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02-28-2017, 08:57 PM   #1
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which teleconverter to use with SMC Pentax-DA L 50-200mm

So I just purchased this lens: SMC Pentax-DA L 50-200mm F4-5.6 ED Reviews - DA L Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database -- and I'm loving it so far. I've taken some great shots. Long story short, I'm wanting to get some decent sized pictures of the moon with clouds. Nothing super close, but more than the 200mm gets me normally. What 2x or less teleconverter would you guys recommend to maintain the quality I'm seeing with just the lens. I'd like to keep the auto functionality, but that's not as important as image quality to me. Also...I don't want to break the bank either. Any suggestions?

02-28-2017, 09:21 PM - 1 Like   #2
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2x converters are going degrade your picture quality, especially if you use them with that 50-200
02-28-2017, 09:25 PM   #3
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Any chance you can return that 50-200 and get a 55-300?
02-28-2017, 09:30 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
Any chance you can return that 50-200 and get a 55-300?
Nah, eBay purchase, and I got a good deal on it. I like it a lot, so I wouldn't do that anyway. Is there a 1.4x TC that would maintain IQ better?

---------- Post added 02-28-17 at 10:31 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by sergysergy Quote
2x converters are going degrade your picture quality, especially if you use them with that 50-200
Why is that? And is there a different converter that would work better?

02-28-2017, 09:43 PM   #5
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If you're on a budget, your best bet would be to get one of those generic super tele (i.e. 500mm) lenses they have on eBay for shooting the moon.

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02-28-2017, 09:50 PM   #6
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The 50-200 just isn't that popular due to image quality deficiencies. Great that you like yours. I own one and I never use it.

I would probably shop for a 3rd party TC if you really want one to save on cost vs. a Pentax branded part. You can find reviews for them here; Miscellaneous Lenses for Pentax: Teleconverters (All Brands) - Pentax Lens Review Database

I would probably stick with a 1.7x unit; I don't think many of the 2x units review well. I kind of like Adam's suggestion more.
02-28-2017, 09:54 PM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vicioustuna2012 Quote
Nah, eBay purchase, and I got a good deal on it. I like it a lot, so I wouldn't do that anyway. Is there a 1.4x TC that would maintain IQ better?

---------- Post added 02-28-17 at 10:31 PM ----------


Why is that? And is there a different converter that would work better?
The problem is a TC costs you light. A 1.4x TC eats up one stop, a 2x TC eats up 2 stops. Not only that, but a TC, in addition to whatever optical flaws it has, also exacerbates the flaws in the lens. So a little bit of softness becomes a lot. That little bit of chromatic aberration becomes a lot. You can still get decent results, but it requires more - and different - post -processing.

That's just IMO, though. I see people post shots taken with a TC that have what I would consider to be bad image quality, but they don't think so. Different people have different standards.

Years ago I went down a path similar to yours, tried various TC's with a Tamron 70-300 that by itself was decent enough, but all of its flaws were magnified by the TC. Not entirely rubbish, but... difficult, and frustrating.

I dropped out of DSLR usage for about half a year, and when I got back I decided that the only way I could comfortably afford the image quality I wanted was to shoot older, manual-focus glass. It doesn't always work out perfectly but it sure is fun.

Anyway, back to TC's... the best you could get would be the HD 1.4x TC, which is something like $500. And that will take your 50-200/5.6 to 280mm f/8, and that's before stopping down to get the best image quality. A used 55-300 is like $100-$150.

If you don't mind all manual, I found the Rear Converter K T6-2X Reviews - Pentax K-mount Teleconverters and Adapters - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database to be pretty good. That will take you to 400mm f/11. Here's a trio I took with it combined with a Tak 200/4. The pic of the ducks is cropped a bit, the others are the full frames.





02-28-2017, 09:56 PM   #8
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The Samyang built 500mm f6.3 is ideal,but read the reviews....or a used F8 Tamron Adaptall 2.....both have 2x TCs that work well.

The Tamron/Kenko/Vivitar ++ 1.4x AF TC is good for the 50/200 but not WR unfortunately.

02-28-2017, 10:18 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by pres589 Quote
The 50-200 just isn't that popular due to image quality deficiencies. Great that you like yours. I own one and I never use it.
My own experience with the DA L 50-200 was that it was pretty good when stopped down a bit and the subject was fairly close. Nice contrast and flare resistance, too. If I stumbled on a WR version for cheap I might pick it up.

02-28-2017, 10:35 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
If you're on a budget, your best bet would be to get one of those generic super tele (i.e. 500mm) lenses they have on eBay for shooting the moon.
Well, I was hoping to not only use it for the moon, but to give me some more reach for other stuff to. So, is this just a bad idea? Why do I see so many people using them? Are they using them with different setups?
03-01-2017, 05:11 AM   #11
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Partially why I don't use mine is that I never really need the reach. I can't really remember when my 18-135 wasn't long enough for whatever I was trying to capture.

When I would go out with the thing and take shots they were always at 50 to 75mm. I bought a DA-L WR version which is probably the best one to get; plastic mount doesn't bother me per se and it's so small and light. I did get a genuine Pentax pinch cap with it of the same style that came on my 18-135; that cap + a filter on the front of my DA 15 Ltd works awesome, so that's a plus.

Maybe this summer I can get down to the beach with the 50-200 and get some shots of birds.
03-01-2017, 05:47 AM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vicioustuna2012 Quote
So, is this just a bad idea? Why do I see so many people using them? Are they using them with different setups?
What you have come up against is the inbuilt 'elitism' of forums such as this where only the best is good enough. If you want pin sharp and finely detailed photos then using a TC on your lens isn't going to cut the mustard, if you are happy with reasonable photos that look OK at smaller sizes then have a go with a TC. Like most things photographic if you want top notch quality images you have to pay top whack but cheaper options can give reasonable results.
03-01-2017, 06:15 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by mohb Quote
What you have come up against is the inbuilt 'elitism' of forums such as this where only the best is good enough. If you want pin sharp and finely detailed photos then using a TC on your lens isn't going to cut the mustard, if you are happy with reasonable photos that look OK at smaller sizes then have a go with a TC. Like most things photographic if you want top notch quality images you have to pay top whack but cheaper options can give reasonable results.
Agreed. Blown up to A4 or even A3, images from this lens can look quite good if used properly.

That being said, I have never used it with a TC, though because of the loss in speed. This puts the lens focusing at F/8 when wide open at 280mm, and that is not likely to be reliable. Also your sweet spot for resolution will be F/16. I'm with Adam. You can pick up a 300mm mirror lens for $235, and get a more compact and a faster option for that focal length. (I find my 500mm harder to handle.) I use one of these often on my Sony mirrorless body. Perfect? No. Useful? Absolutely!
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03-01-2017, 06:53 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vicioustuna2012 Quote
Well, I was hoping to not only use it for the moon, but to give me some more reach for other stuff to. So, is this just a bad idea? Why do I see so many people using them? Are they using them with different setups?
I think you are probably seeing folks using 1.4x converters
I used old 2x converters early on with my digital cameras
I personally always hated manual focus for moving animals and the focusing screens don't lend themselves to accurate focus...ymmv

with good light you will still have AF if you pick up a TC with the proper contacts
IQ shouldn't suffer a lot

the downside here is that the TC will cost more than your 50-200 did

I used the heck out of my 50-200's when that is what I had
I found that 300mm is the sweet spot for my wildlife shots
even longer is better for me because I don't have to work as hard to get some shots

I dislike ebay
however I have had excellent experiences with keh.com and natcam.com

take your time finding what works best for you or you will end up with a very expensive box of stuff that you don't use

note: if you do go with the 500mm mirrors my experience says that except in perfect light you will need a sturdy tripod
03-01-2017, 07:51 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
Agreed. Blown up to A4 or even A3, images from this lens can look quite good if used properly.

That being said, I have never used it with a TC, though because of the loss in speed. This puts the lens focusing at F/8 when wide open at 280mm, and that is not likely to be reliable. Also your sweet spot for resolution will be F/16. I'm with Adam. You can pick up a 300mm mirror lens for $235, and get a more compact and a faster option for that focal length. (I find my 500mm harder to handle.) I use one of these often on my Sony mirrorless body. Perfect? No. Useful? Absolutely!
$235 is a lot for a mirror lens - that's more than enough for a DA 55-300, which is AF.

I have a MTO 500/8 mirror from c.1970, and it's pretty fun. It is supposedly one of the better mirror options around...







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