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03-24-2012, 08:26 PM   #1
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K10D Lense info needed

I have a K10D Pentax SLR and need a good lense for it when I go to Costa Rica in May. I want a nice telephoto lense for birds and to capture the animals off in the distance. Any recommendations?


03-24-2012, 08:37 PM   #2
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Have you looked at the 55-300mm?

Pentax-DA 55-300mm Review - Introduction -

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03-24-2012, 08:42 PM   #3
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Your question will set off the usual firestorm of responses. Here's my recommendation: a DA18-250 or its Tamron twin, no longer in production but widely available used. It's what I take to Guatemala. If you want slightly longer reach with a bit better optics at the long end, the old FA100-300 (silver) can't be beat, and can be had for about US$100. (I don't know the DA55-300 so I can't speak of it.)

I have no trouble with either of these in rain; I wrap plastic bags around them and shoot away. May is on the wet side of the cusp of dry|wet seasons, but even if you're concerned about weather, the DA18-135WR really isn't long enough for small creatures. So I'll stick with pushing the DA18-250 or FA100-300 (silver). Have fun!
03-24-2012, 08:56 PM   #4
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+1 to Adam's suggestion of the DA55~300. I have a K10D and the DA55~300 is my long lens. It produces really bright, sharp images with great color saturation, especially in good light. Mine anyway stays at f/4 or f/4.5 until about 240mm so the great 100ISO and 200ISO color of the K10D are available at or above 1/30 outdoors hand held.

They're not animals - but sometimes they act like them!

K10D/DA55~300 @300mm f/9.5 ISO100 AF.C 1/500 (-1 EV) SV Spot metered SR not active

I can't compare to the other advice offered because I don't have those lenses.

Last edited by monochrome; 03-24-2012 at 09:05 PM.
03-24-2012, 09:34 PM   #5
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+1 for the 55-300mm
03-24-2012, 11:06 PM   #6
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+1 55-300mm... especially for birds

55-300mm @ 230mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO 400 (+2 EV)

I had forgotten that the bokeh on this lens can be quite nice!

55-300mm @ 300mm, f/5.8, 1/250, ISO 800 (+2 EV)
03-25-2012, 06:05 AM   #7
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I went to costa rica in may 2010 with habitat for humanity to assist in building affordable homes for the local residents. As the trip was not principally a sights seeing vacation I took only a bridge camera, my Kodak DX7950. This cama was equipped with a 36-360mm (35mm equivalent) lens, so I believe I can tell you how an 18-250 will perform, especially considering my lens was almost 2 full stops faster.

I was on the western coastal area, about 4 hours south of the Capitol

In the jungle, it is very dark, to the point that unless you really consider running your ISO in the 3200 range, you will not get any shots. It is simply too dark. In the open grass lands the situation is different, and their are many colorful birds, all within reach of something in then300-400mm range, if I were going on a pure vacation, I would for sure take my 300/4 and 1.7x AF converter, as well as my 70-200/2.8 and 2x TC. If you are limited to only one lens and don't want to brake the bank, the DA 55-300 or FA 100-300 seems to make more sense than a super zoom like the 18-250. Aside from reach, I think the IQ of a more traditional zoom ratio would be superior to a super zoom, and I really don't think there is a need to concern your self with switching lenses or weather sealing.

Edit notes:
costa rica is about 10 degrees north of the equator and the sun is , in may almost directly overhead. One thing I did notice is that the level of light, in the open is extreme, what ever lens you take, take the best, longest hood possible that avoids vignetting when on the camera. Younwill have a lot of flare issues.

I also know from experience the K10 is a very contrasts camera. You might want to pay attention at first to the histogram and adjust your contrast levels

A polarizing filter should also be considered as essential for bright reflections

Last edited by Lowell Goudge; 03-25-2012 at 06:12 AM.
03-25-2012, 05:58 PM   #8
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I have the Tamron 70-300, would this 55-300 be a good upgrade? I want something that can zoom in closer than the Tamron.


03-25-2012, 06:19 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dayve Quote
I have the Tamron 70-300, would this 55-300 be a good upgrade? I want something that can zoom in closer than the Tamron.
They both go to 300mm, so no difference. The DA55-300 is just slightly wider, not a huge difference. (On my K20D, 55mm AOV= 29 degrees; 70mm AOV= 24 degrees.) I don't know their close-focus distances so I don't know how far you can zoom in for close shots.

But if you want more reach, another xx-300mm zoom won't change things. Look for a 500mm mirror (fairly cheap), or a Lil'Bigma 170-500 or Bigma 50-500 (not cheap at all). Other lenses of 500mm or more tend to be pricey too, or not so great. There's a Samyang-made 600-1200 branded as Spiratone that is neither hugely expensive nor very well-liked. Always trade-offs...

Next time I drive to Guatemala, I probably won't take the Lil'Bigma 170-500, mostly because it's a lot of extra bulk to carry into posadas every night, and to keep an eye on. I'll take my little Sakar 500/8 mirror to supplement the DA18-250.

Last edited by RioRico; 03-25-2012 at 06:26 PM.

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