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01-27-2011, 10:25 AM   #1
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Question re Pentax A 400 5.6 lens

Hi:

I was wondering if any of you have used this lens. I have no experience using manual focus lenses, but am interested in doing some outdoor/nature images. These lenses come up frequently on the used market and I was wondering beyond the reviews contained in the lens review section if anyone has had any experience with it. One review says it is reasonably sharp at 5.6 and another differs.

Generally, I am looking for comments on the lens.

I appreciate any information.

01-27-2011, 10:57 AM   #2
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It's definitely a good lens, but its main drawback is its speed, as you'll want to be at F6.7 or even 8 most of the time. It's also not too great for action due to the MF, but if you're going to be shooting stuff that's not moving, then it'll get the job done for you!

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01-27-2011, 11:44 AM   #3
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I have the sigma version... I like it I used it with a x2 adapter with the last eclispes with good/very good results. I did shoot indoor roller derby with it in lower light with ok results.



(added most of the grain for effect)

I mean there is a reason why it is cheap... as it is not /2.8 or /4 glass, but it gives you reasonable results...
01-27-2011, 06:40 PM   #4
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Thanx so much for the replies and pictures.

Definitely food for thought.

Gregg

01-27-2011, 07:01 PM   #5
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Gregg,

I have the M 400/5.6 version of this lens. They are a different optical design but similar in performance. I find while you can use a 400mm lens at f 5.6 the depth of field is so narrow as to be almost useless in most cases.

I find I get the best results with my 400 between f8 and f16. Your camera will also be a major factor. I am currently using a Pentax K10. I find noise is unacceptable to me beyond ISO 400 with this camera. I understand the K20 and K7 are better in this regard but still not great. The new K5 should breathe new life into the A 400/5.6 and all slower telephoto lenses. One should be able to shoot at ISO 1600 with good results with the K5. This will allow a much faster shutter speed and permit you to use the f16 sweet spot in some pretty dim light. If you plan to use the lens for birding this would be a great asset. A K5 will be my next purchase for this reason.

Tom G

Last edited by 8540tomg; 01-27-2011 at 07:14 PM.
01-27-2011, 08:37 PM   #6
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Hi:

Thanx for the reply. I just pulled the trigger on a Sigma 120-400. I went back and forth on a few lenses, the A 400 being one of them. I have seen lots of mixed reviews on the 120-400, but I read a very well done review by a landscape photographer who compared the 120-400 to a couple of higher end Canon lenses and the Sigma did well. It is here:

Lens Review: The Sigma 120-400 4.5-5.6 APO HSM Telephoto Zoom Darwin Wiggett

If I keep the Sigma I will need to sell a few things, but if the lens works out it will be worth it.

I have a k5 and k7. My hope is that the k5 will allow me to shoot at f8 (where the Sigma apparently does well) in reasonably lower light, but I know it is not a 300 f4.

Thank you for the reply.

Gregg
01-28-2011, 02:21 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by 8540tomg Quote
Gregg,

I have the M 400/5.6 version of this lens. They are a different optical design but similar in performance. I find while you can use a 400mm lens at f 5.6 the depth of field is so narrow as to be almost useless in most cases.

I find I get the best results with my 400 between f8 and f16. Your camera will also be a major factor. I am currently using a Pentax K10. I find noise is unacceptable to me beyond ISO 400 with this camera. I understand the K20 and K7 are better in this regard but still not great. The new K5 should breathe new life into the A 400/5.6 and all slower telephoto lenses. One should be able to shoot at ISO 1600 with good results with the K5. This will allow a much faster shutter speed and permit you to use the f16 sweet spot in some pretty dim light. If you plan to use the lens for birding this would be a great asset. A K5 will be my next purchase for this reason.

Tom G
Hey Tom and Gregg. I had no plans on moving away from the K-7 until I started to see some of the the ISO results and realized what it could mean for me with longer glass. I have yet to take out my K400, but I've only owned the K5 for a little bit and so far it has as Tom indicated opened up a whole new world for using longer lenses. Here is a shot at 600m, F13 ISO3200



The Sigma should give you great shots at F8.....looking forward to seeing them in the 300+ lens club
01-28-2011, 05:57 AM   #8
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SMC

This is very good news and just what I wanted to have verified. That K5 is looking better to me all the time. But with two kids in university at the moment its a year or so away. Sigh.

You do know, of course, we will be expecting even more spectacular results with your A* 1200mm now. Noblese oblige mon ami.

Cheers


Tom G

01-28-2011, 07:52 AM   #9
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I do have the A400 f5.6. This is the only 400mm lens that I have tried so unable to provide any comparison with other. Although the A function should provide a certain ease of use.

Unfortunately, hardly used it after purchase. Thus should be selling it soon at the marketplace.
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