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04-25-2018, 07:56 AM - 1 Like   #1
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Which prime lens with a 1.4 TC?

Hi all,

I've been getting good input from this forum and decided it was time to join so I could post a question.

Right now I use a K-5 with a 55-300 Pentax lens to which I've recently added a Pentax 1.4x TC. I mostly shoot nature and bird photography and my kids' sporting events. I'd like to get a DA* prime lens and am I'm trying to decide between the 200/2.8 or the 300/4.0. Shooting sports late on an overcast afternoon, I really wish for more light. But I also would like to improve my nature photography. Getting both lenses is not an option for several more years. Should I zig or zag?

---------- Post added 04-25-18 at 08:06 AM ----------

I should mention, too, that I've been disappointed with shots at the long end of the 55-300 by itself, though satisfied when I stay a little shorter and use the TC. Still getting a feel for it.

04-25-2018, 08:29 AM   #2
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I have the 300/4 and am very happy with it. That said, the low-light sports/wildlife use is the biggest reason to look at 2.8 instead.

That said, another thing you could consider would be replacing the K-5 with a K-70 or KP. The increased megapixel count would allow more cropping after the fact, and the new sensor also has better low-light ISO performance.
04-25-2018, 08:34 AM   #3
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You mentioned Kid's sports. I would think that would be your priority as kids are only kids for a short period of time. If that is the case I would recommend a 70-200mm F2.8 zoom not a prime (Pentax, Sigma or Tamron). You could also use your TC. If birds and wildlife are your priority then the 300 F4
04-25-2018, 09:17 AM   #4
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Hard to guess what someone else will enjoy, but I will say I've had (and sold) many Pentax (and other) lenses, and the DA*300 is the first in a very, very long time that legitimately impressed me, and to the point that I already know I'll not be parting with this one.

---------- Post added 04-25-18 at 09:20 AM ----------

I'd ask what is it about the shots at longer lengths that disappoints - and what is it about the shorter lengths you're happy with?

It's important to understand that while using longer lengths is always more tricky, particularly handheld. In order to get away with it the shutter speed has to be very high which usually requires a high ISO setting to achieve. Otherwise a tripod becomes necessary.

04-25-2018, 09:25 AM - 1 Like   #5
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I would agree with the above about the DA*300. I have both but find that I use the 300 far more often than the 200. Another thought ...just to muddy the water is to consider the DA*60-250. I take it when space to move around might be limited?
04-25-2018, 09:45 AM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by PlumCrazy Quote
I would agree with the above about the DA*300. I have both but find that I use the 300 far more often than the 200. Another thought ...just to muddy the water is to consider the DA*60-250. I take it when space to move around might be limited?
Agreed. If the OP is looking for something faster at the shorter lengths, I'd recommend the DA*50-135 - would be ideal for kid photography (at least for a zoom with some reach). It isn't very useful for wildlife however (not long enough) and itt doesn't work well on full-frame, but that also means the price of this (EXCELLENT) lens has come down in the used market *drastically*. They're easy to find for around $500 now (less than half what I paid used only around 2008). As another mentioned really depends if kids or wildlife are the priority.

Another options is an older, manual 70-210/2.8 like the Vivitar Series 1 lenses. They are fantastic (I have two) but you have be comfortable (or willing to get comfortable through practice) with focusing manually.

Last edited by chickentender; 04-25-2018 at 09:51 AM.
04-25-2018, 10:20 AM   #7
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Adding an TC decreases the AF speed. DA* 200/300 SDM motor isn't the fastest. Converting the DA* to screwdrive will make the AF recognizable faster.
How To: Convert SDM to ScrewDrive + Video - PentaxForums.com

300mm focal length is more practible for birds.
04-25-2018, 10:44 AM - 1 Like   #8
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I went for the DA*200 instead of the DA*300 for one reason, it's lighter and easier to use hand held.

But my most used lens by far is the DA*60-250 which works fine with the 1.4 TC. It is hard to beat the versatility of a zoom, and short of the DFA 70-200 you aren't going to find a more versatile lens of that quality. That being said, a Tamron or Sigma 70-200 would probably be your best bet for what you want to do, if you can stand the weight.

04-25-2018, 10:57 AM   #9
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I noticed that the OP is from the US so I will do my standard advice

____________________

spend some $ on renting equipment and do your own testing.

I have used Lensrentals.com from Tennessee and there are other companies as well.

LR sends you your selection by Fed Ex and you return the stuff the same way, get the max protection insurance they offer. If you know you will be using them at least 3 times in a year, it may pay to pay for their special membership and save money on shipping.

they are good at giving advice as well, email or call them
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be sure to check out the reviews:

Pentax Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

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then decide what you want to buy

figure out if you want new or " experienced " and if " experienced " check out the forum's Market Place ( " buy/sell "

_____________________________________________________________________

I would look at the D FA 70-200mm F2.8 or the D FA 150-450mm zooms both heavy but can be used hand held

zoom might be better with kids sports unless you know you won't be close to the action

_______________________________________________________________________________________

primes, I like my DA * 300mm I have no experience with the 200mm

I also like my HD DA 1.4 rear converter but has been stated you do lose a F stop ( more ? ) if you use it.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

have fun, ask questions

and please post the photos when you are done
04-25-2018, 12:01 PM - 1 Like   #10
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I own both the 200 f2.8 and the 300 f4 as well as the teleconverter. Both are excellent lenses and are tack sharp with the converter. If you shoot in lower light with the K5 (which is an excellent low light sensor) then the tradeoff will be less distance for more light. I find that the 300 is tack sharp at wide open. With the 2.8 200 you will get very little depth of field but it too is good at wide open, perhaps not quite what the 300 is. For birding and wildlife my go to combination is the 300 with the teleconverter. I purchased the 150-450 f 5.6 last year for use with my new k1. good lens but heavy. I still find myself with the 300 and 1.4 teleconverter most of the time.
04-25-2018, 12:09 PM   #11
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I learned on a Fujica STX-1, all-manual film camera, moved to a Pentax Super Program and finally made the jump to digital with a K-x. I've only had the K-5 3 years so probably won't be buying a new body real soon.

My youngest has one more soccer season unless she plays on a collegiate team, so until grandkids come along my involvement in kids' sports is tapering off. I enjoy occasionally shooting my friends' kids to give them shots that the parents can't get. Once in a while I'll be asked to take pics at an event (no weddings!).

I still shoot manual mode a lot when I'm outdoors to control light and depth of field but thanks to a high prescription and progressive lenses now have to rely on autofocus. I know my camera has bells and whistles I know nothing about Like that green button (I bow my head in shame. :-)). For soccer I usually use AF5pt and AF.S. I've just read that there's a fine sharpening setting that I'll have to explore. I am much more an artist than a technician and that has carried me this far - good compositions - but there's a lot to learn that can take me further.

While I'm not a diehard birder, I do enjoy noticing new species and often a blurry handheld shot at 300mm is enough for me to answer the question, "What was that?" I might be in Southern Africa next year so the 300mm appeals for that.

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has a few shots at the 300mm range, all of them handheld or braced against a tree, resting on the hood of a parked car, etc. Maybe it's just me and I just need to throw a tripod in the car but sometimes with birds I don't have the luxury of that much time. I try to move around the soccer field a lot, too, but maybe a monopod would give me the stability I need? For the flicker shot, I added the Pentax 1.4x tc and rested the camera on the window sill.
04-25-2018, 12:13 PM   #12
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Update your browser to use Google Drive - Google Drive Help

---------- Post added 04-25-18 at 12:22 PM ----------

Hmm, not sure what's with the message about Google Drive, but that will take you to my photos.
04-25-2018, 12:24 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikec100z Quote
I own both the 200 f2.8 and the 300 f4 as well as the teleconverter. Both are excellent lenses and are tack sharp with the converter. If you shoot in lower light with the K5 (which is an excellent low light sensor) then the tradeoff will be less distance for more light. I find that the 300 is tack sharp at wide open. With the 2.8 200 you will get very little depth of field but it too is good at wide open, perhaps not quite what the 300 is. For birding and wildlife my go to combination is the 300 with the teleconverter. I purchased the 150-450 f 5.6 last year for use with my new k1. good lens but heavy. I still find myself with the 300 and 1.4 teleconverter most of the time.
That's the issue for me as well. I take the Tamron 300 2.8, when I can but it's way to heavy. How do you find the CA and purple fringing in the 200 and 300 compared to the 150-450? I think the DA*200 is the worst of the three, being the oldest design. The 300 is in the middle. So Id'd expect the 300 to be better in that regard than the 200. But there are very few who use both, so I'm keeping an open mind here.
04-25-2018, 01:05 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by CountryGirl Quote
I learned on a Fujica STX-1, all-manual film camera, moved to a Pentax Super Program and finally made the jump to digital with a K-x. I've only had the K-5 3 years so probably won't be buying a new body real soon.

My youngest has one more soccer season unless she plays on a collegiate team, so until grandkids come along my involvement in kids' sports is tapering off. I enjoy occasionally shooting my friends' kids to give them shots that the parents can't get. Once in a while I'll be asked to take pics at an event (no weddings!).

I still shoot manual mode a lot when I'm outdoors to control light and depth of field but thanks to a high prescription and progressive lenses now have to rely on autofocus. I know my camera has bells and whistles I know nothing about Like that green button (I bow my head in shame. :-)). For soccer I usually use AF5pt and AF.S. I've just read that there's a fine sharpening setting that I'll have to explore. I am much more an artist than a technician and that has carried me this far - good compositions - but there's a lot to learn that can take me further.

While I'm not a diehard birder, I do enjoy noticing new species and often a blurry handheld shot at 300mm is enough for me to answer the question, "What was that?" I might be in Southern Africa next year so the 300mm appeals for that.

Update your browser to use Google Drive - Google Drive Help
has a few shots at the 300mm range, all of them handheld or braced against a tree, resting on the hood of a parked car, etc. Maybe it's just me and I just need to throw a tripod in the car but sometimes with birds I don't have the luxury of that much time. I try to move around the soccer field a lot, too, but maybe a monopod would give me the stability I need? For the flicker shot, I added the Pentax 1.4x tc and rested the camera on the window sill.
Definitely think you'd enjoy you'd enjoy the DA*300 based on what youre trying for in those shots (and some look great, most are more than passable for web btw). Even with the 300 you'll still get blurry shots depending on a lot of factors, but keep in mind that the 50-300 you're shooting with is a max aperture of 5.8 or 6.3 depending on the version. The DA gives you more than a full stop more light so you'll be able to use a full stop faster shutter at least, which really (just a stop) can make the difference.

Also it really looks like a few of those are fine but just back or front focused just a touch. The Kestrel is slightly front, the Woodpecker *very* back, and the owl is slightly back. At that long length with the aperture opened up, depth of field gets pretty unforgiving. I can point the 300 out the window at feeders, and if there's a good breeze causing them to sway a bit, I can see a bird come into and out of sharp focus as it swings.

A monopod IMO helps a little, but not worth the additional weight. You'll still get side-to-side sway ,which is often the killer, but it will help some. But a light tripod is the way to go. Check out the Manfrotto "be-free" model - they're super light, pack small, easy to setup quick and best of all, not that expensive. I hardly ever use my larger tripod since picking up one of these.

But again, shooting with a slightly faster lens (which either of these are at those longer lengths) will help out in any case with that faster available shutter.
04-25-2018, 01:07 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by CountryGirl Quote
For soccer I usually use AF5pt and AF.S. I've just read that there's a fine sharpening setting that I'll have to explore.
While I'm not a diehard birder, I do enjoy noticing new species and often a blurry handheld shot at 300mm is enough for me to answer the question, "What was that?"
I might be in Southern Africa next year so the 300mm appeals for that.
AF.C might be a better choice, AF witth all points depending on your preferences an idea to think about.
You can concentrate on the shot or the bird - but booth isn't easy.
For SA reach is important.

QuoteOriginally posted by CountryGirl Quote
Maybe it's just me and I just need to throw a tripod in the car but sometimes with birds I don't have the luxury of that much time.
I try to move around the soccer field a lot, too, but maybe a monopod would give me the stability I need?
I'd use the DA* 300 handheld for all images. It's lightweight enough.
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