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07-10-2009, 06:04 PM   #1
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Supertelephoto Alternatives

So I've decided I'm gonna buy a really long lens instead of the K-7; that pretty much defines my budget range, too - $1299 "or so". There really don't seem to be very many options for the Pentax. Looks like the 60-250 or the 300. Both are wonderful lenses, I'm certain, but I'm hoping for more reach. The only alternatives seem to be the Sigma lenses; the 100-300 doesn't really offer me any advantage over the 300 DA*, and I don't get weather sealing.

So does anyone have experience with the sigma zooms x-500? The 170-500, the 50-500 (Bigma?), etc? Anyone have any thoughts on the 150-500 OIS lens they're going to field soon for Pentax? From my time spent on pixel-peeper.com, the only current x-500 zoom from Sigma that I like is the Bigma. The others all seem flat and lifeless, image after image after image.

07-10-2009, 07:45 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
So I've decided I'm gonna buy a really long lens instead of the K-7; that pretty much defines my budget range, too - $1299 "or so". There really don't seem to be very many options for the Pentax. Looks like the 60-250 or the 300. Both are wonderful lenses, I'm certain, but I'm hoping for more reach. The only alternatives seem to be the Sigma lenses; the 100-300 doesn't really offer me any advantage over the 300 DA*, and I don't get weather sealing.

So does anyone have experience with the sigma zooms x-500? The 170-500, the 50-500 (Bigma?), etc? Anyone have any thoughts on the 150-500 OIS lens they're going to field soon for Pentax? From my time spent on pixel-peeper.com, the only current x-500 zoom from Sigma that I like is the Bigma. The others all seem flat and lifeless, image after image after image.
I can comment on the 170-500 Sigma. It was soft, particularly at the long end. I sold it and kept my M 400/5.6. I sold it before I got the K10D, but on the MZ-S I was not impressed. Your mileage may vary.
07-11-2009, 04:48 AM   #3
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I have the BigMa and find it to be very good all the way from 50 to 500 shooting at f8 area. One thing that I have noticed is SR doesnt work as well when at full magnification. what looks like soft focus is instead motion of camera not handeled by SR. So when shooting at 500mm I try to use some kind of rest with SR. turned off and get much better shots. of course being in my 70's maybe has something to do with it as well. jim
07-11-2009, 05:22 AM   #4
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I'm using the SIGMA 120-400mm HSM myself. On the dutch http://www.pentaxforum.nl website several people use the 120-400 and the 150-500 HSM. It takes some time to "tame the beasts", but in the end it's a very fine versatile lens.

Of course, a monopod or tripod is an asset at 400/500mm, but the very fine lens collar is also good usable for handheld shots. In fact so good, I bought also version for my SIGMA 70-200 F2.8 HSM.

Weblinks:
http://www.sigmaphoto.com/lenses/lenses_all_details.asp?id=3347&navigator=3
http://www.sigmaphoto.com/lenses/lenses_all_details.asp?id=3348&navigator=3

Prices in The Netherlands:
120-400 HSM - euro 649
150-500 HSM - euro 769

The 500mm version is really a large lens, the 400mm still fits a lowepro toploader with K10D+GRIP attached.

Also, both lenses work with the 1.5 KENKO TC, which supports SDM!, although you need a lot of light.


Last edited by Harry; 07-11-2009 at 05:30 AM.
07-11-2009, 08:07 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Harry Quote
The 500mm version is really a large lens, the 400mm still fits a lowepro toploader with K10D+GRIP attached.

Also, both lenses work with the 1.5 KENKO TC, which supports SDM!, although you need a lot of light.
Hey, thanks for the information. Do you have a link for that Kenko TC? And how is the IQ for that TC? (What I'm thinking there is the 100-300 f4, which EVERYONE reviews well, +TC to get to 150-450 f5.6, if the IQ is sufficient)

Last edited by jstevewhite; 07-11-2009 at 08:18 AM. Reason: added to the thought to explain question
07-11-2009, 11:16 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
Hey, thanks for the information. Do you have a link for that Kenko TC? And how is the IQ for that TC? (What I'm thinking there is the 100-300 f4, which EVERYONE reviews well, +TC to get to 150-450 f5.6, if the IQ is sufficient)
exactly what I wanted to suggest here.
Sigma 100-300/4 is a great lens, unfortunately my had some AF issues with both cameras so I had to return it (it was bought used though). But from those shots I took where the AF was spot on, it's one superb lens.
Anyway, I got Tammy 70-200/2.8 but I'm still eyeing the 1.5x Kenko TC.
So I'd like to hear about it too...

BR
07-11-2009, 12:18 PM   #7
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Sorry, no direct link as this is, afaik, not in production any more. Keep an eye an Ebay and also KEH.COM has sometimes this teleconverter. Price is between 100 and 150 euro.

Please pay attention: there are several kinds of KENKO TC's and only one, marked with powerzoom, is the one which supports SDM lenses.

I know several people using this in combination with a 300mm zoom. Personally I prefer always a lens without TC to one with TC. I my view a TC takes half a stop light, has difficulty focussing in low light and mostly is less sharp than a zoom. I use the TC for "emergencies" or in combination with a prime.

In this topic Het Nederlandse PENTAX forum - Kenko 1.5 TC op DA*300 a forum friend has posted some photos of the KENKO in combination with the PENTAX DA* 300mm prime.
07-11-2009, 04:11 PM   #8
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Prime and 2x TC?

I really, really like the DA*300, and have had some pretty good luck with it using a Pentax 2X-S TC. That's 600mm, 900 with 1.5 crop, and light enough to get away with handholding in pinch. Not so hot with BIF, but nice when the birds settle down. Only downside is the manual focus, but hey.

I posted a few examples on the 300 and 2X-S thread here earlier.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/65944-show-me-...tml#post664849

Andrew

07-11-2009, 05:09 PM   #9
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Just want to ad an endorsement for the BIGMA. When I shoot motorsports and Kayaking, it is on my camera constantly. As others have said it IS big and takes some getting used to, but it's still not as big as many of the Canon and Nikon big lenses.. Check out the reviews of it here at PentaxForums.com Third-Party Pentax Lens Review Database - 50-500mm F4-6.3 EX DG HSM (AF Lens).

The new Sigma 150-500mm is very nice too...

Mike
07-11-2009, 05:56 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by MRRiley Quote
Just want to ad an endorsement for the BIGMA. When I shoot motorsports and Kayaking, it is on my camera constantly. As others have said it IS big and takes some getting used to, but it's still not as big as many of the Canon and Nikon big lenses.. Check out the reviews of it here at PentaxForums.com Third-Party Pentax Lens Review Database - 50-500mm F4-6.3 EX DG HSM (AF Lens).

The new Sigma 150-500mm is very nice too...

Mike
Thanks for the feedback, Mike. I've read those reviews, thanks, and I'm leaning towards Bigma. I spent quite a bit of time perusing pixel-peeper.com images from the various long Sigma zooms, and the Bigma clearly comes out on top in contrast and sharpness. I'm starting to think, though, that the difference is that the Bigma doesn't have OIS, while the 150-500 does. Most of the images from the other x-500 sigmas seem flat and unsharp, but the Bigma is very sharp and snappy.
07-11-2009, 06:10 PM   #11
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This bad boy is well within your budget...

KEH Camera: Pentax Manual Focus - Zoom Lenses - 135-600 F6.7 SMC PRESET (95) WITH FILTER, CS, 35MM SLR MANUAL FOCUS ZOOM TELEPHOTO LENS



The rest of your budget should cover the Gimbal head and related accessories needed to balance it. 'Course, no AF, automatic diaphragm, or other such gizmos, but it out-reaches all of the lenses you're looking at and will probably offer better IQ than any of them.
07-11-2009, 07:04 PM   #12
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There's a Kenko 1.5X TC in the Marketplace right now

Kenko TC

I've had it there for a week, as well as a Pentax 1.7X AF converter. I've used both of these with a DA*300 and they'll get you to 450mm or 510mm.
07-11-2009, 09:15 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by 24X36NOW Quote
KEH Camera: Pentax Manual Focus - Zoom Lenses - 135-600 F6.7 SMC PRESET (95) WITH FILTER, CS, 35MM SLR MANUAL FOCUS ZOOM TELEPHOTO LENS



The rest of your budget should cover the Gimbal head and related accessories needed to balance it. 'Course, no AF, automatic diaphragm, or other such gizmos, but it out-reaches all of the lenses you're looking at and will probably offer better IQ than any of them.
24x36 - I hate you. I thought my LBA was under control until I saw that baby. Preset lenses - darn right I know how to use them - that's all I had until 1976. It sure does not take much time to get used to flicking the aperture down with them. Set camera to Av (with appropriate screen if needed), focus wide open, flick to chosen stop, press shutter release. That's less hassle than my M lenses.
07-12-2009, 11:03 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Canada_Rockies Quote
It sure does not take much time to get used to flicking the aperture down with them. Set camera to Av (with appropriate screen if needed), focus wide open, flick to chosen stop, press shutter release. That's less hassle than my M lenses.
Isn't it funny how an older technology ends up being more convenient than a more up to date device when brought all the way forward to present day?
07-12-2009, 11:01 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by 24X36NOW Quote
KEH Camera: Pentax Manual Focus - Zoom Lenses - 135-600 F6.7 SMC PRESET (95) WITH FILTER, CS, 35MM SLR MANUAL FOCUS ZOOM TELEPHOTO LENS



The rest of your budget should cover the Gimbal head and related accessories needed to balance it. 'Course, no AF, automatic diaphragm, or other such gizmos, but it out-reaches all of the lenses you're looking at and will probably offer better IQ than any of them.
Thanks for the lead, but I'm afraid of "BGN" rated equipment at KEH.
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