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07-30-2007, 07:07 PM   #1
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SMC Takumar 500/4.5 tips?

Okay, I have a 500/4.5 SMC Takumar in the mail. I'm starting to wonder just how I'm going to use this thing!

I think I'm going to try and take it hiking...so I'll get a camera backpack that will handle the beast. But is there any way I can move about with this lens at the ready? Some lenses have carrying / shoulder straps, right? Is there anything that could be retrofit to use the tripod mount on the lens?

Also, I think I want to try using it with a monopod to start, maybe with a tilt-only head. I know a tripod is 'better' but do you think I can get away with this?

I'm also considering the beanbag option for the car window (or motorcycle gas tank!), but I'll be damned if I'm going limit myself to roadside photos.

Any other usage tips?

Can't wait to try this thing out...I've been ogling this lens from afar for like a year...

07-30-2007, 07:26 PM   #2
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That lens is definitely hand holdable. I can sort of relate to it as I hand hold my Bigma all the time at 500mm for bird shots with no problems.

However, you may find that for hiking, a monopod may be more trouble then it is worth in its awkwardness. I missed a lot of shots with my Bigma due to set up times with my monopod. A long monopod isn't the easiest thing to travel when hiking either. It was a royal pain, much like a tripod would be.

You may want something like this.



It is called a Bushhawk shoulder mount. You use it exactly as a rifle. With a sling, you can even shoulder that heavy lens for long distances, and have it instantly ready when you need it. It works very well. Some will tell you not as good as a monopod, but I beg to differ.

There are other options out there. You could use a mount used for a video camera. Some of these attach to your chest area for hand free movements. Likewise, you could use a pocket attached to your belt and slip a closed monopod into this for stability much like those flag carriers in marching bands.

If you are curious about the Bushhawk, just google it. Their web site is easy to find, and their service is very good from my experience.

Just a thought.
07-30-2007, 07:50 PM   #3
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Be aware that the 500mm Takumar is much bigger than Bigma shown above. It's the same lens as the K version shown here:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/2300-k-500mm-demonstaration.html
07-30-2007, 07:55 PM   #4
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I was going to ask, Chako, if you think you could bolt on a second 50-500 on there and still raise it to eye level Bigma weighs in at 1840g while the 500/4.5 (needs a nickname!) scales in at a massive 3500g.

VERY cool product though! I'm impressed....although the whole thing might fall apart with MF...


Last edited by d.bradley; 07-30-2007 at 08:02 PM.
07-30-2007, 08:08 PM   #5
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No I am serious.

I was not aware it is manual focus though. There goes the convenience.

People use a 500mm Canon on the bushhawk with some good success. It is designed for large heavy lenses with tripod mounts.

I suggested it as it would be the best fit for what you stated you wanted to do with it.

I would also like to add that I do not find the Bigma heavy at all. I could easily carry twice its weight and in fact have with other larger lenses. I see no problems at all.

Last edited by Chako; 07-30-2007 at 08:14 PM.
07-30-2007, 08:17 PM   #6
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d.bradley,

Until you get the feel for the lens just pack a piece of foam in your backpack.
When you need to hold your camera steady just lay the backpack with the foam over a log or anything and the camera on that.
It'll be at least as steady as the monopod
07-30-2007, 08:18 PM   #7
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how about using a monopod/walking stick with a small ball head and quik release? I think the monopod doubling as a walking stick when not mounted to the camera would come in handy while hiking.Although this is out of stick at B&H I'm sure you could find it or something similar with a bit of googling

Trek-Tech TrekPod II - Walking Stick/Monopod w/Magnetic Quick Release
07-30-2007, 10:26 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Chako Quote
No I am serious.

I was not aware it is manual focus though. There goes the convenience.

People use a 500mm Canon on the bushhawk with some good success. It is designed for large heavy lenses with tripod mounts.

I suggested it as it would be the best fit for what you stated you wanted to do with it.

I would also like to add that I do not find the Bigma heavy at all. I could easily carry twice its weight and in fact have with other larger lenses. I see no problems at all.
I've been thinking of the mechanics of this and it might actually work. I am used to holding 20 lbs of video camera on my shoulder, so this might not be that bad.

Option 1: resting on right shoulder, right hand on the grip/trigger and left on the focus barrel. This would be close to 'normal' operation of the camera, but I would be missing ISO and exposure compensation adjustments.

Option 2: resting on left shoulder, left hand on the grip/trigger, right hand could be used both on camera for adjustments OR stay on the focus barrel. Problem would be in learning to use my left eye and right hand for focus.

Do you MF with your lens at all? I have this feeling someone will think I'm big game hunter or terrorist or and have me shot...

07-31-2007, 03:46 AM   #9
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gotta run but i'll be back.
07-31-2007, 04:01 AM   #10
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I'm very interested in your thoughts Roy, as well as Mo and Piotr if you're reading this...
07-31-2007, 04:15 AM   #11
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It does not look like a gun at all, with a lens and camera mounted. I have had no problems with people thinking it is a gun. Mind you, I would not take airplane photos at an airport without first letting security know what it is first. Yes you will get stares from the public as most have never seen something like this. Once they see the camera it clicks in though. So far no problems.

Yes, I do manually focus with it on occasions (I am always zooming with it also). You can use the forward grip or use both hands on the pistol grip to steady it if that works best for you.

I did modify this shoulder mount though. I went to the store and bought a set of gun sling mounting hardware (nut and bolt type). I then attached one to the first hole after the forward grip in the upward position. I then rotated the shoulder stock so that the strap attachment is upwards and not downward. I then used a sling strap on it (you could easily get a fancy padded one used for a rifle to distribute the weight more evenly). This way, the whole thing hangs upwards and is easy to use quickly. When in use, the sling is out of the way of any lens. Placed over your shoulder and head, no worries of dropping the thing also. It also acts as a third point of stability if you adjust the strap length accordingly.

A few people will prop themselves laying the shoulder mount on an available surface to shoot steadier much like a bean bag. Likewise, there is a tripod socket found underneath the pistol grip allowing you to use a monopod or tripod. Come to think of it, you could even fit a bipod to the end somehow if you wanted to.

I was only suggesting this as an alternative. Some people swear by this, other swear at them. It all boils down to personal preference. I shoot mostly wildlife, and I would not go into the field without it anymore once I got used to it (there was a week long learning curve for me in feel and adjustments).

EDIT: I would also like to add that if you are looking for the best quality in your photos, this will not do it for you. Then I would definitely get the heaviest tripod with possibly some sort of gimbal head made specifically for heavy lenses. However, if mobility is an issue, I do find the shoulder mount better then a tripod/monopod in the bush.

Last edited by Chako; 07-31-2007 at 04:23 AM.
07-31-2007, 05:34 AM   #12
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Mirror

QuoteOriginally posted by d.bradley Quote
Okay, I have a 500/4.5 SMC Takumar in the mail. I'm starting to wonder just how I'm going to use this thing!

I think I'm going to try and take it hiking...so I'll get a camera backpack that will handle the beast. But is there any way I can move about with this lens at the ready? Some lenses have carrying / shoulder straps, right? Is there anything that could be retrofit to use the tripod mount on the lens?

Also, I think I want to try using it with a monopod to start, maybe with a tilt-only head. I know a tripod is 'better' but do you think I can get away with this?

I'm also considering the beanbag option for the car window (or motorcycle gas tank!), but I'll be damned if I'm going limit myself to roadside photos.

Any other usage tips?

Can't wait to try this thing out...I've been ogling this lens from afar for like a year...
Why don't you get a Sigma Mirror lens. I used to shoot fashion with it. Very nice, Sharp and Light...
07-31-2007, 08:25 AM   #13
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Hmmm...that is an intriguing idea benjikan.

I have a very cheap Samyang 500mm f8 cat hanging around somewhere. Maybe I should change the Canon T mount to the Pentax one and run it through the K10D and see what I can get.

My eyesight isn't the best, and this lens is definitely bottom grade..but now your comment has me curious somewhat.
07-31-2007, 08:57 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Chako Quote
I would also like to add that I do not find the Bigma heavy at all. I could easily carry twice its weight and in fact have with other larger lenses. I see no problems at all.
Me too; I don't find the 5+ lb. Sigma 300mm f/2.8 terrible either. Granted tho another 50% ontop of that may be a different story.... haven't went for hours with it either. I do have a good monopod and beanbag arriving @ my door today for that situation. I often usually use the grip with it where the lens is resting on my left elbow with left hand wrapped around my right forearm (pic); makes me feel manly .

d.bradley, that's a yummy monster. Have fun!
07-31-2007, 09:55 AM   #15
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(With apologies to all for taking this thread a little off course).

Well just for giggles, I installed that real cheap 500mm mirror lens onto the K10D and took a few photos outside in windy conditions...hand holding it.

The lens/camera/grip combo is too light to hand hold. I was all over the place, even with my elbows dug in. The wind didn't help any either I imagine. This is where the Bigma's weight actually helps in stabilizing the lens.

Well here is the one and only semi poor/half good photo of the lot. I imagine with more patients and practice..not to mention properly calibrating the diopter of the camera to me without my glasses, I could have gotten a few more better ones other then blurry blobs lol.

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