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12-08-2011, 08:43 PM   #16
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Personally, I'd look for a really good 500mm mirror lens. A 3M5CA (Tair), & Tamron SP are my top two choices, followed by the Tokina and Sigma. I don't think I'd bother with anything else in a mirror lens. I personally have the 3M5CA, and I'm in love with it. I never thought a mirror lens could be that sharp.

Anything past 500mm, and you really need a tripod to shoot. The cons of a good mirror lens are: Fairly slow at f8, (but fine for daylight or tripod use) and donut bokeh. Pros: Cheap, good ones can be very sharp, compact, and no CA issues.

12-08-2011, 09:39 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by GibbyTheMole Quote
Personally, I'd look for a really good 500mm mirror lens. A 3M5CA (Tair), & Tamron SP are my top two choices, followed by the Tokina and Sigma. I don't think I'd bother with anything else in a mirror lens. I personally have the 3M5CA, and I'm in love with it. I never thought a mirror lens could be that sharp.

Anything past 500mm, and you really need a tripod to shoot. The cons of a good mirror lens are: Fairly slow at f8, (but fine for daylight or tripod use) and donut bokeh. Pros: Cheap, good ones can be very sharp, compact, and no CA issues.
+1 for the mirror lens suggestions.

The shots I've seen from the Samyang 500/6.3 looked promising enough that I'd also give it a try if I'd need to get a mirror lens. And these days it's cheaper than the old ones.

BTW, I was looking some days ago at Sony's 500mm mirror lens and it looks like it's been discontinued - I wonder why - did they really have no customers for that unique AF lens?
12-08-2011, 10:25 PM   #18
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I've got a Sigma AF 400/5.6 lying around somewhere at home, looking for a new home.
12-08-2011, 11:37 PM   #19
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Thanks to you all for your input.
I'd only be daylight shooting, got a tripod, main objective would be birding.
Cheers,
Mike

12-09-2011, 06:49 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mychael Quote
I'd only be daylight shooting, got a tripod, main objective would be birding.
Sounds like a good mirror lens is right up your alley. I use mine for birds & wildlife, too. Good luck! - Bob :-)
12-11-2011, 01:15 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mychael Quote
Thanks to you all for your input.
I'd only be daylight shooting, got a tripod, main objective would be birding.
Cheers,
Mike
You never have a lens too long for a bird. least expensive way to get there is with a 300 fast prime and a converter. I really thing
long zooms are a waste. you are never too close with a bird. If by chance you are take a head shot instead of a full shot.

for my 2 cents worth the cheapest thing on the market that has outstanding IQ is the Pentax A* 300 f/4 prime. Push it out there
a ways with a converter and you still have a reasonably fast high quality solution.

(conflict disclosure: I did have one of these for sale---but sold it a week ago....with a minor scratch on the glass for $440 on ebay.)

Beyond that,there is a solution for every budget.
12-16-2011, 08:34 PM   #22
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Twitch - which shop in Melb was that? I wouldn't mind seeing if they still have it?
Andrew
12-18-2011, 06:52 PM   #23
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You can get a tamron 300 f2.8 adaptall and 1.4 for under $800. Watch keh or adorama used. If you want af, get a Pentax 1.7 af tc. That gives you 510mm at a bit smaller than f4. You can find a 200mm F2.8 of various types for even cheaper and use the same tc to get 340mm.

It is tempting to get more length for birding. Someone, Ken Rockwell I think, said to invest in hip waders before investing in camera equipment. I don't agree 100%, a good long lens allows you to get stuff you couldn't otherwise, but learning to get close will help get better shots even with a long lens. 300mm fast and sharp lenses will get close enough for land birds; you can't see them further away anyways. Longer heavy lenses may also stay at home while a compact 300mm will more than likely be with you more often.

I was able to improve the shots simply by getting a faster and sharper 300mm.

12-19-2011, 03:48 PM   #24
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in response to the original question the next forcal length should be 400mm then probably 500mm but you may have to sell some stuff to get a lens that long. Then you should probably buy another 300mm to compare to the one you had first. I would suggest throwing a teleconverter in there to confuse things and make you think that a 600mm lens is what you need. I don't know of any 700mm lenses or any focal lengths that start with and odd number beyond 500mm but RioRico would be the one to ask really. So you should start looking for 800mm lens at this point and perhaps adapters that will allow you to use lenses from different systems on your chosen camera and perhaps a small laboratory in the shed out behind the house where you can do modifications and really expand the possibilities. Also, don't limit yourself to the continent you live on, you may find yourself asking if the cost of the plane ticket is less than the shipping then doesn't it make sense to go on a pilgrimage for that 1200 mm lens?
12-19-2011, 04:03 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by littledrawe Quote
... but RioRico would be the one to ask really.
I am invoked again! I know of many 500s and a not-so-great 650mm but otherwise I can't help much. To see what's available, search eBay CAMERAS section with this string:
(500mm,550mm,600mm,650mm,700mm,750mm,800mm,850mm,900mm,950mm,1000mm) lens pentax
12-19-2011, 11:51 PM   #26
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I've also been throwing around the idea of a 50-500 or 150-500, but since reading a number of threads, this one included of course, a fast 300 is moving up the list.... A 300 f/4 DA* would set me back a bit less than the bigma, but no hope of a Sigma 300mm or larger
However, I was looking at the zooms simply for that zoom function - being able to frame the shot better, without having maybe crop later in post. Being a complete amateur (but trying to improve) and thinking zoom is better, when using a prime 300, what do users do if too close or too far away to fill the frame? Will the sharpness make up for the cropping, as opposed to being able to zoom in further maybe maybe softer at a 500 limit. (hope that makes sense)

edit - would be on a k-x now, with intention to upgrade 2012 if a nice k-5 replacement, or FF comes out

Last edited by Stray Dingo; 12-19-2011 at 11:56 PM.
12-20-2011, 06:14 PM   #27
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No matter what you have you will be cropping. To fill a frame with a 300mm a small bird would have to be 6-8 feet away. To fill a frame with a 500mm, a mallard would have to be something like 20-25 feet away.

What you are looking for is a lens that can produce an image that can be cropped. Fast and very clear and that can be focussed and brought to bear upon your subject. A longer lens will allow you to see and focus on things further away, but for things not too far away, a sharper shorter focal length may give you a better image than a longer lens.

What I miss from a zoom is the ability to get the landscape shot I come upon. Very seldom do I miss birds or wildlife because it is too close.
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