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09-16-2011, 01:20 PM   #1
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Best way to spend $200 on which TC or lens

So basically as the title of the thread says. I'm hoping to spend $200(USD) or preferably less on either a teleconverter or lens that will get me past 300mm but still have good IQ, etc.I know at this point the TC is more likely than a lens but thought I would ask anyways. I want past 300mm which is the max length of my Tamron.

Any thoughts on the following TCs? I tried looking for the popular ones mentioned in the forums such as the Tamron 1.4, Pentax 1.7, and Kenkon 1.4/5 SHQ but can't find them and/or afford the price when I do.

Vivitar Series 1 TC
VIVITAR MC7 2X AF TeleConverter DG for PENTAX SLR/DSLR
2x X2 Teleconverter Tele Lens for Pentax K-x DSLR camer
Phoenix (Kenko) AF 7 Element 2x Teleconverter Lens SDM Compatible Pentax K5/KX

Also, if you have any recommendations for decent TC/lens within my price range please do post a link. I would also like one to have auto focus if possible.
Thanks in advance.

09-16-2011, 03:51 PM   #2
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The DA L 55-300mm comes to mind (it's just around $200 - check the marketplace).
09-16-2011, 04:06 PM   #3
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What is the maximum aperture of your present lens?

If it F5.6 or more no matter what TC it is it will most likely not be able to achieve AF lock regardless of electrical and mechanical compatibility. Additionally most consumer zooms lack the IQ to stand any degredation caused by a TC

I have found however that if you start with a good and fast 300F4 then a 1.4 to 1.7 x TC works very well. Even on a high end 70-200. F2.8 a quality 2X TC can be an excellent way to get beyond 300mm. I use sigma APO 1.4x and 2x TCs on my APO 70-200 F2.8 EX with excellent results. Note however these are not inexpensive Ways to get past 300mm either

Perhaps the cheapest option I have for getting past 300 mm is my latest purchase. A tamron 200-500F 5.6 adaptall 2 lens. 500mm reach for $350. Bit I doubt you can find one easily.
09-16-2011, 04:13 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
The DA L 55-300mm comes to mind (it's just around $200 - check the marketplace).
Thanks Adam, but I'm hoping to get past the 300mm focal length.

09-16-2011, 04:17 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
What is the maximum aperture of your present lens?

If it F5.6 or more no matter what TC it is it will most likely not be able to achieve AF lock regardless of electrical and mechanical compatibility. Additionally most consumer zooms lack the IQ to stand any degredation caused by a TC

I have found however that if you start with a good and fast 300F4 then a 1.4 to 1.7 x TC works very well. Even on a high end 70-200. F2.8 a quality 2X TC can be an excellent way to get beyond 300mm. I use sigma APO 1.4x and 2x TCs on my APO 70-200 F2.8 EX with excellent results. Note however these are not inexpensive Ways to get past 300mm either

Perhaps the cheapest option I have for getting past 300 mm is my latest purchase. A tamron 200-500F 5.6 adaptall 2 lens. 500mm reach for $350. Bit I doubt you can find one easily.
Hmm so basically I need to get a faster lens and then stick on the best TC I can find? There was a thread regarding TCs that said some actually work well (enough?) with minimal IQ loss. Is it true that the more 'elements' a TC has the 'better' it is? Thats what the last 3 of the 4 TCs I listed say but I'm not sure if they just want to sell stuff or it actually helps.
Thanks.
09-16-2011, 04:52 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by CTR01 Quote
Hmm so basically I need to get a faster lens and then stick on the best TC I can find? There was a thread regarding TCs that said some actually work well (enough?) with minimal IQ loss. Is it true that the more 'elements' a TC has the 'better' it is? Thats what the last 3 of the 4 TCs I listed say but I'm not sure if they just want to sell stuff or it actually helps.
Thanks.
I have the sigma TCs and use them on the expensive sigma zoom and only on that lens. The results are excellent and I have posted many shots with them. I can make a similar claim as will other forum members about the SMC 1.7x AF converter on my 300F4 and there are lots who use the AF converter with the DA 300/4 with great success. These TCs cos $200 or more and the sigma ones only support long and expensive sigma lenses and even then only screw drive ones. There is sadly no HSM TC FROM SIGMA or any one else for that matter so you are left to play in the used market for the older Sigma Screw drive lenses. In the 70-200 range the original APO 70-200/2.8 EX non DG non macro is the sharpest. That is the one I have. Used they still command $600+ for a clean copy but they are worth it and without the at. You have 200 at F2.8 for low light
09-16-2011, 05:53 PM - 1 Like   #7
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I have a Tamron 2X TC, a Tamron 1.4X TC, and a Pentax 1.7X AFA.

My recommendations:

- Don't buy any 2X TC.

- Don't buy any 1.4X TC.

If you need a TC, buy ONLY the Pentax 1.7X AFA.

If you don't have enough money for it right now, don't buy anything. Save up.

Additional notes:

- If someone tells you there exists a 2X TC that works with SDM lenses, be doubtful, very doubtful.

- If someone tells you there exists a 1.4X or 1.5X TC that works well with with all SDM lenses, be doubtful, very doubtful.

Last edited by SOldBear; 09-16-2011 at 06:05 PM.
09-16-2011, 06:15 PM   #8
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Would it make a difference if I said that I don't need the very best IQ I can get but as long as the pics look ok/decent I will PP them? The only Pentax 1.7 I found on ebay cost $550...for that money I may as well start looking into telescopes...hmm very frustrating...thanks for the advice though.

09-16-2011, 08:58 PM   #9
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Hmmm - I bought a Pentax-M 200mm f/4 for just over $50 a while back, leaving $150 for a nice TC. That might do the trick but you are fully manual that way, which isn't your preference. I owned the 1.5x Kenco for a while, but what you need isn't what I need - it never got enough use to justify so away it went. Hope you find your answer!
09-16-2011, 10:11 PM   #10
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Thanks I think I guess I will just keep playing around with the 300mm FL and see what I can do such as PP to get more close ups.
09-17-2011, 10:17 AM   #11
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Compared to most TC's, you'll see better IQ by just cropping. As mentioned, the best TC's are not cheap, and usually work best with matched lenses. A TC magnifies any lens problems. That's a bother if you're expecting photographic quality in your images. If you can live with poster- or surveillance-quality, then by all means get some cheap TCs. One of these days I'll put 10x of M42 TCs on my Rubinar Makpo 1000/10 mirror and turn it into a 10m f/100 lens. That should be fun, eh? Yeah, f/100! Eat THAT, Ansel!

Good long fast optical systems cost a bunch of money and that's the sad truth. The cheap way to go long is with a mirror; used right, you'll get good results. Don't forget the hood!
09-17-2011, 10:43 AM   #12
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Most TCs in your price range are going to be doorstops. I don't have experience with all of them but if you're hoping to use one for AF, they are hit or miss depending on the lens. Some don't play well all the time with Pentax lenses (sigma). I'll second the recommendation of the Pentax F1.7x AF adapter but for $200 you Might be able to Look at one. My suggestion would be to decide how often you really need to go beyond 300mm. If it is always, then save your nickels and dimes to get a lens capable of doing so. Even a Mirror lens will put you at 500mm and give you nearly if not better quality than a TC'd lens in most cases.

09-17-2011, 11:30 AM   #13
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The terrible part of the Pentax-F 1.7x AF Adapter: it's not very impressive in person. It's like buying one of those solid gold $5 US coins. When you get it, it looks exactly like a dime. BTW, it's one exception to the "7 element is better" guideline: it's only got 4 elements. I guess you could easily carry one in a pocket, though.

I would look for a 400mm f5.6 prime. You'll still have to pay more than $200, maybe not get AF, and the reach isn't all you could hope for. However, I think it gets you close enough to crop, and the quality and speed combination will be better than a teleconverter. There are some Sigmas in this range, but you'll have to check for element separation on some versions. There's a Tokina AT-X. The AF Pentax 400s are rare and costly. Manual focus ones might be affordable. You're probably talking a range of $400-600 for a good lens. Another option is the K300/4 plus 1.7x AF Adapter, which you could put together for less than $600.

If the new Pentax owners suddenly put out an SDM-compatible teleconverter and a lens longer than 300mm, a lot of people will sell their current long lens solutions. Prices might not plummet but there will be reasonable supply.
09-17-2011, 11:52 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Compared to most TC's, you'll see better IQ by just cropping. As mentioned, the best TC's are not cheap, and usually work best with matched lenses. A TC magnifies any lens problems. That's a bother if you're expecting photographic quality in your images. If you can live with poster- or surveillance-quality, then by all means get some cheap TCs. One of these days I'll put 10x of M42 TCs on my Rubinar Makpo 1000/10 mirror and turn it into a 10m f/100 lens. That should be fun, eh? Yeah, f/100! Eat THAT, Ansel!

Good long fast optical systems cost a bunch of money and that's the sad truth. The cheap way to go long is with a mirror; used right, you'll get good results. Don't forget the hood!
Thanks for your thoughts. I think until I find something for a reasonable price, for me, then I will just play at 300mm and crop and stuff.

QuoteOriginally posted by JeffJS Quote
Most TCs in your price range are going to be doorstops. I don't have experience with all of them but if you're hoping to use one for AF, they are hit or miss depending on the lens. Some don't play well all the time with Pentax lenses (sigma). I'll second the recommendation of the Pentax F1.7x AF adapter but for $200 you Might be able to Look at one. My suggestion would be to decide how often you really need to go beyond 300mm. If it is always, then save your nickels and dimes to get a lens capable of doing so. Even a Mirror lens will put you at 500mm and give you nearly if not better quality than a TC'd lens in most cases.

Yeah I was actually looking at a forum members sale of a Rokinon 500mm f/6 mirror lens for ~$130 but he hasn't responded in the thread or to my PM. Does anyone have anything good or bad to say about such lenses given my $200 budget?

QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
The terrible part of the Pentax-F 1.7x AF Adapter: it's not very impressive in person. It's like buying one of those solid gold $5 US coins. When you get it, it looks exactly like a dime. BTW, it's one exception to the "7 element is better" guideline: it's only got 4 elements. I guess you could easily carry one in a pocket, though.

I would look for a 400mm f5.6 prime. You'll still have to pay more than $200, maybe not get AF, and the reach isn't all you could hope for. However, I think it gets you close enough to crop, and the quality and speed combination will be better than a teleconverter. There are some Sigmas in this range, but you'll have to check for element separation on some versions. There's a Tokina AT-X. The AF Pentax 400s are rare and costly. Manual focus ones might be affordable. You're probably talking a range of $400-600 for a good lens. Another option is the K300/4 plus 1.7x AF Adapter, which you could put together for less than $600.

If the new Pentax owners suddenly put out an SDM-compatible teleconverter and a lens longer than 300mm, a lot of people will sell their current long lens solutions. Prices might not plummet but there will be reasonable supply.
I see...well given that I can't drop $600 I guess I have to just keep looking and playing around at 300mm. Thanks.
09-17-2011, 01:14 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by CTR01 Quote
Thanks for your thoughts. I think until I find something for a reasonable price, for me, then I will just play at 300mm and crop and stuff.



Yeah I was actually looking at a forum members sale of a Rokinon 500mm f/6 mirror lens for ~$130 but he hasn't responded in the thread or to my PM. Does anyone have anything good or bad to say about such lenses given my $200 budget?




I see...well given that I can't drop $600 I guess I have to just keep looking and playing around at 300mm. Thanks.
Do you mean f8? Most mirror lenses Are f8. Here's the thing about Mirror lenses. Most, if not all, have NO apertures. In order to 'adjust' them, you need a ND filter on the rear. Some lenses come with them, ND2, ND4 so make sure if you buy one you get the filters as well. These are 30.5mm filters in most cases and can be a little difficult to find separately. There is also a UV filter that is typically installed on the lens rear. A filter Must be on the lens or it won't focus. I would check Ebay. $130 sounds expensive for anything BUT the Tamron SP 500mm f8 (then it's Cheap) in my experience for Just the lens. Nothing is free so when you want to stay within a budget, there are going to be compromises.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/500-1000mm-TELEPHOTO-Lens-Pentax-K-5-645D-K20D-K10D-...item53e930ccd8



Last edited by JeffJS; 09-17-2011 at 01:29 PM.
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