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10-02-2011, 08:12 AM   #1
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New 500 f5.6 in Pentax mount

Dear Wildlife/nature Pentaxians:

At present there are few choices available in new 400mm or longer telephotos with a Pentax K mount. There is a new lens being introduced that may be of interest to some, but it is painfully expensive, but then, that is true of any high-quality telephoto of 400mm or more.

KOWA has built a reputation for excellent quality spotting scopes and binoculars. They are introducing a 500mm f5.6 basic lens with separately purchased mounts for Nikon, Canon, and Pentax, somewhat like the Tamron Adaptall II system. However, there are major differences. There are three mounts for each camera system: one provides the basic 500mm f5.6; another coverts the lens to 350mm; and the third converts it to 850mm ( f-stops at the shorter and longer lengths are not specified). The lens is strictly manual focus and I suspect either pre-set or manual diaphragm. It appears to be a high-end, state-of-the-art optic insofar as it has two ED elements AND one fluorite element, very rare for camera lenses and never, so far as I am aware, available in a Pentax mount (I think historically Canon has offered the most Fluorite optics). The lens is predictably expensive, about $3200 without a rear adapter. The 350 and 500 adapters cost about $350 each, the 850mm adapter about $665. Heave a sigh, but those prices are in line with very high end optics. According to the Kowa website, a prism adapter will also be available to convert the basic optic into a high-quality spotting scope (straight-through viewing, not 45 degrees).
If you want to look, B&H now has the basic lens in stock with the adapters generally on a 1~2 week delayed delivery, or go the the Kowa optics website.

An interesting product, but I suspect few will purchase one until there are a couple of IQ tests available, and who will test such a lens??

WPRESTO

10-02-2011, 08:21 AM   #2
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Interesting: Kowa Sporting Optics: 500mm Telephoto Lens/Scope

Looks like there is/will be a mount for 4/3rd's also...

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10-02-2011, 09:19 AM   #3
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A few dollars more and you can get the Sigma 500 f4.5. This gives you AF, auto aperture, faster lens, drop in filters, etc. Don't think you will see many sales
10-02-2011, 09:30 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by atlnq9 Quote
A few dollars more and you can get the Sigma 500 f4.5
if you mean one and half as much, so yes

10-02-2011, 11:25 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by aurele Quote
if you mean one and half as much, so yes

30% more isn't much when you consider what $1500 gets you over the initial $3,500 investment. For that extra dollars you get AF, larger maximum aperture, auto aperture, drop in filters, resale potential, reputable photography equipment manufacture, warranty, lens hood, known optic quality, etc.

If you want you can get a MF 600 5.6 at a cheaper price right now with well established optics, filter drawer, and auto aperture. Buy one of A*300 2.8s in the market place which are selling for nothing and get a TC. All I see the KOWA doing is using different teleconverters to give you a 350, 500, 800mm lens... Who knows what kind of optical quality that gives you, and who is going to fork over the money to determine it?

I don't see this as anything to do cartwheels over.
10-02-2011, 02:38 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by atlnq9 Quote
30% more isn't much
the difference between 3,500$ and 5,000$ is more around 42-43% than 30%

Anyway ...

Our friend WPRESTO is just pointing out something new and different that may be consider when looking for some big glass.

And when i say different, it means "something that we don't usually consider, or think of".

When looking for a big tele, Sigma is an obvious choice to look for.

Soooooooo this KOWA lense is exactly what it is : something different.



Said that, i have to underline that you point out well the fact that if someone is going to invest in a big glass (and a lot of money), some "feature" of the usual lense may be taken in consideration.

(But make no mistake, this topic is just about bringing to everyone something different.)

Cheers !
10-02-2011, 02:50 PM - 1 Like   #7
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It looks like the light path is through a prism.

If so I highly doubt you would get anything near the optical quality on a camera sensor that you could get with a true prime telephoto.

Also note that it gives a "focal length" of 500mm when I'm willing to bet its really effective focal length. A true prime focal length lens will, all else being equal, always out perform effective focal length glass.

Without much to go on it looks like its just a spotting scope adapted for a camera with the addition of a diaphragm.

Last edited by wildman; 10-02-2011 at 03:10 PM.
10-02-2011, 03:29 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by aurele Quote
if you mean one and half as much, so yes
QuoteOriginally posted by aurele Quote
the difference between 3,500$ and 5,000$ is more around 42-43% than 30%
I am so sorry for having done the math wrong mister expert. You want to point out my mistake I will do the same for you. Cheers. If you get two shots to get the math right then so do I. 42.45% or 1.4245 times as much.

QuoteOriginally posted by aurele Quote
Our friend WPRESTO is just pointing out something new and different that may be consider when looking for some big glass.
No complaint there, I am just pointing out that it lacks a lot. It is more what Wildman has pointed out: A spotting scope with camera attachment than big glass... That has been on the market for years, same as attachments for telescopes. The only people I ever see buying it are people that want to spend a lot of money on a spotting scope but also wouldn't mind bringing back a keepsake photo of the hunt if they miss.


Last edited by atlnq9; 10-02-2011 at 03:35 PM.
10-02-2011, 03:40 PM   #9
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Actually they are more like $2000 per lens since you get 3 focal lengths (and also a spotting scope). Several excellent lenses used this approach before autofocus became so important (novoflex, leica, nikon) and flourite lenses were some of the best (notably kern for alpha, etc.). The prism is likely for the spotting scope only. If the resolution is superb it could be a bargain. Interesting? I think so.
10-02-2011, 03:53 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by dms Quote
Interesting? I think so.
Ditto...



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10-02-2011, 04:45 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by aurele Quote
the difference between 3,500$ and 5,000$ is more around 42-43% than 30%
QuoteOriginally posted by atlnq9 Quote
I am so sorry for having done the math wrong mister expert.
Yes, aurele, how dare you introduce accuracy into a forum thread.
10-02-2011, 05:35 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by dms Quote
Actually they are more like $2000 per lens since you get 3 focal lengths
I get eight with my FA* 300 2.8 and varying combinations of 1.4x, 1.7x, and 2x teleconverters. Does this mean my lenses are only $500/ lens? And half of the combos still AF. Man I never thought I got that great of a bargain.

Anybody else can get the same thing or better for less by buying a used A* 300 2.8. And nobody is going to argue the IQ. I am just saying it isn't that interesting...
10-02-2011, 08:33 PM   #13
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+1

I don't see this filling any gaps in the available lens line-up, or offering a better product than current solutions. I wonder how they justified its production at Kowa?
10-03-2011, 07:27 AM   #14
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Dear Pentaxians:

AURELE had it right, I was just pointing out that this product was available, not advocating it. Also, as noted by dms the prism is only used for the spotting scope mode, not for photography (this is not "digiscoping"). The Sigma 500 f4.5 is quite a bit more expensive, also bulkier and substantially heavier (the basic Kowa lens is only 3.5lb). Were I considering this lens, the critical features would be IQ, weight/size, and close focussing distance. Having a fluorite element plus two ED lenses might provide excellent resolution. And by the way, at 350mm it's an f4.0, and at 850mm it's f9.6. I've not been using long telephotos the past few years, but if I were, I'd give the Kowa a long hard think. It reminds me a bit of the Leica two lens heads + two rear units providing four focal lengths of 280mm (at f2.8), 400mm, 560mm and 800mm. Dreadfully expensive set. I wonder how many were actually made and sold in the USA?

WPRESTO

WPRESTO
10-03-2011, 08:25 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by atlnq9 Quote
I am just pointing out that it lacks a lot
We got it now.

QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
I was just pointing out that this product was available, not advocating it.
And we all thank you for passing the info along.
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