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06-25-2011, 02:22 AM   #1
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Which Telephoto lens?

Hi, just bought my new Pentax K5, and wanted to get a telephoto lens for it. I love to shoot wildlife, and was thinking about a 70-300. What do you think is the right lens, and why?
There are so many, I'm really confused. Will be heading to Alaska, and really interested in shooting the animals! Thanks so much for helping a beginner!

06-25-2011, 03:03 AM - 1 Like   #2
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Hi!

Sooner or later (which means sooner, if I know myself sufficiently well), I will get a decent telephoto lens for my K-5 as well. I have researched for quite a while, and have already made a decision. It is going to be the DA 300 f/4. Sufficiently fast, small and light, very good image quality, and appropriately priced (in contrast to the even better alternatives, that are four times as expensive as the body they would be attached to).

What works best for you depends, of course, on your shooting habits, but my personal experience is that I do not go out without knowing beforehand what kind of photo I would like to take. If it is wildlife, birds, or close-ups of insects that are easily scared, even with a zoom I would rarely use anything else than the 300 mm, so why not have a prime with a much better image quality, whose photos I can easily crop to mimic the maximum focal length of, e.g., a Bigma? The one thing that could make me revise my decision is Pentax/Sigma/Tamron make a 400 mm prime in the same quality and price range, but that seems to be a daydream.

Just my 2 cents.

Regards,
Frank
06-25-2011, 03:25 AM   #3
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If you can afford it, the da*300 is the best available from pentax today. Since you bring up a 70-300 I guess your looking for something cheaper or lighter. Take a look at the pentax DA 55-300, you wont find a better zoom for the money. It's not perfect though. At the extreme ends all zooms in this priserange will be lacking in sharpness. And the af is noisy on that lens.
06-25-2011, 05:06 AM   #4
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The DA 55-300mm is very good for its price. And not really heavy either, which is an important consideration if you are taking it on a long walk outdoors.

06-25-2011, 05:22 AM   #5
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I'll chime in here too....having just evaluated the 55-300mm, its an excellent value. Very reasonably priced and I found it exceedingly sharp at 300mm. Perhaps it was just my copy, but I was impressed.

I'll agree that the autofocus is a bit noisy, and for birding, that might be an issue......but considering it all, I feel the lens is a great a value.
06-25-2011, 05:39 AM   #6
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The DA 55-300 keeps getting rated as a very competent zoom and it is certainly priced right. The DAL version is less expensive, most importantly it has the same optical formula, but lacks quick shift from AF to MF and has a plastic instead of metal mount. The other, less easily obtained, option that affords you a great walk about lens is the DA 18-250 that was made by Tamron.
06-25-2011, 05:51 AM   #7
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Depends on the size of the wildlife &/or how far away. 300 f4 will need a TC 1.4 or higher to get decent images of birds.

Sigma 50-500 or 150-500 are the norm. Just a pity Pentax is not currently helping with its line up.
06-25-2011, 07:39 AM   #8
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While the Pentax 55-300 is a great lens, if you are strapped for cash the Tamron or Sigma 70-300 can get you started without pain. I think the Tammy has a slight edge. If you can be patient and stealthy you do not need a 500mm. I've gotten some great nature shots with the DA* 200.

06-25-2011, 10:14 AM   #9
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I've found the sigma 100-300 f/4 to be stunning though it may be hard to find now in the Ka mount.
06-25-2011, 01:34 PM   #10
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Thank you all so much for your help!!!
06-25-2011, 11:05 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by kev.pride Quote
Depends on the size of the wildlife &/or how far away. 300 f4 will need a TC 1.4 or higher to get decent images of birds.

Sigma 50-500 or 150-500 are the norm. Just a pity Pentax is not currently helping with its line up.

I really have to take issue with that comment on the DA*300 needing a TC to get decent images of birds. It is absolutely not true and I have to say that you surely don't have one to make that statement.

The *300 is extremely sharp, AF is silent, fast and accurate, there are few shots I miss from any deficiency in the lense. The extreme sharpness also enable you to crop to a similar perspective that a big Sigma would give (those lenses are regularly stated to actually be ca. 450 and not 500 anyway) and there is virtually no degradation at 300mm compared to zooms which are typically at their sharpest somewhere around the middle of their ranges (though I've seen many superb shots from both the big Sigmas at full tele).

Birds shot with *300

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/135604-nature-first-chin...-da%2A300.html

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/137992-nature-hoopoe-last.html

I have both the Tamron x1.4 and AFA x1.7 but unless absolutely necessary I prefer to shoot without either on the *300.

For the OP you can check out this test sequence I posted some time ago (55-300 / *300 / Tx1.4. Px1.7, Tak 300 etc.).

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/139941-lenses-...-x1-4-etc.html

Having previously had the P 80-320 / T 70-300 and 55-300 (still in the bag somewhere), I can confidently state that the 55-300 is the best of the budget zooms (though the Tamron 70-300 is amazing value for money).

However if the price isn't an issue and you want a zoom then go for the Sigma 100-300/4 if you can find it, amazing sharpness across it's range. Otherwise the *300 is superb.

Last edited by Frogfish; 06-26-2011 at 12:56 AM.
06-25-2011, 11:56 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
The DA 55-300 keeps getting rated as a very competent zoom and it is certainly priced right. The DAL version is less expensive, most importantly it has the same optical formula, but lacks quick shift from AF to MF and has a plastic instead of metal mount. The other, less easily obtained, option that affords you a great walk about lens is the DA 18-250 that was made by Tamron.
...and it has no lens hood. I owned this lens bur sold it when I acquired the 60-250 which is a super, super lens. Now I am sorry I sold the 55-300 because when I now look at pics I took with it at full stretch I realize how good it really was. And it is much smaller and lighter.

Don't buy the DAL version, for the quick shift alone. You will be surprised how often you will make use of it particularly at long focals. And even more so if you have a split screen fitted.

Greetings
06-26-2011, 01:56 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Frogfish Quote
I really have to take issue with that comment on the DA*300 needing a TC to get decent images of birds. It is absolutely not true and I have to say that you surely don't have one to make that statement.

The *300 is extremely sharp, AF is silent, fast and accurate, there are few shots I miss from any deficiency in the lense. The extreme sharpness also enable you to crop to a similar perspective that a big Sigma would give (those lenses are regularly stated to actually be ca. 450 and not 500 anyway) and there is virtually no degradation at 300mm compared to zooms which are typically at their sharpest somewhere around the middle of their ranges (though I've seen many superb shots from both the big Sigmas at full tele).

Birds shot with *300

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/135604-nature-first-chin...-da%2A300.html

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/137992-nature-hoopoe-last.html

I have both the Tamron x1.4 and AFA x1.7 but unless absolutely necessary I prefer to shoot without either on the *300.

For the OP you can check out this test sequence I posted some time ago (55-300 / *300 / Tx1.4. Px1.7, Tak 300 etc.).

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/139941-lenses-...-x1-4-etc.html

Having previously had the P 80-320 / T 70-300 and 55-300 (still in the bag somewhere), I can confidently state that the 55-300 is the best of the budget zooms (though the Tamron 70-300 is amazing value for money).

However if the price isn't an issue and you want a zoom then go for the Sigma 100-300/4 if you can find it, amazing sharpness across it's range. Otherwise the *300 is superb.
Always thought someone would have taken offence, I was talking focal length not the lens itself. I have taken some fine bird shots with my Sigma 100-300 f4 without the TC on, however most Birding Photographers/ Birding sites state 400 mm is the minimum.
06-26-2011, 02:15 AM - 1 Like   #14
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Pentax K-5 Telephoto's

I have a K-5 and use a Sigma 500mm f4.5 EX DG,Sigma, 300mm f2.8 EX DG and a Sigma 400mm f5.6 APO Tele Macro all of which are very good for wildlife.
Flickr: ducatigaz's Photostream
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06-26-2011, 03:15 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ducatigaz Quote
I have a K-5 and use a Sigma 500mm f4.5 EX DG,Sigma, 300mm f2.8 EX DG and a Sigma 400mm f5.6 APO Tele Macro all of which are very good for wildlife.
Flickr: ducatigaz's Photostream
Drool.
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