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01-13-2012, 10:21 PM   #1
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DA 50-200mm vs DA 55-300mm lens

Can someone help me on this. What is the differece between a pentax DA50-200 and a Pentax DA 55-300? How much more zoom will I get compared to the 50-200 which is what I have now, would it be worth my while to purchase the 55-300? I am not in the postion to spend lots of money on lens at this time.

Thanks for your help in advance.

New Shutterbug.

01-13-2012, 10:29 PM   #2
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This is a loaded question zoom is thrown around alot but the da 50-200 is a 4x zoom. The 55-300 is a 5.45x zoom. However the field of view is different for both lenses. Consider this the 70-300 is a 4x zoom. What im trying to get at is that zoom is relative to the shortest focal length. Best thing to look at is the field of view difference.
01-13-2012, 10:40 PM   #3
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You'll be able to zoom in closer with the 55-300mm; it is also generally accepted that the images it produces are of significantly better quality. It's not weather-sealed, though

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01-13-2012, 11:02 PM   #4
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Thank you Adam and epqwerty for your responses. With the 55-300mm what is the maxium distance the subject be to optain a really good shot, versa the 50-200mm. Also I have been reading some of the other posts and had notice the some people talk about Sigma and Tamron lens. Are these lens cheaper to buy than a pentax or about the same in price?

Thanks New Shutterbug.

01-13-2012, 11:28 PM   #5
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Other lenses might be cheaper but the DA55-300 is considered an excellent buy for the money.

A standing person 1.80 meter tall at 22 meters distance will fill the image with the camera in landscape position and 200mm. That same person can be 33 meters away and fill the frame when using a 300mm lens.

As reference: that same person at 22 meters with the kit lens at 55mm will roughly occupy a quarter of the image (55/200).
01-14-2012, 12:02 AM   #6
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Sigma and Tamron both make 70-300mm zooms and they are quite cheap. But consumer grade in quality. Although somewhat subjective, the Tamron is probably slight sharper than the Sigma, but both suffer from CA (and the Tamron can be a purple fring monster in certain situations as in high contrast etc). The Pentax is definitely much better than these typical Tamron 70-300 DI and the Sigma 70-300 APO (but note that there are several different versions with slightly different glass) from my experiences with these lens. I still have one of each, although the Sigma is an older version.

Tamron have a new SP70-300 VC which is a new optical formula, SP designated, and apparently very good, but not sure if this is in K mount yet. This could be a rival to the DA55-300 if they build it for K mount, but it is also a lot more expensive than the older Tamron 70-300 Di.

You can't go wrong with the Pentax DA55-300.

If cash is an issue, and you're not sure about the requirement for lens out to 300mm, then perhaps a second-hand Tamron or Sigma to try out.

Last edited by KevinR; 01-14-2012 at 12:08 AM.
01-14-2012, 01:50 AM   #7
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Here are a couple of pieces of information that may help. You have a couple of decisions, 1) the focal length, as in do I need 300 or if 200 will be fine.
  • Tamron has a site that has a focal length comparison tool -
Focal length comparison tool, Tamron USA
Once you decide on the focal length, then there are a number of lenses that you can choose from.
  • DA 50-200 -
  • DA 55-300 -
  • DA L 55-300 - The L version of the lens has the same optical design, with the difference being in the construction - no manual clutch (manual focusing while in auto focus), a plastic rather than metal lens mount, and no lens hood included.
  • FA J 70-300 - A budget priced lens
  • Tamron -
  • Sigma -
  • Tokina - Tokina has stopped making K mount lenses. However, there are a lot of older manual prime and zoom lenses available on ebay that would possibly work for you.
First you can go broke buying lenses. Only buy what you can afford. Buy used - in good condition, You can save a lot of money and folks on the forum tend to take care of their equipment - check out the market place here. Also, check ebay and craigslist. Do you need autofocus? You can find lower priced manual focus lenses for less

I started with the 50-200. After a couple of years I went to the FAJ 70-300. Longer reach and it was good. After a couple of years the DA 55-300 came out - sold the FAJ and added some funds (that I had saved) and upgraded to the DA.

Also, purple fringing or CA can be corrected by post processing software.

There are a number of solutions to this situation, and its just not one forever decision. Make the best decision for your present situation and go forward. Also, consider this. The 50-200 may just be fine - especially a used one. It can also serve as a learning lens.


Last edited by interested_observer; 01-14-2012 at 01:56 AM.
01-14-2012, 09:43 AM   #8
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Since you have the SMC Pentax DA 1:4-5.6 50-200mm ED and have just started using it I'd ask - have you found something that the SMC Pentax DA 1:4-5.6 50-200mm ED can't do that the added reach of the 50-300mm would fulfill for you?

As has already been said - you can go broke buying lenses. While the 50-200mm isn't the best its not terrible from the reviews and comments either. In the next month or so there ought to be a bunch of DAL 50-300 lenses up in the MarketPlace for sale as people upgrade from their Christmas purchases/gifts. If you want to upgrade I'd keep an eye out for those to show up.

Good Luck.

01-14-2012, 02:27 PM   #9
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I have the WR version of the DA50-200....

It is said a lot that the 55-300 has better IQ... That said (and bearing in mind that I believe I have a good copy) I don't believe there is actually that much in it... Look at images taken with the DA50-200 on PPG and you'll see that outstanding results can be and are obtained with this lens...

If you have one or the other, your best bet is to shoot with it and see what you think... If it's within a focal length that you use often and you want to upgrade, get saving for a better lens than either...

Personally, I tend to shoot 'normal' to 'wide' focal lengths as oposed to 'long' and when I do have need to shoot 'long' the DA50-200 serves my needs... (I did feel a need to upgrade in the 18-55mm focal lengths & and enjoy working with prime lenses too though...)

Work out 'where' you shoot (I'm talking most used focal lengths...) and build a lens buying roadmap from there...
01-14-2012, 04:38 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by tiamaria2326 Quote
Thank you Adam and epqwerty for your responses. With the 55-300mm what is the maxium distance the subject be to optain a really good shot, versa the 50-200mm
That's not a meaningful question. Both can shoot exactly the same distance, which is as far as the eye can see. But near or far, objects will appear *larger* when shot at 300mm than when shot at 200mm. How much larger? About as much as 300 is greater than 200 - one and a half times. Only you can decide if having the onject that much larger is the diffeence between being "really good" or not. For me, it's almost irrelevant. I can crop an image taken at 200mm so that when I display it, the subject is just as big as with a 300mm lens, and unless I print giant posters, you'd never be able to tell the difference. But if you're already cropping the heck out of your 200mm shots - like for distant small animal - maybe having to crop less with the 300mm lens would make the difference. Only you can decide.
01-24-2012, 06:40 PM   #11
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50-200

I have the 50-200...and hate this lens. I think it is very soft at 200. was glad to find this forum. looks like I need to upgrade to the 55-300. Anyone have any thoughts on a good prime at 300?
01-24-2012, 07:58 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by tiamaria2326 Quote
Thank you Adam and epqwerty for your responses. With the 55-300mm what is the maxium distance the subject be to optain a really good shot, versa the 50-200mm. Also I have been reading some of the other posts and had notice the some people talk about Sigma and Tamron lens. Are these lens cheaper to buy than a pentax or about the same in price?

Thanks New Shutterbug.
For the same photo composition you can be 50% further away with the 300mm lens.

Another way to put it is that a scene that looks right at 200' with the 200mm lens will look right at 300' with the 300mm lens.

Or, at the same distance, things in the viewfinder look 50% bigger with the 300mm lens.

Plus the 300mm lens includes the 200mm lens if that's the right length to use.
01-24-2012, 11:45 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by k2112S Quote
I have the 50-200...and hate this lens. I think it is very soft at 200. was glad to find this forum. looks like I need to upgrade to the 55-300. Anyone have any thoughts on a good prime at 300?
I guess this is the obvious choice if you look at reviews:
SMC Pentax-DA* 300mm F4 ED [IF] SDM Reviews - DA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
01-25-2012, 06:27 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by VisualDarkness Quote
OK now I am on the horns of a Dilema, do I go ahead with the 55-300 now or wait, maybe a few months to get the 300 and live with a lens I am not close to happy with?
01-25-2012, 09:45 AM - 1 Like   #15
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I'd suggest posting some pictures taken at 200mm that you not happy with, showing a 100% crop of the area where the camera focused. It's entirely possible it will turn out to be not so much a lens problem as something else (like, camera didn't focus where you expected, loss of contrast from not using a hood, loss of resolution from using a filter, not using a fast enough shutter speed, too high an ISO in order to get a fast enough shutter speed, etc).

The 50-200 is indeed not *quite* as good as the 55-300, but it's hardly night and day. You'd never in a million years be able to tell the difference in a typical print, for instance, or viewed full screen. Only zoomed in to 100% and examining carefully would you see any difference, and again - hardly night and day.

Unless your 50-200 is defective, which is also certainly possible. Again, sample shots would help.
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