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05-10-2009, 12:50 PM   #1
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da*300 or 50-500

I am going on a trip soon and will be shooting wildlife (assuming the critters cooperate). Since I cannot afford to buy a new lens, I have been planning to rent one for the trip. Can anyone give opinions as to which would be better for such work - a da*300 or a Bigma?

05-10-2009, 02:06 PM   #2
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You need us to tell you?
05-10-2009, 02:13 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alfisti Quote
You need us to tell you?

Well obviously he does otherwise he wouldn't be asking would he
05-10-2009, 02:43 PM   #4
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Moved to Pentax SLR Lens Discussion forum.

05-10-2009, 07:34 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by jkglogau Quote
I am going on a trip soon and will be shooting wildlife (assuming the critters cooperate). Since I cannot afford to buy a new lens, I have been planning to rent one for the trip. Can anyone give opinions as to which would be better for such work - a da*300 or a Bigma?
Ignoring the snarky remarks by others - go for the DA* 300. Add a 1.7X AF converter and you will have a superb 500mm lens rather than a mediocre one. The Sigma tests show it as soft at the long end. I've tried a couple of Sigmas, to the detriment of my wallet, and sold them off.
05-10-2009, 09:43 PM   #6
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Da*300mm and tc get my vote
05-11-2009, 03:56 AM   #7
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It very much depends on what kind of wildlife you're after and what will be the shooting conditions. I personally find a fixed fl lens limiting in some circumstances - this is why I have covered the range up to 500mm by several primes and a Bigma. I use the latter whenever I cannot carry several larger primes and when I expect to need different focal lengthes at hand.

The image quality of the DA300 is reportedly (and I expect that to be true, as many example shots show that) excellent. The Bigma can also deliver excellent shots at f/8 to f/11. It looses some contrast beyond 420mm focal length, but that can be compensated in post-processing, as the sharpness is still there.

So, if you are after the highest possible IQ, go for the DA300 - if you can only take one long lens and need to be more flexible, I would go for the Bigma. The Bigma needs some care, as its nickname is well-earned. I would not have it dangling froim my neck attached to the camera, without additional support. A sharp movement will put excessive strain on the camera mount. It is in this respect very comparable to the load a 300/2.8 may put on the camera mount.

In any case: The Bigma should be used on a monopod at least, to get really sharp images, especially if you are going for the long end. The same will be true for any combination of the DA300 with a teleconverter. Also, the DA with a tc will necessarily loose a bit of its IQ advantage and will at least not be faster than the Bigma, anymore at comparable focal length.

Taken all these different things into account, I often use the Bigma, simly out of lazyness and because of its versatility. The IQ is usually "user-limited", i.e. when I shoot handheld at too long shutter speeds. A monopod makes a real improvement in the IQ department.

Ben
05-11-2009, 04:04 AM   #8
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thanks, I guess my question really related to the prime vs zoom and whether the prime would be limiting because of the varying distances to the subject. If too close, the 300 would be no good. I am going to be on the water shooting whales and might be close at times. There is also a da 55-300 available - any comments on this choice?

05-11-2009, 05:30 AM   #9
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Weatherproof is good for travel

The weatherproofing on the DA*300 is good for travelling when you can't always protect your gear and don't know exactly what conditions you will encounter. My vote is based on that.
As a bonus the 300 is a class act.
05-11-2009, 05:34 AM   #10
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I have a F* 300mm f4.5, Sigma 50-500mm and just got rid of the 55-300mm to help finance a 60-250mm (which is superb). The 300mm with teleconverter (Pentax 1.7x AF or Tamron 1.4x AF) works very well, the 55-300mm is a very good lens for the money (but if this is a special trip I would forget this lens in favour of the other two) and the Bigma has excellent IQ even wide open at 500mm plus has the zoom advantage. Presumably the light should be pretty good where you are going so if I could only take one of my lenses I would choose the Bigma.

500mm wide open with Bigma



and at f8


Last edited by Mike.P; 05-11-2009 at 05:41 AM.
05-11-2009, 11:48 AM   #11
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I did a beautiful 10 days safari in the South Luangwa NP in Zambia (do a search in the photo section). I took the DA*300 and a 1.7x TC for the extra reach, the DA*300 is a beautiful and very sharp lens, it is still a very nice combo with the 1.7x TC.
05-17-2009, 10:41 AM   #12
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Bigma rental

QuoteOriginally posted by jkglogau Quote
planning to rent one for the trip
For future reference, Camera Lens Rentals in Indiana rents the Pentax Bigma

CameraLensRentals.com - Camera Lens Rental for Canon, Nikon, and PENTAX Cameras

I've been meaning to try the Bigma beast for some time, but I don't yet have first-hand experience with it.
06-08-2009, 11:25 AM   #13
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thanks for the advice all. CameraLensRentals also has a 60-250 for rent and I am going to get this. I think the zoom is important to get the right framing but the Bigma probably is too BIG for shooting from a moving boat.
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