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09-26-2009, 02:58 PM   #1
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Pentax lens 55-300

Hi I,m a beginner with photografy. I just bought the pentax k20 d. I just want to buy a lens and I am thinking about the pentax 55-300 mm. I want to use the lens for wild animal photograpy at my holiday in surinam. Is it a good lens to buy. If so why I can buy this lens at a good dealer for a good price. Any information more then welcom. Thanks

09-26-2009, 06:07 PM   #2
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The DA 55-300mm is a very nice lens for the money and good for travel since it's fairly light and compact as well. Now, I know nothing about Surinam or its wildlife but if I were going, I'd take my DA*300mm f4 and 1.7x TC. That's a much heavier and much more expensive proposition, however.
09-26-2009, 10:14 PM   #3
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I think this would be a great option for someone just starting out in photography. It is not going to be a super long reach (like some of the sigma zooms that go out to 500mm) but is reasonably priced and gives great results over zooms covering a similar range at or below the price point. To get more reach, or higher quality (such as Pentak mentioned) you would be looking at a significant amount of investment, which you may not be able to get the most out of if you are just starting out as well. The reach and overall range of the 55-300 will be a great start for your trip.
09-26-2009, 10:21 PM   #4
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Being a beginner, the 55-300 is an excellent choice.
Right price, good results. Although be realistic with what you expect from the lens. It really requires good light to be used effectively at the long end. But it is reasonably sharp and produces well contrasted images.

09-28-2009, 12:05 PM   #5
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..and always take into mind that in shooting wildlife and to be prepared for rainforest like low light situations, a good tripod (or monopod) is always needed.
It makes those very difficult long range shots (that are prone to shake) more achievable.
09-28-2009, 12:08 PM   #6
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Welcome to the forums too Anjoemara.
I see this to be your first post.
Looking forward to hearing more from you and your wildlife shots.
A monopod might be better if you intend to lug it around as it would lighter and more manueverable in the forest.
Good luck on those shots!
09-28-2009, 01:38 PM   #7
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Too be quite honest I wouldn't regard myself as a beginner. I find the 55-300 gives me excellent results for the cash laid out.

Many others who have bought this lens have been more than happy.

Buy & enjoy

ciao

Dylan
10-04-2009, 02:24 PM   #8
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I myself am ready to buy this lens but am kinda split as to whether I want to part with my FA J 75-300mm as it takes good photos too!
It is also made for full frame and not as dedicated for APS-C as the DA 55-300mm.
..oh well, I'll just have to cross the bridge when I get there.
Good luck on your purchase and enjoy!

10-04-2009, 05:47 PM   #9
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I've been using the DA 55-300 lens for almost a year now, and have been very pleased with the results. When I need a little more reach I use my Kendo 1.5x teleconverter and am still quite pleased with my shots.

The attached shot of the Heron was taken with the DA 55-300mm lens at 300mm, with the Kenko 1.5x teleconverter at 1/180th sec, f8 on a tripod, shot in JPG mode. Heron was somewhere between 50-75 yards away (hard to measure over water). The image was NOT retouched in any way - simply did a 50% crop then resized for uploading. I think it came out pretty good. Although I'm a little disappointed with the upload quality.

Anyway, wanted you to see what this lens is capable of.

Last edited by ChipB; 01-13-2014 at 02:51 PM.
10-05-2009, 05:52 AM   #10
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I've had the 55-300 since the day it came out and as others have said, it's an excellent lens for it's price.

Of course it does not have the reach of a Bigma (Sigma 50-500), nor does it have the sharpness of the DA*300, but then again you have to consider that those lenses cost 3x more than the DA55-300.

Pat
10-05-2009, 07:15 AM   #11
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hi... i've had this lens for a while... and content with it's abilities...
i shoot mostly at 300mm, and have found that a sure footed monopod really helps..
gettin' older don't make it any easier!!!
look for a clean, lightly used copy, and i think you'll be happy you did...
10-05-2009, 10:07 PM   #12
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One general comment to anyone new to DSLR photography and a 300mm lens and that is LEARN GOOD TECHNIQUE for your longer lenses. This can't be stressed enough. I wouldn't recommend handholding your lens at 300mm unless you have bright sunshine (which is usually not the best light for photos) you really have to learn to stabilize your body and camera even when using a tripod. I have never shot a 300mm unsupported and expected a sharp image. If it comes out sharp, I am amazed. I take a 3-part cheap monopod as a minimum when planning to shoot longer telephoto shots. My first choice is an aluminum Manfrotto tripod (model 3021) with a Kirk BH-3 ballhead. Bad technique will turn a great lens into a lemon faster than anything else and good technique with a mediocre lens can produce fabulous results.

I would highly recommend reading this link on NaturePhotographers.net as a good primer if you've never shot with longer glass.
10-07-2009, 03:17 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Anjoemara Quote
Hi I,m a beginner with photografy. I just bought the pentax k20 d. I just want to buy a lens and I am thinking about the pentax 55-300 mm. I want to use the lens for wild animal photograpy at my holiday in surinam. Is it a good lens to buy. If so why I can buy this lens at a good dealer for a good price. Any information more then welcom. Thanks
First, congratulations with your camera. It is a very fine tool.
I have the 55-300mm as well, it is a very, very good lens for the price paid.
It is also not heavy. Good for travel. Get one.

If you'd want to go longer than 300mm, there is little benefit and very high cost involved.
Going from 300 to, let's say, 400mm will cost you an arm and a leg, you'll be carrying very heavy equipment and outside of Surinam you will not have that much employ for it.
And remember, the difference in magnification is only 33%.

If you want to understand what that means in real life, follow this link and play with the slider at the bottom of the window: Focal length comparison tool, Tamron USA

You could consider a tele converter. However, there are some negative side effects:
- Your autofocus will suffer: focus time will be much longer and much you'll see more focus hunting. You may loose the opportunity for a picture. Wildlife tends not to wait for your AF to focus.
- It will impact your image quality negatively.
- You will loose aperture (sensitivety), meaning that you will need to slower shutter speeds and/or higher ISO values. Not something you'd like with wildlife photography.
- Your camera shake reduction will be fooled. Instead of compensating for 300x1.5 = 450mm, it will only compensate for 300mm. That will cause blur on your photos.

When can you use a TC?: with lots of light, so you can use small apertures and fast shutter speeds and AF has enough to function.

What is the alternative?: buy the 55-300, great lens. Your camera is equiped with almost 15 megapixels, take the shot and crop it on your computer. You can have roughly the image quality cropped down 50% as with a TC, or much, much better when shooting in low light.
10-08-2009, 04:24 AM   #14
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The DA 55-300 is a very decent lens and well worth getting.
There is no need for a tripod unless you start taking pics in very low light environs. I use this lens, the Bigma 50-500mm and a Tair 300A hand held with at least passable results so I would suggest you ignore the suggestion that you have to own a tripod/monopod. Keep an eye of the shutter speed and if need be for the lighting conditions up the ISO. In this day and age the Shake Reduction works quite well.
10-08-2009, 12:21 PM   #15
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QuoteQuote:
In this day and age the Shake Reduction works quite well.
I agree, but why waste the sharpness of the lens? There are a ton of Canon IS lenses out there and every professional wildlife photographer I know of uses a tripod whenever possible. It's all about native sharpness in the image if you want to get serious about publishing / printing your photos. If "sharp enough" is defined as viewing them on a monitor then I agree but handheld shots will never be as sharp as a supported ones. Sorry.
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