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08-26-2013, 05:49 AM - 1 Like   #16
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I have a Tair 3M-5CA 500mm mirror lens I'm very happy with. Lightweight, good IQ, zero CA, compact, easy to shoot hand-held... The only cons I can think of is that it's a fixed f:8. But to me it's not much of a con, since it's a good shooting aperture for wildlife. Here's a few I've gotten with it:







Considering you can pick one up for under $150, I consider it a slam dunk long tele deal. I've tried other 500mm lenses, and this is the first one I was happy with. I'd say this one and the Pentax DA or DA-L 55-300, and you're in business. The 55-300 is another great performer that's a pleasure to shoot with, though it does focus hunt from time to time. It's one of my most used lenses.

Good luck,
Bob :-)


Last edited by GibbyTheMole; 08-26-2013 at 05:56 AM.
08-26-2013, 06:33 AM - 1 Like   #17
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I'm using a Pentax A 400 5.6 sometimes with a TC , for images click here.... (83 images)

I have to say.... though, sometimes you just don't need the reach of a TC

A 400


Unless you like birdie head and shoulders shots..

A 400 with TC (Pentax -F 1.7x AF)


close focussing isn't the best but it's a 400 mm lens, you want pictures of bird toenails?

It's just a ton of fun if you ask me, with a nice weight and relatively portable.



I got the A 400 for $450, I got the TC for $350, 400mm 5.6 and 680mm ƒ9.5 for $800.


Last edited by normhead; 08-26-2013 at 07:13 AM.
08-26-2013, 09:43 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I'm using a Pentax A 400 5.6 sometimes with a TC , for images click here.... (83 images)

I have to say.... though, sometimes you just don't need the reach of a TC

A 400


Unless you like birdie head and shoulders shots..

A 400 with TC (Pentax -F 1.7x AF)


close focussing isn't the best but it's a 400 mm lens, you want pictures of bird toenails?

It's just a ton of fun if you ask me, with a nice weight and relatively portable.



I got the A 400 for $450, I got the TC for $350, 400mm 5.6 and 680mm 9.5 for $800.
beautiful shots guys!!!
08-26-2013, 02:09 PM - 1 Like   #19
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The truth is when stepping into the world of telephoto FL's above about 250mm there's a definite learning curve. I've long advocated "training wheels" in the form of economical consumer-class 250-300mm lenses (plus a TC?) with no special regard for IQ for the initial gear. There's a LOT to be learned about technique and shooting style/venue at the long FL's and doing it with economical consumer lenses will allow you to progress along a path that suits you personally without feeling tied to a (perhaps) mistaken choice in expensive lens(es).

It's interesting what 2-3 seasons (6-9 months) of experience teaches you about long telephoto lenses and technique -- and you'll learn those same lessons regardless of the cost of the gear.

It feels a lot better writing that check for a $1000+ when you know what and WHY you want/need the upgrade and the trade-in value of the "training wheels", perhaps less a little for the tutorial lesson, won't change much from the initial purchase.

My first top grade looong lens was purchased at a bargain price from someone that discovered that the effort to go where the shoots were was simply too early in the day and too muddy for her comfort. Backyard birding gets old in a hurry.

Jus' sayin' from long experience.

H2

08-26-2013, 05:34 PM   #20
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Thank you for sharing great photos with us guys! And for good advice all of you. For now I have decided to start off with a relatively cheap Sigma 400mm (almost sure it is non-APO), and be looking around for a decent and cheap second hand version of the DA 55-300. (I do actually have the FA 100-300, (silver), but I have not felt particulary comfortable with it yet. Maybe will try to use that one a bit more as well.

Does any of you have any experience with non-APO versions of Sigma tele-lenses? does the PF and CA make this a hopelessly difficult lens to use? The lens I'm buying is the multicoated Sigma 400mm F5.6 Telephoto lens with A-setting on aperture ring.

regards
08-26-2013, 06:16 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by larshalvar Quote
I do actually have the FA 100-300, (silver), but I have not felt particulary comfortable with it yet.
If you already have that 100-300, you might not really need the 55-300. They're reportedly have similar IQ, though the 55-300 has a bit nicer build quality.

I think the lenses you've picked will suit you nicely. Stop down to f:8, and the PF in the Sigma is likely to improve. Have fun!

Cheers,
Bob :-)
08-26-2013, 07:48 PM - 1 Like   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by larshalvar Quote
Thank you for sharing great photos with us guys! And for good advice all of you. For now I have decided to start off with a relatively cheap Sigma 400mm (almost sure it is non-APO), and be looking around for a decent and cheap second hand version of the DA 55-300. (I do actually have the FA 100-300, (silver), but I have not felt particulary comfortable with it yet. Maybe will try to use that one a bit more as well.

Does any of you have any experience with non-APO versions of Sigma tele-lenses? does the PF and CA make this a hopelessly difficult lens to use? The lens I'm buying is the multicoated Sigma 400mm F5.6 Telephoto lens with A-setting on aperture ring.

regards
Any non APO lens will give you similar challenges. Specifically you will see fringing if you do not nail focus. It is that simple. As for "ease of use" that is a judgement call. For a MF lens, there are two conflicting ease of use "wants" fast focusing and accurate focusing. Both are a function of the focus throw, fast focusing is achieved by a short focus throw, typically less than 189 degrees, while accurate focusing is achieved with long focus throw, typically more than 300 degrees.

As you can see, getting both is hard.

My K300/4 is 27 degrees, my vivitar 400/5.5 is 330'degrees. My sigma 70-200/2.8 is only 90 degrees. I have never tried my sigma in manual focus, because with a 90 degree throw accurate focus would be impossible. I like 180-270 for manual focus, if you leave the lens at a middle focus distance when not shooting, moving either way is not too bad. 330 degrees is almost impossible to focus quickly, but is the most accurate. You can only really do this by trial, see what you like and move forward from there

Also note that your selection of a lens with an A setting is a good idea. Start looking at using flash. Works great for birds
10-27-2013, 09:22 AM   #23
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Just wanted to give anyone interested a little update. (Kind of miss that my self in other posts).

As I tried to think through what I really wanted, I ended up with a two-lens solution. I got my hand on a very carefully used Sigma 150-500 for around 500$. Since this is a big monster I also invested in the more portable 55-300. (sold the FA 100-300). So far I am very happy with both, already see that the tendency is that the 55-300 will be the easier choice when hiking. I also got my hand on a older pentax 18-250 for almost nothing (anyone now how much this sold for new when they existed in the lineup?), and this pleasantly surprised me, also in the long end.

I would be interesting to add comparable pictures taken with the different lenses, maybe I will post a update if I do so.

Thanks for sharing everyone!

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