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12-12-2012, 06:06 PM   #1
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Long Lens Support

Having read some of the posts on this forum it is clear there are some very experienced and serious users. I am looking for the best support for working with the old school Pentax Tele-Takumar f/8 1000mm lens. This is not a mirror lens, but a straight lens almost thirty inches in length weighing just under twelve pounds, with a front filter diameter around 134mm. After a little research I have found of course the Wimberley WH-200 as well as a cradle-style support made by Bogen. This lens is something I haven't had long, so any information would be appreciated. To give an accurate idea of the size of this piece a picture is attached.

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12-12-2012, 06:21 PM   #2
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Here are some user reviews of this lens:
SMC Pentax 1000mm F8 Reviews - K Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

As with any old tele lens, you can generally expect pretty good sharpness but also fairly bad fringing, due to the lack of ED glass and older coatings.

I have the smaller version of this lens (500mm F4.5) and its IQ is great, but because of its size and weight, I'd pick a 300mm + TC over it any day.

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12-12-2012, 06:26 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by James Vernon Quote
Long Lens Support Having read some of the posts on this forum it is clear there are some very experienced and serious users. I am looking for the best support for working with the old school Pentax Tele-Takumar f/8 1000mm lens. This is not a mirror lens, but a straight lens almost thirty inches in length weighing just under twelve pounds, with a front filter diameter around 134mm. After a little research I have found of course the Wimberley WH-200 as well as a cradle-style support made by Bogen. This lens is something I haven't had long, so any information would be appreciated. To give an accurate idea of the size of this piece a picture is attached.
If you don't want to spend so much on a Wimberley there are some knockoffs on eBay that work decently as long as you are looking for mainly static work.
See Professional (generic eBay/China) Gimbal Head - PR-G02 or BK-45 reviews - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database

BTW, I wonder how much longer the new 560 will be as compared to yours
12-12-2012, 06:44 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by crewl1 Quote
BTW, I wonder how much longer the new 560 will be as compared to yours
Believe it or not it's 10cm longer than the old 500mm...it basically got the same simple optical design.


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12-12-2012, 07:12 PM   #5
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Here is my recommendation

Katana Gimbal Head Review

12-13-2012, 06:53 AM   #6
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I have a Vivitar 500mm which looks very similar - and I've made a few very nice images (and lots of mediocre images) with that. I've been interested in a gimbal mount for my heavy tripod (one here in Chicago on Craigslist for $500) but that's not in the budget...

These '70s vintage telescopes are pretty impressive, though! Everyone is captivated by the cast metal hood.
05-21-2013, 04:42 PM   #7
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Tips Appreciated

It has been sometime, and your responses are greatly appreciated. It took quite a bit of research and planning to use this lens, i.e., assembling proper supports and so on. What I have learned is this- a lens like this requires a serious commitment and it for the most part best suited to stationary subjects. If you shoot animals at a zoo, it will work with animals that do not move around a lot, and other animals while they are resting. As for moving subjects, the lack of mobility simply will not allow enough response time for objects in motion. Once you learn the limits of this lens it is possible to get outstanding results within those limits, but they are narrow when compared with the freedom of movement afforded by mirror lenses. That being said, the majority of 1000mm lenses out there offer optical quality that is practically on par with that of a video surveillance camera at f11 or f13.5. In other words, to be blunt, most of them are junk with the depth of field of a sheet of paper, and a thin sheet at that. This lens does have the fine optics that Pentax is known for, and can produce awesome results, but plan on investing some serious time if you want to get those results.

I don't know if I will keep this piece since I have to travel by train, but that is not Pentax's fault. It is still superior in my opinion to a lot of modern equivalents selling for ten times the price. I will post a reduced version of a great shot from my recent trip, and although not made with this lens, I hope you enjoy it.
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05-21-2013, 07:02 PM   #8
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Did you invest in a Gimbal?
If you decide to part with this lens let me know.

05-21-2013, 07:17 PM   #9
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Through trial and error I have learned a lot about tripods. The head I like best is a Slik older model, most likely an SH-909. It is a much beefier version of the simplest of heads and allows taking advantage of both threaded holes on the lens. This had always been the main problem, somehow eliminating the single-point support. Of course it is still necessary to use the long lens support along with the self timer, but finally this is an entirely stable solution and a picture will be attached to show how it looks. You will notice a handle has been attached to the lens that with pads that prevent connecting anything to the lens while making it much easier to work with. Also is attached a test image of street signs. The street signs are of no great interest, but keep in mind that this was taken from a block away and actually shows the texture of the paint. I challenge any other lens to top what this lens can do when used in the right light, mainly overcast probably being the best bet.

I don't know if this is a practical lens for me, since I do not really have a setup to take proper advantage of it. I am on the fence right now on that.
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05-23-2013, 12:39 AM   #10
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Welcome to the forum, a good heavy tripod and a good quality gimbal head, as others have suggested will meet your needs.
06-18-2013, 06:41 PM   #11
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Thanks again for your responses. After a little experience and a lot of consideration, the lens is now in a collection along with a ton of other Pentax lenses. I learned a great deal from having it for a few short months about lens supports, atmospheric conditions, and many other practical aspects of photography I never considered before. While it will be a long time before I buy another lens with that kind of weight and size, I feel much better prepared to take on new projects with a fresh eye for the experience!
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