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12-29-2009, 12:17 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by 8540tomg Quote
I'm with Dave on this point. I used to think 300mm was entry level for wildlife but I've raised the bar a bit since getting the M 400/5.6. The extra 100mm makes all the difference in this category. I know a lot of folks like teleconverters but my experience with them have left me unimpressed. This is a personal preference so please don't flame me too much on this issue.

I also agree that AF, while wonderful in many cases, has its limits in many wildlife situations. If I were to do the 400mm thing over again I would look for the A 400/5.6. It focuses much close than the M 400/5.6 and has AE to boot. For my purposes the A 400/2.8 would be the ideal choice if my budget would permit it. Sadly, with two kids in university this is just not on the radar at this time. As I recall Dave has this lens. Any images you care to share with the A 400/2.8 Dave? You may have posted in another thread and I missed them.

Tom G
Oh definitely. 300mm is getting into wildlife territory but ideally longer is better. I have my Bigma which does well for 'proper' wildlife. This potential lens is more for nature shots if that makes sense.

12-29-2009, 12:17 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by pinholecam Quote
I can sort of confirm this (by tomorrow or the day after that in fact).
My cousin stays in Japan and as he is coming back for the holidays, I asked him to pop by one of the camera stores to see if he could get me the tamron 1.4x teleconverter. I threw in the odd chance that he would find an old Pentax 1.7x so that was placed into his buy list as well. So I was rather surprised that he called me up saying that there was no tamron, but they had the Pentax 1.7x and it was NIB with warranty.

So come tomorrow, I should be able to pick it up and see if its a made in Vietnam new item or old Japan stock. It will be good news if the former for everyone of course, though I would suspect that they may not be for worldwide distribution.
It would be great if Pentax did start producing that teleconvertor again!
12-29-2009, 12:32 PM   #18
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I use my 55-300 on my K10D and KM. Do a lot of winter wildlife photography. The 300 mm translates to about 450-462 mm and that's pretty good reach.

However, like Oliver Twist...I want more. I was thinking of getting a Pentax 300 mm prime.

But a 300 mm won't give me any more reach then my 55-300 . So although I believe the 300 prime is sharper then the 55-300 (which is pretty good)...I just don't think it's worth the $1500 CAD + for me as an amateur. Don't get me wrong the 300 is a great lens, but as an amateur...I don't think I could rationalize the price.

I keep on hearing rumours about a Pentax F4 400 mm prime. Might wait it out for this...significantly more reach.

I've thought about a Cat lens...but fixed F stop and then those bokeh donuts....I dunno.
12-29-2009, 01:02 PM   #19
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Long lens thoughts

High Caat,

I've got the DA*200 and DA*300, plus the Pentax AF1.7 and 2X-s. Both lenses are fantastic. I like the 200 because it's fast and light, and even with the 2X is still 5.6 (though manual). If there's a negative, it's that purple fringing in high-contrast shots, but it's not often a problem. I wouldn't necessarily ignore the option of using the 200 for portraits where you have space and if the perspective is to your taste. The 300 is heavier, but I also appreciate the close-focus and additional reach. Also comes with the tripod foot, which is helpful. Both take stellar photos and will not disappoint. My only conundrum is that I find myself really wishing I had at least one zoom in this range, since I don't have a Bigma and really don't want to carry something that large anyway. Currently thinking about selling/trading the 200 for a Tamron 70-200 to fill the gap, though I'd miss how light the 200 is in the hand.

I find the 2X-s a very good TC given how little I paid for it, though metering can be a bit quirky on my K20d and it does eat a bit of contrast. Still, I've had amazing, pin sharp shots, sometimes even handheld. The 1.7, on the other hand, is simply amazing and easily my favorite. No hesitation in using it anywhere I've got the need and the light. If you can find it, do it. I got mine from one of those e-bay dealers just last month (jinfinance). While expensive, I have no regrets.

Given that you already have the Bigma for truly long shots and zooming, maybe something like the 200 and a compatible TC might actually be the most flexible. Easy to carry around and under the right conditions, you're looking at almost 400mm/f4 (or more) equivalent with some room to crop. Close focus isn't too bad, either.

Damselfly, handheld, cropped but otherwise unprocesses.



12-29-2009, 02:04 PM   #20
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G'day Caat

Until recently, I had been using the Sigma 100-300 f4 with a Kenko 1.5x TC for birds and a lot of other things like sport, but it is very heavy to carry around. I also noticed that for birds I was just not using 100-299mm focal lengths, so decided to buy a DA*300 f4 and also bought the appropriate Kenko TC (Pz-AF SHQ 1.5x). This combination of the 1.5x TC and DA*300 f4 now "lives" on my K20D. In low light, the autofocus tends to hunt a bit with the TC on, but I found that using 'catch in focus' works well in those conditions. If the light gest too low, I take the TC off and there iss till reasonable reach. I tested out the combination on a K7, and AF worked better than on the K20.

Personally, I feel this combination works better than the Bigma because of the slightly better amount of light available (and I have tried both).

My advice - there is no substitute for a combination of reach and light - go for the DA*300 f4.
12-30-2009, 12:22 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by lesmore49 Quote
I use my 55-300 on my K10D and KM. Do a lot of winter wildlife photography. The 300 mm translates to about 450-462 mm and that's pretty good reach.

However, like Oliver Twist...I want more. I was thinking of getting a Pentax 300 mm prime.

But a 300 mm won't give me any more reach then my 55-300 . So although I believe the 300 prime is sharper then the 55-300 (which is pretty good)...I just don't think it's worth the $1500 CAD + for me as an amateur. Don't get me wrong the 300 is a great lens, but as an amateur...I don't think I could rationalize the price.

I keep on hearing rumours about a Pentax F4 400 mm prime. Might wait it out for this...significantly more reach.

I've thought about a Cat lens...but fixed F stop and then those bokeh donuts....I dunno.

that's true, a Bigma would make more a lot of sense if reach is being considered. or any lens beyond 300mm. the 55-300 is more than enough at 300mm. so either something with a 400mm to 500mm would be the logical choice. I dunno if a mirror lens would do if IQ is a concern. the shallow DOF can really be a big pain in the hiney.
12-30-2009, 03:02 AM   #22
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If for whatever reason you go with DA* 300 f/4, the image quality will not disappoint.

Last edited by asdf; 12-30-2009 at 03:12 AM.
12-30-2009, 07:53 AM   #23
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Ok. Just got hold of the 1.7x converter. Its brand new and has an international warranty as well as a HOYA crop declaration (about taking over Pentax). So its new stock. Box says its made in Vietnam. S/n 1057318

Its goods news then for those looking out for one. Though some Japan connections might have to be pulled to get it. Paid around USD250 for it so its a sweet price as well.

12-30-2009, 08:17 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by pinholecam Quote
Paid around USD250 for it so its a sweet price as well.
Indeeeeed!
12-30-2009, 02:18 PM   #25
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Thanks for all the advice! (and nice damselfly shot!)

I'm going to think it over over New Year.
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