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11-03-2011, 04:30 PM   #1
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Rikenon 300mm f2.8 just arrived --- 1st quick thoughts

Hello everyone. A short while back, I started this thread about a 300mm f2.8 lens:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/162832-anyone-...f2-8-lens.html

Based on the discussions, I was fortunate enough to successfully bid on the lens via Ebay and it just arrived this afternoon in good order. I should like to share a few early notes:

1. The lens was just as the seller described. In my eyes it looks like it was hardly used.
2. It is a beast. The lens without hood and filter weighs 2185 gr (4.82 lb.) The metal hood weighs 462 gr (1.02 lb.)! In other words, lens plus hood and the included 122mm filter weighs just under 6 lbs.
3. I have a 45 year old tripod that just barely handles it, thank goodness.
4. Early pics look good in my eyes. As expected, it appears soft at f2.8. But at f4 and on it looks better. Just a few comparison shots with my 55-300 kit lens --- as hoped for --- shows it to be very much better.
4. Good news on the TC front: with my Tamron 1.4x Pz-AF MC4 TC, the IQ looks pretty decent in my old eyes. Hence, that gives me a 420mm f4.0 option. I must say that I like that.

I have to go out of town for 4 days and will not be able to do much with pics. But, after I get back, I will see what I can do to post some pics.

Thanks to all of you who kindly shared your thoughts about the lens. This is my first ever 300mm f2.8 lens and so far so good.

11-03-2011, 04:38 PM   #2
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Congrats on the Lens, you'll have fun, its a bit of a learning curve these Supertele's.
11-03-2011, 05:19 PM   #3
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Wow what a beauty!
Please post your results, I'd love to hear more about this lens.
11-03-2011, 05:33 PM   #4
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Looking forward to pictures.

11-03-2011, 05:44 PM   #5
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If you can switch the head on your existing tripod, a Wimberley head will do wonders for it.

I've become quite the fan of the Vanguard tripods. They're inexpensive, quite stable, and IMO almost as good as the 2.5x more money players.
11-03-2011, 06:50 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by altovintner Quote
Thanks to all of you who kindly shared your thoughts about the lens. This is my first ever 300mm f2.8 lens and so far so good.
Great to hear. Be sure to take some lens pr0n photos of it and add it to the lens reviews section!
Then, if you get tired of it right away... see my sig.

EDIT: never mind about the sig. Just won a Tamron 360B for the same price as your Rikenon! If I was going back to NM any time soon, we could have a shootout...

QuoteOriginally posted by Clinton Quote
If you can switch the head on your existing tripod, a Wimberley head will do wonders for it.
You've got the beast-lenses that would require a Wimberley on your tripod, Clinton. Have you ever tried the Wimberley "Sidekick" option on top of a big ballhead? (Not that I have a need for a gimbal... yet.)

Last edited by panoguy; 11-03-2011 at 08:09 PM.
11-03-2011, 10:17 PM   #7
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Hi altovintner,

Congrats on the lens! I think you did very well with this purchase.

Your Rikenon is probably a few oz heavier than average in this class, but the FA* 300/2.8 is the real beast of the 300/2.8s at 6 lbs, 10 oz with the hood.

After you get some time with this lens, it would be a good idea to write a review for the lens database on this site so there will be some documentation for it somewhere on the Internet.

Scott
11-03-2011, 11:15 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by panoguy Quote

Have you ever tried the Wimberley "Sidekick" option on top of a big ballhead? (Not that I have a need for a gimbal... yet.)
Hi panoguy,

I've been using a Sidekick for the past couple of years. Testimonials from well known photographers suggest that for up to about 7 lb lenses (500mm f4,5 class), the Sidekick is fine, but when the lenses get significantly larger and heavier, the full gimbal is the way to go. I've limited myself to the 300/2.8 class lenses with TCs to get more reach as I'm small, old, and weak, and I don't get much advantage from longer lenses for my purposes.

The Sidekick has advantages for me from a number of standpoints. I use it with a Manfrotto 468 MG head with a Wimberley conversion clamp. The ballhead that you use must have a very smooth panning base when the head is weighted significantly off center. You can test your head by attaching the lens and camera to the ballhead with the ball's shaft in the portrait notch, then rotating the head.

1. It's smaller, lighter, less expensive, and easier to pack since it doesn't include the base. My tripod case is big enough to accommodate the ballhead and pod, but not a full gimbal, and there's a side compartment that the Sidekick fits into, so it's convenient, and the gimbal is available by simply mounting it on the A/S clamp.

2. I have occasion to use shorter lenses when I'm out, and all I have to do is detach the Sidekick, and the ballhead is ready to rock. With a full gimbal, I'd have to carry a ballhead in addition.

3. The configuration of the Sidekick mounted on the ballhead allows me to tilt the Sidekick either up or down to get more versatility for positioning the camera before either the body or the lens hits the ballhead or tripod.


Whichever way you tend to go, I can easily highly recommend Wimberley as a company to deal with. The Quality of their products is undeniable, their CS people are extremely knowledgeable about the products they make, and they have that 60 day test drive program for US customers.

Scott

11-03-2011, 11:57 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clinton Quote
I've become quite the fan of the Vanguard tripods. They're inexpensive, quite stable, and IMO almost as good as the 2.5x more money players.
I picked up a Vangaurd tracker III and I'm quite happy with it. It's aluminum, so it could be a little lighter.. but compared to what I would have had to spend on a Manfroto or others this does the trick very well. But I would like to replace the head with something better for long lenses.. like a Wimberley of some sorts.
11-04-2011, 06:14 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clinton Quote
If you can switch the head on your existing tripod, a Wimberley head will do wonders for it.

I've become quite the fan of the Vanguard tripods. They're inexpensive, quite stable, and IMO almost as good as the 2.5x more money players.

Hello Clinton. I appreciate your suggestion on the tripod front. After looking over your sig, I see that you are most certainly not a stranger to big glass!

Also, thanks to others of you weighing in on this.

I am totally swamped getting ready to leave town and will not return until next Tuesday. Hence, sniffle , I will not be able to use my lens for the time being.

I will post some pics (probably the end of next week) and try my hand at a review.

Moreover, I am researching selling a kidney, selling blood, stealing, and other measures to fund this incurable LBA disease. In less than 45 days, I have this new 300mm and an FA31. This is not to mention that I would like to have at least 3 other lenses for my k-x --- plus a Leica M9 and a brace of appropriate lenses!
11-04-2011, 07:50 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by snostorm Quote
I've been using a Sidekick for the past couple of years. Testimonials from well known photographers suggest that for up to about 7 lb lenses (500mm f4,5 class), the Sidekick is fine, but when the lenses get significantly larger and heavier, the full gimbal is the way to go. I've limited myself to the 300/2.8 class lenses with TCs to get more reach as I'm small, old, and weak, and I don't get much advantage from longer lenses for my purposes.
Thank you so much, Scott! Very helpful, as always. I'm average-sized, middle-aged, and fairly fit, but I'm also a big believer in reducing weight wherever both economical and practical. This Wimberley Sidekick sounds like the perfect match!

I have a Markins ball head, and it's weight limit and panning base are well within the requirements of the Sidekick, but (on your suggestion) I called Wimberley and they confirmed that my ballhead and the sidekick would work well with the Tamron 300 f/2.8, but as you say, not a 600mm or larger. They also strongly advised a long lens plate for it, to adjust the position of the lens on the sidekick. Thanks again!

Last edited by panoguy; 11-04-2011 at 08:17 AM.
11-04-2011, 07:55 AM   #12
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11-04-2011, 08:12 AM   #13
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Here... happy now?

**From the original eBay auction.



Last edited by panoguy; 11-04-2011 at 08:17 AM.
11-13-2011, 11:52 AM   #14
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Update: review added

Hello everyone. Note that I just added a review with quite a few pics:

Rikenon - Tokina 300mm f2.8 Lens Reviews - Miscellaneous Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database

As I said in the review, this is my first 300mm f2.8 lens ever. All I could compare it to was my 55-300 kit lens.

Bottom line: I am very fortunate to have this lens at the price of $800. So far, the pics are coming out pretty good for me in my tests.

Again, thanks to all of you who took the time to share your knowledge with me as I pondered the purchase.
11-13-2011, 06:01 PM   #15
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Thanks for the preliminary review. Can't wait to see the bird photos you take with it!

I also have a funny feeling we won't be seeing many more reviews on that page (unless you sell it to someone else around here), since it is a very very rare lens. I talked to a local Ricoh aficionado, and he said he'd only ever heard a rumor that some of these were built, but never proof. I emailed him this thread...
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