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09-20-2011, 12:30 AM   #1
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DA* 300mm F4 with TC vs. Sigma 150-500mm

Hi,

I currently own the mentioned Sigma and while it's a great lens I can't help wondering if the combination with the DA 300mm and a TC would work as well. Do any of you have that combination? Maybe even tried both?

I know the DA set would set me back quite a lot (I would obviously sell the Sigma to help fund it, but I'd still be half short). If any of you have any samples for the DA combo, I'd appreciate it if you could post some.

Thanks

09-20-2011, 11:42 AM   #2
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I've tried both. With the image quality loss and aperture speed loss, you'll get about the same IQ with both a 1.4 converter and the Sigma 150-500. You also get considerable weight saving. Of course, at 300mm, the DA will be sharpe r. However, you only get the one (or 2) focal length. That zoom is awful handy. You might also look at the Sigma 100-300 + converter. That has a very useful zoom and better optics without the converter than does the 150-500. It's a lot lighter, too.
09-20-2011, 12:15 PM   #3
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I was thinking of the Sigma 100-300 as well, but the downside of that lens is that they are very rare. Not manufactured anymore I can only hope that one comes up on a used market.
09-20-2011, 02:23 PM   #4
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The Sigma 100-300mm f4 is a horrible lens. If you ever see one for sale, you should avoid it all costs. And be sure to let me know about it, so I can also...er, avoid it.

09-21-2011, 12:30 AM   #5
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I have both the Sigma 100-300 f4 DG EX and the pentax DA*300 f4. the answer to your question depends on what you want to use the lens for. I first bought the 100-300 because I wanted the versatility of the zoom, but I also found that when i went chasing birds that I was carrying around a much bigger and heavier lens than i needed because I was only using 300mm. Both are superb lenses. The Sigma 100-300 takes a teleconverter better for autofocusing than the DA*300, but I find I tend to use catch in focus and manually focus when using the DA*. I did not buy a Bigma because I felt that the minimum apertures were too low and that was important to me. I have psoted a number of bird photos in the gallery with the DA*300 and Kenko TC combination. It is very sharp and gives good results. I have now bit the bullet though and ordered a Sigma 500 f4.5. I won't be travelling with it too much though as it is big and heavy.
09-22-2011, 03:24 AM   #6
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I agree about what you said Adrian. I checked the shots I took with my Sigma 150-500 and most of my shots were in the 400+ range, so I'm guessing I'll be able to live fine with the DA.
09-22-2011, 09:43 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by AdrianM Quote
I have psoted a number of bird photos in the gallery
We clearly live in a similar part of the world:
Birds - a set on Flickr

I am also in the mood to go with a DA*300 soon, rather than choosing one of the Sigma zooms. My 55-300 has been giving decent results but since about 90% of my shots over the last 6 months or so have been at 300mm it's probably time to get a prime at that length. This discussion has been useful.
09-22-2011, 07:41 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote

I am also in the mood to go with a DA*300 soon, rather than choosing one of the Sigma zooms. .
If you do order one locally anytime soon and find that it is miraculously in stock check the s/n. The one I received earlier this month, went back with a note..

It's in red in the s/n database.

New unit they told me was 8 weeks, special order.

09-27-2011, 07:31 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by mysticcowboy Quote
You might also look at the Sigma 100-300 + converter. That has a very useful zoom and better optics without the converter than does the 150-500. It's a lot lighter, too.
I've never tried the 150-500 so I don't know this for certain, but I would think that the 100-300 with a 1.4 TC would still have at least as good IQ as the 150-500, and honestly, I would expect it to be better. The IQ loss when adding the TC is negligible, to say the least. If you were talking about the 2.0 TC, then there is some degradation.
09-27-2011, 11:07 PM   #10
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Do you mean the Pentax 1.7x TC or does that go for the Kenko and Tamron 1.4, 1.5 and 1.7x ones as well?
09-28-2011, 12:51 AM   #11
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Hi BeerBelly,

I did some test shots with the DA*300 combined with the Kenko Teleplus 1.5x SHQ TC and the Kenko 2x TC which you can view here:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/26491-da-300-s...-some-tcs.html

Overall I found the combinations pretty sharp. I had the right TC versions to allow SDM autofocus, though this was generally only possible with the 1.5x. However SDM autofocus was never perfect with the TC. Sometimes it would lock on fast, others it would lock on after half pressing the shutter two or three times, and other times it would just hunt and not lock on at all. I know some people make use of the quick shift facility to help with this. After losing the Kenko TCs in a flash flood I have since bought a Tamron 1.4x, but have exactly the same issues re SDM autofocus with this. The Pentax 1.7x TC may get around these issues better though of course it is not a true SDM system and is even more expensive and rarer than the Kenko and Tamron TCs. The DA*300 with TC is a relatively light combination to cart around on a wildlife trek. I often used it combined with a monopod.

Paul
09-28-2011, 06:53 AM   #12
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Hi Paul,

thank you for an extensive summary of the available TCs. I will most likely go with one of the Kenko or Tamron ones, since funds for the genuine Pentax ones grow short. I've heard that the Kenko and Tamron hunt a bit when trying to autofocus, but I guess it's something I will have to get used to. Thanks for the samples as well. They help a lot.
09-28-2011, 07:52 AM   #13
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You may have already seen this on other posts but if you want to have any chance of SDM autofocus there are only three models of Kenko/Tamron TCs that function to a degree. These are the Kenko Pz-AF 1.5x MC4 or Kenko 1.5x SHQ or Tamron-F 1.4x Pz-AF MC4 or their 2x equivalents (and personally I would only consider the 7 element version in the case of the latter).

I initially made the mistake or replacing my lost Kenko TCs with the latest versions: Kenko P/AF 1.5x Teleplus MC and P-AF 2x Teleplus MC7. These are fine optically and will work with standard autofocus systems fine. However on my DA*300 they do not enable SDM autofocus (they lack the power zoom contacts). To an extent I could have lived with that but on an SDM lens I also could not access the camera menu once the TC was in place, nor could I use the in-focus light in the viewfinder which made manual focusing a little more difficult. These problems are not present with a screwdrive autofocus lens. Still waiting for Pentax to get back on track and produce a TC truly compatible with SDM.

Paul
09-28-2011, 08:12 AM   #14
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I understand that the TC should have power zoom contacts yes, but I was under the impression that the 1.7x Kenko should work as well? Namely something like this: eBay - The UK's Online Marketplace

I agree about Pentax needing to produce something new when it comes to TCs...
09-28-2011, 10:05 AM   #15
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Hi, you are absolutely right. That Kenko 1.7x should have all the right contacts to autofocus with SDM. The 1.7x tends to get forgotten about as Kenko apparently didn't produce many of them so they are something of a rarity. I was actually going to bid on that lens but the price got a little high bearing in mind my personal reservations. I have a 2x so I thought 1.7x would take me too near that in focal length. I prefer having both a 1.4x and 2x (for longer work). Another reservation I had was that I think a 1.7x must lose an extra half stop and I am not sure what the open aperture limit is on the lens in the first place. The final thing was I think this lens must still be a four element one (though I am not certain of this; I couldn't get much useful info from the seller). I didn't think a four element with that power would equal the IQ of a 2x seven element. I couldn't find much info on the 1.7x on the web.

Paul
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