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06-18-2011, 06:34 PM   #1
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advice wanted - wanting compact telephoto lens

Hey everyone

My name is David and I'm a bit of an amateur hobbyist photographer. I've just started taking surf action shots and I'm in the hunt for a decent compact AF telephoto lense.

I have an SMC 100-300mm F lens which takes really nice pics but I can't hang it out because it gets a bit soft at the top end so I have to stop it back a bit. Normally I can get quite close to the action but the two most popular surf spots I am quite a way away from the action.

I don't want a lens that is as long as my arm, just something really compact.

I have been reading up on the Tokina AT-X AF-II 80-400mm and it seems a really good lense from what I have read and the pics I have seen taken with it. It appears to be a better lense than it's comparable Sigma cousin. Unfortunately Tokina no longer make this lense with a pentax mount. But the AF-II version as a second hand lense is still pretty good. I've seen a few come up for sale but there are none out there currently.

Can you guys give me some advice please. Are there other lenses I should be looking at or you would recommend for me?

I'm also finding my tripod with a pan head is a wee bit restrictive and I'm wondering about getting a monopod, Have any of you got a telephoto on a monopod and would you consider a gimbal head?

Thanks for reading and look forward to gettting some advice

06-18-2011, 08:31 PM   #2
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The obvious non-compact lenses are the Bigma 50-500 or Lil'Bigma 150- or 170-500. But these are humongous beasts. You want compact? Get a mirror. My Sakar 500/10 was just US$13 shipped, but I got lucky. Mirrors are nice and sharp, with no CA. Just watch the OOF highlights so you aren't swamped with doughnuts.
06-18-2011, 08:34 PM   #3
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If 300mm of reach is enough, the DA55-300 should outperform your F100-300 throughout the range and is a great lens; excellent IQ, compact, light-weight and relatively affordable at around $300 (or $200 is you go for the less expensive DAL version).
06-19-2011, 07:59 AM   #4
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I bought a used Sigma 135-400 APO and am surprised how well it performs at the long end.

06-19-2011, 10:11 PM   #5
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Yeah - someone else mentioned Sigma EX DG 100-300mm with a sigma 1.4 TC ...

Surf shooting is so specific. It's not like wildlife. Things happen so quickly and unexpectedly and lighting can be tricky too. I have so little experince with it and just have my exisiting 100-300mm to experiment with and already I know it not sharp enough at long end and in lower light it hunts even after I've framed a shot up so I'm losing pics
07-01-2011, 01:08 AM   #6
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hmmm seems like the Sigma EX DG 100-300mm F4 for pentax mount is like hens teeth !!!
07-01-2011, 02:02 AM   #7
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Mirrors

QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
The obvious non-compact lenses are the Bigma 50-500 or Lil'Bigma 150- or 170-500. But these are humongous beasts. You want compact? Get a mirror. My Sakar 500/10 was just US$13 shipped, but I got lucky. Mirrors are nice and sharp, with no CA. Just watch the OOF highlights so you aren't swamped with doughnuts.
But maybe for surfing mirrors are not fast enough and also quite difficult to focus due to dark viewfinder, no? And shooting water on bright day - almost certain doughnut bokeh
But besides mirrors I don't know if there's anything compact at that range.....maybe F*300....but it is expensive.

Last edited by vrrattko; 07-01-2011 at 02:10 AM.
07-01-2011, 02:04 AM   #8
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I really enjoy my Sigma 70-300mm OS. Apart from some PF between 70 and 85mm at open aperture there is hardly anything I find a downside. I also own the Pentax 50-135mm, which tends to stay at home more and more because the Sigma is normally more versatile and the IQ is only slightly better on the Pentax (believe or not). Currently on ebay Germany, the Sigma is sold brand new between 130 and 160 EUR, which was a price I could not resist.

07-01-2011, 02:05 AM   #9
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surfing shots

QuoteOriginally posted by Cocytus Quote
Yeah - someone else mentioned Sigma EX DG 100-300mm with a sigma 1.4 TC ...

Surf shooting is so specific. It's not like wildlife. Things happen so quickly and unexpectedly and lighting can be tricky too. I have so little experince with it and just have my exisiting 100-300mm to experiment with and already I know it not sharp enough at long end and in lower light it hunts even after I've framed a shot up so I'm losing pics
Hi David, in the end of this month I'm about to go at windsurfing championship on hude leake nearby. I'm going to take M*300/4 and 50-135/2.8 with me. I'll see if i would be able to capture anything with them .
Anyway, if you like post some photos....I'd love to see some surfing stuff here.

Last edited by vrrattko; 07-01-2011 at 02:12 AM.
07-02-2011, 01:56 AM   #10
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Thanks Martin ... looking forward to seeing what pics you can manage

I've attached a couple of pics that I've started with ... taken from between 200-300m away

All 300mm, 1/125, F8 and ISO 200 ... the lighting was terrible and the wind made it hard ... I was handheld.
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07-02-2011, 04:45 AM   #11
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Hi David,
thanks for the photos, looks like good spot for wave windsurfing...I would also like to shoot at low iso but I fear that for getting sharp pic higher shutter speeds will help...maybe 1/350 ??? So i rather up the iso or shoot wideopen....or pray for superbright day . The second shot looks okay to me....maybe faster shutter would have frozen movement of surfer bit better and he will apear sharper....but still good. I know...there's too much thinks to manage sometimes - getting exposure right, focusing while holding lens in hand and at the same time panning with surfer's movement...well, I'll see how i'll manage that with M*300. I'll upload the photos here after...
07-02-2011, 10:28 AM   #12
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I wonder what happened in photo #2 - that one has twice the contrast of the rest.

You might try a lens hood, even an improvised one. That lens has kind of a flat face and I always thought that design was more vulnerable to veiling flare - no evidence, just my impression. A hood can't hurt. So many other elements are out of your control. Less wind would create less spray and haze, but it's hard to have windsurfing without wind.
07-02-2011, 12:00 PM   #13
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yeah I was using a lens hood, also a circular polarising filter to try and deal with flare off the water.

first two pics here were 1/500 and second two 1/350 and I'm hung right out. It was getting late in the day about 1 hour before sunset which didn't help and meant most pics had to be with slower shutter speed.

I'm experimenting a bit but just not happy with sharpness at this distance ... f5.6 much better with this lens
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07-02-2011, 04:15 PM   #14
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I just posted a message and pictures on pentax lens about using tamron 1.4 teleconverter and da 55-300 pentax lens
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