball season next and will be using in gym. Looking at two options-Pentax 55-300 or Sigma 70-300. Weather resistance is not necessary although nice and may need in some wet or dirty outdoor conditions. Thanks in advance for any recommendations.

12-13-2015, 11:10 AM   #2
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I think you need a 55-300. Why, here's one for sale! https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/24-photographic-equipment-sale/302500-sal...ced-price.html

I'll even lower the price to $190 in the holiday spirit. You can thank me latter...
12-13-2015, 11:25 AM   #3
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The 55-300 seems to be preferred over 70-300 in most comparisons. The lens is a gem and performs way above expectations.
12-13-2015, 11:49 AM   #4
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I got the 55-300 as part of my original K-x kit. It's a great lens & I still use it now, 6 years later.

12-13-2015, 12:03 PM   #5
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I love my now broken but still functional Sigma 70-300. I have so many good pictures taken with it. But the 55-300 is the way to go. It's better in the long end, and most people buy long glass, for the long end.
12-13-2015, 02:02 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by jogo21 Quote
Now that kids soccer season is over looking to get a lens with more reach than 55-200 kit lens. Picture quality is good for my needs but felt that from my location-sidelines and stands- I could use a longer lens. We have basketball season next and will be using in gym. Looking at two options-Pentax 55-300 or Sigma 70-300. Weather resistance is not necessary although nice and may need in some wet or dirty outdoor conditions. Thanks in advance for any recommendations.
The Sigma DG 70-300 is a good third party lens and works well for me. The newer OS version is nice too, I have both.

Good luck
12-13-2015, 02:02 PM   #7
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The problem with any of the long consumer grade zoom lenses is they are slow at the far end. The 55-300 is ƒ5.8 @300mm. Inside in a poorly lit school gym, not likely to get much unless you crank the ISO way up. Then you are fighting noise (grain) in your image.
You should try shooting in the gym with your 50-200 before you invest in another, if you can get the quality you are looking for with the 200 @ ƒ5.6, you will be happy with the 300 @ƒ5.8

A ƒ2.8 (constant) zoom at 200mm and crop to 300 would likely do better than the 55-300, but more $s.

The 55-300 also hunts focus in low light, takes some getting used to. I regularly have to manually rack it back out to infinity before starting to aim and focus again. When it missies it comes all the way back to closest focus. Annoying and time consuming. I do like it for outside work in good light though. It's a good, compact lens that performs above it's price range.

Last edited by K-Three; 12-13-2015 at 02:22 PM.
12-13-2015, 02:31 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by K-Three Quote
The problem with any of the long consumer grade zoom lenses is they are slow at the far end. The 55-300 is 5.8 @300mm. Inside in a poorly lit school gym, not likely to get much unless you crank the ISO way up. Then you are fighting noise (grain) in your image.
You should try shooting in the gym with your 50-200 before you invest in another, if you can get the quality you are looking for with the 200 @ 5.6, you will be happy with the 300 @5.8

A 2.8 (constant) zoom at 200mm and crop to 300 would likely do better than the 55-300, but more $s.

The 55-300 also hunts focus in low light, takes some getting used to. I regularly have to manually rack it back out to infinity before starting to aim and focus again. When it missies it comes all the way back to closest focus. Annoying and time consuming. I do like it for outside work in good light though. It's a good, compact lens that performs above it's price range.

Somehow I missed that the current shots were outdoors and the new one's would be indoors. That is a good point. Shooting in raw and using denoise software may be an answer but only the OP will know what skill, software and tolerance for noise exists.

Fast long lenses are really expensive - particularly for zooms with good quality.

12-13-2015, 02:44 PM   #9
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The gym is well lit. School auditorium isn't as bright but stage area has enough lighting to get decent pics. Thanks for the input.
12-13-2015, 02:49 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by K-Three Quote
The 55-300 also hunts focus in low light, takes some getting used to
I have experienced the same problem with the 55-300 and for basketball you need less reach than for soccer, but better autofocus. On APS-C, 50-135mm covers the entire court unless you are way up in the stands. Being closer to the action also means you have to move the camera more and focus tracking becomes a bigger challenge. Add to that the poor lighting that school gymnasiums are famous for and the 55-300 becomes even less attractive. I've never tried the Tamron 70-300, but I can't see where it would be an improvement on the DA 55-300 for any situation. The 55-300 is great outdoors, so you might want to add it to your lens collection regardless of its suitability for getting photos in gyms.

A couple of posters on this forum have tried 50mm prime lenses for shooting basketball games; the wider apertures allow much more light in the camera and you can always crop. The DA 50 f1.8 is one of the least expensive Pentax lenses, leaving some money for the 55-300 if you want more reach.
12-13-2015, 02:52 PM   #11
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Need more reach than 55-200 kit lens

I actually have that prime lens you mention. Never thought of using it for games. Thanks for the tip. Will have to give it a try.

Last edited by jogo21; 12-13-2015 at 02:53 PM. Reason: Hit save by accident.
12-13-2015, 03:04 PM   #12
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Don't underestimate the human eye's ability to see in poor lighting conditions. What your eye sees as good light is a far cry from what the camera sees as good light.
12-13-2015, 04:17 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by K-Three Quote
The 55-300 also hunts focus in low light, takes some getting used to. I regularly have to manually rack it back out to infinity before starting to aim and focus again. When it missies it comes all the way back to closest focus. Annoying and time consuming. I do like it for outside work in good light though. It's a good, compact lens that performs above it's price range.
My WR version has quick shift, using spot metering , spot focus & quick shift I rarely have to manually rack mine in lower light.
12-13-2015, 06:35 PM   #14
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The Pentax metering system is -3 EV, with a 2.8 lens. An ƒ5.6 lens is going to be two stops lower than optimum. I've shot volleyball before with a 50, but you do have to be pretty close. For basketball I've shot from right under the basket with good results, also with a 50. But really, a 70-200-ƒ2.8 theoretically should be the best for this. That's as long and fast as you get in Pentax land.
12-13-2015, 07:50 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Oldbayrunner Quote
My WR version has quick shift, using spot metering , spot focus & quick shift I rarely have to manually rack mine in lower light.
DA version is also quick shift.
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