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06-24-2011, 06:36 AM   #1
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Who are those wildlife photographers?

A question that is running in my mind. Who are those wildlife photographers using Pentax gear and what are you using? Are there any new lenses that you would want or need? Is DFA*500mm/f5.6 enough for future?

06-24-2011, 07:13 AM   #2
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Used a kx + da 55-300. Then got a da*300. Going to pick up my k-5 today or tomorrow.

My setup will then be k-5 + da*300 + 1,7 AFA.

The da*300 has good image quality, but the SDM motor is too slow.
Next step up would be sigma f4,5 500mm. I would say a dfa*500mm is not fast enough. If it was really tack sharp and contrasty at f5,6 then maybe, but I suspect you'd have to stop down a notch or two with this as with any lens. Price is of course important, and it would have to be quite a bit under the sigma for me to consider it.

What we ultimately want is of course an equivalent of the canikon 500- and 600mm f4.
06-24-2011, 07:57 AM   #3
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If you look in the lens club you will find a discussion thread from the 300mm plus club.

Many of the posters in that club are wildlife shooters. You will see a lot of great shots from all the possibly known long lens variants.

Speaking for myself now, yes, in a way, I would love to see a new autofocus 500mm pentax lens. I don't think we need a zoom, but I think something like a 500F4 or F4.5 is needed, as well as a 1.4x matched TC.

A 300F2.8 would also be appropriate.

Many of use are left to look at the used market or Sigma, who do make a 300F2.8 and a 500F4.5.

Considering some of the new lens elements options out there, a lens specifically designed to be sharp from wide open to F8 would be greatly appreciated.

as for what I use presently, I have 2 prinnciple long lens options,

1) the sigma APO 70-200F2.8 EX (non DG non Macro) used with 1.4x and 2x Sigma TCs
2) the SMC Pentax 300F4 (i.e. K300F4) with SMC-F 1.7x AF converter. this gives me 510mm at F6.7 or something like that.

I also have a 1000mm F11 celestron C90 scope

the issues with what I presently have are.

the K300/4 has a little (some think a lot) of CA, but when combined with the AF TC provides fast AF and since with long lenses you need to be focused to a range close to correct manually, gives you a selective range of AF which is really good for wild life because it ignores foreground and background. The combo is a little slow, and lacks lens information and therefore can't be used for P-TTL flash.

the Sigma 70-200 I have is (or was) the sharpest version of this lens, although I have heard great things about the latest version with HSM. the problem is that it can be prone to focus hunting in low light with the 2x TC attached. It can give excellent results and is not only sharp but suffers very little from lens aberations. The biggest issue with this lens and TC combo is that pentax does not consider that TCs exist, and as a result, the sigma TC which reports lens data directly, does not allow for full use of SR because the focal length is wrong (too short) and direct reporting of aperture leads to exposure errors both with respect to normal metering and P-TTL flash metering.

You will note that I stress flash metering with both my options. I shoot mostly birds, and even in bright daylight, when under cover of trees or other shaded areas, flash is a great asset.
06-24-2011, 08:24 AM   #4
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personally, I think pentax should introduce a ring-type SDM motor to improve reliability and speed of focusing.

500mm f/5.6 doesn't cut it i'm afraid, the lens would be small and light but it wouldn't be usable with a teleconverter of any kind, and f/5.6 would cut flash range too much with such a long lens. I would like to see a DA*400mm f/2.8 - as some of you know I use the Nikkor 400mm f/2.8G ED VR on my nikon D3s and it's great, it is very heavy but the image quality is superlative. However I do support the idea of pentax producing a DA*250-600mm f/5.6 WR SDM lens equipped with ring-type SDM. In my opinion a prime lens should be as fast as practically possible zoom lenses have an excuse for being slow and bulky - they are optically complicated and often contain much more glass in them than a prime of similar focal length would*.

* though curiously the Nikkor 400mm f/2.8G weighs in at 4.620g (10.16lb) the nikkor 200-400mm f/4G ED weighs in at 3.670g (7.4lb) - not a huge difference between them really, though the zoom lens has an updated VRII system

So a DA*400mm f/2.8 [IF] APO WR SDMII - with filter drawer (52mm filters please) and customisable focus limiters and it would also be a good time to release a pair of matching 1.4X and 2X teleconverters now that would be a good start - and for god's sake pentax, make an apochromatic telephoto lens for once I don't want to see the kind of bokeh fringing disaster we have with the DA*200mm f/2.8 ED [if] WR.


two images from my current wildlife lens for pentax the sigma 100-300mm f/4 APO EX DG -
@ f/5.6


@ f/4



Last edited by Digitalis; 06-24-2011 at 08:56 AM.
06-24-2011, 08:44 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by RonHendriks1966 Quote
A question that is running in my mind. Who are those wildlife photographers using Pentax gear and what are you using? Are there any new lenses that you would want or need? Is DFA*500mm/f5.6 enough for future?
On this board, Marc L'Angille and Kerrick James come to mind. They are already decked out with the FA* 600.4 and FA* 250-600mm/5.6 though.
06-24-2011, 09:04 AM - 2 Likes   #6
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I represent the “old school” as I do all my wildlife shooting with older manual focus Pentax lenses. The M 400/5.6 is my go-to birding lens. I supplement it with an old K 300/4, K 200/2.5 and an A 100/2.8 macro. I’m not a big fan of teleconverters as they just don’t seem to work all that well for me.

I’m looking to upgrade from my K10 to the K5 in the very near future. The fact I’ll still be able to use my old glass is a big plus and the extended dynamic range should bring out the best in these old lenses. I can't help but think the images below would have benefitted from the larger sensor. I would like to attach a DA*300/4 to the front of the K5 but with 2 kids at university that isn’t likely for a while.

As for new telephotos from Pentax a DA* 300/2.8, DA*400/2.8 and DA* 600/4 would be awesome, if unlikely, additions to the lineup. A DA* 500/5.6 would be a great and probably affordable lens but a DA* 500/4.5 would be even better IMO.

In any case a few from my old MF telephoto lineup:

SMC Pentax M 400/5.6



Another from the M 400/5.6



SMC Pentax K 300/4 - this lens has its fans and detractors but I like it




SMC Pentax A 100/2.8 macro. Razor sharp if you can get close enough.



Tom G

Last edited by 8540tomg; 06-24-2011 at 09:18 AM.
06-24-2011, 09:30 AM   #7
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Wonderful shots, Tom G.! The 100mm Chickadee shot is amazing. How on earth did you get so close?
Months ago, when I first saw that shot in the lens review section, I wanted to write you a note about it because I was so impressed.
Better late than never.

Tim

Last edited by .a.t.; 06-24-2011 at 09:44 AM.
06-24-2011, 10:28 AM   #8
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Thanks Tim - most kind of you,

I’ve found Chickadees, as a species, are more tolerant of photographers than most of the birds I shoot. This little fellow was a frequent visitor to some feeders in one of my favourite shooting spots. He would fly over to the feeder, grab some seed, and fly back to this tree limb to dine. After a while, a few weeks or so, he kind of got used to me. Eventually he let me get very close, about three feet, as I recall. I took a number of shots with this one being the best of the lot. The A 100/2.8 macro is brutally sharp as this image illustrates. There is an old adage about wildlife photography – “get a big lens and get close.” I might add if that doesn’t work get a macro lens and get closer still.

Tom G

06-24-2011, 12:06 PM   #9
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Isn't it a joy when one's patience and perseverence are rewarded?
Great story, Tom G. I think you can safely count that shot as a "keeper".

Tim
06-24-2011, 01:59 PM   #10
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I am using a K7 with a DA* 60-250.

I have just picked up a SMC K 400mm F5.6.

I started to look for a TC that would work with my DA* lenses but Pentax does not make one.

I would have liked more options but there weren't any because Pentax isn't making longer than the 300mm. It is the first time I have questioned my decision to go with Pentax instead of Nikon.

Paul
06-24-2011, 02:17 PM   #11
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Check this thread out and read Ron Kruger's posts, his ideas on lenses are a little different than most, then check out his images.
06-24-2011, 02:28 PM   #12
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I would have to agree with ron to a great extent.

I often preach the following formula

Image size = subject size x focal length / subject distance.

Focal length is measured in terms of $10's or $100's per mm focal length. Distance is free
06-24-2011, 02:57 PM   #13
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Thanks, Ramsey, for the link, so I don't have to retype all that stuff.
I will add that the distance one gains from the subject (to fill frame) with a 300mm, or even a 400mm, over a 200mm is still not enough to let you walk around and take shots like you're at the zoo. A deer in the wilds will spook just as readily at 40-50 yards (300mm) as they will at 30-35 yards (200mm), so hunting skills, knowledge of the animals' habits and habitats and patience are still the most important aspect.
If I can get close enough for a shot with a 300mm, I can get close enough with a 200mm, so I'm not about to sacrafice an f-stop for a little added distance. (I may, however, change my mind about this after I get a K5. Maybe not.)
In the final analysis, everything is better at low ISO (regardless the "effective" range) and the closer you can get to the subject the better the shot.
06-24-2011, 03:36 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
Speaking for myself now, yes, in a way, I would love to see a new autofocus 500mm pentax lens. I don't think we need a zoom, but I think something like a 500F4 or F4.5 is needed, as well as a 1.4x matched TC.

A 300F2.8 would also be appropriate.

Many of use are left to look at the used market or Sigma, who do make a 300F2.8 and a 500F4.5.
For me, 500mm is invaluable, I have to have it. I would love to have the 1.4X TC as well to give my 500mm a little extra reach occasionally. A 250-500mm f2.8-4 would pair well with the 60-250mm and give a little flexibility in the lens and my position in the field.
Currently I use a Tamron adaptall-2 300mm f2.8 60B SP + Pentax 1.7X AFA



06-24-2011, 08:00 PM - 1 Like   #15
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I have a Sigma 300/2.8 that I use and combined with tamron 2X MC7 I have 600/5.6.

Sigma 300/2.8 stand alone.








Last but not least


I still have much to learn and I pale in comparison to Marc Langille and his Pentax 250-600/5.6 and member Kengoh's Sigma 500/4.5
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