DA 55-300 vs DA* 300 f4

Started Sep 16, 2013 | Discussions thread
SanMat Senior Member • Posts: 2,861
Re: DA 55-300 vs DA* 300 f4

Hi Paul,

Looks like you've gotten plenty of responses, but here's my take.  Go with the DA 300 and don't look back.  As for zooming, I would assume that at least 80-90% of the situations requiring a change in focal length can be accomplished with your feet.  If you purchase the zoom, you'll still be wondering about the upgrade in quality for the DA 300.  If you purchase the DA 300, you won't be wondering about how to improve the quality.  That may be a bit snobbish - but it's human nature.

As for comparable C/N lenses - I've also used the Nikon 300 f/4 quite a bit.  I've done a short review in a thread with Ron before but the short version is:  Nikon does not have VR, so Pentax has the advantage there.  As for sharpness, very slight edge to Nikon (I use it one D300s and D700).  As for colors, overall look etc., I lean towards the Pentax.  Keep in mind that the direct (sensor) comparison for me is K5 v. D300s (K5 has a cleaner sensor so that is also a factor).  I'm guessing K5 II, and IIs will be even better, but I don't have those.  I would say the shots for the 300 f/4 with the D700 are at least as good if not even a little cleaner than K5 + DA 300 (though remember D700 is full frame, so bigger pixels.  Then again it also unfortunately loses the crop-factor advantage).  I would assume the new Nikons (D800 et al.) bring out the detail even further.

Perhaps a better comparison would be the new D7100 with the 300 f/4 (may want to ask around or look around for some examples).  From what I understand the D7100 sensor is WAY ahead of the D300s in terms of dealing with noise (with double the resolution).  Side note - if I decide to sell my D300s, most likely I'll replace it with that D7100.

On the Nikon side I've heard rumors that the 300 f/4 will be upgraded soon (to include VR, among other things).  Have no idea if that's true, but there's speculation about new products for all the manufacturers due to the upcoming winter Olympics.

Back to Pentax:  Here's a natural-light example, and a crop of detail (f/6.3, 1/500 sec., ISO 800):

The choice is yours.  Good luck.


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