Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
01-17-2018, 09:36 AM - 3 Likes   #1
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
csa's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Montana mountains
Posts: 9,198
Primary lens, 300 or 400?

I'm happy with my ProMaster 70-300 (got it very cheap!), plus the Tamron AF 1.4TC. However, I am certain I would get "better" photos with a primary of a 300 or 400. I've tried contacting a seller of an A*300, and he's away; so this gives me time to decide perhaps another lens might suit me better. My primary shooting is wild birds. I don't want a heavy lens, as all my shots are handheld. I can't go over $500, so I know that limits me in the pre-owned department.

So, let the suggestions fly!

Here's a sample with the ProMaster I took yesterday.



01-17-2018, 09:43 AM   #2
Pentaxian
pete-tarmigan's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Conception Bay South, New-fun-land
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,166
QuoteOriginally posted by csa Quote
I'm happy with my ProMaster 70-300 (got it very cheap!), plus the Tamron AF 1.4TC. However, I am certain I would get "better" photos with a primary of a 300 or 400. I've tried contacting a seller of an A*300, and he's away; so this gives me time to decide perhaps another lens might suit me better. My primary shooting is wild birds. I don't want a heavy lens, as all my shots are handheld. I can't go over $500, so I know that limits me in the pre-owned department.
I have found 300mm to be too short for birds, especially on the 24mm x 36mm sensor. One of the few bird exceptions to this rule is the Red Crossbill in your photo. They often seem to be oblivious of humans approaching them.
01-17-2018, 10:13 AM   #3
Pentaxian
Na Horuk's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Slovenia, probably
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 11,189
QuoteOriginally posted by pete-tarmigan Quote
I have found 300mm to be too short for birds, especially on the 24mm x 36mm sensor.
OP also has a TC. Can you recommend something that comes close to their budget?

I'm not much a telephoto shooter, but what about the new HD DA 55-300mm? Is it better than the ProMaster? It has new HD coatings, WR, fast and quiet AF.. Not sure about aperture and overall IQ, though. Never tried that lens, but it fits in the stated budget.
The previous version of the DA 55-300mm has faster aperture and can be found even cheaper, especially in the DA L version: SMC Pentax-DA L 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED Reviews - DA L Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
But it doesn't have all these nice features of the new one.

I think PentaxForums has a comparison review of the old and new 55-300mm, which can help. Of course, these are APSC lenses, so if OP only has FF camera, they might not cut it, even with a TC (does a 1.4 TC make image APSC circle big enough for FF?)

Edit: Also, nice shot, OP! If you shot raw, removing the purple fringing is pretty easy, too. When raw software removes CA and fringing, adds a little sharpening, even photos with old lenses look much better
01-17-2018, 10:32 AM   #4
csa
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
csa's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Montana mountains
Posts: 9,198
Original Poster
Thanks! No, I shoot JPEG. I really don't want another zoom, rather a primary. I did have the Pentax 55-300 previously.
I've been considering the Pentax 300's (not the DA, can't afford it). But also would consider which 400 (model/brand) that would be suggested. I plan on keeping the ProMaster, but want a primary that would possibly give me better results. I would be using my Tamron 1.4x MC4 PZ AF with it.

BTW, my camera is the K3.

01-17-2018, 10:47 AM   #5
Pentaxian




Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Dallas / Yucatan
Posts: 1,036
You might take a look a this listing in the Marketplace. Sigma 400mm f 5.6. Manual focus. Likely better image quality than your ProMaster zoom, lightweight, longer reach, affordable. If manual focus is OK, this would be an affordable step up. Very nice image, btw.

Sigma 400mm f/5.6 Manual with case VG+ condition - PentaxForums.com

* I have no affiliation with the seller.
01-17-2018, 10:52 AM   #6
csa
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
csa's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Montana mountains
Posts: 9,198
Original Poster
Thanks! Another member suggested looking at this.

Anyone have one, and can share sharpness, etc. with it?
01-17-2018, 11:00 AM - 7 Likes   #7
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
Fenwoodian's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Wisconsin, USA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,905
.

A K3 with a relatively fast 300mm prime lens (and maybe a 1.4 teleconverter) would be a decent Birders rig. Given your budget, you will likely need to go with a manual lens, because a decent auto-focus prime will be far too expensive for you.

For 6 years I used a MF 300mm lens (sometimes with a 1.4x) for birds. They can capture some terrific images, although you will not achieve the keeper rate with a MF lens that you would with an AF lens.

I know of no serious birders who shoot with a hand held camera. Heavy telephoto lens that serious birders use puts far too much stress on a camera mount. Plus such rigs are too heavy to hand hold for long periods of time. Also, hand holding (even with IBIS) will induce shake into your bird photos and degrade their IQ.

If you don't care to use a tripod, at least consider using a monopod (with a tilting head) that's attached via a tripod collar to the lens (not the camera).

[IMG][/IMG]

Last edited by Fenwoodian; 01-17-2018 at 11:19 AM.
01-17-2018, 11:04 AM   #8
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
boriscleto's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: North Syracuse, NY
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 13,951
QuoteOriginally posted by csa Quote
Thanks! Another member suggested looking at this.

Anyone have one, and can share sharpness, etc. with it?
If it's not the APO version don't bother.

Your problem is that you chose Pentax If you were shooting another brand long telephotos would be easier to acquire...


Last edited by boriscleto; 01-17-2018 at 11:11 AM.
01-17-2018, 11:21 AM - 1 Like   #9
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
UncleVanya's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2014
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 14,234
With your limitations on price in mind:

If you buy an A* 300mm cheaply enough try to buy a Pentax F 1.7x AF converter also. This will give limited Autofocus (you focus close then it adjusts inside a narrow range). That will give you the 300mm native lens (manual focus), a 420mm f/5.6 manual focus using your existing 1.4x TC and a 510mm f/6.8 with limited autofocus.

Honestly I'm not sure how much better that A* 300 plus TC is vs. cropping. I haven't tried it. I have tried the same idea with the FA* 300 and I like the results generally but I'm still not certain if the F 1.7 combined with my FA* is better than simply cropping. It's difficult to setup a good test to be sure. It is nice to have the limited focus range for some things however.

I realize you say no zooms but the Sigma 50-500 or similar may be the answer to your needs - the price is often about at your budget or below and it has the range you need and a reputation that isn't bad. But it is large.
01-17-2018, 11:21 AM - 1 Like   #10
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
robtcorl's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: St Louis, MO
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 6,955
Carol,
We sound like similar shooters, JPEG only, handheld, and mostly birds.
I got lucky and found the DA 300* in Amazon's warehouse, listed as "used good" for $784, it came as new but no warranty.
I know it's out of your budget, and perhaps heavier than you want, but it is my favorite lens of all time.
The 55-300 served me pretty well up until I got it.
Good luck in your quest, hope you find exactly what you are looking for.
01-17-2018, 11:27 AM   #11
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
Fenwoodian's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Wisconsin, USA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,905
QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote

Your problem is that you chose Pentax If you were shooting another brand long telephotos would be easier to acquire...
I have to say that I agree with this statement.

I love Pentax and own two Pentax K1 cameras. But, if you are all about shooting birds, you'd be better served in the long run by switching to either Nikon or Canon.
01-17-2018, 11:28 AM - 1 Like   #12
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
UncleVanya's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2014
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 14,234
I owned the Sigma AF 400 (72mm version) autofocus type and found it to be very soft. It was fine when I didn't own the FA* 300, but after that I found I could crop to 400 better than I could shoot it with the 400. In fact the DA 50-300 was better cropped honestly. There is a 77mm filter version that has better IQ. The AF 400 I had was a bit challenged with some fungus that had to be cleaned up (thank you @DCShooter) so some of my loss of contrast may be from that but honestly my results mirror what others have told me of their experiences. Still it is a very light lens and fun to play with. I do recommend getting the autofocus version if you get one however. If you only shoot JPG I honestly think you should look elsewhere since this lens required some post processing to get acceptable results including removal of wicked purple fringing.
01-17-2018, 11:42 AM - 2 Likes   #13
csa
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
csa's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Montana mountains
Posts: 9,198
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Fenwoodian Quote
I have to say that I agree with this statement.

I love Pentax and own two Pentax K1 cameras. But, if you are all about shooting birds, you'd be better served in the long run by switching to either Nikon or Canon.
Nope, I would not consider switching from Pentax. I do this as a hobby, and have a lot (to me) of money tied up in Pentax, and going to another brand is more cost than I could afford. Besides, I'm very, very happy with what I've got.
01-17-2018, 11:44 AM   #14
csa
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
csa's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Montana mountains
Posts: 9,198
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by robtcorl Quote
Carol,
We sound like similar shooters, JPEG only, handheld, and mostly birds.
I got lucky and found the DA 300* in Amazon's warehouse, listed as "used good" for $784, it came as new but no warranty.
I know it's out of your budget, and perhaps heavier than you want, but it is my favorite lens of all time.
The 55-300 served me pretty well up until I got it.
Good luck in your quest, hope you find exactly what you are looking for.
Thanks! Yes, that's way out of my budget, but from what I've read, is really a dream lens!
01-17-2018, 12:25 PM   #15
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter
UncleVanya's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2014
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 14,234
Something few think about. You can mount a nikon lens to a Pentax body. You can use the Adaptist mount to make it more secure or pre-AI lenses can be mounted directly on - but they are not fully secure and they will focus past infinity unless you shim them. You can also convert the lens mount using aftermarket mounts that permit them to be used on Pentax - this is all strictly manual focus mind you.

Another option to consider would be a mirror lens - the bokeh isn't for everyone and the focusing is fiddly since DOF is often very thin compared to subject size. But a 500mm mirror lens is well within budget.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
a*300, capability, combo, companies, iq, k-mount, lens, lenses, life, options, pentax lens, population, primes, promaster, sigma, slr lens, time, touch, town
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Kodak Tri-X 400 or T-Max 400? Spodeworld Pentax Film SLR Discussion 15 09-28-2017 03:20 PM
Deciding on new Primary Lens [Pentax 16-85 vs Sigma 17-50 vs Tamron 17-50] Marcus_H Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 38 12-31-2016 07:22 PM
PPP national primary poll: Trumpmentum over deadwolfbones General Talk 2 05-10-2011 01:03 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:49 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top