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06-04-2011, 12:19 AM   #16
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I notice there's a 500mm f8 non-mirror lens available very cheaply, going under the brand name Samyang or Falcon (or others). It looks big and bulky, as you'd expect, but I would guess it has superior IQ compared to a 500mm mirror lens. Anyone had any experience of this?

Judging by your photo, 8540tomg, that M400/5.6 looks pretty marvellous though...

06-04-2011, 04:39 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by m42man Quote
I notice there's a 500mm f8 non-mirror lens available very cheaply, going under the brand name Samyang or Falcon (or others). It looks big and bulky, as you'd expect, but I would guess it has superior IQ compared to a 500mm mirror lens.
If you're comparing the non-mirror Samyang to a cheap mirror lens, it might be better. I wouldn't bet on it being better than a good mirror lens like the Tamron, though.

Speaking of the Tamron mirror, you could also keep an eye out for the Russian 3M-5CA 500mm mirror. It's ridiculously good for a mirror lens. After having several mirror lenses, I snagged one from another forum member & I love it. Some say the 3M is even a tad sharper than the Tamron, which is also very good. There is the donut bokeh of the mirror lens, but I find it softer and less distracting on the 3M than other mirrors. Here's a quick handheld snap I got with the 3M as an example, straight from the camera: (ISO 800-Pentax *ist DS)


Last edited by GibbyTheMole; 06-04-2011 at 04:52 AM.
06-04-2011, 12:43 PM   #18
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Thanks to all for following through this with me - it seems the older I get, the more I struggle with any decision that costs more than $5.00!

After thinking it through and sleeping on it, I have pretty much moved away from the mirror lens in favor of the K400.

A K500 would be awesome, but it my limited time frame of research, I don't find any for sale.

Then I re-read my original post about the Sigma 150-500 being the ultimate for me, but with my impatience I don't think I can wait the 6 months or so for me to save up the extra money to get it.

QuoteOriginally posted by 8540tomg Quote
Don't discount the 400mm as it is a big leap over the 300mm as a birding lens. You will also find no lens is long enough when it comes to birding. I use mine al the time for wildlife and birding. It works well for me but its not so hot for bird in flight shots.

Cheers

Tom G
Now that I'm looking at the K400, I ask myself if it is worth ~$300 for an extra 100mm of reach? I am currently using my DA 55-300 which I just love for IQ, contrast and color. I've done some searching, but can't seem to find direct comparison shots taken at both 300mm & 400mm. Again, if I could try any of these lenses out in person I wouldn't even have to be asking these questions.

So now I guess it comes down to:
Is getting the extra 100mm of reach, plus the fact of manual focusing and aperture use, worth $300?
06-04-2011, 02:28 PM   #19
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There is one other thing to consider if you opt for the manual focus lens stormtech.

Focusing is an issue with longer telephotos and changing out your original focusing screen for a KatzEye or other aftermarket screen is a very good idea. I use the KatzEye and while it is expensive ($150-200 depending on options) I consider it indispensable when using the M 400/5.6.


Tom G

06-04-2011, 03:55 PM   #20
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Tamron Adaptall Lenses 200-500 F6.9 (82) (REQUIRES ADAPTALL) 35MM SLR MANUAL FOCUS ZOOM TELEPHOTO LENS - KEH.com

Here is another one to consider. The tamron adaptalls have proven to be good performers. I can't speak from personal experience about this one but it may be worth a shot and I think you can get it on a budget.
06-04-2011, 04:57 PM   #21
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Tom G - thanks for that suggestion. Actually, I've spent 30 years with film SLR's - had dropped out of photography for 10 years, and as just starting back with the K20D. One of my main reasons for choosing Pentax and the K20D is it had the large/heavy feel of the older SLR's. And with that, I liked the idea of being able to use the great old Pentax glass. I have seriously thought about the Katz-eye screen already as I am so used to the split screen focusing. Actually, I've been shying away from manual focus lenses for the simple fact that my eyes are getting old and tired and I don't trust them like I used to. The split screen would be a necessity for me I think. But....that adds some serious money to any of these long manual focus lenses.

And thanks for the suggestion of the Tamron Adapt-all littledrawe. While that lens or one like it would certainly be within my budget, I would rather go with a prime at this point. I currently have zooms that cover all I want - 10-17, 16-45, and 55-300. I would like to start to build up some primes now starting with the long end.

I am just about committed to the K400 at this point, but I am giving one last hunt/search for a decently priced 'A' version right now - I honestly think I would be happiest with that. But as I said before, I am a bit impatient once I get an idea in my head so waiting and searching for a month or so for that A400 probably won't last for me.
06-05-2011, 02:41 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
Tom G - thanks for that suggestion. Actually, I've spent 30 years with film SLR's - had dropped out of photography for 10 years, and as just starting back with the K20D. One of my main reasons for choosing Pentax and the K20D is it had the large/heavy feel of the older SLR's. And with that, I liked the idea of being able to use the great old Pentax glass. I have seriously thought about the Katz-eye screen already as I am so used to the split screen focusing. Actually, I've been shying away from manual focus lenses for the simple fact that my eyes are getting old and tired and I don't trust them like I used to. The split screen would be a necessity for me I think. But....that adds some serious money to any of these long manual focus lenses.
Sounds like your experience is similar to my own. I got the K10 about four years ago because I liked the heft and feel of it and I could use all my old Pentax glass. The split screen is a necessary for anyone trying to manually focus a super telephoto lens. If you pick up any of the Pentax 400mm lenses: K 400/5.6, M 400/5.6 or A 400/5.6 you will need one and should factor it into the cost calculations. There is a thread on the forum which discusses some lower cost Chinese screens that many have found satisfactory.

I've been using the M 400/5.6 for a while now and I really like it. It's main drawback is a rather longish minimum focusing distance. This issue was resolved with the A 400/5.6 which also has auto exposure. If I were to do it again I would wait until an A 400/5.6 became available. They do show up from time to time and might be worth the wait.

Tom G
06-06-2011, 02:58 PM   #23
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Not trying to beat a dead horse here, but I need to make a final decision and move on.

Between the 500mm mirror and the K400 5.6, the K400 wins for me.

Now I take what you say Tom G very seriously about focusing. In fact, I now wear eyeglasses and have shied away from MF lenses being I don't trust my eyes so much anymore. It's a shame I feel this way as one of the reasons I went with Pentax when I picked up my hobby again was to be able to use all that great old glass.

I am just about to the point of trashing this whole idea. Even though I just about drool thinking about shooting with that K400, I am now very reluctant because of the MF and just frustrating myself - I need my hobby to be as stress free as possible. And like you say, it would be a must to get a Katz-eye screen which would add ~$200 to the deal.

Before I discount this whole idea though, I see now a Tamron 1.4X PZ-AF MC4 Teleconverter. From the research I've done, which I have a very hard time comprehending, is that a TC like this will actually focus within itself? In a last ditch effort to possibly buy this K400, I wonder if that TC coupled with it will give me some sort of AF assistance. Also, as I've never really been a fan of TC's, I know that I would be taking an f5.6 lens and taking a stop of light away from it.

So.....I have to ask....would the K400 with the Tamron AF-TC be a workable combination?

Thanks

06-06-2011, 03:10 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
Not trying to beat a dead horse here, but I need to make a final decision and move on.

Between the 500mm mirror and the K400 5.6, the K400 wins for me.

Now I take what you say Tom G very seriously about focusing. In fact, I now wear eyeglasses and have shied away from MF lenses being I don't trust my eyes so much anymore. It's a shame I feel this way as one of the reasons I went with Pentax when I picked up my hobby again was to be able to use all that great old glass.

I am just about to the point of trashing this whole idea. Even though I just about drool thinking about shooting with that K400, I am now very reluctant because of the MF and just frustrating myself - I need my hobby to be as stress free as possible. And like you say, it would be a must to get a Katz-eye screen which would add ~$200 to the deal.
while I am sure the katz eye is the best out there, and the support, from all I have read is tops, there are cheaper focusing screens out there that will work, although personally, my experience with them is that they are OK for F4 and faster, but F5.6 may get a little dark. that is where the katzeye wins. I use two different screens from Jinfinance, a single and dual split image. the single is in my K10 and the dual in my *istD. Both work very well, but I don;'t use any MF lenses slower than F4
QuoteQuote:

Before I discount this whole idea though, I see now a Tamron 1.4X PZ-AF MC4 Teleconverter. From the research I've done, which I have a very hard time comprehending, is that a TC like this will actually focus within itself? In a last ditch effort to possibly buy this K400, I wonder if that TC coupled with it will give me some sort of AF assistance. Also, as I've never really been a fan of TC's, I know that I would be taking an f5.6 lens and taking a stop of light away from it.

So.....I have to ask....would the K400 with the Tamron AF-TC be a workable combination?

Thanks
The tamron TC is for the PZ series of cameras and lenses, and has power contacts and is reported to work with SDM lenses, but does not contain focusing elements of it's own.

The only TC wiht its own focusing elements is the SMC-F 1.7 X AF TC. I use this with my 300Fr as I stated I think, somewhere in this thread. The 1.7x TC also has been reported to work and give good results using newer lenses also, and has one additional feature, specifically that it feeds and corrects the aperture data to the camera, so the aperture is the true aperture including TC. Also, since it does it's own focusing, no focal length is forwarded from the lens to the camera, so you manually enter the correct one, as opposed to seeing the native focal length of the lens . this is a big advantage for those who use shake reduction, and modern lenses/TCs in combination.,
06-06-2011, 04:45 PM   #25
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Thanks for the explanation Lowell - pretty much confirms what I thought.

And I want to thank you and all for cautioning me about focusing these long lenses. Now I know if I do go forward with the K400, I will have to add a good focusing screen.
06-06-2011, 06:57 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
Thanks for the explanation Lowell - pretty much confirms what I thought.

And I want to thank you and all for cautioning me about focusing these long lenses. Now I know if I do go forward with the K400, I will have to add a good focusing screen.
Just one little point, I am not sure, if you are considering the SMC-F 1.7x AF TC, but it will struggle with any lens beyond F4.5 in getting AF lock except in almost blinding light.

I use it a lot with my K300/4, and it is very reliable in focusing with that lens, but not with my vivitar 400/5.6. The other thing I like about the K300/4 and AF TC combi is I get to 500mm, with AF, AND i get the reduced MF distance of the 300/4 over most 400/5.6 lenses.
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