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04-21-2009, 02:33 AM   #1
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Pentax FA 300 2.8 or Sigma

The Sigma generally runs around 2-400 US less, worth the extra for the FA*300 f2.8? I have given up on all my shorter teles and want to use this and combine it with a TC to get even more reach. Thoughts?

04-21-2009, 07:30 AM   #2
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Thoughts, yes, but no firsthand experience.... I can only say, what I would choose and that would be the Pentax FA. The last prices I saw for new ones from Hongkong or Taiwan were not much above the Sigma and then I would go for the FA. At least if I would live in the US. From my German perspective the price difference is much higher, as for once, shipping to Germany is usually much higher and then I have to add about 26% for customs duties and VAT. That makes the Sigma, which I can buy locally, more interesting...

Ben
04-21-2009, 07:41 AM   #3
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I wish I had the cash to be in this position

really, however, there might be some advantages to the sigma, with rear element coatings to stop reflections from the sensor reducing contrast.

If you are going to be using a TC what TC are you going to use, and are you looking at the sigma with or without HSM?
04-21-2009, 07:58 AM   #4
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If you can buy a Pentax FA 300 2.8 lens for just $400.00 more than the sigma I would say jump on it! I owned a sigma 300 2.8 several years ago that I was using with a canon dslr and was not that impressed with it. Their 120-300 f2.8 is actually sharper but unfortunatelly not made for Pentax. Search the forum for some of Marc Langille's shot with the Pentax 300 f2.8. They are superb!

04-21-2009, 08:24 AM   #5
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not to be a spoilsport, but if you need lenses like that, pentax is probably not the way to go
04-21-2009, 08:24 AM   #6
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I had the same decision to make a while ago and I went with the Pentax. For that much money I just did not want to risk it with the Sigma. There are few enough copies of either lens kicking about that a really good comparison is tough to come by but the reputation of the Pentax left me pretty certain that I'd be happy if I paid the extra few hundred $$'s. Of course now I am switching all my long gear over to Canon so I am selling my Pentax but for the 7 or so months I've owned that lens it has been a real joy to shoot.
04-21-2009, 10:52 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by k100d Quote
not to be a spoilsport, but if you need lenses like that, pentax is probably not the way to go


Well this is the dilema I have been struggling with for the last few months. I have been shooting Pentax for over 35 years. I have a bunch of lenses, batteries and a crap load of SD memory. But, as I find myself shooting more and more landscape and wildlife I am drawn toward the 5dmkII every day. Problem is in order to replicate my Pentax kit with Canon kit would probably cost me 10k on top of what I could get for my Pentax gear,,, I may have an extra 3k available for a big ass 300 f2.8 but I dont have 10k available... of course one rule of life is not to get wrapped around sunk costs.. ah such fun.

I have been trying for the last month to get some acceptable bird shots with Bigma, the Tamron 70-200 on the K20d... it has been frustrating and disappointing. Of course better technique might fix that problem,, but I need to blame the lenses
04-21-2009, 11:02 AM   #8
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mrt10x: you might want to dual system a Nikon D300 instead. You'll want to keep the extra reach of APS-C. There's also a lot of used Nikon glass...e.g., old 300/2.8 manual focus lenses are the same price as a Tamron Adaptall 300/2.8. Old AF 300/2.8 lenses are around $2K.

04-21-2009, 11:13 AM   #9
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Sorry but the reality is that there is no "extra reach" in an APS-C sensor, only extra crop... but I really dont want to turn this into a APS-C vs FF argument... Guess I shouldnt have made my last post then
04-21-2009, 12:00 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by mrt10x Quote
Well this is the dilema I have been struggling with for the last few months. I have been shooting Pentax for over 35 years. I have a bunch of lenses, batteries and a crap load of SD memory. But, as I find myself shooting more and more landscape and wildlife I am drawn toward the 5dmkII every day. Problem is in order to replicate my Pentax kit with Canon kit would probably cost me 10k on top of what I could get for my Pentax gear,,, I may have an extra 3k available for a big ass 300 f2.8 but I dont have 10k available... of course one rule of life is not to get wrapped around sunk costs.. ah such fun.

I have been trying for the last month to get some acceptable bird shots with Bigma, the Tamron 70-200 on the K20d... it has been frustrating and disappointing. Of course better technique might fix that problem,, but I need to blame the lenses
Obtaining the Pentax FA 300/2.8 should not be that much of a problem. Sure you can buy the Canon equivalent in many places, but this particualr lens ceased production only very recently and will be available via a Japanese dealer. The reputation of the Pentax 300/2.8 is stellar and I remember a review in a German photo magazine (not noted for being overly enthusiastic about Pentax), where it came out with clearly better image quality than CaNikon. And if you need longer, the FA 600/4 is still on the Pentax price list, as far as I know.

The Bigma is not a bad lens. I bought one some months ago and thought it was crap, at the beginning. It needs some getting adjusted to use its full potential and still today many shots won't come out acceptably. I can usually track the problems to not using a mono- or tripod, which this lens really needs, unless you shoot with 1/2000s. I had the same learning curve with the Tamron 300/2.8. I succeded to get motion blur even at 1/4000s at the beginning. But now I am down to app. 1/400s, which makes it much more useable...

Ben
04-21-2009, 12:10 PM   #11
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the issues i see going w/ pentax are the following
i. liquidity, i'm not sure if anyone bought the FA300 2.8's floating in the marketplace, whereas i would imagine canikon 300 2.8's are more sellable
ii. worse AF tracking
iii. the lens IS shows images stabilized and may be more effective
04-21-2009, 12:49 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by mrt10x Quote
Sorry but the reality is that there is no "extra reach" in an APS-C sensor, only extra crop... but I really dont want to turn this into a APS-C vs FF argument...
I'll agree w/ that if you were using film when you can change the position of the film relative to the paper after you've taken the shot. On digital, you're mapping to digital pixels, so yes, you can crop, but you're limited by the number of pixels captured initially. If your FF camera has the same pixel density as APS-C and cropping that are results in the same #pixels as a native APS-C camera, then yes it's the same.
If your heart is set on the 5DmkII, go for it...
05-21-2009, 08:07 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by kent vinyard Quote
If you can buy a Pentax FA 300 2.8 lens for just $400.00 more than the sigma I would say jump on it! I owned a sigma 300 2.8 several years ago that I was using with a canon dslr and was not that impressed with it. Their 120-300 f2.8 is actually sharper but unfortunatelly not made for Pentax. Search the forum for some of Marc Langille's shot with the Pentax 300 f2.8. They are superb!
Thank you Kent!
05-22-2009, 12:01 AM   #14
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I can't compare Pentax to Sigma. What I used in this space is Sigma 100-300/4, Sigma 300/2.8 Both with TC1.4 and TC2, Pentax K 400/4.5 and Leitz 560/6.8.

before I bought 300/2.8 I had read many opinions and never heard that Sigma 120-300 is sharper(better) than 300/2.8.

From my short experience with Sigma 300/2.8 I can say:
1. AF on K20D works very fast and is quite accurate (much much better than with Sigma 100-300). AF works with TC2 without ANY problem. I found some BF but with K20D thats not big problem.
2. It gives great bokeh with or without TC
3. It is small and handy - but quite heavy
4. It is sharp at f2.8 without TC - I did some portraits from 2,5meters and can count each hair on face
5. With TC2 at f4 it is sharp nearly as my Leica 560/6.8 at f8

Pentax PENTAX K20D,Sigma 300mm f/2.8 EX APO
+TC2 1/80s f/4.5 at 300.0mm iso160


Pentax PENTAX K20D,Sigma 300mm f/2.8 EX APO
+TC2 1/200s f/4.0 at 300.0mm iso200
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