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12-22-2009, 07:38 AM   #121
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QuoteOriginally posted by ghelary Quote
Oh, you're even putting a price on it and it is the same price than the 60-250/4...

What happen, if they release it and the price is closer to 2000$/€ ?
Guillaume
The Canon 400/5.6 was $1229 the last time I looked so I just figured Pentax could bring it in the same ballpark. I would still consider it at $2000 but I don't think it should cost that much. This would be a slower prime than the more complicated 60-250 zoom.

http://www.adorama.com/CA40056AFU.html

After thinking about it I'm not sure whether I'd buy a Pentax at $2000 or get the Canon at $1229 and using the extra $700 to put toward a used 40D.
The point is if I had the money right now that's exactly what I'd do, buy a Canon and shoot dual systems and this is where Pentax is missing the boat in the long run. They need longer glass, not for the guys who don't need longer glass, but for the guys who do.


Last edited by Eaglerapids; 12-22-2009 at 07:50 AM.
12-22-2009, 07:43 AM   #122
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eaglerapids Quote
The Canon 400/5.6 was $1229 the last time I looked so I just figured Pentax could bring it in the same ballpark. I would still consider it at $2000 but I don't think it should cost that much. This would be a slower prime than the more complicated 60-250 zoom.
For a 400/5.6 to take off it has to be much better than the 300/f4 or the sigma 100-300F4 with a 1.4 TC. I wonder whether it will be that much better ?
12-22-2009, 07:47 AM   #123
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QuoteOriginally posted by snostorm Quote
I'd probably only get marginally better optical performance than I do with a 1.4x TC and the FA*300/2.8, so how practical would that really be? -- IMO not very. . .not for that kind of $$$.

A 400/5.6 or 400/5.0 would be much more likely choices, with a more practical size and correspondingly smaller price tag -- I might consider a 400/5, as it would probably still AF with TCs where an f5.6 might struggle, even with the increased AF sensitivity of the K-7.
A 400/4 is cheaper than a 300/2.8; not at least a 300/2.8 + a dedicated AF converter. A 400/4 could also be used with a converter while maintaining AF.
A 400/5.6 will never be released anymore, except as a zoom. The Canon is an old relic; probably no longer being made; Nikon doesn't bother with such a lens. Neither do anyone else. They cannot be used with converter while maintaining AF and this focal lenght and speed is covered by zoom lenses these days. Hope for a Pentax 100-400/5.6.

The Pentax A* 300/2.8 weights 3kg. A 400/4 would weight around 2kg. A 400/4 is the longest and fastest lens that can be handheld (within reason). And it will AF with converter adding significantly to its value. Thats whats make it so compelling. On an APS camera it is the equivalent to a 600/4 on 35mm. Imagine an hand-holdable 840/5.6, thats what you get with a converter on APS; a groundbreaking proposition....

Last edited by Pål Jensen; 12-22-2009 at 07:54 AM.
12-22-2009, 09:00 AM   #124
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eaglerapids Quote
It would definitely make me think long and hard. But do I need a 300mm AND a 400mm that costs $5000? I think snostorm makes a good point, if Pentax came out with a DA* 400/5.6 in the $1300 range and it was tack sharp at f5.6 I would be all over it. .....(snip)
The only thing that might kill this is the price. IIRC, the FA*400 f/5.6 was 2200 cdn when it was nearing the end of its run, and I suspect a DA* would come in at around the same. I don't think Pentax will ever make a 400mm f/5.6 at the same cost that Canon does.

Also, if Pentax does what they did with the 200mm f/2.8 (ie, the DA* is the same optical formula as the FA*), I can't say it would be worth the money pentax would charge. The FA* 400 is sharp, but it's not as sharp as the canon version and it's not as sharp as the A*400 f/4 by a long shot.

QuoteQuote:
(snip)...After thinking about it I'm not sure whether I'd buy a Pentax at $2000 or get the Canon at $1229 and using the extra $700 to put toward a used 40D.
The point is if I had the money right now that's exactly what I'd do, buy a Canon and shoot dual systems and this is where Pentax is missing the boat in the long run. They need longer glass, not for the guys who don't need longer glass, but for the guys who do.
Because I have the FA* version, I'm not considering a dual system yet. However, the Canon is a very sharp lens from what I've seen and if I was more serious about bird photography, I'd consider going that route.....well, either that or if I won the lottery, a d300s and a 200-400 f/4 VR


Last edited by Andrew Faires; 12-22-2009 at 09:08 AM.
12-22-2009, 04:31 PM   #125
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pål Jensen Quote
A 400/4 is cheaper than a 300/2.8; not at least a 300/2.8 + a dedicated AF converter. A 400/4 could also be used with a converter while maintaining AF.


The Pentax A* 300/2.8 weights 3kg. A 400/4 would weight around 2kg. A 400/4 is the longest and fastest lens that can be handheld (within reason). And it will AF with converter adding significantly to its value. Thats whats make it so compelling. On an APS camera it is the equivalent to a 600/4 on 35mm. Imagine an hand-holdable 840/5.6, thats what you get with a converter on APS; a groundbreaking proposition....
Hi Pål,

Cheaper??? A 400/4 has to have the same size front element as a 300/2.8 unless they design some monster aspherical front elements (and that would be very expensive to design and mfg -- so much so that I don't remember it ever being done on an ultra tele). I can't imagine any mfg being able to make a 300/2.8 and a 400/4 and selling them for anywhere near the same price, much less cheaper for the 400. When they were still being made the Tamron SP 400/4 sold for more than the SP300/2.8 in the Adaptall line, and the current Canon 400/4 DO USM IS is listed at over $1500 more than the 300/2.8 USM IS. If you can show me an example of a 400/4 and a 300/2.8 from the same mfg at the same time where the 400 is cheaper, I'd like to be enlightened.

With the last "steet" price of the FA*300/2.8 (IIRC) at $4800 USD (a price sheet I've seen set the MSRP at $6067, and there were no DSLRs or DA lenses listed, so I'll assume before 2005) on a special order only basis from the factory -- what would you expect the price of a 400/4 to be? -- and consider the recent price increases. The FA*300/2.8 didn't sell in enough quantity to be a regularly stocked item, even by the factory. With Pentax's small market share, with only a small percentage of dedicated long shooters (due to the traditional argument against Pentax of slow AF and frame rate, so they were delegated as "not suitable" for sports and wildlife), and virtually 0 rental house sales, I really doubt that a really fast long tele would fare much better.

You say "a 400/4 would weigh around 2kg". You must be looking at the Canon 400/4 DO. This lens has some very special optical glass, and I don't think that any other mfg has used it. It is certainly not typical of this class of lens. IIRC, the early DO lenses were not considered up to snuff with their non DO similarly spec'd (FL and speed) counterparts at the time.

I think it unrealistic to assume that Pentax either could or would produce such a lens. I think that experimenting with a new optical formula in a lens of this size and expense would be foolish, so it's back to the tried and true glass and its inherent size and weight -- and Pentax has never been known for its lightweight ultra teles. My FA*300/2.8 is considerably heavier than my Sigma EX 300/2.8 APO or my Tamron SP 300/2.8 LD (IF) A2, and I doubt that they've ever considered low weight as a priority in any of their big glass designs. I would expect that a Pentax 400/4 would follow suit and be heavier than average for the spec.

IMO, and I've considered this constantly for years, a 300/2.8 is the most practical fast ultra tele lens for all but the pros who need the highest optical performance and the reach -- and few of these shoot Pentax. For Pentax pro wildlife and sports shooters, most would opt for either the FA*250-600/5.6, the FA*600/4, or both. I can't justify the cost of these because I'd never use them because of their weight (@ 13 lbs each), and I'd have to pop at least another $1K for better support -- for ultra tele use, even the accessories are really expensive . . .

The P F 1.7x AFA gives Pentax a significant advantage in this regard for anyone who shoots long and has a budget of considerably less than $10K for their kit. Even at full retail of the most expensive alternatives (if they were still available) an FA*300/2.8 ($4800), 2 F 1.7x AFAs (2 x $330=$660), and 2 Sigma EX 1.4x APO DGs (2 x $250=$500), you'd have just under $6000 USD (I paid @ 1/2 of that, used) to get AF lenses at 300/2.8, 420/4, 510/4.8, 600/5.6, 714/6.7, 867/8.1, and 1000/9.3. These do not factor in the crop for APS-C. The best thing is that I can get all these FLs in a kit that I can actually carry along with a CF tripod w/Sidekick and an additional body w/FA*300/4.5 for quick handheld ops.

All but the last 2 combos AF in all but the darkest daylight conditions, and the last two need the K-7's AF sensitivity and are pretty slow at AF (but AF at slower than f8 max is pretty impressive, IMO -- and the AF was accurate enough to get reasonable feather detail).

Optically, all the combos except for the last are at least very good, IMO, and I'll use the 1000, but not often. The 861/8.1 uses 2 1.7x AFAs, and you have to focus the first AFA to infinity before mounting the second to get a full range of focus. I use 300, 420, 510, and 714 on a regular basis. BTW, the Sigma and Tamron 300/2.8s also work acceptably with all the combos, except that the Tamron, being an MF lens doesn't AF at 300, 420, and 600mm.

I'd only consider a 400/5.6 if it offers absolutely stellar performance (better than the FA*400/5.6). If it's a bit faster and still under $2K, I'd take a long look. If it's a 400/4, I'd almost certainly pass -- and I don't think I'd be alone. . .

Scott
12-22-2009, 06:00 PM   #126
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QuoteOriginally posted by snostorm Quote
Cheaper??? A 400/4 has to have the same size front element as a 300/2.8 ...
I think that is only the case if you want the projected image out of the rear element to cover a full-frame sensor... DA calls for a smaller projected image. This rumored lens is not celebrated to be a D-FA lens but rather a DA*, so it can be smaller that a 300/2.8 front element.
12-22-2009, 06:30 PM   #127
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QuoteOriginally posted by snostorm Quote
Hi Pål,

Cheaper??? A 400/4 has to have the same size front element as a 300/2.8
A 400/4 will have a front element that is about 10% smaller than a 300/2.8. It will probably be easier to design than a ultra fast 2.8 lens. It will be cheaper and lighter.
The Canon is a DO optic and an IS lens probably adding about $2500 to the cost....
12-22-2009, 06:31 PM   #128
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QuoteOriginally posted by m8o Quote
I think that is only the case if you want the projected image out of the rear element to cover a full-frame sensor... DA calls for a smaller projected image. This rumored lens is not celebrated to be a D-FA lens but rather a DA*, so it can be smaller that a 300/2.8 front element.
There are no gains for limiting the image circle for long telephoto lenses from 35mm to APS. The front element will be equally large for all 400/4 lenses regardless of format.

12-22-2009, 07:03 PM   #129
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QuoteOriginally posted by m8o Quote
I think that is only the case if you want the projected image out of the rear element to cover a full-frame sensor... DA calls for a smaller projected image. This rumored lens is not celebrated to be a D-FA lens but rather a DA*, so it can be smaller that a 300/2.8 front element.
Hi m80,

Sorry, but this has not happened. The DA* teles all seem to cover 24x36, and if you compare the dimensions of the A*300/4 and DA*300/4 you'll see that the front elements are the same size (77mm) and the weight has actually increased to close to the K 300/4 which was a much bigger lens than the A*. It would be insane for Pentax to make this an APS-C image circle lens. If they have the faintest thought of coming out with a 24x36 DSLR, having their premium telephoto lens not fill the sensor without vignetting badly would be suicidal.

If you're not convinced, take a look at the specs for the Oly 300/2.8 for the 4/3 format -- should be smaller still . . . right?

Scott

Last edited by snostorm; 12-22-2009 at 08:19 PM. Reason: added text
12-22-2009, 08:17 PM   #130
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pål Jensen Quote
A 400/4 will have a front element that is about 10% smaller than a 300/2.8. It will probably be easier to design than a ultra fast 2.8 lens. It will be cheaper and lighter.
The Canon is a DO optic and an IS lens probably adding about $2500 to the cost....
Hi Pål,

Okay, a 300/2.8 needs an entrance pupil (front element) of 107.1mm, and a 400/4 needs 100mm -- not really significantly different, and they'd probably still use a 112mm filter, and it would still be longer than the 300, so I don't see any real weight savings there, at least not 2.5 lbs worth. They could probably save some weight with a plastic barrel, but I don't think any mfgs are putting their big glass in plastic bodies. I really don't think that they could guarantee the precise element alignment that is needed for premium big glass lens over a lifetime.

It might be easier to design, but I can't see why. 300mm has always been a standard FL for 35mm and 400mm has always pretty much been a rarity. Traditionally, the easier to design/cheaper to produce lens became the default standard -- an example of this was the 50mm lens for 35mm film cameras. 43mm is the definition (diagonal of the film frame) "normal" FL for the format, but the 50mm was easier to design and cheaper to produce, so 50mm became the "normal" lens. The fact that 300mm has always been greatly favored implies that it's easier to design and mfg, but I'm no optical engineer.

Pentax already has a proven optical formula for the 300/2.8 that has been shown to work very well with digital sensors. I don't believe they've ever sold a 35mm 400/4 (there was an M*400/4 for the 67 though, and it was a good one for film, dunno about digital). I can't imagine that it would be cheaper to develop a lens from the ground up rather than to add WR, SDM, and QS focus to an established modern design. I really doubt that any marketing department would go along with pricing a "fast" 400 lens lower than a "fast" 300 regardless of production cost.

Both the 400/4 DO and the 300/2.8 both have USM and IS as I stated in my former post. I doubt that the higher price of the lower contrast DO glass would justify a $1500 price differential.

I guess we'll see who comes closer to the "real thing" when it is announced.


Scott
12-23-2009, 01:03 AM   #131
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QuoteOriginally posted by snostorm Quote
I guess we'll see who comes closer to the "real thing" when it is announced.

Scott
All we know now is what Pentax lens roadmap says - and it says DA SuperTelephoto. DA, no Stars there...
When DA* 30mm was still on the roadmap it had a Star. Just an observation...
If it means anything, we'll get DA 100-400 f/4-5.6 or something like that. Hopefully WRed. Not that Pentax is following their own roadmap at the moment
12-23-2009, 03:43 AM   #132
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my guess is a 80-400mm f5.6 tokina rebadge (I hope not though)
12-23-2009, 03:51 AM   #133
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It sounds more and more like the sigma 100-300 will be my first and last tele, and i better get used to the max reach of 420 with a TC. I am not going to pay over 2.5k for a tele, and if I do, I want a substantial improvement. It looks like these two are mutually exclusive. Also, I've maxed out with the weight and size with the Sigma. The only way to go longer is to switch brands so I can get some professional grade 2X and even 1.4 X TC that are so readily available for Nikon and Canon. But, I am not going to give up my Pentax primes, so it is sigma 100-300 forever.......

@Oren, if you are considering the 300/2.8, and you mentioned Canon, I would look into Canikon's wonderful TC's that they make and the professional grade kenkos. Pentax has nothing like that.............
12-23-2009, 08:10 AM   #134
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Zack Quote
Lucky you. There's no such thing as a "decent 40D" For the money they charge for that camera, it's a piece of crap.

I have a second shooter that uses one and I've not seen one good image from that body. To the point I don't use his work any more. Dull, flat, lifeless images. After using it a bit myself, I can say the only good thing that camera has is faster AF.

hmmmm, I'm looking at a bunch of prints in my cubicle, most taken with my 40D (some were with my Rebel Xsi ) and they are so far from "dull, flat, and lifeless" that something must have been wrong with your friend's 40D (or their technique) When you "hired" your second shooter, what were they shooting with? Did their work quality suddenly decline when they "upgraded" to the 40D?

The IQ of pretty much ALL bodies (from all brands) is excellent. Blanket statements saying the 40D is a piece of cr*p don't help anybody. If someone can't get good pictures out of a 40D, there's something wrong with that someone.

**assuming the 40D isn't defective of course
12-23-2009, 09:17 AM   #135
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QuoteOriginally posted by snostorm Quote
Pentax already has a proven optical formula for the 300/2.8 that has been shown to work very well with digital sensors. I don't believe they've ever sold a 35mm 400/4 (there was an M*400/4 for the 67 though, and it was a good one for film, dunno about digital). I can't imagine that it would be cheaper to develop a lens from the ground up rather than to add WR, SDM, and QS focus to an established modern design. I really doubt that any marketing department would go along with pricing a "fast" 400 lens lower than a "fast" 300 regardless of production cost.

It is true that it would be easiest for Pentax to relaunch the FA* 300/2.8 in D-FA* guise with SDM. However, I feel that the "need" for a 300/2.8 lens has dimished with the advent of digital. It was mostly for sportsphotography when 100ISO film was the default. As always, a 300/2.8 compete with a 300/4; the latter cost 1/3 of the price and is half the weight. Unless you want to glue a 1.4X teleconverter to the 300/2.8 at all times, but then you have a 400/4.....
In addition, the slim Pentax lens line-up currently doubling up the 300mm focal lenght seem not like such good idea. A 400/4 is a very nice balance between size, speed and cost for an ultra telephoto. For APS it is the equivalent of a 600/4....
I belive the optical formula used in the excellent 67 400/4 could be used for a K-mount 400/4. It is a simple optical formula....
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