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07-14-2017, 03:53 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
Using a manual focus tele lens requires dedication, though. I see many photos made with long MF teles posted here and elsewhere that are soft or even blurry, most often due to poor focus. To get the best results from a MF tele, you need to "live the life".

this...

I'm currently coming to grips with a Tokina AT-X 150, which is a manual focus, 150mm-500mm f5.6 zoom... it's a very capable lens, but I'm it's only short-coming at the moment....

07-14-2017, 05:44 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by HarisF1 Quote
If you buy the new PLM zoom lens then maybe the extra sharpness would allow you to crop.
QuoteOriginally posted by ScooterMaxi Jim Quote
a consumer lens - that isn't really any sharper than the earlier 55-300
I have both the DA-L 55-300 and the 55-300 PLM. I agree with Jim that the PLM isn't really sharper overall, except that my subjective impression is that the PLM is a bit sharper at 300mm f6.3. I think the bokeh is more pleasant on the PLM, but in terms of resolution at 300mm f8 they are much the same. The screw-drive versions are not internal focus, and don't suffer from focus breathing like the PLM does, so real world magnification of subjects not far away is greater on the screw-drive version.

Of course the fast and quiet AF on the PLM, its compact size when retracted, and its shorter minimum focus distance are all big advantages. Faster AF probably means more keepers. The slower maximum aperture of the PLM at the long end (f6.3, compared with f5.8 for the screw-drive versions) isn't a significant disadvantage in practice, for two reasons. First, as I said, it's better at f6.3. Second, if you want f5.6, you just need to back off to about 280mm.

Back to the main point. TBH, I doubt a consumer zoom with a TC would give better results than cropping on the K-3. The equation is different with a TC + prime.

QuoteOriginally posted by Hokonui Quote
Cost is a factor hence the following suggestions, maybe; A fast 200 mm plus 2x teleconverter Or a med to fast 300 mm plus 1.4x teleconverter Perhaps something like the Sigma 120-400 mm F4.5-5.6 Or an older 400-500 mm prime like the Sigma 400 mm F5.6 perhaps What option / combo does the forum suggest?
I've tried three of these options: 300mm prime + TC, cheapish long zoom, and 400mm f5.6 prime. There is a case for each of them.

As between zoom and prime, it's the old chestnut of versatility v weight/IQ. I had a Sigma 170-500 and I found the limitations of weight and bulk and IQ too much. Others have got better results with the later model Sigma zooms, although the 2kg weight would put me off. I found even the bulk and weight of the 170-500 sometimes a chore to carry and use, and the Sigma 50-500 and 150-500 are bigger and heavier.

As between primes, here is my experience. I have a Sigma 400 f5.6 tele macro, which is one of the better 400 primes (although hard to find). It's a nice lens, and quite sharp from wide open. But since I got the FA*300 f4.5 and a Kenko 1.5x pz TC, the Sigma doesn't get so much use. The FA* is a superior lens, and it is compact and relatively light weight. IQ hardly suffers when paired with the TC. Had I known at the start, I would have just got it, and been done with it. The FA*300 seems to be going for between $US600 and $700 now, and I think it's a very good buy at that price. With the 55-300 for portability and convenience, I'm set.

The DA*300 f4 has a number of advantages over the F*/FA*300, but it's a lot more expensive, especially when paired with the DA 1.4x TC. The F*/FA* can be used with a wide range of (more affordable) TCs, unlike the DA*.

There are times when I think a long zoom would be nice (from what I can see, the DFA 150-450 is a very fine lens although very expensive), but overall the 300 prime + TC is the compromise that suits me best (including value for money). I think this is a minority view - other people can live with 2kg zooms that are half a metre long and get excellent results from them.

As for the 200mm prime plus more TC, that's not an option I have tried, but @Normhead has got excellent results with a DA*200 + stacked TCs. Have a look at his threads about it.

Other options to consider would be (1) using a small sensor camera like the Pentax Q series with a sharp medium tele lens, or (2) a Sigma or Tamron 150-600 in Canon or Nikon mount, with a cheap second-hand body.

QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
Using a manual focus tele lens requires dedication, though. I see many photos made with long MF teles posted here and elsewhere that are soft or even blurry, most often due to poor focus. To get the best results from a MF tele, you need to "live the life".
QuoteOriginally posted by pepperberry farm Quote
I'm currently coming to grips with a Tokina AT-X 150, which is a manual focus, 150mm-500mm f5.6 zoom... it's a very capable lens, but I'm it's only short-coming at the moment....
All power to those who have high skills with MF, but I agree that unless you are really committed AF makes life much easier. I used a MF zoom on my old film SLR for about 23 years, and got reasonably good at MF, but as soon as I went to an AF lens for moving subjects I got far more keepers and could never look back.

Last edited by Des; 07-15-2017 at 03:16 PM.
07-14-2017, 10:18 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hokonui Quote
The Sigma 50-500 would be a good option but best price I can see at the moment is around $1000 US. (NZ isn't big enough to have much used Pentax gear available locally so I'm pretty much reliant on what turns up on Ebay or Pentax Market for used gear). I'm happy to spend $500 and might manage $1000 ... but definitely prefer the former.
If you are game to deal with Australians - despite all sensible Kiwi instincts to the contrary ;-) - Gumtree au is worth a look too. Postage across the ditch isn't too expensive. I know private sales are always risky, but I've had some good experiences. By way of examples, see these:
Sigma lens for Pentax. 150-500 F4.0/6.3 APO DG OS HSM (Lens only) | Lenses | Gumtree Australia Gosnells Area - Gosnells | 1152848514
Sigma 120-400 4.5-5.6 APO DG HSM, Pentax Fit Lens | Lenses | Gumtree Australia Armadale Area - Kelmscott | 1153037499
Sigma 100-300mm f4 EX APO DG + Sigma 1.4x TC - for Pentax | Lenses | Gumtree Australia Brisbane South East - Capalaba | 1153648817 - this lens is very highly regarded, and a matching/compatible TC is a good idea. In some ways this is the Goldilocks combination: prime-like image quality, the versatility of a zoom, but not as big or heavy as a Bigma or DFA 150-450.

The Kiwi $ is pretty strong against the $A at present too.

Last edited by Des; 07-15-2017 at 09:53 PM.
07-15-2017, 06:37 AM - 1 Like   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by pepperberry farm Quote
this...

I'm currently coming to grips with a Tokina AT-X 150, which is a manual focus, 150mm-500mm f5.6 zoom... it's a very capable lens, but I'm it's only short-coming at the moment....
I feel your pain with that Tokina. I have a Tamron Adaptall 200-500 f/5.6, and it is heavy. But when I do everything right, it's pretty good.

07-15-2017, 06:57 AM - 1 Like   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
All power to those who have high skills with MF, but I agree that unless you are really committed AF makes life much easier. I used a MF zoom on my old film SLR for about 23 years, and got reasonably good at MF, but as soon as I went to an AF lens for moving subjects I got far more keepers and could never look back.
I initially chose MF because I wanted better quality than the various xx-300mm zooms available... without spending a lot of money Then I just kind of became a MF dude. But if I were more concerned about BIF or a higher percentage of keepers, then the DA300/4 + 1.4TC would be mighty tempting, as would the Nikon 200-500 + Nikon body.

The A400/5.6 + A 1.4x-L is a fairly light and svelte way to get to 560mm.

Last edited by luftfluss; 07-16-2017 at 06:34 AM.
07-16-2017, 12:52 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
If you are game to deal with Australians - despite all sensible Kiwi instincts to the contrary ;-) - Gumtree au is worth a look too. Postage across the ditch isn't too expensive. I know private sales are always risky, but I've had some good experiences. By way of examples, see these:
Sigma lens for Pentax. 150-500 F4.0/6.3 APO DG OS HSM (Lens only) | Lenses | Gumtree Australia Gosnells Area - Gosnells | 1152848514
Sigma 120-400 4.5-5.6 APO DG HSM, Pentax Fit Lens | Lenses | Gumtree Australia Armadale Area - Kelmscott | 1153037499
Sigma 100-300mm f4 EX APO DG + Sigma 1.4x TC - for Pentax | Lenses | Gumtree Australia Brisbane South East - Capalaba | 1153648817 - this lens is very highly regarded, and a matching/compatible TC is a good idea. In some ways this is the Goldilocks combination: prime-like image quality, the versatility of a zoom, but not as big or heavy as a Bigma or DFA 150-450.

The Kiwi $ is pretty strong against the $A at present too.
Ha, thanks Des, I'll check Gumtree out - I have family in the Lucky country so am obliged to fraternise

So far I'm tempted by Tamron 70-200 f2.8 + 2x converter (mostly due to $) - thinking it might give me two distinct lens options with/without the converter.
The Sigma zooms and Luftluss' suggestion also appeal, will probably depend on what deals come up.
07-16-2017, 03:18 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hokonui Quote
Ha, thanks Des, I'll check Gumtree out - I have family in the Lucky country so am obliged to fraternise

QuoteOriginally posted by Hokonui Quote
So far I'm tempted by Tamron 70-200 f2.8 + 2x converter (mostly due to $) - thinking it might give me two distinct lens options with/without the converter. The Sigma zooms and Luftluss' suggestion also appeal, will probably depend on what deals come up.
Good 2x TCs seem to be harder to find than decent 1.4x TCs. As counter-intuitive as it seems, stacking 1.4x TCs is an option to consider.

But beware, the world of TCs is very mysterious and full of hidden traps. TCs that seem alike turn out to be different, and TCs that seem different turn out to be alike. For example there are two versions of the Kenko 1.5x pz TC, neither of which magnifies by 1.5x: one (which I have) is the same as the Tamron 1.4x pz and magnifies 1.4x; the other is the same as the Promaster Spectrum 1.7 and magnifies 1.7x: Some Kenko 1.5X TC's same as Promaster 1.7X: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review
Reviews of TCs need to be treated with care, unless you can be certain precisely which model is being reviewed.
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