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09-16-2017, 01:47 AM   #1
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Super-telephoto a pipe dream on Pentax FF?

I have a K-1, K-3, K-5 and a cupboard full of K-mount lenses (mostly Pentax). Broadly, I am a very happy Pentaxian, and love the K-1.

However, there is one area where I feel let down by the Pentax system, and its 3rd party lens support: super-telephoto on FF for wildlife. I have come very close to buying the DFA 150-450 a couple of times, and it is 15% off on the Pentax Australia web store this weekend. I am tempted, but ... 450 mm is pretty marginal for wildlife on FF. It has the same field of view as 300 mm on APS-C, and I have a lot of experience of that with the DA 55-300.

Yes, I know that there's the DA 560, but it's too expensive and is not really a FF lens, though its image circle covers the sensor. And yes, there is the 1.4x TC, but it's not FF either. What I would really like is the Sigma 150-600 Sport, but it's not available in K-mount and almost certainly never will be.

One option I am toying with is to just accept that Pentax will never cover this requirement, and jump ship to Nikon ... for super-telephoto only! (There is no way I am going to leave Pentax for all my other shooting.) If I just bought a Nikon D750 (Aus$2k at present) and the Sigma 150-600 Sport ($1600 this weekend), I am not paying much more than for the DFA 150-450 alone. I know the D750 is no K-1, but it's decent enough.

(By the way, I have used my son's Sigma 50-500 on the K-1. It's very sharp at centre, but disappointing near the edges on FF. I am looking for better.)

Does this make sense? For this sort of shooting I would normally only carry one lens anyway, so I don't need to double up and carry Pentax and Nikon together. Or is the K-1 + DFA 150-450 + cropping a better option?

09-16-2017, 02:02 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paul the Sunman Quote
Or is the K-1 + DFA 150-450 + cropping a better option?
I would go for this option.
The 15% off deal has me tempted too. Especially with a trip to Antarctica booked for next year.
09-16-2017, 02:14 AM   #3
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I dont know how the 150-450 behave on K3 and surely have no idea about shooting wildlife but wouldnt this give 675mm plus the option to crop, given K3's sensor? Is this an option?
09-16-2017, 02:33 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by yucafrita Quote
I dont know how the 150-450 behave on K3 and surely have no idea about shooting wildlife but wouldnt this give 675mm plus the option to crop, given K3's sensor? Is this an option?
In theory, yes. In practice, not so much. My son has more or less appropriated the K-3 for his own (very impressive) wildlife shooting (with the Sigma). I rarely get to use it.

---------- Post added 16-09-17 at 07:33 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
I would go for this option.
The 15% off deal has me tempted too. Especially with a trip to Antarctica booked for next year.
I hear you.

09-16-2017, 03:06 AM - 2 Likes   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paul the Sunman Quote
Does this make sense?
Honest advice for someone not having wildlife photography as main photographic activity is to rent an expensive lens for the occasion. That costs less than the cheapest super tele from Tamron or Sigma, and that deliver better results. In the US there is lensrental and it seems to make a lot of sense for supertele lenses. Rental of a 600 F4 lens costs about 150 Euro for one week and 50 Euros over the weekend. It beats both cost and image quality of any 150-600.

Last edited by biz-engineer; 09-16-2017 at 03:21 AM.
09-16-2017, 03:23 AM   #6
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I am assuming that older F and FA lenses, and film-era AF teleconverters, are not an option here.
09-16-2017, 04:09 AM   #7
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If the DA 560 is too expensive then I guess the Sigma 500/4.5 is out too?
09-16-2017, 05:01 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
I am assuming that older F and FA lenses, and film-era AF teleconverters, are not an option here.
Older F and FA options are expensive and very heavy. The F*600 is simply stunning but 6kg lens and $5K+? price tag (not to mention the rarity of this lens) are challenges.

I seriously like the Sigma 150-500mm OS HSM. Really good, especially with the in camera OS - it works!!! Coupled with the KP (or other future high performing ISO camera) will make an awesome wildlife setup as you will have light long tele lens that you will feel comfortable shooting handheld at f8,

09-16-2017, 05:20 AM   #9
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I was in the same situation you're in back in June. I have a K1 and love it but Pentax long lens selection isn't good enough so I switched to Canon for my long lens shooting and will keep the K1 for 300mm and below.

If you're positive you want that Sigma lens just add a second system.
09-16-2017, 06:20 AM   #10
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My feelings are Richoh simply does not have enough of the photography market to manufacturer these expensive lenses. Third party support began dropping long ago. The reasons for that can go on forever. The days of the FA*600 and FA*250-600 are long gone. The lenses are simply too expensive to develop and manufacture for the amount that will be sold. If new extreme telephoto lenses are what you seek I am afraid Pentax just is not the right system for that.
09-16-2017, 06:41 AM   #11
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I have the 150-450 and a K1 and K3II. I find when I pixel peep, I have more detail with the K3II. The caveat is light. If it's dim, then the better low light performance of the K1 will pull it ahead, but on a bright day, the K3II does a great job with this lens. So, I'd be tempted to work a deal with your son to get some share time with your K3, or perhaps he'd like to make it his own and help finance a new crop body for you to complement the 150-450 you will now buy? A K70 in the family so you both have crop bodies to simultaneously use? I know, it's easy to spend someone else's money, and fun too! But seriously, the 150-450 on the K3 should be a very nice combination. And if that's not enough reach, I've seen posts saying the 1.4x converter works with the 150-450, so there might be an incremental approach to take if you feel you need still more reach.
09-16-2017, 07:40 AM   #12
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DA 560mm is magic with K1!
09-16-2017, 07:50 AM - 1 Like   #13
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For grief's sake if you've bought into the Sigma 150-600 on a D750 go for it.
But it won't give you the reach of a 150-450 on a K-3.

If you really want to exceed what Pentax has to offer you're going to have to go D500, or D7200 or some other APS-c body. A K-3 images in good light is almost identical to a D750 with a 50% longer lens on it. IN D750 terms, a K-3 ( or D7200 of D500) with a 150-450 goes to 675 ƒ4.

A D750 is the same field of view on 600mm an APS-c body would be with 400mm. And one of the new high ISO APS-c bodies (K-70-K-P) will give you almost as good low light performance if you consider you have one stop more DoF on the APS-c bodies.

The other advantage to the 150-450, and my guess is Pentax went 450 because that was the longest they could go and still open to ƒ5.6 with a portable lens (and that's the longest I'd use with a TC, making ƒ8 with a 1.4). The 150-600 is what it is, because it doesn't meet the Pentax design criteria as demonstrated in the 150-450.

Last edited by normhead; 09-16-2017 at 07:56 AM.
09-16-2017, 08:31 AM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paul the Sunman Quote
super-telephoto on FF for wildlife
What about not doing FF and using Q7/ or QS1?....the DA 300mm produces pretty good images from what ive seen in the Q section.
09-16-2017, 09:48 AM - 3 Likes   #15
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I shoot the K1 with a Sigma 500 f4.5. It is a very nice combination.

Wildlife shooting isn't about length, it is about technique. I would suggest starting with 300mm because you will learn the skill of getting close to your subject. Long lenses aren't about getting something far away, it is filling the frame with something close.

It is also about light. I shoot at dusk and dawn with my combination. This morning I was out watching an osprey family enjoying breakfast. Through scouting and experience watching them I know where to go to get close. The K1 allowed me to get nice quality at 1/500 and iso 2500. I look at the 150-450 from time to time and it would end up being my summer daytime lens.

Don't try to save money. Try to shoot things, learn what you like to shoot, and push your existing stuff as far as you possibly can go. Then you will be able to know what you want. I wanted the K1 to get shots in the early morning. I wanted the 500mm because I knew the perimeter distance that the species I watch will tolerate. No matter what you do it will cost a substantial sum. Best to be very clear on what you are buying will solve.[COLOR="Silver"]
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