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04-27-2011, 04:02 AM   #1
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Pentax 55-300 vs 55-200

Hey All,

I've narrowed down the search for my first telephoto to these two lenses. I would love to know the consensus on these, if ya don't mind. Also, what affordable additions might be useful for macro? My kx dSLR came with a 18-55--would I still need a macro addition?

Thanks,

Malcolm

04-27-2011, 04:13 AM   #2
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55-300 is, by most people, considered the better lens.

If macro equals close up of flowers etc, your 18-55mm kit lens will be fine (1:3 magnification). If you need better than that, have a look at the Raynox DCR150 adaptor to keep it affordable.

And next you can get to dedicated macro lenses (often 1:1 magnification), tubes, bellows etc. Somebody else might climb in here as my knowledge is limited.
04-27-2011, 07:08 AM   #3
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While it is true that the 55-300 is a "some what" sharper lens - the 50-200 is much lighter and smaller - and it can also boast weather sealing. I ditched my 55-300 in favor of the 50-200 WR for those reasons.

If you want long lens with great IQ, you need bigger budget. Even though the Tamron 70-200 has been critically acclaimed as the undisputed value king, it will set you back more than $700, but it is about as sharp as anything made by anyone regardless of price within its focal length.
04-27-2011, 07:26 AM   #4
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Thank you! Is the extra 100mm a huge loss? I'm new to photography and am not exactly sure how to measure this.

04-27-2011, 07:28 AM   #5
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For image quality the 55-300 is definitely the more superior lens. It can be used wide open and produce sharp images, even at 300mm, which is rare for a consumer telephoto.

Value for money, size and IQ, you shouldn't go past it.
For these reasons I have one even though I also have a Tamron 70-200.
04-27-2011, 08:48 AM   #6
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The difference is quite big.

Suppose you're on a safari and with 300mm you can have an elephant fill the frame (photo). With 200mm, it will only fill 66% (300/200). This is not a big issue, as the composition will usually be better if you show a little of the environment around the elephant.

However, if that elephant is further away, it might only fill 50% of the photo with a 300mm lens and only 33% with a 200mm. And in that situation it makes a bigger difference. If course you can try to get closer.

Attached a photo of a weaver taken with 300mm and at a few meters distance; no cropping With 200mm the bird would have been smaller (66% of the size) and you would have seen more of its environment. For this one, I could not get much closer. You can obviously always do a bit of cropping but cutting 33% away is quite significant in my opinion.
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04-27-2011, 08:58 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by creigm Quote
Thank you! Is the extra 100mm a huge loss? I'm new to photography and am not exactly sure how to measure this.
You can shoot at 200mm using the 55-300 but you can't shoot at 300mm with the 50-200. Something to think about.

Tim
04-27-2011, 07:13 PM   #8
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And at 300mm, the quality is excellent - even wide open!

A couple of cases in point:





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