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12-02-2010, 03:17 PM   #1
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Birding Options (Just Sigma?:))

I have been working with a 70-300mm zoom a lot, but find myself needing more reach, especially for birds. Birds, it is safe to say, have been my Waterloo. My current lens (Tamron 70-300, which is horribly soft and CA prone at the long end) is just not a candidate by any means for a TC.

So I'd like to get a feel for my longer telephoto options. My budget, unfortunately, is less than what I'd like it to be. I'd like to get something under 1,000. Under $500, and I will be doing various dances of exaltation to the gods o' camera.

So the options I have identified so far are:

Sigma 170-500 - gets me the reach, but slow/soft on the long end?
Sigma 150-500 - don't know much about
Sigma 120-400mm - don't know much about
Bigma - out of my price range, need to get used, heavy

Any other recommendations? I'd prefer not to have a total manual lens, or something I'd need an adapter for, but realize that I may have to settle. Does anyone make decent telephotos in this range except Sigma?

I may be leaning toward the 120-400 because of weight/tripod conditions (most of my wildlife photography is on the move while hiking) but can easily be swayed by the siren song of longer reach.


12-02-2010, 03:53 PM   #2
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I have two combinations of interest.

the first is my Sigma APO 70-200F2.8 EX (non DG Non Macro) This is the first of 6? different varients of this focal length at this speed, the following are the DG, DG macro the HSM, HSM II and the optically stabalized latest version.

I cannot advise on the IQ oif the follow on lenses as there were some changes to the optical formula, that reportidly yeilds the lens a little soft, but the first version, origonally released for film bodies (hence no DG designation) is excellent at all focal lengths and apertures including wide open.

It also works very well with the 1,4x and 2x sigma TCs giving the flexibility of 70-200 at F2.8, 100-300 (roughly) at F4 and 140-400 at F5.6 so you can adapt the focal length to your needs and have the fastest lens possible at any focal length.

The second option is to use the SMC-F 1.7x AF TC with any pentax manual focus 300mmF4 prime. I use it with the K300F4 to get 500mm F7.

If you look for posts on the subject you will see several examples of what these two combos can do.

To go for these two options, you need to go used, not new, but either should be doable under $1000 and perhaps as low as $700 if you can get an A300 and the AF TC cheap on e-bay.

I would try for the A lens because it would allow all exposure modes to work, not just manual, and also allow P-TTL flash. For the K lens, you need to either use a body that supports the TTL flash or use a flash in AUTO or Manual Mode.
12-02-2010, 08:43 PM   #3
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Try this link for a discussion on the 120-400.
12-02-2010, 08:50 PM   #4
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I bought second the Sigma 50-500 . Great machine

12-02-2010, 09:24 PM   #5
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I have not heard many good things about the 170-500 but I like the 150-500 well enough, though I don't shoot birds. It is not fast :-)

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