tamron 70-300 macro ability is not really like usual macro lens - basically all they do is include a longer barrel, something like a longer extension tube.
you can easily combine an extension tube on the 55-300 if you wanted to.
that said, the tamron 70-300 is not a bad lens. comparing both lenses they are equally slow. i'm not sure about wide open performance for the 55-300 but my tamron 70-300 isn't too bad, just soft at the corners. stopping down to f/8 gives a rather sharp image.
the major problem with 70-300 is from 200-300mm the images are soft. visibly. and this lens has problems with purple fringing. but that said, it is really very value for money. if you don't take a lot of telephoto shots, and just want an option there when you need it, i'd say buy the tamron 70-300. otherwise, 55-300 should be fine. nonetheless, if you take a lot of telephoto shots, you might want to consider something better (and faster).
some 70-300mm shots if you want samples:
(this shot has very bad purple fringing on the railings where the light is reflected, i used layers to remove it)
PF will not happen unless got particular type of lighting.
so far i have had it happen a few times only, in backlit situations will be very common..
or strong rimlighting, for instance.
for me, is quite easy to correct most of the time, so i don't mind. but if you like that sort of lighting and take a lot of that sort of shots... and will use the lens a lot, just get something that doesn't have PF lor...
if you think about it, if you find it bad, and then you buy the tamron 70-300.. then sell it and get the pentax 55-300.. in the end you lose more money.
so think carefully what you can take, what you cannot take.. and buy what you can afford. that's simple, right?
I have owned both the Tamron 70-300mm and the DA 55-300mm. Pretty obvious which is the superior lens... hint, it's the one starting with the letter "P".
The Tamron does have a useful close-up capability and has a lower sticker price but apart from that, that's about the only thing I can recommend about it. Dreadful PF, soft at the long end and tricky method to engage macro can't make up for the cheap price. Plus the copy I had experienced intermittent electrical contact issues (read... AF OK one minute... huh, what the s?*% happened to the AF the next). Is it any wonder I never kept it.
The DA 55-300mm smokes the Tamron out of the water pretty much in every department. Sharpness is decent wide open but crank it to 300mm and the difference in sharpness is pretty obvious. It may not have the close focusing ability of the Tamron but you'll find images straight from the camera that are sharper with more detail, have snappier contrast, better color rendition and significantly less PF. Starting at 55mm, that makes it more versatile to use than the 70mm of the Tamron. Overall build quality is better too.
Is it worth the extra money compared to the Tamron? Most definitely. If you're really on a shoe string budget, even the plastic budget el-cheapo FA-J 75-300mm ain't half bad, heck even I have one. :lovegrin:
I used to have the Tamron 70-300, and now I'm using the DA55-300. I never owned both at the same time, so I can't make a side-by-side comparison. But based on photos I have and my own impressions, the DA55-300 is clearly the winner here, except for price any maybe the pseudo-macro function.
PF doesn't show up in every situation, but whenever you have strong highlights against a clear edge of some sorts, you can bet that it'll be terrible on the Tamron. And such situations can be fairly common. A test I did quite a while ago, taken at f4:
This is a 100%, so the PF is really clear. If you don't crop, it can still be acceptable, like in naightmare's cat photo (which I really like, btw :lovegrin This is what the uncropped photo looks like for the Tamron 70-300mm. It looks a bit soft due to compression by CS gallery:
The Tamron's sharpness is pretty good up to about 200mm, then it start to get soft wide open from 200-300mm. The DA55-300 is sharp all the way wide open, beating the Tamron at all settings IMHO.
And just based on impressions, the DA55-300 also hunts less when focusing.
I would say that both lenses are really value for money, but yet at the same time, you get what you pay for (between these two lenses).
Don't get overly hung up with the Macro label on a zoom lens. Look for a lens that delivers a good and balanced optical performance as it makes a whole lot of difference with the quality of images that come out straight from the camera.
Post processing can reduce some lens faults but can't add detail that the lens doesn't first resolve.
Here's an uncropped close-up from the Tamron. Pretty decent close-up but notice that the berries still aren't really bitingly sharp (and this image has some sharpening applied) even with the camera on a monopod.
Contrast that with an uncropped shot from the DA 55-300mm at 300mm. OK it's a boring shot of a dog but look at the fur detail.
Sharp in the center and at the edges, remarkable performance for a consumer grade tele zoom.
There's some light fall-off at the edges but that can be fixed during PP or better still, invest in a proper 300mm prime lens for even better picture quality. :sweat:
At the end, you get what you pay for. Why the DA 55-300mm gets a lot of thumbs up from users is the more than decent performance for the money, especially at the long end.
Of course a dedicated 300mm prime lens will trump it but then we're talking more serious money territory.
I think more people have memories of ugly PF than the macro capabilities of the Tamron, which should already tell you which lens is the more capable of the two.
If you want to dabble in macro, there are plenty of options, from investing in a proper macro lens to using extension tubes, close-up filters to an old prime lens or even reversing the lens itself.
With such an approach, you'll get far better macro results than the so-called macro from a tele-zoom.
Ditch the Tamron and start saving for the DA... but hey, it's your money.
What do you exactly want to achieve when you say "proper macro"? If you mean 1:1 macro or higher magnification, it's probably rather difficult. But if you just mean getting frame-filling pics of smaller animals (or very large insects) and flowers, it's quite do-able. Something like these?
These were shot recently with the DA55-300 without any accessories, and cropped (not too agressively).