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08-30-2016, 09:56 AM - 6 Likes   #1
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Location: Long Beach, CA
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Just Received DFA 150-450mm - First Thoughts

I have been in the hunt for a telephoto for a while.
I already have the Tamron 70-200 and it is real nice optically, but I find it too short for most of my outdoor shooting. I also have the 77mm and a FA 135mm so there is a lot of overlap.
I also have the DA* 300mm. This is a great lens optically, but I really prefer a zoom at these focal lengths for flexibility, Also, the old style SDM is a bit of a let down on the K-1. I find it slow and somewhat inaccurate (yes yes, I have gotten tack sharp shots with this combo plenty of times of moving subjects. I can also cut a steak with a butter knife, but would rather not given the option).
My plan was to keep both of these lenses, but it would be a but cumbersome to carry both.
Then, thanks to this forum, I came across a sweet deal for a DFA 150-450
(details can be seen here: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/94-pentax-price-watch/328350-used-pentax-...1-659-usd.html )

I took the lens out to the zoo this weekend. Here are my first impressions.

Totally solid build quality. No surprises there. It is a BIG boy. I compared it to my Nikon 70-200 f2.8, and this lens is a bit longer, not a lot but noticeable...but it is much fatter. If you are going to carry this on a bandolier type strap or some kind of black rapid setup, I highly recommend screwing it directly to the tripod foot and not the camera so the lens mount doesn't see all the loading.
Having said all that, I highly recommend a monopod at a minimum. Yes, I did hand hold it all day at the zoo, but i used the railings as much as possible for support, and I could not lug a monopod around because I had my 2 year old with me. It is double important if you are going to use the AF buttons on the body. I didn't use them on Sunday, but it would be very unwieldy to use those buttons without some sort of support.
Autofocus was really great. I mean surprisingly good. Things zipped in and out of focus very quickly and locked on quickly. Just remember to make sure you set the focus limiter to the correct distance (that did bite me a few times).
IQ looked nice and sharp with nice contrast and colors, on my small rear LCD I will have to give a real report on that once I get a chance to process my pics.

If the IQ is up to par (which I have very little doubt that it will be) I will be keeping this one and letting the DA* and Tamron go to a better home.

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