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02-22-2019, 12:36 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
The Vivitar always got along with my DA L 55-300...The 55-300 wouldn't focus at longer focal lengths with the 2x...
Just tried it (the Tamron-F 1.4 TC) on my DAL 55-300, same deal, AF fails. Might be the K3 is the issue but......

Interesting.

Edit: I also know it doesn't work on my Bigma.

02-22-2019, 03:11 AM - 3 Likes   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by ramseybuckeye Quote
I would try to find a DA* 300 over the expensive teleconverter which will be questionable if it work with your lens.
I want to second the DA* 300mm. I love this lens, and it is the one birding lens I keep returning to.

I was very firmly in your shoes about a decade ago, and I also started out with a Sigma 70-300mm and then the Pentax 55-300mm, and I was also slightly disappointed always at the performance at the far end. And I also only cared about the far end performance. The kids got older, the budget more relaxed, and I got the DA*300mm. I love it.

I know 300mm is not that much. It's even worse in Europe, where the flight distance is ridiculous for most birds. But the thing is: The DA* 300mm is so very crisp and detailed that you can get away with a lot of cropping and still have very nice shots.

A couple of years ago I splurged and bought a second hand Sigma 500mm f4.5 in good condition. It's wonderful. The thing is: I still opt for my DA* 300mm in most situations: It is lighter, the AF is faster, and it fits my hands perfectly for panning birds in flight. And I don't get a sore shoulder.

This fall we had a roller visit Denmark, and I brought both my DA*300mm and the Sigma 500mm. I shot the bird with both, and here are processed favourites with either lens, first two with the DA*300mm, then two with the Sigma 500mm:







02-22-2019, 04:01 AM - 1 Like   #18
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I think your "question" is missing the most vital factors that would help me to answer properly... So I could give you my opinion too, but first 3 things I would like to know:
1. What is your aim with your birding and photography in general? (It is quite different to aim for just recording as many birds as you can and making a database where IQ is not number 1 priority and different thing to try and get some superb images or put it differently to aim at the best possible IQ you can get on a budget. Of course there all the zones of compromises between those 2 extremes)
2. Are MF lenses out of question? (those 2 pictures you showed us - which are very beautiful by the way - could have been way better with an old MF prime lens of 300+ mm).
3. What is your extra budget? (not so crucial, if you have answered the 2 first questions in your mind).

My first comment is that I would never go for a TC (even the new HD DA 1.4X) for the lens you have. These would be money not rationally spent! I will go on with my thinking (from my experience) and tell you more to help you if/when you elaborate on the matters above. Thanks!

Last edited by redpit; 02-22-2019 at 04:13 AM.
02-22-2019, 04:05 AM - 2 Likes   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by alfa75ts Quote
Just tried it (the Tamron-F 1.4 TC) on my DAL 55-300, same deal, AF fails. Might be the K3 is the issue but......

Interesting.

Edit: I also know it doesn't work on my Bigma.
All bets are off for autofocus once you go past f8 wide open.

The Bigma and the 55-300 are too slow, it's why people pony up for f2.8 and f4 lenses if they're using TCs.

02-22-2019, 06:09 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by alfa75ts Quote
Might be the K3 is the issue but......
I don't know about the K-3, I used that combo with my K-5. I only stopped using it because I got the 150-500...I bought a HD 55-300 when B&H was doing the half off sale last year because I wanted something that was lighter and WR sometimes, but I don't have the TC anymore.
02-22-2019, 07:49 AM   #21
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birds on a budget? what is the real budget?

if you want birds on a really tight budget, forget lenses all together, the best budged is technique.

why technique, you might ask. it is really simple and comes down to math (real math, not accounting)

Image size = subject size x focal length / distance

if you want to make the image 2 times as big as your 300mm lens, you need a 600mm lens which will cost you a fortune, or reduce your shooting distance by 50%, which will cost you only personal time.

but if you want to go for length over shooting distance, then there are a lot of options.

there are many sigma zooms that go out to 500mm, at between F6.7 (I think) not too expensive or heavy, but you need to up the ISO a little, but then K5 and K1 are quite capable of high iso with relatively low noise. you can also use flash with a Snoot or Better Beamer flash extender if you want to get reach with lower iso or slow lenses. flash also helps greatly with sharpness

there are also good 300mm primes (manual focus) that you can pair with the 1.7x AF converter to give selective range auto focus. i use a K300/4 with the 1,7x, i also have a sigma APO EX 70-200/2.8 and sigma 2x converter which works very well, (but you need to get the non DG version or first version DG (non macro) as these are the sharpest) . I also have been playing with a tamron 200-500/5.6 manual focus, but it is tripod bound
02-22-2019, 07:53 AM   #22
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I carry a non-AF 7 element 2x converter just for those moments where I can't get any closer and I know from experience that even at 100% crop the subject is going to be too small in the image. Switch into MF, use a monopod or bed everything down firmly on a bean-bag or whatever's to hand, hat, rolled up jacket or whatever, then concentrate hard on getting the focus spot-on. Focus peaking can help, but only in circumstances when the lighting allows you to see the screen!

---------- Post added 02-22-19 at 08:04 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
birds on a budget? what is the real budget?

if you want birds on a really tight budget, forget lenses all together, the best budged is technique.

why technique, you might ask. it is really simple and comes down to math (real math, not accounting)

Image size = subject size x focal length / distance


Agreed! ... my experience to a T. - but you forgot one parameter - pixels!


When I changed from my K-5 to my K-70 for "birding" my satisfaction rate increased significantly, simply because I could crop so much harder and still retain a useable image. The 50% increase in pixels means being able to be satisfied with a much smaller proportion of the original image. Also, in my experience, the K-70 has better high-ISO performance (lower noise) than the K-5, so not only can I make do with a tighter crop, but I can do it in poorer light!


YMMV
02-22-2019, 08:58 AM - 7 Likes   #23
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I'd recommend not messing around with relatively in-expensive lenses of roughly the same quality. None of those are going to match your friends 400 prime. The only lens with half a chance would be an A-400 ƒ5.6 MF. You can spend all the time you want looking for a 300-320 lens to match your friend. 400mm, is 400mm.

The best suggestion is the DA*300 f4 with 1.4 TC. Nice and light, easy to carry. The next would be the Sigma 150-500, 50-500 or 120-400. They aren't like primes, but they're better than the various 70-300 types out there.

The issue here is the main assumption, a cheap lens that can match a 400 prime. IMHO, that doesn't exist. Use what you have until you can afford something better. Use the time saved not exploring budget options on technique and practice.

Why spend a lot of time exploring an option that will be discarded as soon a possible? They all have the same weaknesses. Just some are weaker than others and none stack up to better quality glass. There is no magic gem that lets you compete with folks who have bigger budget than you do.

If you want to compete with better glass, the technique that works is, you need to get closer to the subject than they do. It's a skill set, not a lens. If you can get close enough to work with a 100 macro and decent subject size, like almost uncropped, , you'll blow your friend's 400 away.


Last edited by normhead; 02-22-2019 at 09:05 AM.
02-22-2019, 02:31 PM - 8 Likes   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
If you can get close enough to work with a 100 macro and decent subject size, like almost uncropped, , you'll blow your friend's 400 away.
I agree with your comments Norm, and with Lowell's. If you can get close enough even the humble xx-300 zooms will do fine (especially at f8).

DA-L 55-300 ($US100 lens), with the subject within 5 metres.





















But it depends on the bird. Unless you have an invisibility cloak, all the stealth in the world isn't going to get you within a few metres of a flock of waders. In some situations there's no substitute for reach.
02-22-2019, 02:33 PM - 2 Likes   #25
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So a 55-300 PLM and one of these:

amazon.com : VIVO Ghillie Suit Camo Woodland Camouflage Forest Hunting 4-Piece + Bag : Gateway?tag=pentaxforums-20&
02-22-2019, 02:50 PM - 2 Likes   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
I agree with your comments Norm, and with Lowell's. If you can get close enough even the humble xx-300 zooms will do fine (especially at f8).

DA-L 55-300 ($US100 lens), with the subject within 5 metres.

...

But it depends on the bird. Unless you have an invisibility cloak, all the stealth in the world isn't going to get you within a few metres of a flock of waders. In some situations there's no substitute for reach.
Those are outstanding shots, Des. Really an excellent demonstration of what can be achieved with the combination of a relatively humble lens and skill!
02-22-2019, 03:48 PM - 1 Like   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
Those are outstanding shots, Des. Really an excellent demonstration of what can be achieved with the combination of a relatively humble lens and skill!
And bold Australian birds! Thanks very much Mike.

One thing I'd add is to take up a suggestion by Lowell. Light is often a limitation for the humble consumer zoom - it's f5.8 or f6.3 at the long end and usually wants to be stopped down to f8 or so for best resolution. You can drop the shutter speed or bump the ISO, but either can really affect the result (blurry image due to subject or camera movement or noisy low-detail image from high ISO). That's one reason why people spend so much for heavy bulky f2.8 and f4 telephoto lenses. Fill flash can make a big difference with a slow zoom, and doesn't cost much. You can get the flash off the axis of the lens with a cheapish bracket and cord, extend its throw with a cheapish flash extender and change the colour temperature with cheap flash gel filter. It takes some trial-and-error to get the balance between subtle and effective exposure, but it can make a real difference.

Here's the 55-300 PLM at f7.1 or f8 in deep shade with fill flash.







02-22-2019, 07:19 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by MetteHHH Quote
I want to second the DA* 300mm. I love this lens, and it is the one birding lens I keep returning to.

I was very firmly in your shoes about a decade ago, and I also started out with a Sigma 70-300mm and then the Pentax 55-300mm, and I was also slightly disappointed always at the performance at the far end. And I also only cared about the far end performance. The kids got older, the budget more relaxed, and I got the DA*300mm. I love it.

I know 300mm is not that much. It's even worse in Europe, where the flight distance is ridiculous for most birds. But the thing is: The DA* 300mm is so very crisp and detailed that you can get away with a lot of cropping and still have very nice shots.

A couple of years ago I splurged and bought a second hand Sigma 500mm f4.5 in good condition. It's wonderful. The thing is: I still opt for my DA* 300mm in most situations: It is lighter, the AF is faster, and it fits my hands perfectly for panning birds in flight. And I don't get a sore shoulder.

This fall we had a roller visit Denmark, and I brought both my DA*300mm and the Sigma 500mm. I shot the bird with both, and here are processed favourites with either lens, first two with the DA*300mm, then two with the Sigma 500mm:
Thank you - everybody's replies have been awesome but this is especially helpful to me. In addition, I dig the roller pictures.

QuoteQuote:
1. What is your aim with your birding and photography in general? (It is quite different to aim for just recording as many birds as you can and making a database where IQ is not number 1 priority and different thing to try and get some superb images or put it differently to aim at the best possible IQ you can get on a budget. Of course there all the zones of compromises between those 2 extremes)
2. Are MF lenses out of question? (those 2 pictures you showed us - which are very beautiful by the way - could have been way better with an old MF prime lens of 300+ mm).
3. What is your extra budget? (not so crucial, if you have answered the 2 first questions in your mind).
1. Honestly? Most trips I am a birder first and a photographer second. I often submit photos to eBird.org that I'm not necessarily proud of (and sometimes don't keep) for documentation. But like everyone else, I would love to get amazing bird pictures too.

2. Thank you - I was pleased with those two! MF is not out of the question but strongly not-preferred.

3. I was hoping to keep things under $500 but if this thread has a consensus it seems to be the DA* 300.

---------- Post added 02-22-19 at 07:23 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I'd recommend not messing around with relatively in-expensive lenses of roughly the same quality. None of those are going to match your friends 400 prime. The only lens with half a chance would be an A-400 ƒ5.6 MF. You can spend all the time you want looking for a 300-320 lens to match your friend. 400mm, is 400mm.

The best suggestion is the DA*300 f4 with 1.4 TC. Nice and light, easy to carry. The next would be the Sigma 150-500, 50-500 or 120-400. They aren't like primes, but they're better than the various 70-300 types out there.

The issue here is the main assumption, a cheap lens that can match a 400 prime. IMHO, that doesn't exist. Use what you have until you can afford something better. Use the time saved not exploring budget options on technique and practice.

Why spend a lot of time exploring an option that will be discarded as soon a possible? They all have the same weaknesses. Just some are weaker than others and none stack up to better quality glass. There is no magic gem that lets you compete with folks who have bigger budget than you do.

If you want to compete with better glass, the technique that works is, you need to get closer to the subject than they do. It's a skill set, not a lens. If you can get close enough to work with a 100 macro and decent subject size, like almost uncropped, , you'll blow your friend's 400 away.
This is also very helpful. And I've already messed around with 3 lower quality zooms. I do a lot better sneaking up on birds when I don't have my children with me but I could definitely stand to practice this too.
02-22-2019, 07:37 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Saxtonine Quote
1. Honestly? Most trips I am a birder first and a photographer second. I often submit photos to eBird.org that I'm not necessarily proud of (and sometimes don't keep) for documentation. But like everyone else, I would love to get amazing bird pictures too. .
I tend to be a photographer first and a birder second...I'm not that good at ID in the field so I use the photos...

https://search.macaulaylibrary.org/catalog?sort=obs_date_desc&searchField=us...q=Ben%20McGann

I started out with a K-x and a Promaster 100-400 F4.5-6.7, switched to the DA L 55-300, switched to the K-5, switched to the 150-500 in 2014. These photos cover that range...

https://search.macaulaylibrary.org/catalog?yr=YCUSTOM&sort=obs_date_asc&ey=2...q=Ben%20McGann

It's been a couple of years since I've been able to put any real time into the hobby...

Last edited by boriscleto; 02-22-2019 at 07:42 PM.
02-23-2019, 06:20 AM - 1 Like   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Saxtonine Quote
I also eye the HD DA 55-300 but really - the only metric I care about is performance at 300mm so unless it is significantly better at 300, I don't really care about the weather sealing and such.
I haven't seen any mention of weight or size of the lens in this thread, is that at all important? The DA*300mm is a cut above the xx-300mm zooms in both performance and bulk, make sure it's not so big that you'll end up not wanting to take it with you. That said, I do love mine. When you can get close enough, it can deliver stunning results. And you can crop to your hearts content for those ID record photos of far away tiny birds.
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