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07-01-2016, 02:23 PM - 1 Like   #1
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Acquiring the F* 250-600 (LOTS of Photos)

I've wanted either the FA* or F* 250-600 f/5.6 for the last seven years. As some of you already know, they don't come up for sale very often. When I did find some for sale during that time, they were either too expensive (pristine condition) or in a condition I didn't want (well-used).

Recently another member, Clinton, send me a PM notifying me of a posting on eBay. It looked good, so after a few messages exchanged with the seller, I sent him the money and eagerly (and impatiently) watched the tracking. The lens didn't include the filter set, a case, or the front leather cover. I was okay with it missing the filters because how often would I really use them? I needed a case and cover to protect the giant front element though.

The day it arrived I went home early and opened up the package and mounted my K10D to it:


Here's the first seven photos I took with the lens. Other than resizing, brightening up the image a bit, and adding my name, no other edits were done. All were handheld (not easy while holding a 12 pound lens and K10D with grip attached). f/5.6, 1/15 second, ISO 320 and 500




These two were shot through the living room window, f/5.6, 1/1600 and 1/1000, ISO 200




These were taken outside from the deck, f/5.6, 1/1250 and 1/2000 and 1/640, ISO 200






Now that I was happy with initial results, it was time to find a front cap/cover for it. I had been searching for original ones, even contacting Pentax, who said this lens was discontinued and there was no support for it. There are no filter threads on the front of this lens. I had heard from a few there were, but it's just ridges, not threads. After seeing some other Pentax leather caps being auctioned for several hundred dollars, I turned to LensCoat and found the XX-Large Hoodie should fit. Their website charged shipping so I went to Adorama and B&H. Adorama didn't have it in stock, so I got it from B&H for $16 shipped. It's a perfect, snug fit.


Now I needed a case. I wanted aluminum because they look great, but after being convinced otherwise by members here because the aluminum ones aren't as durable, I started designing my plastic case. I know, I hate plastic, which is why I use F*, FA*, and FA Limited lenses. I measured the lens very carefully and designed a few diagrams in Adobe Illustrator, exported them as CAD files, and used CAD software to render 3D designs. Everything looked good when I printed the design and set the lens on top of it. I measured how deep I wanted each section of the lens to sit in the dense foam, included finger holes so I could grab the lens, two pockets for desiccant, and a pocket for accessories. The original Pentax case requires the tripod collar to be removed before putting the lens in, so I designed mine to fit the foot on the lens. Other than the two distance scales, all other numbers indicate depth in cm.


I ordered an SKB case and custom high-density foam insert from caseclub.com. They were helpful and responsive when I sent my files to them.

07-01-2016, 02:37 PM - 7 Likes   #2
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I was excited for the case to arrive. It looked great.








The lens fits great and doesn't wiggle at all.




I love the way the lens looks and feels. It is nicely balanced. It handles quite well, even for the occasional hand-held shot. The only thing I don't like about it is switching from auto- to manual-focus is a pain requiring lots of steps.
















Taking a few pictures on my deck doesn't give the lens a chance so I decided to take it to Yellowstone. I'm only 1.5 hours away from the park anyway. I was really happy with the lens while using it there.
K10D and F* 250-600 at f5.6, 600mm, ISO 100 and 1/250 second. No tripod, but I used the window sill of my vehicle to stabilize the lens.


Handheld while crouching down, f/5.6, 1/160 at 250mm:


Handheld while crouching down, f/5.6, 1/100 at 250mm. The three birds stayed on top of the bison as he walked around.


On a tripod, f/7.1, 1/50, ISO 100, 600mm:


On a tripod, f/7.1, 1/30, ISO 100, 600mm:
07-01-2016, 02:43 PM   #3
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That's a lens I'd love to have!
07-01-2016, 02:52 PM   #4
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I use Halliburton cases from small to large and carve foam to fit from yoga and sleeping mats.
The small kit is in a late model ABS case and is fitted around my K-5 with FA 100 macro mounted and a few other lenses.

That said, I am envious.

07-01-2016, 03:46 PM - 1 Like   #5
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I hope the last photo in that series was at 600mm (900mm equivalent) and a 20% crop

Very nice shots with the K10D and I'm happy for you.
07-01-2016, 04:00 PM   #6
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What an excellent lens this is. Well done on finding a good copy and like the previous posters have said; I'm envious and would love to have one of these too. And your case set up is brilliant, it looks better than the manufacturer one and being sealed will improve the protection from moisture and mould with those dessicant packs.

You know, this is one of those unique lenses from Pentax that deserves an update with the new coatings as it would be a solution to the lack of long telephoto options in our system. Ah well, I can but dream and make the most of the 150-450 when it arrives.

You've done well mate and I look forward to seeing some more excellent images from you with that lens...though maybe not so close to momma bear next time eh?

Tas
07-01-2016, 04:06 PM   #7
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Very jealous!

Now you need a K-1 to go with it

Though great photos on the K10D.
07-01-2016, 04:20 PM   #8
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Great shots, and a good article on customising your lens case, that we can all learn from. I like the appearance of the F* lenses, over the FA*, but they don't turn up very often.

Good to see the older bodies still work well with this gear.

07-01-2016, 05:01 PM   #9
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oooh, congrats!
07-01-2016, 05:16 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by bertwert Quote
Very jealous!

Now you need a K-1 to go with it

Though great photos on the K10D.
A K-1, so he can turn his 250-600 into a 175-400 ?

Great pick up, I lost a great buy one one, a couple who had only used it 12 times on a few cruises had one and only wanted $5k for it. I phoned 20 minutes too late, since then the price has gone through the roof. I've moved on. Good to see some one is living my dream.

Last edited by normhead; 07-01-2016 at 05:27 PM.
07-01-2016, 05:20 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
A K-1, so he can turn his 250-600 into a 175-400 ?
Maybe a K-3 (or K-3ii) then.

QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Great pick up, I lost a great buy one one, a couple who had only used it 12 times on a few cruises had one and only wanted $5k for it. I phoned 20 minutes too late, since then the price has gone through the roof. I've moved on. Good to see some one is lovingly dream.
That sucks.
But if you got it you would never have been able to use it as Tess would claim it
07-01-2016, 05:23 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
A K-1, so he can turn his 250-600 into a 175-450?
Wouldn't he be turning a 375-900 into a 250-600?
07-01-2016, 05:28 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Wouldn't he be turning a 375-900 into a 250-600?
I've heard it both ways.

IN either case it would suck big time.
07-01-2016, 08:12 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by bertwert Quote
Now you need a K-1 to go with it
Perhaps if the K-1 does well, Ricoh will be tempted to start re-introducing some pro-grade lenses like the 250-600 into the line-up. As a kind of big brother to the DFA 150-450.

Speaking of using the K-1 with long lenses, Ricoh need to do something about the current lack of a modern 1.4x FF-compatible teleconverter for Pentax.
07-01-2016, 08:30 PM   #15
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Great lens, but I'm really impressed with that case.
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