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09-20-2018, 02:56 AM   #1
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What's a good long-range lens for a Pentax K100D Super?

I have a K100D Super that I would like to use more often but alas I only have a 50mm lens for it, which is great for portraiture but basically nothing else. I use cameras primarily for bird/nature/wildlife photos so I need something more long range but I'm a newbie to interchangeable lenses so I have absolutely no idea what would be compatible or fit with this camera. Please help! I'm also on a budget so nothing crazy expensive. Thanks in advance
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Last edited by rushabPmore; 09-23-2018 at 02:02 PM.
09-20-2018, 03:23 AM - 1 Like   #2
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Any of the Pentax DA 55-300 (non-PLM), new or used, gives great bang for your buck.
09-20-2018, 03:45 AM   #3
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^^^ What Paul said.

The non-PLM DA 55-300 (in its various incarnations) is a great lens. Stopped down, it's not a million miles off the far more expensive DA*60-250 in terms of centre sharpness. Quite a remarkable little lens, for very little money.

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Last edited by BigMackCam; 09-20-2018 at 04:27 AM.
09-20-2018, 04:23 AM   #4
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Ditto on the 55-300mm the previous posters have recommended, but earlier (F and FA) Pentax lenses include and 80-320mm and 100-300mm, check out the reviews in Pentax lens reviews.
There are also many "budget" AF 70-300mm lenses (new and used) if you are having trouble finding a Pentax.
There are Tamron and Sigma 70-300mm and 100-300mm lenses, some feature a 1:2 close up ability, you may find there are still new versions available and various older versions, some of which are full frame, others built specifically for a crop sensor camera like yours. Check out the reviews in third party Pentax reviews here on the forum. I have used a Tamron DI LD 70-300mm with my K100D Super.
Remember that your K100D Super has only a 6mp sensor and not a very high ISO capability so major cropping of images taken in less than good light will not provide very enjoyable results.
A very steady hand or a monopod or tripod is necessary when using the 300mm focal length to get good sharp images, if you have shaky hands and an unsteady body like mine it leads to unsatisfactory results.
If you have an unlimited budget.... the world is your oyster... but you might like to upgrade your body to use the newer lenses that are not screwdrive AF..

09-20-2018, 04:30 AM - 1 Like   #5
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I own that camera. I have used it with the old FA 80-320 and the DA 55-300. The 55-300 is a better lens for it. Since there are multiple versions, let me list a few:

SMC DA L 55-300 ( Plastic mount, no quick shift, no hood supplied, cheapest typically, optically the same as the SMC DA, screw drive)

SMC DA 55-300 ( Metal mount, quick shift, hood supplied, medium cheap typically, screw drive)

HD DA 55-300 WR ( Metal mount, quick shift, hood supplied, medium cheap typically, screw drive, HD Coatings, Weather Resistant)

HD DA 55-300 RE PLM WR( Metal mount, quick shift, hood supplied, medium cheap typically, HD Coatings, Weather Resistant, PLM In-Lens motor drive, very fast focusing, incompatible with the K100D Super, not expensive but more than other 55-300 models, slightly narrower aperture)

Personally, I'd look for the DA plain or the HD DA WR version.
09-20-2018, 05:25 AM   #6
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If you want a really low budget lens, think FA 80-320. It's not the best lens but it will give you an opportunity to experiment with a wide range of focal lengths. It can generally be found for under $50 but make sure you get the silver model which is said to be better than the black one.

If you have more cash to spend, the DA 55-300 is a great choice.

Last edited by onlineflyer; 09-20-2018 at 06:11 AM.
09-20-2018, 05:58 AM   #7
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Last week I picked up a Tamron 28-300 f/3.5-6.3 lens for $60. If you compare it to a cheap kit zoom lens it isn't bad. I got it as a beater do all lens that I can take out on scouting events and not have to play around with lens changes and cover most of what I would need. Don't expect stellar results but for starting out and figuring out what you might like going forward it seems like it, or others like it, would be a reasonable choice. It is a bit soft, especially wide open and is fairly slow but unsharp mask cleans it up well. I haven't ever used the DA55-300 so I can't speak to it but I would surly hope it is sharper and it is faster on the long end.
09-20-2018, 06:22 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by onlineflyer Quote
If you want a really low budget lens, think FA 80-320. It's not the best lens but it will give you an opportunity to experiment with a wide range of focal lengths. It can generally be found for under $50 but make sure you get the silver model which is said to be better than the black one.

If you have more cash to spend, the DA 55-300 is a great choice.
I owned the black one. It had considerably higher problems with high contrast purple fringing than the SMC DA 55-300, but the overall sharpness wasn't noticeably worse.

09-20-2018, 06:31 AM   #9
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Second hand DA L 55-300 ED would be the cheapest, there are aftermarket hoods for it.
If you can afford it a second hand 55-300 WR is also very good, and a little more sturdy feeling.
The Sigma 70-300s are very variable in quality, personally I'd stay away from them.
09-20-2018, 06:33 AM   #10
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the OP might want to look at these charts:

Pentax Lens Compatibility Chart
Copyright 2006-2016 Mosphotos.com. All rights reserved.

Pentax bayonet lenses labeled "SMC Pentax" are referred to as "K" lenses in the table below. Other Pentax bayonet lenses have the lens designation as a part of their name as in "SMC Pentax-FA."

Note that "star" lenses work like their "non-star" counterparts: DA* lenses work like DA lenses, FA* like FA, F* like F, A* like A, and M* like M.
Exceptions: FA and F "soft" lenses behave like M lenses in terms of metering.

The Pentax Camera Lens Compatibility Chart

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Pentax K-Mount Lens Series Explained: The differences between various Pentax lens series

In a nutshell

There are several series of Pentax K-mount lenses; the ones currently being produced include the DA (digital), DA L (cheap digital kit), D FA (full-frame, digital optimized), and FA (full-frame) series. While all Pentax K-mount lenses ever produced are compatible with all current Pentax DSLRs (in some cases with restrictions in that not all exposure modes of the camera are supported by old lenses), there are significant differences between each lens series and each has different features. Furthermore some of the newer lenses do not work with older cameras. We'll be exploring the differences between the various K-mount series lenses in this article. Read more about specific K-mount lens/camera compatibility here.

The DLSR designation below encompasses the mirror-less K-01.

Pentax K-Mount Lenses Explained: The differences between various Pentax lens series
09-20-2018, 06:38 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by aslyfox Quote
While all Pentax K-mount lenses ever produced are compatible with all current Pentax DSLRs (in some cases with restrictions in that not all exposure modes of the camera are supported by old lenses), there are significant differences between each lens series and each has different features. Furthermore some of the newer lenses do not work with older cameras.
On that specific point, as has already been mentioned in an earlier response - and just to remind the OP - the latest PLM lenses aren't fully compatible with his K100D Super, due to the electronic aperture control...
09-20-2018, 07:46 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by MrMojo Quote
Second hand DA L 55-300 ED would be the cheapest, there are aftermarket hoods for it.
If you can afford it a second hand 55-300 WR is also very good, and a little more sturdy feeling.
The Sigma 70-300s are very variable in quality, personally I'd stay away from them.

I have the DA L 55-300mm and find I prefer it to my Tamron and Sigma AF 70-300mm lenses but do wish I had held out for a DA version, being unable to micro adjust the focus when shooting birds in trees I get a lot of leaves and branches in focus, not so much the birds behind them.

Last edited by Skodadriver; 09-20-2018 at 07:46 AM. Reason: Spelling
09-20-2018, 08:13 AM   #13
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+ 1 for the 55-300, you will struggle to find a sigma/tamron/other equivalent thats as good.

Having a go with manual focus is worth considering because of the minimal outlay but you don't have live view - an important complement to focus through the OVF IMO. So that makes eg the 500mm mirrors more problematical for a start - tough to focus by eye at f8 though its fun to try and with practice you do get more keepers. The tokina made 400mm f6.3's are probably the best bet for a good birds field of view. For more general tp the tamron adaptamatic/adaptall 300 f5.6's are all pretty good and cover an absence in the pentax K mount legacy line up - no 300mm f5.6. With a PKA mount on one of the adaptalls you have an "A" lens.
Check out the 300mm lens club for images with a variety of lenses, esp my posts for the vintage lenses.
09-20-2018, 08:25 AM   #14
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One additional point to raise is what sort of bird/nature/wildlife photos are you taking? If it's backyard/urban wildlife, then a 200mm may be good enough. if it's more wilderness photography, you would want a 300+mm lens with consideration for weather and durability.
09-20-2018, 06:43 PM   #15
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The lenses noted above are great starting points. Even with a cropped body you will likely eventually want more reach. For bird photography I tend to start around 400mm. I would check out ebay, type "Pentax 400mm" or Pentax 500mm. Even Takumar for that matter. My first bird lenses were a 400mm f5.6 Sigma (the version 2, 77mm thread s the best option) and then the 500mm f4.5 Takumar (there is a K-mount version of this lens as well. The later lenses will have cromatic issues, but they are pretty good lenses. And where else can you get a 500mm lens for less than $400?

Once you master those lenses you can start to think about real investments like the Pentax 150-450, Sigma 500mm f4.5, or even Pentax 560mm. My current long lens is the Pentax 600mm f5.6 A lens. I love it.

That also means investment in a decent tripod and (I would recommend) Arc Swiss head of some sort. These are places to work your way up to though
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