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12-06-2012, 12:21 PM   #1
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What long lens for wildlife?

After the first of the year I plan on buying the K5ll with the 18-135 kit lens. I like to do wildlife and birds. What lens should I look at to get to the 350-500mm range? How do the Sigma zooms work with the Pentax cameras? They seem to have the zooms that come close to what I would like to have without spending a ton of money.. I am also planing on getting the Pentax 200mm. Suggestions helpful also pros and cons. Thanks

12-06-2012, 12:33 PM   #2
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the sigmas work great with the pentax...biggest issue for me is they are not weather resistent but they are excellent lens...i have the 70-200 ex non os (older lens), 50-500 os hsm and just got the 500mm yesterday...you may want to post specifically what you are thinking about because a ton of money is different for each person and there are many different options of lens for the range you are looking at ...i will be selling my pentax 200mm 2.8 after the holidays..no issues with it but it overlaps with what i already have and it just sits there un-used...it also has a 3 year square trade with accidental damage that i think i got in may of this year..amy
12-06-2012, 12:37 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gold Coast Quote
After the first of the year I plan on buying the K5ll with the 18-135 kit lens. I like to do wildlife and birds. What lens should I look at to get to the 350-500mm range? How do the Sigma zooms work with the Pentax cameras? They seem to have the zooms that come close to what I would like to have without spending a ton of money.. I am also planing on getting the Pentax 200mm. Suggestions helpful also pros and cons. Thanks
For birds: minimum 500mm, straight telephoto (not zoom) if you can afford it.
12-06-2012, 03:34 PM   #4
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Pentax Q + 100mm prime = 550mm equivalent

Pentax Q + 135mm prime = 742.5mm equivalent

Pentax Q + 200mm prime = 1100mm equivalent

It gets even more absurd with higher focal lengths, and even if you bought 3 Q's and the correspoding lenses you'd still be less than the $5,000+ you'd need to buy a huge prime.

Most people seem to be happy using a 150-500mm or a 50-500mm Sigma, the latter of which can be used with a teleconverter to add a bit of reach.

12-06-2012, 05:53 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gold Coast Quote
After the first of the year I plan on buying the K5ll with the 18-135 kit lens. I like to do wildlife and birds. What lens should I look at to get to the 350-500mm range? How do the Sigma zooms work with the Pentax cameras? They seem to have the zooms that come close to what I would like to have without spending a ton of money.. I am also planing on getting the Pentax 200mm. Suggestions helpful also pros and cons. Thanks
There is a great thread with examples from pretty well all the long lenses available.
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/lens-clubs/55946-300mm-plus-lens-club-dis...ng-lenses.html
12-06-2012, 09:23 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gold Coast Quote
After the first of the year I plan on buying the K5ll with the 18-135 kit lens. I like to do wildlife and birds. What lens should I look at to get to the 350-500mm range? How do the Sigma zooms work with the Pentax cameras? They seem to have the zooms that come close to what I would like to have without spending a ton of money.. I am also planing on getting the Pentax 200mm. Suggestions helpful also pros and cons. Thanks
if you are in the second hand market these classic Pentax FA lenses do very well


if you want new, I would suggest the 60-250, or the 300 as an alternative to the 200. 200's just don't do it for little creatures.
12-06-2012, 09:57 PM   #7
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Minimum 300mm for birds and preferably 500mm. Sure if you have super glue and know where the bird is going to land or you're photographing ostriches for a living you'll survive with less than 300mm but in reality FL and speed are the most important...
12-06-2012, 11:08 PM   #8
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Heed the advice to go long; I don't know of any wildlife/nature shooter who has complained that they wish they'd stuck with a shorter focal length! Consider dipping your toes in the water with a "mirror" lens for an inexpensive entry into the world of longer lenses, especially if prices are a big detterent to your "going long". Check out the Flickr groups "Mirror Reflex Lens" and "The Power of Bigma" for examples of what lower price range 500 mm lenses might do for you.

-Avi Lewis

12-07-2012, 05:29 AM   #9
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This discussion actually tells us that Pentax is not ready for 500 mm or bird photography. You need to go Sigma until the 560 mm lens arrives and even that lens is not really the answer. FA300/600 were the answer.
12-07-2012, 08:42 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by zapp Quote
This discussion actually tells us that Pentax is not ready for 500 mm or bird photography. You need to go Sigma until the 560 mm lens arrives and even that lens is not really the answer. FA300/600 were the answer.
Do take into account that other technology changes have made life in the Aviary easier:
a) half frame (APS-C) has made long lenses longer.
b) High ISO's----800 and above have replaced hi-speed Ektachrome for the shadows.

OTOH, TC's are much less useful.

Because of these changes, if you hold the distance, and ambient light levels required for a good shot constant you can go out
with a DA* 300 with a K30 or a K5 and come back with photos comparable to what could be done 30 years ago with a the best equipment
of the day.
12-07-2012, 10:01 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by rvannatta Quote
Do take into account that other technology changes have made life in the Aviary easier:
a) half frame (APS-C) has made long lenses longer.
b) High ISO's----800 and above have replaced hi-speed Ektachrome for the shadows.

OTOH, TC's are much less useful.

Because of these changes, if you hold the distance, and ambient light levels required for a good shot constant you can go out
with a DA* 300 with a K30 or a K5 and come back with photos comparable to what could be done 30 years ago with a the best equipment
of the day.
why is a TC not usefull? I am also looking for a birding solution and think 200 F2.8 with 2X TC, as IQ should not suffer much, and it gives me 600mm effective FL
12-07-2012, 11:41 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Shanti Quote
why is a TC not usefull? I am also looking for a birding solution and think 200 F2.8 with 2X TC, as IQ should not suffer much, and it gives me 600mm effective FL
Good luck in finding a super high quality 2X TC in K -mount.

M
12-08-2012, 01:13 AM   #13
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One from a couple of days ago - K5 with Sigma 500 f4.5 APO DG EX. Superbly sharp lens (mine needed a +5 focus adjust though), and works with a Teleconverter when the light is good (can't wait to get a K5IIS and then try the TC!)
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12-10-2012, 06:42 AM   #14
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Nice shot of the birds. Please keep us informed on the K-5lls and the Sigma 500mm lens.
12-10-2012, 02:49 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by rvannatta Quote
OTOH, TC's are much less useful.
This is going a bit off topic, so forgive me in advance. . .

I'm going to disagree -- for the vast majority of shooters good quality TCs can be very useful when paired with premium lenses. This caveat is important -- a TC will magnify any optical weakness in the lens -- the better the lens, the better it will work with a TC. Max aperture is also a factor since you lose f stops in direct proportion to the magnification factor of the TC, and this will effect focusing ability, either AF or MF. Pentax DSLRs' AF starts to get iffy as the max aperture of the lens or lens TC combination approaches f8 -- some bodies are better than others -- the K-5 and new K-5 II(s) AF sensors are significantly more sensitive than previous bodies, so can go a bit past f8, even in less than direct sunlight. I've personally decided that I don't need to go longer than 300mm f2.8 in lenses -- to get more reach, I use TC(s). My usual birding walk around kit is my K-5 (recently acquired a K-5 IIs), an FA* 300 f4.5 + F 1.7x Auto Focusing Adapter (510mm f7.7). I've used this lens combination for quite a few years with good effect, and I can go faster if I choose with the FA* 300 f2.8 + 1.7x AFA (510mm f4.8) or even stack the AFA on a Sigma EX 1.4x APO or a Tamron 1.4x AF PZ MC4 to get 714mm f6.7. AF works at least acceptably for me with all of these, with the added benefits of faster AF and focus limiting with the AFA.

Here are some examples to support my position. I've posted these examples before -- so nothing new --

DS + Tamron SP 300 f2.8 LD (mod 60B) + P F 1.7x AFA (510mm f4.8) Lens at f4 (indicated f7.1), 1/250, ISO 400 handheld. Shot in jpeg, full height 8x10 crop and resized for posting only.


. . . and a 100% crop from just below and left of center no resize or PP


K100D + FA* 300 f4.5 ED [IF] + 1.7x AFA. (510mm f7.7). Lens at f4.5 (f8 indicated), 1/400, ISO 200 handheld. Shot in jpeg, full width 8x10 crop and resized for posting only.


K20D + FA* 300 f2.8 ED [IF] + 1.7x AFA + Sigma 1.4x APO AF TC (714mm f6.3). Lens at f5.6 (f10 indicated, f13.3 effective) 1/100, ISO 320 shot from a tripod. Shot in jpeg, full height vertical 5x7 crop from a landscape frame. Deconvolution sharpened and resized forposting.


K-5 + Canon FD 300 f4 L (converted to K mount) + 1.7x AFA (510 f6.8). Lens at f4 (f4 indicated, f6.8 effective) 1/400, ISO 1600 shot from a tripod. Shot from jpeg, full height 8x10 crop light NR and deconvolution sharpened and resized for posting


At my level, these are more than acceptable, and most amateur bird shooters that I've run into say that they'd be very happy to get anything close. Personally, I've never been able to shoot any of my lenses,then crop, and get anything like the feather detail in the cardinal shot (even with the considerably greater sensor resolution at 10, 14, and 16 MP over the 6MP of the DS), as -- in my experience, the additional magnification of the TC allows for greater focusing accuracy (and metering accuracy also). I must admit that I shoot my ultra tele lenses and super tele combos mostly at short distances (under 20 feet) -- but have examples of these working at least reasonably well at distance (this is much more difficult shooting IMO, and takes a higher level of technique -- plus a greater degree of luck)

The TC(s) have saved me a bunch of money -- ultra tele lenses get very expensive, very quickly. For $125 USD, the F 1.7x AFA (that's the average price for the 3 I own) has save me -- at least $4000 that I would have to pay for a Sigma EX 500 f4.5 -- not to mention the additional 7+ lbs I'd have to carry. They've also added a lot of versatility for my ultra-tele + shooting since I have additional choices in FL for very little extra carry weight. Another advantage, for me, is that the shorter ultra teles have shorter Minimum Focusing Distances, and the MFD does not change when you mount a TC (actually, it sometimes gets marginally shorter). Most 500mm lenses have MFDs of @ 4m compared to the 2m of my FA* 300s ( the DA* 300/4 is even shorter at @ 4.5 ft IIRC).

The one thing that Pentax shooters have to be aware of is that SDM is fussy at best with the TCs that exist -- The only one that works as designed is the 1.7x AFA. For any "PZ" capable TC, there are very inconsistent reports of AF compatibility -- so my use of TCs is not necessarily what one can expect with DA* teles, except for the AFA -- and there are varying reports of others using the AFA -- some love it, some hate it, and some are on the fence . . . like just about everything. . .

Another possible choice to go really long might be the Q -- I'm currently exploring using the Q with a K2Q adapter as a digital 3.6x TC (compared to APS-C) -- it's a work in progress, but looks good so far to me. . .

TCs (and the Q for that matter) might not be the best solutions for pros who shoot for publication, but for my level -- a pretty decent amateur birder that shoots for fun -- they do pretty well.

Sorry for going OT, but I think there's relevance in this thread.

Scott

Last edited by snostorm; 12-11-2012 at 08:20 AM.
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