DA 55-300 vs DA* 300 f4

Started Sep 16, 2013 | Discussions thread
audiobomber Veteran Member • Posts: 5,764
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?

Two stops+ gain, IME. I own both and have done comparative tests. I'll take the DA*300 @ f4 over the 55-300 at f8. The 55-300 is unacceptably soft at 300mm f5.8, and pretty good at f8. The DA*300 is freakin' amazing at f5.6. I use the star lens with a Kenko 1.5X. The 55-300 is crap with the TC.

NOTE: I am a pixel peeper. I judge sharpness at 100% crop. I was thrilled with the 55-300 on a 6mp camera, not at 14.6 or 16mp. With the DA*300, I can crop to 100%, even with the TC, and still have sharp images. Weather-resistance is hugely important, in my corner of the world. It is an amazing pro quality lens. I value the 55-300 for its good IQ, compact size and range of focal lengths. I use it when I don't expect to crop hard.

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 don't know what they're doing. No previous tests have shown max sharpness at 300mm, and that is intuitively wrong.

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