Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home

Show Printable Version Search this Thread
05-06-2011, 02:42 PM   #1
Junior Member

Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 33
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
Forum Member

Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Texas
Posts: 87
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
Senior Member

Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Seattle, WA
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 123
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
Loyal Site Supporter
blackcloudbrew's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cotati, California USA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 3,816
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
Inactive Account

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Long Island, N.Y.
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,124
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

Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Oklahoma USA
Posts: 1,502
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.

05-06-2011, 05:21 PM   #7
Junior Member

Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 33
Original Poster
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
Veteran Member
kheldour's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Cologne
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 306
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
Senior Member
northofpolaris's Avatar

Join Date: May 2011
Location: Diamond Bar, CA
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 193
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
Site Supporter
Ahab's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Oracle, Az
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 739
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.

  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
budget, camera, da, lens, lenses, pentax help, photography, pictures, suggestions, zoo
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Budget lens or wait? mediaslinky Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 14 12-22-2010 12:26 AM
Balancing lens budget. ytterbium Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 6 06-20-2010 02:30 PM
Best budget macro lens? raver1414 Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 15 12-10-2009 12:50 PM
looking for wide angle lens on a budget gybp Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 20 12-01-2009 06:16 AM
Best budget tripod for a K20D kit lens and a Tamron 70-300mm lens. shaolin95 Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 13 08-29-2009 11:53 AM

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:13 AM. | See also:, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]