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04-16-2007, 01:34 PM   #1
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Lets talk Zooms 400mm, 500mm Which to buy?

I've got the kit lens, A Sigma 28-105mm f2.8-4, A Sigma 70-200mm f2.8, a 50mm f1.4, and a bunch of m42 lens (some of which I just sold on ebay). They work great on both my cameras (k10d, gx-1l). I've been looking into some longer zooms for wildlife, mostly waterfowl. If you have any experience with any of these lenses chime in. I've been leaning towards the "bigma" 50-500mm. I've also seen some other Sigma lenses 170-500mm, 135-400mm, 80-400mm, 100-300mm f4, TOKINA 80-400mm. I could save a couple hundred dollars by going with the 170-500mm instead of the "bigma". It would be nice to come back to 50mm for some shots though. I will also be doing some equine stuff with the lens which usually falls into the 130 to 250mm range. Any suggestions or comments are appreciated.

04-16-2007, 02:38 PM   #2
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hi, there will be lots of different opinions on this

never had a 170-500 it is supposed to be soft towards 500 end and I was told that the 135-400 was much sharper. I had two 135-400's and didn't really like either, the size and weight was good, and was reasonable for sharpness but extremely hihg contrast and bokeh nothing special. someone said to me that they where happy with the sharpness, it just had an ugly image quality and I basically ended up thinking the same (I bought 2 I thought I had a bad copy and found the 2nd not as good as the first, but have seen some great images with this lens so there are a few good ones around).

I would go for the 80-400 over either of the above 2. never found out if their is an image quality difference between mk 1 and mk 2 (mk2 has tripod collar). they are soft at 400. The 100-300 f4 apparently has focussing issues, but I have never used one or looked into.

The bigma is big and heavy, and a pain to carry around but it is sharp. I mostly use it as a 200-400 and 1 stop down. it is also slow, so you need a lot of light, pretty much f7.1 / f8 to get the best quality. I have come back to 100 with it occasssionally, but there is better lens for the 50-200 range (ie the 50-200), really who wants an enormous 50mm lens?

anyway thats my thoughts, I sure there will different opinions

Phil
04-16-2007, 02:49 PM   #3
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I have a Sigma 135-400 that I use when I shoot sports. The images are quite sharp, and it is a little "contrasty", but you can correct for that with your camera settings. I have no experience with any of the others.
04-16-2007, 03:47 PM   #4
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I have the 170-500 and in my opinion it gives pretty good results even all out, when stopped down a tad (it may also depend on the copy, like many Sigmas). The zoom creep is most annoying, though.

Basically, if you have the money no doubt you are going to have better results and more fun with the Bigma, or even better a long prime. But if you are on a budget, or would only use the lens occasionally, or are just experimenting, then I think the 170-500 is well worth considering.

I have some pictures @ 500mm here:
Montezuma Photo Gallery by Andrea B at pbase.com

04-17-2007, 03:23 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mr CJ Quote
I have a Sigma 135-400 that I use when I shoot sports. The images are quite sharp, and it is a little "contrasty", but you can correct for that with your camera settings. I have no experience with any of the others.

Is that an old rs or tz250 race bike in your gallery? Where those taken with the 135-400mm?
04-18-2007, 12:24 PM   #6
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I had the Sigma 135-400 and it was okay. It wasn't that heavy. The tripod collar came off easily and you could handhold it if you wanted. The lack of a zoom lock bugged me, though. It would easily extend if you accidently pointed it down. I sold it when I bought the Bigma.

The Bigma is a very nice lens. Images are sharp and the color and contrast are really nice. I also like the bokeh that the lens gives. I've shot it at a variety of ranges and like the 10x range. I find that whatever I have on my camera, I usually want to go either longer or wider. With the Bigma, that's a rare occasion.

I haven't used the 170-500, but one of the members on that other forum uses it instead of the Bigma. He finds the images just as nice, and the lens is much cheaper. I think he's in the minority with that opinion, though.

To me, the Bigma is a very nice lens and well worth the money.

Russ
04-18-2007, 02:21 PM   #7
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I am using the Tokina 80-400 ATX-II (the one with tripod collar). I am very satisfied with it. It is built like a tank and the image quality is really good. A faster autofocus would be however nice.

Most wildlife photos on the following page have been done with this lens on K100D:
Botswana Photo Gallery by Dominique Schreckling at pbase.com

Some full sized samples are also under:
Pentax Photo Gallery by Dominique Schreckling at pbase.com
K10D Photo Gallery by Dominique Schreckling at pbase.com

Hope it helps
04-18-2007, 05:11 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by reknelb Quote
I've been looking into some longer zooms for wildlife, mostly waterfowl. If you have any experience with any of these lenses chime in. I've been leaning towards the "bigma" 50-500mm. I've also seen some other Sigma lenses 170-500mm, 135-400mm, 80-400mm, 100-300mm f4, TOKINA 80-400mm.
I have the Sigma 100-300mm f4 EX DG. You can read my comments about it in these threads:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/5089-af-option...m-f-4-0-a.html

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/4942-100-300-5...ease-help.html

Personally, I would go with a fixed focal length long lens for wildlife and bird photographs, due to better image quality. In this area, Canon and Nikon really have the edge over Pentax at present. The better Pentax lenses over 300mm are hard to find and usually very expensive (new or used).

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