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09-02-2007, 06:05 AM   #1
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Pentax 600mm f/4 vs Sigma 500mm f/4.5

Hi all,

Well the LBA urge is hitting again....
There is a 600mm f/4 on ebay, and depending on how high it goes I may bid on it. So here is my dilemma:
  1. I already own the Sigma (which I'll keep for the reasons listed below)
  2. The pentax is HEAVY! (~15 lb)--Anyone work as a sherpa???
  3. The Pentax is has a larger apature and has a 4.1 degrees vs 5 degrees on my Sigma
  4. I don't know if it is faster focusing. (The sigma is fairly slow to acquire on moving images)
  5. I shoot mainly birds and wildlife so I'm not sure if the increased focal distance will matter that much, vs the weight.
  6. Is it THAT much sharper... don't get me wrong my Sigma is very sharp, but when I add Teleconverters it loses alot.
  7. The seller will offer no guarantee/return.
  8. This has been my DREAM lens for years, and it is now discontinued.
  9. It is already at $1750+ with 7 days to go (hopefully the reserve is around 3K)
  10. IT IS A PENTAX!!!
As always your advice and opinions are greatly appreciated.
Stephanie

09-02-2007, 08:01 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by crttr Quote
Hi all,

Well the LBA urge is hitting again....
There is a 600mm f/4 on ebay, and depending on how high it goes I may bid on it. So here is my dilemma:
  1. I already own the Sigma (which I'll keep for the reasons listed below)
  2. The pentax is HEAVY! (~15 lb)--Anyone work as a sherpa???
  3. The Pentax is has a larger apature and has a 4.1 degrees vs 5 degrees on my Sigma
  4. I don't know if it is faster focusing. (The sigma is fairly slow to acquire on moving images)
  5. I shoot mainly birds and wildlife so I'm not sure if the increased focal distance will matter that much, vs the weight.
  6. Is it THAT much sharper... don't get me wrong my Sigma is very sharp, but when I add Teleconverters it loses alot.
  7. The seller will offer no guarantee/return.
  8. This has been my DREAM lens for years, and it is now discontinued.
  9. It is already at $1750+ with 7 days to go (hopefully the reserve is around 3K)
  10. IT IS A PENTAX!!!
As always your advice and opinions are greatly appreciated.
Stephanie
I'd keep my money. When you need a forklift to move the lens, enough is enough. I use a A300 F/2.8 almost always with a 2x converter and have also longed for this lens, the the logistics of using it are daunting.

The 300 is not quite forklift class.

I don't see the 600 being that much better than what you have.
09-02-2007, 08:25 AM   #3
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The difference in FOV is 'slight' but noticable. More on the apparent difference below.

First, lets consider EV. Not saying the add'l 18% tighter FOV is not worth it; it can be if you shoot under shade or canopy of trees as it's also even faster then the Sigma. Consider if you used the Sigma with an imaginary 1.2x TC to get it to 600mm, the Sigma + TC combo would be letting in the light of an f/5.4 lens vs. the f/4 of the 600mm Pentax; almost a full stop faster. And you know how much $ cost a full stop difference can make in ultra long lenses...

Otherwise, for the -best- illustration of the difference the FOV give you, try this out:

1) Load Focal length comparison tool, Tamron USA

2) Click on their 200-500mm (I know, it's not a 600. Give me a second and hear me out. We only care about the FOV difference.)

3) Make sure digita is clicked (just so you can relate it to, and see, the apparent FOV of the actual lens on a 35mm camera ... just for illustration)

4) now use the lower slider and slide it so you see the "Angle of View" change between 5 and 4.1 degrees.

Now of course, if you're using both the 500 and 600 on digital, the apparent FOV is smaller on your digital camera. But the physical difference in ratio does not change! Therefore the comparative difference in what this slider illustrates remains 100% valid.

Also, if it's an 8lb lens or a 12lb lens, you're using a Tripod, right? So the issue's just huck'n it. That difference in weight isn't unbearable, IMO at least.

Good luck if you bid.

Last edited by m8o; 09-02-2007 at 08:44 AM.
09-02-2007, 08:34 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by crttr Quote
Hi all,

Well the LBA urge is hitting again....
There is a 600mm f/4 on ebay, and depending on how high it goes I may bid on it. So here is my dilemma:
  1. I already own the Sigma (which I'll keep for the reasons listed below)
  2. The pentax is HEAVY! (~15 lb)--Anyone work as a sherpa???
  3. The Pentax is has a larger apature and has a 4.1 degrees vs 5 degrees on my Sigma
  4. I don't know if it is faster focusing. (The sigma is fairly slow to acquire on moving images)
  5. I shoot mainly birds and wildlife so I'm not sure if the increased focal distance will matter that much, vs the weight.
  6. Is it THAT much sharper... don't get me wrong my Sigma is very sharp, but when I add Teleconverters it loses alot.
  7. The seller will offer no guarantee/return.
  8. This has been my DREAM lens for years, and it is now discontinued.
  9. It is already at $1750+ with 7 days to go (hopefully the reserve is around 3K)
  10. IT IS A PENTAX!!!
As always your advice and opinions are greatly appreciated.
Stephanie
I think you've got the right combination already.

Item #2: Like the previous poster stated, there's a BIG difference in weight - double in fact, is it not? My 300/2.8 is 5.5 pounds, but I don't mind hauling heavy lenses, if they obtain what I want and need for images.

Item #4: being Pentax mounts, neither has USM motors in the lens, so I don't know if you see a huge improvement, since it's only 1/2 stop of light. In very low lighting conditions, my FA* 300/2.8 with a 1.7x converter will be very similar to your Sigma in terms of max. aperture. The faster, the better IMHO.

Item#6: One person and several reviews have indicated that the Sigma is sharp and has good -->excellent contrast. However, I am not sure if that's the case wide open. OTOH, one person has told me that some copies (not many) of the Pentax 600/4 are not sharp wide open. They are sharp at F/5.6 and above.

Item #7: I'd consider carefully about put my $$$ on a lens with no guarantee. That's a lot of money with no option to return. Think about that... :ugh:

Item #8: That being said, you'll have options soon enough...

Regards,
Marc


Last edited by Marc Langille; 09-02-2007 at 08:38 AM. Reason: typo
09-02-2007, 10:07 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by 35mmfilm_user Quote

Item #7: I'd consider carefully about put my $$$ on a lens with no guarantee. That's a lot of money with no option to return. Think about that... :ugh:
I agree with you Marc, however I will point out that a warranty is only as good as a mans word.
At least he's being honest about that.
09-02-2007, 12:17 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by crttr Quote

There is a 600mm f/4 on ebay, and depending on how high it goes I may bid on it.

The pentax is HEAVY! (~15 lb)--Anyone work as a sherpa???

I shoot mainly birds and wildlife so I'm not sure if the increased focal distance will matter that much, vs the weight.

Is it THAT much sharper... don't get me wrong my Sigma is very sharp, but when I add Teleconverters it loses alot.

The seller will offer no guarantee/return.
I will try not to duplicate what others have said. Just a few comments:

All things being equal, I'd definitely prefer a Pentax FA* 600 f/4 over a Sigma 500mm f/4.5. But all things are not equal:

How much time are you going to spend carrying this thing around? If you're just carrying it a few feet from the car to the photo shoot, then the weight doesn't matter too much. But if you're going to be hiking with this thing all day, then that is a lot more weight than I would want to carry. You usage determines how much weight you can tolerate.

Do you have the matched teleconverter for the Sigma? The matched Sigma APO 1.4X converter should not impact image quality very much and it should be a usable combination. However, an unmatched generic converter or a 2X converter may have a big impact on IQ. If you haven't done so already, you might give the Sigma APO 1.4X a try with your 500mm.

Finally, there is the "eBay factor." That is a lot of money to spend sight-unseen and without any warranty or even guarantee of shipment by the seller. The last time I bought a lens on eBay it was described as "perfect condition." When it arrived I discovered some paint loss and wear on the body. It was in good condition for the price, but not what I would call "perfect." I haven't searched for this auction so I don't know who the seller is, but I would be hesitant to pay $3000+ for something without some assurance that I will not get cheated.

Last edited by GaryML; 09-02-2007 at 04:14 PM. Reason: Fixed typos
09-02-2007, 12:31 PM   #7
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i agree with gary, steph. i know that when i put a 1.4x-s on my tak500/4.5 i can detect no IQ loss.
just my 2
09-02-2007, 05:51 PM   #8
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Thank you all for your help.... Maybe there is something to this 12 step program. The voices of reason and sainty will prevail and it will remain my fantasy lens (Only alot lighter in my dreams). I do have the 1.4X Sigma TC, but have a 2X Kenko may need to look into a change (Cheaper than the lens).
I do tend to carry my 500 in my backpack and my 80-200 tokina on my k10 attached at the shoulder straps. Add my aluminum tripod with the wimberley head and I haul about 45-50# of gear.... Probably enough.

Thank you all again for your help.
As always you are my sounding board.
Steph

09-02-2007, 05:53 PM   #9
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Oh, if anyone wants the link to the lens, here it is:

PENTAX FA 600mm ED F/4 with trunk case - (eBay item 120156648594 end time Sep-09-07 14:47:04 PDT)
09-02-2007, 06:15 PM   #10
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there ya go ... watch the bidding run away now that you pointed the asylum members like me who didn't make the effort to search for it themselves... Kidding, not going to bid against you!
09-02-2007, 06:49 PM   #11
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I was wondering how long this lens would take to show up here. But Ebay has issued a notice today indicating that it will no longer sell Pentax lenses...so you guys can all stop looking now....

I would love to have this lens, but I have the Sigma 50-500 and it is pretty sharp for what I need. And heavy enough to go hiking with attached to a 3021BN. Maybe if I can hit the Power Ball some day I will buy the 600/f4 but for now, I'll just watch it go over $5K later next week....and pass...else I die by the hand of my accountant...otherwise known as Mrs. PaulandaPentax....anyway.... good luck to whomever gets it...
09-02-2007, 07:02 PM   #12
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Did any of you notice that they want $100.00 for shipping? sheeeesh !! That is a major ripoff. I could see maybe 20-30 , but 100?? I know how much Fedex and UPS charge for shipping, I deal with it at work almost every day, and he is WAY over what it would cost to ship that lens, unless he is sending it next day air.....
09-02-2007, 07:21 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Stratman Quote
Did any of you notice that they want $100.00 for shipping? sheeeesh !! That is a major ripoff. I could see maybe 20-30 , but 100?? I know how much Fedex and UPS charge for shipping, I deal with it at work almost every day, and he is WAY over what it would cost to ship that lens, unless he is sending it next day air.....
He's sending it w/FedEx's new time-warp previous day air ... it arrives before the sender sends it. Cost a bit more tho...
09-02-2007, 08:10 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Stratman Quote
Did any of you notice that they want $100.00 for shipping? sheeeesh !! That is a major ripoff. I could see maybe 20-30 , but 100?? I know how much Fedex and UPS charge for shipping, I deal with it at work almost every day, and he is WAY over what it would cost to ship that lens, unless he is sending it next day air.....
i always look at the shipping price as part of the price the tamron 300/2.8 was won buy me at a bid of $135 but it had a shipping cost of $70. the sell price has nothing to do with the actual cost of the auction.
09-03-2007, 06:11 AM   #15
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QuoteQuote:
I always look at the shipping price as part of the price
I couldn't agree with you more, Roy.
It gets even worse when those of us north of the border purchase something in the US of A. And to rub salt in the wound there are those who won't even ship to Canada - for whatever unknown reason.

Wish I had the money for a lense like that.
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