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11-07-2011, 10:37 AM   #1
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Replacement for SMC Pentax 300mm F4

Greetings,

I have been using SMC Pentax 300mm F4 for few years. Some times I use it with SMC F 1.7X Teleconverter. I bought this with low investment at that time to get familiarized with tele lenses and especially leveraging K mount on new dSLR bodies. With little climb on learning curve, I am able to take decent shots with that beast (1.1 kg), Stop down metering, Steady hold etc. I love bird photography and want to take next step. I am not yet fully achieved to take perfect bird shots, but slowly I am getting there. I am getting soft shots with 300 f4/ 1.7x TC combo. It might be real problem with the way I am taking pictures or the copy of TC I got is soft.

The practical problem I am facing now with this lens is No tripod mount, every shot I need to do stop down and little heavy when I combine with 1.7x TC. I want to sell this and look for replacement. I have two choices

1) Just sell the lens and keep 1.7x TC. I may get around 200- 300 USD. and buy a new lens.
Choices are
a) SMC Pentax-DA* 300mm F4 ED [IF] SDM,
b) SMC Pentax-F* 300mm F4.5 ED [IF],
c) SMC Pentax-FA* 300mm F4.5 ED [IF], All of them are around $1000 mark.
2) Sell both lens and 1.7x TC and get a Bigma Either Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM or Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 DG HSM APO

Though I target for quality glass, budget also has some constraint :-). Is it worth selling both lens and 1.7x TC and go for Bigma or Keep 1.7x TC and decide on the 300 prime (within in the budget).

If you are in my position, what would you opt? Any other inputs are highly appreciated.

Thanks in advance
Sudhakar

11-07-2011, 11:19 AM   #2
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I would take DA* 300mm. I had opportunity to use this lens on showcase that was organized by local Pentax dealer. Wondefully built, it gave sharp pictures even at f/4, rather light (compared to 70-200 2.8 zoom that I own) with nice deep oldschool round hood. I'm in love
11-07-2011, 12:16 PM - 1 Like   #3
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I think that you will always want at least 500mm now that you have had it.

WHat I am unsure about, is whether any super zoom is up to the same quality as the K300/4 and 1.7x TC, all else being equal.

One thing for sure, I doubt you will find a lighter combination that gets you to 500mm!

I have the same combination and am quite pleased with it.

I also have a SIGMA APO 70-200F2.8 EX (non DG non Macro) which I use with the sigma APO 1.4x and 2x TCs, although I find the additional 100mm reach useful at times. (many birds are very very small)

i have just added an old tamron 200-500F5.6 (2.5 kilos ) which I am starting to work with.

In my experience to date, the sigma is possibly the sharpest even with the 2x TC, and especially wide open. Later sigmas were not as good at maximum focal length wide open, but the first of the APO 70-200 lenses is very very good.

For me, the next step is much more expensive, I am not sure that the DA 300/4 is enough of an improvement over what I have to go for it, I am considering a 300/2.8 or 500/4.5 but I would want auto focus, so I am looking at $3K-$5K if I purchase new.

care to post any of the shots so far with the K300/4.
11-07-2011, 02:31 PM   #4
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I have and use the A*300/4. razor sharp. But it is just a bit better than K300.

11-07-2011, 10:52 PM   #5
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Thanks Lowell for your reply. I know you own both :-). I also read about tripod mount efforts from you on this lens :-). Here are some shots

300 mm F4 lens
300mm f4 with 1.7x TC
11-08-2011, 03:57 PM   #6
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Sudhakar that dove is at least 300 mm long. You are not practicing enough you should be a lot closer. At 8-10 meters that should fill the frame. Try consciously to work close to the MFD of the lens. Doves are easy. I usually need to back up for them
11-08-2011, 04:06 PM   #7
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Also look at adding a flash. One of the things I find is that when cropping in like you would need to on those images you amplify all shake. Flash freezes a lot of it
11-08-2011, 04:08 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by hoanpham Quote
I have and use the A*300/4. razor sharp
+1, mine works well for me

11-08-2011, 10:26 PM   #9
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Thanks Lowell for the suggestion. Yes, I need to practice :-)

On the other hand, DA 55-300 also looks good to start with for my requirement. Of course attaching 1.7x TC is weird thought considering the image quality.
03-12-2012, 11:16 PM   #10
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Tried DA 55-300 recently from friend. Lens quality is good but has zoom creep.

I sold my K300/f4 now and again back to market and started paying attention to Pentax DA 60-250/f4. Wanted to keep 1.7xTC. Now the decision is between three aspects

* DA 300/f4 (plus 1.7x TC) For reach
* Da 60-250/F4 (plus 1.7x TC) for flexibility
* Faster lens of 200/2.8 range (plus 1.7x TC) for faster speed.

reach vs flexibility..... :-)
03-13-2012, 03:17 AM   #11
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A couple of things to throw into the mix. What I face, Lowell may also, is low light conditions. I have a Tamron 300mm 2.8 and enjoy the ability to see enough to focus. In most instances it is good wide open, but high contrast I get purple fringing and the bokeh has aberrations. Stopping down helps considerably. I get good results with a 140F tc if the light is good. You can get a good copy for less than $1000. Not a pocket walkabout setup however. Mono or tripod required.

I have an A*300, a very nice light lens for hand held shooting, but I need the few stops I can get from a monopod.

You will enjoy going to at least an A type lens. Having real time metering allows you to get shots off quicker.

CIF works quite well for a manual focus setup.
03-13-2012, 04:37 AM   #12
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What about getting the tamron mirror 500/8 model 55BB?
03-13-2012, 05:00 AM   #13
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A more practical solution to the handheld K & M 300 issue might be to have a custom tripod ring machined for the lens. There is also a tripod telephoto lens supporter from Manfrotto that might help solve the handheld issue.

Manfrotto 293 Telephoto Lens Support with Quick Release 293 B&H

03-13-2012, 10:27 PM   #14
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@hoanpham, Thanks for the pointer. I never used mirror lenses; Looks to be good. It clearly states no auto focus. In which mode does these mirror lenses do work? Av/Tv/ M or only Manual. If only manual, then it does not meet requirement.
03-13-2012, 11:00 PM   #15
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I have both: zoom - DA*60-250/4 and long prime - FA*300/4.5. They are quite different. The DA* is my favorite lens for street photography. And I use FA* paired with Tamron 1.4X Pz-AF exclusively for the wildlife. I've chosen FA* over DA*300 deliberately for the screw driven AF. I also own 1.7X AFA. Unfortunately, I never had IQ with it even close to what FA*+1.4X can deliver. And I tried 1.7X AFA with 200/4 and 300/4 super Takumars, Tamron 400/4, etc.
There are a few samples here:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/177731-recomme...ginners-4.html
Also there are two small albums: DA*60-250 and FA*300+TC here:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/members/43571-greyser/albums/

Last edited by Greyser; 03-13-2012 at 11:06 PM.
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