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05-26-2017, 08:13 AM   #1
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Advice needed: Expandable AF zoom around 300 mm which one should I buy?

Hello,
I'am looking for a zoom that could have more reach with not too much money. I narrowed my search and found, for a similar price (around 80$) those ones:
Pentax FA 80-320 (black or silver)
Sigma 70-300.
Which one should I pick (or is it totally a waste of money)?
Thank you in advance for your help.
Kind regards.
JoŽl


Last edited by Jome; 05-26-2017 at 11:26 AM.
05-26-2017, 08:29 AM   #2
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You will get lots of opinions but you might start here: Pentax Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

Also keep in mind that lenses like those are now 20 or 30 years old. So regardless of which was better when new there will be a lot of variability in image quality just because of the use or abuse a particular lens has had. So sample variation is a significant factor. Keep that in mind when you see reviews that love a lens or hate a lens, it might just have been their sample.

If I remember right Sigma has had a number of 70-300 lenses over the years with varying degrees of quality so you would need to be more specific. Also keep in mind that Sigma makes lenses for many brands so due caution is advised as the seller may not know for certain whether it is for Pentax or some other brand. The Pentax FA 80-320 gets mixed reviews possibly because of sample variation or because of the users expectations. These are consumer zooms that are 20 plus years old, we should not expect the same results as with a far more expensive modern lens but some reviewers do.
05-26-2017, 08:36 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
You will get lots of opinions but you might start here: Pentax Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

Also keep in mind that lenses like those are now 20 or 30 years old. So regardless of which was better when new there will be a lot of variability in image quality just because of the use or abuse a particular lens has had. So sample variation is a significant factor. Keep that in mind when you see reviews that love a lens or hate a lens, it might just have been their sample.

If I remember right Sigma has had a number of 70-300 lenses over the years with varying degrees of quality so you would need to be more specific. Also keep in mind that Sigma makes lenses for many brands so due caution is advised as the seller may not know for certain whether it is for Pentax or some other brand. The Pentax FA 80-320 gets mixed reviews possibly because of sample variation or because of the users expectations. These are consumer zooms that are 20 plus years old, we should not expect the same results as with a far more expensive modern lens but some reviewers do.
Thanks Jatrax,
To be more specific, I have already seen the database (cause of a heavy LBA...for the previous years)
To be more specific, it is between those:
Pentax FA 80-320 silver, pentax FA 80-320 black and Sigma 70-300 (1:4-5.6 APO) with a "macro" button between 200 and 300mm.
I have nothing between the 200 and 400mm range.
All are less than 80$ and KAF.

Last edited by Jome; 05-26-2017 at 08:48 AM.
05-26-2017, 09:11 AM   #4
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You might want to check out the FA 100-300 F4.7-5.8. It doesn't go as wide as the 80-320 but it gets consistently better reviews...

05-26-2017, 09:21 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
You might want to check out the FA 100-300 F4.7-5.8. It doesn't go as wide as the 80-320 but it gets consistently better reviews...
Thanks, but there are not on sale around my location
05-26-2017, 09:36 AM   #6
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I would agree with @boriscleteo regarding the FA 100-300 f/4.7-5.8 I have this lens and it is fine. I have other lenses in this range so I do not use it much.

However, if you need to buy now instead of waiting I would go with the FA 80-320 but only because I have all Pentax glass and mixing a Sigma in would not be my preference. I do not think that other than personal preference there will be much difference unless you have the opportunity to test both lenses side by side. There is just too much chance of sample variation in this case for anyone's opinion to be valid without testing.
05-26-2017, 09:40 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
I would agree with @boriscleteo regarding the FA 100-300 f/4.7-5.8 I have this lens and it is fine. I have other lenses in this range so I do not use it much.

However, if you need to buy now instead of waiting I would go with the FA 80-320 but only because I have all Pentax glass and mixing a Sigma in would not be my preference. I do not think that other than personal preference there will be much difference unless you have the opportunity to test both lenses side by side. There is just too much chance of sample variation in this case for anyone's opinion to be valid without testing.
I was wondering if the 80-320 is better than the DA 50-200 WR. A silver version is in exc condition for 79$, Worth it?
05-26-2017, 10:21 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jome Quote
I was wondering if the 80-320 is better than the DA 50-200 WR. A silver version is in exc condition for 79$, Worth it?
It's always difficult to answer these kind of question for old lenses. But for 79$, you don't have much to lose if you try your luck...

That said, IMHO, a used DA L 55-300 would be a much safer bet for not much more money...

05-26-2017, 10:26 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by CarlJF Quote
That said, IMHO, a used DA L 55-300 would be a much safer bet for not much more money...
You can get them for less than $100 direct from Japan...but I don't know what the market is like in Switzerland...
05-26-2017, 10:30 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jome Quote
Thanks, but there are not on sale around my location
They do turn up from time to time. You could set up an ebay alert for it.
05-26-2017, 10:32 AM   #11
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As Jatrax has stated there is a considerable sample variation in all of those older zooms, if you have an opportunity to try them out first do it. You might be able to haggle the price down a little too. You may also be able to do much better on an online auction. There's a silver 100-300 on shopgoodwill right now at $8 (plus about $17 shipping) with 9 hours to go. There several on ebay too.

I've never had the DA 50-200 but I don't think it's got a real good reputation, and you really can't compare it to a 300 length, but it is a WR. A used camera store I visit has many DA 50-200s in stock, while I don't think I've saw any other DA lenses there.
05-26-2017, 10:43 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jome Quote
I was wondering if the 80-320 is better than the DA 50-200 WR. A silver version is in exc condition for 79$, Worth it?
Honestly what you really want is a DA L 55-300. It will be a bit more money but will be a modern lens with modern coatings and designed for digital. I have learned from past experience that buying a $80 lens that sounds like a great deal turns into buying two or three 'deals' and then eventually spending the money to get what I should have got in the first place.

That said, if you buy right on these old lenses you can almost always sell them on for very little loss. But consider if you want to do that or just save up a bit more and get a lens you will happy with for years.
05-26-2017, 10:49 AM   #13
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In fact, I have the Pentax-A70-210 F:4, a M-200 F:4 and the DA 50-200 WR for the 'long range'. I am looking for a longer AF-lens (ideally, my wish list would be either a F*/FA*300 or a SMC 60-250 but it's far above my budget these days ).

Thank you all for your advices, it seems that the 55-300 seems to be a better alternative regarding the sharpness (what I am looking for) but there are around 200$ in my area .
05-26-2017, 12:04 PM   #14
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I had an FA 100-300 f/4.7-5.8. It was not great but not a disaster either. For the right price it is usable, but it was definitely not one of the best Pentax lenses.

Mine was damaged and it was cheaper to replace it with a brand new Sigma 70-300mm (the non-APO one). I am quite happy with it. For the money you cannot beat it.

If the choice is between a used Pentax or a new Sigma, I would take the latter.
05-26-2017, 12:52 PM   #15
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for the budget given, I'd echo some of the above members and suggest a gently-used DA L 55-300mm f4-5.8 ED

I replaced a Sigma APO DG 70-300mm with my DA L and thoroughly enjoy it...
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