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10-01-2020, 06:49 PM - 5 Likes   #1
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I would like an updated DA*300

I'm almost exclusively a bird photographer, and for many years have been using the DFA 150-450 with a K-1 and a K-3 II. About 7 months ago I purchased a DA*300, as I needed a lighter lens whilst recovering from an injury.
I've used the DA*300 a lot since and it's a bit of a 'love-hate' relationship.
I really like the IQ from this lens, the optics are superb, probably better than the DFA 150-450, and very little light seems to get lost, which allows low ISO and/or high shutter speeds. The DFA 150-450 really does 'eat light' which is a bit of a handicap for bird shooting.
What I don't like is it's auto focus, it is really not well suited to shooting birds in flight.
It has no focus limiter, and whilst the travel from infinity to about 5m (the range most often used for birds) is quite small, the travel from 5m to minimum focus distance is huge, and more often than not the AF will wander off towards the minimum when it doesn't lock on at a larger distance. I try to beat that by always using the quick shift to have the lens set at infinity, but it seems like it always misses locking on whenever I have that 'great opportunity' flying past.
What I would like is for this lens to be updated, using the existing optics, but incorporating a modern fast focus motor, and a focus limiter with (say) 5-inf, 2-5, and full options.
I reckon such an updated lens would be a great addition to the Pentax line-up for sport and wildlife shooters.

Cheers,
Terry

10-01-2020, 06:54 PM   #2
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You're absolutely right Terry.
Fast telephotos with good AF performance are what's needed, but not yet available other than the large DFA 560.
But the 150-450 should perform quite well at f/5.6 (not that I can personally vouch for that, other users can) and if you really needed f/4 at 300mm there's non-DFA lenses to consider such as the FA* 300 or Tamron 70-200 with 1.4x TC (not a bad combination IMO).
Nevertheless, there is the handicap of no focus limiter or quick shift...
10-01-2020, 07:03 PM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by tduell Quote
What I don't like is it's auto focus, it is really not well suited to shooting birds in flight.
That's a main reason I stuck with the slower aperture 55-300 PLM.
I'd love to get to 300mm with a faster aperture, but I'm spoiled with the AF on the PLM.
10-01-2020, 07:06 PM   #4
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This is the best Pentax lens I owned and on the K1 the image quality was great, but the autofocus is slow. It definitely could use just a motor upgrade.

And Ash the 560 definitely doesn’t have good AF performance.

10-01-2020, 07:12 PM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by tduell Quote
I would like an updated DA*300
And the DA* 200mm f/2.8, okthxbye
10-01-2020, 07:24 PM - 1 Like   #6
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I love the results of the DA* 300 but will often use the 55-300 PLM for birds because the autofocus is so much better. I think that is the wish for everyone who owns the lens, but I'll probably buy the 150-450 before another 300. How is the autofocus on the 150-450?
10-01-2020, 08:11 PM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by ramseybuckeye Quote
How is the autofocus on the 150-450?
The auto focus on the DFA 150-450 is pretty good. The focus limiter helps a lot. I've used it enough over the years to reckon that it would get focus on most of those potentially great BIF shots that the DA*300 has missed.
The big downside of the DFA 150-450, in my opinion, is how much light it eats. As soon as I started shooting with DA*300 and the 1.4x TC @ f/5.6 (420mm) I soon noticed that it had about a 1 stop advantage over the DFA 150-450, and that really makes a difference when you are chasing IQ with low ISO and high shutter speeds.

Cheers,
Terry
10-01-2020, 08:14 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by KiloHotelphoto Quote
And Ash the 560 definitely doesn’t have good AF performance.
Fair enough - I've never shot with one, however I would have thought that for the caliber of lens that it is, it would have at least excelled in this area.
I've got the Sigma 400/5.6 for birding/telephoto work in good light, but I am restricted with its use in good light to keep the shutter speed fast enough to use. Its AF is actually quite good, although not as good as the Tamron 70-200/1.4x TC combination.

There is an FA* 600/4 in the marketplace at the moment...

10-01-2020, 11:31 PM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
There is an FA* 600/4 in the marketplace at the moment...
I've seen that, but I don't think he wants to ship it overseas.
The real downside to trying to buy one of those from outside Australia is that besides the shipping and insurance costs, we get slugged 10% goods and services tax (on the total cost), plus an import duty which I think is 5%, and then exchange rate is often awful, so it becomes too costly.
An FA* 600 f/4 would be nice, but not quite as easy to manhandle as the DA*300

Cheers,
Terry
10-02-2020, 12:21 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by tduell Quote
What I would like is for this lens to be updated, using the existing optics, but incorporating a modern fast focus motor, and a focus limiter with (say) 5-inf, 2-5, and full options.I reckon such an updated lens would be a great addition to the Pentax line-up for sport and wildlife shooters.

+1. Would really appreciate that. Would gladly save up for such a lens and eventually pick up one.
10-02-2020, 05:13 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by tduell Quote
The auto focus on the DFA 150-450 is pretty good. The focus limiter helps a lot. I've used it enough over the years to reckon that it would get focus on most of those potentially great BIF shots that the DA*300 has missed.
The big downside of the DFA 150-450, in my opinion, is how much light it eats. As soon as I started shooting with DA*300 and the 1.4x TC @ f/5.6 (420mm) I soon noticed that it had about a 1 stop advantage over the DFA 150-450, and that really makes a difference when you are chasing IQ with low ISO and high shutter speeds.

Cheers,
Terry
So would you recommend the DA*300 and 1.4xTC over the DFA150-45 for birds?
10-02-2020, 07:33 AM - 1 Like   #12
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I have both these lenses, and haven't noticed the T-stop penalty. I'll have to do some tests. I also use the TC, mostly with the 150-450. While I agree that 300 has the edge at its sharpness peak, I find these much closer than commonly reported. I keep the 150-450 at 7.1 or smaller for sharpness, and can't reliably see a difference. The TC does make focusing more uneven - the last thing you want with BIF. And since the 300 is no champ in this regard to begin with, it can be frustrating. I have resorted to Center Spot AF-S to get the most consistency; when things line up, it's great. The bottom line is that 450mm is almost always better than 300mm for the birds.

Waiting for the K-new; will at least try the K-new+300+TC setup for reasons of weight and bulk. Would make a great "in case I see I bird on this trip" kit.

Happy Shooting!
10-02-2020, 07:34 AM - 1 Like   #13
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I agree 100%. I tried the DA300 as a lighter option for a hike, but the autofocus compared to the 150-450 was disappointing.
10-02-2020, 10:55 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
There is an FA* 600/4 in the marketplace at the moment...
You are an evil temptress. Now I'm debating if I should even look at it or not.
10-02-2020, 03:43 PM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by ramseybuckeye Quote
So would you recommend the DA*300 and 1.4xTC over the DFA150-45 for birds?
The DFA 150-450 is the best for birds in flight, but I reckon the DA*300 + 1.4xTC is a better choice if light is not 100% but the lack of zoom can be an issue.

Cheers,
Terry

---------- Post added 10-02-20 at 03:45 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Adam007 Quote
I have both these lenses, and haven't noticed the T-stop penalty.
I'm not the only one to have noticed this, it has been commented on previously.

Cheers,
Terry
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