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12-27-2010, 04:02 AM   #1
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Considering K-R, wildlife questions

Good morning from a wet and windy Wales.
I curently have a fuji s100fs superzoom, which I adore, however I feel I want more out of the camera. I'm considering upgrading to a dslr and after considerable reserch the K-R seems very appealing,with its fast af and good image quality, however I have a couple of concerns, and would appreciate your help and advice.

I particularly enjoy and want to take wildlife pictures- especially bird shots. Would the infamous "shutter clunk" and reported lens focussing whirring be an issue here? I often get close to the subject.

I gather the range of lenses available is smaller than say canon etc, but does that apply to 3rd party lenses too? If I wanted say a 400mm prime (if I ever win the lottery,) could that be an issue?

My current lens is about the same size as a standard zoom, and it coupled with a 2/3" (8.8 x6.6mm) 11.1MP CCD sensor. Am I really going to benefit from going to the larger sensor especially for cropping a pic?

Last one (sorry guys), I will possibly go for the 55 -300mm kit lens that comes with it. I have read some comments that the IS/VR - what ever pentax call it) isnt very good at the longer distances and some blurring occurs when handholding. Is that right? It seems a bit odd when many of todays cams seem to cope very well.

Many thanks in advance for your help, I look forward to your comments!
Regards
Woody

12-27-2010, 10:34 AM   #2
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Do not make the mistake of comparing SR on a P&S superzoom to the SR on a DSLR. While the s100fs is marketed as having a 28-400mm equivalent lens, the actual focal length is much shorter. Sharp pictures are easy to obtain at 300mm as long as the shutter speed is at least 1/250.
12-27-2010, 10:50 AM   #3
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Hi,
using Pentax for bird shots for more than 20 years now, I'll try to share my experience with you. First let me say that with Pentax system you'll be able to get high quality pictures in the area of birding. at first glance, I must warn you that for a APS-C DSLR 300 mm is a minimum for bird shots; my recommandation would be either to start with a Pentax DA300f4 or a Sigma 50-500 f6.3; the latter one has longer reach but the faster DA 300 (f4) and premium image quality of the Pentax will allow you to crop more. the 55-300 is a screw drive autofocus lens; it will make some noise when focusing; the DA300 and the Sigma have HSM engine that focus without noise. If you want a very discrete sound when shooting there is the K5; the combo with the K5 and a DA300 is noiseless and water resistant, this is useful in wildlife. Of course it is not precisely a budget lens but bird shooting is not precisely a budget hobby. The VR is efficient on the DA300 - I have been able to shoot at 1/60 s handheld. For longer lenses I use now a FA*600 which is too heavy to be used handheld anyway, but on a monopod the combination with the VR allows sharp pictures at 1/125 with the 600mm; anyway this is not very useful because these birds are constantly moving, or they are sitting an a branch tha is shaked by the wind, and a high shooting speed s often required for this reason.
If one day you win at the lottery, there is a 400 mm f4 Pentax which is rumoured and should become a reality this year - I hope- , there is the Sigma 500mmF4.5; these lenses are in the 4000 $ price range.
Hope we'll see you sharing your bird shots here in a near future; here are some of mine :
DA*200 at f5.6, 1/125 s handheld

FA*600 at f8 1/400 on monopod

DA300 f9.5 at 1/180, handheld

DA300 at 1/3000 s, handheld
12-27-2010, 10:52 AM   #4
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Sorry there was a mistake in the first shot :


12-27-2010, 10:57 AM   #5
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I have been shooting wildlife with Pentax AF cameras since the 90īs. I cannot recall a single incident where the target would have been distracted by AF noise.
When moving from a PS to DSLR, you will probably see the biggest improvement in image quality in low-light areas/pictures. There is much less noise (grain) in the pictures, allowing you to use higher ISO settings.
Pentax in-body stabilization gives you a lot of leeway. However, with a 300mm lens you do have to pay attention to your shooting techniques - no matter which IS system you are using!
12-27-2010, 11:23 AM   #6
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While not * glass the DA 55-300 is one of the best consumer zooms you are going to find.


























12-27-2010, 11:29 AM   #7
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To the OP, welcome to the forum.
There has already been a number of good comments here. I can add mine regarding the 55-300mm. The AF is too slow where you are looking at a smaller bird, flitting whilst feeding, and it does make a fair bit of noise.

I would still recommend it, but recommend that you not get the DA L 55-300mm version bundled with the K-r kit.

Instead, I would recommend the original, DA (no L) 55-300mm, which has a metal mount and full time manual over-ride (or as pentax terms it, Quickshift). This means you can get close to the focussing distance required manually and then touch the af button to confirm the lock. Very handy, and pretty important for birding.

It is a good piece of glass and I have had good success with it (example posted here previously):


I have another on my PPG - chickadees are fun to photograph.

One comment I have regarding a DA*300 - you will gain weatherproofing, which is good from what I remember from my time in South Wales. Then you only need to worry about the body! Cheers.

Last edited by Clarkey; 01-20-2013 at 11:04 AM. Reason: updated link
12-27-2010, 11:37 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clarkey Quote
To the OP, welcome to the forum.
There has already been a number of good comments here. I can add mine regarding the 55-300mm. The AF is too slow where you are looking at a smaller bird, flitting whilst feeding, and it does make a fair bit of noise.

I would still recommend it, but recommend that you not get the DA L 55-300mm version bundled with the K-r kit.

Instead, I would recommend the original, DA (no L) 55-300mm, which has a metal mount and full time manual over-ride (or as pentax terms it, Quickshift). This means you can get close to the focussing distance required manually and then touch the af button to confirm the lock. Very handy, and pretty important for birding.

It is a good piece of glass and I have had good success with it (example posted here previously):


I have another on my PPG - chickadees are fun to photograph.

One comment I have regarding a DA*300 - you will gain weatherproofing, which is good from what I remember from my time in South Wales. Then you only need to worry about the body! Cheers.
Nice Chickadee shot ! Congratulations! What we call tit in Europe are one of my favorite birds - with robins -

12-27-2010, 01:03 PM   #9
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Thank you all for your comments. I also take on board the suggestions about the DA55-300.
One question still though, I appreciate the af noise, what about the shutter clunk on the KR which I beleive is loud? (In cannot afford the K5 sadly). Some great shots you've posted as well guys, thank you.
Whilst not a bird, this is a squirrel I grabbed with my Fuji, just to show what that bridgecam is capable of.




Woody
12-27-2010, 05:44 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by goubejp Quote
Nice Chickadee shot ! Congratulations! What we call tit in Europe are one of my favorite birds - with robins -
Thanks very much - I forgot to compliment you on your excellent work previously. Kudos.
I love the personality of Chickadees, they are such fun to shoot, and very curious.

QuoteOriginally posted by ukwoody Quote
Thank you all for your comments. I also take on board the suggestions about the DA55-300.
One question still though, I appreciate the af noise, what about the shutter clunk on the KR which I beleive is loud? (In cannot afford the K5 sadly). Some great shots you've posted as well guys, thank you.
Whilst not a bird, this is a squirrel I grabbed with my Fuji, just to show what that bridgecam is capable of.




Woody
That's a great shot, and a very good example of what a bridge can do.
That being said, if you are going to shoot APS-C format (and particularly the K-r), you will gain the advantages of higher ISO capability in less than perfect light, and more dynamic range to play with (especially in the shadows).

To your shutter question, I would say that the K-r is actually fairly quiet, and much more so than the *Ist DS and K200D I owned prior to my K-7. I was quite impressed when I tried one recently. I wouldn't let that stop you from purchasing the K-r for your intended purpose.
I would recommend the K-7 except for the high iso issue - my shot was taken at ISO 1600 (from memory) on the K-7, and it is close to the limit of where I want to push things (there is colour loss from the noise reduction I have performed).

It's a pity, since the K-7 (and 5) feature the "TAv" mode in which you can set aperture and shutter (e.g. F6.3, 1/350th as a start for birding for me with the 55-300mm), and the camera shifts the ISO according to the light (up to a cap value you set). It's a wonderful solution for contrasty or shifting light, and in general a wonderful, compact and tough camera (and can be had for a song right now).

The only other combo I would suggest looking at is the Nikon D3100, with the 70-300mm or newer 55-300mm. However, I do not believe that the high iso on this camera matches the K-r, and it is more expensive (where I live, at least).
Hope this helps.

Last edited by Clarkey; 12-27-2010 at 06:42 PM. Reason: spelling
12-28-2010, 01:35 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by ukwoody Quote
Thank you all for your comments. I also take on board the suggestions about the DA55-300.
One question still though, I appreciate the af noise, what about the shutter clunk on the KR which I beleive is loud? (In cannot afford the K5 sadly). Some great shots you've posted as well guys, thank you.
Whilst not a bird, this is a squirrel I grabbed with my Fuji, just to show what that bridgecam is capable of.




Woody
Good shot of the squirrel indeed; my I suggest you to consider the K7 if you are on budget ? Consider that all the shots I have published have been made with K7 or K20D; K7 being replaced by the K5, there are bargains to catch, and it is a very valuable body; shutter sound is very quiet; my experience is that it is usable from 100 to 800 iso; the Kr will have one stop advantage over the K7 so it will be usable up to 1600 iso; and the K7 is a 14 Mpix vs 12 Mpix, in good light conditions at 200 iso it is really brilliant.
Regards
Regards
12-28-2010, 04:30 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clarkey Quote
The only other combo I would suggest looking at is the Nikon D3100, with the 70-300mm or newer 55-300mm. However, I do not believe that the high iso on this camera matches the K-r, and it is more expensive (where I live, at least).
Hope this helps.
3100 is worthless to me - it has no bracketing at all
just my 2 cents
12-28-2010, 08:30 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by stanic Quote
3100 is worthless to me - it has no bracketing at all
just my 2 cents
You are right, without bracketing, not usable for birding; example of difficult subject where bracketing is a "must have"

12-28-2010, 08:51 AM   #14
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I've never had any trouble with wildlife being disturbed by the shutter noise of the K-x. But this horse was upset by the noise of the AF.




If you are going to get the K-r by all means buy it with the DA L 55-300. Pentax is practically giving that lens away with the kit. You can sell it for more than you paid for it to help finance a better lens later.
12-28-2010, 10:20 AM   #15
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THanks guys, two things
What exactly IS bracketing and why do you feel it is so important, please?
Sadly the dal55-300 doesn't seem to be part of the offer in the UK, only the 18-55 and dal 50-200 and that lens isn't fetching much on flea bay s/h.

woody

Last edited by ukwoody; 12-28-2010 at 10:30 AM.
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