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12-09-2008, 07:46 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by sabatocd Quote
The FA* 300 /2.8 is a great lens and I'm told it works great with the Pentax 1.7 TC. Both are hard to find but will worth with the K20.

There is a TC coming out for the DA* Lens but I don't know when it will ship.

Some of the long FA lens used to be available through special order. They are not listed on the website anymore though so maybe not.

As far as glass quality, I have no personal experience with the lens over 300. I have been told the Pentax makes excellent glass.

I don't know how helpful that was, but there you go.
If you have an FA 2.8 300mm, you would be better , in my opinion, using either of sigmas TC's

I own both TCs and use them with sigma's 70-200 F2.8 and it is almost impossible to tell they are installed.

I believe the 300 F2.8 is a design with a recessed rear element that will accept the sigma TCs.

ALthough the pentax AFTC is good (and I have it too), you will be giving up full AF, because the TC turns the lens into MF and then uses the focusing elements within the TC to focus. This TC works great on pentax MF 300's either the F2.8 or F4 but in my view retaining full AF and having a high quality 7 element TC is much better

12-10-2008, 11:05 AM   #17
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Thanks m8o, the links were very helpful, and thanks for the compliments on my shots.

Thanks Lowell, which lens IYO is better optically 300/2.8 Sigma or Pentax FA ?
12-10-2008, 11:08 AM   #18
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I don't consider myself a birder so pls take that into account. I mean if a large bird is harassing me, then i will certainly take its picture, but otherwise, no :-)

Within the last 2 weeks i bought the DA*300mm and love that lens. The focus is quicker than i'm used to since i've not had a SDM lens before. And the SDM is extremely quiet. This is an F4 lens. With F4 i can AF it easily in a normally lit house, it only has problems when things get dim wtih no contrasting items to focus on.

I have a Tamron 1.4TC with the 2 additional contacts that enable SDM to be used. This 1.4TC Tamron works fine with the DA 300 and its SDM. With the 1.4 in place, the DA 300 gives me the equivalent of 650mm at F5.6, since you lose a stop of light with the 1.4 TC, 2 stops of light with a 2X.

The loss of a stop of light is crucial in the gray type winter weather we get in the Pacific NW during winter. Its caused me to lose focus or get inaccruate focus, occasionally wiht the DA 300, so i don't normally keep it on except for special occasions.

So I would have to agree with the comments you are getting from those that have faster lenses than an F4. I still love my DA 300, but its a compromise solution for a dedicated birder, i would think. It only weighs 36 or 37 ounces i think, which is a plus for carrying it around.
12-10-2008, 03:32 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by igor Quote
Hi all, I'm a total newbie to Pentax, need your expert advice , please.

I need a long lens, 400mm, 500mm, 600mm for bird photography, that will autofocus with K20D.
Which ones would produce the best image quality (sharpness, contrast, color) ?

I guess there might be great manual focus lenses available, I'd like to consider them too. How well do they work with semi-AF TC 1.7x ?

Please give me as much detail/info as possible, including the weight of each lens, which is an important factor for me.

Sharing PERSONAL experience would be great.

Thanks !
Pretty much all I do is bird photography and I don't use a conventional telephoto at all but rather various scopes.

Take a look a my photo gallery and judge for yourself.

Some of them were taken at out to an equivalent of 2000mm (60x).

12-10-2008, 06:16 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by wildman Quote
Take a look a my photo gallery and judge for yourself.
Link? I've seen your work and it's very impressive. What's the cost of a scope for this use? Which would you recommend as a good budget starter?
12-10-2008, 06:26 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by igor Quote
Thanks m8o, the links were very helpful, and thanks for the compliments on my shots.

Thanks Lowell, which lens IYO is better optically 300/2.8 Sigma or Pentax FA ?
I cant honestly say as I have neither, I am still stuck in 77mm land (front element diameter that is) I think, however that given the much newer design of the sigma lens, it might have an edge, and it is available new as opposed to used. What ever you do, go for a pair of sigma TCs as well.

At the present time, my sigma 70-200 F2.8 plus their 2xTC work very well on my K10D, as does my SMC 300F4 and 1.7x af TC (used with a flash on my *istD)

A bigger diameter lens, either 112mm for 300F2.8 or 500 F4.5 or something larger, is the next step, but given the quality of the optics I have now, I think i might be better off with the next pentax DSLR which will hopefully have K10D ISO200 quality at ISO 1600 or ISO3200. For me, better high ISO is MUCH more important than more megapixles
12-10-2008, 06:43 PM   #22
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Not sure if this question was asked: what is your budget? I have more than a few bird images with the FA* 300/2.8 and the Sigma 500/4.5 (Canon), so I am familiar with both lenses, and their strengths and weaknesses.

Regards,
Marc
12-10-2008, 10:32 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
Link? I've seen your work and it's very impressive. What's the cost of a scope for this use? Which would you recommend as a good budget starter?
"Link?" - meant take a look at my photos using the included link on this post under my name.

Cost - about $2000 for a 600mm APO triplet using first rate FPL-53 glass.

As a starter scope you could get the Astro Tech APO triplet using slightly less quality glass giving you a 560mm scope. About $700.

Here is a typical close-up (under 30 feet) setup using this scope.

Hint: for bird photography I wouldn't get too bent out of shape over hardware. Understanding birds and their behavior and how to track them is much more important than what kind of glass you are using.


Last edited by wildman; 12-26-2008 at 01:00 PM.
12-11-2008, 05:49 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Langille Quote
Not sure if this question was asked: what is your budget? I have more than a few bird images with the FA* 300/2.8 and the Sigma 500/4.5 (Canon), so I am familiar with both lenses, and their strengths and weaknesses.

Regards,
Marc
marc whay about the sigma 300F2.8? how do you think it compares to the FA
12-11-2008, 07:11 AM   #25
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I'd be interested in knowing about the Sigma 300 f/2.8 as well. Like Lowell I have used the Sigma 70-200 with 2x TC with good results but I do like my Tokina AT-X 400 f/5.6 slightly better (lighter and I think IQ just (barely) ahead of the Sigma combo). Occasionally if the right lighting conditions you can attach a 1.4 or 1.5x tc onto it and still get decent results and AF will work (slow but it will work).

I've been thinking about my next "move". The Sigma 300 f/2.8 has intrigued me because of the ability to attach the 1.4 and 2.0 TC to it but I'm really hesitate to get another non-SDM (or equivalent) lens. Then there is little voice inside me head telling me to wait until the next Pentax body is announced to make sure that they are heading in the direction that you are.


Oh, just a couple of shots I found on pbase with the Sigma 300 f/2.8 and the Kenko 1.4x TC attached... not bad at all (I know, not on a Pentax body but it should give some idea)

IMG_1083.jpg photo - allon kira photos at pbase.com
IMG_0042.jpg photo - allon kira photos at pbase.com


John
12-11-2008, 07:19 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by palmor Quote
I'd be interested in knowing about the Sigma 300 f/2.8 as well. Like Lowell I have used the Sigma 70-200 with 2x TC with good results but I do like my Tokina AT-X 400 f/5.6 slightly better (lighter and I think IQ just (barely) ahead of the Sigma combo). Occasionally if the right lighting conditions you can attach a 1.4 or 1.5x tc onto it and still get decent results and AF will work (slow but it will work).

I've been thinking about my next "move". The Sigma 300 f/2.8 has intrigued me because of the ability to attach the 1.4 and 2.0 TC to it but I'm really hesitate to get another non-SDM (or equivalent) lens. Then there is little voice inside me head telling me to wait until the next Pentax body is announced to make sure that they are heading in the direction that you are.


Oh, just a couple of shots I found on pbase with the Sigma 300 f/2.8 and the Kenko 1.4x TC attached... not bad at all (I know, not on a Pentax body but it should give some idea)

IMG_1083.jpg photo - allon kira photos at pbase.com
IMG_0042.jpg photo - allon kira photos at pbase.com


John
John

You and I are in the same boat. My brother in law has a bad back and although a nikon shooter is also waiting and hoping also that sensor technology will allow him to keep the relatively light optics with 77mm filters as opposed to moving up to the next step in size and weight.

ps, lets hope the boat we are in is not the titanic
12-11-2008, 08:44 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
ps, lets hope the boat we are in is not the titanic
...like deaf people playing musical chairs... "...why's everybody sitting down?!"
12-11-2008, 09:01 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by wildman Quote
"Link?" - meant take a look at my photos using the included link on this post under my name.
Strange, I can't see a link under your name in either post.

QuoteOriginally posted by wildman Quote
As a starter scope you could get the Astro Tech APO triplet using slightly less quality glass giving you a 560mm scope. About $700.
I believe the Astro Tech is 80mm? What brings it to 560mm? How would the quality compare to a 500mm Sigma zoom? Sorry for the questions, I've never looked into this technology before.

Frankly a 150-500mm looks a lot less cumbersome for not much more money. But going to 2000mm, wow, that's unique.
12-11-2008, 09:08 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by igor Quote
Hi all, I'm a total newbie to Pentax, need your expert advice , please.

I need a long lens, 400mm, 500mm, 600mm for bird photography, that will autofocus with K20D.
Which ones would produce the best image quality (sharpness, contrast, color) ?

I guess there might be great manual focus lenses available, I'd like to consider them too. How well do they work with semi-AF TC 1.7x ?

Please give me as much detail/info as possible, including the weight of each lens, which is an important factor for me.

Sharing PERSONAL experience would be great.

Thanks !
If you are ready to spend A LOT of money, why not try to get the FA Star 600/4 ? You should be able to make a special order for this one from Pentax, right? But I suppose that it won't be cheap in any way.

By the way, I checked out your bird site, wonderful, I have to say!
12-11-2008, 09:43 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
Strange, I can't see a link under your name in either post.
he should have said what it is... "Gallery Photos" counter & link in the user identity block on the left of the post. Regarding your other question. I have to think he's including sensor crop in his equation as he stated "equivalent" in his 1st post in this thread; which muddies the waters IMO as noone else does [noone has here in this discussion] when identifying focal length, but I didn't want to bring the thread off-track & say anything.

Last edited by m8o; 12-11-2008 at 09:49 AM.
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