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09-28-2016, 10:23 PM   #23326
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobG Quote
I love the photos in this thread, but I'd like to start a discussion about lenses. What is the best lens for wildlife (especially bird) photography available for Pentax and why? I realise that "best" can depend on a lot of things. I suspect that the best current lens would be the DFA150-450, but there may be others. I use the DA*300 with the HD 1.4x TC, but the lack of focus limiting makes it a frustrating combination. I also find that the narrow DOF means I end up using centre spot AF, and that makes achieving focus harder. Using more AF points means that the lens might focus on something, but not necessarily the part of the subject I want to focus on (or possibly something other than the subject). With the DFA 150-450 being so expensive, I've considered buying a Canon body with a lens, on the understanding that such a combination might result in faster and more reliable AF. I'd appreciate the thoughts of others on this subject.
You would be right in your assumption about the 150-450, expensive as it is, it's the only viable option for us Pentax users, given that the old 600 is rare and mega money. But, don't forget that the 150 -450 works perfectly with the 1.4 teleconverter, and it bright light especiallyears so, with no real loss in sharpness from myou experience. This is my current preferred set up. Yes, you could get some used Canon or Nikon for less though, in fact, you could buy a new body and the Sigma 150-600 for less (Pentax take note), but it's not Pentax 😊
Regarding focus points. I'm not sure about other users, but I literally use single centre point focus for all wildlife shots, so all of these million point things are a waste for me anyway. There are a few of my shots with the combo on the forum.

09-28-2016, 11:03 PM   #23327
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobG Quote
What is the best lens for wildlife (especially bird) photography available for Pentax and why?
Hard to answer because too many variables "best" lens mean different things to different people. For a wild bird shooting you need at least 300mm on APS-C size camera, preferably 400mm and for full frame at least 500mm - 600mm from my personal experience. For shooting in the backyard, bird feeders etc where birds are not as shy you can get away with 300mm or even shorter.

There are some good new lenses out there. Pentax D FA150-450mm, Sigma 500mm f/4.5, Pentax DA 560mm f/5.6. Sigma 50-500mm. I personally prefer prime lenses for the extra sharpness and speed. Pentax FA *600mm f/4 it is the ultimate choice if you can find one and afford it (no longer in the production)
I am planning to buy Pentax DA 560mm f/5.6 next year, I like the all weather feature on that lens. I am hopping that by next year there will be more long telephoto lenses available for Pentax. but I am not holding my breath.

Far as used older lenses there are some nice choices from Pentax, Sigma, Tamron.

Pentax F or FA *300mm f/4, Pentax FA* 400mm f/5.6, Pentax FA *300mm f/2.8, Pentax FA * 600mm f/4, SMC Pentax-F* 250-600mm F5.6 ED [IF] (superb zoom lens) and also some very sharp prime manual focus lenses.

Tamron SP AF 300mm F2.8 LD IF

Sigma 400mm F5.6 APO (AF)

just to name a few.

The ugly truth is that if you want high quality glass long telephoto or zoom lens you have to pay some $$$$.

Now far as the autofocus goes K-1 and K-3/(II) has plenty fast autofocus for most situation. Not quite as fast as Canon or Nikon, but you need to shoot with higher end cameras and lenses with Canon and Nikon also and that is not cheap either. There is no free lunch here.
09-29-2016, 01:49 AM   #23328
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kevriano Quote
You would be right in your assumption about the 150-450, expensive as it is, it's the only viable option for us Pentax users, given that the old 600 is rare and mega money. But, don't forget that the 150 -450 works perfectly with the 1.4 teleconverter, and it bright light especiallyears so, with no real loss in sharpness from myou experience. This is my current preferred set up. Yes, you could get some used Canon or Nikon for less though, in fact, you could buy a new body and the Sigma 150-600 for less (Pentax take note), but it's not Pentax ��
Regarding focus points. I'm not sure about other users, but I literally use single centre point focus for all wildlife shots, so all of these million point things are a waste for me anyway. There are a few of my shots with the combo on the forum.
Thanks for your response. I already have the HD DA 1.4x TC. The concern I have is whether for wildlife and bird photography I might get better tracking AF and faster AF in general using a Canon body with the Sigma 150-600 for around the same price as the Pentax lens.

I briefly used a friend's Nikon which had the same sensor as the K5 (I forget the model) but I found the multipoint AF much smarter than in the Pentax - if I had a person on the left side of the frame, it was able to identify them as the subject and focus on them rather than whatever happened to be in the middle of the frame. My Pentax cameras seem to hunt quite a lot, but I don't have enough experience with a Canikon for meaningful comparison.

---------- Post added 29-09-16 at 07:26 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by cleaverx Quote
Hard to answer because too many variables "best" lens mean different things to different people. For a wild bird shooting you need at least 300mm on APS-C size camera, preferably 400mm and for full frame at least 500mm - 600mm from my personal experience. For shooting in the backyard, bird feeders etc where birds are not as shy you can get away with 300mm or even shorter.
Sure. I've mostly used the DA 55-300 on Pentax, but also a 500mm mirror lens and now the DA*300 and HD DA 1.4x TC. The 55-300 is light and portable and just long enough for situations where you can get close to subject. The mirror lens was compact and portable, but manual focus and extraordinarily hard to focus with a fixed aperture, dark viewfinder image and extremely narrow DOF. The DA*300 is optically superb but painfully slow to focus and often hunts. The lack of a focus limiter and slow focus means that fast moving animals are often missed.

QuoteQuote:
There are some good new lenses out there. Pentax D FA150-450mm, Sigma 500mm f/4.5, Pentax DA 560mm f/5.6. Sigma 50-500mm.
The DFA150-450 is about AUD$3,300. The Sigma 500 f4.5 is about AUD$6,700. The DA560 is also about AUD$6000. The Sigma 50-500 is about AUD$1,300 and from what I understand, no better than the DA*300 - in other words you're better off using the DA*300 and cropping than using a Sigma 50-500 at focal lengths beyond 300mm. The reviews of the Sigma 500 f4.5 all say that it's superb - but I note that it has no focus limiter.

QuoteQuote:
I personally prefer prime lenses for the extra sharpness and speed. Pentax FA *600mm f/4 it is the ultimate choice if you can find one and afford it (no longer in the production) I am planning to buy Pentax DA 560mm f/5.6 next year, I like the all weather feature on that lens. I am hopping that by next year there will be more long telephoto lenses available for Pentax. but I am not holding my breath.
I could afford the FA600 (assuming there was one for sale), but I don't think I could justify the price. Gary Chalker has posted a lot of great photos from that lens. I believe that the DA560 is wonderful optically (I've seen some fabulous shots in this thread) but it's built like a telescope. It's probably a great lens if you're going to set up in a hide and you don't have to lug the gear too far from a road.

QuoteQuote:
Pentax F or FA *300mm f/4, Pentax FA* 400mm f/5.6, Pentax FA *300mm f/2.8, Pentax FA * 600mm f/4, SMC Pentax-F* 250-600mm F5.6 ED [IF] (superb zoom lens) and also some very sharp prime manual focus lenses. Tamron SP AF 300mm F2.8 LD IF Sigma 400mm F5.6 APO (AF) just to name a few. The ugly truth is that if you want high quality glass long telephoto or zoom lens you have to pay some $$$$.
Unfortunately non-AF lenses are out for me since I've started wearing glasses.

QuoteQuote:
Now far as the autofocus goes K-1 and K-3/(II) has plenty fast autofocus for most situation. Not quite as fast as Canon or Nikon, but you need to shoot with higher end cameras and lenses with Canon and Nikon also and that is not cheap either. There is no free lunch here.
Of course there's no free lunch, but there's a lot more lenses available for Canikon than Pentax, and at the moment my options for AF lenses with a focus limiter seems to be the DFA 150-450.
The Sigma Sports 150-600 is about AUD$1,800 and the Canon EOS 70D is about AUD$1300, total AUD$3,100. So for around the price of the DFA 150-450 I'd get a camera and lens combination which may be better than the DFA+K3.

I had an old Promaster 70-300 (I think) lens which focussed extremely quickly, but optically it was not nearly as good as the DA 55-300. The promaster was reasonably sharp, but the colour rendition from the DA 55-300 was far superior, probably due to much better lens coatings. I've tried the DA 150-450 in Tokyo and it seemed to focus reasonably quickly and reliably, hunting much less than the DA*300 or DA 55-300. But even so the AF speed was slow compared to the Promaster. For me, over $3K on a lens is a major investment so I want to be sure that there isn't a better option for the same price.

But the point of this thread wasn't simply my hunt for a better lens than the DA*300. It was to ask others what they considered good lenses for wildlife photography. So thanks for your response - I appreciate it!

Last edited by RobG; 09-29-2016 at 02:30 AM.
09-29-2016, 03:50 AM   #23329
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For a time I had a Tamron 150-600 on a Nikon 7100. Up to about 500mm the lens is really good, even excellent, but it softens @ 600mm After I purchased a 150-450 Pentax I decided to sell the Tammy & Nikon rather than carry two different camera bodies. Also, I really could not get used to the Nikon controls. The Tamron was somewhat lighter that the Pentax, and on the Nikon focusing seemed pretty quick to me.

09-29-2016, 04:42 AM   #23330
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QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
For a time I had a Tamron 150-600 on a Nikon 7100. Up to about 500mm the lens is really good, even excellent, but it softens @ 600mm After I purchased a 150-450 Pentax I decided to sell the Tammy & Nikon rather than carry two different camera bodies. Also, I really could not get used to the Nikon controls. The Tamron was somewhat lighter that the Pentax, and on the Nikon focusing seemed pretty quick to me.
Thanks, that's really useful information! Was the 150-600 the standard or the sports version? Having a lighter lens/body combination appeals to me, because most of the photography I do is hand-held. Did you get any impression of how good the optical stabilisation was? Ironically enough - I just checked a comparison of the Sigma, Tamron and Nikon zooms and one comment was that the Sigma tracked poorly for bird photos.
09-29-2016, 05:24 AM   #23331
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My wife has a Nikon (5500) and a Nikon 200 - 500 f5.6. It's no faster than my combo - K3, 150-450, it may be slightly behind at times. You would have to buy top line bodies and lenses to get better I feel.
09-29-2016, 06:17 AM   #23332
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobG Quote
Thanks, that's really useful information! Was the 150-600 the standard or the sports version? Having a lighter lens/body combination appeals to me, because most of the photography I do is hand-held. Did you get any impression of how good the optical stabilisation was? Ironically enough - I just checked a comparison of the Sigma, Tamron and Nikon zooms and one comment was that the Sigma tracked poorly for bird photos.
The Tamron was the original version, about $1100. I thought the designation "Sport" was for the more expensive of Sigma's two 150-600mm lenses (the less expensive being called the "contemporary" model). I used the Tamron either on a tripod or a car-window bag essentially 100% of the time.
09-29-2016, 07:08 AM - 5 Likes   #23333
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Moooooooooom!!!

Itís raining!

Do we really have to have salmon again!?!?

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09-29-2016, 07:29 AM   #23334
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QuoteOriginally posted by Quartermaster James Quote
Moooooooooom!!!

Itís raining!

Do we really have to have salmon again!?!?

Bob says thereís a guy with beef jerky around here!
Love the caption and the shot. Well done!
09-29-2016, 08:18 AM   #23335
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kevriano Quote
My wife has a Nikon (5500) and a Nikon 200 - 500 f5.6. It's no faster than my combo - K3, 150-450, it may be slightly behind at times. You would have to buy top line bodies and lenses to get better I feel.
Try that lens on a D500 and you would probably feel differently about needing a top line lens...but a D500 costs almost as much in Australia as a Pentax 150-450 and then you would need a lens too...

I have a Facebook friend who uses the D500 with the Nikon 200-500. He used to use a D600 with the Sigma 500/4.5...
09-29-2016, 09:50 AM   #23336
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
Try that lens on a D500 and you would probably feel differently about needing a top line lens...but a D500 costs almost as much in Australia as a Pentax 150-450 and then you would need a lens too...

I have a Facebook friend who uses the D500 with the Nikon 200-500. He used to use a D600 with the Sigma 500/4.5...
Very possibly so, though I know someone with that combo, and he still finds it a little slow on birds in flight.
09-29-2016, 06:52 PM - 3 Likes   #23337
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09-29-2016, 07:01 PM   #23338
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
Try that lens on a D500 and you would probably feel differently about needing a top line lens...but a D500 costs almost as much in Australia as a Pentax 150-450 and then you would need a lens too...

I have a Facebook friend who uses the D500 with the Nikon 200-500. He used to use a D600 with the Sigma 500/4.5...
Do people still buy 20 MP cameras?
09-29-2016, 07:16 PM   #23339
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kevriano Quote
My wife has a Nikon (5500) and a Nikon 200 - 500 f5.6. It's no faster than my combo - K3, 150-450, it may be slightly behind at times. You would have to buy top line bodies and lenses to get better I feel.
If a top line DSLR is needed, it negates the cost advantage in changing vendor - other than providing access to lenses which aren't available for Pentax.

QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
The Tamron was the original version, about $1100. I thought the designation "Sport" was for the more expensive of Sigma's two 150-600mm lenses (the less expensive being called the "contemporary" model). I used the Tamron either on a tripod or a car-window bag essentially 100% of the time.
Sorry, I missed that it was the Tamron rather than the Sigma.

QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
Try that lens on a D500 and you would probably feel differently about needing a top line lens...but a D500 costs almost as much in Australia as a Pentax 150-450 and then you would need a lens too...
I have a Facebook friend who uses the D500 with the Nikon 200-500. He used to use a D600 with the Sigma 500/4.5...
See above. If I have to pay the price of a K1 to get better AF performance than the K3, I might as well get the DFA 150-450.

QuoteOriginally posted by Kevriano Quote
Very possibly so, though I know someone with that combo, and he still finds it a little slow on birds in flight.
Yet I haven't heard anyone claiming that any Pentax DSLR is good for BIF. Continuous AF on Pentax has been stated as poor compared to Canikon. I've tried CAF on my K5iis and K3 but end up turning it off. I've had more success using normal AF and repeatedly half depressing the shutter release - with aircraft and BIF.

---------- Post added 30-09-16 at 12:21 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Do people still buy 20 MP cameras?
I still use my K5iis which is only 16MP. The number of megapixels isn't necessarily the point, and yes I saw the smiley.
09-29-2016, 07:25 PM - 3 Likes   #23340
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