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04-26-2012, 08:42 PM   #16
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Very tasty photos done with that *300, ton of detail in those first three, very well done!

04-27-2012, 10:56 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by jpzk Quote
Confusing explanation ... !

I take for example my DA*300/4:
I attach the A-FA 1.7X Pentax adapter.
Total FL = 510mm
The camera "asks" what focal length to enter.
I this case I would enter "500" (close enought to 510)

Now, does that mean that the IQ will degrade with those parameters or is it the other way around?

If the camera asks about the focal length you are good to go.

The issue is if the TC has all the contacts and transmits the focal length from the lens data pin. In that case your DA*300 will be reported as 300mm and since the camera can get the FL from the lens, the manual option in the menu to enter FL is grayed out.
04-27-2012, 05:32 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
I'm not a birder but I will second a couple of thoughts:

1) The Pentax 1.7x AF TC is pretty good

2) Tokina has a few interesting long lenses, if you look at some of the examples on the web

Despite #1 above, your best bet with a TC (IQ-wise) is going to be any lens that fits with one of the Pentax Rear Converter-A L models. But then you will be stuck with MF. As I said, my 1.7x AF TC is fairly good, but not nearly as good as the A L models (which I wish I could use instead).
The Pentax AL converters are similar to the sigma APO - EX teleconverters, as the front element of the TC protrudes into the rear of the lens. In fact any lens that can use the Pentax converter can also use a sigma converter as the sigma converter only protrudes 12 mm into the rear of the lens, the AL convert somewhat more

One thing I learned is that some of the long Tamron lenses also can use the sigma and Pentax converters, I am addressing here the 300/2.8 , 400/4 and 200-500/5.6

I have put the sigma 2x on my Tamron 200-500/5.6. The converters are very good but designed for long tele lenses. The 1.7x AF TC is about the best all round lens, but really is only fully AF capable formF4 or faster lenses, F4.5 has been reported to work, but needs some light,
04-28-2012, 03:02 PM   #19
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$1500 should get you a pretty decent lens but you did state if you could get one for less you were OK with that.

If you don't mind manual focus there are lots of options out there. You might consider the Pentax A 400 or M 400/5.6.

I've been using the M 400/5.6 for a few years now and quite like it. See my ongoing review in the lens review section.

SMC Pentax-M 400mm F5.6 Reviews - M Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

I cover most of the pros and cons of this lens there. Initially I used this optic with my K10 and got pretty good results. The K5s increased dynamic range makes this lens even better.

If you are willing to take the time to practice and don't mind a lot of initial failures these lenses are worth a look.

Tom G

04-28-2012, 03:40 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by kenafein Quote
There is a tokina 400mm/5.6 in the market.
A caveat: I had one of these lenses, the manual focus version not the ATX autofocus. It was EXTREMELY COMPACT AND LIGHT. All 400 f5.6 lenses should be so wonderfully transportable and hand holdable. BUT, it was very soft. I parted with it sadly, but the outstanding ergonomics (for me) just could not compensate for those soft images, even when stopped down. The ATX autofocus version is alleged to be sharper.

PS: replaced it with a Tamron 400 f4, which is very sharp, and BIG and HEAVY, but it provides images significantly sharper than the Tokina even when combined with a Pentax 2XL converter.
04-28-2012, 04:09 PM   #21
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I would and did go with the 150-500. It's way underrated.

I also have the 300, very good but most of the time you're way too far away even with the 500. The 300+1.7 is a good combo too but IME not that much better than cropping the 300 and requires you to purchase an extra $400 TC.
04-28-2012, 07:47 PM   #22
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Have you used the 150-500 much yet?
04-28-2012, 09:09 PM   #23
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Yes. I have some pics but I will need a few days to upload them, I don't think I have them here. If you're super interested I can pm you one that's on Pentax Photo Gallery.

04-29-2012, 02:22 PM   #24
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First, thanks for all the responses. Secondly, just to clarify, I have a K20d (I haven't updated my gear page in a while...sorry about that...).

Don't know if that changes anything, but there it is. Thanks all!
04-29-2012, 02:36 PM   #25
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...and as much as I would love longer reach, my real goal is to get better image quality and contrast. I originally bought a Tamron 70-300mm DL II, back when I didn't ahve a lot of cash. It produced really nice 70mm, stopped down to f8. Everything else was muddy, and the long end was really really unsharp. It started to malfunction, so I picked up a Sigma 70-300mm to tide me over until I made this decision (it was like $50 on ebay). It performs almost worse than the Tamron on the long end.

I'd really like a lens that gave the brightness and color of my mid-range binoculars. SO even if it's just 300mm, but a really good image, that's fine with me. I can get closer to birds, but I can't make the lens produce a better image. I'd really like to not have to adjust the ev comp up a step and a half, stop down several stops, and then still need to bring levels up in lightroom just to reproduce the light level my eye saw, and that's even before we talk about sharpness and color reproduction.

I have been in the hinterlands of bad lensdom for a long time, and would really really like to stop wasting my time outdoors trying to salvage things from my crappy lens.
04-29-2012, 02:48 PM   #26
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Save up and buy the Sigma 500mm f/4.5. A stellar lens.
05-01-2012, 06:03 PM   #27
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just saw this in the market place

identical to what I use, not that I'm getting anything out of this , but it is a great start, just add the 2x Sigma TC and you have all you will need to get started, and you can add and subtract TCs to suit the light and shooting conditions for more than just birding
05-03-2012, 07:27 AM   #28
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which lens for birding?

Frankly, a 50mm should do you fine since you say birds are flocking and you dont want to spend too much.

Jokes apart, the native 300mm DA* (and the 300mm f4.5s) is one lovely lens. As long as you can lock focus properly and expose right, you should be fine with cropping, assuming the Texas coast gets good light. I always believe good field craft and technique cannot be substituted by range. So I'd let a TC be.

A few examples of a hobbyist's attempts at birding: All shots handheld and cropped to various degrees

K5 & DA* 300mm f4

K5, DA* 300mm f4 + Kenko 1.5X SHQ Pz TC

K5 DA* + Pentax F 1.7X AFA (practically uncropped)

Hope this helps.


Last edited by ariban; 05-03-2012 at 08:06 AM.
05-09-2012, 10:32 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by coreyhkh Quote
Based on feed back here I got the Pentax 300mm DA* just over a week ago and so far I have been out almost every day. The lens has way more resolution then my sigma 70-300 and I am able to crop a fair bit.
Here are a few pics from last weekend I was about 20 or and the last one of the black head gull was maybe 50 and I did a crop.
Really lovely shots. You do the lens justice.
05-10-2012, 09:34 PM   #30
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I use Tamron 300 2.8 Adaptall 2, with the the PKA adapter. It meters well with my K20 and K5. Using the 1.7 adaptor gives me autofocus that is great in good light. It is heavy, of course, and a gimbal with a solid platform has increased my bird keepers.

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