Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
11-30-2008, 03:11 PM   #1
Pentaxian
rvannatta's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Apiary, Oregon
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,176
Pentax A 600 mm f5.6

Spent the morning taking a series of 75 photos of a bald eagle sitting in a tree about 300 yards away with a K10-D body.

I had good support and good lighting conditions. I utilized the 600 mm lens 'out of the case', with a 1.4X-L converter, with a 2x-L converter, and with the 1.7x AF adapter stacked on the 2x-L converter.

My observations: None of the photos will make the cover of National Geographic because sharpness issues. what I was looking at more than anything was trying to assesss the value of
using the converters/ adapter as compared to more aggressive
cropping, in photoshop.

Overall it looks to me like the converters/adapater contributed llittle to the process, and you are about asa well off using
this lense 'at 600 mm' or possibly with just the 1.4x-L converter
and using the photoshop crop tool for the rest, as a preferred solution over using stronger/stackedd converers/adapters and less cropping.

What I'm looking to know is if this is consistent with the observations of others or if I need to explore the issue further.

11-30-2008, 03:45 PM   #2
Moderator PEG Judges
Kerrowdown's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Highlands of Scotland.
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 32,666
When I first read you post, I thought you were using all the converters at once, to end up with a million mm lens at f1:450.

I have always felt that a degree of softness could be introduced with converters, that having been said, some are designed and matched to work with specific lenses without quality issues.

For me it's always been about the drop in stops and the darker viewfinder for manual focus. Even at f5.6, it's pretty slow and to lose up to a couple of stops for me becomes unworkable.

So I creep up, get nearer, or crop in CS3, just go with what works for you.
11-30-2008, 04:10 PM   #3
Site Supporter
Marc Langille's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: NW Arkansas, USA
Posts: 4,702
Hi rvannatta,

Since you state that your support is fine, are you certain that you can expect sharp images on a subject that is up to 37" in length at 300 yards? I've not even factored in your TC's into the mix. Bald Eagles are generally notorious for being aloof and maintaining their distance from humans, as are many other varieties of bird, so I can understand your desire to shoot from further away.

I've shot a Great Blue Heron (GBH) which is approx. the same length, and obviously not as thickly proportioned. I took a shot at 700mm, approx. 200 yards, using MF as it launched itself from a tree. That was a Sigma 500/4.5 + 1.4x TC and it's reasonable IMO. It will be a fine 8x10 or 11x14, but I am not sure about any larger prints. I used a Kirk Fat Bean Bag on the window ledge of the SUV, so it wasn't a tripod support. Everything depended on the steadiness of my hands.

Unfortunately you only indicated that you started using this lens out of the case. How familiar are you with using a super-telephoto like a 600mm - do you have a lot of practice using one? I am wondering if you thought it's a straightforward thing to shoot with a longer lens and expected great results from the start.

In summary:
  1. Are expecting too much with the setup with the TC's? That will make it difficult to readily see the subject, since the combination will be somewhat dark even at almost F/8 with the 1.4x TC
  2. Should only consider using a 1.4x TC, although I've seen successful images with 600/4 with a 2x TC!
  3. Is your technique for shooting a long lens like this solid?
All of this is assuming the lens has no issues. My thought is your expectations are way too high, and you've got to employ techniques to approach them more closely. It can be done, it just takes practice and patience.

Regards,
Marc
11-30-2008, 04:11 PM   #4
Pentaxian
rvannatta's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Apiary, Oregon
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,176
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by kerrowdown Quote
When I first read you post, I thought you were using all the converters at once, to end up with a million mm lens at f1:450.

I have always felt that a degree of softness could be introduced with converters, that having been said, some are designed and matched to work with specific lenses without quality issues.

For me it's always been about the drop in stops and the darker viewfinder for manual focus. Even at f5.6, it's pretty slow and to lose up to a couple of stops for me becomes unworkable.

So I creep up, get nearer, or crop in CS3, just go with what works for you.
Thanks. I've never been terribly pround the the 600 mm f5.6 lens. It's buildt in the same barrel as the 300mm f2.8 but somewhat longer. I've owned the Pentax-A 300 f2.8 for quite a few years now and have been pretty happy with the work it does. I've only had the 600 for a year or two and I haven't really warmed up to it.

IN another shoot I did I attempted to compare the 300 f2.8
with a converter to the 600 without one and came away from that wondering why I'd bought the 600.

11-30-2008, 04:24 PM   #5
Pentaxian
rvannatta's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Apiary, Oregon
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,176
Original Poster
comments well taken, though I'm no exactly a novice with my first Pentax having been a spotamatic (when it was the latest and greatest.) I positioned the camera and lense on theh top of a stump with the aid of a bean bag, and used an infra red remote release. I am not at all certain that expecting to resolve the
pupil of the raptor's eye at 300 yards is reasonable. After all the bird was not identifiable to the naked eye. It's perch was only identifed because some crows were harassing it, and binocolars were used to see what the crows were harassing.

QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Langille Quote
Hi rvannatta,

Since you state that your support is fine, are you certain that you can expect sharp images on a subject that is up to 37" in length at 300 yards? I've not even factored in your TC's into the mix. Bald Eagles are generally notorious for being aloof and maintaining their distance from humans, as are many other varieties of bird, so I can understand your desire to shoot from further away.

I've shot a Great Blue Heron (GBH) which is approx. the same length, and obviously not as thickly proportioned. I took a shot at 700mm, approx. 200 yards, using MF as it launched itself from a tree. That was a Sigma 500/4.5 + 1.4x TC and it's reasonable IMO. It will be a fine 8x10 or 11x14, but I am not sure about any larger prints. I used a Kirk Fat Bean Bag on the window ledge of the SUV, so it wasn't a tripod support. Everything depended on the steadiness of my hands.

Unfortunately you only indicated that you started using this lens out of the box. How familiar are you with using a super-telephoto like a 600mm - do you have a lot of practice using one? I am wondering if you thought it's a straightforward thing to shoot with a longer lens and expected great results from the start.

In summary:
  1. Are expecting too much with the setup with the TC's? That will make it difficult to readily see the subject, since the combination will be somewhat dark even at almost F/8 with the 1.4x TC
  2. Should only consider using a 1.4x TC, although I've seen successful images with 600/4 with a 2x TC!
  3. Is your technique for shooting a long lens like this solid?
My thought is your expectations are way too high, and you've got to employ techniques to approach them more closely. It can be done, it just takes practice and patience.

Regards,
Marc
11-30-2008, 04:33 PM   #6
Site Supporter
Fl_Gulfer's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Florida Gulfer
Photos: Albums
Posts: 3,051
Yep that 600 F/5.6 is just a piece of junk. just let me know when you want to throw it away and where, so I can be there to catch it. ;-)
11-30-2008, 07:50 PM   #7
Pentaxian
rvannatta's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Apiary, Oregon
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,176
Original Poster
Photos up---can you ID the bird.

QuoteOriginally posted by Fl_Gulfer Quote
Yep that 600 F/5.6 is just a piece of junk. just let me know when you want to throw it away and where, so I can be there to catch it. ;-)
I'm not of the view it is junk, rather I'm looking for an opinion as to whether I have it working to expectations. If you want to
look at my results, I now have them posted on my web site.
eagle


I have 4 photos there which are identifed as to the equipment used. All photos were taken of the same bird in the same place
and the camera was on the same stump for all. I have photoshopped the cropped the photos somewhat.

For those unwilling to look (the photos on the page are thumbnails and do expand). ---- the observations are as follows:

1) 600 mm -- and no converter. --- cannot see pupil of eye.
I took a number of unpublished shots and this is typical

2) 600mm + Pentax 1.4x-L dedicated converter
Pupil of eye is resolved and visible (2 shots posted)

3) 600mm + Pentax 2.x-L dedicated converter
Eye is not a feature.

Lighting was fairly good as there was low angle winter sunlight
to my left.

Given that they were taken with a Pentax K10D, the effective focal length of the lens was 900 mm, while the 1.4x converter should cost 1 f/stop of speed, and add 40% to the focal length to provide 1260mm effective focal length, while the 2x converter would double the focal length of the lens.

There are a lot of harpies about the half frame technology that pentax uses in their digital bodies, but a plus side is that it does make the long lenses longer.

Nowif someone would kindly ID the bird for me.
11-30-2008, 08:23 PM   #8
Senior Member
Mark2100's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 185
I think they look pretty good for 300 yards. I wouldn't doubt that some of the softness is due to the atmosphere.

11-30-2008, 08:41 PM   #9
Pentaxian
8540tomg's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Waterloo, Ontario
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 4,454
rvannatta,

I 'll admit up front I don't have any experience with the 600mm lens. I hope I do someday. My longest lens at the moment is a K 300 f4. I've had this lens for over 20 years now and until recently I was unimpressed with it. Last summer I decided to use this lens extensively for about six weeks as I tried to get some decent images of a Goldfinch. This sorry saga is documented in the SMC K 300 thread.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/29940-pentax-smc-300-4-a.html

My results the first couple of weeks were pretty dismal. I gave up on the 2x rearcoverter altogether. However, as I became more familiar with the lens I saw gradual improvement. I stalked these critters for about six weeks learning where and when they were likely to be feeding. They are very skittish and it took a lot of time to eventually get close enough to get a good image. My earlier failures with this lens were, I think, expecting too much of it. The key to this lens, and I suspect any super telephoto is to get a close as possible. The closer I got the better my images became. The following were from about 13ft which is a close as the K 300 will focus.







300 yards is just not close enough to get the best from this lens. The old adage get a big lens and get close is true. It can be frustrating and at times boring but when your finally get that great capture it is one you will be very proud of. I predicit we shall be seeing some spectacular images from that 600mm before long.

Cheers

Tom G
11-30-2008, 08:46 PM   #10
Site Supporter
Fl_Gulfer's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Florida Gulfer
Photos: Albums
Posts: 3,051
I was just joking I didn't mean anything by it.The shots don't look that bad for being 300 yards away. They don't look much worse than the ones I took at 10 feet away. I didn't use a tripod and I was ready to move real fast If he came after me.
11-30-2008, 08:48 PM   #11
Pentaxian
Wheatfield's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: The wheatfields of Canada
Posts: 10,155
FWIW, I got this with the A600/5.6 and 1.4L converter.
The bird was perhaps 60 feet from me.
Do you have a "protective filter" on the lens?

A Picture
11-30-2008, 09:24 PM   #12
Senior Member
Photomaximum's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Seattle
Posts: 108
Great topic!

Generally a good 1.4x converter will be better than a 2x converter. To get the best results you need the best lens and converter combination possible.

If you are using a really long lens that is slower than f4 and a converter you will need to be manual focusing the combined system you are using. I find that many auto focus digital SLR's are poor manual focusing machines period. The auto focus system and the manual focus system are two different systems really. If you are using a modern digital camera then I would test the manual focus accuracy by shooting a long scale ruler or focus test chart wide open with a fast lens. Often the results of such a test will show that your camera's manual focus screen and shim combination will yield some back or front focus error. Adding the correct focus shim will give better accuracy when manually focusing a good lens.

In short: test your camera and viewfinder before you really suspect your lens is the problem. Do some tests and then if you can test your lens with what I think is the ultimate Pentax performer: a well calibrated Pentax LX body (probably the finest manual focus machine ever developed by Pentax)

My hunch is that your A 600/5.6 is a way better performer than you realize...

Max
11-30-2008, 09:32 PM   #13
Pentaxian
rvannatta's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Apiary, Oregon
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,176
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
FWIW, I got this with the A600/5.6 and 1.4L converter.
The bird was perhaps 60 feet from me.
Do you have a "protective filter" on the lens?

A Picture
no 'protective filter' on the lens. You all of sort of confirmed my feeling that there is no substitute for getting 'really close'. This particular critter was perched in the top of a tree some 60 feet off the ground with an open field between me and him. I had some cover from where I was, but no cover was available if I advanced.



every once in a while I am successful at getting close to something.
11-30-2008, 10:06 PM   #14
Pentaxian
Wheatfield's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: The wheatfields of Canada
Posts: 10,155
QuoteOriginally posted by rvannatta Quote
no 'protective filter' on the lens. You all of sort of confirmed my feeling that there is no substitute for getting 'really close'. This particular critter was perched in the top of a tree some 60 feet off the ground with an open field between me and him. I had some cover from where I was, but no cover was available if I advanced.


every once in a while I am successful at getting close to something.
Cute shot.
I've had some success with the 600 at distance, but haze does degrade the image very quickly. I'm fortunate to live in a region that is fairly unaffected by air pollution and haze, but I've been in areas where even on a clear day, nothing is sharp past a couple of hundred feet.

Last edited by Wheatfield; 11-30-2008 at 10:19 PM.
11-30-2008, 10:07 PM   #15
Pentaxian
rvannatta's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Apiary, Oregon
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,176
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Photomaximum Quote
Great topic!

Generally a good 1.4x converter will be better than a 2x converter. To get the best results you need the best lens and converter combination possible.

If you are using a really long lens that is slower than f4 and a converter you will need to be manual focusing the combined system you are using.

My hunch is that your A 600/5.6 is a way better performer than you realize...

Max
I wouldn't be surprised. I have the pentax 'matched' converters
made particularly for this lens and a few others. the "nnx-L' converters won't physically even fit on but a few lenses that Pentax made. You raise the interesting issue that the manual focusing may not be accurate. This A600 reaches infinitity at around 60 meters, and the depth of field is very thin.

I don't have an LX to test it against, but I do have a Super Program whichis pretty well regarded for doing the right things
at the right time.

the only thing I know for sure is that the A300 f/2.8 is vastly easier to use than the A600 f/5.6. Years ago when I owned a K2 I sort of thought the mirror lock up was a bit of feature overkill but when you start trying to provide stability for a 600mm lens
you quickly appreciate everything you can do to stabilize it.

You quickly figure out that you need to support both ends of it
asa just a single support will still let it rock and roll all over the place.

I haven't used the a600 a lot because it is really difficult to use, but it hasa it's place and today was one of those days.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
adapter, converter, k-mount, mm, observations, pentax lens, photos, photoshop, slr lens
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
My new toy Pentax A*600/5.6 ED[IF] pspentax Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 15 06-08-2009 05:31 PM
sold for $600.00!! SMC Pentax FA* 24mm f/2 virgilr Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 11 03-08-2009 01:56 PM
anyone have pentax k 135-600 f 6,3 lens ? dr100hr Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 1 09-29-2008 06:34 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:16 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top