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03-02-2021, 03:16 PM   #46
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
I'd suggest improving your post-processing skills, learning to carefully balance noise-reduction and sharpening. It can really extend the useful ISO of your camera.
Great shot! You are undoubtedly correct. I will try to seek an online class to help with this as it is definitely a weakness in my skill set.

03-02-2021, 04:22 PM - 2 Likes   #47
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The real dilemma is that everything is a trade off, to get something you have to give up something. So what are you willing to give up? I would suggest you get a monopod and use it as much as possible and use other things around you to help stabilize your camera even with the monopod, I have propped it against tree, fences, or anything else I could find that is solid. This will allow you to shoot at lower shutter speeds and keep the ISO as low as possible.
03-03-2021, 01:47 AM - 1 Like   #48
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QuoteOriginally posted by leheath8 Quote
By buying used. Based on what I see in the Marketplace, it will probably come out to less than $200 over budget for all 3.
Like Alex, I thought you were being optimistic, but I see what you mean - about $750 for a DA*300, $320 for a TC and $170 for an 18-135. There's also a 150-450 at an attractive price too. It certainly is a buyer's market.
QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
I'd suggest improving your post-processing skills, learning to carefully balance noise-reduction and sharpening. It can really extend the useful ISO of your camera.
Great advice. A very low-cost way to get better images. If you aren't committed to a particular program it's worth trying a few and seeing which one you most like. Then get to know that program well.
03-03-2021, 05:40 AM - 2 Likes   #49
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I agree compromise is always there. And monopods can be useful, but, knowledge of your system and good technique can also help a lot.

See the shot below, and I will admit, I can’t repeat this every time, but see below, shot with the K7 hand held at 1/40, using a K300/4 and the 1.7x AF adaptor. I have shown this shot often to stress a point. It is a 100% crop so that I could show down to the pixel the image with no uploading loss of resolution



This shot was not using any brace, post etc, just free standing but with proper stance, grip, and a slow relaxed breath.

Shake reduction is your friend, and it works for stationary birds in low light.

The problem in Costa Rica is that as we discussed earlier the rain forest can be very dark. But technique can save a lot of money. The issue is time, a good shot under sub optimum conditions takes time and patience, and depending on what you are doing, tour groups for example generally don’t give you time.

To reiterate the use of flash. Shot with an *istD and same K300/4 and 1.7x af converter. This is almost the full sensor, only about 10% crop. Again I have posted this before.




Last edited by Lowell Goudge; 03-03-2021 at 05:48 AM.
03-03-2021, 09:51 AM - 2 Likes   #50
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I don't have the same experience as everyone else, but I do have some

My starting points for wildlife photography sound similar to the OPs, so I figured that I'd do a brief synopsis of how my equipment and techniques have changed and what I've learned, for whatever parts may help.

Prior to a trip to Guyana, I bought a brand new K30 and 18-135 WR lens. Then, after some practice, I decided to get the 55-300 HD WR (screw drive) before actually going. My thought was that I was going to have to travel light and fast with weight limits on internal airlines and unknown guide/vehicle/walking requirements. For support, I brought a little gorillapod tripod. I found that I really appreciated the longer reach of the 55-300, but that the focusing speed/accuracy for me was wildly frustrating. I ended up taking a number of shots that I liked with the 18-135, even though the subject took up less of the frame, because it focused so much faster. I also was at the limit of my ability to handhold things @ 300mm, despite some experience in rifle shooting (I'm not particularly good at either, but I try and know my limits. Alas, I will never have surgeon hands).

Later, I took a brief trip to Costa Rica with a similar kit + a monopod. The monopod helped a bunch, but I was still occasionally cranky about the focusing of the 55-300. Later experience tells me that I should have kept the camera on single focus point mode, rather than an automatic range. But still I got good pictures and was generally pleased. I was still trying to figure out how to use the monopod, and later would find out that having a slightly better ballhead with the little groove on the side would have helped more.

Since then, I was able to find a screaming deal on a used K3 II and another very good deal on a used DA*300 and I've been thrilled with the results. For me, adding the battery grip, particularly with AAs, helps me balance the camera with the DA*300 on it and do okay handheld (I try to stay at shutter speeds at or faster than 1/640 handheld). I still prefer a monopod if I can use it, with the lens mount off to the side. I think that the DA*300 focuses faster and with greater odds of finding my target, but some of that could be me getting better with my techniques. I'm quite curious about adding the teleconverter, but I don't think that I could handhold that combo well enough. That's me personally. Lots of other people can. I'm very excited to take the current equipment on my next big trip, but it's been fantastic on little jaunts around the area. So for OP, I'd vote for the lens, but I don't have much more experience with other equipment.
03-03-2021, 10:01 AM   #51
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By the looks of it, for low light shooting the OP would gain more by upgrading to a KP body than any lens upgrade.
03-03-2021, 10:30 AM - 1 Like   #52
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I am still very satisfied with my DA300/4, on its own or with the Pentax 1.7x converter.

If I had the funds, I'd probably go with the Pentax 150-450.
03-03-2021, 10:31 AM - 1 Like   #53
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
Like Alex, I thought you were being optimistic, but I see what you mean - about $750 for a DA*300, $320 for a TC and $170 for an 18-135. There's also a 150-450 at an attractive price too. It certainly is a buyer's market.
Yes, I have purchased all 3 for $1153, which is close enough to my budget. I saw the 150-450 and seriously considered it, but the 4.4lbs weight really put me off given how I tend to travel and shoot.

QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
Great advice. A very low-cost way to get better images. If you aren't committed to a particular program it's worth trying a few and seeing which one you most like. Then get to know that program well.
I am a Mac user and I really do not like the software subscription model so that rules out Lightroom. I want something I purchase once. I have Affinity, which seems pretty powerful, but really I struggled to use it and originally couldn't find any online classes to help me, so I really haven't progressed in using it at all. I just did another search and noticed there are not a number of seemingly comprehensive courses I could take so I will explore that further.

QuoteOriginally posted by psubadger Quote
I still prefer a monopod if I can use it, with the lens mount off to the side.
Thank you for sharing your equipment journey. I'm considering purchasing a monopod, especially if I can find one that collapses to small enough to fit in hand luggage. Thankfully, I can fairly consistently handhold down to 1/50th and a bit lower if there is something like a tree to add further support, so I'm not completely convinced about how much a monopod would help. I appreciate your comments on the 18-135 and am feeling even better about my decision to buy it. I hope that all my practice with the original DA-L 55-300 will really pay off with faster focusing lenses - I can do a decent job with birds in flight now, so faster focus would undoubtedly improve the number of keepers!

03-03-2021, 10:46 AM - 1 Like   #54
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QuoteOriginally posted by leheath8 Quote
Yes, I have purchased all 3 for $1153, which is close enough to my budget. I saw the 150-450 and seriously considered it, but the 4.4lbs weight really put me off given how I tend to travel and shoot.
i wouldn't let weight alone put you off, although i have posted some shots above using old gear, my current preferred wild life arrangements are a K5 with sigma 70-200/2.8 and 2xTC (les and TC combo is about 1.8 kilos so close to the DA150-450) and a K1 with the DA560 which for the lens alone weighs 3.6 kilos. I shoot both hand held almost exclusively.

QuoteQuote:
I am a Mac user and I really do not like the software subscription model so that rules out Lightroom. I want something I purchase once. I have Affinity, which seems pretty powerful, but really I struggled to use it and originally couldn't find any online classes to help me, so I really haven't progressed in using it at all. I just did another search and noticed there are not a number of seemingly comprehensive courses I could take so I will explore that further.
i use Corel's PSP, on a PC and have done so for about 15 years. the only snag is that the raw engine is specific and needs updating for each new camera, and they did not update in the past as frequently as new cameras. But it does all you need and does not expire if you, for example, don't connect to the internet every 6 months.


QuoteQuote:
Thank you for sharing your equipment journey. I'm considering purchasing a monopod, especially if I can find one that collapses to small enough to fit in hand luggage. Thankfully, I can fairly consistently handhold down to 1/50th and a bit lower if there is something like a tree to add further support, so I'm not completely convinced about how much a monopod would help. I appreciate your comments on the 18-135 and am feeling even better about my decision to buy it. I hope that all my practice with the original DA-L 55-300 will really pay off with faster focusing lenses - I can do a decent job with birds in flight now, so faster focus would undoubtedly improve the number of keepers!
my experience is that monopods are good for sports, and things at eye level, and a Pain in the @$$ for things up in the air. i have used them but don't normally take one with me
03-03-2021, 11:15 AM   #55
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
my experience is that monopods are good for sports, and things at eye level, and a Pain in the @$$ for things up in the air. i have used them but don't normally take one with me
That's a really useful observation - most of what I photograph is not at eye level, and in Costa Rica birds and wildlife in trees are the most common targets so I don't think the monopod will offer much benefit.

QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
The problem in Costa Rica is that as we discussed earlier the rain forest can be very dark. But technique can save a lot of money. The issue is time, a good shot under sub optimum conditions takes time and patience, and depending on what you are doing, tour groups for example generally don’t give you time.
Thankfully, I am generally exploring on my own rather than with a group for that exact reason.
03-03-2021, 11:21 AM - 5 Likes   #56
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I live in Costa Rica and do a lot of birding. My favorite lense with my KP is the SMC DA* 300 mm F4, and with very good light in outdoors, I use the HD Pentax-DA 1.4x AW AF Rear converter and get a 420 mm range. But if you get into the cloud forest or jungle, you need a shorter range zoom lense since sometimes the object is way to close or infront of you! So I also carry a Sigma 18-300 mm 1:3.5-6.3 DC, which is lightweight, fast and very good quality lense. Light conditions change dramatically when you are in the forest, so be ready for adjustmens or better pre-program the camera. I hope you enjoy your travel and our country, is indeed a wonderful wildlife place for pictures.
03-03-2021, 11:39 AM   #57
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QuoteOriginally posted by Francisco Salas Quote
I live in Costa Rica and do a lot of birding. My favorite lense with my KP is the SMC DA* 300 mm F4, and with very good light in outdoors, I use the HD Pentax-DA 1.4x AW AF Rear converter and get a 420 mm range. But if you get into the cloud forest or jungle, you need a shorter range zoom lense since sometimes the object is way to close or infront of you! So I also carry a Sigma 18-300 mm 1:3.5-6.3 DC, which is lightweight, fast and very good quality lense. Light conditions change dramatically when you are in the forest, so be ready for adjustmens or better pre-program the camera. I hope you enjoy your travel and our country, is indeed a wonderful wildlife place for pictures.
Thank you for your additional real life experience. I'm hoping my 18-135mm plus the DA*300 + 1.4x TC will together cover most circumstances - I'd be quite happy to discover animals or birds that are close enough that my 300mm lens will be too long! I will take my current lens (DA L 55-300) as a back up since both these lenses will be new to me on this trip. I am really looking forward to visiting your country!
03-03-2021, 03:35 PM - 1 Like   #58
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QuoteOriginally posted by leheath8 Quote
Thank you for your additional real life experience. I'm hoping my 18-135mm plus the DA*300 + 1.4x TC will together cover most circumstances - I'd be quite happy to discover animals or birds that are close enough that my 300mm lens will be too long! I will take my current lens (DA L 55-300) as a back up since both these lenses will be new to me on this trip. I am really looking forward to visiting your country!
Remember image size = subject size * focal length / distance.

On a crop sensor that means at the minimum focus distance of the da300 a humming bird will just fill the frame. I’ll bet you can’t get that close
03-03-2021, 04:09 PM   #59
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
On a crop sensor that means at the minimum focus distance of the da300 a humming bird will just fill the frame. I’ll bet you can’t get that close
That is a helpful perspective. To be fair, I can often get within ~6 feet of a humming bird, but they move so darn quickly that they are still tricky to photography! I am assuming with the 1.4x TC, the humming bird would more than fill the frame at a 6' distance, but I'm OK with that.
03-03-2021, 05:50 PM - 1 Like   #60
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QuoteOriginally posted by leheath8 Quote
I can often get within ~6 feet of a humming bird, but they move so darn quickly that they are still tricky to photography
This is hypothetical for me (no hummingbirds in Australia), but many of the guides about this seem to recommend using flash. Here's an example:

The Secret to Photographing Hummingbirds | B&H Explora
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