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Old Feb 16, 2012, 3:25 PM   #21
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Les - I have both the DA 55-300 and the DA*300. The 55-300 is very nice, probably best in its class, but its image quality isn't as good as the DA*300. It's slightly shorter in focal length, I suspect, because the FOV is a tiny bit wider (not a huge amount, but it was enough that I noticed it when shooting comparison shots). When you look at 100% crops you'll see a definite difference in quality, even viewing full frame at screen size, you can see a bit of lack of quality/crispness. That's not surprising when you consider that the DA*300 is almost 3 times the cost (and, in my opinion, worth every penny).

On the other hand, there are times when I will leave the DA*300 at home and take the 55-300 because of it's small size and weight. And as long as I don't shoot both lenses at the same time, I'm not normally unhappy with the quality from the 55-300 (I've become a realist about what to expect from it). Besides, the zoom is my husband's favorite, most used lens when we go out shooting together so mine has a permanent home with me. There are intangibles apart from straight image quality, so if you decide sometime to get the DA*300, be careful shooting comparisons - it will stop you from enjoying an otherwise quite capable, nice lens for a long time.
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Old Feb 16, 2012, 3:26 PM   #22
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While I haven't obviously seen the new Pentax 560/5.6 in person I can't see how it could be smaller than my Tamron 200-500/5.6 SP lens which is nearly 2' long and 10 pounds. Not really a lens you want to walk about with much. It's good that Pentax is offering a nice long lens but I can't see buying it. The TC is much more appealing because coupled with the 300/4 one could have a nice 400/5.6 (or nearly so) in a small package.

John
But...I've often wondered...will there be image degradation due to adding on a TC to a lens ?
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Old Feb 16, 2012, 10:54 PM   #23
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But...I've often wondered...will there be image degradation due to adding on a TC to a lens ?
Yes, there is some. How much depends on how sharp the lens was to start with. I think I once read it was a 14% drop in sharpness with a 1.4 TC. As sharp as the DA 300/4 is I'm not sure that would be noticeable.

John
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Old Feb 17, 2012, 4:14 PM   #24
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Les - I have both the DA 55-300 and the DA*300. The 55-300 is very nice, probably best in its class, but its image quality isn't as good as the DA*300. It's slightly shorter in focal length, I suspect, because the FOV is a tiny bit wider (not a huge amount, but it was enough that I noticed it when shooting comparison shots). When you look at 100% crops you'll see a definite difference in quality, even viewing full frame at screen size, you can see a bit of lack of quality/crispness. That's not surprising when you consider that the DA*300 is almost 3 times the cost (and, in my opinion, worth every penny).I've wrestled with the idea of getting a DA* 300. I've heard about the very high quality and have seen very sharp pictures that this lens can produce. On one hand it is pricey...and I do wish it had a longer reach...say 400mm...but on the other hand it appears to be rated extremely high. I have been very happy with my 55-300 lens...which was a factor in my hesitation to get a DA*300.

You know, why go for a lens of the same focal length..if there would be no discernible difference in quality
, but I think I've been wrong about that assessment
As you say the DA*300 is well worth the $$ . Since I bought my K-5 in lat November I've been disappointed in my 55-300. It doesn't seem to be as sharp on the K-5...as it did on the K10D and KM.
On the other hand, there are times when I will leave the DA*300 at home and take the 55-300 because of it's small size and weight. And as long as I don't shoot both lenses at the same time, I'm not normally unhappy with the quality from the 55-300 (I've become a realist about what to expect from it). Besides, the zoom is my husband's favorite, most used lens when we go out shooting together so mine has a permanent home with me. There are intangibles apart from straight image quality, so if you decide sometime to get the DA*300, be careful shooting comparisons - it will stop you from enjoying an otherwise quite capable, nice lens for a long time.
Thank you for your advice and I know what you mean. I rarely use my 18-55 and 16-45 after getting my 12-24. IMO, the 12-24 is much better, sharper, etc...than the other 2 lenses. Now unless I'm taking two bodies and I need a wide angle zoom on both I won't use the 16-45 or the 18-55. I've become used to the quality of the 12-24...spoiled as it were.
Les
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Old Feb 18, 2012, 12:07 AM   #25
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Not totally surprised that you find the 55-300 a bit lacking with the K-5. I didn't notice that as much since I really don't use the lens all that often. But I went through the same thing with my version 1 kit lens - I was perfectly happy with it until I got the K20. Once I saw how much better the 50-135 suddenly became, and how the kit lens not only didn't get better, it seemed like the camera accentuated it's limitations, I quit using it (except once in a while with the K100 and an R72 filter).

The DA*300 was an unnecessary purchase for me, but after using one during the K7 tour I couldn't resist. In fact, that tour was a brilliant idea as far as I was concerned - I bought three lenses because of my experience there, when I was really only in the market for one (something around 200mm). As far as duplicating focal lengths - I had the A*300 at the time I bought the DA (and still have it by the way). So I have 3 different 300 lenses, but they all do something better than the others. My original thought was to sell the A when I got the DA, but the A is so much smaller and lighter than the DA, though bigger and heavier than the 55-300, and the image quality is only slightly less than the DA (my opinion), better than the 55-300. In fact, when we went to the Huntington Library 2 weeks ago I took the A and left the DA at home (Dan was using the 55-300, otherwise I might have taken it instead, but was glad to have the A a couple of times).

It does depend on where your priorities lie - I am also thinking about something longer than 300, but do have enough doubts about one that I don't want to put much money into something that I might never use/be able to use. Because of that, I'm perfectly happy to wait to see what comes out in the next couple of years, or happen upon some fabulous deal somewhere. You might not be in that situation at all.
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Old Feb 18, 2012, 1:07 PM   #26
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Not totally surprised that you find the 55-300 a bit lacking with the K-5. I didn't notice that as much since I really don't use the lens all that often. But I went through the same thing with my version 1 kit lens - I was perfectly happy with it until I got the K20. Once I saw how much better the 50-135 suddenly became, and how the kit lens not only didn't get better, it seemed like the camera accentuated it's limitations, I quit using it (except once in a while with the K100 and an R72 filter). I went through a similar experience with wide angle zooms. My first digital lens was a 16-45 and I was pleased with it on my K10D and KM. Then I bought a 12-24 and IMO, the 12-24 just blew the 16-45 out of the water. Pix with the 12-24 (vintage cars) almost seemed 3D-ish and unless I was taking two camera bodies with me and needed 2 W/A zooms, the 16-45 quickly became relegated to the lens bag. Also since I bought a 10-17 FE and use it @ 17mm...I usually choose the 10-17 over the 16-45...again visibly better clarity and quality with the 10-17 @ 17mm.

The DA*300 was an unnecessary purchase for me, but after using one during the K7 tour I couldn't resist. In fact, that tour was a brilliant idea as far as I was concerned - I bought three lenses because of my experience there, when I was really only in the market for one (something around 200mm). As far as duplicating focal lengths - I had the A*300 at the time I bought the DA (and still have it by the way). So I have 3 different 300 lenses, but they all do something better than the others. My original thought was to sell the A when I got the DA, but the A is so much smaller and lighter than the DA, though bigger and heavier than the 55-300, and the image quality is only slightly less than the DA (my opinion), better than the 55-300. In fact, when we went to the Huntington Library 2 weeks ago I took the A and left the DA at home (Dan was using the 55-300, otherwise I might have taken it instead, but was glad to have the A a couple of times).

It does depend on where your priorities lie - I am also thinking about something longer than 300, but do have enough doubts about one that I don't want to put much money into something that I might never use/be able to use. Because of that, I'm perfectly happy to wait to see what comes out in the next couple of years, or happen upon some fabulous deal somewhere. You might not be in that situation at all.
The DA*300 has been on the wish list for awhile. Most of the pix I've seen posted with this lens are top notch in clarity, etc.

But I would like a longer reach of say a 400mm. I have looked at the Sigma 120-400..but I prefer to buy a Pentax made lens.

I have been heartened to see that Pentax (under Ricoh) seems to be getting out some new lenses and the word that there might be somewhere around a 100- 400 zoom coming out in the near future that seems to hold some promise.

I also keep my eye open for a DA*300 in my area going for a deal.

Like you, at this point I'm prepared to wait a couple of years to see what comes down the pike.

Thank you for your advice.

Les

Last edited by lesmore49; Feb 18, 2012 at 1:13 PM.
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