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03-10-2007, 10:02 AM   #1
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Birding set-ups beyond 300mm?

Hi - new to this forum, but I've been on DPR since November and my first dslr, the K10D.

I'm looking for some recommendations for a good birding/wildlife combination to get me out beyond 300mm... in the 400 - 500mm range Currently, I have the Tamron 70-300LD Di and I'm impressed with its performance from a cost/benefit perspective, HOWEVER... it's not stellar at the long end and there's that annoying purple fringe thing which I've learned to work around fairly well.

How do some of the older Pentax primes hold up with various teleconverters and what would you suggest as a combination I might actually be able to obtain in the next month or so?

The BIGMA just plain scares me... very mixed reviews, although there are some outstanding shots with it over on DPR.

The lens reviews here have been very helpful, but the used Pentax market is so whacky right now, I'm not sure which way to go or what might be available at a reasonable price (the things happening on Ebay are ridiculous!). I do have a savings account set up for the DA*300 in September... I'm just not sure I can make it through the summer without some good glass!

Thanks in advance for your help!

03-10-2007, 12:28 PM   #2
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I rarely ever do "birding" (except for hummingbirds) but I took a few shots of a woodpecker with the Vivitar 120-600mm through my front window. This lens occasionally shows up on ebay at around 200 -300 bucks.

03-10-2007, 12:30 PM   #3
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BTW - this was taken with the *ist DL at 600mm - probably around f8 or f11
03-10-2007, 12:50 PM   #4
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I did a lot of this research and viewed hundreds of images to try and decide what combination would be compitent without breaking the bank.
One combo you may want to give some attention to would be the Sigma EX 100-300 f/4 with their 1.4 matched converter.
If you do your homework, you can get them for a reasonable cost and the images I've seen with this combo is really quite good.
You can also google a few reviews that all are very complementary of this lens.

With your K10D:

150-450mm f/4 (no converter)
225-675mm f/5.6 (with matched 1.4x)

cheers & good luck

03-10-2007, 01:25 PM   #5
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getting out beyond 300mm is a lot of reach and really requires a tripod and/or a fast lens. i'm just now learning how to use my A*300 with a 1.4x on it. at 420mm it is handholdable but i miss a lot of shots due to operator vibration. if i want real reach i use a smc500mm f4.5. this lens sells on eekbay for 300-700usd. 5=600 is a fair price. you have to have a study tripod and head to use it as it's 5'' around and 20'' long and 7.5 pounds. sigma has a 400mm f5.6 that's pretty good if you get the right model. pentax's 400mm f5.6 is very good and most of the tamron 400mm are also good. hogrider had a vivitar 400mm for a while that i thought also gave good results. i've also shot my 300 with a 2x on it and there is no way i can handhold it at 600mm. the 500 also gives good results with either the 1.4x or 2x but you have to use a good tripod/head.
03-10-2007, 07:37 PM   #6
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I have a Tokina 400mm f/5.6 SD that I picked up for $120.00. I have been happy with it, and IQ is good. Really good bang for the buck if you cant afford faster glass.

A few bird shots with this lens...
Carolina Chickadee photo - kbrabble photos at pbase.com
Northern Cardinal photo - kbrabble photos at pbase.com
Tufted Titmouse photo - kbrabble photos at pbase.com
Northern Mockingbird photo - kbrabble photos at pbase.com
03-10-2007, 08:41 PM   #7
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Check out this thread for my newly-discovered (and sharp!) 700mm combination: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/4269-my-sharpest-700mm-tele-shots.html

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03-11-2007, 05:09 AM   #8
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here's a link to some of my 700mm shots. mo was using a 2.4x-l and i'm using a 1.4x-s. both work really well.
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/4050-tak500mm-1-4x.html

03-11-2007, 03:14 PM   #9
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Mo's shot using 1.4x L tele is the first I have seen - sooooo sharp with no evidence of colour degradation!

I have 1.4x S and 2x S which are magnificent by any standards but I doubt they would be as good as L tele

As Roy already suggested, A*300 with 1.4X or 2X tele are great combinations. But I am not a fan of tamron 1.4 or kenko counterpart.

f7 (after 2X tele) ISO 1600 (shot in rural Victoria road side)









Bigma is not that bad but it is less sharp at 500mm even one stop down to f8 comparing to Fa300 f4.5 (pixel peeping). Colour is less vibrant as well. But overall, it is a fantastic handy lens - cheap enough for its capability.

Bigma wide open at werribee wildlife park f6.3 ISO400 1/125 sec



Bigma at my local park

1/500s f/6.7 at 420.0mm iso400 full exif



If you are after fantastic quality lens from pentax and do not want to pay so much on ebay. We can wait for the arrival of Da* 200 and 300 together. Patience is a virtue in pentax world.
03-12-2007, 08:18 AM   #10
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Thanks to all who responded... great information, although it sounds like it's gonna be a "wait and see what I can find on the used market" situation until the DA*300 is available. Anybody looking to part with a dust-collecting, seldom-used 300 or 400mm at a reasonable price, please PM me... I'm just not sure I can hold out until September
03-12-2007, 01:19 PM   #11
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When pentx says September, it would probably be December ... The chronicle
03-13-2007, 06:35 AM   #12
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Roentarre
Thanks for posting those Bigma shots.

I got one back in December and one of my reasons for getting it was to expand my horizons into bird photography. I've not been able to get out much this year yet due to some god awful weather but hopefully I will be able to get out on the local reserve and start shooting.

They have really given me something to aim for.... literally
03-13-2007, 02:43 PM   #13
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I have a Sigma 135-400 f/4.5~5.6 and haven't had time to really use it yet. I think I looked and it won't accept a teleconverter. Does anyone else use this lens?

Lens info here

Last edited by Trub; 03-13-2007 at 02:53 PM.
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