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02-04-2009, 08:52 AM   #16
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As long a lens as you can afford and it will still probably be shorter than you would like. My longest right now is 300 and I have had some nice pictures but many times I have to crop more than I would like.

02-04-2009, 09:56 AM   #17

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QuoteOriginally posted by sweet bay Quote
I have a Pentax K-10 with 18-55 kit lens. What lens would you recommend for getting decent bird shots?
Hi SB,

Since MF is an option, if you want to do some serious birding, the Tamron SP 300 f2.8 LD(IF) models 60B or 360B might be the ticket. The price range is generally between about $400-800 USD used. This is an Adaptall 2 type lens so it would need either a PK or PK/A Adaptall 2 adapter. The PK adapter is pretty easily available at @ $25 USD, but the PK/A adapter, which allows exposure automation, has gotten increasingly rare and expensive in the past 1.5 years as more people aparently have discovered the value of the Adaptall series lenses -- especially with Pentax's in-body SR and backward compatibility in respect to lenses.

The lens was usually sold with the SP140F 1.4x TC and sometimes also with the SP 01F 2x TC. As any 300/2.8, this lens is big -- 112mm front element and over 5 lbs, but it has very good sharpness wide open so performance with TCs is very good. Adding the 1.4x will give you 420mm f4, the 2x will give 600 f5.6. A great TC for use with this lens is the Pentax F 1.7x Auto Focusing Adapter. Alone it would give you a 510mm f4.8 with limited Auto Focus capability. I've used this combo a lot, and more often than not have stacked the 1.7x AFA on the 140F 1.4x TC to get a limited AF 714mm f6.7 -- about 1.4 times the FL as a Bigma (Sigma 50-500) at about the same Av and lens weight.

02-04-2009, 12:39 PM   #18
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I agree with some of the previous comments. the DA55-300 is a good lens for the purpose, as long as you keep in mind, it is a budget lens.
Advantage is it is light weight and convenient when trekking etc.
I use this lens extensively and find it more than adequate.
Of course, there is the DA*300 which is a top class lens, however, pricing changes considerably. (I have no experience with this lens.....yet)
The economics is your decision to make, but for what you quote you could do a lot worse than the 55-300.
An example taken on my k10d with the 55-300:

02-04-2009, 02:03 PM   #19
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Like Lowell I have the SMC Pentax K 300/4 and have had some success birding with it. You have to get close with this one but it can be done.

I just ordered a SMC Pentax M 400mm 5.6 for a little over $400 US from a forum member and Iím looking forward to giving this a go as soon as it arrives. The extra 100mm of length should be a great help and give me a little more working distance. Stay tuned.



02-04-2009, 02:56 PM   #20
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55-300 is a good choice...

QuoteOriginally posted by quarc Quote
the 55-300 is supposed to be really good. I would think you will need 300 in most situations. I have no experience of this lens, but have tested the 50-200 a bit and that is a fine lens, and I have heard people saying that the 55-300 is even better. I just bought the DA* 300/4 which I hope to catch a couple of birds with when the light returns.

It would be a GREAT choice if it had a focus limiter on it, but fine as is. If it has to focus past the subject it can take a bit of work to get the subject locked back on is all. Otherwise while tracking it does a great job. Optically, no issues, great images to 300mm imo.

02-04-2009, 02:59 PM   #21
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I have been having reasonable luck with my SMC-P M 400/5.6 and the Pentax A 1.4X-S converter (560mm). I stop the lens down one (f/8) and this gives me f/11 effective. ISO 400 is quite good on the K10D, and that gives me workable shutter speeds. The combination is used as shown in my profile photo (left).

Last edited by Canada_Rockies; 02-04-2009 at 03:01 PM. Reason: Added sample picture from gallery
02-04-2009, 04:32 PM   #22
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Glad to hear it Albert. I hope my luck is as good as yours has been.

Tom G
02-12-2009, 08:30 AM   #23
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Original Poster
Thank you for your replies everyone, and for the photos. I very much appreciate it!

02-12-2009, 09:39 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by 8540tomg Quote
Glad to hear it Albert. I hope my luck is as good as yours has been.

Tom G
It took me 3 years visiting that little lake to finally get this image, and that was just a lucky day. A friend came from England and I automatically took the bazooka and tripod along with the binoculars. Patience is definitely an asset when trying for bird pictures.

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