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Old Feb 27, 2010, 9:47 AM   #1
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Default Difference between DA & DA L(light)?

I see a number of DA "L" 55-300mm for sale on the bay by sellers breaking up their two lens K-X kits. What is the difference between the
regular DA 55-300mm version and the "L" version being sold with the K-X kits?

I think I read that the "L" version does not have the AF-MF clutch mechanism that allows you to switch between AF and MF? Any other differences?

Thanks,
Jim
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Old Feb 27, 2010, 12:18 PM   #2
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I don't have a DAL lens, but from what I've read, there are a couple of other differences (beside the clutch allowing you to focus manually when the camera is set to AF) - it doesn't come with a hood, has a plastic mount and doesn't have a focus distance indicator. Optically it's the same.
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Old Feb 27, 2010, 3:12 PM   #3
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Hi Jim,

Also not from experience -- but I'll second Harriet's info.

Scott
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Old Mar 12, 2010, 3:35 PM   #4
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Reviving an old thread...Are the DA L lenses a good value when purchasing as a kit in the KX. Or should I just buy the base kit and buy the DA version at a later date?
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Old Mar 12, 2010, 3:49 PM   #5
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The DA L 55-200 is only $100 when purchased as part of a K-x kit, while the DA 55-200 is $210 by itself.

The DA L 55-300 is only $115 when purchased as part of a K-x kit, while the DA 55-300 is $350 by itself.

The 55-300 is heavier than the 55-200, so I'd be worried about its plastic lens mount, but that's a substantial savings, so I could probably live with it.
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Old Mar 12, 2010, 3:55 PM   #6
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The DA L lens are pretty good lenses, and for 115 dollars for a long zoom, you really can not beat it. I never pay attention to the the focus distance. And the plastic mount is not that bad, as the 55-300mm lens is not really that heavy.
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Old Mar 12, 2010, 5:08 PM   #7
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Once again, thanks guys...
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Old Mar 18, 2010, 9:04 PM   #8
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This is pretty much the exact question I was coming here to ask. So basically the glass is the same, but the mount is different and the cheaper lens doesn't have the AF-MF clutch mechanism that allows you to switch between AF and MF, is this second feature important?
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Old Mar 18, 2010, 11:28 PM   #9
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The clutch is nice to have, as is the distance indicator (though it's not as useful as it was back in the days when they put the aperture tick marks to give you an idea of the dof you would have - now you need to have a good idea of the dof you'd get with various lenses either by instinct or by carrying a chart with you). I use it often when shooting landscapes (with a super wide angle you can set the manual focus to 5 feet, stop down to f8 or f11 and everything from about 3 feet to infinity will be in focus - where if you focused on a distant object, your closest focus distance would be further away).

Clutch is nice so that you don't have to keep switching between MF and AF if you want to use manual focus to pre-focus on something (get the focus in the ball-park) to speed up the AF process (nice if you are shooting birds or if you have a lens that might otherwise hunt some). It's also nice to have because if you accidentally turn the focus ring on a lens without the clutch (it does take some force) you can damage things. I have lenses with and without clutches, so while I prefer having it I wouldn't NOT buy a lens because it didn't have it (I'm over-tired and not completely sure that last sentence makes sense).
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Old Mar 18, 2010, 11:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by las7828 View Post
This is pretty much the exact question I was coming here to ask. So basically the glass is the same, but the mount is different and the cheaper lens doesn't have the AF-MF clutch mechanism that allows you to switch between AF and MF, is this second feature important?
Hi las,

It really depends, and is only a matter of a little speed and convenience. With a DA lens with Quick Shift (QS), all you do is wait for the AF system to either lock focus (constant green hex in the VF) or fail to lock (flashing green hex), and, while holding the half press (or AF button, if so set) the lens disengages the focusing ring on the lens from the AF system in the body, allowing you to make manual focus adjustments without turning the AF motor manually and possibly breaking something.

Without QS (with the possible exception of a few FA* models), the focus ring on the lens does not disengage from the AF system unless you either switch the body to Manual Focus or depress the lens lock button (this second is a possible quick work around, and generally not recommended for possible lens safety reasons).

I pretty much rely on the AF system for focusing, so I rarely rely on MF for critical focus or second guess the AF with QS. The times for me where QS is most convenient is when shooting relatively slow (say f-4 and slower at max aperture) lenses in pretty low light (say under EV5-6, or dimmer normal indoor lighting). If the subject starts out way out of focus (OOF), then the AF system will probably never get a lock, and will do full turn hunts while frustrating you as you see the camera go right past being in focus and continue on without stopping, back and forth until it gives up. If you play a little, you'll probably find that AF will lock pretty reliably under the same condition if the focus starts out reasonably close when you activate AF. By reasonably close, I mean that details and edges are stell blurred out, but general shapes are pretty easily recognized.

Here's where QS is cool. Knowing that the AF system will have trouble from previous experience with these conditions, you can prefocus, and have little trouble getting good AF performance for just about every shot by just rotating the focus ring to get it reasonably close before actuating the AF.

Without QS, you have to switch to MF on the body (requiring you to move your left hand off the lens), switch, prefocus (requiring another hand move since most focus rings are now mostly towards the front of the lens), and then switch back to AF on the body. With the lens lock method, you can use your right hand to press the lock button, prefocus, making sure that you're not turning the whole lens, then release the lock button, while again twisting the lens to make sure it's properly seated and locked (but after switching hand position to anywhere other than the zoom or focus rings, which you don't want to disturb).

I realize that these methods don't sound hard, and they're not, but there are going to be a significant number of shots where you activate the AF when the AF sensor is not covering a significant contrast area, and it will miss -- badly -- putting you again in the completely OOF state that you started in. . . and you're back to pressing buttons and fiddling. . . it's frustrating.

Of course you can pick up some good constant f2.8 or faster lenses, and just rely on the AF system, but. . . I think you know where that leads ($$$$). . .

I've just spent the winter practicing handholding with slow zooms indoors, and it didn't take long for me to settle on the DA 50-200 as the least frustrating AF lens to use for this (I don't have too many DA lenses, so this was the closest to matching what I wanted to do).

Scott
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