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11-30-2013, 09:37 AM   #16
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It would be interesting to see some sample images done with the 60-250 and 55-300.

As noted during this comparison (or this comparison) of the DA* 60-250 and Sigma 18-250, often the only real difference between a really expensive lens and a not so expensive lens, is the good lens weighs a lot more, and the bokeh is smoother with the good lens, which if you are trying to sell your images might be worth it.)


Last edited by normhead; 11-30-2013 at 09:45 AM.
11-30-2013, 02:26 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
It would be interesting to see some sample images done with the 60-250 and 55-300.

As noted during this comparison (or this comparison) of the DA* 60-250 and Sigma 18-250, often the only real difference between a really expensive lens and a not so expensive lens, is the good lens weighs a lot more, and the bokeh is smoother with the good lens, which if you are trying to sell your images might be worth it.)
In fact I'll be ordering a 60-250 from B&H once they open today, and look forward to comparing it with my new HD 55-300 on my K-3. If it turns out that my aging back can actually handle the 60-250 on good days, I'll be very happy to add such a great lens to my collection, and keep the HD 55-300 for not-so-good days.
12-01-2013, 08:00 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
The DA55-300 is good, but with that class of camera you probably want to start looking at better lenses first.
I find the 55-300 can be very sharp, depending on how you use it. Close the aperture a few stops and don't zoom in too much, and this is a very sharp lens.

I took this one in Africa at f/9, 1/640 and ISO 400. Focal length was 120mm.


And here's a crop:


This has had some sharpening in post. Still, I'm very satisfied with how sharp this lens can be.

I also briefly played with the 60-250. With that lens, you put the camera on the lens, instead of the other way around. It's that big and heavy. The upside is you can shoot wide-open throughout the range and still get sharp results, except maybe at 250mm. And bokeh will probably be better.
12-01-2013, 08:32 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by starbase218 Quote
I find the 55-300 can be very sharp, depending on how you use it. Close the aperture a few stops and don't zoom in too much, and this is a very sharp lens.

I took this one in Africa at f/9, 1/640 and ISO 400. Focal length was 120mm.


And here's a crop:


This has had some sharpening in post. Still, I'm very satisfied with how sharp this lens can be.

I also briefly played with the 60-250. With that lens, you put the camera on the lens, instead of the other way around. It's that big and heavy. The upside is you can shoot wide-open throughout the range and still get sharp results, except maybe at 250mm. And bokeh will probably be better.
At this point, if you're looking at a lens as big as the 60-250, I'd say, look at the Sigma 70-200 2.8 with the 2x TC as well. It would possibly give you a lot more flexibility, as well as save you from lugging around the 60-250 and my A-400. This is where I really dislike shopping Pentax.. if I wanted to check out these options, I'd have to order everything I wanted to look at, put them on my credit card, and then return what I decided I didn't want. And I did notice that one of the forum members who has both the SIgma 70-200 seems to prefer the 60-250, so maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree. I'll probably never know for sure.

12-01-2013, 09:41 AM   #20
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I tried the 60-250mm today. it is an excellent lens, but big and too heavy for me. I think I'll wait for the HD 55-300m.

Last edited by Pentaxina; 12-01-2013 at 04:00 PM.
12-01-2013, 02:29 PM   #21
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Very interesting and helpful discussion. Checked on B&H, and they actually have a note on their Overview page for the Sigma 70-200mm, Pentax mount, saying that "The Pentax mount Tele Converter cannot be used with this particular lens," though perhaps they're talking about something different? Also along the same lines, does anyone know if the DA AF RC 1.4x that RICOH still shows on the latest roadmap should, if it ever comes out, work (and how well?) with the DA* 60-250? With the HD 55-300? My guess would be yes and quite well with the DA* 60-250 and no with the HD 55-300, due to the constant F4 vs variable F4-5.8 apertures, but I'm just starting to learn about such things. Seems it could be a key issue for those choosing between the lenses. Meanwhile, I have gone ahead and ordered a 60-250 from B&H, look forward to comparing it with my HD 55-300 in a couple of weeks, and am hoping my back will be able to manage the extra weight and size. If that is somehow the case (and the difference in IQ and performance seems significant enough to me, given my uses, which I expect it to be from all the stellar reviews, and the way I love my primes), then it would be great if I could look forward to someday having a good TC (1.4x would do it for me) to use with at least the 60-250 for wildlife shots, especially birds.
12-01-2013, 02:49 PM   #22
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By the way, I have to add that I suspect my 55-300 looses some of its optical alignment when using it in portrait orientation at longer focal lengths. Some photos I took that way are not sharp at all, even when stopping down. Here the better build quality of the DA* may prove itself. Maybe the WR version is also less prone to this due to the sealing(?)
12-03-2013, 10:01 AM   #23
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18-135/55-300

I have the storied F* 300 f4.5 and the images it renders with my K-3 are probably the sharpest I've ever taken.

But a 55-300, together with an 18-135, is still my two-lens kit for travel. Weight makes a difference, and the F* 300 is a heavy lens. But I'm happy with the images I'm getting from the 55-300.

12-04-2013, 12:13 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by starbase218 Quote
I find the 55-300 can be very sharp, depending on how you use it. Close the aperture a few stops and don't zoom in too much, and this is a very sharp lens...
I agree. Mine yields surprisingly good results - up to some yet-to-be-determined FL. However, though I understand the concept of using a lens within its limitations, somebody is going to have to explain to me the logic in buying a 6x zoom, but "not zooming too much". After all, I bought a 300m lens because I wanted 300mm reach, no?
12-04-2013, 05:12 AM   #25
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I have K-3 and I'll have 55-300 HD(I have preordered one, but still waiting to get one from guys who imports the lens to my dealer ). Pictures that I have seen some people taking with it, makes me confident about it. One should expect better results with 60-250. But that is 3 X more money too.
12-04-2013, 12:00 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by bxf Quote
I agree. Mine yields surprisingly good results - up to some yet-to-be-determined FL. However, though I understand the concept of using a lens within its limitations, somebody is going to have to explain to me the logic in buying a 6x zoom, but "not zooming too much". After all, I bought a 300m lens because I wanted 300mm reach, no?
If you click on Gallery to the left, in red, you'll find several sharp photos I've taken with the HD 55-300 and K-3 at 300mm handheld (I've also posted JPEGs of the original DNG files, which I developed with Lr 5.3, on Flickr under wayneguyb). If that degree of sharpness is enough for your needs, then no need to worry re "zooming too much." Of course the 60-250 would be even sharper, as many have noted here, though only up to 250. You can compare the resolution figures for the two lenses at photozone.de. What you'll find is that on a scale with a maximum of 2350 points, the best center resolution of the 60-250 is better than that of the 55-300 by roughly 200 to 300 points, and the best border resolution is better by roughly 100 to 400 points, depending on FL (the difference increases at higher FL). You'll also find that even at F4, the 60-250 betters the best center resolution of the 55-300 (at F8-F11) by roughly 50 to 100 points, and the best border resolution of the 55-300 by 20 to 300 points (except at 60/55mm, where the best border resolution of the 55-300 is better than the F4 border resolution of the 60-250). So in absolute terms, the 60-250 has a good deal of extra resolving power compared to the 55-300 at all FL. In addition, the 60-250 allows you to shoot at even F4 and still get better resolution than the best the 55-300 can give you at even much higher F stops (with that one exception). Personally, I've been happy with the center performance of the 55-300 (both old and new HD) at 300mm, and also find it has excellent contrast. But the 60-250 clearly offers greater resolution, and all that being able to shoot at a much lower F stop entails, as well as other features that the 55-300 lacks, albeit for a much higher price and much heavier weight. As I noted earlier, I've recently ordered a 60-250, and if my back can manage the extra weight and bulk, I plan to keep both lenses, using the HD 55-300 (right up to 300mm!) as a lightweight travel zoom, and the 60-250 for those days I feel up to carrying it and want the best possible IQ in a Pentax zoom.
12-04-2013, 02:24 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by bxf Quote
I agree. Mine yields surprisingly good results - up to some yet-to-be-determined FL. However, though I understand the concept of using a lens within its limitations, somebody is going to have to explain to me the logic in buying a 6x zoom, but "not zooming too much". After all, I bought a 300m lens because I wanted 300mm reach, no?
Therein lies the conundrum of the cheap lens designer. But you'd think, they'd make the long end the strong end, and let the sacrifices affect the short end. Most of us a plethora of lenses that cover 55-200. My recollection for the sites though in at least one -stop the 55-300 is excellent, just barely. You're not going to find that in may low end super zooms.
12-04-2013, 04:28 PM   #28
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FWIW, the 60-250 is lighter than Sigma's 70-200...but that's to be expected..
12-05-2013, 05:00 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by wgb Quote
If you click on Gallery to the left, in red, you'll find several sharp photos I've taken with the HD 55-300 and K-3 at 300mm handheld (I've also posted JPEGs of the original DNG files, which I developed with Lr 5.3, on Flickr under wayneguyb). If that degree of sharpness is enough for your needs, then no need to worry re "zooming too much." Of course the 60-250 would be even sharper, as many have noted here, though only up to 250. You can compare the resolution figures for the two lenses at photozone.de. What you'll find is that on a scale with a maximum of 2350 points, the best center resolution of the 60-250 is better than that of the 55-300 by roughly 200 to 300 points, and the best border resolution is better by roughly 100 to 400 points, depending on FL (the difference increases at higher FL). You'll also find that even at F4, the 60-250 betters the best center resolution of the 55-300 (at F8-F11) by roughly 50 to 100 points, and the best border resolution of the 55-300 by 20 to 300 points (except at 60/55mm, where the best border resolution of the 55-300 is better than the F4 border resolution of the 60-250). So in absolute terms, the 60-250 has a good deal of extra resolving power compared to the 55-300 at all FL. In addition, the 60-250 allows you to shoot at even F4 and still get better resolution than the best the 55-300 can give you at even much higher F stops (with that one exception). Personally, I've been happy with the center performance of the 55-300 (both old and new HD) at 300mm, and also find it has excellent contrast. But the 60-250 clearly offers greater resolution, and all that being able to shoot at a much lower F stop entails, as well as other features that the 55-300 lacks, albeit for a much higher price and much heavier weight. As I noted earlier, I've recently ordered a 60-250, and if my back can manage the extra weight and bulk, I plan to keep both lenses, using the HD 55-300 (right up to 300mm!) as a lightweight travel zoom, and the 60-250 for those days I feel up to carrying it and want the best possible IQ in a Pentax zoom.
I do wish I could say otherwise, but I'm afraid your 300mm samples are no better than what I see in mine. And whereas I can accept the notion that sometimes an unsharp shot is better than no shot at all, I don't believe the IQ of this lens at 300mm would be considered acceptable for anything approaching professional standards. This makes one reluctant to use this lens for what is probably its most needed purpose. At lower focal lengths I believe what I just said would not hold, as I get excellent contrast and colour, which translate into very pleasing results.

I have yet to make a serious effort in establishing at what FL my lens start to show its relatively poor side. So, having said all of the preceding, I could debate with myself and say that if the IQ is OK at say, 250mm, then the lens is good value even for a 55-250mm, which is still a useful range.
12-05-2013, 05:10 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Therein lies the conundrum of the cheap lens designer. But you'd think, they'd make the long end the strong end, and let the sacrifices affect the short end. Most of us a plethora of lenses that cover 55-200. My recollection for the sites though in at least one -stop the 55-300 is excellent, just barely. You're not going to find that in may low end super zooms.
Exactly right. We "all" have lenses to cover moderate focal lengths. Reduce the zoom range, if necessary, but give us good IQ at the long end. Given what Pentax has managed with the 55-300mm at the low and middle FL, one would have thought that truncating the short end should almost automaticaly make it possible to improve the IQ at the long end.
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