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09-12-2009, 06:23 AM   #16
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Wow, that seems like a really good price on a A*200. I would have bid on that even though I can't really afford another lens right now.
I assume you've looked in the lens db, if not I highly recommend it.
Pentax Lens Review Database - A Series Primes

I actually used to race and shoot MX back in the (proverbial) day. Here's a sample:
Name:  Doug_01-cres.jpg
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That's a scan from an old print, btw. Probably shot with 105mm or maybe 85mm.
I also had 75-150 and 80-200, so not sure at this point which lens.

At this point I would ask, what type of racing?
Are you stuck in the bleachers/at a static spot or can you get close/track-side?
Since you say 200mm isn't enough, it sounds like your trying to get sharp images from a considerable distance. In that case I'd suggest getting a Bigma zoom or something similar (with a tripod collar) and a monopod. Being stuck at a fixed point with a fixed lens is very limiting.
If you can get closer (better) or track-side (best) that creates more possibilities of course.

hth

09-12-2009, 07:08 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Spock Quote
Thanks for the comments guys. I just watched a A*200 go on eBay for US$543. I was quite surprised to see it go so cheap. I was expecting some furious last minute bidding but it didn't happen.
That was an anomaly! Or maybe there was something in the description you missed like 'covered with mold and radioactive'?
09-12-2009, 07:12 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Spock Quote


The A* lenses are manual focus!
Manual focus? What the heck is that?
09-12-2009, 07:42 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Spock Quote
Is it good optically? Some say yes, others disparage it. .
Yeah, there does seem to be some controversy. It is a bit quirky (especially the AF) and I'll admit that my results have been uneven but that kinda makes me suspect operator error. In any case--combined with the DA*300mm--, it's the best 500mm I've got :~) Here's a (processed and sharpened) sample I just took in less-than-optimal lighting conditions:

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Last edited by dadipentak; 09-12-2009 at 11:58 AM.
09-12-2009, 10:37 AM   #20
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Hi Spock,

When considering any older telephoto lens, I always consider the Minimum Focusing Distance as a pertinent spec. With the A*200/2.8 it's 1.8m, with the A*300/4, it's 4m. This might not seem like a problem, but I do a lot of shooting at short distances with teles. Adding a TC doesn't change the MFD, so I'd find the A*200+TC considerably more versatile and useful from a number of aspects.

Another thing is ED glass. The A*200 has ED elements, the A*300 does not (though this has been disputed by at least one member here, I've not seen any references that I would consider more definitive than the lack of any mention by Pentax in the name or description). In actual use, the A*200 controls CA/PF better, even with a TC, so I'll stick with my original statement.

The A*200/2.8 is the first * lens I ever was able to obtain, and I still have it. The A*300/4 is a stellar lens, but with the long MFD and CA/PF performance, it just doesn't stack up well against the newer F*/FA*300/4.5 or the DA*300/4, all of which are sharper, focus a lot closer, and control CA/PF as well as any super tele class lens out there. My choice here is the FA*300/4.5, but I'm sure others' opinions will differ here.

Another stellar lens close to this FL range is the Tamron SP 180 f2.5 LD (IF). You'd need a PK/A adapter also, and this lens usually doesn't come cheap, but I was able to find a "user" grade example for under $200USD, so you never know. . .

The recommendation of the F 1.7x AFA is a good one, IMO. It's probably my most used accessory, and I have 2 for that reason (luckily, I stumbled across this great piece when they were a lot more affordable than they are now). I'm a birder, and use the limited focusing range as a focus limiter to prevent long focus hunts while shooting skittish birds. I tend to refocus frequently to increase the chance of really nailing the focus in at least a few shots.

I posted a few examples with the F 1.7x AFA near the end of this thread:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/72199-lens-wildlife-birds-2.html

Good luck in your search.

Scott
09-12-2009, 12:11 PM   #21
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Very informative post, Scott!
09-13-2009, 02:32 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Spock Quote
Thanks for the comments guys. I just watched a A*200 go on eBay for US$543.

The A* lenses are manual focus!
The price sounds right
A*200mmF2.8 is a rare . But even its autofocus FA*200mmF2.8 pales in comparison with the newer DA*200mmF2.8. DA*200mm has exactly the same optical formula of FA*200mmF2.8 plus weathersealing and SDM .
It is pretty reasonable that its final price is around 50% of the new DA*200mm
09-13-2009, 02:57 AM   #23
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Well I'll just jump in here, I've got 'em both, this is what I wrote about the 200mm in the lens review database in this forum in October 2008.

"I only just recently acquired this lens second-hand, after searching the globe for many months. I admit that I'm lucky enough to own several other "green star" lenses; hence I feel I can offer an unbiased opinion of this lens.

I won’t give any technical jargon or performance figures, because I’m not qualified to do that. What I will do, is tell you as working photographer how I find this lens through every day use (I’m old school and still use manual focus, I like the way it feels and the level of control I still have).

To say I'm blown away with the resulting images would be a huge understatement. I cover many musical events that are dark (ish) with mixed fast changing lighting set ups, this lens delivers even wide open.

It allows tight head and shoulder shots from front stage pits and when used with K10D, it can be hand held (with SR on) @ 1/30 s f/2.8 ISO 1600, still getting razor sharp results. Stopped down (lighting permitting) it just gets better still.

Fast becoming a favourite lens, not a bad accolade considering the company it keeps in my Crumpler (85mm 1.4 & 135mm 1.8 to name but two)."


That all still applies today with my K20D's, dont get me wrong the 300mm is good, but for me and my needs the 200mm is better.

I have never used either mine with extenders, as I need the lens speed and can't afford the drop off.

I mentioned in another post recently that I can recommend the SMC Pentax-A* 300mm F4 version, with the only downside is that its a slow lens at F4. Another forum member stated that F4 isn't considered slow for a 300mm lens. There are faster lenses but they are very large and heavy and cost more than decent used car. I hadn't thought of it that way before.

Sorry for the length of the post, I just hope it helps you with your choice, this kind of LBA gets expensive.




09-13-2009, 03:17 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by kerrowdown Quote
this kind of LBA gets expensive.[/COLOR][/COLOR][/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE][/COLOR]
You've noticed that too, huh?
09-13-2009, 07:58 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by StevenVH Quote
At this point I would ask, what type of racing?
Are you stuck in the bleachers/at a static spot or can you get close/track-side?
Since you say 200mm isn't enough, it sounds like your trying to get sharp images from a considerable distance.
It is road racing.

Here are two pics by way of example:

The first I took (of my wife racing) with my F80-200 F4.7-5.6



Not the best image and made worse by cropping.

By way of comparison, here is one taken (of me) by a professional photographer:




QuoteOriginally posted by Tom S. Quote
That was an anomaly! Or maybe there was something in the description you missed like 'covered with mold and radioactive'?
No it was described as 'excellent'.

QuoteOriginally posted by snostorm Quote
(lots of useful info)
QuoteOriginally posted by kerrowdown Quote
(more useful info)
Thanks snostorm and kerrodown Now I am sorry I didn't bid on the A*200/2.8.

I have however purchased a mint, boxed M200/4. This should be a nice lens to play with and, at a fraction of the price of an the A*200/2.8 but only one stop slower, it should provide a lot of bang for the buck!
(It's going to be an exciting few days waiting for it, and my new DA15/4, to arrive in the post!)

Last edited by Spock; 09-13-2009 at 08:38 AM.
09-13-2009, 08:14 AM   #26
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Spock you should also consider the DA* 60-250. I recently had a chance to handle this lens. It was not as big as I thought it would be. Build and Optics were top rate. It has a tripod mount so combining this with a monopod makes for an excellent solution. The size makes it hand holdable but using a monopod will deliver better overall results.
09-13-2009, 08:38 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rico Quote
Spock you should also consider the DA* 60-250.
I just checked the price - and at AU$2,849.00 - it is so far out of my price range it's not funny!

(oh, btw- "this kind of LBA gets expensive" - what's LBA?)
09-13-2009, 08:53 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by Spock Quote
I just checked the price - and at AU$2,849.00 - it is so far out of my price range it's not funny!

(oh, btw- "this kind of LBA gets expensive" - what's LBA?)
Lens Buying Addiction.
09-13-2009, 09:20 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Spock Quote
I am considering hunting down either a A*300 F4 or A*200 F2.8. Question is which would be better to get? One is faster and one is longer otherwise they are about the same size and weight.

Not too sure which is more expensive though - the sample size of the few I've tracked is too small.

Seems to me the 200 can be transformed into a 280mm F4 with the addition of a 1.4 extender - making it perhaps a bit more versatile. Of course this would add to the cost however.
.
Further to what I said above, I do have A300mmF4 and DA*200mmF2.8

If somehow you have the A*200mmF2.8 initially, try to get the Pentax 1.7x TC which can turn the MF lens to an 320mmF4 AF lens. Best combo to turn that into an AF combo.

I have the A*300mmF4 for 3 yrs now and it has been subject to heavy use.

Some of the recent ones

















Daniel
09-13-2009, 09:24 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Spock Quote
I just checked the price - and at AU$2,849.00 - it is so far out of my price range it's not funny!

(oh, btw- "this kind of LBA gets expensive" - what's LBA?)
Holy Toledo that is insanely priced. You would be better off taking a trip to NYC to make such a purchase more enjoyable or the very least to buy online. Pity the price is so high in Australia as I think this lens suits your needs quite well.
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