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3 Days Ago   #1
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Vaskebjorn's Avatar

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“Big” lens problem of a different kind

I have a question for the “big” lens owners in this group.

I really like long lenses and my biggest at the moment is the DA* 300mm. I think this is a marvelous lens. But ....... shooting birds on occasion i was wondering if the new Dfa 150-450 is a good alternative. I would not be using both as my lenses never leave their dedicated body. So any comments if the lens is worth it as the alternative for the 300mm are welcome, specifically of people owning both or that used both.

3 Days Ago   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vaskebjorn Quote
shooting birds on occasion
I've owned neither...
I guess it depends what else you shoot when not on the occasion of shooting birds.

I'd imagine the 150-450 would be more useful since it's a zoom and birds move fast and are somewhat unpredictable. The variable and slower aperture isn't so bad since birding is done outdoors with (usually) more light. Also being a longer in focal range...

However, the 300* is a faster prime which may be more beneficial for low light shooting, such as indoor sports or concerts.

I imagine both to be very sharp lenses.
3 Days Ago - 1 Like   #3
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I own neither of these lenses, but I do a lot of wild bird photography, both from a hide and "out in the wild", and would consider a 300mm an absolute minimum on a 24M'pixel APS-C sensor. For the sort of subjects I deal with the 150-450mm would make a lot more sense. I currently use a Sigma 150-500mm almost exclusively, mostly 'cos it was all I could afford (second-hand), and would significantly notice the loss of "reach" if I had to use anything much smaller! Most other "birders" I know, albeit all non-Pentax users, all use at least a 300mm + teleconverter.


Obviously, the nature of your subjects may define your final choice
3 Days Ago   #4
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The DA* 300mm could conceivably be used hand-held; the DFA 150-450mm I would think not unless you're quite strong & steady.

3 Days Ago   #5
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I don't own either but have seen quite a few threads discussing the merits of both, including suggestions that the D300*
plus a quality teleconverter is as good as or equal to the 150-450. If you search around the forums I'm sure you'll
find lots of information, or simply wait and I'm sure one of the long lens proponents will guide you there directly.

Aside from that, the obvious advantage of the 150-450 is variable FL, just in case you encounter a not so skittish or
excessively large bird that is too close for the 300.
3 Days Ago - 1 Like   #6
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I have both and find them useful for different purposes. The DA*300 is fast and light but of course has a fixed focal length. Image quality is excellent. The DFA 150-450 is big and heavy but has the advantage of a variable focal length. Which is more important for any particular purpose is subjective but I have shot birds with both. If you have some control over the distance between you and the subject then the 300 is much easier to use. But if you are shooting where the distance is constantly changing then the 150-450 is of course better.

I find I tire out when using the 150-450 free hand. On a tripod it is fine.

Image quality I suppose I give the 300 an edge but it is insignificant and perhaps just a figment of the common assumption that primes are better than zooms. In the real world I can tell no difference between them.
3 Days Ago   #7
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The 150-450 is definitely more versatile (and obviously heavier) but you could also get a 1.4x TC for your 300mm lens and give it a try.
3 Days Ago   #8
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Thanks for the info Jatrax,

When shooting birds, most of the time I tend to be stationary and the bird rather not. I tend to take a hike towards a birding hut. A point you pointed out is that the 150-450 is heavy. I know it is around two kilo which is 1 additional to the 300 which is also why I am doubting. The 150-450 is not really cheap so I need to be sure before buying. As mentioned by Kypfer, a teleconverter might be an option and the rear converter 1.4 apparently is really good, but I tend to zoom in quite a lot when editing and it would be a bummer if I loose sharpness (but that is just crazy me maybe).

QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
I have both and find them useful for different purposes. The DA*300 is fast and light but of course has a fixed focal length. Image quality is excellent. The DFA 150-450 is big and heavy but has the advantage of a variable focal length. Which is more important for any particular purpose is subjective but I have shot birds with both. If you have some control over the distance between you and the subject then the 300 is much easier to use. But if you are shooting where the distance is constantly changing then the 150-450 is of course better.

I find I tire out when using the 150-450 free hand. On a tripod it is fine.

Image quality I suppose I give the 300 an edge but it is insignificant and perhaps just a figment of the common assumption that primes are better than zooms. In the real world I can tell no difference between them.


3 Days Ago   #9
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I would agree that the 150-450 is in a different class than the 300 as far as different uses. Before I had my Sigma 150-500 DG OS for Pentax, I knew that I would need something like it to pursue distanced subjects like birds, wildlife, and sports activities shooting that I have done. The Pentax 150-450 was not available at the time I needed a super telephoto lens, so I bought the Sigma 150-500. The step to the longer lens opens up a lot more capability for longer distance subjects. A user notices it almost instantaneously when at longer focal lengths. For most of my shooting I do not use a tripod to retain versatility when shooting moving subjects. For something like the moon, I have sometimes used a tripod to maintain some stillness, but otherwise the camera/lens is in my hands and I have my neck strap on.

I would recommend the Pentax 150-450 as a choice. Also, it has weather sealing, meaning it has dedicated resistance to such things as rainfall, but please do not interpret that as meaning completely waterproof.

Good luck with your decision.
3 Days Ago - 2 Likes   #10
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I have both. The IQ of the 300 is superb, but so is that of the 150-450. Then tech takes over. The AF is so much quicker on the zoom. Also you have a number of lenses rolled into one in the zoom. If you had to make the choice, the 150-450 wins hands down
3 Days Ago   #11
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For long lenses I only have the DA*300, but I regularly use it with the 1.7x and I consider the results to still be excellent.
(Regarding the 1.7x TC, you are probably aware that it often requires some manual pre-focusing, before the AF takes over? Thus there can be some delay in locking on.)
3 Days Ago   #12
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One thing to keep in mind (if you're on a budget) is that the DA* 300 is about half the price of the 150-450.
3 Days Ago   #13
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Hearing long lens users i think for (at least the regular) birders It is a good option. In my case I would be needing the longer end maybe 5-10 a year. For getting a bal eagle for example.
I normally drag two cameras around. 1 with the 50-135 and 1 with the 300. And strangely enough I find my self using the 300 way more then the 50-135. It is more or less my walk around lens. I know it might sound ridiculous for a lens this size but it renders great images in my opinion. I am not even bothered by the fact that the subject is sometimes to close to the lens to get the full picture, because it’s also great in detail, almost a bit macro.

It almost sounds like I am trying to convince myself in keeping the 300 .

Looks like i might have to spend a couple of braincells on this “problem” to see if I would shell out the 2k for the lens and some money for getting some extra upper body strength.


QuoteOriginally posted by C_Jones Quote
I would agree that the 150-450 is in a different class than the 300 as far as different uses. Before I had my Sigma 150-500 DG OS for Pentax, I knew that I would need something like it to pursue distanced subjects like birds, wildlife, and sports activities shooting that I have done. The Pentax 150-450 was not available at the time I needed a super telephoto lens, so I bought the Sigma 150-500. The step to the longer lens opens up a lot more capability for longer distance subjects. A user notices it almost instantaneously when at longer focal lengths. For most of my shooting I do not use a tripod to retain versatility when shooting moving subjects. For something like the moon, I have sometimes used a tripod to maintain some stillness, but otherwise the camera/lens is in my hands and I have my neck strap on.

I would recommend the Pentax 150-450 as a choice. Also, it has weather sealing, meaning it has dedicated resistance to such things as rainfall, but please do not interpret that as meaning completely waterproof.

Good luck with your decision.
3 Days Ago   #14
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I have the 300 and back it with the 1.4 converter, works for me.
3 Days Ago   #15
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If you are on a budget and can live with manual focus, take a look at a used SMC Pentax A 400mm f/5.6. I have one that I bought new back in the eighties. It has served me well on film and digital bodies.
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