SMC Pentax-A 35-105 F3.5 or DA 55-300 witch is better ?

Started Apr 22, 2012 | Discussions
RemcoR
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SMC Pentax-A 35-105 F3.5 or DA 55-300 witch is better ?
Apr 22, 2012

I have the 55-300 but can get the SMC A 35-105 F3.5 cheap. I am no collector, so it should really add something in terms of IQ above the 55-300 in the 55-105 range. I've read some user reviews of the 35-105, and they seem to like the sharpness (but not so much at 3.5, only stopped down) and the color rendering (esp. red), but not so the bouquet.

The sharpness of the 55-300 has let me down in low light situations, so I am looking for something sharper in low light conditions. If the sharpness at 3.5 -4.0 in its range is no better than the 55-300 at 4.0 and above, it would be a deal breaker for me.
Given the price difference the DA 50-135 F2.8 is no option.

Any thoughts?

RemcoR

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Douglas Film
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Re: SMC Pentax-A 35-105 F3.5 or DA 55-300 witch is better ?
In reply to RemcoR, Apr 22, 2012

I would get the Pentax-A 35-105 F3.5 as it should be usable if and when Pentax has a ff camera.

Douglas Film

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Framer
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Re: SMC Pentax-A 35-105 F3.5 or DA 55-300 witch is better ?
In reply to RemcoR, Apr 22, 2012

I've had both, sold the 55-300mm a while back.

The A 35-105mm is a wonderful lens, renders a bit warm but in my experience, is sharp corner to corner at all focal lengths. It's one lens that I won't ever part with...

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solarider
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Re: SMC Pentax-A 35-105 F3.5 or DA 55-300 witch is better ?
In reply to Framer, Apr 22, 2012

Might as well try the A-35-105, see if you like it. You can always sell it for something else if it's not your cup of tea.

Nic
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Marc Sabatella
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Re: SMC Pentax-A 35-105 F3.5 or DA 55-300 witch is better ?
In reply to RemcoR, Apr 22, 2012

RemcoR wrote:

The sharpness of the 55-300 has let me down in low light situations

Sharpness is sharpness; it doesn't change with light. if you have soft pictures in low light, it's due to high ISO and slow shutter speeds, not the lens. Of course, a faster lens would allow lower ISO and/or faster shutter speeds, so for that reason alone, the half stop or so improvement in the range the lenses share. But for a lot less money and size/weight, you could get a 100/2.8 or 135/2.8 prime.

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born yesterday
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Re: SMC Pentax-A 35-105 F3.5 or DA 55-300 witch is better ?
In reply to RemcoR, Apr 22, 2012

i have the A 35-105, it's an excellent lens, it has that 3-d quality to the photos that some of the older lenses have, something that one can't really describe; if you like manual focusing, it is a great lens.

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RemcoR
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Re: SMC Pentax-A 35-105 F3.5 or DA 55-300 witch is better ?
In reply to Marc Sabatella, Apr 22, 2012

Hi Marc,

These are some of the disappointing result I often get. Pumping ISO won't help, shutter speed is fine. Tripod used. I think I need a faster/better lens.

DA 55-300 at 135 mm, F4.5, 1/1000 sec, ISO 400, tripod used.

A 55-300 at 230mm, F5.6, 1/1000 sec, ISO 200, tripod used

RemcoR
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http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/RemcoRog

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UtahManSir
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Re: SMC Pentax-A 35-105 F3.5 or DA 55-300 witch is better ?
In reply to RemcoR, Apr 22, 2012

If you stop it down a little bit your resolution should improve. I will keep mine at f8 until 250mm then stop further to f9.7 or even f11.

This is not a lens designed to be shot wide open except in a pinch. If you are on a tripod stop it down. I find mine to reasonably sharp, though not quite as sharp as my Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4.5 in the overlapping areas.

f8 @ 170mm

f11 @ 300mm cropped to 100%

f8 @ 135mm

f9.5 @ 230mm

f9.5 @ 300mm

Try stopping it down a bit.

Lloyd
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Alwina H
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Re: SMC Pentax-A 35-105 F3.5 or DA 55-300 witch is better ?
In reply to RemcoR, Apr 22, 2012

I own a A 35-105 too, and it's a very fine lens... well built, optically very good, but it is MF. That means it's only usable in a limited set of situations. That's the only drawback for that lens, but an important one. I don't use it that much for that reason.

I have used a 55-300 too, and it's worth its price.

RemcoR wrote:

I have the 55-300 but can get the SMC A 35-105 F3.5 cheap. I am no collector, so it should really add something in terms of IQ above the 55-300 in the 55-105 range. I've read some user reviews of the 35-105, and they seem to like the sharpness (but not so much at 3.5, only stopped down) and the color rendering (esp. red), but not so the bouquet.

The sharpness of the 55-300 has let me down in low light situations, so I am looking for something sharper in low light conditions. If the sharpness at 3.5 -4.0 in its range is no better than the 55-300 at 4.0 and above, it would be a deal breaker for me.
Given the price difference the DA 50-135 F2.8 is no option.

Any thoughts?

RemcoR

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Pentax K-5 K100D Sigma 17-70 F2.8/4.5 DC Macro
Pentax 35mm F2 AL Pentax 55-300mm 4-5.8
http://picasaweb.google.com/RemcoRog
http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/RemcoRog

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A.

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steephill
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Have to agree
In reply to UtahManSir, Apr 22, 2012

If you are tripod mounted then you really should be concentrating on the optimum aperture and minimum ISO. Wide open with a high shutter speeds isn't the best way to shoot on a tripod.

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jim yeats
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Re: SMC Pentax-A 35-105 F3.5 or DA 55-300 witch is better ?
In reply to Alwina H, Apr 22, 2012

I had the 35-105 and think it's about the sharpest zoom lens I've ever owned. It is large and heavy. I have the 55-300 now and really like it. I would miss auto focus.

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Villamarcel
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Very useful on movie mode.
In reply to RemcoR, Apr 23, 2012

For video, it is a very convenient tool, easier to use than an 16-50 AF due to manual AF and focal setting.

Another big advantage given by the A serie zooms (including also 24-50, 70-200 and 28-135)
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UtahManSir
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Re: SMC Pentax-A 35-105 F3.5 or DA 55-300 witch is better ?
In reply to RemcoR, Apr 23, 2012

another thought....

the 55-300 is MUCH better after 105mm! IMHO there is not enough overlap of FL to make them comparable.

If it were me I would just get the 35-105 and play with it for awhile and use them both. Of course I have LBA and I have wanted this lens for a long time....

Lloyd
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born yesterday
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Re: SMC Pentax-A 35-105 F3.5 or DA 55-300 witch is better ?
In reply to RemcoR, Apr 23, 2012

the only reason this lens isn't on my camera all of the time is due to it's weight, as it is a heavy lens, but i may just buy another body and leave the lens on it all the time.

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Marc Sabatella
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Re: SMC Pentax-A 35-105 F3.5 or DA 55-300 witch is better ?
In reply to RemcoR, Apr 23, 2012

RemcoR wrote:

Hi Marc,

These are some of the disappointing result I often get. Pumping ISO won't help, shutter speed is fine. Tripod used. I think I need a faster/better lens.

It's impossible to even guess at the sharness of those photos at the posted size. Plus, we don't even know where you focused, and you used such a large aperture you can't depend on DOF to render most of the scene acceptably in focus.

Post a 100% of the area where you actually focused, then maybe we can start to discuss sharpness, but the first question would be: why are you shooting landscapes at f/4.5, thus guaranteeing most of the photo will be out of focus, then complaining about sharpness?

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RemcoR
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Re: SMC Pentax-A 35-105 F3.5 or DA 55-300 witch is better ?
In reply to Marc Sabatella, Apr 23, 2012

I have taken many pics with different settings, like F8 and higher in low light conditions, with the same sharpness (lack thereof). The 55-300 results are very good in bright and sunny conditions. I'm no beginner, so your suggestions are already covered.
RemcoR
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http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/RemcoRog

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RemcoR
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Re: SMC Pentax-A 35-105 F3.5 or DA 55-300 witch is better ?
In reply to UtahManSir, Apr 23, 2012

Lloyd,

You seem to say in the range up to 105mm there is not much difference, or am I wrong?
RemcoR
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UtahManSir
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Re: SMC Pentax-A 35-105 F3.5 or DA 55-300 witch is better ?
In reply to RemcoR, Apr 23, 2012

RemcoR wrote:

Lloyd,

You seem to say in the range up to 105mm there is not much difference, or am I wrong?
RemcoR

What I am saying in a smart a$$ way is that there is not a lot of focal length overlap, and that the range from 105 and up cannot be covered by the A 35-105 seeing as it doesn't zoom that far......

So for me I don't see the 35-105 as a comparable lens. And that is just for me, YMMV. I have never actually used the 35-105 though I have wanted one off and on. What I can say is that my Sigma 17-70 is sharper from 55-70 than the 55-300 is. I usually use my 55-300 above 135mm. Just never wide open.

Lloyd
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RemcoR
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Re: SMC Pentax-A 35-105 F3.5 or DA 55-300 witch is better ?
In reply to UtahManSir, Apr 23, 2012

The range of 35-105 is one I shoot a lot in. The 55-300 can get good results at F4-5.6, but the are few and far between. Here are two both at F4.5 from the 55-300 I consider good.

I also have the Sigma 17-70. No problems there as you can see even at F2.8

RemcoR

Pentax K-5 K100D Sigma 17-70 F2.8/4.5 DC Macro
Pentax 35mm F2 AL Pentax 55-300mm 4-5.8
http://picasaweb.google.com/RemcoRog
http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/RemcoRog

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UtahManSir
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Re: SMC Pentax-A 35-105 F3.5 or DA 55-300 witch is better ?
In reply to RemcoR, Apr 23, 2012

Would have to look at them more enlarged or on a print, but they look good on screen.

I am not sure what you have going on honestly. If you were shooting everything handheld I would think you just have a bit of shake with the shutter button. I seldom shoot longer shots without using a tripod, and I would recommend that but you have already been using one. Do you use the Mirror Lock Up? I have found that even with a quite solid tripod and hanging weights I can have some shots ruined by not using the MLU, I also have found problems with wind blurring some of my shots.

I am still not sure why you are shooting a landscape at wide open apertures. Closer up for DOF I can understand, but it just seems counterproductive for a landscape shot. I find myself going as small as I can without too much loss due to refraction just for the depth of field.

I actually think that if you have the Sigma 17-70 and DA 55-300 you have a killer kit and should be buying primes if your proclivities lie towards that.

Between my Sigma 10-20, 17-70 and DA 55-300 and DFA 100mm f2.8 WR Macro there are few things that I cannot handle photographically.

Cheers,

Lloyd

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