DA 55-300 vs DA* 300 f4

Started Sep 16, 2013 | Discussions thread
KentG
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Re: DA 55-300 vs DA* 300 f4
In reply to paulkienitz, Sep 20, 2013

Ditto, scaling is meaningless because the number values between different brands and sensors is meaningless as the testers will tell you. There is no meaningful "scaling" you can do. The only thing that matters is the relative level difference. If the same lens in different cameras produces Excellent scores it will do the same regardless of the sensor and regardless of the camera brand. Obviously comparing a FF lens across APS-C and FF will show corner variation, but the center and edges will be the same or close. A mediocre lens that shows a decided level reduction when put on a camera with a denser pixel count is obviously being over-powered by the camera. Short of those scenarios a lens that does Very Good on a 10 MP camera will do similar or worse on a 16 MP camera, depending on the quality of the lens.

In this case the 55-300 barely makes it in the Very Good range wide open at 300mm. Stopping it down some gets it up to 1/3rd farther into the Very Good range. The DA* 300/4 starts out just below the Excellent level at F4 and makes it into Excellent at F5.6. All the while the corners are at almost the same level. This is the reason that Photozone gave the 300/4 a full star better rating than the 55-300. Don't get me wrong a Very Good at 300mm for a 4x zoom is getting about as close to perfection as you can get in a consumer lens. Heck it is not much different than the 400mm performance of the Canon 100-400L at 400mm which can't make it to Excellent either.  But it does not approach the performance of a lens that can get to Excellent like the DA*300/4 (or the Sigma 100-300/4). Those lenses will get 3.5-4 stars from Photozone. That is not to say that other variables like focus and such won't make the differences look smaller or larger depending on circumstances. And that is why I sold my 55-300. Because the only zoom lens made by Pentax that performs at the same level as the Sigma 100-300/4 on my Canon is the 60-250/4.

Kent Gittings

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