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02-03-2010, 01:02 PM   #1
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400mm plus telephoto lenses - Looking for the thread.

There are lots of threads on so many different lenses, lens clubs, database, etc... that it is becoming increasingly difficult to locate specific information on a given lens-subject.
I am sorry to ask something which has most likely been discussed thousands of times but I can't seem to find where to look in this forum.
Perhaps the admin will guide me to the right place(s)? If so, this thread would be redundant and I wouldn't mind having it closed if I can find the info.

With bird season approaching, I am looking for a "longer" lens (I already have the DA*300 f4) or a suitable TC which will allow this lens to keep its sharpness .... I have the Tamron 1.4X TC which is "OK" but does affect the overall results for sharpness/contrast/clarity of the 300/4 on its own.

Best would be a 400mm prime with a suitable (read: "perfect match") TC.
The alternative would be a tele-zoom reaching 400mm. TC's on zoom lenses are not that great of a match as I understand?

Budget wise: I cannot afford a 400/2.8, that's for sure! Not even a 300/2.8 either.

The "used lenses department" is probably the best place to look but, I just don't know what I should be looking for! Crazy?

Thanks !

JP


Last edited by jpzk; 02-03-2010 at 09:07 PM. Reason: spelling
02-03-2010, 01:25 PM   #2
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All teleconverters will degrade the image quality of the lens they're paired with. Every single one of them. The key is getting a lens with high enough resolution to begin with, then also getting a good TC.

The 300/4 has great resolution, and the Tamron 1.4x is good as well. You should be getting pretty nice shots with that combo. Scaled down on the computer and with a little sharpness applied, I would imagine the results to be close to the original in resolution.

And, that's actually probably your best bet for the lens you're looking for. The 300/4 with a teleconverter. Ideally you want a lens around 400mm or 500mm for birding, and the 300+TC is right in the middle of that. So, without spending another $1500+, I can't think of any better lens combo to recommend to you.
02-03-2010, 01:33 PM   #3
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if you go through posts of mine, I have many shots taken with my two main birding combos

I use a Sigma APO 70-200 F2.8 EX (non DG Non Macro) that I bought new in January 2004. I use this with sigma's APO 1.4x and 2X teleconverters and have excellent results.

I also use an SMC-Pentax 300mmF4 with the SMC-F 1.7x AF TC again with excellent results.

I also do both natural light and flash photography with these lenses, using a better beamer fresnel lens in front of my AF5--FTZ and AF540 FGZ flashes.

what I cannot emphasize enough is getting close.

remember Image size = subject size * focal length / distance.

even with a 1000mm lens, a 50mm high bird at 20 meters is only 2.5 mm high on the ASP-C sensor that measures 16 x 24 mm

that means it is only 1/6 the height of the sensor. Pretty small IMO
02-03-2010, 04:18 PM   #4
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JP, you are right, that has been discussed widely in the past - but never mind. A good argument is always welcome!

I can recommend from my own experience the following lenses:

1. the Pentax A 400/5.6. It is a really good lens and matches nicely with the Pentax A-L tcs. It gets a bit slow, but the L 1.4x is still useable and gives you 560mm fl.

2. the Bigma is a very good choice and even a bit faster at its 500mm setting. Focusing is critical.

3. The Pentax K 500/4.5 is a monster lens and shows some colour fringing in high contrast situations, but is still a very good choice for a limited budget.

4. the Novoflex 400mm or 600mm rapid focusing lenses are a steal on ebay and well worth the investment. Especially the 3-element T-Noflexar 400/5.6 is a very sharp lens. And the trusted old rapid focusing is nearly as fast as AF and espcially for birds sitting on branches etc. even better than AF, as AF tends to lock on the twig in the foreground and not on the tiny bird...

5. and yes, don't give up on mirror (or better: catadioptric) lenses. I can recommend the Tokina 500/8. it is tiny, which has at least the advantagem that you can throw it in your bag, without breaking your back. Sharpness is good and contrast good enough, as long as the light is not too poor. Others recommend the equivalent Tamron lens, but I have never used one.

6. ofcourse I support Lowell's recommendation for the Sigma 70-200/2.8 with the matched tcs. But you would need to get your hands on the older pre-HSM modell, because the tcs are also only screwdriver-AF.

Ben

02-03-2010, 04:28 PM   #5
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Have you tried camo and/or blinds?
02-03-2010, 07:45 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by wallyb Quote
All teleconverters will degrade the image quality of the lens they're paired with. Every single one of them. The key is getting a lens with high enough resolution to begin with, then also getting a good TC.

The 300/4 has great resolution, and the Tamron 1.4x is good as well. You should be getting pretty nice shots with that combo. Scaled down on the computer and with a little sharpness applied, I would imagine the results to be close to the original in resolution.

And, that's actually probably your best bet for the lens you're looking for. The 300/4 with a teleconverter. Ideally you want a lens around 400mm or 500mm for birding, and the 300+TC is right in the middle of that. So, without spending another $1500+, I can't think of any better lens combo to recommend to you.
Thanks Wally.
Very useful information.
I guess I am too eager to have access to a "longer" lens, but my actual combo : DA*300/4 plus the Tamron 1.4x should suffice for the moment. If I calculate correctly, this would be the equivalent of 420mm @f5.6?
I should also put my LBA on hold for a while and work with what I have.
But of course, I will likely become/stay interested in a longer tele!

Cheers.

JP
02-03-2010, 07:50 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
if you go through posts of mine, I have many shots taken with my two main birding combos

I use a Sigma APO 70-200 F2.8 EX (non DG Non Macro) that I bought new in January 2004. I use this with sigma's APO 1.4x and 2X teleconverters and have excellent results.

I also use an SMC-Pentax 300mmF4 with the SMC-F 1.7x AF TC again with excellent results.
Indeed that would be great but I have been looking for a very long time for this particular TC and with no luck ... well, not really: found one at nearly $500 UDS! I imagine I could stack it on top of my Tamron 14.x TC too.
I also do both natural light and flash photography with these lenses, using a better beamer fresnel lens in front of my AF5--FTZ and AF540 FGZ flashes.
Finally, I acquired a flash, the AF540FGZ, lately. I think yu were the one who metnion the Better Beamer to me once.
what I cannot emphasize enough is getting close.
Totally agree; never close enough
remember Image size = subject size * focal length / distance.

even with a 1000mm lens, a 50mm high bird at 20 meters is only 2.5 mm high on the ASP-C sensor that measures 16 x 24 mm

that means it is only 1/6 the height of the sensor. Pretty small IMO
Thanks for the reminders/answers.
Cheers.

JP
02-03-2010, 08:02 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ben_Edict Quote
JP, you are right, that has been discussed widely in the past - but never mind. A good argument is always welcome!

I can recommend from my own experience the following lenses:

1. the Pentax A 400/5.6. It is a really good lens and matches nicely with the Pentax A-L tcs. It gets a bit slow, but the L 1.4x is still useable and gives you 560mm fl.

2. the Bigma is a very good choice and even a bit faster at its 500mm setting. Focusing is critical.

3. The Pentax K 500/4.5 is a monster lens and shows some colour fringing in high contrast situations, but is still a very good choice for a limited budget.

4. the Novoflex 400mm or 600mm rapid focusing lenses are a steal on ebay and well worth the investment. Especially the 3-element T-Noflexar 400/5.6 is a very sharp lens. And the trusted old rapid focusing is nearly as fast as AF and espcially for birds sitting on branches etc. even better than AF, as AF tends to lock on the twig in the foreground and not on the tiny bird...

5. and yes, don't give up on mirror (or better: catadioptric) lenses. I can recommend the Tokina 500/8. it is tiny, which has at least the advantagem that you can throw it in your bag, without breaking your back. Sharpness is good and contrast good enough, as long as the light is not too poor. Others recommend the equivalent Tamron lens, but I have never used one.

6. ofcourse I support Lowell's recommendation for the Sigma 70-200/2.8 with the matched tcs. But you would need to get your hands on the older pre-HSM modell, because the tcs are also only screwdriver-AF.

Ben
Hi Ben,
Thanks for the reply.

This Novoflex 400 or 600 .... never heard of that before. Is this K-munt or does it require an adapter such as screw mount to K bayonet?
As for the 70-200/2.8 ,,, non-HSM - I own one of those too. Tried it with only one TC (Tamron 1.4x) but that's the problem, I have only one TC and I thought that if I stack them too much, I would loose on speed, details, light ... etc.
Then I read that this is a good setup.

Frankly, I am becoming a bit confused, as always, but I will soon sort it all out.

JP

02-03-2010, 08:06 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by asdf Quote
Have you tried camo and/or blinds?
Meaning: camouflage and/or blinds?
If so, ... no, I never tried that. I consider myself "moderately" capable of approaching within acceptable distances but your idea makes sense.
Do I want to try it? Yes, as long as I can borrow one first to see if I like the idea of setting up camp.

JP
02-03-2010, 08:56 PM   #10
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I've found the DA 300m & AF 1.7x TC to be an effective combination.
02-03-2010, 09:06 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by dadipentak Quote
I've found the DA 300m & AF 1.7x TC to be an effective combination.
I sure wouldn't mind getting one of those AF 1.7X Pentax TC's. Everybody seems to own at least one, but me!
That would give 510mm, just what I am looking for.
What is the resulting F-stop when you use this TC with the DA*300?

JP
02-03-2010, 09:16 PM   #12
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I think the max. f stop is 6.7, here are a couple with the combo



02-04-2010, 04:57 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by jpzk Quote
Hi Ben,
Thanks for the reply.

This Novoflex 400 or 600 .... never heard of that before. Is this K-munt or does it require an adapter such as screw mount to K bayonet?
As for the 70-200/2.8 ,,, non-HSM - I own one of those too. Tried it with only one TC (Tamron 1.4x) but that's the problem, I have only one TC and I thought that if I stack them too much, I would loose on speed, details, light ... etc.
Then I read that this is a good setup.

Frankly, I am becoming a bit confused, as always, but I will soon sort it all out.

JP
Never heard of Novoflex, oops… Here is the company: Novoflex - Home

They don't actually manufacture the rapid focus lenses anymore, but they still sell the adapters to fit most cameras on the market, including K-mount. But you will find them on ebay easily. In the pre-AF aera. the Novoflex lenses were pretty much the standard for wildlife photography, but there quality did not diminish mysteriously with the advent of AF… They are very useable without a tripod, thanks to the grip stock and the shoulder rest, which gives them the appearance of a bazooka: Foto Novoflex T-Noflexar 400/5,6 - Bild von Carsten Lynker aus - Fotografie (9145615) - fotocommunity.de

If you are lucky you may also find a Leica Telyt lens for the Novoflex (the lens heads are interchangeable), which is still a very high quality lens. Otherwise the 3-element T-Noflexar 400/5.6 would be the lens of choice and I very much prefer the latest model, as the massive aluminium tubing is more robust than the bellows focusing unit in the earlier lenses.

The images are sharp in the center (very sharp), but there is some fall-off towards the ccorners. This is less pronounced with APS-C cameras and all in all usually not a problem for nature photography - you don't make repros with a 400mm lens… Colour fringing in high contrast conditions is there, but very low and easily correctable in pp.

For the Sigma 70-200 - you should really use these lenses with the original Sigma Apo tcs. With the 1.4x modell, the IQ is quite as good as the naked lens provides and the image degradation with the 2x tc is hardly noticeable. One of the best zoom+tc-combos "out there".

Ben

EDIT: some image-examples:

http://forum.mflenses.com/novoflex-t-noflexar-5-6-400-2-t15743.html
http://naturfotografen-forum.de/o201774-Lachm%C3%B6wenportrait+und+erstes+Testfoto+mit+Novoflex
http://www.fotocommunity.de/pc/pc/display/9296246
http://www.fotocommunity.de/pc/pc/display/9296265

Last edited by Ben_Edict; 02-04-2010 at 05:45 AM.
02-04-2010, 08:23 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by borno Quote
I think the max. f stop is 6.7, here are a couple with the combo
You mean 300/4 with the 1.7x ? That would make sense. Not fast by any means, but a heck of a lot cheaper than a 500mm prime.

JP
02-04-2010, 08:50 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by jpzk Quote
You mean 300/4 with the 1.7x ? That would make sense. Not fast by any means, but a heck of a lot cheaper than a 500mm prime.

JP
I use the SMC 300F4 and 1.7x quite a bit and in 2 different ways.

I use it with flash (along with better beamer extender) on my *istD since the *istD has TTL capability, and I use it at high ISO on my K7 thanks to the High ISO perfromance and shake reduction.

It fell out of use a little on the K10D due to limited ISO and no TTL flash.

I can see where it would be very nice on the DA 300F4 since it corrects for aperture reading, and offers range limited AF. withMF override on the lens itself.

Since many nature shots are through branches etc, a degree of MF is nice to insure you focus on the subject and not the surroundings
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