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10-12-2020, 11:04 AM   #1
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need advise on a good cheap lens for nature pictures.

Hey gang,

I am a KS2 owner from which I have upgraded from two KX's. I have just joined a friend who has Nikon set up and she likes to go out to take pictures of nature. She enjoys to shoot whales, birds, dogs, horses and other animals. Most of her pics are at a distance due to necessity. I want to join her but I am a street type of photog and do not have anything for distance pics. I look around and I can not afford the cost of those quite large lenses and if I could I do not know which. Can someone one direct me towards something. I have the following lenses because I have been lucky to have inherited, bought, or had them included with my KX's and now my KS2. in the list after new it came with the KS2. I usually gravitate to a few lenses and now I am playing around with the new lenses as well as getting use to my KS2. Now can you either suggest a lens or maybe one of mine could do for it. I have played with the zooms I have but I have not had the time to stray from the usual since In Montreal has so much that i like to shoot at.

Takumar 1:4 70~200 mm
Takumar 1:3.5 ~ 4.5 28-80 mm
pentax smc A 1:4 ~ 5.6 35-80 mm
pentax smc F 1:4.5-5.6 100-300 mm
pentax a 1:2 50 mm
pentax m 1:1.7 50 mm
pentax smc dal 1:3.5-5.6 18-55 mm al (kit lens)
vivitar series 1 70-210 1:35 macro focusing auto zoom
vivitar 28mm 1:2.8 auto

New with KS2

Sigma 17-70 f2.8 - 4.5 dc macro
Sigma 19-250 f3.5 - 6.3 dc macro
Tamron sp af 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 di ll
ronkinon 85mm f1.4 as if umc
pentax 35 mm smc da f2.4 al
pentax 50 mm smc da f1.8
pentax 18-50 mm smc dal 1:4 5,6 dc wr re
pentax-a 28mm smc 1:2.8

I do want one of those extremely large lenses but the cost and the lack of situations that I can use it stops me from doing so. Please guide me...

Last edited by Dvitale; 10-14-2020 at 07:25 PM.
10-12-2020, 11:14 AM   #2
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need advise on a good cheap lens for nature pictures.

What about a 55-300? Moderately priced, not cheap though.
Itís not too big but has a good reach. I find itís my usual choice when not sure whatís going to be found.

Hang up and DRIVE!
10-12-2020, 11:27 AM - 1 Like   #3
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For distances you already have at least two lenses that would do or can do the job, the F 100-300 and the Sigma 19-250 Macro (I think you mean the 18-250 one) of which the F 100-300 will be the better one. But the 18-250 is not to bad. There is also that Vivitar 70-210 that can come in handy. The 55-300 is covered by lenses you already own. Unless you are thinking of 500 or 600mm lenses. That is a different kind of lens of which I cannot advise you. If I were you I would experiment with the three lenses I mentionded that you already own, it might save you a lot of money.
10-12-2020, 11:31 AM - 1 Like   #4
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For pictures of wildlife, you need a long lens that is relatively fast, though higher ISO settings can help compensate for slower lenses at the expense of some added noise. Out of your list, the SMC F 1:4.5-5.6 100-300mm lens is your fastest/longest lens, though it is manual focus. If you want autofocus your best option in your list is the Sigma 19-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC Macro.

Edit: Correction - The SMC F 1:4.5-5.6 100-300mm is an autofocus lens, so you should just be good with that one.

I would suggest you try both in your backyard or a park where you can practice shooting birds or other small critters. At the full zoom position of either lens, you typically want to shoot with exposures at 1/200 or faster to reduce motion blur from your subject (especially birds).

Last edited by cdw2000; 10-13-2020 at 05:44 AM.
10-12-2020, 11:49 AM - 1 Like   #5
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If you want a fast good and inexpensive 300mm spend some time looking for a Sigma 300mm F/4 APO Macro with the zen coating. It has a psuedo macro ability and will get to about 1:3 at a minimum focus distance of about 4 feet. I picked mine up for $130 (a steal of a deal) but if looking for one there are deals to be had since the zen lens barrel coating is not a loved feature. Other than that I would suggest sticking with what you have and really spending the time to master them. Wildlife photography requires practice and a lot of patience. I've heard that a lot of the best who do it use things like a big aperture 400/2.8 or 600/4, but that they spend a lot of time in the field waiting for the perfect shot.
10-12-2020, 12:09 PM - 1 Like   #6
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welcome to the forums

you will find friendly members and a lot of knowledge here

as far as the 55-300mm Pentax lenses

be advised there are several versions and the newest the PLM will work with your camera body only with the proper update:

Fully Compatible w/ Prerequisites
Install firmware v1.20 or higher

Read more at: Pentax K-S2 and HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE - Compatibility |

the older models would be cheaper

Last edited by aslyfox; 10-12-2020 at 12:16 PM.
10-12-2020, 12:50 PM - 3 Likes   #7
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for a cheap lens, the DA L 55-300mm zoom is about the best cheap zoom out there....
10-12-2020, 01:36 PM - 1 Like   #8

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The Pentax DA 55-300mm f/4.5-6.3 PLM HD WR has a faster AF, but might cost more than you are willing to pay. The cheapest that will also be in the best for the money category, and also fits in best with your K-S2 and DA-L 18-50mm DC WR, will be the Pentax HD (High Definition coatings) DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8 WR lens. It has slightly more aperture than the PLM lens, and provides similar image quality, but still uses the old standard screw-driven AF. Like your K-S2 and shorter Pentax 18-50mm, it has the WR (Weather Resistant) seals. It is still available new from some dealers at a reduced price, but also can be found used in perfect condition. I have this lens, which I bought new, and my experience has been that the HD coatings made a difference in image quality compared to the previous editions.

Just for your additional info- with Nikon, if wanting a new camera having a build incorporating WR, you'd be shopping in the $1,000+ category, and the same for a new lens having WR construction, even a shorter zoom lens in the focal length range of your 18-50mm. Similar story with Canon.

Last edited by mikesbike; 10-12-2020 at 02:19 PM.
10-12-2020, 02:24 PM - 2 Likes   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dvitale Quote
I do want one of those extremely large lenses but
Don't we all

For now, you have the F 100-300. It's not a great lens but it will allow you to go out with your friend and take photos. You could also tape it stuck at 300mm and try it around Montreal, who knows what you will find.

If you then decide you like the length (or just enjoy being out with your friend) and want a sharper lens (but still on a budget) look at one of the 55-300s.

They are all much the same in sharpness.

DA-L plastic mount
DA metal mount
DA WR Water resistant, better coatings less aberrations
PLM as above plus faster AF

Beyond that would be the DA*300
10-12-2020, 02:32 PM   #10
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This is something of a regular question. The bottom lines are that good telephotos cost, and you get what you pay for.
The most immediately accessible option is the DA/DAL 55-300mm. I have compared my DAL version to a smc 100-300mm f4.5-5.6 and at 300mm the 55-300mm wins hands down. I have also looked at other x-300mm (cosina, sigma...) and again, 300mm tends to be the weakest end of these zooms. And they're slow at 300mm, f6.7 or so.
If you are prepared to go MF, then there are worthwhile options to go longer than 300mm for little $$, like the tokina made 400mm f6.3's and later f5.6's, (numerous versions). Sigma apo 400mm f5.6 and 500mm f7.2's are later, more sophisticated tp's with good iq. The 400 apo (v2) would get the #1 recommend as the best price/iq mf option were it not that examples of this lens invariably suffer from deterioration of an internal cemented group. The 500mm 7.2 is much less common, difficult to find in fact, but normally isn't so afflicted. Both are very ticklish focus due to the compact IF design.

And then there's mirror lenses...
Browse for prev threads eg

Telephoto options -

Birds on a Budget -

Wildlife lens selection help! -

This is of interest with a comparison of 4 vintage lenses, including a novoflex. Now one of those would at least be a talking point!,highlight,%2Btelephoto.html

Last edited by marcusBMG; 10-12-2020 at 02:48 PM.
10-12-2020, 02:32 PM - 3 Likes   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dvitale Quote
I have just joined a friend who has Nikon set up and she likes to go out to take pictures of nature. She enjoys to shoot whales, birds, dogs, horses and other animals.
You should find out what focal length she uses most often along with her sensor size - full frame or APSC. If she's in the 200-300mm range, you already have something usable. If she's normally at 600mm with a teleconverter, you might need a second job.
10-12-2020, 02:35 PM - 2 Likes   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by cdw2000 Quote
Out of your list, the SMC F 1:4.5-5.6 100-300mm lens is your fastest/longest lens, though it is manual focus.
Just for the sake of accuracy, the F series lenses are in fact autofocus
10-12-2020, 02:39 PM - 1 Like   #13
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You do have the F100-300 which is an autofocus lens. The best upgrade you can get somewhat reasonably priced would be the Pentax 55-300 PLM . There is a deal going on right now if you look in the price watch section. It has improved IQ over your lens and is the fastest focusing telephoto lens Pentax makes, which is very important for shooting birds and wildlife. Anything better will have a very steep price jump.
10-12-2020, 04:05 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
Just for the sake of accuracy, the F series lenses are in fact autofocus
Thanks for the correction. I learned something new! :-)
10-12-2020, 04:55 PM   #15

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Yes, your "F" 100-300mm would do the job, though not with the quality of the HD 55-300mm WR or the PLM version. Perhaps try it out and see whether you find it satisfactory.

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