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05-01-2018, 07:13 PM - 10 Likes   #1
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Thoughts from my first week birding with the 150-450.

I've been using the DA*300 for the last 3yrs. I loved this lens so much that I dedicated a camera body to that lens. That body just got reassigned to a new lens. I got the 150-450 last week and have been using it quite a bit. I spent a week birding from sun up to sun down and put a lot of frames through it. I prefer to shoot handheld, and find it just as easy to do with this lens at 450mm as it is with the DA*300. It took me about a day to get fully used to the weight difference between this lens and the DA*300, but I can hold it pretty steady now. After using the 150-450 all day, I put it next to another K3 with the DA*300 and couldn't believe how small the DA*300 looked.

Manual focus has a really long throw compared to the DA*300, but I have gotten used to it.

Using a monopod, I put the 1.4 HD TC on it for a focal length of 630mm. You really need a lot of light to do that.

The one thing that bothers me though is all of the AF buttons on the lens. I don't see the point in so many of them. I prefer to use manual focus, and I only use AF to bring the focus in close to the bird, then use Manual focus the rest of the way. The way that you hold the lens to work the focus ring combined with the weight of the lens causes me to accidentally press the AF buttons on the lens while I am Manually focusing and then lens instantly locks onto a random tree branch. This was a slight annoyance at first, but then I set it to disable AF when pressed and have been using it that way since. When shooting handheld, I also move the tripod foot to the top of the lens to allow more room for my hand underneath the lens.

I am curious as to how others have gotten around accidentally pressing the buttons.

I've considered making a neoprene sleeve to go around the lens where the AF buttons are, similar to a lenscoat. Then slide a stiff piece of cardboard inbetween the neoprene and the lens to block the AF buttons on the bottom. Anybody have a lenscoat and can give some info on how it covers the AF buttons?

Overall, I really like this lens. Now, I need to figure out what to do with my DA*300.

Here's one of the first pics I took with the 150-450 the day I got it.




05-01-2018, 07:58 PM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by r0ckstarr Quote
I've been using the DA*300 for the last 3yrs. I loved this lens so much that I dedicated a camera body to that lens. That body just got reassigned to a new lens. I got the 150-450 last week and have been using it quite a bit. I spent a week birding from sun up to sun down and put a lot of frames through it. I prefer to shoot handheld, and find it just as easy to do with this lens at 450mm as it is with the DA*300. It took me about a day to get fully used to the weight difference between this lens and the DA*300, but I can hold it pretty steady now. After using the 150-450 all day, I put it next to another K3 with the DA*300 and couldn't believe how small the DA*300 looked.

Manual focus has a really long throw compared to the DA*300, but I have gotten used to it.

Using a monopod, I put the 1.4 HD TC on it for a focal length of 630mm. You really need a lot of light to do that.

The one thing that bothers me though is all of the AF buttons on the lens. I don't see the point in so many of them. I prefer to use manual focus, and I only use AF to bring the focus in close to the bird, then use Manual focus the rest of the way. The way that you hold the lens to work the focus ring combined with the weight of the lens causes me to accidentally press the AF buttons on the lens while I am Manually focusing and then lens instantly locks onto a random tree branch. This was a slight annoyance at first, but then I set it to disable AF when pressed and have been using it that way since. When shooting handheld, I also move the tripod foot to the top of the lens to allow more room for my hand underneath the lens.

I am curious as to how others have gotten around accidentally pressing the buttons.

I've considered making a neoprene sleeve to go around the lens where the AF buttons are, similar to a lenscoat. Then slide a stiff piece of cardboard inbetween the neoprene and the lens to block the AF buttons on the bottom. Anybody have a lenscoat and can give some info on how it covers the AF buttons?

Overall, I really like this lens. Now, I need to figure out what to do with my DA*300.

Here's one of the first pics I took with the 150-450 the day I got it.

When I use my Sigma 150-500 or Pentax 70-200 I keep the tripod foot located to the left side of the camera, and hold it with my left hand. That way it will be to the left when I am shooting horizontally, and underneath the camera when I shoot vertically. Using that method I do not have to touch the lens barrel(s) when I shoot. I have had no problems shooting with the 70-200 and like the way it is built/styled.

Last edited by C_Jones; 05-01-2018 at 08:03 PM.
05-01-2018, 11:06 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by C_Jones Quote
When I use my Sigma 150-500 or Pentax 70-200 I keep the tripod foot located to the left side of the camera, and hold it with my left hand. That way it will be to the left when I am shooting horizontally, and underneath the camera when I shoot vertically. Using that method I do not have to touch the lens barrel(s) when I shoot. I have had no problems shooting with the 70-200 and like the way it is built/styled.
Thanks. I'll give that method a try. Are you able to work the manual focus and hold the lens by the tripod foot at the same time?
05-01-2018, 11:18 PM   #4
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I hope one day cameras will be able to process voice commands like MF and AF I can start and stop Gopro through voice commands.

05-02-2018, 02:14 AM - 2 Likes   #5
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Congratulation to your new lens, r0ckstarr! I've been considering this lens myself, too, well at least for a while. Maybe you can help me to find some arguments based on your personal experience.


What discouraged me from the purchase...
With DA*300 + TC you have 420mm f/5.6.
D FA 150-450mm is f/4.5-5.6.
So it's just slightly longer, but that's more than "compensated" by its size and weight.
I suppose I'd mostly stay at the 450mm anyway, as I'm usually shooting birds rather small in size.


So here's my question: what made you think about adding this lens alongside the DA*300+TC combo, or even replacing it?


Regards,
Z.



QuoteOriginally posted by r0ckstarr Quote
I spent a week birding from sun up to sun down

Sounds like a very nice way how to spend one's holidays!!!
05-02-2018, 02:26 AM - 1 Like   #6
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Hi Rockstar, if you have time, can help to try out some wide open shots from the 150-450 + HD 1.4 TC @ 630mm, thanks!
05-02-2018, 03:59 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by zzeitg Quote


So here's my question: what made you think about adding this lens alongside the DA*300+TC combo, or even replacing it?


Regards,
Z.
1. Thanks. The AF died in my DA*300. I converted it to screw drive, but it's just too loud for birding. I hit the AF button for a brief second to bring the focus close to a bird, and had 2 people look at me like I just screamed in a library. That's the main reason.

2. When using the 1.4 HD TC and looking through the viewfinder, I feel like I am looking through a hazy lens. I can see the difference between with and without the converter, and it makes it harder to nail manual focusing. The view through the viewfinder is much clearer without the 1.4 HD TC. I see the same thing with the 1.4 TC on the 150-450. I also tried with and without the Pentax OME53 magnifying eyecup, but it didn't help much. After a few hours of trying to get the focus right, I started to feel like I was straining my eye to see the focus.

3. The extra 30mm is a plus.


Not a reason I chose the lens, but I have noticed that the AF is faster on the 150-450 than my converted DA*300.

Also, one more thing to add to go with my first post. I've been using prime lenses for years. This is my first zoom in a long time. I forget that it can zoom. I set it to 450mm and leave it there. A few times, I had a bird that was too close and rather than adjusting the zoom, I naturally took a step backwards.

Last edited by r0ckstarr; 05-02-2018 at 04:07 AM.
05-02-2018, 06:58 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by r0ckstarr Quote
Thanks. I'll give that method a try. Are you able to work the manual focus and hold the lens by the tripod foot at the same time?
Yes, it works fine.

---------- Post added 05-02-18 at 10:02 AM ----------

I would also recommend shooting without the teleconverter for better lens/imaging and AF performance, unless you really need it.


Last edited by C_Jones; 05-02-2018 at 07:52 AM.
05-02-2018, 04:02 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by C_Jones Quote




I would also recommend shooting without the teleconverter, unless you really need it.
Completely agree there.
05-04-2018, 08:22 PM - 1 Like   #10
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My favorite birding lens for Pentax bodies is still the DA*300 with or without the converter. Focus is noticeably faster without the converter, but thankfully, my SDM still works. It is the best birding bang for the pound there is. The size and weight of a big zoom arenít always what I want to carry on a longer birding hike.

I also use a Sigma 150-600 on another brand body (they donít make it in a Pentax mount), and it has the same issues with the buttons. I have often turned the tripod mount as suggested by C_Jones, and it works to keep the buttons out of harmís way on that lens, too. I really like having focus limit and other controls on the lens barrel, and the handiness outweighs the risk of hitting a button for me.
05-10-2018, 11:16 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by r0ckstarr Quote
1. Thanks. The AF died in my DA*300. I converted it to screw drive, but it's just too loud for birding. I hit the AF button for a brief second to bring the focus close to a bird, and had 2 people look at me like I just screamed in a library. That's the main reason.

2. When using the 1.4 HD TC and looking through the viewfinder, I feel like I am looking through a hazy lens. I can see the difference between with and without the converter, and it makes it harder to nail manual focusing. The view through the viewfinder is much clearer without the 1.4 HD TC. I see the same thing with the 1.4 TC on the 150-450. I also tried with and without the Pentax OME53 magnifying eyecup, but it didn't help much. After a few hours of trying to get the focus right, I started to feel like I was straining my eye to see the focus.

3. The extra 30mm is a plus.


Not a reason I chose the lens, but I have noticed that the AF is faster on the 150-450 than my converted DA*300.

Also, one more thing to add to go with my first post. I've been using prime lenses for years. This is my first zoom in a long time. I forget that it can zoom. I set it to 450mm and leave it there. A few times, I had a bird that was too close and rather than adjusting the zoom, I naturally took a step backwards.

I'm sorry to hear about your troubles with DA*300. The DA* line is otherwise close to superb, but these dying SDM motors.... shame. (My 16-50 is also having some dying SDM symptoms, but in this case I'll simply convert it to screw drive (one day) and problem will be solved.)


I just got some tax refund and now I'm starting to think about selling my Sigma 150-500 and replacing it by DFA 150-450. At least the UV filter has the same diameter
By the way... which quick release plate did you buy for 150-450?


QuoteOriginally posted by r0ckstarr Quote
I naturally took a step backwards.
05-17-2018, 03:34 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by zzeitg Quote
By the way... which quick release plate did you buy for 150-450?



Quick Release plate? I've been shooting all handheld so far. I haven't made it to that point yet, lol.

I have the Benro IH1 ball head, which comes with an Arca type plate. In the back of my mind, I kind of assumed it would work with the 150-450 since it worked with the DA*300, but I haven't tried it yet.

Benro IH1 Single Action Ball Head IH1 B&H Photo Video


Also, I just wanted to mention. I'm not replacing the DA*300 completely. Just when birding for quieter AF. When size and weight are a concern on where I am going, i'll still make use of the lens. Plus, it will be an upgrade for my girlfriend to use the DA*300 instead of her HD 55-300.
06-04-2018, 05:05 AM - 1 Like   #13
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Sorry I'm a bit late to this thread. Found it when looking for user reports combining the DFA150-450 with the HD 1.4x TC. I have both, but haven't really tested the combination yet. The few times I took the combo out, either I didn't have enough light or it was too close to noon and the hot air was already simmering too much...

It's really a setup for places with lots of light in the early hours. I took both to South Africa 2.5 years ago, but there also I ended up not using the TC at all because the reach of the DFA150-450 was all I needed. I'm going to Uganda in a few months and might give it another go. We'll be doing some birding there (shoe-billed stork), so perhaps this time the TC will come in handy? Before I leave, I still hope to find out the best performing aperture for the 150-450 + TC... If only I can find the time and subject for some tests...


To the point (the above is not the reason why I'm posting) ... Thing is, I do have a neoprene sleeve by LensCoat on my DFA150-450. I got it because I wanted to use my DFA150-450 on a wilderness trail in South Africa's Kruger NP, which consists of 3 day's walking the bush through at times dense vegetation and up and down rocky slopes. Since I decided to carry the lens + camera on a BlackRapid Sport strap to have it ready at all times (but exposed to bumping it into the environment), I needed some protection on the lens. Next to that, the light coloured fabric also helped keep the lens cool, which was a side benefit. I consider the camouflage texture an unnecessary (and sometimes unfortunate) gimmick BTW. Regardless, the LensCoat did the job great!

As to the sleeve covering the AF buttons. It does so completely, whereas the sliders on the lens are left uncovered, the AF buttons are hidden. The reason is simple, pushing the buttons through the fabric is easy, and they are easily found because they are located on the cardinal points. I like it that way, because I actually use them all the time... I also like it that there are four, because that allows me to reach at least one no matter how I am holding the camera. Unfortunately, for you that means that adding a neoprene sleeve will not help you not pressing the buttons... sorry...


hth, Wim

Last edited by Ishpuini; 06-04-2018 at 05:11 AM.
06-04-2018, 05:23 PM - 1 Like   #14
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Glad to see you are still out there shooting. That 150-450 really works well for you.
06-04-2018, 06:47 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Scorpio71GR Quote
Glad to see you are still out there shooting. That 150-450 really works well for you.

Thanks. I shoot every chance I get. I just don't post or upload as much due to work and other hobbies.
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