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05-17-2009, 01:28 AM   #1
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A* 300mm F4 Worthwhile?

Hi Guys and Girls, I've got my pennies saved for a FA 77mm Limited but it seems an A* 300mm F4 has shown up for sale.

Looks to be in very good condition (from the whole 1 photo of it - below)

The seller is pretty close to me so I could request a viewing to confirm it's good if I decide to buy.

Just wondering if this lens stands up to the more recent F/FA/DA * 300mm.

Manual focus doesn't scare me and I currently have a nice Tokina 300mm f5.6 lens that my father used to own.

Obviously any lens is a great buy at the right price so my question is what is the right price for this lens? Is it a rare piece of history? Will I enjoy rubbing it all over my body?

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05-17-2009, 09:23 AM   #2
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All the A* lenses are fairly rare, very good, and generally quite valuable. If you have a use for it, this might be a once in a lifetime opportunity.
05-17-2009, 10:11 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Skyntara Quote
Hi Guys and Girls, I've got my pennies saved for a FA 77mm Limited but it seems an A* 300mm F4 has shown up for sale.

Looks to be in very good condition (from the whole 1 photo of it - below)

The seller is pretty close to me so I could request a viewing to confirm it's good if I decide to buy.

Just wondering if this lens stands up to the more recent F/FA/DA * 300mm.

Manual focus doesn't scare me and I currently have a nice Tokina 300mm f5.6 lens that my father used to own.

Obviously any lens is a great buy at the right price so my question is what is the right price for this lens? Is it a rare piece of history? Will I enjoy rubbing it all over my body?
I owned a 300mm M* f/4 lens, which is identical to the A* except for the aperture mechanism and the "A style" trim (no metal "window" around the distance marking). The 300mm f/4 was the very first "*" lens made by Pentax.

This lens has outstanding optics -- better than non-ED/non-"*" lenses. It's sharp wide open and gets better closed down a stop or two. Very high contrast and very low flare. It really doesn't get any better in a 300mm f/4 lens. It should perform better than the Tokina f/5.6. The focusing ring turns almost all the way around, which gives you very precise focusing but it takes a while to go from near to far. So not the quickest focusing for sports. The lens is on the heavy side and would be better if it had a tripod foot.

I doubt that modern designs would have better image quality, but would add auto-focus and a tripod foot.

I used mine for occasional landscape shots (capturing a detail in a distance vista). I didn't use it much, but when I did the results were great. I also tried using it for sports/action use and it was not so great for that. The focusing is slow, and the lack of a tripod foot made the camera/lens combination unbalanced on a monopod.
05-17-2009, 10:16 AM   #4
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300 f4 a*

I have this lens - it's a beautifully made optic, very sharp from F5.6 on, pretty good rendering. It has two flaws - one a very long minimum focusing distance of 4 meters and a fair bit of CA. The image quality isn't quite up to the FA* and DA* versions, but not far off. And there is something very satisfying about using an all-metal manual lens made this well.

It's also compact enough to hand-hold.

I wouldn't pay more than US$6-700 for one though.

05-17-2009, 10:42 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Skyntara Quote
Will I enjoy rubbing it all over my body?
My guess is YES...although I won't help you do it
05-17-2009, 10:48 AM   #6
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Buy it (now / quick) you will not regret it, you still reading this.
05-17-2009, 11:00 AM   #7
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Based on my limited experience with the "A" series lenses (I have 3 - the 28/2.8, 50/2 & 70-210/4) there isn't a single one of them I would kick out of my bag. If you've got the cash and the utility for it, and it isn't buggered .... BUY IT.
05-17-2009, 09:26 PM   #8
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Damn,

I was hoping everyone would say no, or don't pay more than $100 or something.

My 77 limited fund may be about to take a hit.

I'm currently requesting some more pictures.

05-18-2009, 12:22 AM   #9
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Buy it!
I saw decent copy myself but it was just a few weeks after getting K400/5.6 so I was out of cash. Haven't stopped regretting it since

BR
05-18-2009, 01:09 AM   #10
and
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I had it and sold it. Optically it is excellent. I didnt like the minimum focus distance and I think if I remember that the focus ring was a bit stiff too. Build quality is very good and I like the built in hood.
05-18-2009, 01:38 AM   #11
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If you need a 300 buy it!!!

The drawbacks are the slow focus (approx 270 degrees turn) which makes any full field game hard to follow an I found the minimum focus distance of 4 metres a bit disappointing compared with modern lenses. But it is a 20+ year old design!

The IQ, feel and build quality is just as everyone has described, mine is quite contrasty, but acceptably so.

The thing that got me was the size. It is about an inch and a half longer than my M200 F4!!!.

Last edited by UltraWide; 05-18-2009 at 01:48 AM.
05-18-2009, 02:14 AM   #12
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To complicate things even further I've found and ad for Sigma 105mm f2.8 EX DG Macro + UV Filter for $450(AU) ono and Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 II APO EX DG HSM Macro +UV filter for $700(AU) ono.

No fair!

I'm trying to limit my wife's killing of me by only funding lens purchases though Ebay sales of things I don't need to obtain my so called "lens monies".

There's just not enough to go around.

How does everyone else deal with such tough decisions?

The same guy also has a k10D body and I just know that another body will get me killed.
05-18-2009, 02:34 AM   #13
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"How does everyone else deal with such tough decisions?"

1. Stand in front of wife's wardrobe.
2. Open doors.
3. Survey clothes, shoes, handbags, shoes (did i say shoes?), etc.
4. Start lens discussion
05-18-2009, 02:43 AM   #14
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Good plan ultra, but my wife doesn't really go nuts for clothes or shoes or handbags.

What she does go nuts for, it books. I salvaged a giant wallmounted bookcase from a client that was relocating last year. It was full within a couple of weeks. Our garage is full of books the she bought cheap to sell off on ebay.

Not a single one has made it online.

Hmmm. Maybe if I offer to sell her books for her, but do it on my account, then reap the lens monies while removing the book problem........

Pity she's not a bit slow or I could almost pull it off.

Just so you all know, my wife is a vet. She chops of several sets of testicles every day. I do fear for my boys when I sleep.

Here's the monstrosity - what have I done.

http://review.1337it.com/wp-content/uploads/bookshelf.jpg

Oops, seems the guy with the Sigmas has gotten back to me:

The 70-200 and the 105 Macro are still available. I guess I'll have to make him an offer.

Edit: So I made my offer. $1k (AU) shipped up to Sydney from Melbourne. Fingers crossed.

The only thing I like about these situations is post offer. Either he agrees and I get two nice lenses for cheap or he rejects it and I can go off and bid on the 300mm A* and if that falls through I buy my 77mm Limited. I can't lose!

Last edited by Skyntara; 05-18-2009 at 03:03 AM.
05-18-2009, 03:25 AM   #15
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Book problem??
me too.

How much rent/storage for a garage and what resembles the public library???
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