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03-09-2014, 04:57 PM   #1
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DA 55-300 help

My longest lens is a DA 55-300 and I love it but I find myself coming up short when trying to capture a subject far away. Is there a booster that I can buy for it that would increase the magnification so I can bring my subject closer without having to buy a longer lens?

03-09-2014, 05:20 PM   #2
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What kind of photos are you taking?

It's not a very fast lens to begin with (aperture), so using a TeleConverter is difficult with it. However, you could still try a 1.4x, 1.7x, or 2.0x TC, such as those listed here: Pentax K-mount Teleconverters and Adapters - Lens Reviews and Specifications - SLR and Interchangeable Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database. I don't remember getting good good results with these when I had a DA55-300.


Your best bet is probably to use the K-5 (for highest resolution) with the lens only, and crop. If that's not good enough, you need to get a better lens. A * 300 lens (such as the DA*300/4) will give you significantly better results, cropped or not. You might also do better with a longer lens, but only if you choose an appropriate one for your purposes.
03-09-2014, 05:20 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by peterjcb Quote
My longest lens is a DA 55-300 and I love it but I find myself coming up short when trying to capture a subject far away. Is there a booster that I can buy for it that would increase the magnification so I can bring my subject closer without having to buy a longer lens?
Yes. They are called teleconverters. You can search for them on B&H or Adorama. Usually come in 1.4 x and 2x. These result in a 1 stop or 2 stop loss in light gathering.

So your 55-300 lens, which at the long end is a f5.6 lens would become f8 or f11 at 300mm with a 1.4x or 2x converter.

Pentax have just released a new 1.4x converter than works with screw focus and SDm focus lenses and am All Weather teleconverter. But price is $600.

Look on this website for reviews of third party teleconverters.

Regards

Chris
03-09-2014, 05:34 PM   #4
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What are you trying to photograph?

03-09-2014, 05:56 PM   #5
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I am looking to do some birds, wildlife and planes flying. From what I'm reading here it seems that my best option might be a used longer lens...like I need another lens///
I was trying to stop at 14 lenses but unless I find a decent affordable used 400mm or 500mm it looks like I may just have to try and get closer to the subjects as I don't like the teleconverter option.
03-09-2014, 06:09 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by peterjcb Quote
My longest lens is a DA 55-300 and I love it but I find myself coming up short when trying to capture a subject far away. Is there a booster that I can buy for it that would increase the magnification so I can bring my subject closer without having to buy a longer lens?
There's a tele-zoom on the current Pentax lens roadmap. Looks something like 135-380, though those fading coloured bars are notoriously unreliable. There is speculation it could go to 400mm or more. I'm waiting to see what it is before jumping to the 300*+TC (expensive) option, or a 3rd party lens.
03-09-2014, 06:35 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by peterjcb Quote
I am looking to do some birds, wildlife and planes flying. From what I'm reading here it seems that my best option might be a used longer lens...like I need another lens///
I was trying to stop at 14 lenses but unless I find a decent affordable used 400mm or 500mm it looks like I may just have to try and get closer to the subjects as I don't like the teleconverter option.
Although I don't mean to discourage purchasing a new lens, recall that in the 35mm era, an awful lot of amazing photos of those subjects were made in at most the 400-600mm range, and you've got 450mm, although with maybe 1-2 stops less than some of those lenses were capable of. I really don't remember a lot of photographers going past 600mm, partly because environmental factors and vibration made even 600mm challenging.
03-09-2014, 06:40 PM   #8
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A teleconverter can be used but, as others have pointed out, they are not without their limitations - small aperture brings on diffraction pretty quickly, some image degradation is inevitable, you may lose some functionality (like accurate metering). But I find that a long lens is best for filling the image circle when the subject is not too far away. The further the subject is away from you, the more atmosphere you have to cut through. That introduces mirage type effects that quickly eat into the detail. Below are a couple of images of an F/A-18F Super Hornet training over my place. Body was a K10D and lens is an Tokina RMC 400/5.6 (taken using a fence post for support). The first is a composite from a roll manoeuvre. The second shows the downsized (uncropped) image of the first in the sequence. The bottom row show the aircraft at lower altitude where the atmospheric interference is greatest. This might give you an idea of what to expect at longer distances. The taking conditions were less than ideal but that is often the case with birds and wildlife too. Nothing noteworthy about the images - just a bit of fun and it may give you an idea about "long distance" effects.










03-09-2014, 08:04 PM   #9
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What you really need is one of these.

SMC Pentax-A* 1200mm F8 ED [IF] Reviews - A Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
03-09-2014, 08:27 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
QuoteOriginally posted by tibbitts Quote
Although I don't mean to discourage purchasing a new lens, recall that in the 35mm era, an awful lot of amazing photos of those subjects were made in at most the 400-600mm range, and you've got 450mm, although with maybe 1-2 stops less than some of those lenses were capable of. I really don't remember a lot of photographers going past 600mm, partly because environmental factors and vibration made even 600mm challenging.
good point, in fact when I was shooting 35mm film I only had a 28, 50, 105 and 200mm Nikon primes....how spoiled we've become
03-09-2014, 09:23 PM   #11
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A month or so ago I took a drive over to Sky Harbor - Phoenix's airport and found several sites from which to shoot. I took my 55-300 and an old Tokina 2x converter along with an A* 300/f4. I started out with the 55-300 and then popped on the 2x and did ok. Nothing to write home about. I did learn a lot, though.

My intent was to switch over to the A*, but that just did not happen. I need to go again - now that the days are longer, and before it gets toooo hot out. The Tokina 2x, I picked up a couple of years ago for less than $50. Overall, it did help quite a bit. You loose aperture, but on bright sunny days - light is the least of your problem. I was concentrating more on the planes, the angles, framing, tracking and what shots I could get, as opposed to really getting good images with great quality. I do wide angle 'scapes (city, land, architecture - usually during the blue hour - twilight), and telephoto is just the opposite on the extreme other end of the spectrum. I can see the shot in my mind's eye and just know the focal length and what I'll get. Looking through a lens 50mm and longer, I get real surprised in terms of what I see - as in, gee - I didn't expect that. Actually, that would have been something to have done again this weekend. Oh, well.....

A year or two ago, the Scottsdale Air Park had an air show. I went over and shot for an afternoon. I did ok. I got home and went through the images and was pleased - nothing spectacular, but not too shabby . What I learned the most was that my ISO knowledge for landscapes, just goes out the window. Crank it up to at least ISO 800+ so as to push the shutter speed up even faster, to better freeze the motion. With the K5 and ISO 3200+ things can be good, I am finding to not to be afraid of. I remember thinking that 1/500 sec was pretty fast (well compared to my usual 10 and 15 seconds). But, I should have push even more to use 1/4000 to 1/8000 sec to freeze for better definition and sharpness. I'm so use to lack of light, that out in the afternoon, with more than enough light, its hard to break old habits. I need to remember to push the shutter speed and let the ISO just float to where ever.

I probably need to go find some images to post...

.
03-09-2014, 10:02 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by peterjcb Quote
My longest lens is a DA 55-300 and I love it but I find myself coming up short when trying to capture a subject far away. Is there a booster that I can buy for it that would increase the magnification so I can bring my subject closer without having to buy a longer lens?
A teleconverter from Pentax just came out:
Pentax Announces New 1.4x Teleconveter - Pentax News - PentaxForums.com

For even better image quality you might want to look at the DA* 60-250mm or DA* 300mm, though they're a bit costly.

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03-09-2014, 11:08 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
A teleconverter from Pentax just came out:
Pentax Announces New 1.4x Teleconveter - Pentax News - PentaxForums.com

For even better image quality you might want to look at the DA* 60-250mm or DA* 300mm, though they're a bit costly.
Does it work with the DA55-300 at longer focal length?
03-10-2014, 12:39 AM   #14
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may be you can try the Sigma 50-500mm
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