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06-04-2008, 05:28 PM   #31
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You lucky dog
I would love a lens like that, I entertained selling the bike to afford that one, but then the weather got nice. A gimbal head would be perfect for it. I was looking at the wimberly knock-off, as a guy I know likes his but the ebay price went up and with the shipping at $40 I may as well get the manfrotto. A lady I shoot with likes hers here's a link if you are interested
Bogen / Manfrotto | 393 Heavy Duty Gimbal Type Telephoto | 393

06-04-2008, 05:53 PM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by borno Quote
You lucky dog
I would love a lens like that, I entertained selling the bike to afford that one, but then the weather got nice. A gimbal head would be perfect for it. I was looking at the wimberly knock-off, as a guy I know likes his but the ebay price went up and with the shipping at $40 I may as well get the manfrotto. A lady I shoot with likes hers here's a link if you are interested
Bogen / Manfrotto | 393 Heavy Duty Gimbal Type Telephoto | 393
Thanks. I have been eye balling that Gimbal setup as well...
06-04-2008, 06:00 PM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by jgredline Quote
Thanks. I have been eye balling that Gimbal setup as well...
Oh man..., nothing can escape to that lens.... I would recommend you the wimberley gimbal, a serious gimbal for a serious lens

Thanks for posting those pics, now I envy you quite badly
06-05-2008, 12:30 AM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by borno Quote
You lucky dog
A gimbal head would be perfect for it. ...
Bogen / Manfrotto | 393 Heavy Duty Gimbal Type Telephoto | 393
I have this Manfrotto gimbal mount (permanently on a Manfrotto 055 tripod) since the beginning of the year and had some test runs with it, using either my 300/2.8 + 2x tc and my Pentax 500/4.5, sometimes also with 1.4x or 2x tc. The Manfrotto delivers whatever you expect. It might just be a bit more akward to use, than more expensive modells. The main point being, that you cannot easily adjust the drag/tension in azimuth. It is pre-fixed at the factory and you need a screwdriver if you don't like that amount of drag... In altitude, where a quick tension adjustment, according to the load, is more necessary, this can easily be done via the big rubberized knobs. The included dove tail mount allows easy balancing of any set-up I used so far. It is asymmetrical, which widens the balancing possibilities, as you can mount your lens from both sides of the mount.

Otherwise movement is very nice, no sticky movements in any position or changing of forces. If balanced correctly, the lens/camera will stay put in any chosen position. Of yourse the gimbal is not quite as steady as a heavy duty, locked-down ball or 3D head, but following moving objects (birds, airplanes) with even the longest lens is just unbelievably easy. As with any gear there is a learning curve and the results improve sharpness-wise over time. For the price I think it is unbeatable value.

Ben

06-05-2008, 02:07 AM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ben_Edict Quote
Thanks Richard, for your thoughts. What annays me a bit about the used F/FAs is there price tag, which is hardly below a new DA. Otherwise I think, I would give the older F-version the advantage, because of its versatility. But then, there is the SDM on the DA… still lost…

Ben
I agree that the used prices for the F/FA* lenses can sometimes be rather high, but I expect that they will stabilise and hold to about 70% the cost of the DA* lenses, the one that will drop the most will probably be the FA*200 f2.8, that has been selling for more than the FA*300 f4.5, but the replacement DA*200 is less than the DA*300.

Here in the UK, a mint FA*300 f4.5 will sell for around 600-650 and the DA*300 is now around 850, the DA*200 is around 680.

If you paired the DA*200 with the Kenko 1.5x & 2x converters, you add another 170 to the price, it makes for a sensible alternative package with hopefully not too much a quality loss for 850 and you'd gain a fast 200mm plus a 400mm f5.6 for the same money as the DA*300. IMO the DA*300 seems to be a fraction better than the DA*200, so I suspect there may be a noticable difference with the TC's.

The possible PF on the DA*200 which has been raised by Photozone and some others, may also be an issue aggravated by the use of the TC's, plus of course, the SR will be less effective and there is no tripod mount.
06-05-2008, 03:39 AM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by Richard Day Quote
I agree that the used prices for the F/FA* lenses can sometimes be rather high, but I expect that they will stabilise and hold to about 70% the cost of the DA* lenses, the one that will drop the most will probably be the FA*200 f2.8, that has been selling for more than the FA*300 f4.5, but the replacement DA*200 is less than the DA*300.

Here in the UK, a mint FA*300 f4.5 will sell for around 600-650 and the DA*300 is now around 850, the DA*200 is around 680.

If you paired the DA*200 with the Kenko 1.5x & 2x converters, you add another 170 to the price, it makes for a sensible alternative package with hopefully not too much a quality loss for 850 and you'd gain a fast 200mm plus a 400mm f5.6 for the same money as the DA*300. IMO the DA*300 seems to be a fraction better than the DA*200, so I suspect there may be a noticable difference with the TC's.
Thanks Richard for your thoughts. As I have the Sigma 70-200/2.8 I won't buy the DA200. The Sigma is very good. On the long end, I also have the Pentax SMC-A 400/5.6, which is very sharp, even noticeably sharper, than my old A 300/4. So the only point is the lack of AF... I am still undecided between a F/FA 300 and the DA300, but I am going to decide soon, I hope.

Ben
06-05-2008, 09:55 AM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by jgredline Quote
Well, I have all three of those lenses.
Well, that is EXACTLY what i am afraid of. Really afraid. Sooner or later i will have at least two of them. Right now, I'm thinking of getting the Sigma. And maybe in 4-5 months add the DA* 300. Between a good zoom and a good prime there will always be a hard choice. IQ vs. versatility. When i browse the photos and look at those shot @50mm, i can tell immediately which where shot with the Tamron 17-50 and which where shot with the FA 50 1.4. They are simply shouting: PRIME!!! It's just that buying the DA* will make me want a 200mm, 105mm, 135mm, etc. etc. etc.

With the DA* 300, the Sigma 100-300 EX and the Sigma 400(which i already have), i will survive for a while. And i won't have to buy a Bigma until I'll get the FA* 600.
06-05-2008, 10:17 AM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by Teo D'Or Quote
Well, that is EXACTLY what i am afraid of. Really afraid. Sooner or later i will have at least two of them. Right now, I'm thinking of getting the Sigma. And maybe in 4-5 months add the DA* 300. Between a good zoom and a good prime there will always be a hard choice. IQ vs. versatility. When i browse the photos and look at those shot @50mm, i can tell immediately which where shot with the Tamron 17-50 and which where shot with the FA 50 1.4. They are simply shouting: PRIME!!! It's just that buying the DA* will make me want a 200mm, 105mm, 135mm, etc. etc. etc.

With the DA* 300, the Sigma 100-300 EX and the Sigma 400(which i already have), i will survive for a while. And i won't have to buy a Bigma until I'll get the FA* 600.
Yea, I hear you. Just this morning as I was loading up some gear, I spent about 10 solid minutes deciding what lenses to load up with today as I am planning a trip to Griffith park again hoping to catch something...After a while, I decided on the Sigma 100-300 F/4 with Sigma 1.4tc and Pentax 1.7TC in tow...My reasoning went something like this. The Bigma would require atleast a monopod and is too slow for wildlife. The park is very shaded so the bigma would struggle...(in fact, I am thinking about selling it), The DA*300 may be to long in some of the tight areas of the hiking trails, so that stood home..., hence I left with the DA*50-135 and Sigma 100-300F/4 so the bad light will not be an issue this evening.

06-05-2008, 05:27 PM   #39
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Well, I did not make it out to griffith park on my hike today as I remembered the Laker game is on.
Stopped at the pond and shot these two birds.
Lens Sigma 100-300 F/4 with Sigma 1.4TC attached. EXIF intact.

original, resized only.


100% crop


original, resized only.


100% crop
06-05-2008, 09:26 PM   #40
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Ben I seen your review of the A 400 f/5.6 you have and the price you paid. What would be in your opinion the most one should pay for that lens.

BTW jgredline, great shots!

Thanks,
Oren
06-05-2008, 10:05 PM   #41
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One more from today.This bird was about 4 feet infront of me and the lens (sigma 100-300 F/4 with 1.4TC ) was still able to lock focus on it...This would be 420mm locked in at 4 feet or so.


OK, Some bonus shots with this lens.





Last edited by jgredline; 06-05-2008 at 10:39 PM.
06-05-2008, 11:13 PM   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by jgredline Quote
One more from today.This bird was about 4 feet infront of me and the lens (sigma 100-300 F/4 with 1.4TC ) was still able to lock focus on it...This would be 420mm locked in at 4 feet or so.
My credit card hates you sooooo much right now.
06-06-2008, 02:24 AM   #43
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Javier,

your bird shots are very, very nice. And sharpness is so good, I have difficulties imagining, that a prime can be visibly better, though ofcourse there is a difference, whether you use a lens on a K10 or a K20. May be on the latter a D300 has an advantage? The sparrow shows some CA, but I guess, this is mainly due to the tc, not so much the lens itself. Anyway great shots!

Ben
06-06-2008, 02:45 AM   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by OrenMc Quote
Ben I seen your review of the A 400 f/5.6 you have and the price you paid. What would be in your opinion the most one should pay for that lens.
Oren, this question is hard to answer, as the same Pentax lens nowadays may be sold for its weight in gold or can be had cheaply, because the auction went unnoticed... I bought mine from KEH, which has the advantage, that there item condition rating is quite o.k. and they provide great service, if something is not as it should be. That was worth perhaps + 70 USD on an auction price.

The prime question is, what it is worth to you: The image quality is superb, but the handling is slow, especially at short distances (due to the focus rotation angle). It has no AF, so manual focusing comes into the play, too. So, if you are a happy MF user, this doesn't matter too much, otherwise it would be an important factor price-wise. The later FA 400/5.6 is an elusive lens. I have only know it from an old Pentax catalogue and I think, I have seen one recently for sale second-hand in the region of 2500 USD.

In terms of image quality there is no other affordable lens for Pentax, that can be compared to the A. The FA 400/2.8 is another price league, though its IQ is perhaps better. The Tokinas, Vivitars or Sigmas in that range are all not as sharp. So the choice is limited to the A 400 or something like a 300mm lens + tc. One alternative could be zoom lenses, like the Tokina AF ATX-80-400 and the like. I have the Tokina (first generation) and I have never used it for anything just for test shots. If anybody wants it, I sell it. The Penntax blows it away quality -wise.

If you consider that old MF Tokinas, Sigmas etc. regularily go for 200 USD on ebay, the Pentax really is worth 400 USD, provided the lenses and the aperture and the focusing action are all flawless. The problem is, (short conclusion to a long post): there is simply no real alternative. 400mm lenses are today very rare. As far as I know, none is available new for Pentax now (not from Pentax, but even not form Sigma, Tokina etc.), so at the end of the day, if you really want it, you have to pay whetever the seller asks. But my limit for ebay would be 400 USD, KEH or any other reputable dealer a bit higher - just what I paid.

One intersting alternative springs to my mind: the rare Tamron 400/4. It is a very rare lens, but highly praised. And I would have bought it recently, hadn't I not just got the 300/2.8. The 400 Tamron is super-sharp and has, I think IF (inner focusing), which makes it a bit less tedious to use. But it will be a bit more expensive, as you usually would have to buy an Adaptall PKA adapter on top (which costs 80-100 USD). This might be the only lens, that could perhaps rival the Pentax A and is affordable.

Ben
06-06-2008, 04:36 AM   #45
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Very good, Thanks Ben.
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