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05-06-2011, 02:42 PM   #1
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budget Zoo lens?

I just bought the k-r and the 18-55 lens. I'm new to the dslr world. From playing with the camera and lens I don't think that I'm going to be happy with the zoom. I think I'm going to want something that will reach further. We go to the zoo a lot and I like to take pictures of the kids playing in the yard too, we have 2 acres.

On another note, I love the macro pictures that I have seen on this forum.

I don't have a very large budget for lenses right now. So, any suggestions? I have read the reviews on different lenses and it's just confusing more. All of the different letters before the names confuse me. For instance, I was looking at the DA 55-300 mm. I noticed that there's also a DA L 55-300mm. I also noticed the Sigma 70-300.

Any suggestions?

05-06-2011, 02:47 PM   #2
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The DA 55-300mm is a really nice lens for its price. The DAL 55-300mm doesn't have quick shift and has a plastic mount compared to the DA 55-300mm

f you're are a really tight budget of under $200, then the Sigma or Tamron 70-300mm is a nice option.
05-06-2011, 02:52 PM   #3
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The DA 55-300 is great, so is the 50-200 for a bit less money. Both are considered good bargains. You can't really go wrong with either one.

A quick primer on the letter codes...

DA = Digital - for crop-sensor bodies (all of the digitals)
DA-L = Digital Light, or "kit" lens. Has more plastic bits and a lower price. Most cameras come with a DA-L in the box.
DA-WR = Digital Weather-Resistant.

I don't know if "L" really means "Light" but that's what I call them. There are many DA-L lenses brand new, floating around eBay for $100 less than the retail box versions and they work just the same.
05-06-2011, 03:17 PM   #4
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I would agree with this. I just went to the San Francisco Zoo last weekend and shot with a group of people using my Tamron 70-200 f2.8 with a 1.5x teleconverter. It was about enough range. The folks with the 200-500mm lenses were happier when we were shooting the big enclosures, but I think 300mm should be more than enough.

05-06-2011, 03:56 PM   #5
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See if you can locate an "F" or "FA" 100-300 for the zoo. It should be cheaper than the others and give you good zoo range.
Before you spend big bucks on Macro (and it will take fairly big bucks to do it right), try to find a Raynox 250 (or 150) adapter to use with your kit zoom. It will give you a reasonable introduction into Macro. (also note that the kit lens gets to about 1:3 which isn't too bad)
05-06-2011, 05:18 PM   #6
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My limited experience is that up to 300mm is good for about 70% of the pictures I've tried to take at the zoo, but it certainly depends on your interests.

For $165 my inclination would be to try the Tamron and purchase it new. You would be able to return it with minimal cost if it turned out you didn't like it (or you got a bad copy.) I have a used 100-300F and am happy with it, although it would be nice to have a little more range below 100mm, particularly if your only other lens is the 18-55. For more money you could buy the 55-300 DA-L, but you have to add some cost for the hood. The Tamron can do macro at the long end (only), whereas the 55-300 or 100-300 would need an external attachment or extension tubes for that.

Paul
05-06-2011, 05:21 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone! I just bought a tamron 70-300. Now I just have to wait for it to get here!
05-06-2011, 10:50 PM   #8
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congrats, great lens.

I typically shot with "old" manual lenses, but for those occasions I got a used Samsung D-Xenon 50-200 (which is the same as the Pentax) for €50/$70.


Last edited by kheldour; 05-06-2011 at 11:09 PM.
05-07-2011, 12:00 AM   #9
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I am pretty broke so my budget is ridiculously lower than most-- and standards too even.

I got a Sears f4.0 70-200mm awhile back and I've been pleased with it. I spent something like $25 for it so even with it being so "slow", I couldn't really complain with the price. The shots come out crisp and look great. I don't notice and aberrations or the like when I'm zoomed in all the way either. I also had a 300mm prime from Sigma that I'm not sure if I like or not. I haven't used it that much but I noticed a lot of aberrations popping up, and I figured that's just what happens when you are in that far with an inexpensive lens. I paid $25 for that one too.
05-07-2011, 10:06 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by mom2mny Quote
Thanks everyone! I just bought a tamron 70-300. Now I just have to wait for it to get here!
Good for you! Good choice and I'm sure you will be happy with it.
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