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09-16-2019, 04:54 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
Thanks very much for your kind words Tim.

Since you have a D810 and a Pentax 645z, I figure your expectations of an entry-level APS-C camera and wide-ranging zoom are suitably tempered! But for what they are (and for such a bargain price), they are amazingly capable. Very good that your wife likes them too.

I have the 20-40 Ltd as well and I find it a very nice lens too.

Look forward to seeing more.
Correct Des, I think you have a full understanding of what i'd hope to get from these aps-c camera's, considering what I could compare them too. But as you say, they are extreamly capable bodies, when match with good glass and a good hand. (your pictures prove this). So far for what I paid, Im very impressed and happy with my choice...

Any thoughts of longer focal lenghts? 50-200? 55-200? 55-300??

09-16-2019, 03:53 PM - 1 Like   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Timotis77 Quote
Any thoughts of longer focal lenghts? 50-200? 55-200? 55-300??
No question: get the DA 55-300mm f4.5-6.3 PLM if you can. (About $500 new when on sale at DCXpert; hard to find used, but expect to pay about $350-400.) It is a bit heavier than the DA 50-200 (440g v 285g) but it retracts to a very compact size. The extra reach is invaluable, particularly for wildlife, but also for kids, pets and sport. It has the fastest and quietest autofocus of any Pentax lens. WR and HD coatings.

To me, the greatest surprise with the PLM (apart from the amazing AF) was the image quality: the colours, microcontrast and bokeh are in the top echelon of non-Limited and non-star Pentax lenses.




Very good resolution across the frame at the wide end when stopped down, which makes it a very good landscape lens.



(Stitched pano)

Good centre resolution at the long end, even at 300mm and even wide open, which makes it a good wildlife/sports lens.




See some fine examples here: HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE - Show us what it can do, what it CAN'T! - PentaxForums.com

Slowish aperture, particularly at the long end (f6.3 above about 270mm), although you can get f5.6 by backing off a little, which helps focusing in low light.

The step up from there in a tele zoom is the DA*60-250 f4, but it is heavier and quite a lot more expensive. It offers a wider aperture, which should in theory be better for wildlife (and allow the use of a TC), but user reports say that its utility for wildlife is limited by the slowness of the SDM focus and the focus breathing (which reduces the effective magnification).

The step up from the PLM in a wildlife lens is the DA*300mm f4, preferably paired with the DA 1.4x TC. It see that as complementing rather than replacing the PLM.

The step down in price from the PLM in tele zooms are the older Pentax 55-300mm f4-5.8 models with screw-driven AF (all now out of production). There are three variants: DA-L (plastic mount, no QS), DA (adds metal mount and QS), DA WR (adds WR and HD coatings and a nicer build). They are optically identical, except for the HD coatings on the WR version. I used to have the DA-L and as a bargain buy ($100-150) it and the original DA model are hard to beat if you get one in good condition. (Bear in mind that many older ones will have wobbly barrels by now.) You might find a newish copy of the HD WR version for around $300-350.

Resolution is as good as the PLM when stopped down, maybe even better at the long end. The microcontrast, colours, bokeh, control of CA and overall rendering are pretty good, although not in the same class as the PLM IMO. (More prone to nisen bokeh in particular.) It's similar in weight to the PLM and takes the same size filters (58mm) but doesn't retract so is bulkier to carry. Longer MFD than the PLM (1.4m v 0.95m) but similar maximum magnification. The autofocus seem noisy and slow after using a DC or PLM lens.

I had a great run from my DA-L 55-300 f4-5.8 for the small layout:





















More samples here: Pentax DA-L 55-300mm f4-5.8 sample images - Des(Australia) - Flickr

I haven't used any of the DA 50-200 lenses. You should be able to get even the WR version quite cheaply. It's very compact and lightweight. I've seen some very good images with this lens, although it doesn't rate highly in reviews.

The question I'd ask is, given you have the 18-135, is it really worth carrying a separate zoom just to get 135-200mm f5.6? Often 200mm wouldn't be enough for wildlife anyway and having 135-200mm f5.6 wouldn't add anything special in aperture or perhaps in IQ. (If you were talking about a DA*200 f2.8 or 70-200 f2.8 it might be a different story - either would bring something in aperture and image quality.) For a slowish tele zoom, the 55-300 adds much more versatility than the 50-200 without a lot more weight or bulk.

The 55-300 (particularly the PLM) also makes an excellent companion to the 20-40. Lately I've been using the DA 15 Ltd, DA 20-40 Ltd and DA 55-300 PLM with the KP for a compact light-weight and high-quality travel kit. The 55-300 holds its own even in that esteemed company.

Last edited by Des; 09-17-2019 at 02:51 PM.
09-16-2019, 07:36 PM - 1 Like   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
No question: get the DA 55-300mm f4.5-6.3 PLM if you can. (About $500 new when on sale at DCXpert; hard to find used, but expect to pay about $350-400.) It is a bit heavier than the DA 50-200 (440g v 285g) but it retracts to a very compact size. The extra reach is invaluable, particularly for wildlife, but also for kids, pets and sport. It has the fastest and quietest autofocus of any Pentax lens. WR and HD coatings.

To me, the greatest surprise with the PLM (apart from the amazing AF) was the image quality: the colours, microcontrast and bokeh are in the top echelon of non-Limited and non-star Pentax lenses.




Very good resolution across the frame at the wide end when stopped down, which makes it a very good landscape lens.



(Stitched pano)

Good centre resolution at the long end, even at 300mm and even wide open, which makes it a good wildlife/sports lens.




See some fine examples here: HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE - Show us what it can do, what it CAN'T! - PentaxForums.com

Slowish aperture, particularly at the long end (f6.3 above about 270mm), although you can get f5.6 by backing off a little, which helps focusing in low light.

The step up from there in a tele zoom is the DA*60-250 f4, but it is heavier and quite a lot more expensive. It offers a wider aperture, which should in theory be better for wildlife (and allow the use of a TC), but user reports say that its utility for wildlife is limited by the slowness of the SDM focus and the focus breathing (which reduces the effective magnification).

The step up from the PLM in a wildlife lens is the DA*300mm f4, preferably paired with the DA 1.4x TC. It see that as complementing rather than replacing the PLM.

The step down in price from the PLM in tele zooms are the older Pentax 55-300mm f4-5.8 models with screw-driven AF (all now out of production). There are three variants: DA-L (plastic mount, no QS), DA (adds metal mount and QS), DA WR (adds WR and HD coatings and a nicer build). They are optically identical, except for the HD coatings on the WR version. I used to have the DA-L and as a bargain buy ($100-150) it and the original DA model are hard to beat if you get one in good condition. (Bear in mind that many older ones will have wobbly barrels by now.) You might find a newish copy of the HD WR version for around $300-350.

Resolution is as good as the PLM when stopped down, maybe even better at the long end. The microcontrast, colours, bokeh, control of CA and overall rendering are pretty good, although not in the same class as the PLM IMO. (More prone to nisen bokeh in particular.) It's similar in weight to the PLM and takes the same size filters (58mm) but doesn't retract so is bulkier to carry. Longer MFD than the PLM (1.4m v 0.95m) but similar maximum magnification. The autofocus seem noisy and slow after using a DC or PLM lens.

I had a great run from my DA-L 55-300 f4-5.8 for the small layout:





















More samples here: Pentax DA-L 55-300mm f4-5.8 sample images - Des(Australia) - Flickr

I haven't used any of the DA 50-200 lenses. You should be able to get even the WR version quite cheaply. It's very compact and lightweight. I've seen some very good images with this lens, although it doesn't rate highly in reviews.

The question I'd ask is, given you have the 18-135, is it really worth carrying a separate zoom just to get 135-200mm f5.6? It's wouldn't often be enough for wildlife anyway and it wouldn't add anything special in aperture or perhaps in IQ. If you were talking about a DA*200 f2.8 it might be a different story but for a slowish tele zoom the 55-300 adds much more versatility without a lot more weight or bulk.

The 55-300 (particularly the PLM) also makes an excellent companion to the 20-40. Lately I've been using the DA 15 Ltd, DA 20-40 Ltd and DA 55-300 PLM with the KP for a compact light-weight and high-quality travel kit. The 55-300 holds its own even in that esteemed company.
The problem here is, your making any lens look brilliant Des......

I’ve thought that having the 18-135 why get the 55-200/55-300, but as you state lower in your reply, having say the 20-40mm and a 55-200/300 makes for a nice light travel set up. - I will go with one of the 55-200/300mm

My thoughts are this, I take my Pentax 645z most trips with 35mm, 55mm or 75mm and 80-160mm. I don’t shoot much longer than 55-75mm with the 645z when travelling and most of the time don’t use the 80-160. So I figured taking the K70 with 20-40mm and a 55-200/300 will kill of the need to carry the 80-160mm (which is about 1kg)..... And having the 55-200/300 keeps the options for shooting long open when needed

Really good information Des, thank you very much, definably given me food for thought....

- I will go with one of the 55-200/300mm – Just need to choose I guess – the PLM seems nice, I get a lot of stuff through DCXpert – I’ll look into this
09-17-2019, 03:10 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Timotis77 Quote
I don’t shoot much longer than 55-75mm with the 645z when travelling and most of the time don’t use the 80-160. So I figured taking the K70 with 20-40mm and a 55-200/300 will kill of the need to carry the 80-160mm (which is about 1kg)..... And having the 55-200/300 keeps the options for shooting long open when needed
160mm on a 645z has a field of view equivalent to about, what, 90mm on APS-C? If you really don't need any longer than that maybe you would be better off with a macro prime in 90mm-105mm range than with a tele zoom? DFA 100 macro WR is the gold standard, but older Pentax 100mm primes or one of the Tamron 90mm lenses or Sigma 105mm would be good and cheaper. I've got the DFA 100 and it's a really fine lens, not just for macro. (See Pentax-D FA 100mm f/2.8 WR Macro - PentaxForums.com) Images will take a lot of cropping too.

09-17-2019, 04:48 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
160mm on a 645z has a field of view equivalent to about, what, 90mm on APS-C? If you really don't need any longer than that maybe you would be better off with a macro prime in 90mm-105mm range than with a tele zoom? DFA 100 macro WR is the gold standard, but older Pentax 100mm primes or one of the Tamron 90mm lenses or Sigma 105mm would be good and cheaper. I've got the DFA 100 and it's a really fine lens, not just for macro. (See Pentax-D FA 100mm f/2.8 WR Macro - PentaxForums.com) Images will take a lot of cropping too.
I do have a couple of the 100mm saved with thoughts of buying, but then the more I think about it, having the extra reach if you need it, its there with the 55-300 PLM

I have found a 55-300 PLM and plan to buy today/pickup - Almost new, barley used, boxed for $410 AU

I like the idea (maybe my wife more than me) smaller and a little lighter lens to take away

We are off to Cairns and Japan towards the end of the year, I really think this setup will be the perfect balance for me - (will be a good way to test it anyway)

Pentax 645z
35mm
55mm or 75mm

Pentax K70
20-40mm
55-300mm PLM
09-17-2019, 05:33 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Timotis77 Quote
I do have a couple of the 100mm saved with thoughts of buying, but then the more I think about it, having the extra reach if you need it, its there with the 55-300 PLM

I have found a 55-300 PLM and plan to buy today/pickup - Almost new, barley used, boxed for $410 AU

I like the idea (maybe my wife more than me) smaller and a little lighter lens to take away

We are off to Cairns and Japan towards the end of the year, I really think this setup will be the perfect balance for me - (will be a good way to test it anyway)

Pentax 645z
35mm
55mm or 75mm

Pentax K70
20-40mm
55-300mm PLM
I don't know how you keep turning up these bargain buys Tim!

Your travel kit sounds like a good plan. I would seriously consider something wider than 20mm for APS-C as well. I've got the DA 12-24 and the DA 15 Ltd. The zoom is a nice lens and more versatile of course. (The new DA 11-18 f2.8 would be a dream.) But for travel the wonderfully compact and light-weight 15 is the one I always have with me.

For years I held off getting the 15 because I didn't think I needed it. After a lot of agonising I finally succumbed and got the HD version in February - used but in perfect condition for $400 from a member here. I'm completely sold on it. It's a joy to use. It is mind-controlling (The 15mm Limited controls my mind - club - PentaxForums.com). Images have that Limited wow factor - like the 20-40, but more so! I can imagine many uses for it in either FNQ or Japan. I think your wife might love it too.

Many people prefer the green ring (non-HD) version of the DA 15 Ltd for its famous starbursts. For me the HD coatings (red ring version) mean a similar level of flare resistance, and produce a similar "look", to the 20-40 and the 55-300 PLM, which makes the kit more seamless.

I'd find it hard to resist buying photography gear on a trip to Japan!

Just a word of caution about the 55-300. Don't drop the camera with that lens mounted or the plastic barrel will break at the base. (Don't ask how I know. ;-))

Last edited by Des; 09-17-2019 at 05:41 PM.
09-17-2019, 06:42 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
I don't know how you keep turning up these bargain buys Tim!

Your travel kit sounds like a good plan. I would seriously consider something wider than 20mm for APS-C as well. I've got the DA 12-24 and the DA 15 Ltd. The zoom is a nice lens and more versatile of course. (The new DA 11-18 f2.8 would be a dream.) But for travel the wonderfully compact and light-weight 15 is the one I always have with me.

For years I held off getting the 15 because I didn't think I needed it. After a lot of agonising I finally succumbed and got the HD version in February - used but in perfect condition for $400 from a member here. I'm completely sold on it. It's a joy to use. It is mind-controlling (The 15mm Limited controls my mind - club - PentaxForums.com). Images have that Limited wow factor - like the 20-40, but more so! I can imagine many uses for it in either FNQ or Japan. I think your wife might love it too.

Many people prefer the green ring (non-HD) version of the DA 15 Ltd for its famous starbursts. For me the HD coatings (red ring version) mean a similar level of flare resistance, and produce a similar "look", to the 20-40 and the 55-300 PLM, which makes the kit more seamless.

I'd find it hard to resist buying photography gear on a trip to Japan!

Just a word of caution about the 55-300. Don't drop the camera with that lens mounted or the plastic barrel will break at the base. (Don't ask how I know. ;-))
“I don't know how you keep turning up these bargain buys Tim!”
– Just ask the question and see if people are negotiable and make sure I know what the going price of the items are both new and second hand. Plus sadly I find many more bargains for Pentax items than say for Nikon, this could be due to lack of availability or just most people are either shooting canon, Nikon or Fujifilm? (I guess this is good for people wanting to purchase Pentax gear)

I have looked into something wider for my K70/K-S1, not so much for travelling, as this is why I take the 645z and 35mm (which is about 27.65mm in 35mm terms) which I find plenty wide enough. And I primarily use the 645z for landscape/cityscape.

But, have looked into the options of a wider lens, and I’ve seen the 15mm again at Dcxpert. Whether I pull the pin on something like this, I’m not sure. I may give it some time to think about it till I do
I was looking at the Sigma 10-20mm (the lighter of the two sigma) but not sold from what some of the reviews say. The 12-24 sounds ok, other than being more versatile, which do you prefer?

I was in Japan this time last year and it’s a second hand paradise for lens and even bodies. While there I brought a 645 120mm FA macro for my 645z for $320 au, over here via ebay and alike they are well over 500….. Was very happy with this purchase. Also got a Nikon 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6 G for my d810 for $21…. Sharp as a tack and my cheapest Nikon purchase to date…. Impressive lens for the price

To date I’ve never dropped any of my camera’s, I won’t ask how you found out, but it sounds like you’d be on your second copy of the 55-300?
09-17-2019, 07:01 PM - 1 Like   #23
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Some very nice photos in this thread.....

09-17-2019, 09:16 PM - 1 Like   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Timotis77 Quote
The 12-24 sounds ok, other than being more versatile, which do you prefer?
Can't comment on the Sigmas, but in the PF comparative reviews there wasn't a great deal between any of the five UWA zooms tested: Sigma 10-20mm F3.5 vs F4.0-5.6 Review - The Bottom Line | PentaxForums.com Reviews

The DA 12-24 is a good lens. Like a lot of ultrawides it is prone to purple fringing and flare. CA can be pronounced at wide apertures, particularly at the wide end. For example, you can see lots here in the bokeh (12mm f5):


But I almost always stop down, so this isn't a big deal for me. It has good resolution and colours. In the right conditions, it does really well.












From what I have seen, the new DA*11-18mm f2.8 takes it up a notch. If you want an APS-C UWA zoom, that's the one to get if you can afford it and don't mind the extra weight.

If you are asking about a comparison with the DA 15 Ltd, it's a different animal. I hardly need tell you there's a big difference between 12mm and 15mm. Where the DA 15 Ltd shines, in terms of image quality, is in its punchy colours and microcontrast and great flare resistance. If you look at the samples thread, you'll see what I mean. Here's one or two examples of mine.




QuoteOriginally posted by Timotis77 Quote
To date I’ve never dropped any of my camera’s, I won’t ask how you found out, but it sounds like you’d be on your second copy of the 55-300?
I am. Although I did get the first one repaired ( What to avoid with your 55-300 PLM lens! - PentaxForums.com ), I think the second copy is better. The first one is on loan to a family member at present.
09-19-2019, 01:31 PM - 1 Like   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
Can't comment on the Sigmas, but in the PF comparative reviews there wasn't a great deal between any of the five UWA zooms tested: Sigma 10-20mm F3.5 vs F4.0-5.6 Review - The Bottom Line | PentaxForums.com Reviews

The DA 12-24 is a good lens. Like a lot of ultrawides it is prone to purple fringing and flare. CA can be pronounced at wide apertures, particularly at the wide end. For example, you can see lots here in the bokeh (12mm f5):


But I almost always stop down, so this isn't a big deal for me. It has good resolution and colours. In the right conditions, it does really well.












From what I have seen, the new DA*11-18mm f2.8 takes it up a notch. If you want an APS-C UWA zoom, that's the one to get if you can afford it and don't mind the extra weight.

If you are asking about a comparison with the DA 15 Ltd, it's a different animal. I hardly need tell you there's a big difference between 12mm and 15mm. Where the DA 15 Ltd shines, in terms of image quality, is in its punchy colours and microcontrast and great flare resistance. If you look at the samples thread, you'll see what I mean. Here's one or two examples of mine.





I am. Although I did get the first one repaired ( What to avoid with your 55-300 PLM lens! - PentaxForums.com ), I think the second copy is better. The first one is on loan to a family member at present.
Again Des, you make all these lenses look brilliant….. Fantastic stuff, have you printed some of these??

Ok, after reading the last few days I’ll get myself the 15mm Limited (either the green or red version), I figure the weight is perfect being under 200gms and I’m happy to move my feet and save getting something bigger like the 12-24mm

I picked up the 55-300 PLM, haven’t had much time to try it out, but so far from what I see, its brilliant…. Even 300mm wide open seemed better than what many where saying…..

Thanks again for the tips Des, much appreciated.
09-19-2019, 02:28 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Timotis77 Quote
Thanks again for the tips Des, much appreciated.
Happy to help Tim. Glad you like the photos - the underlying point is that even for a MF/FF guy, APS-C still offers something with decent lenses.

Glad you like the PLM, It's the sort of lens that can make even a wide-angle photographer look around for telephoto subjects. I think you'll love the 15 too. It's offers something different from what you will get with MF/FF wide angle lenses.

Last edited by Des; 09-19-2019 at 06:42 PM.
09-22-2019, 12:37 AM - 3 Likes   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
Happy to help Tim. Glad you like the photos - the underlying point is that even for a MF/FF guy, APS-C still offers something with decent lenses.

Glad you like the PLM, It's the sort of lens that can make even a wide-angle photographer look around for telephoto subjects. I think you'll love the 15 too. It's offers something different from what you will get with MF/FF wide angle lenses.
The APS-C systrm offers as much as both of MF and FF and in a smaller more compact package. Happy i've added it to my gear...

Here's some shots taken today with the 55-300mm PLM, its a brilliant lens - Thanks again for the tip Des....








Last edited by Timotis77; 09-22-2019 at 03:07 AM.
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