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:

SanMat wrote:

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.

See, that was my original thought, but there are a couple of issues that come up if that's the way I want to go. One is that I just had to buy a car and we're trying to plan a trip to Europe, so I have a lot less money to spare than I thought, and the other is that if I buy this much lens at the same time as I'm buying a new body (if, as expected, they come up with a 24mp APS body this fall), then I'm buying new stuff that greatly exceeds the existing value of my system, which means it's not much different from the cost of switching mounts, which means I have to comparison-shop the C and N options and decide pretty soon whether to stay with Pentax or not. And I also have to see if there's a viable mirrorless setup that should be considered. (So far, it doesn't look like there is.)

What I'm hoping is that if I get a major body upgrade, this does not have to throw me into rebuilding the entire system at a very financially inconvenient time. And despite all advice from the majority of thread participants who sneer at the consumer zoom, what I'm getting from the actual samples and stuff is that I'll probably be fairly okay if I just get a body and postpone any lens purchases for another year or so.

What I"m hoping is that by upgrading from my K20d to the k5 ii I can boost the ISO enough to not need to shoot wide open with the 55-300. I'm not convinced that the ISO performance is that much better (except it doesn't seem to get the green tinge like the k20d) but I'm willing to give it a try. Much better camera in so many other areas anyway.

I don't sneer at the 55-300, but I don't pretend it can take on a top prime either. It is what it is. Also, being a zoom has its own value. Birders usually can never get close enough, but when I go canoeing I stumble on things out of nowhere that I would startle by trying to change position. And the 300 is too expensive to risk in a canoe.

That would make things easier. But going that way makes an implicit decision to stay with Pentax for at least another five years, probably longer, and maybe I'd better really think about that. Do I really believe that a camera line built around APS-only lenses is going to be viable in the market of 2019, when there will probably be full frame SLRs available for like $800? I don't want to invest that much in what is really only a secondary hobby, and then end up stuck with a dead mount.

One of the beauties of the mirrorless options is that no mount will truly "die". There will be adapters for probably every system to use K mount lenses. It's possible that none of them will support auto-focus, but at the very least, a high quality 300 f/4 will have value as long as cameras need lenses. Also, I'm not sure that full frame will be that big of a deal for telephoto users. APS-C has plenty of resolution and shallow DOF with fast lenses. If you are worried about mirrorless taking over (And I think it is a real possibility) I would say the most prudent thing to do is not buy any short primes or wide zooms as they will be hurt the most. There will be better options with mirrorless at 14mm, but not at 300mm.

Of course, the whole industry is in a spot that's very hard to forecast right now. For all we know, by then mirrorless cams will reach some kind of tipping point and start decimating even the big two.

CaNikon isn't going anywhere. They will have systems when the time comes. And people will continue to pay more money for the same features when they do. That's the power of branding.

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