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01-11-2014, 04:36 PM   #16
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@jddwoods, thank you for the recommendations.

The DFA 100 WR would be nice for the macro add-on. So the focus hunting is on macro than telephoto end?

I've got a MeFOTO RoadTrip Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod Kit (Black) C1350Q1K coming that can support up to 17.6 lbs. That should be sufficient for the DA* 200 if I go that route.

I concur on the quick-shift ability. I really like my FA 35mm, but that lack of smooth manual focus gets to me.

If you were traveling SEA and using a K-5 II with DA* 55mm as the walk about, what other lenses would you consider need to have and nice to have?

01-11-2014, 04:46 PM   #17
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There is a Voigtländer 180/4 in the marketplace if you want manual. It brakes the bank but i thought you may be interested in checking such a legendary lens out.
01-11-2014, 05:08 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by comprock Quote
So the focus hunting is on macro than telephoto end?
I would not call it "focus hunting" which implies the lens has trouble focusing, which is not the case. But macro lenses have a very long focus throw and if the lens is already past the focus point in its travel it will continue to the end and then return. For example my Pentax-F 50mm f/2.8 macro has a focus throw of about 300 degrees, my Pentax-F 50mm f/1.4 has a focus throw of about 100 degrees. It takes more time for the lens to travel through the focus throw on a macro. As noted above the quick shift function really helps by getting the lens into the range you need.

Not trying to sell you on the 100mm macro, just want to make sure you understand how it works. It is an excellent lens but not one I would grab for fast action sports.

Last edited by jatrax; 01-11-2014 at 05:09 PM. Reason: spelling
01-11-2014, 05:17 PM   #19
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if you decide you want the da 200 I have one in mint shape..i bought mine along with the da 60-250 and da 300 so I just don't use it ...

01-11-2014, 06:44 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by comprock Quote
@jddwoods, thank you for the recommendations.

The DFA 100 WR would be nice for the macro add-on. So the focus hunting is on macro than telephoto end?

I've got a MeFOTO RoadTrip Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod Kit (Black) C1350Q1K coming that can support up to 17.6 lbs. That should be sufficient for the DA* 200 if I go that route.

I concur on the quick-shift ability. I really like my FA 35mm, but that lack of smooth manual focus gets to me.

If you were traveling SEA and using a K-5 II with DA* 55mm as the walk about, what other lenses would you consider need to have and nice to have?
If you are going with DA55* and get the telephoto you want, you may want a wide-angle to go along with the telephotos. I like the DA 15 or 21 mm limiteds. The 21 is really light and compact. Jatrax really explains it well regarding focusing with the macro. The DFA 100 WR and DA 35 Macro are my two favorite lenses and with a wide-angle serve 95% of my needs. Have a great trip

Regards, John
01-11-2014, 07:51 PM   #21
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All - any other brands or focal lengths I should be checking out? It seems on the Pentax side is DFA 100 WR, DA* 200, or DF 135. I've only played with a 18-135WR to give me that 100 reach and found in review that most of the time, I'd only take a few 135, but when long, they were around 100.

@jatrax Thank you for the focus explanations. It's making sense now.

@VisualDarkness That Voigtlander 180 is a beauty and the images from it are incredible. I could buy, but given I'm still getting started, I'd rather wait till I'm worthy of such a perfection.

@jddwoods I'm looking for a DA 15. I'm doubtful about the DA 21. Last week, in North Vancouver while testing a 18-135WR, I was in tight spots where the 18 wasn't wide enough for building mugshots.

I swear, when you leave the US for 5 years, your written English skills go out the door. I keep having to revise everything I write because when I proof it, it's funky.
01-12-2014, 07:15 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by jddwoods Quote
A caution with the DA* 200. It is a bit front heavy and you need a strong stable tripod with this lens. No issue at all with the almost lightweight DFA 100 WR. I use my DA200 only handheld.
You can fit a generic ebay tripod collar to the DA*200 to move the tripod socket more in line with the combined body+lens center of gravity. It'll still be a heavy combo though.

Regards,
--Anders.
01-13-2014, 10:17 PM   #23
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I've got my Pentax K-5 II with a DA* 55 now and a DA 15 LTD coming from Hawaii this week.

For the telephoto, what's the verdict suggestions for going DA* 200, DA* 300, or the DA 100 WR?

After playing with my new DA* 55, I'm even more open to manual focus lens. As mentioned above, I'll be traveling internationally and carrying a tripod.

01-14-2014, 04:00 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by comprock Quote
I've got my Pentax K-5 II with a DA* 55 now and a DA 15 LTD coming from Hawaii this week.

For the telephoto, what's the verdict suggestions for going DA* 200, DA* 300, or the DA 100 WR?

After playing with my new DA* 55, I'm even more open to manual focus lens. As mentioned above, I'll be traveling internationally and carrying a tripod.
It depends on how much reach you want. All 3 options are great lenses. I really like my DFA 100 WR since it is both macro and moderate telephoto and small and light. I like the DA* 200 too but now I wish it was a bigger jump up from the 100 mm. I may sell it in the future and go for the DA*300 for the extra reach for bird photography. Only thing besides cost holding me back is the 200 is easily hand held where the 300 is larger enough that a tripod or monopod might be needed. I hope this helps. If you were going for just one I would start with the DFA 100. It is so sharp you can crop quite a bit and still have great resolution.
01-14-2014, 10:33 PM   #25
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At this stage of the game, I think DA* 300 is overkill. I've been practicing more with the DA* 55 today and like it, but definitely things at infinity could use something for getting closer.

I think I'll watch the sales and see what comes. Borrow Lenses seems to constantly have used Pentax DA* 200 for $ 925 if I get really desirous before I leave. Also, B & H has same in 9+ shape for $999.95.
01-14-2014, 11:29 PM   #26
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There's a couple of DA*200's here. (actually 3 of them)

Pentax Digital Fixed Focal Length Lenses - KEH.com

and an FA135, F135 and an FA*200 here (the FA*200 and DA*200 are the same optical formula)
Pentax Autofocus Fixed Focal Length Lenses - KEH.com

The F135 might be a bit overpriced but it is the rarer version. FA135 is "BGN"(bargain) but according to others this rating is very conservative.
Having said that, in December I picked up an FA135 rated 9/10 on ebay for cheaper than that.


A little on the FA135. It is very fast and accurate in autofocus on my k-5IIs but truly awful for manual focusing. I like the built in hood.

DFA100WR is much nicer build and is nice to manual focus mainly for macro use but can hunt with AF due to the long focus throw. I tried shooting my son's soccer game with it once and had a bit of a struggle with the AF.
Admittedly I guess it's not designed for sports, but I've heard the other f2.8 telephoto lenses aren't red hot focus speed either (DA*50-135 or DA*200).

I have not done a back to back test on image quality between the 100 and 135 yet but the DFA100 is very sharp so would be hard to beat.
I do notice that the FA is a little bit more prone to purple fringing in really contrasty areas (backlit sunlight).
I have seen a tiny bit of CA even with the DFA100 but only in severe conditions and only wide open.
Both would be easy to fix in LR.
Have never tried the DA*200 and it's probably "too-close" to my DA*300 in focal length for me to get it.
BTW The DA*300 is the first telephoto lens to make me say "WOW that was definitely worth the money".
01-14-2014, 11:30 PM   #27
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A DFA100 will nicely complement your focal range. It however depends on how much extra range you want; 200 will give you more, but the gap with 55 will be huge and the difference might be too big (too far for 55, too close for 200).
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