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08-08-2011, 12:01 PM   #1
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What is this 100-400 f4.5-6.7 lens ?

Pentax Autofocus 100-400 F4.5-6.7 MISCELLANEOUS BRAND SILVER (67) DIGITAL SLR ZOOM TELEPHOTO LENS - KEH.com

Anybody know what brand this lens is and if anybody has used this any opinions on it. My only reason for buying this would be 400mm reach. Pro quality IQ is not that important.

08-08-2011, 12:07 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Cosina (Phoenix, Vivitar, Promaster, Voightlander 100-400mm, f:4.5-6.7, AF Lens Reviews - Zoom Lenses - Pentax Third-Party Lens Review Database

Way overpriced. It would be a much better deal at about $75.

Last edited by boriscleto; 08-08-2011 at 03:37 PM.
08-08-2011, 02:02 PM   #3
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That lens was designed and manufactured by Cosina. It was sold under their brand, and also re-badged as a Tokina, Vivitar, Promaster, and Phoenix brand lens. It's been out of production for a few years.

The reviews in the forum on the Vivitar branded version can be found here:

Vivitar Series 1 100-400mm f 4.5-6.7 Lens Reviews - Zoom Lenses - Pentax Third-Party Lens Review Database

QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
Way overpriced.
I have the lens, and $99 is an ok price I think, because from 135-300mm it's a decent lens, and at 400mm it's ok if you stop down a few stops. It can hunt at the long end because the minimum aperture is f/6.7 at that focal length. I did some sunny-day testing with mine, doing a number of test shots. Shortly after I got it, I got lucky on a Tokina SD AT-X 80-400mm f/4-5.6 auction, and that is a better lens (at over three times the price in the used market), so the Cosina 100-400mm has been sitting in it's box since.

The Cosina is a push-pull zoom, and I prefer the twist zoom of the Tokina. Also, the Tokina has a properly sized hood for it's focal length, and the hood that comes with the Cosina 100-400mm is not sufficient. If you get the Cosina, I would get a better aftermarket hood, otherwise you will see a loss of contrast in your photos due to flare. The Cosina is mostly polycarbonate, so it is very light for it's focal range, which can be a benefit if you don't like the weight of most longer telephoto lenses (personally I have no problems with the added weight of the all-metal Tokina 80-400mm).
08-08-2011, 02:09 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by nater Quote
I have the lens, and $99 is an ok price I think, because from 135-300mm it's a decent lens, and at 400mm it's ok if you stop down a few stops. It can hunt at the long end because the minimum aperture is f/6.7 at that focal length. I did some sunny-day testing with mine, doing a number of test shots. Shortly after I got it, I got lucky on a Tokina SD AT-X 80-400mm f/4-5.6 auction, and that is a better lens (at over three times the price in the used market), so the Cosina 100-400mm has been sitting in it's box since..
I paid $84 last year, and I consider that overpriced. It was the first telephoto-zoom I purchased and I didn't know any better. I have not used the lens since acquiring the DA L 55-300 which is a far superior lens. I have even gotten better results with a F70-210 & a $25 2X AF converter.

08-08-2011, 03:01 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
I paid $84 last year, and I consider that overpriced. It was the first telephoto-zoom I purchased and I didn't know any better. I have not used the lens since acquiring the DA L 55-300 which is a far superior lens. I have even gotten better results with a F70-210 & a $25 2X AF converter.
*sigh* I don't know what to do about threads like this... OP asks for general advice about a very inexpensive AF lens, says, "Pro quality IQ is not that important," get's a vague "Way overpriced" response from one person, I try to go into more detail, provide pros and cons, and give a full picture, and then the person who provides the vague response about it being overpriced goes on to try to justify it by bring up two not-quite comparable alternatives as justifications for the Cosina 100-400mm being overpriced... which I just don't really understand.

What the heck, let me explain why I don't understand this line of reasoning.

Pentax DA L 55-300mm is a cost reduced (plastic mount, no quick shift, no hood) kit version of a $330 lens that sells for about $200 when people 'unbundle' it on the aftermarket. It doesn't reach 400mm, OP mentioned wanting 400mm reach. It would help the discussion if there was an explanation why the DA L 55-300mm, with it's many differences, is worth considering over the Cosina 100-400mm (and once you introduce the DA L 55-300mm, there are a lot of other lenses in that class that could also be discussed...)

Pentax F 70-210mm f/4-5.6 lens is an older AF lens that would need to be bought used for $80 to $120. Suggesting to use it with a 2x teleconverter means that the f/5.6 becomes f/8 minimum f-stop at the long end. A 2x AF teleconverter would add $70-120 to the cost, and at f/8 it's unlikely the AF would work very well at all, and frankly, I'd be surprised if a Pentax F 70-210mm at the long end would hold up all that well with a 2x teleconverter to the Cosina at 400mm stopped down. Also, shake reduction would be affected by the teleconverter, since it would not alter focal length data being passed from the lens to the body, so the in-camera shake reduction in any recent Pentax bodies would still be assuming 200mm focal length when the camera really has a 400mm focal length when using a 2x teleconverter.

Neither of these alternatives makes a clear case for why the Cosina 100-400mm is necessarily "way overpriced" at $99.
08-08-2011, 03:36 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by nater Quote
Pentax F 70-210mm f/4-5.6 lens is an older AF lens that would need to be bought used for $80 to $120. Suggesting to use it with a 2x teleconverter means that the f/5.6 becomes f/8 minimum f-stop at the long end. A 2x AF teleconverter would add $70-120 to the cost, and at f/8 it's unlikely the AF would work very well at all, and frankly, I'd be surprised if a Pentax F 70-210mm at the long end would hold up all that well with a 2x teleconverter to the Cosina at 400mm stopped down. Also, shake reduction would be affected by the teleconverter, since it would not alter focal length data being passed from the lens to the body, so the in-camera shake reduction in any recent Pentax bodies would still be assuming 200mm focal length when the camera really has a 400mm focal length when using a 2x teleconverter.
The 70-210 will autofocus with a 2x converter @ 210. The FA 80-320 will autofocus with a 2x converter @ 300, but not at 320.

One of my primary uses of these lenses is to take feeder shots at a distance of about 20 feet.

This is the 70-210 @170 on the 2x converter.




This is the 55-300 with a bit of cropping.







This is the 100-400







Some wildlife shots with the 100-400







The 55-300







The 100-400 is half a stop slower, is more than 300 grams heavier, is front heavy at full zoom & suffers from zoom creep. There is nothing it can do that the 55-300 or the FA 80-320 or any of the Pentax zooms of ~300mm can't do with a bit of cropping.
08-08-2011, 04:19 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
The 100-400 is half a stop slower, is more than 300 grams heavier, is front heavy at full zoom & suffers from zoom creep. There is nothing it can do that the 55-300 or the FA 80-320 or any of the Pentax zooms of ~300mm can't do with a bit of cropping.
I had trouble reading the EXIF data in most of the photos using the Firefox plugin I have... might have been due to the image cropping, but I'm not sure.

The general advice of "buy a better quality lens for more money that has a shorter focal length and crop your photos" is generally good advice, sure, but to go there the way you did is very round-about. And if we're recommending lenses in the $200-300 category, I think the Tokina 80-400mm f/4-5.6 is a better value than the Pentax 55-300mm f/4-5.8 and should get a stronger recommendation since it more closely matches what the OP was looking for.
08-08-2011, 06:58 PM   #8
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I have one of these... It's actually a pretty decent performer, though not awesome. It's adequately sharp with some tendency toward CA in high-contrast situations. Build quality is cheesy, but it gets the job done. A hundred bucks is a decent deal. It's unlikely you'll find a better lens that goes to 400mm for anywhere near $100.

Cheers,
Bobbo :-)

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