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07-14-2017, 06:23 AM   #1
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I need (want) a long lens - Pentax FA* 600/f4 vs Sigma DG APO 500/4.5

I would love to buy the Pentax, but those things are rarer than hens teeth at the moment.

With a trip coming up, it look like my only choice at the moment is the Sigma. Plus it being a good bit lighter, it might be better for travel, though I'm not sure how I would deal with either on a plane trip.

Just how does the Sigma stack up against the Pentax? And would I have any regrets buying one?

My fear is that once I lay out the funds for the Sigma, a Pentax would be come available.

07-14-2017, 06:40 AM   #2
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Either lens can fit in a carry-on bag and you might even find that the Sigma could fit in a "personal item" bag that goes under your seat.

The larger aperture and longer focal length of the Pentax makes it a beast of a lens -- 15 pounds versus the Sigma's 7.
07-14-2017, 06:43 AM   #3
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There is one in the marketplace

SMC Pentax FA* 600/4 ED IF - PentaxForums.com
07-14-2017, 06:55 AM   #4
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I was going to suggest Pal's lens too

07-14-2017, 08:01 AM   #5
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I have been shooting with the Sigma 500/4,5 for quite a few years. Travelled extensively always carrying the lenses in my hand package. Been checked a number of times, no problems.
I have no personal experience of the Pentax. However I am sure whichever you go for, you will not regret it!

Last edited by PePe; 07-14-2017 at 08:07 AM.
07-14-2017, 08:49 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by dcshooter Quote
You are on crack if you are planning on trying to carry on the 600mm. Not only is it incredibly heavy, meaning lugging it around the airport won't be fun, but its case won't fit under a seat or in one of the newer narrower overhead bins, typically 21x14x9. The thing is enormous. You could get away with putting it uncased in an overhead bin, but would you really want a $6k piece of kit bouncing around up there?

The reason I'm selling the lens is that it is no fun to use. It is a beast and you need a beast of a tripod. It is really not suited for the opportunistic wildlife photography I do (sometimes). The lens is difficult to use due to its weight and size. You need very good technique to achieve sharp images. I use the highest ISO I can get away with even in sunshine (I've seen wildlife photographer Frans Lanting saying he does the same) so that the shutterspeed is high enough to minimized vibration induced unsharpness; better with a "noisy" sharp image than a noisefree fuzzy image..

I only recommend this lens if you are:

1. Shooting in wildlife hotspots where you are fairly certain to encounter your intended subject.
2. Shooting from a blind.

ie this lens is best for planned shots.
The only "extended" trekking with the lens I've done was to the fox den I came over a few years ago (see avatar!). It was 1/2 hour walk along a trail. I had about 10 trips. 50% hitrate of seeing the fox puppies.

I'm going to replace the 600mm with the 150-450 lens
07-14-2017, 09:02 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by dcshooter Quote
You are on crack if you are planning on trying to carry on the 600mm. Not only is it incredibly heavy, meaning lugging it around the airport won't be fun, but its case won't fit under a seat or in one of the newer narrower overhead bins, typically 21x14x9. The thing is enormous. You could get away with putting it uncased in an overhead bin, but would you really want a $6k piece of kit bouncing around up there?
LOL! Maybe I'm on crack, then. My "personal item" tends to be a waist-strap lens bag with 6-8 lenses in it and typically weighs 15 lbs. Not only do I lug it through airports but I also hike & walk 10-20 miles a day with it. And my carry-on has been known to hit 30 lbs -- good thing US airports & airlines aren't like some places that limit carry-ons ot 7 kg.

That lens looks to be about 7 x 18 (plus something for the foot) for which I'd make a set of form-fitting foam blocks (foam on one side, 1/8" hard plastic on the other wide) all in a custom-swen ballistic nylon bag. It would probably end up being about 19 x 12 x 9 with is well with the limit and much much smaller than the giant roller-bags people typically manage to get in the bin. It would probably even fit under the seat on most (but not all) aircraft.

Now the tripod needed to hold up this lens is another matter!

(Noe: I have no intension of buying this large a lens but would assume any photographer who hefts that big a lens can carry it around an airport after some "Pumping-Pentax" exercises.)
07-14-2017, 09:12 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by dhodgeh Quote
Just how does the Sigma stack up against the Pentax? And would I have any regrets buying one?
After reading the comments of the size and weight of the Pentax, that spec alone may be become a regret. Lugging around a 15lb lens is something I wouldn't want to do. And then consider you aren't mounting that thing a a travel tripod either. I have a much lighter Sigma 150-500, mostly plastic and I hate carrying that but it's at least light enough to get an occasional handheld shot or use with a monopod.

07-16-2017, 07:53 AM - 1 Like   #9
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Thanks to all that have replied and expressed an opinion. Pal's testimony as to the handling and trans-portability of the Pentax 600 speaks volumes, especially, since I am looking for lens to travel with. I do have a sufficient tripod and mount for the 600, but, it's not something I travel with on regular basis.

So, I am going with the Sigma, and should have one by the end of the week.

Last edited by dhodgeh; 07-16-2017 at 12:57 PM.
07-16-2017, 09:53 AM   #10
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$5000 buys you a new Sigma, a used FA600 or a new Pentax DA560.
FA600 is heavy and huge
DA560 is loooooooooog and not realy a FF design, but weather sealed, silent AF and has Pentax written on it
Sigma has screw drive AF and no weather sealing, but is light and does a perfect job fo a 500mm lens - Sigma updated the lens recently, so you are investing in known, but old technology
I have the same dilemma - happy to spend the money, but no perfect solution available.best choice is Sigma in my opinion, so please don't get the last one :-)
07-16-2017, 02:48 PM   #11
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The FA* 600/4 weight twice as much as the DA 560!
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