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10-08-2016, 08:55 PM   #1
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Tips for new 150 - 450 owner.

I raided the piggy bank today and purchased a 150-450. Any tips on using the focus preset and other lens functions effectively? (I have a k-3). Living near Banff National Park I plan to use the lens primarily for wildlife. Previously I have been using the 300 f4 (lovely lens) sometimes with the 1.4x teleconverter. This is a sweet combination but I wanted the extra flexibility of the zoom and the ability to get extra length with the teleconverter if there is enough light.

10-08-2016, 09:19 PM   #2
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Hello mikec100z,
You'll love the 150-450.
I don't use the preset, but do use the focus range limiter, which helps get focus a bit quicker, but the downside is that you have to remember to reset for a subject outside the current setting.
The only advice I'd give is to avoid rapid zooming, there have been cases where doing that can move a seal which then causes problems...and if possible avoid using the zoom lock switch.
There have been some cases where the top of the zoom lock switch has detached and the lens is then unsealed when zooming. The zoom lock switch repair has to be done in Japan apparently, I didn't get mine back for about 9 weeks

10-08-2016, 10:50 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Hey Mike,

I traded up from the F-300 too (awesome lens BTW), you'll love the flexibility of the zoom. I'm also using the K3, primarily handheld for wildlife. I've found for my particular lens that F8 is the sweet spot for sharpness, which I combine with an ISO off 800 so I can get use a fast shutter speed. I try to keep my shutter speed above 1/1000 at an absolute minimum. I set my USER1 to F8, ISO 800 and shutter speed 1/2500 for the start point and then adjust from there as needed. I also tend to shoot at the longer 450mm range for most of my shots, so I don't do a lot of zooming back and forth. I'm a back button focus user, so the four focus buttons on the lens were a great extra bonus. And I only use the zoom lock when I'm carrying the lens and not shooting.

It's a great lens and very different shooting experience from the F-300, and a lot heavier. It took me a few weeks of solid use before I got comfortable with it and I really felt like I was getting the quality of images I wanted out of the lens. But I don't regret it for a moment. It's an excellent lens and the AF is so much faster than the F-300. But finding the perfect focal point isn't as easy at 450mm. More room for the AF to pick the not quite right spot. You'll definitely need some patience with it when you get it.
10-09-2016, 12:19 AM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikec100z Quote
Any tips on using the focus preset and other lens functions effectively?
The setting of focus limiter depends on what size of subject you are after. For instance, if you are after small birds, you know that the appropriate shooting distance will be within 6 meters (6 meter setting wasn't chosen at random...). However, if you are shooting larger animals such as in a safari, the shooting distance is most likely between 6 meters and infinity. While the focus limiter shorter the time to lock focus, the focusing speed can be further improved with focus preset and here is why: unless the distance between focus preset and subject is small , the camera does not know if the subject is beyond the current focus position or in front of the current focus position. With long lenses, the amount of blur is such that the camera seldom is able to know which direction focus should go. Therefore, whenever de-focus is significant, the camera AF motion defaults to AF motion from far to near. If the focus preset is in front of the subject, the camera will focus closer and closer until reaching the closest focus distance of the lens, and then it will move focus from near to far, which will take a lot of time (so called "hunting"). On the other hand, if the focus is preset beyond the subject distance, the camera will move focus closer (default behavior) and catch focus rapidly.

In short:
- if you shoot small birds, use 6 meters focus limiter (actual limiter is roughly at 6.5 or 7 meters), and focus preset at around 6 meters.
- if you shoot large animals, use 6 meters to infinity focus range, and focus preset at around 30 or 20 meters, depending on size of animals.
Doing so, focusing is instant. Worst case to avoid being when the AF does a full loop to find the subject.

10-09-2016, 02:29 AM - 3 Likes   #5
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Congrads on the 150-450. I moved from the F*300/4.5 to it a about a year a ago.... still keep the 300 for when size matters.

My ony possibly usefull advice is...a) don't get to disapointed initially.... I found it much less likely to return a good shot compared to the 300 initially. This subsided after a few weeks.... but I do think that after 300mm it's almost a square law in the increase difficulty of getting good shots..... especially hand held etc.

b) you'll lose effectively on stop of light in this lens transmittance for a given aperature over the 300..... so, for example, in AV mode your shutter speed will halve for a given ISO..... this along with the heavier lens can cause less then optimal shots.

c) with the the size and weight increase one needs to be organised in how you walk for longer priods or hold the camera to your eye waiting for a click moment.... I won't go anywhere with the lens without my black rapid strap etc.

d) at the longer end I see a def improvement at f8 ..... especially for birds feathers etc..... much more obvious then with the 300

e) off course do some focus fine tuning.

I use my zoom lock etc.... wouldn't worry too much about other peoples bad luck. For me though, it's not like world peace is at stake if I have the odd issue.... which I haven't.

Last edited by noelpolar; 10-09-2016 at 02:40 AM.
10-09-2016, 08:33 AM   #6
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Congrats on your purchase. This is a little outside the scope of your questions but I'll post it anyway. The 150=450 is quite a heavy beast. I found that the overall handling of the 150-450 improves greatly with a lens coat covering. It just feels more grippy to hold and much more comfortable to handle over long walks. Your confidence levels with the lens will improve.
Enjoy yourself.
10-09-2016, 09:49 AM   #7
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Thank you all for the useful tips. Excellent to get other peoples experience. I am off to a local bird sanctuary for my first day of shooting. I can already see that the weight of the lens compared to my 300 f4 will require me to sharpen my technique. I typically use a monopod and sometimes a tripod when shooting so your sage advice on technique is well taken.

Thanks again to all. Very Helpful.

10-09-2016, 05:53 PM   #8
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My tip is cancel your gym membership because you're going to get plenty of workout shooting hand-held.
Also, congratulations. It's a wonderful lens. You'll love it.

10-09-2016, 08:46 PM - 1 Like   #9
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first attempts

here are my first attempts with the lens. Tips on using the lens handheld were beneficial. Clearly need to do further work, such as not cutting off the feet of the ducks, but a fun start. Theses are using the 1.4x teleconverter. Lens worked well even in relatively low light (cloudy). ISO needed to go quite high, up to 10000.
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Last edited by mikec100z; 10-09-2016 at 08:51 PM. Reason: additional info
10-10-2016, 10:08 PM   #10
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Long lenses eat light. Consider using a flash with flash extender, rather than pushing the ISO. A Rogue Safari works well with the popup flash on the K-3 up to 15-20 metres: Otherwise a flash extender for your speedlite:

10-13-2016, 01:59 PM   #11
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congrats. I too traded my beloved F*300 for the DFA 150-450. I still miss the 300 and not sure the DFA is equivalent, but if you need the versatility of a zoom for birding or airshows, this is a good choice!
Have not tried the preset yet, but I do love the multiple AF buttons along the body of the lens. That is clever.

I did just shoot an airshow handheld on Sunday and my arms were trembling by 3/4ths of the way through. It is a beast.
Good luck!

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