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09-04-2007, 08:09 AM   #1
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Need Help: Looking for long, fast glass

My next major, major lens investment is probably going to be a telephoto lens. I'd much prefer a fixed lens over a zoom as I've got everything up to 200mm covered and would prefer the superior optics of a fixed over the convenience of a zoom. The Pentax smc P-FA 300mm F2.8 ED (IF) certainly looks awesome but I just can't afford $4500. I am considering the Sigma APO 300mm F2.8 EX DG which can be purchased brand new for $2600. I have found scant few reviews on this lens, but they seem quite positive. I know that there is a DA*300 f/4 supposedly coming out soon. I guess I should wait and see how this lens turns out both in quality and cost. Also, I much prefer an f/2.8 over an f/4, realizing that the f/2.8 will have a lot more glass and cost. Looking for some sage advice from the experts on this forum.

Regards,

Ted


Last edited by Tbear; 09-04-2007 at 08:25 AM.
09-04-2007, 10:37 AM   #2
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Hi Ted,

I own the FA* 300/2.8 and have never regretted the purchase, especially now that I've become very used to it and the faster shutter speeds in low light. The Sigma version reviews can be seen at FM Reviews - 300mm f2.8 EX APO HSM too.

That being said, I think you've answered your question already - ultimately it's up to you to decide if the cost/weight and faster glass is really worth it to you.

Regards,
Marc
09-04-2007, 05:14 PM   #3
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Thanks, Marc, for the excellent link to the reviews. Wow, 15 reviewers gave the Sigma a 9.6/10 average rating! I think I'm going to have to bite the bullet and go for the Sigma as this will save me close to $2000 compared to the Pentax 300/2.8. With a 2x TC from Sigma, I can have a monster 600mm f/5.6 in my armamentarium as well!

Ted
09-04-2007, 05:22 PM   #4
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it's not AF altho there are some. i just got a tamron SP 300/2.8 LD IF 60B and it's definately worth looking at. with a 1.4x TC you get a 420/4 with no IQ loss.. they usually go for around $800usd on ebay. the new AF version is around 2700usd. here's a quickie at f4 handheld.



09-04-2007, 05:26 PM   #5
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to tell you my experience, the old takumars SM f4 are very good performers wide open also. and they're dirt cheap. i just sold a A*300 and kept the tak300 as a lightweight 300mm. also the K & M series.
09-04-2007, 05:50 PM   #6
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To be honest, I'm not sure where you're seeing the Pentax 300mm f/2.8 FA, even at that price. Even second hand I haven't seen one for a while, and I'm pretty sure you won't find one new.

I'm afraid that you may have problems getting the Sigma one too. Not definitely but it may be the case. With the 70-200mm f/2.8 they introduced the "HSM" version for Canon and Nikon... and then discontinued the Pentax version. Now the 300mm f/2.8 does not have a Pentax version according to the UK site. It is possible that they are discontinuing this as well. As for the Tamron 300mm f/2.8 AF... well their site is now listing Canon, Nikon, Sony... no Pentax.

I don't mean to be the merchant of doom and gloom, but I think it's only fair to point out that at the moment you might have trouble getting hold of long and fast glass, even if you have the money. Hopefully by the new year Pentax will have introduced their new teles, this should also result in some of the A and FA ones being ebayed, and after that the third parties introducing (or reintroducing) long fast glass for the Pentax mount. If you can wait a couple of months it might not be a bad idea... otherwise you might have more luck getting your hands on the manual focus lenses as the previous poster suggested.
09-04-2007, 06:40 PM   #7
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The Sigma's a pretty great lens. You can click my 'Tanzania' thread in my sig for a 'best of' thread shot with it, with annotations; or go to my gallery. About 1000 pix shot with the lens up now... abou 2500 RAWs still to convert.

This post is one of my best sharpest examples: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/10724-m8o-tanzania-07-a-2.html#post91660 (post #23). Note the size of the detail in the eye in the full-frame web-viewable pic then in the 1.6x upsized crop. That detail was a surprise to me. You can make out the Land Rover I shot the animal from, from just 18 pixels wide.

aweh-shuks ... here's a 100% crop:

(that blur over the right of the eye is a sprig of dried tall grass in the foreground)

Sigma told me 47th St. Photo sells the most of them ... that it'sa about $300 less from them can't have anything to do with it... The Pentax isn't listed on their website, but I bought mine through them. A Rep at Sigma set up the sale; really messed them up .

Last edited by m8o; 09-04-2007 at 07:00 PM.
09-04-2007, 08:32 PM   #8
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there's the tamron on ebay right now with a starting bid of 500usd, no bids, 21 hours left.. i can assure you that you would be happy with it if MF doesn't bother you. there's also a pretty beat up one for auction also. the one with no bids is.
HERE

09-04-2007, 09:41 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by roy Quote
to tell you my experience, the old takumars SM f4 are very good performers wide open also. and they're dirt cheap. i just sold a A*300 and kept the tak300 as a lightweight 300mm. also the K & M series.
Yes the screw mounts are still cheap, as in this example:
Takumar 300mm F4 SMC ser#5405791 w/ Built in Hood, Original Case ex+ $275.00 Cdn
That's canadian BTW........
A good TC and you have a 600 f8... not great but not bad either....
09-05-2007, 05:15 AM   #10
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Cambridgeworld.com carries the Pentax 300 f/2.8 in stock but after shipping and tax would cost me over $5000!
09-05-2007, 05:18 AM   #11
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Score another for Sigma

QuoteOriginally posted by m8o Quote
The Sigma's a pretty great lens. You can click my 'Tanzania' thread in my sig for a 'best of' thread shot with it, with annotations; or go to my gallery. About 1000 pix shot with the lens up now... abou 2500 RAWs still to convert.

This post is one of my best sharpest examples: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/10724-m8o-tanzania-07-a-2.html#post91660 (post #23). Note the size of the detail in the eye in the full-frame web-viewable pic then in the 1.6x upsized crop. That detail was a surprise to me. You can make out the Land Rover I shot the animal from, from just 18 pixels wide.

aweh-shuks ... here's a 100% crop:

(that blur over the right of the eye is a sprig of dried tall grass in the foreground)

Sigma told me 47th St. Photo sells the most of them ... that it'sa about $300 less from them can't have anything to do with it... The Pentax isn't listed on their website, but I bought mine through them. A Rep at Sigma set up the sale; really messed them up .
Outstanding detail! Score another one for Sigma.
09-05-2007, 05:23 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by roy Quote
there's the tamron on ebay right now with a starting bid of 500usd, no bids, 21 hours left.. i can assure you that you would be happy with it if MF doesn't bother you. there's also a pretty beat up one for auction also. the one with no bids is.
HERE
Roy, I'm not sure I would trust my manual focus skills (I do fine for macro work when the subject is not moving but that's about it) on a moving object. Definitely willing to pay the premium for AF.

Ted
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