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05-27-2008, 07:18 PM   #1
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Pushing the DA* 300/4

A flock of Evening Grosbeaks has been hanging out. My friend has feeders and I could get an easy shot there but no, I'm trying shots when they are in the top of the trees in my backyard and these babies like to be in the TOP of the trees:-). I was about +1.5EV (why doesn't lightroom tell me?) and I still had to bump the exposure by 1/2 stop or so and give it some fill, a hit to the clarity slider, bumped the black level, a few things to get the birds to pop a little.
1/400sec f/10 ISO400 tripod.
Oh yeah, I fired the Pentax 360 w/HSS on manual with full power, camera on shutter priority. I was hoping to get some light into the males eye on the lower right but I don't think this flash is powerful enough. I have no idea if the flash helped in this instance but I don't think it did, much. This is my first experiment using HSS. I really need a Better Beamer for this type of work.
On top of all this, this is almost a 1:1 crop (whatever that means, I still don't know for sure exactly what that means in this instance).
I have no idea what more I could ask of this lens. There are no chromatic aberrations or purple fringing that I can see and I'm not sure how I could push it harder than this, the bright white cloudy sky is at least 2 stops overexposed, probably more....shooting against leaves and branches. I've made no attempt whatsoever fooling with the chromatic aberration sliders and haven't done any sharpening other than the default ACR 4.4 in Lightroom.
My slider values are +0.48 exposure, Fill Light=13, Blacks=18, Brightness=+71, Contrast=+25, Clarity=26, White Balance=As Shot(auto), nothing else changed.
Manual focused using the KatzEye screen, auto focus works great with this lens but all the branches and leaves can fool it. This is an instance where I find manual focus invaluable which makes the KatzEye invaluable.
While we're on the subject. I've seen few comments on manual focusing this lens so I'll add my thoughts. It's certainly not MF as we know it like a Takumar lens, but this is an auto focusing lens at heart. But I find it very easy to manual focus, actually I'm not sure if I would want it more damped or not, I'm getting to like it very much just the way it is.
I've never shot or had in hand a F* or FA* 300/4.5 so I can't compare. I agonized over whether or not to get the DA* or one of the earlier models but after shooting this lens for a few days I will say this. To me, and remember I'm not a grizzled veteran like many of you guys, there is nothing more I could ask of this lens. It's got every bell and whistle I can think of and, like I've said of my 31 Limited, it has more IQ than I have talent. Yes, it was spendy and it has put the hurt on my wallet, but I wanted a good, no excuse long lens and was willing to pay. And OMG did Pentax deliver, wow.
Anyway, here's the pic:



05-27-2008, 11:48 PM   #2
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Commendable result in a tough shooting situation, Eaglerapids! I'm getting frustrated with the slow pace of saving up for this lens, myself.
05-28-2008, 02:01 AM   #3
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Aberrations are very well controlled, even with that blown-out background.

So the investment was worth it, nay?
05-28-2008, 09:20 AM   #4
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Grosbeaks will often "hang out" in trees around the vicinity of feeders, so you may want to "hang out" around your friend's feeders a bit as well. It's not as fun as chasing them in the "wild", but it's usually more productive. But I'm with you on avoiding shots on the feeder, catch them in nearby branches.

Grosbeaks are horrible feeder bullies and they'll push most of the other birds away while they "hog" the feeder. That often presents other small birds waiting around the feeder for a chance to get back in after the Grosbeaks have their fill. In your area, I'd guess that you'll find nuthatches--both white and smaller rose breasted varieties, mountain chickadees and juncos hanging around waiting for the Grosbeaks to disperse. Catch the nuthatches on tree trunks, juncos on the ground and the chickadees in small twigs and such.

Be sure to practice with your flash extender/better beamer. I've got a couple of each, but pretty much never use them due to the difficulty of keeping the effect unnoticeable. Any branches between you and the bird will blow out, light falloff (double the distance one fourth the light--if I recall correctly) makes for unnatural background darkness, etc. It's almost easier (lazy me) to wait for the bird to turn it's head for a catchlight than it is to try to create one with a flash magnifier!

Have fun, sure looks like the 300 is doing what we all hoped it would!

05-28-2008, 02:42 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eaglerapids Quote
A flock of Evening Grosbeaks has been hanging out. My friend has feeders and I could get an easy shot there but no, I'm trying shots when they are in the top of the trees in my backyard and these babies like to be in the TOP of the trees:-). I was about +1.5EV (why doesn't lightroom tell me?) and I still had to bump the exposure by 1/2 stop or so and give it some fill, a hit to the clarity slider, bumped the black level, a few things to get the birds to pop a little.
Congrat on your new lens and you are off to a great start with a * lens

I would try to max out the use/limit of these great lens in two fronts. First bird in flight. And I manage with the older A300mmF4, you will have less trouble with the sdm motor and closer minimum focus distance of your DA* lens.

Manual lens for BIF; Looked ok to me - Pentax / Samsung dSLR - Digital SLR Cameras - Steves-digicams.com Forums

Secondly you can use the DA* as a close up tele for portrait with its very close min focus distance.

Here is some of mine again with the ancient A*300mm

Heat shot/portrait - Pentax / Samsung dSLR - Digital SLR Cameras - Steves-digicams.com Forums

Daniel
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