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07-06-2010, 08:41 PM   #1
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SMC Pentax Reflex 400-600mm f/8-12? Why? For well lit sporting events

I've been glancing at this lens from time to time wondering why?

Other than the novelty of a zoom mirror lens, what is the purpose?

I think I've found one.

According to Dimitriov's site, the physical length of the lens is 108mm. That's 4.25 inches and well under the 5 inch lens limit most stadiums have.

Of course, at F12, it'll have to be well lit, and may have to be attached to a K-X, but you'll be able to get that shot from far away.


07-07-2010, 02:23 AM   #2
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IMO the lens is merely a novelty. It's really had to keep it steady, let alone mount it on a tripod steadily.

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07-08-2010, 09:19 PM   #3
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Then why are they selling for $500 on ebay. The whole notion seems bizarre, and this was the only use I could figure out for it.
07-09-2010, 11:43 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clinton Quote
Then why are they selling for $500 on ebay. The whole notion seems bizarre, and this was the only use I could figure out for it.
For better or worse, it was one of my favorite lenses (until I began carrying around the 1000/f11). At 400mm, it's reasonable, but a real challenge at 600mm. However, even at 600, it takes a good enough image that, for example, local birding experts can ID birds from my photos (and I've helped establish some a few rare visitors to central PA).

The lens is also light enough to use for several hours without tiring at a hawk watch site.

But basically the lens serves as all other long telephoto lenses: the opportunity to capture wildlife behaving more normally (as opposed to being frozen in position). In controlled circumstances (such as a wildlife rehabber holding a peregrine falcon), it is easy to take as sharp a photo as one wants (and my K 105 does just fine then).

Consequently, I'm pleased with photos (handheld) taken with the 400-600.

The first attachment is a muskrat (normally quite shy) at a local pond. The second is an immature bald eagle (a Basic III probably) flying past a hawk watch site. The third is one of my few tripod photos: fireworks from about two miles away. The fourth photo is a reflex specialty: able to deal with high contrast images, as in ice photos.

And the only photo I've ever sold to a magazine was from the 400-600mm. So I really do like it.

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07-10-2010, 09:25 AM   #5
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I have a 500mm mirror and find it nearly impossible to get a handheld shot. You might have better luck. I need a monopod or tripod. I don't know that I would try to take it to a ball game. A day game perhaps.
07-10-2010, 09:58 AM   #6
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Not many sports venues (well none that I've ever been asked to shoot at) have anywhere near enough light to be able to stop the action at f12, unless using off the scale ISO values.

As already mentioned there are a whole lot of holding steady issues too.

It's not a lens for me

Last edited by Kerrowdown; 07-10-2010 at 02:13 PM.
07-10-2010, 10:46 AM   #7
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I tried this lens in the 80's during a Pentax demonstration; just mounted it on a camera a looked through the viewfinder. Even with the then brilliand FF viewfinder it was very hard to focus. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be with the small APS viewfinders...

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