DA 55-300 vs DA* 300 f4

Started Sep 16, 2013 | Discussions thread
GossCTP Veteran Member • Posts: 4,754
Re: DA 55-300 vs DA* 300 f4

paulkienitz wrote:

How much real gain is there in upgrading to the star prime, over the consumer zoom?

I would have assumed the improvement is large, but DxOMark says otherwise. According to their numbers, the 55-300 is optimized to favor the long end, so 300mm is actually the sharpest point in its focal length range, and at that point, it produces the same sharpness score as the 300/4!

I have a hard time believing that. Especially since the 300 f/4 is supposed to be sharp at f/4 and maxes out at f/5.6. I've done test shots with the 55-300, and it is by no means at it's best wide open at 300mm. I think it improved until at least f/9.5, particularly at the corners.

I remember comparison images that were done by one of the veteran forum members back when those lenses were both fairly new - richardday perhaps. Anyway, they were full size pics and in comparing them it looked no contest to me. I have a 55-300, and I don't consider it to be sharpest at 300mm. Perhaps 230mm or so.

Leaving aside other performance qualities such as speed, focusing, vignetting, distortion, lateral CA, and everything else other than sharpness near the center... can those who've used both really say the star lens is significantly better?

So other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln

Seriously, those are all huge factors. I've never been fond of the rendering of the 55-300. It's certainly miles ahead of the Tamron 70-300, but not in the same ballpark as the DA* 300, which I have been tempted by for some time. The 55-300's OOF specular highlights are generally rendered with purple boarders which makes certain backgrounds kind of nervous. The 50-200 beats it in that regard IMO, although it is not as sharp and doesn't go to 300mm.

The expensive long zooms like the Sigma 120-400 have a hard enough time competing with lenses like the DA* 300 f/4. I don't think the 55-300 is a real challenger.

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