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05-14-2010, 02:14 PM   #1
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Bring out the big guns

What can I say. I live in Colorado and shoot a lot of wildlife. Not being willing to part with the cash to buy into the long * lenses I looked for alternetives. My first was a T mount 400mm 6.9 tamron that looks like a bad plumbing job, yet can suprise you if given the chance. Next I tried a 500 f8 tamron mirror, but wasn't that impressed. Found an old Tokina 800mm f8 (on BH for around $300). this lens looks like it should be on a security watchlist as a weapon. It actially comes apart and is stored in 2 pieces. It is a T mount and preset lens, has some wicked chromatic abs, and pf, but can produce some amazing shots if used properly. Latest grab was a Bigma, although to be honest I prefer my 800 over it. So my question is, what are other oddballs using to go long? Spotting scopes? Off brand lenses? Has anyone found a superlong lens that most have overlooked or never seen that they wish to share?
I realize the * offerings, or top of line Sigma offerings will most likely produce better images, however, I usually cap my spending at $1200 or so. So lets hear from the Phoenix,Kenko, B&L users out there and see what they have done.

05-14-2010, 05:32 PM   #2
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QuoteQuote:
...Next I tried a 500 f8 tamron mirror, but wasn't that impressed.
Have the Adorama Pro-Optic 500/6.3 variety. Not too bad...for the price. Kind of fun.
QuoteQuote:
Found an old Tokina 800mm f8 (on BH for around $300). this lens looks like it should be on a security watchlist as a weapon. It actially comes apart and is stored in 2 pieces. It is a T mount and preset lens, has some wicked chromatic abs, and pf, but can produce some amazing shots if used properly.
I have that one, too! Gunsights up front...Haven't gotten an "amazing" shot, but some are...OK.
QuoteQuote:
Latest grab was a Bigma....
I realize the * offerings, or top of line Sigma offerings will most likely produce better images, however, I usually cap my spending at $1200 or so.
Well, I recently got the Tamron 70-200, so I don't want to duplicate too much of the FL with the Bigma that costs $1,600 now. I plan to go with the 150-500 someday, which is $1,000.

There are a lot of nice MF lenses, but I miss too many shots futzing around with focus and aperture, so I want to have AF.
05-14-2010, 07:14 PM   #3
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Hi shuie,

I don't know what your objection to the Bigma is, but I would think that it would outproduce any oddball brand old or new lens at the long end of its range. If you haven't shot it off a sturdy tripod, a good head, and good long lens technique, I think you haven't given it a fair trial. I don't own the lens, but have seen enough from many experienced shooters to know it's a very competent lens. The only reason I don't own one is because at f6.3 at the long end, I'd lose AF with a TC in anything but the brightest conditions. If the Bigma isn't good enough, then that really cuts the lenses that can be considered to pro class lenses, and your budget doesn't come close to making these affordable.

Probably the best bang for the buck is the Tamron SP 300 f2.8 LD (IF) Adaptall 2, combined with the Pentax F 1.7x Auto Focusing Adapter. You'd also need a PK/A Adaptall 2 adapter. With the AFA, you'd get a 510mm f4.8 combo with limited AF.
If you can find a user grade lens with beat up cosmetics and good glass and mechanicals, you could easily put this combo together for well under $1000. If the lens comes bundled with the SP 140F 1.4x Adaptall 2 TC, you could stack it with the 1.7x AFA for a 714mm f6.7 combo that can work very well.

There's a Sigma 500 f4.5 APO MF on the marketplace here that apparently has a pending deal, but the post hasn't made it to the Sold area, so it might be worth a watch.

Other than that, just about any of the name brand 300mm f4 or f4.5 primes with the F 1.7x AFA will give you a 510mm f6.8 or f 7.7 respectively that will AF in all but the dimmest overcast conditions. Tokina made an MF 100-300 f4 SD MF zoom that reviewed very well so might be considered, and the Sigma EX 100-300 f4 is at least close to prime quality at 300mm, so should be able to be used with the AFA also, but Sigmas don't play well with the AFA, probably because of the reverse engineering they use in lieu of buying licensing rights to the mounts (this can posiibly be worked around). Pentax has made 6 300/4-4.5 prime models, and each of these work well with the AFA. They are the K, M*, A*(all f4 with the 2 * models sharing optics), the F* and FA*(both f4.5 and sharing optics) and the new and currently available DA* (f4) All of these play well with the AFA from numerous reports. I can vouch for the FA* and the A* (and the F* and A* since they share optical formulae with the ones I've tried) as they're the only ones I've owned.

Two other quality MF zooms are the Tamron SP 200-500 f5.6 Adaptall 2 and the Tokina 150-500 SD AT-X, both faster than the Bigma, but I can't attest to IQ compared to the Bigma. I own one of the Tokinas, and it's a sharp lens, and it's a little faster, but I don't know that it's better.

Good luck in your search.

Scott
05-14-2010, 07:51 PM   #4
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I had a Tamron Adaptall-2 200-500mm 5.6 ( Tamron SP Adaptall-2 200-500mm F/5.6 Model 31A ) for a few months. One popped up on KEH and I had to buy it to try it out.

It's a huge lens, and was really sharp, even wide open. Unfortunately, it showed purple fringing like I've never seen. Absolutely terrible. I ended up selling it since I also have a Sigma 100-300mm f4 + 1.4x TC, which is close to as sharp and free of fringing. No quite as long, but I can deal with that.

05-14-2010, 08:32 PM   #5
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I use the Sigma 150-500mm that I got for about $950. I LOVE the results!

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/90964-nature-sigma-150-5...-pictures.html
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