15 July 2010
Testing the DAL55-300.. and the K-7
taken at 300mm across the Willamette River to downtown Portland.
I took the 55-300 out on the town today. It's a nice lens with some great features: relatively small and light, f/4.5 to 200mm (though instantly f/5.6 soon after), fairly quick to focus (though whiny, and no override like the DA version or my 16-45) and sharp to my eyes at all focal lengths. Its bokeh is less amazing in some cases though, but I was not working hard to learn about it; most likely some settings will look better than others. The 55-300 range is very nice, with short tele and extra length all in one package; I find that much more valuable than 1:2 'macro' of the 3rd-party 70-300 types. I do wish I had looked harder at the want ads though, for a few dollars more I could have picked up a used DA model. They've sold now, though more will likely follow - so I need to make a decision. If I send this back I have nothing beyond 135mm in my collection, which is a bit limiting (though with gorgeous bokeh and f/2.8 when needed).
A note about K-7 white balance: it did not perform well under bright blue skies. That might be because I ordered it shipped to western Oregon, so blue-sky balance isn't common :^) but my Alpha A200 did better. I need to check a few other settings too, I tried a few custom menu items that might have shifted more than I expected. So many options on the K-7, and thus far so little time to learn!