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01-26-2012, 12:51 PM   #1
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Need help with choosing a telephoto zoom lens

Hello friends,

I'm currently experiencing what people here call an 'LBA' and I need help choosing a decent, but cheap zoom lens for myself. Since I'm just starting, I want something inexpensive but at the same time decent and reliable.

There are three contenders so far:

1) SMC Pentax 70-210mm f4-5.6 ($110) 2) DA L 55-300mm($230) 3) Takumar-F 70-200 f4-5.6($80)

The Takumar-F70-200 is the sharpest imo, but lacks SMC. The DA L is longer and more reliable (since it's new) and the SMC is kind of in between I think.

Which one do you think I should get and why?

Thanks a lot for your replies in advance

01-26-2012, 12:54 PM   #2
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The Takumar F would also lack AF too, no?
01-26-2012, 12:57 PM   #3
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No, I think it does have AF
01-26-2012, 01:17 PM   #4
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The Takumar F (similar to the SMC Pentax F series but with no SMC) does have AF.

I would go for the DA 55-300mm, as it will give you more reach and its more modern optics deliver excellent image quality.
See our in-depth review and also what others think of the lens:
Pentax-DA 55-300mm Review - Introduction - PentaxForums.com
SMC Pentax-DA L 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED Reviews - DA L Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

Overall the 55-300 is one of our members' favorite lenses.

If you want to save some money, go for the SMC F 70-210mm, which is also excellent, but I wouldn't get the Takumar F as you'll get more flare.


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01-26-2012, 01:23 PM   #5
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Ah thank you for the info on the takumar F. I did not know.
01-26-2012, 01:44 PM   #6
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I had the DA L 55-300mm, the DA 50-200mm, and now I have the Takumar-F 70-200mm.
The DA 50-200mm is light, has fast AF, but it's generally softer than the other two.
Sharpness-wise, I'd say--without being very sure--that the Takumar-F 70-200 has a slight edge over the DA L 55-300mm at comparable focal lengths. But, obviously, it lacks the 200-300mm range.
The 55-300 is very sharp even wide open, even at 300mm, it's significantly lighter than the Takumar, feels a bit more plasticky (and has a plastic mount), has very good contrast and has very good flare resistance. Slow and noisy AF. Nice bokeh.
The Takumar-F is heavy, solid, has quick, responsive AF, but flares like hell. Don't even think of letting this lens meet a sun ray. Also, you might need to add a bit of contrast in PP. Since I don't use zooms much, I kept this one for events, given that its AF is superior to that of the 55-300mm.
All three lenses have very nice bokeh.
01-26-2012, 01:45 PM   #7
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Thanks Adam!
I think I'll go for the 55-300 and I should probably stop there for now.

So here's what I will have: Rokinon 14mm(for landscapes), 18-55 wr, da35mm 2.4, tamron sp 35-80 2.8-3.8(for macro), super takumar 55 1.8(for portraits), and 55-300. And K10d, K-5, Slik pro tripod, wireless shutter release etc.
Not bad for a pentax noob like me
01-26-2012, 01:48 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by pendulum Quote
Thanks Adam!
I think I'll go for the 55-300 and I should probably stop there for now.

So here's what I will have: Rokinon 14mm(for landscapes), 18-55 wr, da35mm 2.4, tamron sp 35-80 2.8-3.8(for macro), super takumar 55 1.8(for portraits), and 55-300. And K10d, K-5, Slik pro tripod, wireless shutter release etc.
Not bad for a pentax noob like me
Not bad at all. Very good choice of lenses.

01-26-2012, 05:29 PM   #9
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Another to consider: the FA100-300/4.7-5.8 (silver) for around US$100. Very good optics, and it's AF. I'm no birder but I've got my best bird shots with it. I also have the Lil'Bigma 170-500/5-6.3 which weighs 1270g. The FA100-300 weighs 380g. Guess which one I'm more likely to actually carry around and use?

Yet another to consider: the Vivitar Series 1 70-210/3.5, available in PK or M42 (probably under US$100). Manual focus, absolutely brilliant optics, and intermediate in weight at 880g. This is probably the fastest zoom in its range that can be found at a budget price. But because of weight I'm still more likely to use my FA100-300.
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