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01-18-2010, 09:46 PM   #1
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7 large shots from SMC 1000mm f/8

Had some decent weather this weekend so I spent an hour or so at the former golf course playing around. Here are my impressions.

Pros

- Handling isn't bad for such a large lens. I got it balanced on the gimbal and tripod, and it's fairly easy to line up.
- The gun sight is easy to use, and essential.
- It's amazing how far this thing will "reach".

Cons

- Focusing is a bitch! I tried a variety of methods, including 2sec mirror lockup and bumping up the ISO to get a fast shutter speed. Still, I can't really nail the focus, which is frustrating. I've been using my eyes (not great) and the focus confirmation beep, but still it's slightly off. I know I can adjust for specific lenses. Can I adjust for this lens? I guess I'd need a focus chart two blocks away.
- While it handle fairly easy for a large lens, capturing birds in flight is tough! I did get a few airplanes that were merely specks in the sky, though.
- Contrast of images is low, though they spruce up fine in PP. Also, with such a long focal length, any haze at all will reduce the contrast of the image even more.
- As with many of the older lenses, fringing is evident and you really need to watch the exposure and composition, and you'll still need to clean up many shots in PP.

Overall, though, this is a fun lens, and a keeper for me. I guess this crosses over into the "collector" realm. It's fun talking to the other photographers about the lens and Pentax (had one lady with a Canon rig and L lens tell me how envious she was). From that standpoint, it's fun.

Now for the shots. You can see all the images in this set. You can see the full sized shots as well.

All shots were either f/8 or f/11 with ISO ranging from 100 to 400 (maybe even 800 on some).

Never could get this tree in focus. It was about 100 yards away.


This stump was about the same 100 yards away.


This lady was out walking the golf course. She was around 50 yards away.


The ubiquitous brick wall shot, from about 40 yards away.


I cheated on this shot. Shooting at an angle pretty much guarantees that something will be in focus. Still, I think it's a fun shot.


Extreme crop of an airplane in the distance. I couldn't make out what it was by eyesight.


And, finally, my pathetic attempt at capturing a hawk that flew fairly nearby (maybe a 150 yards or more).


All in all, it's a fun lens to use, but hard to get exactly right. I still have lots to learn with it, and when I do "nail" the shot, it will be even more rewarding.

01-18-2010, 10:05 PM   #2
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Damnit, didn't I explicitly tell you to not make me want this lens??? You're killing me!

The bird and the acorns shots are pretty ace as far as I'm concerned. I really never knew this lens was as good of quality as is shown here, mainly because next to no one owns it AND posts pictures from it! As for the problems nailing focus, what camera do you use? If it's an older one, I would suggest upgrading to a newer one with live view where you can zoom in, like the K-x or K7. It helps me a lot when using my 750mm mirror lens, and yours is 33% more bad-ass.
01-18-2010, 10:06 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by wallyb Quote
Damnit, didn't I explicitly tell you to not make me want this lens??? You're killing me!

The bird and the acorns shots are pretty ace as far as I'm concerned. I really never knew this lens was as good of quality as is shown here, mainly because next to no one owns it AND posts pictures from it! As for the problems nailing focus, what camera do you use? If it's an older one, I would suggest upgrading to a newer one with live view where you can zoom in, like the K-x or K7. It helps me a lot when using my 750mm mirror lens, and yours is 33% more bad-ass.
I've got the K20D. I've thought about usine Live View, but haven't yet. I might give that a try next.
01-19-2010, 12:58 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by rfortson Quote
I've got the K20D. I've thought about usine Live View, but haven't yet. I might give that a try next.
I asked about this in the other forum, and you should definitely give LV a try. It's the only way to go when using lenses that demand critical focus, short of getting a split-prism focus screen. You cannot rely on the focus "beep" - for some reason, it's just not accurate when using MF lenses. I can't even focus decently with my K20D and A50/1.4 (stopped down to f2.0), unless I use LV.

01-19-2010, 01:03 AM   #5
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Fun pics!
I agree with gerald on trying to use LV with that lens. The aperture on that lens is similar to that on the 8in SC telescope I use. I have found that it is really nice to use live view, and then zoom the lcd so that you can do precision focusing manually.
01-19-2010, 01:11 AM   #6
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I don't think you can adjust for this lens specificaly as camera doesn't recognise it (no communication between those two). But maybe you could adjust the fucus using "all types" rather than "1 type" (at least that's how it works on GX20)
Good luck
01-19-2010, 07:53 AM   #7
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Thanks for the feedback. I'll give LV a try. I'm also a little leery of adjusting the AF since I may screw up all my other lenses. I figured I would have to use the "global adjustment" since there's no way for the camera to recognize the lens.
01-19-2010, 09:26 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by rfortson Quote
I'm also a little leery of adjusting the AF since I may screw up all my other lenses. I figured I would have to use the "global adjustment" since there's no way for the camera to recognize the lens.
I agree. No need to mess with that. I honestly don't even know if the AF sensors in the k20d work to f/8. This thing is more telescope than lens, and LV is the cure.

01-19-2010, 02:42 PM   #9
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LV should work well. Also try the Pentax mag eyecup - never take it off my camera. Can also use an Olympus Varimagni right angle finder. It multiplies middle of screen by 2x or more.
thanks
barondla

ps lens will be more stable if you use the wireless remote with 3 second delay. Love the K10/20/7 for having that rear mounted sensor.

Check out 2nd anniversary POINT & SHOOT CONTEST #26 in compact camera forum. Enter #27. Any brand camera. Enter now!
01-20-2010, 05:20 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by barondla Quote
LV should work well. Also try the Pentax mag eyecup - never take it off my camera. Can also use an Olympus Varimagni right angle finder. It multiplies middle of screen by 2x or more.
thanks
barondla

ps lens will be more stable if you use the wireless remote with 3 second delay. Love the K10/20/7 for having that rear mounted sensor.

Check out 2nd anniversary POINT & SHOOT CONTEST #26 in compact camera forum. Enter #27. Any brand camera. Enter now!
Well, I tried LV and it really jumps around that way, so that's a no-go. I already have the magnifying eyepiece (had one since I got my first K100D), and I already use 2s mirror lockup. I guess it's just down to honing my skill.

Still, it's fun playing with this thing.
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