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01-12-2008, 04:08 PM   #1
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Birding with the Sigma 300mm 2.8 & TCs

Does anyone successfully use this particular lens with the 1.4X and 2X TCs for birding on their K10D? If so, could you post up some un-cropped examples and maybe the estimated distance you were shooting at? How is the image quality overall and with the Sigma TCs? Thank you in advance for any comments.

01-12-2008, 05:19 PM   #2
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i'm totally happy with my tamron adaptall2 300/2.8.. even using the 140f and 200f TCs i see little loss of IQ..
01-12-2008, 05:57 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by roy Quote
i'm totally happy with my tamron adaptall2 300/2.8.. even using the 140f and 200f TCs i see little loss of IQ..
I looked at an adaptall F2.8 and tested it in the store with my K10D and 1.7x AF TC.

My impression was even stopped down, it had significant CA, Also I found that in automatic mode that I could not stop down past F4. (even by itself on the camera, and I read somewhere that the adaptall2 mount was limited to F4. Is this the case?

I really want this to work over the full range, and work well with my 1.7x AF TC, so that I have the 500mmF4.5 equivelent with auto focus
01-12-2008, 06:30 PM   #4
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You can check m8o's thread:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/10724-m8o-tanzania-07-a.html
shot mainly sigma 300 + TCs

01-12-2008, 08:46 PM   #5
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alib99, I'm glad it made enough of an impression to be memorable! Thanx, I take that as a compliment.

HawaiianOnline, the lens with the 1.4x TC has hardly any noticable loss in contrast or color; definitely no loss in sharpness; almost as if the TC were invisible. This is early example of when I said to myself this combo was capable of world class images.

The full frame:


100% crop showing detail in the eye, from the left an Acacia Tree, the Land Rover I was in, the Sun to my back, etc...

(this was converted from RAW early in my experience; it's over sharpened. If I did it over, I'd give it another treatment)

It also show the one issue when used wide open or near it. There 'can' be CAs / purple fringing, but slight and rare. If you were to go through the over thousand images in my Tanzania galleries on Fotki,you'll realize that's only visible in the most extreme circumstances, seen here in the reflection of the sun in a dark surface; and the pixel count is pretty small. You won't see that in too many of my images.

The link alib99 posted is my 'Best of the Best'; loads more on Fotki. It's at the 4th picture in post #28 of that thread where I started using the 2x TC. Basically, I used the 1.4x TC in Tarangire National Park, and the 2x in Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti. And, I still have close to 2000 RAWs from Ngorongoro and the Serengeti to convert and post [!!!]; no kidding. I ran out of steam, but I'm going to get back to it soon. What I think to be some of my best shots, as I knew how to use the gear by then.
01-12-2008, 10:18 PM   #6
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m80
What type of 1.4x TC do you have? I have been pondering the past couple of weeks or so about getting one. I was primarily looking at the Kenko because from what I understand, it works pretty much with all lenses.
01-12-2008, 10:19 PM   #7
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Thank you m8o. Your post is memorable indeed.
I have a Tanzanian friend in office who has been away from Tanzania for 7 years and I sent your fotki link to him and he was happy to see the photos.

I am in the position of getting a wild life lens mainly for birding and one of the best (actually second best after sigma 500 f/4.5 which is above my limit) option is your lens. I also agree with you that sigma 120-300 should have been available in K mount.
Regarding the CA, I observe that much of a CA even with the DA70ltd. So I guess it is not a great deal. I think you expect VL 125 performance

For the time being I am delaying the decision since I think coming few months will be quite exciting for us in terms of long glass and better AF capabilities of the new camera.

By the way, can I learn the reason for your decision on this lens compared to bigma. I assume a long range zoom would fit better for your trip considering that your shots are mainly under good lighting. You could have get full body elephant photos
Also can you comment on the focusing speed of the K10D, sigma 300 and 1.4/2X combo compared to FA50 for exampe.
01-12-2008, 10:34 PM   #8
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Wonderful pics m80. As for the CA, I am not too concerned after looking through your pictures. Any CA is relatively minor, few & far between. That's it, I am sold on this lens. B&H has them in stock and I am fortunate enough to have saved up enough to get it and the TCs. Thank you very much for your examples!

01-13-2008, 02:17 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by jgredline Quote
m80
What type of 1.4x TC do you have? I have been pondering the past couple of weeks or so about getting one. I was primarily looking at the Kenko because from what I understand, it works pretty much with all lenses.
It's in my sig, the Sigma. I image the Kenco would work just fine; be careful whether it passes the AF signal, or just A signal if you are interested in either, as I've seen images of some Kencos that don't have the connections.

I believe the Kenco and Bower are similar (any reader who comes along and knows 4sure, please confirm or deny). In discussions to sell the Bower 2x I have to someone, I took some comparison shots with the 300mm and 2x Bower, at f/4, f/8 & f/16, and you can see them here; use the filename to determine what f stop and with or without the TC:
Bower 2x TC Tests album | m8o | Fotki.com
Minus slight 'red cast' I noticed that can easily be adjusted by lowering the WB, I was very surprised and happy with that TC's performance. I imagine the 1.4 Kenco is of decent quality if you're using decent quality in through it.

Which remids me that I forgot to complete my first post in this thread above! HawaiianOnline, alib99, While the 1.4x is pretty much invisible, you will notice some loss with the 2x. I find the Histogram is usually a bit more compressed -- it's rare I'd both over and under expose a photo using the 2x -- and there is a a bit of color loss, but no color cast. I fix both very easily in post using Lightroom if needed in a picture w/o any degredation in the image. Yes, I'm able to stop down to f/16 and more with that lens and AF continues to work.

QuoteOriginally posted by alib99 Quote
Thank you m8o. Your post is memorable indeed.
I have a Tanzanian friend in office who has been away from Tanzania for 7 years and I sent your fotki link to him and he was happy to see the photos.
I am in the position of getting a wild life lens mainly for birding and one of the best (actually second best after sigma 500 f/4.5 which is above my limit) option is your lens. I also agree with you that sigma 120-300 should have been available in K mount.
Regarding the CA, I observe that much of a CA even with the DA70ltd. So I guess it is not a great deal. I think you expect VL 125 performance
For the time being I am delaying the decision since I think coming few months will be quite exciting for us in terms of long glass and better AF capabilities of the new camera.
By the way, can I learn the reason for your decision on this lens compared to bigma. I assume a long range zoom would fit better for your trip considering that your shots are mainly under good lighting. You could have get full body elephant photos
Also can you comment on the focusing speed of the K10D, sigma 300 and 1.4/2X combo compared to FA50 for exampe.
That's pretty neat to hear. That reminds me I need to get our head guide's e-mail address from my in-law and send the link to my gallery to him.

It would be interesting if Pentax adds long fast glass to their roadmap. I'm not holding my breath, but I am hoping.

AF speed of the lens alone is lightning fast; well the 50mm is ridiculously fast but it gives it a run for the money, though not that fast. It really could have used a focus limiter though. With TC in grey conditions trying to track a flying bird or birds above me as an example, with my piss poor panning skills, it would often go from infinite to minimum and back when trying to focus; aggravating. It does this in about a second but it seems longer shile you're trying to catch your subject. I should have used Manual Focus in those instances, as I just needed the lens near infinite and could have tweeked the focus ring quickly.

I got it over the Bigma for a few reasons...
#1, for the exact reasons I observed on my trip. Grey overcast skies meant nothing to me even with the 2x TC. I could stop down and still maintain AF with the 2x. Some on review sites reported their Bigma is fantastic up to about 420mm and softer @ the long end; that concerned me. I expected the prime + TCs to be superior, and being 1/2 stop faster at 100mm longer range with the 2x TC; 1 stop possibly more faster @ 420mm. (BTW, I call the 300mm f/2.8 the 'Biggerma' )

#2, there were no Bigmas shipping at the time. Sigma changes tooling through the year and releases lenses for particular mounts in big batches. Turned out a batch of Bigmas were expected in the US only days before I was going to leave on my trip. I was way way too nervous to wait. The 300mm f/4 was the same story. I could have probably got that in time for the same reason, but was too nervous about not having anything. I was dealing directly with a Sigma rep who offered me this lens, which I first declined. Due to my concerns about having something great, and the speed @ focal length issue, I called her back and said extra $1500 be damned, lets put a deal together. She set the sale up through 47th st photo and got it into my hands.

Ya, down side was only shooting Elephant parts most of the time and inability to zoom out when they were close, which they often were in Tarangire National Park (great place, probably the best of all 3 I went to.)

QuoteOriginally posted by HawaiianOnline Quote
Wonderful pics m80. As for the CA, I am not too concerned after looking through your pictures. Any CA is relatively minor, few & far between. That's it, I am sold on this lens. B&H has them in stock and I am fortunate enough to have saved up enough to get it and the TCs. Thank you very much for your examples!
Congratulations! I'll send B&H an e-mail for where they should send my commision check. Looking forward to what Hawaii has to offer for your subjects! I was figuring that lens would do you good, to work well in lush underbrush of the rainforests as well as in the open. My shots near the end of the 070820 - Leavning the Serengeti and Day Room @ Kilimanjaro (KIA Lodge) album | m8o | Fotki.com album of the birds eating the apple (or whatever fruit it was) on the 2nd & 3rd page was not only in grey, drizzly weather, but with those birds well under the canopy of the tree. With those I was not using a TC btw. On the 1st and 2nd page, the birds were so close some shots couldn't focus becuase they were closer then the minimum focus distance of about 6 feet! The birds were very used to people around them at the Lodge. In wilder conditions, I hear bird seed does wonders...

BTW, See above for my statements about the 2x TC if you jumped over it. And Pardon my jakking the thread of sorts answering other questions too, in this now marathon response.
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