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12-01-2017, 05:49 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
What you're suggesting is much more expensive than what the OP is looking at...
I am suggesting what I think are best options for each price bracket, including the original 55-300 , which is the same price as the OPs original lens idea ($100)... in the first line of the list.

12-01-2017, 06:05 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
One of the funny things about (cheap) older, manual-focus tele lenses is the folks who buy them because they are inexpensive tend to be newbies and unaccustomed to MF, so they struggle to use the lens to its best advantage, while the more experienced photogs who could use them more properly have gone up-market.
Good point.

In my case I grew up in the film days, with screw mount lenses and manual everything Personally I still prefer manual focus most of the time... but fine focus Is sure a lot harder today without a split screen micro prism viewfinder.

Just getting back into photography with a forced early retirement, so with kids still at home money is tight.

I don't expect for $125 to get the same performance as a $1000 lens, just something better than my 1/2.3 sensor camera was able to provide.

---------- Post added 12-01-17 at 06:07 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by randomstuff Quote
I am suggesting what I think are best options for each price bracket, including the original 55-300 , which is the same price as the OPs original lens idea ($100)... in the first line of the list.
As I noted... I already have the 55-300 paired to my K70. Simply looking for something with more reach for those times 300 comes up short.
12-01-2017, 06:26 PM - 4 Likes   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve Grosvenor Quote
Samyang 100500 mm f5.6-7.1??
Has anyone had any experiences with this lens?

Looking for a cheap bird lens...

[Edit: I've revised my comments and added some details.]
While I haven't shot with my M42 mount Samyang 100-500 extensively, I've used it enough times to suspect you'd be better off using your 55-300 PLM instead (I don't own a 55-300).

My Samyang is soft at 500mm, its tripod collar is set too far to the rear for good balance and I find the 140 degree focus throw too short for precise focusing. On the plus side, my copy has very little zoom creep and it has a useful 2.5m minimum focus distance. And I haven't seen any significant flaring or CA.

I have several cheap, long lenses - each of which cost me under $100. Here they are:
Samyang 100-500mm f5.6-7.1, Phoenix/Samyang 500mm f/8 mirror, Adaptall 2 55BB 500mm f/8 mirror, MTO 3M-5CA 500mm f/8 mirror and Tele Vivitar 500mm f/6.3





A few months ago I did a sharpness comparison between these lenses with my K10D. Shot from a tripod, each lens is at f/8 from about 10m / 30 feet away. I focus bracketed and chose the best. These are 100% crops from the centers of the frames:














Of the five, my favorite to use is the Adaptall. It's much sharper than the Samyangs, more portable than the Vivitar and has a shorter minimum focus distance than the MTO (1.7m vs 4m). If you can live with doughnut highlights and a fixed aperture, I think it'd be a good choice.


I'm not much of a birder. But when they come and pose for me, even I can get a decent shot. This Towhee was lounging on the sidewalk and let me get pretty close. I had plenty of time to set up my tripod and get good focus with the 55BB and K10D. (50% crop, color and contrast added in post.):



Last edited by .a.t.; 12-02-2017 at 01:01 AM.
12-01-2017, 08:14 PM - 2 Likes   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve Grosvenor Quote
Good point.

In my case I grew up in the film days, with screw mount lenses and manual everything Personally I still prefer manual focus most of the time... but fine focus Is sure a lot harder today without a split screen micro prism viewfinder.
Yup, even though Pentax does the best job in equipping all their DSLR's with decent VF's, they are still only just adequate for focusing, IMO.

QuoteQuote:
Just getting back into photography with a forced early retirement, so with kids still at home money is tight.
I can certainly empathize with your situation. I take care of two disabled family members, so I can't work as much as I once did... and that impacts "discretionary income", or lack thereof. But over the years I've been patient and kept my eyes open and have found a few really great deals, even if it means having to sell something to buy something else.


QuoteQuote:
I don't expect for $125 to get the same performance as a $1000 lens, just something better than my 1/2.3 sensor camera was able to provide.
Over the years I've owned several superzooms with 1/2.3" sensors, and in optimal situations I've been impressed. There's not the same pleasure involved as with using a DSLR, and there are shortcomings in terms of image quality, but I do like them. They've gotten so expensive, though.



12-01-2017, 08:22 PM - 2 Likes   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by .a.t. Quote
Yes, I've used my copy enough times to suspect you'd be better off using your 55-300 PLM instead (I don't own a 55-300).
I have several cheap, long lenses - each of which cost me under $100. Here they are:
Samyang 100-500mm f5.6-7.1, Phoenix/Samyang 500mm f/8 mirror, Adaptall 2 55BB 500mm f/8 mirror, MTO 3M-5CA 500mm f/8 mirror and Tele Vivitar 500mm f/6.3





A few months ago I did a sharpness comparison between these lenses with my K10D. Shot from a tripod, each lens is at f/8 from about 10m / 30 feet away. I focus bracketed and chose the best. These are 100% crops from the centers of the frames:














Of the five, my favorite to use is the Adaptall. It's much sharper than the Samyangs, more portable than the Vivitar and has a shorter minimum focus distance than the MTO (1.7m vs 4m). If you can live with doughnut highlights and a fixed aperture, I think it'd be a good choice.


I'm not much of a birder. But when they come and pose for me, even I can get a decent shot. This Towhee was lounging on the sidewalk and let me get pretty close. I had plenty of time to set up my tripod and get good focus with the 55BB and K10D. (50% crop, color and contrast added in post.):

Super post! Thanks for doing the comparo. Your Towhee looks sharp!

I have the MTO 500/8. I like it.

12-01-2017, 09:49 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
Super post! Thanks for doing the comparo. Your Towhee looks sharp!

I have the MTO 500/8. I like it.
Thanks and you're welcome.
Oh, and that's a wonderful action shot! Was that bird upset at you - or just showing off?

QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
. . .

Over the years I've owned several superzooms with 1/2.3" sensors, and in optimal situations I've been impressed. There's not the same pleasure involved as with using a DSLR, and there are shortcomings in terms of image quality, but I do like them. They've gotten so expensive, though.
Hmm. I tend to forget about superzooms. My old Olympus is such an erratic focuser that I use it mainly for product shots now. Perhaps it's time for an update..? (That's a beautiful Robin shot!)
12-02-2017, 07:55 AM - 2 Likes   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by .a.t. Quote
Thanks and you're welcome.
Oh, and that's a wonderful action shot! Was that bird upset at you - or just showing off?
I think he was just showing off... there were several grackles about, so perhaps a few ladies were there.


QuoteQuote:
Hmm. I tend to forget about superzooms. My old Olympus is such an erratic focuser that I use it mainly for product shots now. Perhaps it's time for an update..? (That's a beautiful Robin shot!)
While I haven't used the absolute latest batch of superzooms like the Nikon P900 and Canon SX60 HS, the ones I have used still have rather dodgy AF, I fear. And some don't allow the level of control that a DSLR does. And subject isolation can be tough, and the out-of-focus areas are generally not rendered as nicely as a DSLR equipped even with the most modest zoom.

And sometimes I need to sell mine because I want a new lens!

But they are small, convenient, have extraordinary range, and in general I think are better than us DSLR-snobs give them credit for. If I had the money I'd always have a good one with me.

Anyway, I wonder if our OP, Steve, has considered one of the better mirror lenses?

12-02-2017, 07:02 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
Super post! Thanks for doing the comparo. Your Towhee looks sharp!

I have the MTO 500/8. I like it.
Wonderful image... the doughnut blur adds interesting character to the image, and nicely shows the unique look to mirror lenses.

12-02-2017, 07:25 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve Grosvenor Quote
Good point.

In my case I grew up in the film days, with screw mount lenses and manual everything Personally I still prefer manual focus most of the time... but fine focus Is sure a lot harder today without a split screen micro prism viewfinder.

Just getting back into photography with a forced early retirement, so with kids still at home money is tight.

I don't expect for $125 to get the same performance as a $1000 lens, just something better than my 1/2.3 sensor camera was able to provide.

---------- Post added 12-01-17 at 06:07 PM ----------



As I noted... I already have the 55-300 paired to my K70. Simply looking for something with more reach for those times 300 comes up short.
Here's one more idea.
Sigma 400mm F5.6 (AF) Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database
12-02-2017, 08:03 PM - 1 Like   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
And some don't allow the level of control that a DSLR does. And subject isolation can be tough, and the out-of-focus areas are generally not rendered as nicely as a DSLR equipped even with the most modest zoom.

...they are small, convenient, have extraordinary range, and in general I think are better than us DSLR-snobs give them credit for. If I had the money I'd always have a good one with me.
You nailed one of the big attractions which pulled me back to the SLR world, lack of depth of field control as much as IQ.

The other being that although the pocket camera has great manual control, I got fed up with my big fingers trying to work the tiny buttons and navigate the user menus.

As they say, the best camera is the one you have with you. This was taken with my small sensor Sony HX90.

F6.3 / 110mm (620 mm Equivalent)



Looking at the EXIF data on all my bird shots, I found consistently the focal range was between 400 and 700 equivalence, hence appeal, since using an APS-C, of a lens offering 200-500 range.

Last edited by Steve Grosvenor; 12-02-2017 at 08:18 PM.
12-02-2017, 09:10 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve Grosvenor Quote
Wonderful image... the doughnut blur adds interesting character to the image, and nicely shows the unique look to mirror lenses.
Thank you. I'm not necessarily turned off by the infamous donut bokeh of mirror lenses.


QuoteOriginally posted by Steve Grosvenor Quote
You nailed one of the big attractions which pulled me back to the SLR world, lack of depth of field control as much as IQ.

The other being that although the pocket camera has great manual control, I got fed up with my big fingers trying to work the tiny buttons and navigate the user menus.

As they say, the best camera is the one you have with you. This was taken with my small sensor Sony HX90.

F6.3 / 110mm (620 mm Equivalent)



Looking at the EXIF data on all my bird shots, I found consistently the focal range was between 400 and 700 equivalence, hence appeal, since using an APS-C, of a lens offering 200-500 range.
That vulture looks pretty good. I don't know how much better you can do with a budget 500mm lens for a DSLR unless you luck into a really good deal - which does happen occasionally. As noted by a.t. above, a good mirror lens might be the best budget solution.

Do you have a target file size you wish to achieve? For instance, I generally need my wildlife photos to look good at 2560x1600 resolution on my tablet, so while I can afford to do some cropping on photos taken with my 16MP K-5 II, I can't do too much unless I really nail it.
12-04-2017, 06:02 PM - 1 Like   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
One of the funny things about (cheap) older, manual-focus tele lenses is the folks who buy them because they are inexpensive tend to be newbies and unaccustomed to MF, so they struggle to use the lens to its best advantage, while the more experienced photogs who could use them more properly have gone up-market.
That is a remarkably insightful statement. +1
12-04-2017, 06:24 PM   #28
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Pentax SMC 300mm + F 1.7x AF adapter, 55-300mm PLM or Sigma 150-500mm. Take your pick.
12-05-2017, 08:48 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
That vulture looks pretty good.
Considering the image is a Condor and not a Vulture, I guess I did need a better lens... lol... seriously though it is a common mistake.

QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
Do you have a target file size you wish to achieve? For instance, I generally need my wildlife photos to look good at 2560x1600
Aiming for about the same resolution as you. I like printing the best shots at 11x17 so with digital processing I have found I can get away with 2550x1650. But a lot of the time they are used for projection so only interested in 1920x1080.

The condor image (as cropped) is 3840 2160 (before cropping the image as 4896 x 3672).

When working with good light, the 1/2.3 sensor really isn't that bad. But is shade when one is forced to raise the ISO is when it is more limiting.
12-05-2017, 10:01 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve Grosvenor Quote
Considering the image is a Condor and not a Vulture, I guess I did need a better lens... lol... seriously though it is a common mistake.
Hey, I'm from Joisey and we don't know from Condors But thanks for letting me know, because they deserve respect.


QuoteQuote:
Aiming for about the same resolution as you. I like printing the best shots at 11x17 so with digital processing I have found I can get away with 2550x1650. But a lot of the time they are used for projection so only interested in 1920x1080.

The condor image (as cropped) is 3840 2160 (before cropping the image as 4896 x 3672).

When working with good light, the 1/2.3 sensor really isn't that bad. But is shade when one is forced to raise the ISO is when it is more limiting.
Re-reading the thread, I think that no matter what 500mm lens you put on that K200D, your K-70 + 55-300 PLM is going to give you a better image, even with heavy cropping. If you absolutely need to have a second body, consider selling the K200D - which has its fans - and buying a used K-50 (or newer), which would be compatible with your 55-300 PLM.
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