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03-18-2018, 06:35 AM   #1
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300mm - 400mm Prime for my k10d suggestions?

I am thinking of investing in a 300 - 400 mm prime for my k10d , that would be sharper than the zoom I have now (DA 55-300 ) , and I am on a low budget- so older lenses, probably. Any ideas or any particular lens that works well for you? I mostly use the telephoto for wildlife.


Last edited by Sam Dennis; 03-18-2018 at 06:35 AM. Reason: spelling
03-18-2018, 06:44 AM   #2
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Many previous threads on this topic have generally concluded that the 55-300 is the best bang for the buck. There aren't any primes in that range that are very affordable.

Manual focus film era 400 f5.6 lenses are thought of as pretty mediochre compared to your lens. I owned a cheaper AF 400 Sigma and while light and fun to play with, image quality was lacking. Your best bet might be a body upgrade as having more pixels to crop from will effectively increase the reach of your lens allowing you to back off full extension and yet the lens in the sweet spot or just zoom in tighter.

Additionally the latest 55-300 is faster and possibly sharper but won't work on your body. Upgrading means in the future you might be able to get one.

Last edited by UncleVanya; 03-18-2018 at 06:50 AM.
03-18-2018, 06:55 AM - 1 Like   #3
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You're going through the growth thing. You need an expensive lens. The first time a camera store man told me that I thought, "he must be on commission." It took me about 5 years to come around. The problem with the "cheap long lens" thing is everybody wants it. If one came up for sale it would be gone instantly. I got my A-400 for about $450 CAD. But for wildlife or anything that moves, MF is annoying. And I'm not sure how much better it is that what you're using. it's definitely not a star quality lens. The day I got my 60-250 it went into hiding and has hardly been seen since. The preferred path in Pentax land is DA*300 and 1.4TC. That's likely your next move... you just have to save your pennies. The only other thing I might consider would be a Sigma 70-200 with the matched 2x TC. I've met several semi-pro wildlife guys happy with that combo.
03-18-2018, 07:05 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
Many previous threads on this topic have generally concluded that the 55-300 is the best bang for the buck. There aren't any primes in that range that are very affordable.

Manual focus film era 400 f5.6 lenses are thought of as pretty mediochre compared to your lens. I owned a cheaper AF 400 Sigma and while light and fun to play with, image quality was lacking. Your best bet might be a body upgrade as having more pixels to crop from will effectively increase the reach of your lens allowing you to back off full extension and yet the lens in the sweet spot or just zoom in tighter.

Additionally the latest 55-300 is faster and possibly sharper but won't work on your body. Upgrading means in the future you might be able to get one.
Thanks, a newer body like a K3 is another thing I am considering.

---------- Post added 03-18-18 at 10:07 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
You're going through the growth thing. You need an expensive lens. The first time a camera store man told me that I thought, "he must be on commission." It took me about 5 years to come around. The problem with the "cheap long lens" thing is everybody wants it. If one came up for sale it would be gone instantly. I got my A-400 for about $450 CAD. But for wildlife or anything that moves, MF is annoying. And I'm not sure how much better it is that what you're using. it's definitely not a star quality lens. The day I got my 60-250 it went into hiding and has hardly been seen since. The preferred path in Pentax land is DA*300 and 1.4TC. That's likely your next move... you just have to save your pennies. The only other thing I might consider would be a Sigma 70-200 with the matched 2x TC. I've met several semi-pro wildlife guys happy with that combo.
Thank you. I would surely love the DA 300 but it's beyond my budget.

03-18-2018, 07:30 AM   #5
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I have an A 400mm f/5.6, bought new in the late eighties. It still serves me well. I also have the matching 1.4x tele converter. On an APSC body it has some really reach for wildlife.

Unfortunately, they don't seem to be particularly cheap nowadays.

PENTAX telephoto lens SMC PENTAX-A 400MM F5.6 from japan (3264 | eBay
03-18-2018, 07:50 AM - 1 Like   #6
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I've Mamiya sekor 300/5.6 ( Mamiya SEKOR C 300mm F/5.6 N ULD for 645 Lens Free Shipping Tokyo Japan | eBay) . This lens with an adapter (Mamiya 645 M645 Mount Lens to Pentax K PK DSLR SLR Camera adapter K1 KS1 K50 | eBay) is very good , with good resolution, not heavy and rather cheap.
03-18-2018, 08:16 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sam Dennis Quote
I am thinking of investing in a 300 - 400 mm prime for my k10d , that would be sharper than the zoom I have now (DA 55-300 ) , and I am on a low budget- so older lenses, probably. Any ideas or any particular lens that works well for you? I mostly use the telephoto for wildlife.
The 55-300 is actually very good, considering the price... as good or better than a lot of older manual primes at this focal length; at least, those that can be had for a low price.

Are you doing all you can with regard to post-processing your images? See below... this is a partial 100% crop of a photo taken with the HD DA 55-300. It shows the lichen on a distant chimney stack. I was actually focused on something a little further back, so the lichen isn't quite as well-focused as it could be, but no matter... On the left is the photo as it came out of the camera. Not too impressive. On the right is the same crop, but this time after the photo has been carefully sharpened. You can see that there's actually a lot more detail captured in the photo than was initially obvious.

Bear in mind, the crops below are at 100% reproduction. At a more realistic 50% or smaller, the sharpened output looks *great*!

By all means get a 300 - 400mm prime, but the 55-300 should be capable of excellent results at 300mm if you stop it down a bit, and especially if your sharpen your images in post
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03-18-2018, 08:50 AM   #8
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It's very easy to say "you need an expensive lens" but for some of us it just isn't an option...
The DA 55-300 old design (f5.8 at 300mm) is very contrasty which masks the fact that it just isn't very sharp at 300mm. And increasing the mega pixel count with a newer camera will only make that more obvious.
I have read several reviews on the old 60-300 design, especially the later design that was built probably Cosina (though some say it's a Kiron). It was sold as Soligor, Cosina and Promaster, and I found one badged Craigs Optics and bought it for 22 dollars plus shipping. It's supposed to be sharp at 300mm even wide open, comparing very favorably with the 55-300 including very good PF and CA control. Obviously not as good as the DA* 300 but it should give very acceptable images at the long end for those of us who want to have to choose between an expensive lens or staying married...
I'll post examples from the K10D and the K-S1 (20mp) once I have it.

03-18-2018, 09:03 AM   #9
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I think Iím with Norm on this one.

To really get a significant gain in IQ on a K10 is going to cost plenty.

Upgrading the body may cost less, especially if youíve found yourself limited by the K10s high iso performance.

-Eric
03-18-2018, 09:30 AM - 2 Likes   #10
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I have a few to 300mm zooms, Tamron, Sigma and Pentax DA L budget AF and the Tamron SP 60-300mm and Sirius 60-300mm.
My favoured AF zoom is the Pentax DA L. I also have or have had budget MF 300mm lenses, Tamron and Vivitar.
The Pentax DA L 55-300mm is my favourite though the Tamron SP 60-300mm comes close.
I did find that getting consistent results that I liked with any of these lenses was easier with the AF zoom lenses, the 300mm primes being mostly poor. I believe it is my technique and ability as much as anything else that is at fault here.
The Pentax is supposed to fall off in sharpness the closer one gets to 300mm but I feel it is still pretty good for images. I too wish I could afford to get a top drawer 300mm (or 400mm) and then work at getting the best images I could with them.
Here is one (plus a crop of the image) of a poorly Robin in the garden, taken at 300mm with the DA L. I find it quite good.
Attached Images
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PENTAX K-5  Photo 
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PENTAX K-5  Photo 
03-18-2018, 09:49 AM - 4 Likes   #11
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Any of the more advance bodies will get you better results with the 55-300 than a "cheap" film era telephoto...You don't even have to go all the way to the K-3, the K-5 was great when I had the DA L 55-300. I just bought the WR version but it's been too cold to go outside with it...

These are the DA L on the K-5. The K-5 IIS lacks a AA filter, so it would be even sharper.












Last edited by boriscleto; 03-18-2018 at 11:04 AM.
03-18-2018, 12:05 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wasp Quote
I have an A 400mm f/5.6, bought new in the late eighties. It still serves me well. I also have the matching 1.4x tele converter. On an APSC body it has some really reach for wildlife.

Unfortunately, they don't seem to be particularly cheap nowadays.

PENTAX telephoto lens SMC PENTAX-A 400MM F5.6 from japan (3264 | eBay
Ouch! Nice lens but not in my affordability range.

---------- Post added 03-18-18 at 03:08 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
Any of the more advance bodies will get you better results with the 55-300 than a "cheap" film era telephoto...You don't even have to go all the way to the K-3, the K-5 was great when I had the DA L 55-300. I just bought the WR version but it's been too cold to go outside with it...

These are the DA L on the K-5. The K-5 IIS lacks a AA filter, so it would be even sharper.


Those images are great! Perhaps a newer camera is the best spot for my cash. My sister got herself the new full frame pentax for xmas. Maybe she will sell me one of her old cameras if I am lucky.

---------- Post added 03-18-18 at 03:13 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Skodadriver Quote
I have a few to 300mm zooms, Tamron, Sigma and Pentax DA L budget AF and the Tamron SP 60-300mm and Sirius 60-300mm.
My favoured AF zoom is the Pentax DA L. I also have or have had budget MF 300mm lenses, Tamron and Vivitar.
The Pentax DA L 55-300mm is my favourite though the Tamron SP 60-300mm comes close.
I did find that getting consistent results that I liked with any of these lenses was easier with the AF zoom lenses, the 300mm primes being mostly poor. I believe it is my technique and ability as much as anything else that is at fault here.
The Pentax is supposed to fall off in sharpness the closer one gets to 300mm but I feel it is still pretty good for images. I too wish I could afford to get a top drawer 300mm (or 400mm) and then work at getting the best images I could with them.
Here is one (plus a crop of the image) of a poorly Robin in the garden, taken at 300mm with the DA L. I find it quite good.
Nice work! I think I have a slightly different version of the same lens - Mine reads HD Pentax - DA 55-300 ED WR - I think maybe I need to study lightroom and processing options.

---------- Post added 03-18-18 at 03:16 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
The 55-300 is actually very good, considering the price... as good or better than a lot of older manual primes at this focal length; at least, those that can be had for a low price.

Are you doing all you can with regard to post-processing your images? See below... this is a partial 100% crop of a photo taken with the HD DA 55-300. It shows the lichen on a distant chimney stack. I was actually focused on something a little further back, so the lichen isn't quite as well-focused as it could be, but no matter... On the left is the photo as it came out of the camera. Not too impressive. On the right is the same crop, but this time after the photo has been carefully sharpened. You can see that there's actually a lot more detail captured in the photo than was initially obvious.

Bear in mind, the crops below are at 100% reproduction. At a more realistic 50% or smaller, the sharpened output looks *great*!

By all means get a 300 - 400mm prime, but the 55-300 should be capable of excellent results at 300mm if you stop it down a bit, and especially if your sharpen your images in post
I guess I should get lightroom and learn to use. I think I have a trial version that came with my camera a long time back.
03-18-2018, 12:47 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sam Dennis Quote
Ouch! Nice lens but not in my affordability range.

---------- Post added 03-18-18 at 03:08 PM ----------



Those images are great! Perhaps a newer camera is the best spot for my cash. My sister got herself the new full frame pentax for xmas. Maybe she will sell me one of her old cameras if I am lucky.

---------- Post added 03-18-18 at 03:13 PM ----------



Nice work! I think I have a slightly different version of the same lens - Mine reads HD Pentax - DA 55-300 ED WR - I think maybe I need to study lightroom and processing options.

---------- Post added 03-18-18 at 03:16 PM ----------



I guess I should get lightroom and learn to use. I think I have a trial version that came with my camera a long time back.

The DA L is the cheap "body supplied with a 2 lens kit" version of yours, mostly the same but with no quickshift and a plastic mount. The quickshift ability is very much missed if one is trying to focus through things like branches to focus on a bird, sometimes wish I had your version.
Apart from cropping I do not think I needed to do anything with the straight out of camera jpeg. At least I don't think I did anything.
03-18-2018, 01:21 PM - 2 Likes   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sam Dennis Quote
I guess I should get lightroom and learn to use. I think I have a trial version that came with my camera a long time back.
If you want to save some money (and avoid being tied into a monthly subscription), I'd highly recommend trying the latest version of Darktable for Windows. It's completely free, not all that dissimilar to Lightroom in operation and capabilities, and just an awfully good bit of software all round. The noise reduction and lens correction tools aren't, IMHO, as good as Lightroom, but in most other respects it does a very good job. The full documentation is available online too, and it's very well written and easy to follow.
03-18-2018, 01:37 PM - 1 Like   #15
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Tokina did make some cheaper lenses with AF:
Pentax (300,400) (AF,FA,DA) -(55,645,67,100,135,MF) in Camera Lenses | eBay
Tokina AT-X 80-400mm F4.5-5.6 Lens Reviews - Tokina Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database
Tokina 400mm f5.6 ATX AF Lens Reviews - Tokina Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database
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