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10-31-2011, 03:08 PM   #16
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That would certainly make my life easier in terms of learning the equipment... of the lenses I listed which would you recommend?

I like the idea of buying a lens new, that way I get the longer warranty. I wish the K-5 and Bigma were in the budget, but they aren't unfortunately. If I did purchase a Bigma lens, it would be versitile enough that I could use it for some auto racing as well (Getting some nice overhead shots at the Mount Washington Auto Road race would be great!) I'm afraid though that the much smaller aperture would limit my wildlife shooting though, especially if I have to stop down even more for greater IQ.

Thanks,
Greg

10-31-2011, 03:21 PM   #17
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Note that the bigma is not that slow when you consider in good light taking the K7 K-x or K-r to 800 ISO or higher. Fast lenses also mean very narrow DOF
10-31-2011, 06:06 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by RallyDriver96 Quote
That would certainly make my life easier in terms of learning the equipment... of the lenses I listed which would you recommend?

I like the idea of buying a lens new, that way I get the longer warranty. I wish the K-5 and Bigma were in the budget, but they aren't unfortunately. If I did purchase a Bigma lens, it would be versitile enough that I could use it for some auto racing as well (Getting some nice overhead shots at the Mount Washington Auto Road race would be great!) I'm afraid though that the much smaller aperture would limit my wildlife shooting though, especially if I have to stop down even more for greater IQ.

Thanks,
Greg
If you shopped carefully, you could pick up an older model used bigma for ~$900 and a used K-5 for $900. Just food for thought.

Before I moved up to enormous gear, I found the Bigma was pretty dang good on my K-7. With a flash, it would be even better. F6.3 on the long end isn't amazing, and as you say, you'll probably have to stop down to F8 anyway; however, even with an older model 300/2.8 with a TC attached, I think you're going to be stopping down to F8 anyway to avoid purple fringe in high contrast situations.
11-01-2011, 09:08 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clinton Quote
If you shopped carefully, you could pick up an older model used bigma for ~$900 and a used K-5 for $900. Just food for thought.
I wish it were an option, but it just isn't right now (believe me, I toyed with it when I saw the K-5 for $850 in the marketplace). Hopefully come spring I will be better positioned to buy a second body...

QuoteQuote:
Before I moved up to enormous gear, I found the Bigma was pretty dang good on my K-7. With a flash, it would be even better. F6.3 on the long end isn't amazing, and as you say, you'll probably have to stop down to F8 anyway; however, even with an older model 300/2.8 with a TC attached, I think you're going to be stopping down to F8 anyway to avoid purple fringe in high contrast situations.
I looked at some of the photos I took of a Pine Marten, they were (around mind you) f8, 1/250th, ISO of 400... I was very lucky that he posed for me... I don't expect a Bobcat to sit around while I try to get the perfect shot (now a Black bear might though).

Of the Sigmas I posted, which would you choose if you were just starting?

I'd love to go for the 100-300 f4 (ex dg version), and throw a TC on it, but that lens is impossible to find... care to sell yours? (My wife actually had me put the brakes on a purchase of one from Australia - the post and fees would have added about $150 to the final price anywho...)

Greg

11-01-2011, 09:53 AM   #20
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It all depends on what your requirements for IQ are.
The Bigma may be fine for amateur use. However, above 400mm it starts getting a bit soft, and its AF easily hunts. The fact that it is rather slow in the long end may become a limitation for wildlife photography. Animals have an annoying tendency of showing up when the conditions are anything but perfect.Despite all the recent progress in sensor technologies, you frequently come to the point when you just run out of light.
Therefore people with a serious approach to wildlife photography often replace their Bigmas with primes. Of course the downside is that you have a lot more to carry - these things are always a tradeoff.
About purple fringing. My experience with the Tamron 300/2,8 is that I found PF to be a secondary issue. If needed ( not that often really) correcting it in Photoshop is fairly easy. With the Tamron most of the time I shot either wide open or stopped down a little, hardly ever more than 2 stops.
11-01-2011, 11:07 AM   #21
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I would agree with some of PePe's comments and disagree with others.

The tamron, especially the 60B can be prone to PF (as are all lenses of that vintage) in backlit situations. WHile it can be removed easily in PP it is still a pain sometimes, and I found the 60B to be bad enough that it stopped me from getting it.

That being said, the 60B with the AF adaptor can make a formadible 500mm option, because the use of the AF adaptor provides AF in a selective range, and focuses very quickly.

Just to give an idea pf PF and what the image looks like after removal, here is a shot from my Tamron 200-500/5.6 using flash to expose the backlit bird.
before

After
11-01-2011, 11:57 AM   #22
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Well this thread has had me bouncing all over the place with all the information I've received. I know if I am going for a prime lens, I can do the setup I mentioned earlier...
Lens: Tamron Adaptall 300mm f2.8 (60/360b)
Adaptor: KA mount
TC: 1.7x AF

Or:
Lens: Tokina 300mm f2.8 for pentax
TC: 1.7x AF

If I went with a Sigma option, I have:
Lens: Sigma 150-500 f5-6.3 APO DG HSM OS
Or
Lens: Sigma 100-300 f4 EX DG APO AF (No one seems to have talked about this option, is it because it is such a rare lens?)
TC: Sigma 1.4x APO EX DG

Now I do have a pretty strong flash, which with a "Better Beamer" flash extender (or something of the sort) should help a bit for lighting if I find the lens is too slow... Sounds like the 150-500 would be as I would need to stop it down to f11 for good photos at 500mm, the 100-300 sounds like a great lens even with a TC, but again if I want to stop it down more I could use the flash to add light...

My concern over a prime is that there isn't much open space here in northern NH, and as I had read on another thread "you can only back up so much" with hills, cliffs, boulders and the occasional 300 year old hemlock in the way of a shot...

Greg
11-01-2011, 12:00 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I would agree with some of PePe's comments and disagree with others.

The tamron, especially the 60B can be prone to PF (as are all lenses of that vintage) in backlit situations. WHile it can be removed easily in PP it is still a pain sometimes, and I found the 60B to be bad enough that it stopped me from getting it.

That being said, the 60B with the AF adaptor can make a formadible 500mm option, because the use of the AF adaptor provides AF in a selective range, and focuses very quickly.

Just to give an idea pf PF and what the image looks like after removal, here is a shot from my Tamron 200-500/5.6 using flash to expose the backlit bird.
before

After
I will add though, that the PF did clean up nicely - I am still watching the 360B on E-bay as I try to decide where to go!

Have you ever had any 'slop' in the mounting of the 60B? I've read in a few place of a rotational slop in the mount that can throw off the exposure by a stop in extreme situations...

Thanks,
Greg

11-01-2011, 12:41 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by RallyDriver96 Quote
I will add though, that the PF did clean up nicely - I am still watching the 360B on E-bay as I try to decide where to go!

Have you ever had any 'slop' in the mounting of the 60B? I've read in a few place of a rotational slop in the mount that can throw off the exposure by a stop in extreme situations...

Thanks,
Greg
Re PF Thanks, please ignore the longitudinal CA which I made no attempt to correct. COnsidering when on my 22 inch monitor the image is about 5 times life size it is not too bad. These were some of the first shots I took with the beast, but any way.....

when I looked at getting the 60B the shop let me walk outside with it and try it out on my K10D and using my 1.7xAFA. I had a hell of a time with the PKA adaptors staying in the correct orientation with respect to the aperture ring, I tried several.

The other thing I notice with my 200-500F5.6 is that there is some rotational play somewhere (not sure if it is in the lens to PKA adaptor or the PKA adaptor to camera, that causes the aperture reading to get lost with rotating the camera body relitive to lens (due to the play). There is another thread running somewhere where this issue is discussed. the problem seems to be "working it's way out" which makes me think it is the internal aperture coding contacts in the adaptor, and not the adaptor to camera interface.
11-02-2011, 01:11 PM   #25
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Hi Rally

I have been looking at this selection issue myself for some time. Looking for good range, fast, practical and not too expensive.

I have dismissed primes from my selection. I use the zoom when shooting wildlife (currently a 100-300mm f4-6.7). Wildlife doesn't sit still and sometimes you can't move (boat, bird watch, top of a truck etc) .. drifting around a corner on a boat to find a Azure Kingfisher 2meters away means taking the best shot quickly... no time to swap lenses or remove the TC so I can shoot the whole bird and not just its beak (some animals a shy, other jumpy). So its zoom for me - 200mm-600mm F4 would be ideal.. I haven't found it yet.

Teleconverters worry me a little. F stops down at least 1 point on a TC.. So a F4 lens becomes a F5.6 minimum.. and that varies depending on the TC. Also seems a little hit and miss which ones will work with different lenses.. but you are matching brand for brand so should be okay (beware the Simga 2xTC.. seen a few issues mentioned in these forums).
Also the prices for Pentax AF 1.7xTC are not cheap, the $400-$650 US dollars I have seen them for on e-bay makes me think that money could be better spent on a better lens.

The Sigma 120-400mm and 150-500mm both look pretty good all-round lenses. Whilst the Sigma OS isn't needed on a Pentax K-5 body some think its really good. and, Yes I have read review that say both lenses are soft at the end of the ranges.

Pentax DA 55-300mm is a good cheaper lens... lacking in the long reach but review well.

Edit didn't work: Try#2 - See other post in this form re FA600mm with TC... fantastic shots.

Last edited by baker5; 11-02-2011 at 07:23 PM.
11-02-2011, 04:38 PM   #26
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I'm in the process of figuring out what works for me. 300mm is too short. I shoot birds mostly.

What I've learned so far:

Metering. I have Tamron Adaptalls and the pk adapter makes things rather slow. With wildlife in motion, shutter speed is the important factor, the K5 iso can float. But the M mode green button metering/adjust iso/repeat till shutter speed is close to what you want means missed shots. I believe some of the Pentax early mounts have the same issue.

The PKA adapter is the answer. They are a bit flakey but work ok. The older screwmount primes work in TAV and other modes, set the aperture on the lens ring and away you go.

My PKA works but the F-- shows up when I move the lens around. If you go that route get a strap support system that supports the lens so that less stress is put on the mount.

With manual focus, consider donating 6 months of your life before getting consistent results. It is a skill to be learned. The Pentax lenses have the capability of focus then fine adjust by hand. You will need to do that anyways. WIldlife seldom is cooperative in placing themselves to the advantage of an automatic focus mechanism.

This raises a question; from what I've read, the Pentax AF 1.7 adapter works when you manually get close then it finishes the focus. Can you fine adjust from there?

As for prime vs zoom, quality is in the primes of course, and faster apertures are only available in primes. I'm about to try a screwmount 300 f4 once the adapter shows up. Another skill to be learned is finding the subject with a long lens. A zoom is handy; zoom in, find, zoom out, focus, shoot. I'm using the Tamron 23A 60-300mm. It has a slide zoom and ring focus, on a PKA adapter.

Another thing to consider is that at 300+, hand held is very difficult. I notice a distinct improvement in quality when I use my monopod. At 500mm a monopod doesn't cut it.

I'd almost suggest trying things out. I'm finding that above 300mm skill is a larger factor than quality of the lens.

Right now I have a Tamron 200-500mm f6.9. A beast, heavy, and slow. I have gotten quite nice shots of water birds at 25ft or so, 500mm stopped down one on my monopod. Anything further requires a tripod. I call it my expedition lens. I also have an SP 140 teleconverter that I use with my 23A. Works surprisingly well, although slow. I intend to pick up a 2.8 tamron in the future for use with the SP140. I can get clear shots with my monopod and this setup. This stuff was cheap.

I'm bumping my head on my skills and technique, not the equipment. Will for a while yet.
11-02-2011, 05:20 PM   #27
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Derek

Work on hand holding technique. Rely on SR also, larger birds like herons are relatively stationary. I have shot herons at 1/40 on occasion, hand held with the K300/4 and the 1.7x AFA. Check the sample photos forum for the K300/4
11-02-2011, 11:05 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by baker5 Quote
I have dismissed primes from my selection. I use the zoom when shooting wildlife (currently a 100-300mm f4-6.7). Wildlife doesn't sit still and sometimes you can't move (boat, bird watch, top of a truck etc) .. drifting around a corner on a boat to find a Azure Kingfisher 2meters away means taking the best shot quickly...
Baker I wouldn't be so fast to dismiss primes. If you suddenly appear 2m away from any bird it's going to be off in a flash - more so a kingfisher ! 5-10m you may have a chance but not a sudden snapshot as your movement will alert the birds to your presence. The DA*300 min, focusing distance is around 4.5ft (1.5m). The shot of the tiny bird below was taken from around 10ft away and has some cropping. I really don't see this as being an issue with birds and a 300mm.



QuoteOriginally posted by baker5 Quote
Also the prices for Pentax AF 1.7xTC are not cheap, the $400-$650 US dollars I have seen them for on e-bay makes me think that money could be better spent on a better lens.
There is definitely some merit to spending your money on a 'better' lens however the AFA is $425-450 new direct from Japan (you can use one of the Japanese companies that communicate in English and will buy and send it to you for around another $50 inc post and their commission).

QuoteOriginally posted by baker5 Quote
The Sigma 120-400mm and 150-500mm both look pretty good all-round lenses. Whilst the Sigma OS isn't needed on a Pentax K-5 body some think its really good. and, Yes I have read review that say both lenses are soft at the end of the ranges.
I've seen some excellent shots from the 150-500 but rather less from the 120-400 which is really much softer in comparison to any of the other lenses mentioned in this thread.

QuoteOriginally posted by baker5 Quote
Pentax DA 55-300mm is a good cheaper lens... lacking in the long reach but review well.
Great value for money but is a terrible performer (slow focusing) with TCs and not in the same IQ class as any other lens (other than maybe the Sigma 120-400) that's been mentioned in this thread. Wouldn't want people to think it is an option for serious wildlife/bird togs.

QuoteOriginally posted by derekkite Quote
I'm in the process of figuring out what works for me. 300mm is too short. I shoot birds mostly.
Are you sure ? Unless you are talking about wide open spaces / birds of prey / lakes etc. then a very sharp and fast 300mm is still an excellent lens. I'd say whether it is too short for you depends more on the environment you are shooting in.

QuoteOriginally posted by derekkite Quote
This raises a question; from what I've read, the Pentax AF 1.7 adapter works when you manually get close then it finishes the focus. Can you fine adjust from there?
When using the AFA you focus very roughly in the area of the subject and when you half-depress the shutter button it will slam into focus. However for smaller adjustment you release the shutter button, quick focus and then half-depress again and again the AFA will find focus in an instant. This of course works great with MF lenses as they then become semi-AF ! However the screw-mount 300mm lenses are not in the same IQ class as more modern 300mm AF lenses.

QuoteOriginally posted by derekkite Quote
Another thing to consider is that at 300+, hand held is very difficult. I notice a distinct improvement in quality when I use my monopod. At 500mm a monopod doesn't cut it.
Again I think that comes down to technique. Before I bought the DA*300 I used the excellent (for what it costs) Tamron 500 BB Mirror and on a monopod it never let me down (kingfisher below taken with the Tamron mirror at about 40yds). When birding my lens is permanently attached to a monopod but with the leg retracted you can still shoot hand-held if needs be (and though a little unwieldily the monopod's weight adds stability).



QuoteOriginally posted by derekkite Quote
Right now I have a Tamron 200-500mm f6.9. A beast, heavy, and slow. I have gotten quite nice shots of water birds at 25ft or so, 500mm stopped down one on my monopod. Anything further requires a tripod.
25ft !! At 25 yds you could crop shots from the DA*300 to 1:1 and not notice a drop in IQ ! Unless you are talking of shooting birds at longer distance of over 50/60/100 yds/m, the DA*300 is a wonderful lens. If you do want the extra length for larger birds at distance then throw on the AFA x1.7 and focusing is even faster than the 300 alone because you are already at infinity and the AFA is extremely fast to focus due to it's size and minimum number of moving parts.
11-03-2011, 06:01 AM   #29
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In some ways I afree with frogfish, in other ways I disagree.

there are two aspects to shooting birds especially, one is technique the other is and always will be equipment.

on the technique side, there is the patience, stealth and approach, to allow you to get close to a small bird, and shooting technique, hand holding and steadyness.

on the equipment side is the use of flash, flash extenders such as snoots and freznel lenses in front of the flash, tripod and tripod head some are much better than others, and of course the lens.

just to put everything into perspective, consider just a little math.

image size = subhect size x focal length / distance.

-the maximum image size will be 0.024meters (24mm the width of the APS-C frame)
-lets pick something small, like a nuthatch with a length perhaps of 0.075meters (about 3 inches long)
-we will use frogfishes DA300F4 lens so focal length is 0.3 meters

to fill the frame (what most shooters want but never achieve means you need to be 0.93 meters away. While the DA300 is good, i don't think it focuses that close.

The fact is, that even if focusing is at 1.5 meters (quite reasonbable for a 300mm lens) you are limited to only 2/3 the frame.

the real conclusion is little birds are a pain in the @$$. I know, I've tried.

WHat you get left with is generally needing to crop down to about 1/10 the total frame. and whether you have a 300, or a 600mm lens really does not make that much difference in the image size you are still to a large extent cropping down.

Big fast heavy glass is good, but you can gain a lot with technique. just look at the equation, distance is free (or perhaps time dependant with patience) FOr me, and this is an issue especially with older glass. (non internal focused) is the minimum focus distance.

I have 5 credible wild life options, which I will list from oldest (aquired by me) to newest.

Vivitar MC 400/5.6 (minimum focus 22 feet focus throw 330 degrees)
celestron C90 scope 100mmF11 (minimum focus 3 feet focus throw 1500 degrees)
SMC (K) 300/4 plus 1.7x AFA Adaptor 510mmF6.7 equivelent (Minimum focus 12 feet)
Sigma APO 70-200F2.8 EX (non DG non Macro plus sigma 1.4x and 2x TCs ( Minimum focus 6 feet)
Tamron SP 200-500/5.6 (Minimum focus ~6 feet)

I like the tamron because it is 100mm longer than the sigma combo at the same aperture focuses close, for the little birds. I have not shot a lot with it yet, but have had some shots like the one posted above.

The sigma lens is great focuses close, but somewhat limited on focal length, and has issues with flash due to the lack of aperture compensation with the TC and pentax bodies.

The pentax 300/4 and teleconverter is also pretty good, and has produced stellar images when used with TTL flash on my *istD. the close focus distance is a little long, which can lead to missed shots, best working range is between 15 and 30 feet (5-10 meters)

The old vivitar lens is great for large animals, but difficult for birds, due to the minimum focus distance, which requires putting extension tubes if you are set up close to a feeding spot.

the celestron is an interesting beast, but lacks contrast, and is very slow to focus due to the multi turn focusing collar. also by 1000mm tripod stability is a real bitch.
11-03-2011, 06:41 PM   #30
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Well, I did it.... I just purchased...
Sigma 100-300 f4 apo ex dg from a forum member

And from B&H:
Sigma 1.4x ex dg apo TC
82mm Hoya UV(0) HMC
Lowepro Toploader Pro 75 AW
Lens Cleaning tools and a Large rocket blower.

I am all gitty, I can't wait till everything shows up (Wed/Thurs of next week) - bring on the snow baby, I'm ready to go play!

Thank you everyone for chiming in on this thread. The knowledge I have gained is invaluable. I still look forward to getting into the fast prime group (300/2.8 Tokina anyone?), however right now for my budget, I felt it was best to find a lens that best suited my vast needs (both wildlife and auto racing). The 100-300 (with a TC) was my dream lens setup, while I would have been happy with the new Bigmos, I feel like I have a bit superior setup (while not as much reach of course). Looks like the fast primes will have to wait till spring time.

Greg
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