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03-01-2021, 01:59 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Apet-Sure Quote
People have different opinions of what is 'acceptable' ISO noise. Not wishing to go beyond ISO 800 on a K-3 seems overly restrictive to me.
You are probably right...I think I've been up to 1600 and been happy, so maybe 800 was a bit overly conservative!

QuoteOriginally posted by c.a.m Quote
Which brings me to my question: Will you have a decent back-up camera on your trip?
No, I've never travelled with a back up camera (unless you count my iPhone!). Upgrading to the KP sounded interesting, but I don't like the smaller buffer and single card capacity.

QuoteOriginally posted by c.a.m Quote
On the other side of the coin, a DA* 300/4 would provide significantly better optical performance over the DA 55-300, albeit at a fixed focal length.

I'm currently leaning towards this plus the 1.4x TC as it would be lighter than the Sigma zoom option and IQ should be as good or better, I think!?

03-01-2021, 02:11 PM - 1 Like   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by c.a.m Quote
. . . Which brings me to my question: Will you have a decent back-up camera on your trip? . . .
if you can arrange a back up camera, it is a very good suggestion

remember " Murphy's law " [ any thing that can go wrong will go wrong ] and Finnigan's corollary to it

[ Murphy was an optimist ]

when my 150-450 broke in two in Tanzania, the fact I had the 55-300 PLM was very helpful

two cameras also would allow you instant change between set ups:

I would have the long telephoto on my K 3 II and a short lens on the K 3

of course, there is the down side of weight if you are walking a great distance with two set ups
03-01-2021, 03:08 PM - 3 Likes   #18
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I currently have a DA*300, 55-300PLM, DA 1.4 converter and KP. Formerly I've had the lens you have (or the early non WR version), a K-50, and once rented a Sigma 50-500. I rented the Sigma for birding one Spring to try it out before I owned the DA*300. The DA*300 is better cropped than the Sigma. One thing about the two DA55-300, even though the PLM is a slower lens, it can be used wide open, which I could never do with the other, and it focuses extremely fast. The DA*300 of course is faster, but it is slower focusing than the PLM. They both work well with the converter, which I have only had since October and I kick myself for not getting it before. I shoot a lot of birds and wildlife when I can and primarily I use the DA*300 and converter. If I am going somewhere very bright like the beach or seashore I will sometimes use the PLM and converter, it is a lot lighter. In the wooded areas though the DA*300 is superior.

One thing about ISO that gets missed a lot. If you have to crop a lot noise will show up more, and birds can be there, I usually don't go past 3200 for that reason.

I have went to Magee Marsh, Ohio quite a few times for the warbler migration in May, one of the few places that you can often get pretty close to these little migrants. Warblers are tiny birds and it is not often they get close enough to fill the frame on 300mm. I had it happen once when a golden- winged warbler landed to close to focus, but quickly moved a few feet away and still did not fill the frame. So I don't think you will have that problem of too long of a lens. But then ideally you could carry two cameras with a prime and a zoom. LOL, we are blowing up your budget really bad.

The simplest solution is DA*300, add the DA 1.4 if you can. Next would be 55-300 PLM (it is that much better than the previous 55-300s).
03-01-2021, 03:40 PM - 6 Likes   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by leheath8 Quote
I have a K-3 with a DA 55-300 lens that is my primary lens for travel wildlife photography. I do not generally travel with a tripod so while I am generally OK with the 300mm length, I find the speed too slow at that range. I generally shoot at f8.0 as that is the sharpest range for my camera, so the speed is the limiting factor. I upgraded from the K-r to the K-3 to get better performance at higher ISO, so I'm happy with the IQ up to 800 ISO, but it's still not as good as I'd like in dimmer situations.
QuoteOriginally posted by leheath8 Quote
I have the original/older DA 55-300. It's actually faster at 300mm than the PLM, so I don't think it would really benefit me in any way.
QuoteOriginally posted by leheath8 Quote
Upgrading to the KP sounded interesting, but I don't like the smaller buffer and single card capacity.
If you are restricting yourself to f8 and 800 ISO because of the limitations of camera and lens, you are at least 3 stops behind where you could reliably get good images with the KP and 55-300 PLM at 300mm. The KP does 3200 comfortably - which is why I sold my K-3 in the end. Yes the smaller buffer is a limitation if you are shooting a lot of bursts, but the trade off was well worth it. I never understood why you need two SD card slots for general use, but maybe that's just me. The PLM is only f6.3 (if you want f5.6, back off to about 260mm) but it's very good wide open. I use this combination a lot for wildlife now.


Even 6400 is viable with the KP when you need it.


If a KP is not in consideration, I think you need to seriously look at pushing the ISO on the K-3 a bit more - 1600 is acceptable if you shoot RAW and use a good de-noise program (Topaz has been mentioned; I use DxO PhotoLab 4 with DeepPrime which is excellent too). Otherwise you might really want to think about using flash to get another stop or so.

Getting a 300mm f4 lens and using it on the K-3 gains you one (or 1.3) of those three stops plus a welcome increase in resolution (at the cost of more bulk, weight and money). With the 1.4x TC the prime also gives you an effective 420mm f5.6 - unless you can get very close to the birds, you will really want the extra reach.

The real world experience of @jacamar and @ramseybuckeye shows the value of the prime + TC combination. For travel a 2kg+ zoom like the 150-500 would be a pain to carry, and really you would probably just use it almost entirely at the long end anyway.

I would still suggest upgrading the 55-300 to the PLM though - the images are nicer than you get with the old screwdriven AF versions. It's a very good landscape lens too.

You will find a lot of landscapes in the PLM thread: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/365761-hd-...what-cant.html


Last edited by Des; 03-01-2021 at 03:59 PM.
03-01-2021, 03:44 PM   #20
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If I was you, I would wait for the Pentax 150-450 to be on sale during the holidays or something. I have the Sigma 150-500 DG OS for Pentax on my Pentax K-5 IIs and it is capable of excellent shots. I bought it when there was no Pentax 150-450 available for purchase, otherwise I would have most likely purchased it instead of the 150-500. The longer type lens puts the user in a scenario where the shots that had been missed using a shorter lens are no longer the case.

Good luck with your decision and a possible upgrade.
03-01-2021, 03:58 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
I never understood why you need two SD card slots, but maybe that's just me. The PLM is only f6.3 (if you want f5.6, back off to about 260mm) but it's very good wide open. I use this combination a lot for wildlife now.
Thanks Des (and thanks for the cute photo too!). I use the 2 SD card slots because I don't do a ton of post processing on the majority of my photos. So I shoot in RAW+JPEG and end up with one card of the RAW photos and one of the same JPEG photos.

QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
If you are restricting yourself to f8 and 800 ISO because of the limitations of camera and lens, you are at least 3 stops behind where you could reliably get good images with the KP and 55-300 PLM at 300mm.
I am probably being overly conservative with my ISO, at least partly because of what @ramseybuckeye mentioned - if you crop (which I often do with bird photos), noise becomes much more prominent.


I am definitely leaning away from the larger zooms because of the weight - not only would it be tiring to carry, I suspect it would significantly diminish my range of shutter speeds that I can hand hold. I don't travel with a tripod often so being able to take hand held shots is important.

The faster AF of the PLM 55-300 is appealing, but I'm not sure it's enough to push towards that instead of the 300 prime plus TC? Although maybe yes if combined with the 1.4x TC for versatility?

---------- Post added 03-01-21 at 03:04 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by C_Jones Quote
If I was you, I would wait for the Pentax 150-450 to be on sale during the holidays or something.
Looking at the weight of that lens, I think the odds of me being able to shoot decent hand held shots with a lens that weighs 4.5 lbs is rather low!

Last edited by leheath8; 03-01-2021 at 04:05 PM.
03-01-2021, 04:10 PM - 2 Likes   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by leheath8 Quote
I suspect it would significantly diminish my range of shutter speeds that I can hand hold. I don't travel with a tripod often so being able to take hand held shots is important.
Irrespective of the lens size and weight, have you considered carrying a monopod? I'm a big fan of those -- light, slim, easy to carry, and doubles as a walking stick if need be. They really help steady things. Might gain you a couple of stops in ISO by allowing you to use a slightly lower shutter speed.

More food for thought...
03-01-2021, 04:35 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by leheath8 Quote
The faster AF of the PLM 55-300 is appealing, but I'm not sure it's enough to push towards that instead of the 300 prime plus TC? Although maybe yes if combined with the 1.4x TC for versatility?
Many of us have both a 300mm prime (I have the FA*300 f4.5) and the PLM. They serve different functions. When I am looking for birds in the bush or the coast, I use the prime (sometimes with a TC). For general use on a nature walk, I usually take the PLM - it's great for flowers, butterflies, landscapes, etc as well. To use the PLM with a TC requires really good light - it becomes effectively 420mm f9 at its longest reach. I haven't been to CR, but if you are in the jungle that's not going to be a great option. So if you can't afford both, I'd say get the DA*300 + TC for the trip and live with the DA 55-300 f4-5.8 until you can replace it with the PLM.

The TC is quite a sting, unfortunately. It costs nearly as much as the PLM.

03-01-2021, 04:57 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by leheath8 Quote
. . . Looking at the weight of that lens, I think the odds of me being able to shoot decent hand held shots with a lens that weighs 4.5 lbs is rather low!
yes the size and weight of the 150-450 can cause problems

but with practice and proper technique the problems may be over come or minimzed

QuoteQuote:
Making the Most of Long Exposure Handhelds
Introduction
In this attempt to understand concepts second nature to all veterans of a militarized basic training, we explore the four fundamentals of marksmanship and how they apply to improving one's photographic technique. . . .
Read more at: Making the Most of Long Exposure Handhelds - Introduction - In-Depth Articles

QuoteOriginally posted by Viking42 Quote
Irrespective of the lens size and weight, have you considered carrying a monopod? I'm a big fan of those -- light, slim, easy to carry, and doubles as a walking stick if need be. They really help steady things. Might gain you a couple of stops in ISO by allowing you to use a slightly lower shutter speed.

More food for thought...
the proper use of a monopod or other types of bracing can make a big difference

and then there are some [ me included ] who do use the 150-450mm without support of a tripod or monopod

however, I confess that I don't go " over hill and dale " hauling it a lot
03-01-2021, 05:00 PM   #25
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I used to use the FA* 300 f/4.5. Great lens, and seemed to have a sweet spot around f/6.3. But actually it is worth it to upgrade your body sometimes because certain kinds of wildlife tends not to stay still sometimes you still need high ISO with fast shutter speeds.
03-01-2021, 05:00 PM - 3 Likes   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by leheath8 Quote
Thanks Des (and thanks for the cute photo too!). I use the 2 SD card slots because I don't do a ton of post processing on the majority of my photos. So I shoot in RAW+JPEG and end up with one card of the RAW photos and one of the same JPEG photos.

I am definitely leaning away from the larger zooms because of the weight - not only would it be tiring to carry, I suspect it would significantly diminish my range of shutter speeds that I can hand hold. I don't travel with a tripod often so being able to take hand held shots is important.

The faster AF of the PLM 55-300 is appealing, but I'm not sure it's enough to push towards that instead of the 300 prime plus TC? Although maybe yes if combined with the 1.4x TC for versatility?

---------- Post added 03-01-21 at 03:04 PM ----------



Looking at the weight of that lens, I think the odds of me being able to shoot decent hand held shots with a lens that weighs 4.5 lbs is rather low!
You can shoot raw and jpg on one card, I do it all the time. I have a 128GB card that I bought for week long trip to London, shot a ton of photos using Raw+ and never filled that card up, I had a spare or two along just in case, but the capacity of these cards today is enormous. The 300 prime is quite a bit heavier, but I personally don't think it is that bad, I've carried it 20 miles on four walks over the last week, but the PLM is a lot lighter. They are both good lenses. I don't think you would go wrong with either, you could certainly take the PLM and converter and remove the converter if there was not enough light in some situations. That faster AF is really nice for those jumpy little birds.

Here's a couple examples from this morning (KP, DA*300, DA 1.4 converter), this first one was taken about 26 minutes after sunrise, it is an example of heavy cropping, it's at ISO 2500, I slowed the shutter down to 1/320, the bird was about 100 feet away. As you can see there is no feather detail. Good chance of a little camera shake there, and I did use some noise reduction, that's cropped probably a little more than a sixth of the original.


The bluebird below was shot at a faster speed 1/400 and ISO 800, cropped about the same. Still not a ton of detail in it, but much better because of the ISO, and most likely faster shutter speed.
03-01-2021, 05:26 PM - 1 Like   #27
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In the same ballpark as the DFA 150-450mm I found an older Sigma the APO HSM 120-400mm f4-5.6 which is very serviceable and makes brilliant photos using TAv mode @ f8 and 1/500. I found it for ~$700 CAD.

I am on the lookout for the K mount Sigma 100-300mm f4 - got my fingers crossed for a DFA version.

Good luck
03-01-2021, 05:49 PM - 1 Like   #28
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Have both the 55-300 PLM and DA*300, both are excellent and you can't go wrong with either. DA* 300 naturally far superior especially on crops.

55-300 PLM on K3
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/members/57752-kwong/albums/8174-lynde-sh...ture134547.jpg

DA*300 on K1mkII
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/members/57752-kwong/albums/8174-lynde-sh...ture134029.jpg
03-01-2021, 06:41 PM - 2 Likes   #29
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Having been watching this thread from the onset. I would agree with all those advising to push the ISO

Below is iso6400 on a K5.I shoot with a sigma APO 70-200/2.8 and 2x TC. 1999 version non DG


This was a shot just as the sun rose. Dim but good light.

For the OP the rain forest in Costa Rica is dense and it will be dark. You won’t have any option but to push iso, I would take high iso over more pixels any day of the week.


I wouldn’t go for longer than 400is on a trip and you should also consider flash
03-01-2021, 06:53 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
. . . For the OP the rain forest in Costa Rica is dense and it will be dark. You won’t have any option but to push iso, I would take high iso over more pixels any day of the week.

I wouldn’t go for longer than 400is on a trip and you should also consider flash
would that involve a " flash extender " ?

QuoteQuote:
. . . .typical nature and bird photography often happens with lenses of 300 mm and longer.

So you can see that the flash coverage is far from sufficient since your flash that is zoomed to 70 mm gives a far wider coverage and lot of light and flash energy fall wasted beyond the narrower point of view of the longer lens.

To solve this problem a Flash Extender should be used. It is a simple but effective accessory that slips onto your existing flash and narrows the beam to fit the angle of view of lenses 300mm and longer. . . .
Using your Flash with Telephoto Lenses – Outdoorphoto Blog

QuoteQuote:
Product Overview
For most telephoto shots, particularly of wildlife, fill-flash is frequently needed but doesn’t always work. Most wildlife and sports photography is done with telephoto or “long lenses” at focal lengths of 200mm or greater. Even the largest (and most expensive) external flash units run out have trouble projecting a beam of light beyond about 50 ft (15 meters) because the light spreads out over a larger area as the distance between the camera and the subject increases.

The “Better Beamer” ($40 or less in most stores) is a remarkably simple attachment for your external flash that promises to greatly extend the working range of your flash. The Better Beamer is offered in models that fit all popular external flash units from various manufacturers (Nikon, Canon, Pentax, etc.).. . .
Better Beamer Flash Extender Review - DigitalCameraReview

[ I have one but have never tried it ]
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