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11-30-2013, 12:51 PM   #1
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Best recommendation for Telephoto Lens

Hi, I am sorry if this question has been posed before, but I need your best recommendations. I am traveling to Kenya next Sept and am trying to choose the best lens for my Pentax K-30. I really only want to carry 1 lens and 1 body as my packing is very limited. I need something that will function easily handheld, as I will be doing walking safaris. I used a Sigma 28-300 the last trip I took and the range was not sufficient. There are 3 lenses I am debating on, Sigma 50-500, Sigma 120-400 (I hear there is no option for a TC with this lens?), and the Sigma 150-500 (and is there a good TC for this one that still allows AF?). Thanks so much in advance for your help
Elise

11-30-2013, 12:57 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiodoc Quote
Hi, I am sorry if this question has been posed before, but I need your best recommendations. I am traveling to Kenya next Sept and am trying to choose the best lens for my Pentax K-30. I really only want to carry 1 lens and 1 body as my packing is very limited. I need something that will function easily handheld, as I will be doing walking safaris. I used a Sigma 28-300 the last trip I took and the range was not sufficient. There are 3 lenses I am debating on, Sigma 50-500, Sigma 120-400 (I hear there is no option for a TC with this lens?), and the Sigma 150-500 (and is there a good TC for this one that still allows AF?). Thanks so much in advance for your help
Elise
I have no experience with long zoom lenses.
But take a look at Sigma Lenses for Pentax: Current Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database the reviews might be helpful?
11-30-2013, 12:58 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by wowtip Quote
I have no experience with long zoom lenses.
But take a look at Sigma Lenses for Pentax: Current Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database the reviews might be helpful?
thanks Wowtip I'll check that out
11-30-2013, 01:04 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiodoc Quote
Hi, I am sorry if this question has been posed before, but I need your best recommendations. I am traveling to Kenya next Sept and am trying to choose the best lens for my Pentax K-30. I really only want to carry 1 lens and 1 body as my packing is very limited. I need something that will function easily handheld, as I will be doing walking safaris. I used a Sigma 28-300 the last trip I took and the range was not sufficient. There are 3 lenses I am debating on, Sigma 50-500, Sigma 120-400 (I hear there is no option for a TC with this lens?), and the Sigma 150-500 (and is there a good TC for this one that still allows AF?). Thanks so much in advance for your help
Elise
I would recommend looking at the Pentax 60-250mm. While it's not as long as the other lenses, the image quality at 250mm should give you a lot more freedom when cropping compared to the Sigma 50-500mm, which is so-so at the long end.


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11-30-2013, 01:07 PM   #5
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1. None of the lenses you list will take TCs (not with reliable AF and good IQ anyway)
2. What will you use to cover the wide end?
3. The best Sigma telezoom for Pentax is the 50-500.
11-30-2013, 01:09 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
I would recommend looking at the Pentax 60-250mm. While it's not as long as the other lenses, the image quality at 250mm should give you a lot more freedom when cropping compared to the Sigma 50-500mm, which is so-so at the long end.
Thanks Adam I'll look into that, but I really feel 25o is too short a range, even with cropping. I can't reach the birds
11-30-2013, 01:11 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Giklab Quote
1. None of the lenses you list will take TCs (not with reliable AF and good IQ anyway)
2. What will you use to cover the wide end?
3. The best Sigma telezoom for Pentax is the 50-500.
HI Giklab, thanks for the info esp about the TC's. For the wide end I was just going to bring a panasonic bridge camera. On my last trip, I seldom ever used the wide angle range. My first instinct was to go with the 50-500 but then I read greater reviews on the 150-500.
11-30-2013, 01:23 PM   #8
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Have you considered a bridge camera for those extreme telephoto shots?

I had a chance to try out the Canon SX50 last year and it was quite good. It would seem perfect for safaris. The zoom range on that is equivalent to 1200mm on full frame. Other camera makers have their own similar offerings.

11-30-2013, 01:34 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by EarlVonTapia Quote
Have you considered a bridge camera for those extreme telephoto shots?

I had a chance to try out the Canon SX50 last year and it was quite good. It would seem perfect for safaris. The zoom range on that is equivalent to 1200mm on full frame. Other camera makers have their own similar offerings.
thanks EarlVon, I have the Panasonic Lumix FZ60 to take as a bridge camera. It has a 24x zoom and 16megapixel and I do like it, but I don't want that to be my primary camera.
11-30-2013, 01:42 PM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiodoc Quote
go with the 50-500 but then I read greater reviews on the 150-500.
There has been some debate on these, and if I remember correctly the 50-500 came out ahead most times. Which was surprising given the longer focal range. Anyway if I was only going to carry one lens it would be the 50-500 assuming you are ruling out the DA*60-250 which would be my first preference. I just don't see giving up the 50 to 150 range.

I've no experience with safaris but I do understand trying to shoot wildlife at long distances, from our recent Yellowstone trip. I took the 50-500, a Pentax A 400mm f/5.6 and the DA*60-250. By far the best images were with the 60-250, second best with the 400 and third with the 50-500. Now to be fair the 400 was always used on a tripod, the 50-500 was used both free hand and on a tripod and the 60-250 was always hand held. And most of the 50-500 shots were at 500mm which is not the best on that lens. The images were OK out to maybe 425-450 but after that too soft to be usable IMHO. Had I been smarter I would have rented (or even bought) the Sigma 500mm f/4.5, I missed a lot of shots because I needed 500mm or even more. And the wildlife was there, I had the opportunity just not the lens to do it. Lot's of guys with 600mm monsters set up and my little 400mm looked like a toy.

So if you really need 400 plus hand held, then go with the 50-500 but remember that is a very heavy lens so consider some kind of carry rig. And hand held @ 500mm I don't think the IQ is there.

The question you have to ask is do you want a sharp picture @ 250 or a soft one @ 500?

Another thing to consider is that Ricoh has a 120-380ish lens on the road map. No word on when (or if) it will surface but since you have 10 months I would wait a bit and see if that comes out in time before deciding.
11-30-2013, 01:46 PM - 1 Like   #11
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Try to find a sigma 100-300 F4 APO EX DG. It also takes the sigma 1.4 EX teleconverter which makes it a 140-420mm F5.6. That combo makes a very flexible and reasonably fast set for safari`s and has great IQ.
It`s too bad that your K30 doesn`t allow a batterygrip, the balance would be better.
11-30-2013, 01:48 PM - 1 Like   #12
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My understanding is that most people find the 50-500 to better than the 150-500, so if you want to reach the birds with your K-r that would be the one I'd recommend (without having used either, mind you!).

For me, though, I'm quite happy with my DA 55-300 for safaris. I would hate to miss out on the 50-150 range. I've considered replacing it with a DA*300, but then I'd need a second body for something shorter, and I like travelling light. And I would rather replace the long end (>300) than the wide end with a bridge cam, but I guess our priorities are different
11-30-2013, 01:54 PM - 1 Like   #13
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11-30-2013, 02:11 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by savoche Quote
My understanding is that most people find the 50-500 to better than the 150-500, so if you want to reach the birds with your K-r that would be the one I'd recommend (without having used either, mind you!).

For me, though, I'm quite happy with my DA 55-300 for safaris. I would hate to miss out on the 50-150 range. I've considered replacing it with a DA*300, but then I'd need a second body for something shorter, and I like travelling light. And I would rather replace the long end (>300) than the wide end with a bridge cam, but I guess our priorities are different
Thanks, I already own and used on my last safari the Sigma 28-300... would the 55-300 be different enough to worry about? Don't need 2 lenses that similar.
11-30-2013, 02:37 PM   #15
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There is always the Q + adapter option!
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