DA 55-300 vs DA* 300 f4

Started Sep 16, 2013 | Discussions thread
OP paulkienitz Veteran Member • Posts: 5,281
Re: DA 55-300 vs DA* 300 f4

GossCTP wrote:

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.

I hope someone can actually locate such a comparison...

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.

For some, yes, but for me, less than you think.

I've never been fond of the rendering of the 55-300.

I think its bokeh at the long end is pretty decent.  It gets much worse as you pull back toward the short end.

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.

Considering everything, of course not... but if you judge solely by center sharpness?  As a birder, I often don't care in the slightest what the corners have in them -- you could have impenetrable fog in the first, a smear of feces in the second, a flashing ad for Viagra in the third, and in the fourth a vision of Satan commanding me to kill, and it wouldn't impair my shooting at all.

 paulkienitz's gear list:paulkienitz's gear list
Pentax Q Pentax K-3 Pentax smc DA 55-300mm F4.0-5.8 ED Pentax smc DA* 300mm F4.0 ED (IF) SDM Samyang 8mm F3.5 Aspherical IF MC Fisheye +4 more
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