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11-23-2011, 08:36 PM   #1
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Long telephoto advise

I am using a K10D, and would like some long lens advice for shooting wildlife. As of now looking at three options:

1. Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3
2. Pentax DA* 300mm F4 with 1.4x converter
3. Pentax DA* 200mm with a 2x converter

Any advise would be most appreciated.

11-23-2011, 08:59 PM   #2
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I would avoid the 2X teleconverter, they rarely produce images that are real quality and you lose a lot of light. I don't have any experience with the lenses you have mentioned but the DA* 300mm would seem to have the best optics out of your above mentioned options.
There are a number of other threads here about long telephoto lenses and reading what other people have said may help direct your purchase.
11-23-2011, 09:09 PM   #3
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I'm pretty happy with the 150-500 for airshows. I have not used those primes or TC's, though.
11-23-2011, 09:37 PM   #4
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Something to help you decide:
You have a K10 so I assume you are not gradually building a large kit. I have the 50-500 Sigma that does most things well except from 300-500mm from about 10m to infinity it gradually gets softer. Close up it is Ok and throw flash at the subject and you can get some very sharp images.

If you are building up a good kit, you will use the 300mm for ever or until you drop it or it is stolen. if you want really great images you will eventually want to replace the 150-500.

I would keep away from converters for wildlife as it adds to the time and probably the accuracy of focusing. Sigma TC in theory should not be placed on Pentax lenses.

11-23-2011, 09:37 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by dougfrey Quote
I am using a K10D, and would like some long lens advice for shooting wildlife. As of now looking at three options:

1. Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3
2. Pentax DA* 300mm F4 with 1.4x converter
3. Pentax DA* 200mm with a 2x converter

Any advise would be most appreciated.
I bought and returned a Sigma 150-500. I couldn't get sharp photos out of it (cropped to 100%). I also didn't like the size, the creep and the rings that turned in the opposite direction. I bought an A*300 f/4 and I like it much better. I often use it with a Kenko 1.5X TC. I have a Pentax A 2X-S TC that I no longer use because it is a too much of a compromise on an f/4 lens. I don't think it would do much better on a 200mm f2.8 either. The aperture would be OK, but you'd still have the strong CA.

The problem with the DA*300 is, which TC? A Kenko/Tamron PZ TC will not reliably focus with SDM. Most people recommend the Pentax AF 1.7X. Good reach but it's pricey, and the minimum aperture goes way up to f/6.7. For anyone who's happy with 300mm reach, the DA*300 is a beauty. Maybe the DA*300 and a new Pentax with 24MP sensor will overcome the need for a TC.
11-23-2011, 09:38 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by dougfrey Quote
I am using a K10D, and would like some long lens advice for shooting wildlife. As of now looking at three options:

1. Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3
2. Pentax DA* 300mm F4 with 1.4x converter
3. Pentax DA* 200mm with a 2x converter

Any advise would be most appreciated.
I usually get beaten with a stick when I comment on a request like this, but I have thoughts I'llshare anyway.

1) wildlife tends to hide in the shadows when possible. being a smaller animal out in the open is an invitation to be lunch for a predator.
As a consequence slow lenses really suck for wildlife if you are anywhere that the critters can hide. This in my view limits the usefulness
of the long zoom.

2) The 200 is too short making the 300 the best choice. At the end of the day, the really good photos are take when you are really close
to the subject, not because you have a really long lens.
11-23-2011, 09:46 PM   #7
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No stick from me. I fully agree with rvannatta and audiobomber. However the question is for someone who probably has limited money to spend. quality = 300mm and stay away from a TC. Flexibility = sigma choice.
11-24-2011, 12:59 AM   #8
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I'm a Sigma 50-500 owner, lens that is supposed to be superior to the 150-500. Since I tried the DA* primes I wish I would have buought the DA*300 instead.
The 300 - 500 is not so much of a difference and you with prime (and K-5 in my case) I could have gotten same or better pictures by cropping. Also the Sigma is f6.7 in the most attractive long part of the range. You will be forced to high ISO a lot, which is not a good idea with K10D.

11-24-2011, 02:08 AM   #9
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I am in the sudden, unforeseen, fortunate position of having both the Sigma 150-500mm and the DA* 300mm. I only just got the prime, so my experience is limited to one test shoot so far, but on that trip I used the prime with the 1.7x Pentax AF teleconverter.

(Results here: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/166123-nature-cutest-bir...usband-wp.html)

I have to say the quality of the 1.7x + 300mm beats that of the Sigma at 500mm - no question. They are equally slow with this combination, so f6.3 is the greatest aperture you will get, but with the Sigma you need to stop down a bit further to get top quality at 500mm - preferably to f8 in my experience.

I can do that with my k5 by using TAV and high iso, but that wouldn't go well with the k10d, which in my experience gets noisy above iso 400...

In Denmark, I would say go with the 300mm + 1.7x converter - without converter the reach would be hopeless for nothern european wildlife. On the other hand, if you shoot mostly in great light and you shoot outside Europe where wildlife is less paranoid, the Sigma gives you more flexibility, and at f8 quite fine quality.

I hope this was useful.
11-24-2011, 02:24 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by rvannatta Quote
At the end of the day, the really good photos are take when you are really close
to the subject, not because you have a really long lens.
well, actually long lenses have two advantages, aside from allowing to stay much more distant from the subject, with less problems of noise and smell:

background are much more uniform and less distracting, thanks to the narrow filed of view
depth of field is the same, if the subject is as much large in the frame as with the shorter lens, and the aperture is the same, but it is shifted more toward the foreground as the lens is longer, and that helps a lot with having the subject fully in focus, and the background more out of focus. Many wildlife photographers use 600mm with 1,4x for little birds that would be easy to get near, exactly for that reason.
11-24-2011, 03:09 AM   #11
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You should look in the 300mm plus lens club, there are lots of options.

I can't speak for all the options, but I do have several long options and use them all.

At this point, the two most reliable are the K300/4 plus 1.7x FT TC, and the sigma APO70-200F2.8 EX (non DG non macro) and sigma 2x TC

While I agree in general that a 2x TC is not worth it, the sigma ones are an exception and designed to be used only with specific sigma long fast tele and tele zoom lenses. The SMC-F 1.7x converter is another exception to the rule that TCs degrade the image.

I like these two options because they a light enough to hand hold ankd both produce good results. The first generation sigma zoom that I have is reputedly the sharpest 70-200/2.8 at maximum focal length and wide open, later versions got a little soft at 200mm

I am now playing with a Tamron. SP 200-500 F5.6 but this is a completely different beast, literally, at more than 2.5 kilos, it is jtripod bound but also produces good results, although I do not have the eerience with it yet to say whether it is better than the other two options I have
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