25 June 2009

Father's Day Weekend Macro

Went out with some fellow Pentax users to shoot some macro shots on the eve of Father's Day. Decided I didn't want to use a flash. All shots with the K20D and the FA 100mm f/2.8 Macro

19 June 2009

DA 55-300mm - a nice tele zoom

Quite a long time ago I asked a good friend of mine to source out a DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8 ED, a consumer grade tele zoom that was been getting very favorable reviews from Pentax users. I had just about forgotten all about it when my I got a call to say he had one waiting for me.

I already had a DA 50-200mm, a very nice and compact tele zoom that had been around for quite some time. It's a great lens but if you need to shoot subjects at slightly longer distances like birds or stealth candids, it often felt that 200mm was just not long enough. So it was the attraction of good optical performance and that longer 300mm reach which got me to consider this lens. A price drop also made it all all the more attractive.

Physically, it is comparable to the DA 50-200mm, except when it is zoomed out to 300mm when the longer barrel extesion becomes apparent. The lens is a variable aperture zoom where the maximum aperture changes as the focal length increases. Starting a f/4 at 55 mm, it changes to f/4.5 at 107 mm, f/5.6 at 190 mm and finally to f/5.8 from 260 mm onwards. Minimum focusing distance is 1.4m.

Optically it is pretty good, images are mostly sharp and contrasty. There is some light fall off at maximum aperture but not very significant and nothing that can't be corrected in post processing. About the only criticism of this lens is some green color fringing when shooting backlit subjects and specular highlights. Again this can largely be corrected during post processing. The other issue is auto focusing. This lens has a long focus throw and if used in low light or low subject contrast situations, the camera's AF will occasionally hunt to lock focus. This is largely a camera body related issue but having Quick Shift does help in such situations. Aside from these niggling issues, this lens comes highly recommended.

These images were taken at a recent wakeboarding event using the K20D.