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04-23-2011, 11:08 AM   #1
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DA 200+1.7 teleconverter or M 400

Trying to figure what to do, add the SMC 1.7 AF teleconverter to my DA*200 f2.8, or get a M 400mm f5.6 lens.
Using catch in focus for the M400, but handling with the teleconverter would be much nicer.
The real question is which would produce the best output? (sharper, higher contrast)
This would be mainly for birds, so edge sharpness is not a real issue.

Eric

04-23-2011, 11:26 AM   #2
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I have birded with... 200mm 18-250 50-300 80-320 400 500-mirror 50-500 and likely a few others... my best results are with my 18-250... mainly because it is small and forces me to get closer to the birds.... my next best results are 50-500 because of the zoom but I need a monopod, which means I don't end up in nearly as interesting places...

for me with birding 200mm is a great range, gives the sharpest picks... but if we are talkings BIF... I would go with the 400mm as I prefer the manual focus of the older primes and I find my KX cannot track anything well enough, so I always use MF.
04-23-2011, 01:05 PM   #3
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Consider this.. The AF adapter (1.7x) will work with Most lenses and IMO is quite versatile. Meanwhile, the 400mm is more of a special purpose lens. If you already Have the 200, I think your money would be better spent with the TC.

04-23-2011, 01:31 PM   #4
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I am also consider getting the AF 1.7x teleconverter. I have using the vivitar 200mm f3.5, and having so much fun with it... It is sharp wide-open. Also, for travelling, it would be easier as the 200mm and 1.7x teleconverter are relatively light and small compare to the 400mm lens.


Last edited by aleonx3; 04-23-2011 at 02:10 PM.
04-23-2011, 01:38 PM   #5
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This is a shot I took recently with the MF vivitar lens again wide-open... BIF not intended but may be pure lucky shot. I am also thinking with BIF photos, the longer focal length the more difficult it is for manual focus...
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Last edited by aleonx3; 04-23-2011 at 02:10 PM.
04-24-2011, 12:38 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by JeffJS Quote
Consider this.. The AF adapter (1.7x) will work with Most lenses and IMO is quite versatile. Meanwhile, the 400mm is more of a special purpose lens. If you already Have the 200, I think your money would be better spent with the TC.

Not to mention having to use stop-down metering with the M lens on DSLRs. Stop down metering is not fun, IMO. I also think the TC is a better option.

Last edited by pz1fan; 04-24-2011 at 12:40 PM. Reason: clarified stop down metering for DSLRs
04-24-2011, 06:55 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by pz1fan Quote
Not to mention having to use stop-down metering with the M lens on DSLRs. Stop down metering is not fun, IMO. I also think the TC is a better option.
or buy a light meter...
04-25-2011, 03:20 AM   #8
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I would go for the manual 400mm lens.
(Or start looking at the xx-500mm wonder lenses that they make these days.)

If you are finding 200mm is not close enough, you are obviously wanting more reach. Adding just the AF adapter (1.7x) is only going to get you to 340mm. And despite the favourable reviews the AF adapter (1.7x) receives, it is a TC, and it does degrade the image quality. You may not be be satisfied with both the reach and the quality if you go the AF adapter (1.7x) alone.

My experience was this. My longest lens was the SMC-A 200mm macro f4. (A fantastic telephoto lens by the way.) I wanted more reach. So I got the AF adapter (1.7). I was really disappointed with the quality reduction. It seems that there is a limit in the sharpness that the AF adapter (1.7) can pass through. Or it doesn't play nice with the SMC-A 200mm macro. Next I got the Rear Converter-A 2x-L. This worked much better, as the quality was extremely good, and the added reach was noticeable. (2x-L is a matched item for the A 200mm macro that works fantastic on both the telephoto and macro ends.) But again, the TC did degrade the image quality slightly. Finally, I picked up SMC-A 400mm f5.6 late last year. (A ridiculously sharp lens with buckets of contrast.) Testing the 200mm plus TC vs the 400mm is no contest. The 400mm wins hands down everytime. Not only in speed, contrast, and sharpness, but in handling too. It seems that dedicated lenses are the way to go. (It's just a pity about Pentax's current offerings in this department.) A TC is more of a bandaid solution - that may suit if you only sometimes need that reach. But will probably bring disappointment if you are to be shooting at that distance often / or have a regular session where you are shooting at that length most of the time.

You also need to consider that using longer lenses does require technique. And practice of that technique. A tripod or monopod is generally a necessity for best results. And, of course, you do need to factor in manual focusing. Trying to catch subjects in motion with a telephoto can bring it's own headaches.

I have been having too much fun with the SMC-A 400mm F5.6 lens by itself. I have yet to test the 400mm lens with the AF adapter (1.7x). I did a very quick test, and found the AF adapter (1.7x) did work fine in bright light (even though it is rated to only work with f2.8 lenses or faster). But I already knew that from various posts on this forum. I look forward to testing this combo out soon.

I guess you need to hear from someone who uses the DA*200 f2.8 & AF adapter (1.7x) together...

04-25-2011, 03:41 AM   #9
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This is a review I did recently with a variety of lenses and the Tamron x1.4 and AFA x1. TCs (no 200mm I'm afraid) so you may find it interesting :

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/139941-lenses-...-x1-4-etc.html
04-25-2011, 08:34 AM   #10
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My belief is that no what you get, it will always be 100mm to short. When it comes to shooting birds and wildlife, there is no end. You will be sticking the TC on the M400. In the meantime, until you find that magical long lens that does everything you will ever want, either solution will work. TC's produce different results with different lenses but the Pentax 1.7x is reputed to be one of the best. I don't have an M400 but do have the M300 and it's one heavy beast to lug around.
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