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08-02-2011, 07:20 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
So this brings another point - lets say I settle with a DA*300 without a TC - do you think I will be able to get a sharp enough image to crop 25%-35% and still have a sharp enough image to print at 11x14?
Absolutely. I do that all the time and print at 13x17 for up close and personal viewing.

Having tried the Sigma 50-500 and loving the color and all in one zoom but sent it back for the sharper da*300. In good light, I can add the Pentax 1.7x AF. Not as convenient as a Bigma but its light, sharp, and even for moving wildlife has fast enough focus at 510mm. As far as your budget, I may know of a used da*300 from a very respected PF.com member (certainly not me!) coming to the marketplace soon that would allow you to add the Pentax TC and stay in budget.

I also owned the Tamron Pz MC4 1.4x but did enough tests to show that just cropping the 300mm shot gave me at least as good an IQ and the focusing suffers badly (slow or gives up if you don't help it manually as stated in above post). I sold the Tamron and settled on the Pentax but other folks seem to have better luck with the 1.4x.

Good luck and enjoy!

08-02-2011, 07:42 PM   #17
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Thanks for your input imtheguy - very helpful.

While I originally was looking more toward a zoom, I have enough other zooms I think. I would be selling a couple of my longer zooms to help pay for this, but can keep one for that purpose.

For now, I guess I am leaning toward the DA*300 to start and possibly add a TC later.

Since I am new to the TC part of things, with a quick little research, I am assuming that the Pentax AF 1.7 TC is no longer made, and would be at the mercy of finding one on the used market?

Also, if you would, please PM me if/when that used one you spoke of becomes available.

Thanks!
08-02-2011, 08:47 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
Since I am new to the TC part of things, with a quick little research, I am assuming that the Pentax AF 1.7 TC is no longer made, and would be at the mercy of finding one on the used market?
These do turn up new from time to time, although I think they've most recently been assembled in Vietnam, which seems to turn some people off them (though I can't see why, on the face of it). I bought one new a bit over twelve months ago, but the vendor hasn't had stock since. I do have to say that, while it is the pick of the TCs I own (as well as having the happy virtue of turning a non-AF into an AF lens) from what I read, it isn't as good as some of the dedicated TCs Pentax has made in the past for their F* and FA* prime tele lenses.
08-03-2011, 12:02 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by dgaies Quote
Well in that case, the Tamron 70-200/2.8 is a very sharp lens; sharper than the Sigma 70-200/2.8 lenses from my experience.
There are actually two versions of the Sigma - an OS one and a non-OS one - which one did you try?

QuoteOriginally posted by imtheguy Quote
I also owned the Tamron Pz MC4 1.4x but did enough tests to show that just cropping the 300mm shot gave me at least as good an IQ and the focusing suffers badly (slow or gives up if you don't help it manually as stated in above post).
+1. I have tried some TCs a couple of times and I never found them useful. It seems safer to just crop from an image taken without a TC.

QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
Sigma 170-500 APO 5.6-6.3 - I must have a pretty good copy as I get pretty good results when I shoot it @450mm and F8 or F11.
If you're happy with this one, what do you expect from a new one? It's rather hard to get great optics in 500mm range for Pentax (the only lens available today is the Sigma 500/4.5@$5,000). Teleconverters are problematic, as they tend to accentuate CA. A 300/2.8 would cost more than your budget and it would be a heavy lens. And I'm not sure if the DA* 300/4 would be much better than your Sigma@450mm once you crop from it.

Really, if you want tele lenses, you should get a Canon camera - you then get access to great lenses like the 100-400L/4.5-5.6. You just need to double your budget to cover for a body, but it's really an accessory once you start looking at such equipment.

08-03-2011, 05:50 AM   #20
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Thanks for all the input - it all really helps put this in perspective for me.

As I look back a bit, I am even more disappointed that the Sigma 150-500 didn't perform for me. I use these long lenses exclusively on a tripod, so the size/weight isn't an issue. From the reviews I have read, there is supposed to be little difference in the IQ between the 150-500 & 50-500 - now I wonder if maybe I received a bad copy, or if I should try the 50-500........

On the other hand, I want to try out the DA*300 now. Even though most of my shooting in the range I am looking for is ~400mm, I might be able to get a sharp enough image to crop 300mm enough to satisfy myself.

I am going to let this settle for a few days. As I mentioned above, I have a Tokina AT-X II 80-400 4.5-5.6 coming in later this week. I plan on doing some extensive testing of it over the weekend to see how it compares to my Sigma.
08-03-2011, 08:23 AM   #21
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I had for some weeks a 170-500 and that was wonderfull sharp at f9-f11, so you need enough light.

For current lenses the DA*300 or DA*60-250 are the lenses to look at and they are very nice in use and sharp at f7.1 (so that is a hole lightstop won). F* or FA* 300mm/f4.5 are also very sharp.

I'm not a big fan for TC's.

Your budget is small when I look at your wishes to be honest.
08-03-2011, 08:51 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by RonHendriks1966 Quote
Your budget is small when I look at your wishes to be honest.
Yes, I realize that - I guess it all comes down to compromise.

That is why I posted here to find all my options.

400mm seems to be the sweet spot for me. I did try an M400 5.6, but found I struggle with manual focus, so abandoned that.

I am fairly content with my Sigma 170-500 and looking forward to trying the Tokina 80-400. Depending on how that works out this weekend, I will then look toward my next step.
08-03-2011, 09:26 AM - 1 Like   #23
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Save up and get the Sigma 500mm f/4.5. Simply trounces the consumer grade tele zooms.
Good tele lenses don't come cheap.

08-03-2011, 09:54 PM   #24
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Going in a somewhat different direction, have you considered a new camera body? The K-5 and K-r/K-x all have faster AF and better sensors.

Also, could you post a couple of pics taken with the Sigma 170-500 that you consider acceptably sharp?
08-04-2011, 04:28 PM   #25
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While the thought of a K-5 is always there, I just don't see how a newer body will gain an IQ.

Here is a shot I have handy from the Sigma with EXIF attached (I hope). This was taken hand held - 450mm f8 ISO 100

Last edited by stormtech; 06-25-2012 at 07:16 PM.
08-04-2011, 10:21 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
While the thought of a K-5 is always there, I just don't see how a newer body will gain an IQ.

Here is a shot I have handy from the Sigma with EXIF attached (I hope). This was taken hand held - 450mm f8 ISO 100
Good looking shot!

The K-5 (and, to a lesser extent, the K-r) has significantly better higher-ISO performance than the K20D. So you could shoot ISO 1600 with a K-5 and get similar noise characteristics to a K20D at ISO 400. Also, the K-5's sensor has significantly better dynamic range than the K20D's, whihc would allow you to pull more detail out of shadows and very bright areas. Finally, the AF is faster, which would help with photographing moving
critters.

PS - I have a Sigma 170-500, and I think I have a good copy. While a good copy of the 50-500 is probably sharper, I just can't justify paying 5x as much as I paid for my 170-500. Something like the DA 300/4 is kinda tempting (although pricey) but too limiting for me... I've shot just enough wildlife at focal lengths under 300mm that I know I need a zoom rather than a prime.

Last edited by luftfluss; 08-04-2011 at 10:27 PM.
08-05-2011, 05:32 AM   #27
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QuoteQuote:
The K-5 (and, to a lesser extent, the K-r) has significantly better higher-ISO performance than the K20D. So you could shoot ISO 1600 with a K-5 and get similar noise characteristics to a K20D at ISO 400. Also, the K-5's sensor has significantly better dynamic range than the K20D's, whihc would allow you to pull more detail out of shadows and very bright areas. Finally, the AF is faster, which would help with photographing moving
critters.
Ok - I hear what you are saying - I would have a greater possibility to get better IQ out of my current lenses being I would be gaining ~2 stops performance with a K-5.

QuoteQuote:
PS - I have a Sigma 170-500, and I think I have a good copy. While a good copy of the 50-500 is probably sharper, I just can't justify paying 5x as much as I paid for my 170-500. Something like the DA 300/4 is kinda tempting (although pricey) but too limiting for me... I've shot just enough wildlife at focal lengths under 300mm that I know I need a zoom rather than a prime.
I took a look at your 170-500 shots in your album - very nice! You seem to be getting as good results with yours as I do with mine.

And I tend to agree about the DA*300 - I am very close to buying one, but also feel that being a fixed focal length would be very restrictive for how I shoot. I've found that whenever I setup to shoot something, another critter or something comes along behind and close to me.

I did just purchase a K-x mostly for my wife to use - I'll have to try my longer lenses on that to get an idea of what you are talking about.
08-05-2011, 06:25 AM   #28
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you may wish to look at the 300mm+ club as well

If you want low cost options to fast 300mm+ i have a couple of suggestions.

look at the 1.7x AFA with an older MF 300mm lens, to get to 500mm. I use mine with the K300/4, others have used it with the A300/4 or DA300/4 or the adaptall 300/2.8

I have also found a 200-500mm F5.6 tamron zoom (manual focus) which is really good at low cost, but weighs 5 pounds so it is a tripod only lens.
08-05-2011, 11:02 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
So you could shoot ISO 1600 with a K-5 and get similar noise characteristics to a K20D at ISO 400.
It's more like similar noise as the K20D at a bit over ISO800. Just check the SNR graphs on dxomark - click on measurements then select the SNR tab. Where the K-5 really shines at high ISO is dynamic range. K-5@1600 has more dynamic range than the K20D@200.
08-05-2011, 01:05 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
It's more like similar noise as the K20D at a bit over ISO800. Just check the SNR graphs on dxomark - click on measurements then select the SNR tab. Where the K-5 really shines at high ISO is dynamic range. K-5@1600 has more dynamic range than the K20D@200.
OK, I was just going by hearsay, including what I've read on this forum. I don't have either camera.

I would think, though, that when you normalize the photos - that is, resize them so they have the same dimensions - that K-5's noise advantage would increase a bit.
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