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Tele-zoom lens advice, please...

Posted 31/01/2024 - 11:27 Link
Your thoughts, please, on a lens dilemma.

My DA 55-300mm (original version), which I've had for a very long time, currently has 2 uses. First, as a small, light weight, 'just in case I need a tele' lens for the bag. Second, as the only option I've got if I think I'll need a zoom in the 100-300mm range (it's not my primary 300+mm lens, that is and will remain the DA*300mm f4). However, f5.8 at the long end is just too restrictive and focus at the long end is both too slow and hit or miss (it always has been, it seems to depend on whether it approaches focus from near or far). These have become too annoying so I'm thinking of at least semi-retiring it.

My ideal lens would be a 55-300mm f4 with the size and weight of the lens it would replace. But that doesn't exist. The PLM version is OK for size and weight but the max aperture is even smaller than the original. I'm open to the idea that perhaps 2 lenses are needed, one small and light weight for in the bag 'just in case I need a tele' and another for when I'm expecting to need a tele-zoom so am willing to carry more size and weight (but there is a limit and the 150-450mm is beyond both ). Money, of course, is also a factor - given the limited use it would get, the price of a new 70-210 f4 is way too much! And in case you're wondering, the cameras will be K3 and K3 iii.

Your suggestions, please.

Posted 31/01/2024 - 13:23 Link
Difficult quandary Steve - and not one you'll find a perfect answer too I suspect - I've been there and the best solution I found in my APS-C days was the Pentax DA*60-250mm f4.0. It doesn't quite have the reach of 300mm but in terms of size, weight IQ it makes a great compromise. There is of course the risk of SDM issues (although this model wasn't as prone as the 16-50 and 50-135 from the same range) but if you can source one from a reputable dealer (with a guarantee) at a fair price (under 400 would be good) I think you'd enjoy it!

Alternatively there a dodgy guy on this forum selling the legendary Sigma 100-300 - a bit weightier and bulkier but fast with super IQ and reaches that magic 300mm
Posted 01/02/2024 - 14:27 Link
Thanks LB. I must admit that the thought of SDM failure puts me off the 60-250mm f4, particularly as conversion to screwdrive doesn't seem to be possible. There do seem to be a number for sale in the usual places with failed AF and working AF seems to command a price significantly above 400. Your Sigma 100-300mm fits the bill on everything but size and weight. Definitely not an 'in the bag just in case' lens and not something I'd like to carry around with the DA300mm f4! But it does raise the question of whether it could replace the DA300mm on those occasions when I expect to need both 300mm + TC and a tele-zoom.

I was wondering whether someone might suggest an F or FA or older non-Pentax that would do the job but perhaps I'm looking for the impossible!

Posted 01/02/2024 - 15:09 Link
There are the older FA 80-320 and F 100-300 models - both fit the weight and price considerations but still f5.6 as the max aperture at the long end - plus IMO they don't quite match up in terms of IQ to more recent offerings
Posted 01/02/2024 - 16:47 Link
I don't think there's anything that fits the bill to be honest. Anything faster will be bigger and heavier. The 70-210/4 or a DA* 200/2.8 would be options but are too heavy and expensive (not that I'd recommend a DA* lens with Super Dodgy Motor anyway).

You either need to spend more for a bigger and faster lens or keep within budget and weight restrictions and accept the slower maximum aperture.
Pentax hybrid user - Digital K3, film 645 and 35mm SLR and Pentax (&other) lenses adapted to Fuji X and Panasonic L digital
Fan of DA limited and old manual lenses

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