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04-25-2011, 04:07 PM - 1 Like   #1
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Telephoto decision:pentax 55-300 vs Tamron 70-300

Hey all,

I recently bought my first dSLR, the pentax kx, and am considering a buying a telephoto lens. I'm trying to decide between these two lenses and wonder if you guys can provide some input?

Thanks,
Malcolm

04-25-2011, 04:22 PM   #2
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I love my da 55 -300. It does take a while to focus and quickshift is an absolute must. I have taken many really nice pics with it though. Don't know much about Tamron...
04-25-2011, 04:29 PM   #3
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My only personal experience is with the Pentax DA 50-200 and 55-300, however I've done some research on the Tamron 70-300.

I've concluded that what matters is the particular lens you get, more than the design of the lens. Both my Pentax F 100-300 (the "bad" version) and the DA 50-200mm seriously outperformed my copy of the DA 55-300. So I would somewhat discount comments about performance, since they won't apply to your own lens.

Here are some considerations that I run across, but as I said I don't have personal experience with the Tamron, so take this for what it's worth, keeping in mind that performance comments may not apply to whatever lens you actually buy:

1. The Tamron is by all accounts a bargain.

2. The Tamron covers full-frame, if that's important to you for any reason.

3. The Tamron is bigger and requires a bigger filter.

4. The Pentax may display less purple fringing / CA, particularly at 300mm. This may matter more or less to you depending on how comfortable you are with removing this effect in PP.

5. The Tamron has closer focusing (at least at the longer focal length settings, via its macro feature.)

6. The Pentax has the ability to quick-shift from auto to manual focus. I have quick-shift on several Pentax lenses and have never had occasion to use the feature; the value of the feature probably depends on the type of pictures you take.

7. The Pentax DA 55-300 and Tamron include a hood in the price. The DA-L doesn't.

Question I don't have any knowledge of: the Tamron is reported to have a less than stellar hood mounting mechanism. Maybe someone with the lens can comment. I can say for example that my Pentax lenses including the DA 55-300 have all had a firmer hood bayonet fitting than my Sigma EX lens. But so did my Canon FD lenses, for the first fifteen years or so. So the durability of the hood mounting mechanism might be a factor, if we knew what it would be.

Paul

Last edited by tibbitts; 04-25-2011 at 04:49 PM.
04-25-2011, 04:32 PM   #4
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Many threads - one conclusion - Pentax 55-300 best for <$350.

Search around for all the many threads :-)

Here's some...
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/141545-need-so...zoom-lens.html

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-beginners-corner-q/138739-needs-advice-combo-get.html


Last edited by SpecialK; 04-25-2011 at 04:43 PM.
04-25-2011, 04:58 PM   #5
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Great. And will work fine with the kx?
04-25-2011, 05:38 PM   #6
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Works great with the Kx, speaking from experience. Awesome lens for outdoor sports.
04-25-2011, 05:39 PM   #7
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I forgot to mention that, assuming you have an 18-55mm, the Tamron does leave a considerable gap in coverage. For 35mm, I had a 55-70mm gap, and it was only slightly irritating, but no gap would be better.

Paul
04-25-2011, 05:53 PM   #8
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I am comparing apples and apricots with this - but I had a 70-300 Tamron on my Sony system & found it to be optically excellent but slow to focus. The 55-300 focuses faster on Pentax bodies by a long shot, but of course the AF systems are different - but reviewers here have also commented on the Tamron being relatively leisurely to focus. I liked the sharpness of the 55-300 but prefer the compact size and bokeh of the 50-200 (I have the WR version). In my first days with Pentax I had Sigma's 50-200 and it was quite good both optically and for focus speed, but I haven't tried their 70-300 on any cameras.

04-25-2011, 06:00 PM   #9
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basically the 55-300mm for $300+ vs. the Tamron for ~$100 (if you are lucky). I've had both and what everyone's said so far is pretty spot on. Purple fringing on the Tamron, but it has Macro, the pictures are pretty a little sharper on the Pentax plus no gap if you have a kit lens with that k-x.

I have since sold both and gotten a 50-135mm...and obtained a rebadged, older version of the Tamron from a trade and will be keeping that just in case I need the reach.
04-25-2011, 06:57 PM   #10
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I have the Tamron and have used the Pentax DAL version and I would go with the DAL. For about $200 used it is by far the best "budget zoom" money can buy. The DAL is optically exactly the same as the DA version you just do not get the metal mount, hood or quick focus option but none of those matter to me (although I do have a hood for my Tamron). There are a few DAL 55-300s right now in this marketplace so I would grab one of those. If you want to save some money then get the Tamron ($160 new or 100-120 used) which is also a very good lens and at that price is a bargain. I have had mine for about a year and besides the faults others have pointed out (purple fringing is the biggest complaint, but also fixable) I really like the lens. It produces sharp, colorful images and has 1:2 macro and has an aperture ring so you can use it with a manual teleconverter. All in all you cannot go wrong with either lens I just think the Pentax DAL is overall a much better lens but also more $.
04-25-2011, 06:58 PM   #11
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Some added info: I tested the 55-300 with a 52mm step-down ring and two "thick" filters, and it was ok. Not sure if the 62mm Tamron can do that (on APS-C; I'm pretty sure it can't on full-frame.) That's a factor, of course, only because the kit 18-55 happens to be 52mm, and it's nice to share the same (relatively) inexpensive filters if possible. Of course you could step up, too, but then you'd lose use of the hood on the smaller lens. Maybe someone with the Tamron can try this and let us know.

Paul
04-25-2011, 08:02 PM   #12
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The Pentax 55-300 is your best bet. You can save some money with the Tamron but the copies are hit and miss.
I had an older Tamron that did not give good results, but was able to get a very good copy more recently.
04-26-2011, 06:17 AM   #13
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Of the 55-300--which model is best for the kx?
04-26-2011, 06:37 AM   #14
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They are all good on the - wait did you say the dslr K-x or are you talking about the film KX?
On the digital K-x the two available models are the DAL and the DA. There are differences, namely the mount and the ability to to quickshift manual focus or not, but they will work equally.

On the film KX I think they will show dark corners as these are designed for digital sensor size.
04-26-2011, 07:03 AM   #15
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DAL version also does not come with a lens hood (very advisable) and has no distance scale.
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