after the DA 55-300... which lens is "better" ?

Started Jan 24, 2014 | Questions thread
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jf_tea Senior Member • Posts: 1,181
after the DA 55-300... which lens is "better" ?


This is a topic I have thought about for a long while without finding any good answer(s). I believe that I have already read the relevant threads here.

Short version: Which lens (zoom or prime) can meet the following requirements, without being too expensive (let's say, no more than $1500) ?

  • at least 300mm
  • sharper than the Pentax 55-300
  • preferably as bright or brighter than f/5.6

I know there is the HD 55-300, the DA*300, and, the Sigma 50-500 and 150-500. Are there other candidates? Which ones are useable for walking or in a canoe? (Probably not the "bigma").

Background story:

I've had the DA 55-300 in 2010. It was good enough for its price. The IQ was better than the superzoom I had since 2009 (a FZ-28). Then, I tried a Panasonic 100-300 on a G3. It was much sharper than the DA 55-300 (the copy I had, I did not try many copies). (At equivalent FL, it was also sharper then a SMC 200mm f/4, which is sharper than the DA 55-300, at 200mm). But, not everything was great with the Pana 100-300. Its zoom ring was stiff at some points (the feel of plastic rubbing on plastic). And, the mirrorless EVF and AF system are not convenient for moving wildlife. Surprisingly, my canoe partner had much better shots of the morgansers with a FZ-150 (which also yields an effective FL of 600mm FOV, in 35mm equivalent).

Now, I've kept the DA 50-200 WR. The FL is much less, but, at least the lens is small and WR. In a pinch, I would still use the old FZ-28 for wildlife. In good light, it gets nice results, but needs more luck than the DA 55-300.

The HD 55-300 has the same specs as the DA 55-300. It will not focus faster, nor with less noise and, it is not smaller. But, at least it is WR. Does the new coating improves the sharpness too? Does it reduce the CA?

Since I live in a city, I get few opportunities to go see wildlife. Also, I often use the FA43 and DA70. I understand that my usual expectations for sharpness might never be met with a long focal length (300mm +). Perhaps I will settle for a superzoom to fulfill my needs when I go hiking or in a canoe. The size would be much more practical. And the cost would be commensurate with the frequency of use.

I would like to have the opinions of those who already use long lenses (with Pentax cameras).


 jf_tea's gear list:jf_tea's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 Olympus PEN E-PL1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 Pentax K-01 Olympus OM-D E-M5 +12 more
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