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10-12-2013, 05:51 AM   #31
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I don't know if you can really do with a MF zoom.

But if so, have a look at the reviews of the (constant aperture) SMC Pentax-A 4.0/70-210.
Resolution seems to be only slightly less than of the SMC Pentax-A 4.0/200.

It is heavy and not small, but on eBay it sometimes sells for less than $50 (at least in Europe). If it doesn't work for you, you should be able to re-sell it for the same price.

10-12-2013, 06:31 AM   #32
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@Lowell Goudge

Older German user reviews compared some of the Pentax 135mm lenses.

It seems the newest (SMC-FA 2.8/135 and SMC-A 2.8/135) are the best in every respect, the SMC-M 2.8 not far behind, and also (anstonishingly) the Takumar 2.8/135 [Bayonet] also not far behind (NOT the Takumar 2.5/135 [Bayonet]!).
Directly compared, the K was well behind.
Unfortunately, the mentioned two newest actual sell for premium prices; 2-3 years ago you could have got at least the SMC-A much cheaper.

Please don't shout at me, I have not done such comparing reviews myself.
10-12-2013, 07:00 AM   #33
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Lowell, it is true that if you're doing something like jumpers, which is fairly predictable because you know exactly where the horse and rider are going to go (it's a pre-set course), it would be possible (if difficult IMO, since I've seen the result of pre-focusing on the fence vs following the horse with AF and it's not really pretty). Even if I could shout at the owners to ride only in the same spot of the pasture back and forth - but with loose horses/riderless galloping around, there's no way XD

Out the door to the barn, hahaha - will look up the other lenses when I get home, thank you guys!!
10-12-2013, 07:59 AM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by Elisha Quote
I could basically go on for days, sorry this is so long XD
I know it was said, but I want to reiterate--don't be sorry, and feel free to go on for days.

I think it's really interesting.

I don't know enough about horses to understand all of what you're saying, but my girlfriend and daughter both love horses, and I think they're beautiful animals, so it seems likely that I will have the chance to try my hand at some horse photography at some point.

10-12-2013, 05:32 PM   #35
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Yeah, you just became the Pentax Forums resident horse photography expert
10-12-2013, 09:41 PM   #36
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AHH!! Noooo, the pressure! :P

thornburg, that's awesome, and you should definitely try your hand at it (and share here). Horses are amazing creatures if I do say so myself.

I feel like mine is especially hard to photograph because he's so full of, erm, personality, it's very rare to get a shot of him where he is not making some utterly ridiculous face or throwing his head way up in the air or galloping in some weird way with his head turned around BACKWARDS, etc. If I get one of him looking "normal" I pretty much have to just take what I can get LOL. They are a ton of fun.
10-12-2013, 09:46 PM   #37
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Work the site to get the background a lot farther away from the plane of focus and play the light angles to separate the background from the subject. Explore one of the depth of field calculation programs (on-line) to get a feel for what sort of background separation you need.

Some experimental shots of corral posts (without PAYING customers) will teach you a lot about what you want to know -- and not cost ya a cent. It's all explained in the basics of photography.

H2
10-13-2013, 09:11 AM   #38
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Pacerr, I'm well aware of how DOF works, and regardless of the subject's distance from the background, I am unable to get the background separation with this lens I would shooting at a wider aperture (ex. in the shot I posted where the horse was right up next to the fence, I would not expect the fence to blur - but all that junk 100ft behind the fence, yes) without a certain level of zoom. I have experience shooting at all apertures and am pretty aware of the lens's limitations at this point (have been using it for 2+ years). I can get background separation with the DA55-300 but not the kind I'm after - fine for hobby photos of my own horses but if I'm getting paid I want to do a better job. There are also instances where I cannot control the subject's distance from the background ex. shows (I was as far away as I could possibly get for these, on the opposite side of the arena kneeling and shooting through the fence)



vs. at the same show with closer zoom:


I love this lens for headshots and close-ups of the horses working but for full body shots I'm pretty confident at this point that I need something faster. :|


Last edited by Elisha; 10-13-2013 at 09:19 AM.
10-14-2013, 12:49 AM   #39
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@Elisha If you're interested in the Sigma 75-200 f3.8 mentioned in the second post, let me know. I have one that I have been thinking about selling.
10-14-2013, 10:27 AM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by Elisha Quote
I love this lens for headshots and close-ups of the horses working but for full body shots I'm pretty confident at this point that I need something faster. :|
Are most of your shots handheld?

If so, be aware that weight can present a serious issue with "fast" long lenses.

I think in terms of f/2.8 lenses, a 200mm prime or 210mm zoom is probably the limit for hand holding during an event or a session longer than 10 minutes.

These lenses weigh about 3 pounds, which doesn't sound like much, but it's a lot to be holding steady for any length of time.

A 300mm f/2.8 lens is going to weigh around 5 pounds, which will wear you out much faster.

At 300mm you might need to look for an f/4 lens, which is back down to about 3 pounds.


None of those are really cheap, but you can save up for them. If you're getting paid work, it should only take a few jobs to cover the cost of a used 700-200/2.8 or 300/4.

Has it been suggested yet in this thread that you could try renting? There are several good lens rental places on the internet. LensRentals, BorrowLenses, CameraLensRental, etc. (I've never used any of these places, I've only read other people's experiences).

This would let you try out several things, and see what will work well for your specific situation. It will, unfortunately, cost as much as "cheap" lens to rent a nice one.
10-14-2013, 11:47 AM   #41
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Yes, thornburg, I rarely drag out my tripod and thanks for the warning - good point. :|

I think I mentioned renting/borrowing once - I would definitely have to do it online since my local camera place doesn't have rentals on ANY Pentax stuff. I will look into it

I know a couple of equine photographers, one of whom primarily uses a tripod, I could ask her about the weight thing - I could just get a very short tripod, hahahaha.

Unfortunately can't worry too much about it at the moment since my horse decided to slip/fall and butcher his knees yesterday... looks like my last job and the one I have this coming weekend will both be going into vet bills.
10-14-2013, 02:58 PM   #42
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I'd highly suggest a monopod to give that added bit of stability.

Since what you need is something cheap and long, maybe you could look into a mirror lens of some sort and a second body to use it on.

Use the mirror lens on body A, and your zoom on Body B. When you want to shoot far, use the mirror, and when closer use the zoom.

Mirror lenses tend to be cheap, and if you use it mainly wide open you shouldn't have to worry about the donut bokeh too much (I think... never owned a mirror so trying to dredge up secondhand knowledge here). You can pick up a second used body for around $200 - $300 or so, so combined you would have your body and a lens for around $500 or less.
10-14-2013, 03:53 PM   #43
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If you could use a manual lens (very tough for this), the Rokinon 85mm f/1.4 (on full frame, 135mm on APS-C) + a 2x adapter would work. The problem here is 'manual focus'.
I have one of these manual lenses, and 85mm (135mm) @ f/1.4 is very difficult manually w/o a tripod and non-moving subject.
With a 2x lens adapter, you would have 170mm/270mm @ f/2.8. This lens is very sharp, and not that expensive. See Rokinon/Samyang/Vivitar 85mm f/1.4
10-14-2013, 06:38 PM   #44
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Elisha, your work is simply gorgeous. I believe there is a clear path for you that might work.

1. work your images in post a little more - they will look a little more "premium" with borders added, and stronger control of tones and contrast.
2. Create a package of print options for your clients, including fine art papers, canvas prints metallic prints etc.
3. Sell your prints at higher fees to raise money for an expensive new lens.
10-14-2013, 06:53 PM   #45
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Thank you guys for all the suggestions, I am filing them away

Fuent, I PMed you a question
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