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04-03-2008, 03:16 AM   #1
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Telephoto lens for wildlife

Hi

I`m bought an Pentax K20D camera some weeks ago. Now I have only 18-55mm KIT lens and Sigma 24mm/f1.8 for indoor shooting. But I like wildlife (I'm also a hunter for many years) and I want to try wildlife photography. That's why I need some good but not very expensive telephoto zoom lens.
There I get some avilable options:

1. Sigma Zoom Normal-Telephoto 50-500mm f/4-6.3 EX DG Autofocus Lens for Pentax AF - 999USD
Sigma | 50-500mm f/4.0-6.3 EX DG AF Lens for Pentax AF | 736109

2. Sigma Zoom Telephoto 170-500mm f/5-6.3 APO DG Aspherical Autofocus Lens for Pentax AF - 769 USD
Sigma | 70-500mm f/5-6.3 APO DG Aspherical AF Lens | 734109

3. Tamron Zoom Telephoto AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro Autofocus Lens for Pentax AF - 160 USD
Tamron | 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro Lens | AF017P700 | B&H

4. Tamron Zoom Wide Angle-Telephoto AF 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di LD Aspherical IF Macro Autofocus Lens for Pentax AF - 380 USD
Tamron | 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di Autofocus Lens | AF061P700

Help me to choose, please. The first 2 options is more expensive, third option is very cheap, also 4th option also is well priced.

May be I don't need 500 mm at begining?
May be I can buy the cheapest one and some tele converter?
May be there are another good lenses?

P.S. I'm living in Europe, it means also that I will have to pay shipping charges and customs fee + VAT (about 20%).
May be there are options how no to pay customs fee and VAT, if somebody can organize the lens as "commercial sample" or "gift"?


Last edited by Ivo; 04-03-2008 at 03:38 AM.
04-03-2008, 04:36 AM   #2
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Here are a couple of links to a response I gave to a similar question
The first gives the combinations I use for birds, (hardest of wildlife due to size


https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/207651-post2.html

the second goves results you can expect

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/208310-post5.html

in terms of selection, I have been shooting for a long time, and consider myself somewhat serious in shooting birds, you need to decide just how serious you are, because you can really consider about 4 steps in terms of cost.

these are

a zoom that goes to 300mm in the range of F6.3 like one of your options.

A zoom like the BIGMA, or either 70-200F2.8 and teleconverters, or a 100-300mm F4 and again a teleconverter, all of which will put you in the $1000 - 1500 range

A 300mm F2.8 plus TCs this will put you in the $2500-3000 range

a 400mmF2.8 plus TC or 600mm F4 this willput you in the $5000-6000 range.

Prices are quoted new.

I have been on the second step for a long time. trying to move th step 3 through used equipment

Last edited by Lowell Goudge; 04-03-2008 at 04:45 AM.
04-03-2008, 06:38 AM   #3
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Your getting into the weaker part of the Pentax lens lineup (long glass). About your only other option (only talking about AF lenses here) then what Lowell said is picking up a used 400mm f/5.6 prime lens like the Tokina AT-X 400mm or Sigma APO 400mm.

Actually just thinking as I type there is a Sigma 500mm f/4.5 that you can get in Pentax mount (hard to find) that sells for ~$4000 US dollars.

Anyway, assuming you want to keep the cost to no more then the Bigma (Sigma 50-500) personally it would be a toss up between a used Tokina AT-X 400 f/5.6 and the Bigma. The deciding factor between the two would be how do I plan on using them and how much weight do I want to carry. The Tokina has the advantage of being small and light but the Bigma as a 100mm more reach and a nice new warrenty.

Not sure if that helps, let us know if you have more questions


John
04-03-2008, 07:00 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by palmor Quote
Your getting into the weaker part of the Pentax lens lineup (long glass). About your only other option (only talking about AF lenses here) then what Lowell said is picking up a used 400mm f/5.6 prime lens like the Tokina AT-X 400mm or Sigma APO 400mm.

Actually just thinking as I type there is a Sigma 500mm f/4.5 that you can get in Pentax mount (hard to find) that sells for ~$4000 US dollars.

Anyway, assuming you want to keep the cost to no more then the Bigma (Sigma 50-500) personally it would be a toss up between a used Tokina AT-X 400 f/5.6 and the Bigma. The deciding factor between the two would be how do I plan on using them and how much weight do I want to carry. The Tokina has the advantage of being small and light but the Bigma as a 100mm more reach and a nice new warrenty.

Not sure if that helps, let us know if you have more questions


John

Just a note, pentax still offer the 600mm F4 FA mount lens. Just bring equal weight in cash. (there was one for sale in the marketplace a while back. not sure it sold)

I also note sigma offer the 300mm F2.8 and 500mm F4.5 at ~2500 and ~4000( as you indicate)

The question is, how to best get to this level. I am not yet prepared to go there personally, but I would consider a used 300mm F2.8 KA mount, because I have a 1.7x AF TC and that will give me 500mm F4.5.

I could also consier a 300mm FA because I have 2 good TC's already (sigma 1.4 and 2x) that will work on the 300 F2.8 but again, I am looking to the used market, If I was more serious, I would but the sigma 300 F2.8 new.

04-03-2008, 07:13 AM   #5
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The Sigma 50-500 is definitely my choice. It give good image quality throughout the range, and 500mm is pretty much the minimum length to get good wildlife shots, of true "wild" life. Of course, shots in the park or at the zoo look great as well, and you can get by with short/cheaper.

However, if you don't get the Bigma (nickname for the 50-500 due to it's size) now, you'll get it eventually. Once you do, you'll wonder why you waited.
04-03-2008, 07:43 AM   #6
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A different option, that I ended up choosing was the Sigma 100-300 F4 + Sigma 1.4 TC.

You can read the reviw for a Nikon mount here:
Sigma AF 100-300mm f/4 APO EX DG HSM (Nikon) - Review / Test Report

I only got it yesterday, so yet to test it. The only reason I chose this rather than the Bigma is it's performance between 100-300 at F4...with the TC, they are probably the same.
04-03-2008, 09:41 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ivo Quote
2. Sigma Zoom Telephoto 170-500mm f/5-6.3 APO DG Aspherical Autofocus Lens for Pentax AF - 769 USD
Sigma | 70-500mm f/5-6.3 APO DG Aspherical AF Lens | 734109
I bought this lens, and it was very soft. I went back to my M 400/5.6. I don't think the long zooms measure up to the fixed focal lengths YET.

Don't flame - it's just the facts so far, and it is a very much YET - sooner or later they will come up to par. I have nothing against zooms - check out my lens list.
04-03-2008, 10:21 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ivo Quote
3. Tamron Zoom Telephoto AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro Autofocus Lens for Pentax AF - 160 USD
Tamron | 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro Lens | AF017P700 | B&H
This is what I have. You can actually get it for $130 shipped at Buydig.com, which is very reputable.

It is well-built and sharp at the long end. AF is a little slow (though that might be improved with the K20D over the K10D). It suffers from noticeable purple fringing and chromatic aberration in backlit conditions. Here's an example of that, which I took:



I have taken a lot of bird shots with it, and it is great. This is from 11 days ago:



And here's another one from the same session, feel free to browse the rest. This one shows quite sharp detail of a robin eating a worm: IMGP4687

QuoteOriginally posted by Ivo Quote
4. Tamron Zoom Wide Angle-Telephoto AF 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di LD Aspherical IF Macro Autofocus Lens for Pentax AF - 380 USD
Tamron | 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di Autofocus Lens | AF061P700
This might be a great "do-everything" lens... but unlikely to be as satisfactory for wildlife. Inevitably, these ultra-zooms lose image quality at the wide and long ends. And it's half a stop slower at the long end than the 70-300.

QuoteOriginally posted by Ivo Quote
Help me to choose, please. The first 2 options is more expensive, third option is very cheap, also 4th option also is well priced.
The Sigma APO and Tamron LD Di are the popular choices. The relative merit of these two is endlesssssssly debated... you'll find a zillion threads on it.

Personally, I appreciate the sharpness, build quality, and low price of the Tamron... and don't mind the PF/CA much. So that's what I would recommend.

04-11-2008, 10:34 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ivo Quote
3. Tamron Zoom Telephoto AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro Autofocus Lens for Pentax AF - 160 USD
Feel free to consider that if you don't count my kids, then I really haven't done much 'wildlife' photography. :-)

That said, I do own the Tamron 70-300mm, and think it's an excellent value.

But it's also the 'longest' glass I own, the best 'macro' I own, and was what was in my price range. I'm happy with mine but... YMMV.

The "wasp" shot on my flickr account is a 100% crop using this lens. Link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cedaroo

I'll also mention is that there is currently a used "Bigma 50-500 (BIGMA)" in the marketplace ala https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/photographer-s-marketplace/24617-bigma-ta...-5-others.html

Hope this helps, and happy hunting. :-)

Last edited by Cedar; 04-11-2008 at 10:49 AM.
04-11-2008, 10:48 AM   #10
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Hmm.

FWIW: They're NOT 'gallery quality' (due to the so called photographer, not the equipment), but all three of my 'world pentax day' photos (wasp & flowers) were are taken with the Tamron 70-300mm (and my K100d)

As were the Austin kite festival photos.

As are the tarantula and rabbit photos from my front yard.

Link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cedaroo

It's a versatile lens IMO, but it's prevalence among my flicker posted images suprises me, as it's really not one of my 'everyday lenses'.

BTW: Comments and constructive suggestions for improving my images are welcome. :-)

Last edited by Cedar; 04-11-2008 at 11:24 AM.
04-11-2008, 11:56 AM   #11
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I am settled for the Tamron 70-300 Di LD Macro. I tested it fine in one zoo outing and I love the lens so far. PF is evident as many people has mentioned but from what I know, PF is fixable as compared to softness in long end, and hence my easy choice in getting a used but pristine copy of the lens for $90. The following test shots are done wrongly in testing K10D on +2 on saturation and hence the funny color in test shots. If I recall correctly, most test shots are done pass the 250mm in the long end. Most are likely done in 300mm, I will update when I check the flickr exif in this flickr photoset



Oakland Zoo Feb08 (lion) - a set on Flickr

Tamron 70-300 f/4.0-5.6 Di LD Macro Test Shots - Hin's Tech Corner



A lovely couple


My kids prefer the pigeon pair over lion


I love side lighting in sunset


purple stones





Last edited by hinman; 04-11-2008 at 12:04 PM.
04-11-2008, 01:41 PM   #12
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I have the pentax f* 300mm 4.5 and am more than satisfied with it. the resolution and bokeh is superb and using a 1.4x converter does not degrade the images very much. you can usually find one for about $1000. The new da* 300mm is about the same price (someone posted that it is available in canada). on the aps-c sensor this equate to a 450mm lens. plenty of reach in my opinion. I also have the tamron 70-300mm which is very sharp to 200mm and gets soft at 300mm plus it suffers from CA big time in high contrast scenes. Its been hawked to death in this forum (by me too). These were shot with the F*300mm:

Last edited by ivoire; 04-12-2009 at 10:29 AM.
04-11-2008, 02:06 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by hinman Quote
I am settled for the Tamron 70-300 Di LD Macro
Wow. Lovely shots indeed.

Thanks for showing what the lens can do. Personal favorites are IMGP8176 and IMGP8178.

Now I'm thinking of getting that lens, as mine seems to be missing the "National Geographic" button! :-)

Last edited by Cedar; 04-11-2008 at 02:12 PM.
04-11-2008, 02:21 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by hinman Quote
I am settled for the Tamron 70-300 Di LD Macro. I tested it fine in one zoo outing and I love the lens so far. PF is evident as many people has mentioned but from what I know, PF is fixable as compared to softness in long end, and hence my easy choice in getting a used but pristine copy of the lens for $90. The following test shots are done wrongly in testing K10D on +2 on saturation and hence the funny color in test shots. If I recall correctly, most test shots are done pass the 250mm in the long end. Most are likely done in 300mm, I will update when I check the flickr exif in this flickr photoset
Hey, meerkats

I am pretty happy with my 70-300 Di LD too!! I took it to the DC zoo recently, and worked it pretty hard at ISO 1600 in dim light... still got some decent photos. GALLERY HERE







There is quite a bit of PF around in a couple shots, such as this one of the Panda's face:



I've tried some of the conventional "purple fringing" tricks like turning down the saturation for Magenta only, but it doesn't seem to do much. Does anyone have a good workflow for getting rid of the Tamron 70-300's PF/CA? I'm using the GIMP, for what it's worth, so a link to a Photoshop plugin won't help me
04-11-2008, 02:41 PM   #15
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I will document fully how the amateur in me fight with PP. There is a pfree photoshop plugin that is available to download. Yeah, and I don't want to buy photoshop. Not only that, I go one step further in not getting pirated copy either. But the hidden gem comes when some free photo editors support photoshop plugin. I know one and two. One I used before is called xnviewer and I combine it with pfree photoshop plugin and voila, it has worked magic for reducing PF pictures for me.

Again, I don't have a blog post with all the links, but the above keywords on 'pfree', 'xnviewer', 'irfanview' (spelling) should get the interested something to search about. I will be updating this thread on how I fixed PF in my shots in the past with reasonable success. Of course, the best will be when you have a capable editor such as the photoshop.

Last edited by hinman; 04-11-2008 at 03:33 PM.
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