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11-25-2012, 12:38 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobG Quote
My 500mm mirror lens is probably lighter, but it's not AF. Thanks for the suggestion! I don't like my chances of finding one second hand though. Although - I'm planning a trip to Japan, so perhaps I could track down a second hand one in Shinjuku? That's worth a try!
It is all a function of being able to wait until you find one. The K300/4 is always available on eBay, as is the AF adapter. Getting a newer A lens, or perhaps a tamron 300/2.8 will take longer,

There are also those who swear by the DA300/4 and the 1.7x AF converter, but that can get expensive

11-25-2012, 01:51 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
It is all a function of being able to wait until you find one. The K300/4 is always available on eBay, as is the AF adapter. Getting a newer A lens, or perhaps a tamron 300/2.8 will take longer,

There are also those who swear by the DA300/4 and the 1.7x AF converter, but that can get expensive
Maybe I can pick up a second hand K300 f4 and a TC in Japan. The DA300 f4 is more expensive in Japan than mail ordered from the US.
11-25-2012, 07:39 AM   #18
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My K300/4 works well with my Pentax A 2x converter. The big problem is that it is one big heavy beast to handle and the lens doesn't have a tripod mount and the converter makes it harder still. You will need to either find a tripod mount bracket that fits it or make something. I can't hand hold it and all that weight isn't too steady hanging out on the front of the camera on a tripod either. I don't go hiking with it.
11-25-2012, 03:58 PM   #19
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If you're looking at used lenses you might as well consider the F* and FA* 300/4.5. Each of them will work fine with a 1.4x or 1.5x TC. Since they use screw-drive AF you have more options for TCs since the DA* 300/4 has SDM AF, which requires a TC with power zoom/SDM contacts and these are somewhat more rare.

11-25-2012, 06:39 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by reeftool Quote
My K300/4 works well with my Pentax A 2x converter. The big problem is that it is one big heavy beast to handle and the lens doesn't have a tripod mount and the converter makes it harder still. You will need to either find a tripod mount bracket that fits it or make something. I can't hand hold it and all that weight isn't too steady hanging out on the front of the camera on a tripod either. I don't go hiking with it.
Good points! I'll be hands-on with any lens while I'm in Japan, so I'll be able to make a judgement about the weight of the lenses.

QuoteOriginally posted by msatlas Quote
If you're looking at used lenses you might as well consider the F* and FA* 300/4.5. Each of them will work fine with a 1.4x or 1.5x TC. Since they use screw-drive AF you have more options for TCs since the DA* 300/4 has SDM AF, which requires a TC with power zoom/SDM contacts and these are somewhat more rare.
Excellent stuff to know. Thank you!
11-26-2012, 08:23 AM - 1 Like   #21
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I have read through this thread and would like to add my own experiences, as I own the 50-500 (albeit the old screwdriver-AF version) and also the Pentax A* 300 and the Tamron 300/2.8. Of these lenses I find the Bigma the most useful, simply due to its versatility. Both my fixed focal length lenses might offer a slightly better sharpness and both are faster, than the Bigma. I could also use my 70-200 with the dedicated 1.4x tc, which will also give me roughly a 300/4 - but the winner is the Bigma.

Reasons:
- versatility, extended zoom range
- form factor and weight - much smaller than carrying three or four lenses it can replace
- good image quality, when stepped down

Yes, fine focusing is important, as for whetever reasons the IQ degrades sharply, when the focus is off. But if focus is good, the IQ is also good enough for almost any purpose. It is important to close the aperture down to f/8 or better f/11, especially at the long end. This vastly improves sharpness and contrast. But anyway, with a 500mm lens you very often need to step down because your depth of field is getting too small for animals.

Yes, IQ suffers over long ranges - it is the same with all of my other 500mm lenses (Pentax 500/4.5, Tokina 500/8, Noflexar 600/8). I even reworked my Pentax 500/4.5 mechanically, because I thought, my infinte focus was off, after many test shots. BUT after many comparissons (I also have the Meyer Optik 500/5.6) I found, that the lenses were not to blame, but atmospheric turbulence. On a sunny day, IQ will visibly degrade, when you shoot over distances longer than perhaps 20 metres, depending on the forgeground. Worst are pavements, streets or rocky or sandy areas, overgrown ground is slightly better.

Any shot taken over longer distances in usual nice and sunny photo conditions will show this effect, just extreme tele lenses will magnify the turbulences and the smearing of image detail, which follows out of this. I think, this is a factor, that is often overlooked when discussing IQ. I cannot comment on the merrits of the DA 300, but I am personally very happy with the Bigma and my A*300 is a collector's item nowadays.

Ben
11-26-2012, 07:57 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
The 60-250mm might be a better choice- remember, a 1.4x SDM TC will likely be coming out next year!

Here's a little review of the Bigma:
Sigma 50-500mm F4.5-6.3 APO OS HSM - Review - PentaxForums.com

Notice how small the resolution gain is between 250 and 500mm.
does this mean that a cropped shot with 60-250 at 250 will equal an uncropped one from the sigma at 500mm?

also is the 150-500 sigma the same quality as the 50-500, as the 150 is much cheaper compared to the others
11-27-2012, 01:04 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Shanti Quote
does this mean that a cropped shot with 60-250 at 250 will equal an uncropped one from the sigma at 500mm?

also is the 150-500 sigma the same quality as the 50-500, as the 150 is much cheaper compared to the others

I have a 60-250 --- and experience with a variety of long pentax branded primes including not only the ones in my signature line
but a prior the DA*300 f/4 which I sold, a Pentax-A 300 f4 which I sold, a Pentax A 300 f/2.8 which I sold and a pentax A 600 f/5.6
which I sold as well. I found them all to be fine pieces of glass.

That said, I am profoundly impressed by the optical quality of the DA60-250---I normally don't care much for long zooms but it is clearly
a keeper, and the lens that I carry in my bag (because it's the only one of my long lenses that will actually fit in my bag) that I take for casual excursions. it also pairs nicely with a normal lens for a generic 16-50 type zoom.

That said--- unless your birds are 10 feet away, it's not a bird lens. I think however that a zoom lens is a mistake for a bird lens--- any zoom.
What you want is long... to make my point I include 4 photos.---- all full frame.

First is taken with 60-250 at 250---at very close range---10 feet or so--maybe less

Second image taken with an FA 600 f/4 about as close as it would focus.

third image taken with FA600 plus 1.7x adapter about as close as you can focus

forth image taken as last about 600mm + 1.7x (around 1000mm) --- at around a 100 feet distance.

My point is this:--- for birds or any small object --- if you are 10 or 15 feet away from it it isn't too hard to get a decent picture with any telephoto but if the
bird is a 100 feet away they don't make a lens long enough to get a good photo. --- the bird is so small in the photo that even with the AF set to spot mode--- I ended up focused on the brush and not the bird. --- and I used a heavy tripod, a gimbal head and a remote release...


11-27-2012, 04:18 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by rvannatta Quote
My point is this:--- for birds or any small object --- if you are 10 or 15 feet away from it it isn't too hard to get a decent picture with any telephoto but if the bird is a 100 feet away they don't make a lens long enough to get a good photo. --- the bird is so small in the photo that even with the AF set to spot mode--- I ended up focused on the brush and not the bird. --- and I used a heavy tripod, a gimbal head and a remote release...
On the other hand, a 600mm f4 lens will get you full frame on a bird without having to disturb it so much. I would love to have the time to justify working with a 600mm f4 lens! I think you reflected what someone else said - which is that with birds (and frankly wildlife in general) it's more useful to get close than to use a really long lens. Thanks for your input!
11-27-2012, 06:35 AM   #25
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I had a Sigma 150-500 which I returned because it was not pixel sharp at 500mm. I have a Pentax A*300mm f4 and recently acquired a DA*300, both of which I like very much. I mainly use the DA lens because of much better CA performance, WR, and AF. I've kept the A lens due to its compact size. I have a Kenko PZ 1.5X TC, but AF with the DA*300 is slow and random. Come on Pentax, where's our TC?
11-27-2012, 12:04 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobG Quote
On the other hand, a 600mm f4 lens will get you full frame on a bird without having to disturb it so much. I would love to have the time to justify working with a 600mm f4 lens! I think you reflected what someone else said - which is that with birds (and frankly wildlife in general) it's more useful to get close than to use a really long lens. Thanks for your input!
Close works very very well. A rule of thumb that I created for myself a very long time ago was based around a 400mm lens then on a full frame
film camera. I looked up in my trig tables the field of view for a 400mm lens which on full frame came out to 10% of the distance. I then
adjust in my head from there... First the APS-C size helps a lot so that's a plus, and I think about whether my lens is longer or shorter
than 400 mm... ----- if you look back at my fist photo taken with the 250---- which should have the effective focal length of close to 400
on an APS-C--- you look at the bird--- a seagull--- fairly large bird... estimate the field of view from the photo--- maybe 1 foot or more or if you think in metric perhaps a 1/3rd of a meter... Multiple the result by 10 and you come out something over 10 feet or around 3 meters.

This give you a place to start thinking..---- double the focal length you can double the distance. I could have taken the first photo at 6 meters
distance instead of 3 meters with a 500 mm glass but it still means that getting really close is really important.

Another thing not mentioned--- the longer the lens--- the shallower the depth of field---and I mean really shallow as close range.

There are a couple reasons that I keep my 400mm f2.8 as well has having the 600 f/4. One was that when I was shopping
for a 'long lens' I found the 400 first, but the other is that it has significantly more depth of field, and if you need to prefocus
on a place you expect birds to come----you will have a lot better luck using the 400 with at T/C than using the 600 because
the T/c doesn't alter the depth of field.

Another consideration in the US at least is that the 400 in its carry case is small enough to qualify as carry on baggage, and the 600 isn't and if you plan on flying where there are carry on size limits. You will also need a large heavy tripod in any case for the exotic long glass with
a monopod or hand held working well at 300 and under.
11-28-2012, 05:49 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by rvannatta Quote
I have a 60-250 --- and experience with a variety of long pentax branded primes including not only the ones in my signature line
but a prior the DA*300 f/4 which I sold, a Pentax-A 300 f4 which I sold, a Pentax A 300 f/2.8 which I sold and a pentax A 600 f/5.6
which I sold as well. I found them all to be fine pieces of glass.

That said, I am profoundly impressed by the optical quality of the DA60-250---I normally don't care much for long zooms but it is clearly
a keeper, and the lens that I carry in my bag (because it's the only one of my long lenses that will actually fit in my bag) that I take for casual excursions. it also pairs nicely with a normal lens for a generic 16-50 type zoom.

That said--- unless your birds are 10 feet away, it's not a bird lens. I think however that a zoom lens is a mistake for a bird lens--- any zoom.
What you want is long... to make my point I include 4 photos.---- all full frame.

First is taken with 60-250 at 250---at very close range---10 feet or so--maybe less

Second image taken with an FA 600 f/4 about as close as it would focus.

third image taken with FA600 plus 1.7x adapter about as close as you can focus

forth image taken as last about 600mm + 1.7x (around 1000mm) --- at around a 100 feet distance.

My point is this:--- for birds or any small object --- if you are 10 or 15 feet away from it it isn't too hard to get a decent picture with any telephoto but if the
bird is a 100 feet away they don't make a lens long enough to get a good photo. --- the bird is so small in the photo that even with the AF set to spot mode--- I ended up focused on the brush and not the bird. --- and I used a heavy tripod, a gimbal head and a remote release...
Thanks for the help..my problem is with Oly I have 600mm effective FL with a 300mm lens or 50-200+ TC,which can give good shots,if only Oly had a better body!! and since the OMD won't focus fast enough with 4/3 lenses, I am planning to move to Pentax.And with a budget of $2000-2500 trying to find the best solutions..I plan on K5II and at least 1 long tele & 1 wide zoom.Since there is IS on the K5II body,then the older Pentax glass should work fine for more slower animals, but my main goal is to get the Buzzards that live nearby,and very hard to get close to them.Do you think when Pentax comes with their TC next year,then the DA300 or 60-250 could be a good solution?
12-04-2012, 08:10 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by traderdrew Quote
There is also the Sigma 500mm F/4.5. It is just under 7 pounds. Most of my best photos on flickr were taken with that lens. The top 4 photos here were taken with it #2 and #3 were taken with the addition of a 1.4x teleconverter.

Flickriver: Andrew's Wildlife's most interesting photos
Are all your shots taken with a K-5?
12-04-2012, 08:51 AM   #29
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The Bigma. I'm trying to like mine, as it's only about 6 months old.

It's a difficult lens because I use it on a gimbal, and because the lens changes in length, the balance point is always changing. I've tried to use it on a monopod and a regular tripod, but because of it's size and weight, I can't seem to find the nirvana in use.

The in-lens stabilization starts up and you can feel whatever is inside doing it's thing. Since I turn on/off my camera all the time when out shooting, it's a little bit of lag for the lens to "settle" into whatever the stabilization mode it needs to be in.

Like others have said, it's sharp in some places, not so much in others.

Since I'm not a big seller of my Pentax gear once I buy it, I will probably keep the Bigma. The Bigma goes with me as part of my kit, but it's utility may be better served with the DA*300 or with Sigma's own 300mm.

Would I buy it again? Dunno. 50/50.

Here is an image taken with the Bigma, with a crop, hand-held.



Sure it's hand held, but there is no way I could use it that way all day.

So with the Bigma being in the $1500 range and with the DA*300 being in the $1300 range, I would probably go with the Pentax in hindsight and save up for the Sigma 500mm.
12-04-2012, 09:21 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Shanti Quote
Thanks for the help..my problem is with Oly I have 600mm effective FL with a 300mm lens or 50-200+ TC,which can give good shots,if only Oly had a better body!!
You don't need to worry too much about equivalent field of view. A 300mm lens on a 16mp Pentax can be cropped to look like a 300mm lens on a 12mp Olympus, giving similar IQ while still providing superior dynamic range.

The DA*60-250 is a match for the Oly 50-200mm, but it's true that a TC for Pentax is a problem. Some people are satisfied with the 60-250 and PZ-enabled Kenko 1.5X or Tamron 1.4X. A PZ TC might tide you over until the Pentax TC is released.

I debated the DA*60-250 vs DA*300 for a long time. Obviously the zoom is more versatile, but I have a DA 55-300 that has fine IQ as long as I don't crop too much. I finally chose the prime over the 60-250 for its close focus capability, slightly longer range and better resolution. All three of these reasons become even more important when I add a TC.

I have a Kenko 1.5X and Pentax A 2X-S. The Kenko works with the DA*300 but it's slow and you have to pay attention to where it has focussed. If it's having trouble, I am quick to use the quick-shift feature. I haven't tried the 2X with the DA*300 yet. It has auto aperture, but no AF.

Last edited by audiobomber; 12-04-2012 at 09:31 AM.
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