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02-27-2008, 10:08 AM   #1
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Advice on a new lens - Bigma or something else?

Hi,

I've been using my K10D for about 6 months now (though not as much as I would like to) and have the Tamron 18-250 as my one and only lens.

I'm fast approaching my 40th birthday and it has been made known to me that friends and family are contributing to a pot to buy me a nice present - what would I like?

Well I would like a lens that is going to let me get close wildlife shots - birds and mammals and amphibians mainly. I also like to sit in the cafe's here and take natural people shots but often find that I cannot get the subjects 'close' enough with the Tamron.

Am I better asking for the Bigma (50-500) or should I be looking at something with a fixed focal length - seeing as the first 250mm of the Bigma is already covered by my Tamron.

I'm by no means an expert in photography - the K10D being my first SLR and I'm learning everyday.

Thanks,
Techno~

02-27-2008, 10:18 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Techno~ Quote
Hi,

I also like to sit in the cafe's here and take natural people shots but often find that I cannot get the subjects 'close' enough with the Tamron.

Am I better asking for the Bigma (50-500) or should I be looking at something with a fixed focal length - seeing as the first 250mm of the Bigma is already covered by my Tamron.


Techno~

Sitting in a cafe pointing a bigma at people would be pretty funny, but it wouldn't get you many 'natural' shots. Unless you like pictures of people looking angry/concerned/frightened

SMC 200mm f/4 with 1.7x TC would give you 340mm of very good IQ on a pretty small lens. Good for the cafe, and would only run you about $120 or so. Then , get a bigma for the non-human wildlife for the rest of the gift.


.
02-27-2008, 10:29 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
Sitting in a cafe pointing a bigma at people would be pretty funny, but it wouldn't get you many 'natural' shots. Unless you like pictures of people looking angry/concerned/frightened

.
ha ha - actually its sitting outside cafes taking shots of people up and down the street o rin the market square.
02-27-2008, 11:24 AM   #4
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If your looking from something new then really the Bigma is your best bet. Sigma has a couple of other zooms that go to 500mm (and are cheaper) but the IQ of the Bigma is better. The only new prime lens that is 500mm is the Sigma 500 f/4.5 but is is really $$ (~$4000 US dollars).

Other options if you want to use a TC are the new DA 300 f/4 (with a 1.4x tc it will get you to 420mm) or one of the newly announced 70-200 f/2.8 with 1.4x and/or 2.0x TCs.

It is a tough call, you can never have enough reach for wildlife shots so if that is your main focus I'd go with the Bigma or the 300 with TC. If your more of the people shots then I'd go with one of the 70-200 zooms with a 2xTC, that gives you a lot more flexibility. But these are just my personal opinions, in the end you'll have to decide what is best for you and ignore all of us who reply

Good luck, and post some photos no matter what you choose

John

02-27-2008, 01:02 PM   #5
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Wouldn't use of handheld bigma require very steady hand? f/4-6.3 especially fully extended is not well suited for low light indoor photography. Just something to consider if you are not using tripod/monopod.

I am using Sigma 70-300mm lens that I simply love. It gives me 450mm on my Pentax DSLR and that's enough for me to take pictures of my son running in the playground. I have even tried to take some pictures of the moon with it that turned out to be quite nice.

Just my 2 cents.
02-27-2008, 02:33 PM   #6
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as palmor suggested, a good intro into wild life would be one of the fast (f2.8) 70-200 zooms plus a 1.4 x TC

if you can't get to at least this ratio of focal length and apature (essentually a tele-lens that takes a 77mm filter or bigger) you are very restricted in terms of speed.

I have the sigma APO 70-200 EX F2.8 and both 1.4x and 2x TCs. The 2x will get a real work out in a couple of weeks, the lens plus 1.4x is a great combo but I want more length, and am holding out for a 300mmF2.8. Given the quality of the 1.4x TC, I would be quite happy with the resulting ~450mm F4 result.
02-27-2008, 03:03 PM   #7
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As I mentioned in another post the other two lenses I have considered apart from the Bigma are the Sigma 100-300 F4.0 which has a very good reputation and the new Pentax 300 DA. Personally I wouldn't want anything less than 300mm if birds are at all on the menu, which they are for me, and I will need to use a TC with it a fair bit of the time. From what other people say though it is desirable to be in a position to experiment with different TCs if at all possible as it doesn't always seem to be a case of getting a good TC, rather a combination of TC and lens that delivers for a specific lens. The Sigma 100-300 or one of the other zooms that people have mentioned would give you versatility for your people shots. IQ does degrade some with a TC but it still delivers pretty good quality apparently for the 100-300. For the best IQ possible when combined with a TC you probably need a prime.

Paul
02-27-2008, 03:23 PM   #8
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New Pentax DA* 300mm is what I would choose.

Sigma 300 f2.8 if you have USD $2500 to spend (or really good friends) and a good tripod. That one can take a 2x TC without losing too much IQ, but it weighs a lot so handheld only in good lighting.

Using a 1.4x and 2x TC with only a little quality loss gives it great versatility. I have tried both the Sigma 500mm f4.5 and the 300mm f2.8, and I liked the 300 the best. The 500mm really needs to be upgraded with HSM for Pentax to be of any use to me. At least thats what I think.

Both these lenses cost more than the Bigma though, and I think that one would get you far. At least until you are so comfortable with your photography that you get picky on lenses. Beware that the Bigma is not small though!

02-27-2008, 03:27 PM   #9
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"300mm if birds are at all on the menu"

What kind of shooting tool are you using Paul? Is this dinner or a picture??

he 100-300 is a good choice and is faster without a TC but once you add a TC you have a lens that shorter (420mm w/1.4) and aout the same speed. Then there is going to be a little IQ loss no matter what the quality of the TC is.

Adding a 2x TC to the Sigma or other 70-200 f2.8 will also slow it to f5.6 and still not give you the same reach (400mm) with the resulting loss in IQ and problematic AF as many have reported with the 2x TC's and lower light situations.

So it boils down to a prime or the Bigma IMO. Pluses for both. 300mm will offer better IQ when used alone and very good with a 1.4TC but similar speed. But it's shorter and it's fixed. So if you want to do street shooting, you are stuck with the single length and that might pose some limits.

The Bigma is of course a compromise but every lens choice is, fixed or zoom. It's big and heavy but very hand holdable with the K10D and SR. I've shot great results at 1/60th near sunset with that lens. The focal range can't be beat. It' a bit slow and a little soft at the extreme ends but that's typical for a zoom from anybody. The main thing is the the weight. Both choices are going to be heavy for a day of walking without question. But the Bigma earns it's name here. the lens will get tiring after a period and prepare to get a backpack or sling bag for a more comfortable day of shooting. Last, some question the sharpness but I don't agree.

Have a look at this sample shot at a full 500mm with the Bigma f9, 1/400th ISO 100

02-27-2008, 04:02 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Zack Quote
"300mm if birds are at all on the menu"

What kind of shooting tool are you using Paul? Is this dinner or a picture??
Just a turn of phrase Peter That image with your Bigma is very sharp, colourful and with good contrast. I'm impressed.

Paul
02-27-2008, 04:42 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
Sitting in a cafe pointing a bigma at people would be pretty funny, but it wouldn't get you many 'natural' shots. Unless you like pictures of people looking angry/concerned/frightened .
I've always thought that the Bigma would make a great paparazzi lens.
Seriously, though, I would probably use a smaller lens, unless the people I wanted to take pictures of happened to be across the street or something, otherwise your great friends who gave you the lens may also be scraping up more money to get you out of jail.

Depending on where I'm at, I sometimes get funny looks from people when I'm walking around with my camera, like they think I'm a terrorist scouting out sites for the next major act of destruction or something.

Heather
02-27-2008, 06:27 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Zack Quote
"300mm if birds are at all on the menu"

Adding a 2x TC to the Sigma or other 70-200 f2.8 will also slow it to f5.6 and still not give you the same reach (400mm) with the resulting loss in IQ and problematic AF as many have reported with the 2x TC's and lower light situations.
I don't think you'll have to worry about the AF or loss in IQ with the Sigma and matching Sigma 2xTC, assuming that the lens has the same IQ as the previous generation. That combo works extremely well together (see some other threads about TC's and that lens, were I've posted a bunch of photos with that combo).

That being said I'd still probably go for the Bigma if wildlife is the main focus, there is nothing you can do to make up the extra 100mm reach of the Bigma. If Pentax would ever release a reasonably priced 400mm lens (like the Tokina AT-X 400mm f/5.6) then I this all would be so much easier

Just MHO

John
02-27-2008, 08:09 PM   #13
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Amen, palmor.
Where are the pentax lenses bigger than 300? It would make everything so much easier.
thanks
barondla
02-28-2008, 02:27 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by barondla Quote
Where are the pentax lenses bigger than 300? It would make everything so much easier.
I think the FA* 400 f5.6 and the FA* 600mm f4 are available on special order from Pentax. If you call them and say you are interested, they make some for you. they probably cost around USD$10-15000 each?

Or i could be wrong and they stopped making them altogether.
02-28-2008, 04:30 AM   #15
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Thanks for all the great advice - it seems as though the Bigma is edging it - so hopefully the pot will be big enough for me to ask for that.

I'm sure as I get more experienced then the urge to buy different lenses for different situations will become too much to resist.
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