Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
12-13-2008, 11:47 PM   #1
Veteran Member




Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bhavnagar (Gujarat),India
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 338
A general question and Need help

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

12-14-2008, 05:20 AM   #2
Veteran Member
Wombat's Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: South Australia
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 901
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
I used to go birding with a mate who had an 800mm mirror lens. His photos were very good but not super-sharp. On the positive side, mirror lenses are cheaper, compact and relatively light. However they're not as sharp as a conventional telephoto and are more fragile in the field. You wouldn't want to drop one or bang it against a tree. Also highlights appear as small "donuts" which can really spoil a good bird shot. Great if you're into art photography, but I'd tend to avoid them if you're serious about bird work. I know how frustrating it is trying to get a shot that shows every feather from 500 metres away, but there really is no way round the fact that you have to spend big dollars if this is what you want to achieve.
I have seen good results from people using a camera with a telescope and an adapter, but obviously it's cumbersome and no good for small, rapidly-moving birds.
It might pay to check out your local bird society and the web eg The Luminous Landscape.
Best of luck.
12-14-2008, 05:39 AM   #3
Moderator PEG Judges
Kerrowdown's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Highlands of Scotland.
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 31,361
Aye your right, low cost and birding don't sit well together, just get the best you can afford, or maybe hire, borrow, steal..................
12-14-2008, 10:05 PM   #4
Veteran Member




Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bhavnagar (Gujarat),India
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 338
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by kerrowdown Quote
Aye your right, low cost and birding don't sit well together, just get the best you can afford, or maybe hire, borrow, steal..................
I would love the last option but cant afford that too.... darn me!!! (lol)

I got your point.

Atindra

12-14-2008, 10:06 PM   #5
Veteran Member




Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bhavnagar (Gujarat),India
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 338
Original Poster
Thanks Wombat for your illustrious reply. More I check the sites, more I am getting confused. I need to make up my mind to shell some dollars.
Atindra
12-14-2008, 10:17 PM   #6
Site Supporter




Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 98
The Sigma 600/8 has the best reputation amongst the many mirror lenses, along with some Vivitar solid cats (a 450mm I believe). There used to be a terrific web site, Third Party Lenses Resource Megasite Home Page, that detailed all these lenses but unfortunately outside the main page, all the sublinks seem to be dead. the data and review were under the Cult Classics links.

A basic 70-300mm will give good results when stopped down in decent light and on an APS-C DSLR you get an effective 450mm field of view out of these lenses. Out of this class, the DA55-300mm Pentax is clearly the best but the Tamron and Sigma 70-300 APOs are no slouches either and can give you a taste of what you will get with a serious birding lens. There are some color fringing issues with these lenses but for under US$150 you can get a Tamron 70-300 LD macro....which also gives a quite useable 1:2 macro capability from 180mm to 300mm.
12-14-2008, 11:30 PM   #7
Veteran Member
Wombat's Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: South Australia
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 901
QuoteOriginally posted by Atindra Quote
Thanks Wombat for your illustrious reply. More I check the sites, more I am getting confused. I need to make up my mind to shell some dollars.
Atindra
I've never tried the Sigma Bigma (500mm) but it seems to do quite well. I'm sure there are secondhand ones around. Check it out on the forum - someone might have written a review on it.You might also have a browse on Adorama or B&H websites and see what they have. It's going to be the luck of the draw to get anything cheap at the big end of the market. A 300mm is OK for largeish shorebirds like cormorants, oystercatchers, pelicans etc., but forget the tiny plovers and sandpipers. Likewise small songbirds and elusive forest birds are really difficult without a hide.To be honest, and I hate to say it on this forum, you might have more options with Nikon or Canon. They simply have more long lenses. Then again, they're not cheap...

When I first got my K100DS I had ideas of doing some serious bird photography, but I soon realized that, being retired, I just don't have the budget for that genre, so reluctantly I've let it go. I don't want to discourage you in any way, though. One way forward for you might be a 70-300mm (or the 55-300, if you can stretch to that) and simply restrict yourself to the larger species in your area. If you're patient you can even use a 100mm prime!


You could also browse through the "Off-Brand Club" post in this section of the forum. There are some weird and wonderful lenses I've never heard of and there just might be a biggie out there that someone knows about, especially among the Russian lenses.

That's about all I can suggest. If I think of anything else I'll post back or PM you. Cheers, mate.

Last edited by Wombat; 12-14-2008 at 11:38 PM.
12-15-2008, 10:37 AM   #8
Pentaxian
reeftool's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Upstate New York
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 8,043
I take a lot of outside photos, including birds and wildlife. I use a "cheap" Sigma 70-300. Like you, I am on a somewhat tight budget right now with a kid in college and can't afford much more. I have to get a little closer with this lens, but thats what I like to do anyhow. I would like a much longer lens too but its not stopping me. Birds take a lot of practice! They don't stop and pose. A 70-300 from Sigma or Tamron will get you started and won't break the bank. I took these last summer with the Sigma.


Last edited by reeftool; 02-07-2009 at 08:42 PM.
12-15-2008, 07:29 PM   #9
Veteran Member
Wombat's Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: South Australia
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 901
QuoteOriginally posted by reeftool Quote
I take a lot of outside photos, including birds and wildlife. I use a "cheap" Sigma 70-300. Like you, I am on a somewhat tight budget right now with a kid in college and can't afford much more. I have to get a little closer with this lens, but thats what I like to do anyhow. I would like a much longer lens too but its not stopping me. Birds take a lot of practice! They don't stop and pose. A 70-300 from Sigma or Tamron will get you started and won't break the bank. I took these last summer with the Sigma.
Nice work, reeftool. Looks like you were flat on your face in the mud - great dedication there! The Sigma 70-300 is underrated, IMHO. If you set up carefully with a tripod, manual focus and remote shutter release you can get some pin-sharp photos. Even hand held at 300mm I've managed a few quite sharp images.
12-15-2008, 09:29 PM   #10
Pentaxian
Ratmagiclady's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: GA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 13,467
You know, this just makes me wonder what's 'good' among the real cheapie cat lenses. Obviously this in a very relative sense. I have no real call for serious tele, but occasionally I see a real cheapie that looks like a tempting toy. We might just possibly end up somewhere with a view, and it might be fun to go really long with digital, even if I wouldn't waste the film. (I'm thinking of something you could maybe leave on a tripod to photograph local landmarks through a window, put up on blogs, suchlike, you maybe get the idea. )
12-15-2008, 09:40 PM   #11
Veteran Member
heatherslightbox's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Gainesville, FL
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,595
A couple more thoughts to add...

1. There's always the option of cropping your image if you can't get quite close enough with 300mm. This is where having more megapixels in your body really helps.
2. If you're working in decent sunlight, a TC on a "cheap" telezoom is an option. Yeah, it makes a fairly slow lens even slower, but I've tried it and it does work.

HTH,
Heather

PS--Even though it's the most expensive in the consumer telezoom class, spend the $300 and get the DA55-300--you won't be sorry!
12-16-2008, 03:32 AM   #12
Veteran Member




Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bhavnagar (Gujarat),India
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 338
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by jglover Quote
The Sigma 600/8 has the best reputation amongst the many mirror lenses, along with some Vivitar solid cats (a 450mm I believe). There used to be a terrific web site, Third Party Lenses Resource Megasite Home Page, that detailed all these lenses but unfortunately outside the main page, all the sublinks seem to be dead. the data and review were under the Cult Classics links.

A basic 70-300mm will give good results when stopped down in decent light and on an APS-C DSLR you get an effective 450mm field of view out of these lenses. Out of this class, the DA55-300mm Pentax is clearly the best but the Tamron and Sigma 70-300 APOs are no slouches either and can give you a taste of what you will get with a serious birding lens. There are some color fringing issues with these lenses but for under US$150 you can get a Tamron 70-300 LD macro....which also gives a quite useable 1:2 macro capability from 180mm to 300mm.
Thanx for the info. I am leaning towards 55-300mm again.

Atindra
12-16-2008, 03:34 AM   #13
Veteran Member




Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bhavnagar (Gujarat),India
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 338
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by hwblanks Quote
A couple more thoughts to add...

1. There's always the option of cropping your image if you can't get quite close enough with 300mm. This is where having more megapixels in your body really helps.
2. If you're working in decent sunlight, a TC on a "cheap" telezoom is an option. Yeah, it makes a fairly slow lens even slower, but I've tried it and it does work.

HTH,
Heather

PS--Even though it's the most expensive in the consumer telezoom class, spend the $300 and get the DA55-300--you won't be sorry!
Yes I am thinking for 55-300 +TC but I'll buy TC later first I'll make sure the performance of Da lens as such.
Atindra
12-16-2008, 03:35 AM   #14
Veteran Member




Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bhavnagar (Gujarat),India
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 338
Original Poster
thanks wombat and reeftoo for examples of other tele lenses. I am getting some good shots with even 50-200mm so I think 55-300mm will be good enough for my use.

Atindra
12-16-2008, 09:26 AM   #15
Pentaxian
reeftool's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Upstate New York
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 8,043
QuoteOriginally posted by Wombat Quote
Nice work, reeftool. Looks like you were flat on your face in the mud - great dedication there! The Sigma 70-300 is underrated, IMHO. If you set up carefully with a tripod, manual focus and remote shutter release you can get some pin-sharp photos. Even hand held at 300mm I've managed a few quite sharp images.
They were shot handheld (in camera shake reduction is great!) from a kayak. I certainly don't lay claim to being a good bird photographer but I love getting outside, shooting pictures and try to make the best of what I have. You don't need lenses that cost thousands to get out there take pictures.
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!
k-mount, lens, mirror, pentax lens, question, slr lens
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
General Lens Question mishmatta Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 22 10-07-2010 08:51 AM
I have a ... general question(I think) mdaaug58 Photographic Technique 3 01-21-2010 07:42 PM
General Lens sharpness Question-NOOB kenhreed Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 1 08-17-2009 09:25 AM
General lense question? schmik Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 7 05-23-2008 01:06 PM
A general Question... meyjo Photographic Technique 15 01-31-2008 06:36 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:13 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