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09-21-2011, 03:09 PM   #1
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Which tele lens to get (have manual 300 f/4)

Hi,

I feel quite lost in the world of reviews on lenses including the 300mm range.

Some years ago I purchased an old Super-Takumar 300mm f/4 in mint conditions. It has been a very good lens. I have used it on and Pentax *ist DS, a K-7 and now on I use a K-5 camera. I find the sharpness even at f/4 very good although with a little bluish color error on high contrast objects. But nothing serious and much, much better IQ a popular do-it-all zoom going to 250mm. I have taken a lot of bird images, nature and so on. I intend to go on with this type of photography. However, two things have come up; It cannot focus at infinity even if the focus correction is used on the camera. Also, and more importantly; I do find the manual focus a problem especially when it comes to birds and wildlife. I have been looking at a lot of options. I don't really care much for the below 300mm range, and I don't want a do-it-all zoom.

- What sort of lens is in the same league as the Super-Takumar 300mm f/4 when it comes to IQ?

It does not matter which brand, but paying extra for e.g. a Sigma with its internal image stabilization seems a bit silly considering the K-5's chip based image stabilization. I know of the smc Pentax 300 f/4, but there are two things that nag me; the price and I would like a little more focal length. I don't think it matters so much that the lens be a little slower since the K-5's sensitivity is good (at least comparing with my two older cameras). Also it is not so that I do not want a zoom, but I want a zoom which is GOOD between 300mm and 400mm. Not useable, but as my old 300mm f/4

kind regrads
Morten

09-21-2011, 03:29 PM   #2
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Look in the 300mm lens club

Personally I use a sigma APO 70-200/2.8 EX (non DG non macro) and sigma 1.4&2x TCs. The lens is an older version but one of the sharpest. I also use a K300/4 and SMC F 1.7x AF adaptor, and lately I have been using a tamron 200-500F5.6 adaptall 2 MF zoom
09-21-2011, 03:45 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by MBK Quote
... However, two things have come up; It cannot focus at infinity even if the focus correction is used on the camera...
The lens can be adjusted for this but I can't tell you exactly how. On the Super-Takumar 200mm f4, there are screws on the focus ring for the adjustment. On that lens, you'd turn the ring to the infinity mark, loosen the screws a bit, then turn the ring a few degrees away from infinity without changing the focus. Then tighten the screws and see how it worked. The 300/4 might be similar.
09-21-2011, 04:03 PM   #4
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Sigma makes a 150-500. Here is Thom Hogan's review:
Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 Lens Review by Thom Hogan

Its not the fastest, or the sharpest, but its not overly expensive, and with the K-5's high ISO performance, you don't need the fastest lens. It will also get you out to 500mm.

09-21-2011, 07:53 PM   #5
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There are a lot of possibilities if you are willing to wait and see what comes on the used market sites. A little more information about what you plan to use it for may be helpful in getting the forum members to give you their advice and experiences.
09-22-2011, 12:05 PM   #6
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Hi,

Thanks for the tips to everyone.

I did not know about the adjustment of lens lens, thanks.

And that there is a club for 300mm. Impressive :-)

I find it too hard to write in words what I want to use an modern AF 300-500 lens for.

Pictures tell so much more, so please look at some of my nature and wild life images here.
https://picasaweb.google.com/117274245937836909186/Natur

I guess it is obvious which ones are taken with a long focal length. The Exif does not tell here.

I have been thinking about the weight issue. Normally I carry the 300mm mounted on a one-pole "tripod" (a one-pod?) for horizontal wild life shots, but the occasional buzzard, hawk or falcon of which there are plenty where I live, are often close to overhead so the pod gets in the way. Then it is hand held. This more or less rules out a 2kg+ lens for me (I think). Recently I purchased a good light weight tripod. I use this too especially for nature long exposure images.

I used to do a lot of astro photography.
I have used the 300mm but on astro ccd cameras with more flexibility regarding focus travel. I have never used the 300mm for astro on the Pentax DSLRs. It does not focus at infinity.

Stars are good for finding out if the camera kan focus sharply. If you know what a sharp star looks like; I want the lens to focus sharply at infinity for when I get back to astro imaging again, but also for nature imaing.

Macro is btw irrelevant for the lens.

I really don't like a bulky "unsharp" lens which is my impression in the review of the Sigma 150-500. There must be other alternatives.

A compromise could be the 1.7x AF adapter given its ability to "focus" an MF lens like my 300mm f/4. I wonder about IQ. The price is rather high, but if I end up with a combination which is sharp, can focus at infinity, has AF and a little longer focal length plus no need to stop down more than one stop then it might be just right.

I would find it amazing if the are only two alternatives; keep what I got or buy the modern 300mm f/4.

kind regards
Morten
09-22-2011, 02:27 PM   #7
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just to give a feel for a 300mm plus the AF TC here are 2 shots with the K300/4 and 1.7x AF TC

first, my *istD using flash this is about 90% of the frame only slight crop.



this is a 100% crop from my K7D at ISO 1600 and 1/40th hand held


09-22-2011, 04:16 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by MBK Quote
I really don't like a bulky "unsharp" lens
I can't comment on the Bigma, but I like your logic: if it's bulky, it better be sharp. Two that come to mind in the "pretty darn good and not ridiculously expensive" category are the M 400/5.6 and (my latest acquisition) the Tamron Adaptall 60B 300/2.8.

09-23-2011, 02:30 AM   #9
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Thanks Lowell, for the images.
They are quite sharp. And do go give me an impression of what can be expected with the combination of the manual 300mm f/4 and the TC. I found the TC on eBay. It is $600.

- You don't write which aperture you used? It looks like full aperture to me.

Thanks dadipentak, for you post about the lenses, but they are manual, and I am looking for AF :-)

kind regards
Morten
09-23-2011, 04:05 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by MBK Quote
I am looking for AF
Sorry I missed that: then DA*300/4.
09-23-2011, 07:34 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by MBK Quote
Thanks Lowell, for the images.
They are quite sharp. And do go give me an impression of what can be expected with the combination of the manual 300mm f/4 and the TC. I found the TC on eBay. It is $600.

- You don't write which aperture you used? It looks like full aperture to me.

Thanks dadipentak, for you post about the lenses, but they are manual, and I am looking for AF :-)

kind regards
Morten
I did not record/recall aperture at the time, but think the chickadee was F5.6 on the lens, and the heron between F5.6 and F8. Note also the heron was shot at ISO 1600 because it was in the shade and in the evening. I am hoping my K5 will be a little better on noise, but overall, I would rather have this image than not.

I use the 300/4 and AF TC almost as a perminantly married pair. I got the TC in 1991 when I bought my PZ-1, and at the time, I used it with a series 1 70-200F3.5 I tested the TC first to see it would AF because the TC is specified for F2.8 or faster lenses, but I have found it will achieve reliable AF lock on lenses with F4 aperture.
I got the 300/4 afterwards in about 1992 after confirming it would also focus on my PZ-1, I really like the pair as it is a real walk around 500mm AF setup.

p.s. I think $600 is too much, typically the gfoing price is form memory $350. I can't comment really on price because I bought mine brand new in the 1990's
09-23-2011, 09:56 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by dadipentak Quote
I can't comment on the Bigma, but I like your logic: if it's bulky, it better be sharp. Two that come to mind in the "pretty darn good and not ridiculously expensive" category are the M 400/5.6 and (my latest acquisition) the Tamron Adaptall 60B 300/2.8.
Hey Dave

You beat me to the punch. I was going to suggest the M 400/5.6. Welcome to the M 400 club.

Tom G
09-23-2011, 10:59 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by 8540tomg Quote
Welcome to the M 400 club.
Tom G
Oh, I don't have one--I've just admired the photos you get with it.
09-23-2011, 12:54 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by 8540tomg Quote
Hey Dave

You beat me to the punch. I was going to suggest the M 400/5.6. Welcome to the M 400 club.

Tom G
Tom

You must be slowing down, normally you are into a thread like this a little faster.
09-24-2011, 11:29 AM   #15
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Duhhh!!

Should have read your post with more care Dave.

A little under the weather - a lame excuse but I sticking with it.


Tom G
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