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09-08-2009, 07:01 PM   #1
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wildlife

Not sure if this is right forum, if not please advise. Have the k-20 and 55-300 lens. Sometmes wants further for wildlife and the such. Not sure to go to more expensive prime, some kind of convertor or older lens. Suggestions are welscomed. Have the needed adaptors to use orlder lenses if that is the suggestions.

Pentaxians rule.

09-08-2009, 09:20 PM   #2
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My choice, as you can see in my signature, is older lenses. My total investment in the M 400, for example is $405 - $330 for the lens 20 years ago and $75 recently for a clean, lube and adjust. There are 400mm shots on my Flickr site.
09-08-2009, 09:36 PM   #3
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Telephoto primes are the way to go for wildlife.
Albert's suggested the M 400, and any related lenses are great too (M, A, F) but be weary of the cheap eBay telephotos - they are very basic and poor quality.
09-08-2009, 09:45 PM   #4
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Moved to Lens forum.

@houstonmacgregor, if you're not sure where to post in future, please post in 'Everything Else' and a mod will move it if necessary.

09-08-2009, 10:31 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by houstonmacgregor Quote
some kind of convertor
I also shoot wildlife and started with a DA55-300 and can save you some time by guaranteeing that a TC is not worth trying with the 55-300. Canada and Ash are spot on for the use of quality primes since you can then add a TC to a good 300 or 400mm prime and really dial them in for much less cost and weight than a true 500mm lens. However, like every other problem in the world looking for a solution your specific solution can not be tossed out so easily without a better set of requirements. In other words, what exactly do you need from the lens? Birding? Butterflies? Fast moving critters?

Secondly, There are a few zoom lenses that provide prime-like quality so TCs can be used and you still get the flexibility of a zoom. The Sigma 100-300mm f/4 is one such lens and priced about like the Pentax 300mm f/4 which costs a lot more than Canada's M 400mm but your requirements and skill set will decide if a manual lens is ok for you or if a fast AF is needed. Without getting into a book here, yes, a prime has a natural advantage IQ wise over a comparable zoom.

Ok, I started a book but my objective is for you to define your requirements. Just stating "wildlife" and a "prime" will get all of us to blurt our personal preferences w/o regard to your actual solution
09-09-2009, 08:42 AM   #6
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The other posts have covered things pretty well. What you need will depend on what kind of wildlife you are planning to shoot. One thing I discovered many years ago is that you can always use a longer lens. I don't know what you can afford or what you are willing to spend. I will agree with the others about buying used telephoto primes. They can be found for very reasonable prices. Other inexpensive options can be mirror lenses and there are some very good wildlife/bird shots being posted. Remember that both options mentioned are manual focus and require some practice. If you can drop a $1000 or so then there are some good auto focus lenses such as the Sigma 50-500 and AF primes which work well with converters.
09-09-2009, 09:29 AM   #7
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I'm not sure where y'all are finding these cheap, long Pentax primes. The 400 f/2.8 is selling right now at keh.com for (USA) $3400. The 300mm f/4 is much more reasonably priced ($350 - one tenth the price of the 400!).

I don't shoot wildlife for money, just for fun, but I do enjoy shooting animals and birds when I'm on vacation. Since I can't afford a Bigma, I have stuck with my Tamron 70-300 f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro. Currently $160 at Amazon.com which I think makes it one of the best bargains around. I bought and tried the Pentax 300 f/4 (from keh.com) but didn't feel that the image quality was an improvement on the Tamron - and the Pentax prime was a lot heavier lens, without auto-focus. Returned it to the seller.


Will
09-09-2009, 09:54 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
I'm not sure where y'all are finding these cheap, long Pentax primes. The 400 f/2.8 is selling right now at keh.com for (USA) $3400. The 300mm f/4 is much more reasonably priced ($350 - one tenth the price of the 400!).
I don't think people are referring to the A*400/2.8, but rather, the M400/5.6 and other 400/5.6's, which tend to be in the same price range as the K300/4. The A*400/2.8 - because it is f/2.8 - is an *enormous* and *extremely heavy* (somewhere in the 10-15 lb range) chunk of glass. Plus it's an "A" lens (always more expensive than M), and most importantly, a "*" lens, which denotes the higher level of quality and always comes at a high price.

By way of comparison, the M400/5.6 is only slightly bigger and at most slightly more expensive than the 300/4. I don't see any M400/5.6's on Ebay right now, but there is a K version for $449 "BIN".

QuoteQuote:
I bought and tried the Pentax 300 f/4 (from keh.com) but didn't feel that the image quality was an improvement on the Tamron - and the Pentax prime was a lot heavier lens, without auto-focus. Returned it to the seller.
I'd say the main reason to use the prime would be if you needed the extra stop of speed (f/4 versus f/5.6), or wished to use it with a TC. Again, as discussed in the current thread on zooms versus primes, simply comparing them at the things they can both do well does not tend to show any advantage to the prime; you need to consider the things the prime can do tha the zoom cannot. Although had you tested in a high contrast situation wide open or close to it, I'm guessing you would have found the K300/4 a *ton* better than the Tamron at controlling purple fringing - the Tamron is one of the worst lenses around in that department. I'd also expect color rendition to be better from the K.

But the Tamron is indeed reasonably sharp and a fine deal for the money - in many situations it will produce images about as good as any other lens in that focal length range.

09-09-2009, 10:37 AM   #9
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No specific criterion on what I would/do take pitures of. see a bird in the air , see a racoon in a tree etc.

Thanks for the suggestions
09-09-2009, 02:12 PM   #10
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I'm with Albert on the older manual primes. In fact we have the same M 400/5.6. It can be a challenge and focusing is slow but it will get you into the super telephoto range if money is a consideration for you. It is capable of some very good images but is prone to chromatic aberations and purple fringe.



The K 300/4 has its fans (myself) and detractors but is IMO the best bargain on the used $300mm market. Again CAs and PF are an issue as is the lack of a tripod mount. It is also entry level if birding is your main wildlife passion.



Both are worthy your consideration. If money is no object that DA* 300/4 looks pretty good to me but is four times the price of the K300/4.

Cheers

Tom G

Last edited by 8540tomg; 09-09-2009 at 06:20 PM. Reason: typo
09-09-2009, 04:49 PM   #11
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I would agree with tom, the SMC 300 F4 is a great starting lens for wild life,

I use it with the SMC-F 1.7x AF TC

I have posted many shots in the past if you go through the threads, but decided here to post one from the weekend, taken with the K7 and hand held from a kayak using the AF TC
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09-09-2009, 06:00 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
I don't think people are referring to the A*400/2.8, but rather, the M400/5.6 and other 400/5.6's, which tend to be in the same price range as the K300/4. The A*400/2.8 - because it is f/2.8 - is an *enormous* and *extremely heavy* (somewhere in the 10-15 lb range) chunk of glass. Plus it's an "A" lens (always more expensive than M), and most importantly, a "*" lens, which denotes the higher level of quality and always comes at a high price.

By way of comparison, the M400/5.6 is only slightly bigger and at most slightly more expensive than the 300/4. I don't see any M400/5.6's on Ebay right now, but there is a K version for $449 "BIN".
Thanks for the clarification, Marc. I've almost figured out the newer digital lenses in the Pentax line. If I live long enough, I may be able to sort out the older Pentax manual-focus lenses, too.


QuoteQuote:
I'd say the main reason to use the prime would be if you needed the extra stop of speed (f/4 versus f/5.6), or wished to use it with a TC. Again, as discussed in the current thread on zooms versus primes, simply comparing them at the things they can both do well does not tend to show any advantage to the prime; you need to consider the things the prime can do tha the zoom cannot. Although had you tested in a high contrast situation wide open or close to it, I'm guessing you would have found the K300/4 a *ton* better than the Tamron at controlling purple fringing - the Tamron is one of the worst lenses around in that department. I'd also expect color rendition to be better from the K.
OK, fair points. I'm planning a trip next year to Yellowstone and would like to get a better telephoto lens before I go. Have started keeping my eye on KEH's offerings. I do understand better now your point about the 300 f/4's advantage in lower light. When I had the lens, just for a week or so, I didn't take it on vacation, I simply did some bright daylight testing (not brick walls, by the way) - and I forgot that it has been my experience, shooting wildlife "in the field" as they say, that I'm often shooting early in the morning or late in the day when the light's not so good.

Will
09-09-2009, 06:01 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by 8540tomg Quote
The K 300/4 has its fans (myself) and detractors but is IMO the best bargain on the used $300mm market. Again CAs and PF are an issue as is the lack of a tripod mount. It is also entry level if birding is your main wildlife passion.
Very nice pics, Tom G!

Will
09-09-2009, 07:44 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
Very nice pics, Tom G!

Will
Thanks Will,

Lowell, myself and a few other forum members seem to have a lock on the world's supply of K 300/4 lenses. I'll be the first to admit working with the old K 300 can be a chore but I enjoy manual focus lenses and although I miss a lot of shots every now and then......

Actually, I find the K 300/4 easier to work with (lighter, faster) than the M 400/5.6 but there is no substitute for that extra reach when shooting birds.

I had a lot of success shooting Goldfinches with the K 300/4 last year. Here's a few I have posted before. Not a lot of luck this year however.











Tom G

Last edited by 8540tomg; 09-09-2009 at 07:54 PM. Reason: typo
09-09-2009, 08:39 PM   #15
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Im packing a 500 f/8, and a Tamron 70-300 with a 2x TC. I live Houston too. If I got time and you are willing, I could meet with you and you could look at my lenses to get a test drive as a possible suggestion.
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