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12-28-2008, 10:09 AM   #1
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Lens suggestion needed...

Being an addicted kitesurfer I'm finding my-self more, whenever i don't ride, spending time shooting other riders... problem is, 50-200 doesn't cut it anymore... I need a longer reach, and.. ideally, damn faster AF....

So i guess I'm looking for a suggestion... need a 100-300mm (350-ish, or even 400) zoom lens... doesn't have to be exceptionally bright... has to be sharp at the long end, and shouldn't cost an arm and a leg... Is there anything reasonable available for pentax? Or I'd better get real and switch the whole system for nicanon?


Last edited by alexeyga; 12-28-2008 at 10:15 AM.
12-28-2008, 10:56 AM   #2
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Perhaps you could supply the max. dollar value you are willing to pay?

There are several options: the Pentax DA 55-300, DA* 300/4 the Sigma 100-300 and the Sigma 50-500. The last three are more expensive, and near the $1000 USD mark as new items. The other question is whether or no having a sealed lens is a significant factor... then it's the DA* series.

Regards,
Marc
12-28-2008, 11:43 AM   #3
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Thanks Mark,
As far as budget goes, I'd be happy to stay under 1K I'm just a hobbyist after all...

I went ahead and checked some reviews on fredmiranda... It seems, there is not that much choice to begin with.... not even for NiCanons... Most prime quality long-telephoto zooms are pretty huge and sluggish when it comes to focusing. And cheaper models just plain suck at 300mm...

Unfortunately fixes are out of the question, I really need to be able to use the zoom range at least from 100mm and up, as the shooting subject is always on the move...

I was thinking about the upcoming DA* 60-250mm... it's a bit short, but.. will I be able to use it with the 1.4 (or 2.0) teleconverter? Which rises another question, does Pentax make a teleconverter compatible with SDM lenses?

I was considering the 55-300, but like other cheap telezooms, at 300mm it's nothing to be happy about...

Is there anything suitable for this kind of spot shooting in older MF lenses? Got to have auto-aperture though...

Last edited by alexeyga; 12-28-2008 at 11:56 AM.
12-28-2008, 11:53 AM   #4
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Perhaps the Sigma 100-300/4 is what you need? It's a superb lens, by all accounts.

12-28-2008, 12:07 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Langille Quote
Perhaps the Sigma 100-300/4 is what you need? It's a superb lens, by all accounts.
Wow Mark, that was spot on!!! Looks like business to me, I just hope that Pentax version doesn't go for the double of what it's really worth...

Thanks a lot for the suggestion, gonna definitely give it a shot, if... if i'll be able to find one... But in long run, it will be a better investment than the 60-250 anyways... that is if Pentax comes up with FF body...

Have you had a chance to use one? I'm wondering how is the MF usability...

Last edited by alexeyga; 12-28-2008 at 12:15 PM.
12-28-2008, 12:16 PM   #6
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Search Pbase.com for Sigma 100-300 images, and this site: Gorge Photos-Columbia River Gorge Photography. I know and have met Terry Alford - he owns the lens. Mighty Mike and Duh_Vinci (PF members) also own it - check their posts for images.

If the above doesn't convince you, nothing will...

Cheers,
Marc
12-28-2008, 12:29 PM   #7
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Remember if your willing to sacrifice AF, there's some great Pentax manual gless out there you could pick up for that kind of budget.
12-28-2008, 12:36 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Langille Quote

If the above doesn't convince you, nothing will...
I need no convincing, i need to find one!!! None of the local retailers have these for the pentax-mount. Gonna search for a used-one or will buy one online... the season is still about 4 months away...

And perhaps, finally i'll have to make some kind of a vault-type box with a big a$$ lock in my trunk to store my photo-stuff while i'm surfing... This kind of lens will get noticed...

12-28-2008, 12:40 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by kerrowdown Quote
Remember if your willing to sacrifice AF, there's some great Pentax manual gless out there you could pick up for that kind of budget.
From what i've heard, shooting fast moving (unidentified) objects with long tele-zooms is actually easier with MF... Question is, what does Pentax has to offer? As i've said in my other post, i'd be happy to use some older glass as long as it's auto-aperture... That is if there is anything suitable and reasonably sharp at 300mm....
12-28-2008, 01:24 PM   #10
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Sure, SMC Pentax-A* 300 mm F4 is a stunning piece of glass, check out

http://stans-photography.info/LongComments.html#300%20mm%20f/4.0%20A* I can't get the link to take you right there, this is what's there.

Bob Walkden - . . . The A* is easily handholdable from the weight and balance on LX pov. It is *much* smaller, though rather heavier, than the SMC A 70-210/4; it is quite close in dimensions to the A 35-105/3.5. I hardly need add that the quality is staggeringly good.
- - - - -
Fred - . . . best lightweight hand-holdable long telephoto there is in all of God's creation.
[Additional comment from Fred] - I have both the A* and M* versions of the 300/4 lens, and I do believe (from personal inspection and use) that they are mechanically and optically identical. The only apparent variances are in minor M-versus-A trim differences, the presence of the A electrical contacts on the A* version, and an apparent difference in SMC treatment (judging by the different colors to the reflections, as is the case with many M compared to A "twins").
I love the lenses. I've previously described . . . the M*/A* 300/4 lens design as "best lightweight hand-holdable long telephoto there is in all of God's creation". It is quite compact (although still somewhat heavy). It is quite sharp, even in the corners (even wide open), with very little vignetting (even wide open). On the down side, the built-in lens hood is a little skimpy for really effective coverage (although flare is well controlled, even without a hood). And, despite its small size, I really would have preferred it if there had been a provision for a tripod bracket (such as the neat removable design used on the A* 200/4 Macro). Also, the bokeh may sometimes appear to be just a bit harsh, though this is not unusual for a long telephoto.

Last edited by Kerrowdown; 12-28-2008 at 01:29 PM.
12-28-2008, 01:39 PM   #11
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Fixes are out of the equations unfortunately... I'm not bird-hunting, i'm shooting damn kitesurfers... they can be 500ft away from you jump and land in your face... So i've got te be more flexible... with the stock 50-200, on sunny days i was mostly shooting on f/7.1-f/11 and zooming all the time, but at 200 shots are rather soft even at f/11 and I'm really lacking in terms of focal length, esp on my local spots where people mostly ride far away from the beach...

Thanks for the suggestion though...
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