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12-17-2008, 11:43 AM   #16
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Hi Atindra (are you the same from the Kodak forum a few years back?)

You've gotten some good suggestions. However, if you can find a mirror lens for a decent price, go ahead and try one. They aren't the sharpest, and they are a fixed aperture, but I bought a used 400mm one at a camera store (not the cheapest way to buy, of course) for just over $100. It was fun for that price, and you'll certainly get the reach.

I finally found a moon shot taken with the lens. I've also posted a comparison moon shot taken with the Sigma 135-400 (another option, though a little more expensive).

First, the Makinon 400mm f/6.7 Reflex (a.k.a. mirror) lens


And now the Sigma 135-400 zoom


One thing not shown by this comparison is the "different" bokeh you'll get from a mirror lens. It looks like tiny doughnuts as it's circular. It can be distracting in some shots, but may not be noticable depending on the composition.

12-18-2008, 08:09 AM   #17
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The bottom line in birding circles (and I can speak from long experience) is always about sharpness. If your gear can't produce pin-sharp images with great feather and colour detail, you're simply not in the race if you want your shots to be seen by others. It's really important for identification of sub-species etc. that every detail is there. I guess it depends how far you want to go, Atindra, and whether you want to publish your photos or whether it's just for your own interest. If sharp images are important to you, then of all the suggestions I'd go with the 55-300 Pentax. It's been well reviewed and if you search the forum you'll see plenty of examples of how sharp it is. I think there's even one for sale in the "Photographers Marketplace" section.
Sharpness is another reason I'd be very choosy indeed if I were looking into a TC and I certainly wouldn't go to more than 1.4 or 1.7 at the most.
01-30-2009, 12:27 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by rfortson Quote
Hi Atindra (are you the same from the Kodak forum a few years back?)

You've gotten some good suggestions. However, if you can find a mirror lens for a decent price, go ahead and try one. They aren't the sharpest, and they are a fixed aperture, but I bought a used 400mm one at a camera store (not the cheapest way to buy, of course) for just over $100. It was fun for that price, and you'll certainly get the reach.

I finally found a moon shot taken with the lens. I've also posted a comparison moon shot taken with the Sigma 135-400 (another option, though a little more expensive).

First, the Makinon 400mm f/6.7 Reflex (a.k.a. mirror) lens


And now the Sigma 135-400 zoom


One thing not shown by this comparison is the "different" bokeh you'll get from a mirror lens. It looks like tiny doughnuts as it's circular. It can be distracting in some shots, but may not be noticable depending on the composition.
Yes I am the same Atindra. I would be going for DA 55-300 mm lens for its compactness and image quality.

Atindra
01-30-2009, 12:29 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wombat Quote
The bottom line in birding circles (and I can speak from long experience) is always about sharpness. If your gear can't produce pin-sharp images with great feather and colour detail, you're simply not in the race if you want your shots to be seen by others. It's really important for identification of sub-species etc. that every detail is there. I guess it depends how far you want to go, Atindra, and whether you want to publish your photos or whether it's just for your own interest. If sharp images are important to you, then of all the suggestions I'd go with the 55-300 Pentax. It's been well reviewed and if you search the forum you'll see plenty of examples of how sharp it is. I think there's even one for sale in the "Photographers Marketplace" section.
Sharpness is another reason I'd be very choosy indeed if I were looking into a TC and I certainly wouldn't go to more than 1.4 or 1.7 at the most.
I agree with your analysis wombat and for now I shall be happy with 55-300 of pentax later may be if my pocket permits I may go for tele primes.

Atindra

01-30-2009, 06:46 AM   #20
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I have 2 solutions, which I have posted before along with photos, one which represents a "bargin" the other what I consider the best solution overall without breaking the bank.

In long lens terms I am still in what I call the 77mm club, 77mm being the front element diameter. to move realistically up into the next club >100mm costs several thousand as an entry ($2900 for sigma 300 F2.8 or $4500 for sigma 500 f4,5) unless you can happen onto a tamron 60B (300mm F2.8) and add a 1.7x AF TC, or decide that MF is OK and find a pentax 500mm F4.5

my two solutions are

option 1
SMC 300mm F4 plus the pentax 1.7x AF teleconverter
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/attachments/general-pentax-photography/52...-_igp7346a.jpg

option 2
Sigma APO 70-200 F2.8 EX plus Sigma APO 2x EX DG teleconverter
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/attachments/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/90...one-merlin.jpg

There are a lot of these TCs around, and also many 300 F4's in SMC, SMC-M, and SMC-A with varrying prices, right mow in the forum.

You could be completely fitted out for about $500 with option 1 depending on the condition of the 300mm lens, and which version, and about double for option 2

you should also invest in a good flash
01-30-2009, 06:21 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
you should also invest in a good flash
and a real good tripod and head. Every little thing counts when shooting long. You will need a tripod.
01-30-2009, 07:22 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eaglerapids Quote
and a real good tripod and head. Every little thing counts when shooting long. You will need a tripod.
So, what they are saying...assuming you don't already own some of this stuff...is that the entry ticket into the birdie world is about $1000. You can go cheaper in the lens department, however. I have gotten acceptable results with a Pentax-M 200/4. It all depends how you approach your birds! Consider the following setup...
  • Camera with 200mm lens on tripod aimed at a convenient perch near your bird feeder
  • Flash on/off camera
  • You a convenient distance away (so as not to scare the birdies)
  • Remote release in your hand
  • Wait for the bird to land on your perch

Now that was easy, wasn't it!

Another approach...Waterfowl on small ponds. Catch them as they are coming in to land. Big birds in tight quarters allow for shorter lenses.

Steve

(Takes lousy bird pictures...truly...)
01-30-2009, 08:52 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Atindra Quote
I am looking for a telephoto/zoom lens. I want a good lens for birding at low cost. I know this is contradictory and good birding lens costs a lot but I found some manual mirror lenses with fixed focal lengths like Sigma's f/8 600mm etc.
My question is how mirror lens works?
And is anybody having field experience with this particular lens? How good is it for birding? Examples will be highly appreciated

Atindra
Atindra,
I may not be an expert in this but I do have a lot of experience taking bird photos.

First I'd think in terms of magnification. What magnification will you need?

If you are going for small perching birds, about the size of sparrows, the bare mininum would be 15x and greater. In other words at least a 500mm lens and preferable longer. This is the size bird I mostly go for and I use 600-1000mm effective FL glass. See my photo gallery for the kind of birds I'm talking about.

Although you could get by with a shorter glass for larger birds like the waders, egrets, geese, herons etc, they are often far away or out in an inaccessible flooded marsh where you can't get close to them.

One thing I want to disabuse you of - don't think, no matter how much money you have, that you will be able to snap on some super lens and wander about in the wood taking snapshots of birds. It just doesn't happen that way. You will need a good understanding of a bird's behavior and their habitat, a tripod, perhaps even a blind (a "hide" in the UK). The most important "gear" you need for bird photography is an understanding of their behavior and habit preferences and a lot of patience.

My advice considering your limitations? - get an inexpensive 300mm and get out in the field and practice your field craft. Learn where to find them and how to approach them up close. The skills you learn will be more important for wildlife photography than any hardware you may buy.

Wildman

05-11-2009, 10:17 PM   #24
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Original Poster
Thank you all for valuable advise.

Atindra
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