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02-03-2009, 02:15 PM   #1
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Next lens? For birding?

I have a Pentax K-10 with 18-55 kit lens. What lens would you recommend for getting decent bird shots?

02-03-2009, 02:23 PM   #2
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55-300

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.
02-03-2009, 03:15 PM   #3
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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?
Longer than you think. 300mm is on the short side, 400mm or longer is better. This was shot with a 600mm mounted to the K20. The robin was perhaps 50 feet from me.

Last edited by Wheatfield; 02-05-2011 at 08:44 PM.
02-03-2009, 03:22 PM   #4
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just remember math

Image size = object size x Focal Length / distance

put every thing in meters, and remember that your sensor is 0.024m wide by 0.016m high

most birds are less than 0.25 meters high

I have 2 basic setups, SMC 300mm F4 plus 1.7x AF TC (510mm F6.7 equivelent) https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/attachments/general-pentax-photography/52...gp7346a.jpgand

SIgma 70-200 F2.8 with 2x TC (400mm F5.6 equivelent)https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/attachments/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/90...one-merlin.jpg

Both work well.

02-03-2009, 03:31 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
just remember math

Image size = object size x Focal Length / distance

put every thing in meters, and remember that your sensor is 0.024m wide by 0.016m high

most birds are less than 0.25 meters high

I have 2 basic setups, SMC 300mm F4 plus 1.7x AF TC (510mm F6.7 equivelent) https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/attachments/general-pentax-photography/52...gp7346a.jpgand

SIgma 70-200 F2.8 with 2x TC (400mm F5.6 equivelent)https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/attachments/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/90...one-merlin.jpg

Both work well.
interesting.. i thought most 2x TC's were well, bad... what one is your specifically?
02-03-2009, 03:36 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vylen Quote
interesting.. i thought most 2x TC's were well, bad... what one is your specifically?
sigma APO 2x EX DG.

it is made specifically for a selected few long sigma and pentax lenses and nothing else, because it sticks forward into the rear of the lens, and on most lenses interferes with the rear element.
02-03-2009, 03:40 PM   #7
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I've got a 55-300 on my K10D which I use for photographing birds. The lens is sharp and the price is good.

I'd like to have a Pentax 600, but I think the cost might be a bit much, also the weight.
02-03-2009, 04:43 PM   #8
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this sort of has me excited cause i also plan on getting a 55-300.... heheh

[edit]
also bah.. the place i was planning on getting it increased the price by $20... yea i know, $20 big deal, but still.. bah
[/edit]

02-03-2009, 06:10 PM   #9
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I really like the Bigma (Sigma 50-500) on my other-brand bodies. I'm sure the Pentax version is just as nice.

edit: 500mm sounds like a lot but when birding it really isn't...
02-03-2009, 06:14 PM   #10
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I recently got the 55-300 for wildlife and sports (B&H kit lens with my K20D). Its an awesome lens for the price- small and light too. Blows away the Tamron zoom it replaced.
02-03-2009, 06:41 PM   #11
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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?
That is a very opened ended question. The answer has a lot to do with how much you want to spend and how serious you are going to be into birding. As others have said 300mm is the minimum you really want to start out with for birding. The closer you can get between 400mm and 600mm the better.

Like Lowell I've used the Sigma 70-200EX with Sigma 2xTC with good results. From there I picked up a Tokina 400mm f/5.6 that was even better and most recently I've started to use a DA*300mm with a 1.5xTC. There are some xxx-400 and xxx-500 mm lens around as well (Like the Sigma 50-500mm).

On the more expensive side you have the Sigma 300mm f/2.8, Sigma 500mm f/4.5 or the Pentax FA* 600mm f/4. Those range from $3k to $10k so I am going to assume they are out of the questions.

Anyway I think your basic options (for buying new) would be:
  • One of the xx-300mm lenses (Tam/Sig 70-300 or Pentax 55-300)
  • One of the 70-200 f/2.8 with 2xTC
  • DA*300mm with upcoming Pentax 1.4xTC
  • One of the Sigma xx-400mm xx-500mm lenses (like the 50-500 or 150-500)

If you want to go used and/or manual focus there are a ton of options. If you have a price range let us know and maybe we can help you choose the best for the $$ you want to spend.


John
02-03-2009, 07:33 PM   #12
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02-03-2009, 07:51 PM   #13
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whoop, it helps to shop around... the price over at Camera Warehouse might've gone up to $679, but looking around i managed to order it in at Fletchers for $599. Not a bad saving at all... it should be coming in on monday next week, to be picked up on tuesday... im happy with that
02-03-2009, 09:07 PM   #14
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I never use auto-focus, so a manual would probably work. I'd like to put a cap of $600 on what I spend.
02-04-2009, 03:44 AM   #15
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shop around in the forum marketplace.

there are some good used long lenses there.

used is the best way to get the magic 500mm range for $600
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