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03-24-2008, 07:57 AM   #1
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Looking for a reasonable 300mm telephoto lens

I have the Pentax 50-200 lens and I find it lacking in distance. I have read a few reports on 300 telephoto lens and they complain about how bad the lens get at 250 +. Is there a reasonable lens out there that fits this need? I Just got a K200D
and i'm going to Mexico. Thanks

03-24-2008, 08:32 AM   #2
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Well, I like my Tamron 70-300mm lots. It takes very good photos for the price ~$150 and you can fit it with the Tamron 1.4xTC or the 2.0xTC for mor reach.
03-24-2008, 09:14 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by hmcfly Quote
I have the Pentax 50-200 lens and I find it lacking in distance. I have read a few reports on 300 telephoto lens and they complain about how bad the lens get at 250 +. Is there a reasonable lens out there that fits this need? I Just got a K200D
and i'm going to Mexico. Thanks
Any of the cheaper lenses have issues at the long end. Maybe look at the new pentax 50-300 that is just coming out now. Haven't seen any reviews yet, but maybe it'll fit the bill.
03-24-2008, 10:11 AM   #4
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People complain about "issues" at the long end with consumer zooms. Let me be patronising for a moment: People, they're consumer zooms, this means they won't work well wide open, if they did they would cost a lot more!

I sold my DA 50-200mm because I wanted something longer; I then bought the Sigma APO 70-300mm. I'm very happy with it, but I do use it judiciously, trying to circumvent its shortcomings. This means I only shoot it wide open if this makes the difference between making or losing a shot. Most of the time I shoot at f/8-11, and pictures are sharp enough at 300mm. Needless to say, these consumer zooms are daylight lenses, don't think about using them indoors without a flash.

I believe the Tamron version is just as good (or bad) as the Sigma, and I think the main reason I got the Sigma was because B&H were out of the Tamron when I placed my order, which made the decision that much easier for me. Otherwise, it's a toss up. I've also attached the Tamron-F 1.4x TC to this lens and, at f/11, the pictures are great.

I think a lot of people complain about equipment because they don't understand it fully. Any lens has limitations and strengths, and as a photographer you must find out what these are and work with the lens in such a way that you avoid the limitations and enhance the strengths.

In short: Either the Tamron or Sigma 70-300mm will be a good lens as long as you remember to stop down 1 or 2 stops whenever possible.

PS: There are two versions of these lenses available, the ones with digital coating treatment (and some other stuff, at around $220), and the older ones without it (around $150). Some say it makes no difference, but some say (especially regarding the Sigma) that the newer version is a lot better. Do your own research before deciding which one you get!

03-24-2008, 10:32 AM   #5
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Agree with Miserere, if you want sharp wide open at long end of zoom, you're looking at something like the $1K Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS. Or perhaps the non-IS 70-200mm f/4 or 200mm f/2.8 for ~$600.

$150 will not get you excellent wide open performance at 300mm!
03-24-2008, 10:42 AM   #6
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Agreed. Its all about reasonable expectations. I have one of these lenses and its okay for must stuff. The PF is the most annoying thing, but the softness I can live with until I decide I really want to spend $700 on a pro-quality lens.
03-24-2008, 12:15 PM   #7
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I'm in agreement with all of the previous. Get what meets your needs or go for the sharpest glass you can find. I went thru 2 long lenses, a phoenix 100-400, then a sigma 400mm and finally decided i wanted and purchased a 300mm f*. having been thru that, i'm looking at primes as i'm hooked on their sharpness and bokeh.

Last edited by ivoire; 03-24-2008 at 12:40 PM.
03-24-2008, 01:36 PM   #8
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Someone is selling a Sigma 400mm 5.6 in the Marketplace pretty reasonably...

03-24-2008, 03:21 PM   #9
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Couldn't be happier with my Sigma 70-300 APO, even wide open.
03-24-2008, 05:43 PM   #10
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I have 2 different approaches to the 300+ length.

1) Sigma APO 70-200 F2.8 EX with both the 1.4x and 2x TCs

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/187646-post19.html
2) SMC Pentax 300mm F4.0 plus pentax 1.7x AF TC
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/106132-post4.html


Neither of these options is cheap by any means, but they provide excellent results.

The 300 F4 can unde some lighting situations produce some CA but that is to be expected from a late 1970's design.
03-24-2008, 05:47 PM   #11
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The Sigma 70-300 APO is actually a decent lens (for the money).

- Andrew
03-24-2008, 07:26 PM   #12
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+1 for the Sigma 70-300 APO. Truly excellent value for money. It's not the sharpest wide open. Though, as noted by another poster, you wouldn't expect it to be for the money. Here's a couple of example shots:

1. ist* DL - 240mm - f/13 - 1/180


2. K200D - 300mm - f/5.6 - 1/320


edit: Thought I'd add in fairness for the lens in #2, if I'd have bumped up the ISO so that I could use a slightly faster shutter speed the shot would've been sharper. But I'm my own worst critic

Last edited by heropsycho; 03-24-2008 at 07:52 PM.
03-24-2008, 07:37 PM   #13
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One thing to consider is that if you get 70-300mm zoom, then you will be almost duplicating your 50-200mm lens (with and extension at the long end). So in this case you might want to consider selling 50-200mm and using the money to get better replacement zoom lens.
03-25-2008, 06:00 AM   #14
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Like others have noted, there are few bargains in the low end tele market. If you don't mind manual operation, the Pentax K300/4 has lovely optical performance. It is big and slow to focus (270 degrees lock to lock).

I find the F*300 4.5 is a wonderful lens, small enough to hand hold in decent light. Sharp from wide open, very nice image quality. Auto focus is slow (lots of mass to move) anf they have become increasingly rare. I believe the FA*300 4.5 is the same lens without a tripod mount.

DA*300 4.0 is now generally available and I suspect it is nice but have no experience.

Some FA*, A*300/2.8s can still be found as NOS but they are in a different class price wise and size wise.

Dave
03-25-2008, 05:16 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by davef Quote
Like others have noted, there are few bargains in the low end tele market. If you don't mind manual operation, the Pentax K300/4 has lovely optical performance. It is big and slow to focus (270 degrees lock to lock).
Dave
Dave, I agree, see my post above in this thread for an example of what this lens can do with a 1.7x AF TC.

BUT there are down sides, it has been known to show some good CA with light backlighting, as you state manual focusing stop to stop is slow (but precise) there is no tripod mount, I made my own, and someone lese has bought one (made down under)

The big plus is that it is fast enough to work with the 1.7x AF TC

Note also that I have seen this lens go for quite high prices, so it is not cheap, and the cost of the AF TC is out of this workd at the moment.
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