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08-28-2015, 09:05 PM   #1
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645 A*600/5.6 (to buy or not to buy?)

Hi!

Today I took a trip to my Pentax dealer at WuKeSong in BeiJIng.

There I found this A*600/5.6:



Here comes the tricky question, should I buy it? The condition is like 95%, no filters are included, I've now tried it at home on my 645D and it works great! He's asking for CNY 29,500 (equiv. USD 4,600, €4,100, or GBP 3,000) I think it's too expensive, what is your opinion?

I know they don't make them like this anymore. But if I buy it, I have also to buy a new sturdier tripod and head. Additional USD 1,500?

I like to shoot wildlife, and I want long focal lenghts lenses, but maybe this is too much? Tomorrow Sunday I have to decide...


Last edited by zantaphia; 08-29-2015 at 03:40 AM.
08-28-2015, 09:20 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by zantaphia Quote
Hi!

Today I took a trip to my Pentax dealer at WuKeSong in BeiJIng.

There I found this A*600/5.6:



Here comes the tricky question, should I buy it? The condition is like 95%, no filters are included, I've now tried it at home on my 645D and it works great! He's asking for CNY 29,500 (equiv. USD 4,600, €4,100, or GBP 3,000) I think it to expensive, what is your opinion?

I know they don't make them like this anymore. But if I buy it, I have also to buy a new sturdier tripod and head. Additional USD 1,500?

I like to shoot wildlife, and I want long focal lenghts lenses, but maybe this is too much? Tomorrow Sunday I have to decide...
I could be wrong, but I think that price is a little steep.

Adam
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08-28-2015, 09:36 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by zantaphia Quote
Hi!

Today I took a trip to my Pentax dealer at WuKeSong in BeiJIng.

There I found this A*600/5.6:



Here comes the tricky question, should I buy it? The condition is like 95%, no filters are included, I've now tried it at home on my 645D and it works great! He's asking for CNY 29,500 (equiv. USD 4,600, €4,100, or GBP 3,000) I think it to expensive, what is your opinion?

I know they don't make them like this anymore. But if I buy it, I have also to buy a new sturdier tripod and head. Additional USD 1,500?

I like to shoot wildlife, and I want long focal lenghts lenses, but maybe this is too much? Tomorrow Sunday I have to decide...
You're in Beijing, you gotta haggle!
08-29-2015, 12:30 AM   #4
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Oh he sure is over-charging, a very good quality 600mm sold on eBay for $2,358

Dunno how haggling works over there but a 50% discount is going to be quite the battle.

Since this is a dealer and not a private seller, I'd wager he would sell it for no less than $3000.


Last edited by Kolor-Pikker; 08-29-2015 at 01:02 AM.
08-29-2015, 02:01 AM   #5
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I spend 2000€ for mine from a private seller. A clear front filter was mounted but no drop-in.

-Linus-
08-29-2015, 03:25 AM   #6
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Well you have 25mm to 400mm already, so, you pretty much need this one too!!! I would think that $3500 ish would be fair for this lens, based on USA ebay sales. Not sure about Beijing pricing. My experiences buying there were totally random , in the same shop , a K mount 70-200mm FA was three hundred over us prices and the little Contax T3 i bought there was 125 below USA pricing.

I have never used this lens but in my time with the D and the Z i have owned the P67 800mm f6.7 , the P67 400mm f4 ED IF, the 645 400mm FA f4 , and a mount converted canon FD 600mm, all of them with 1.4 tele converters. I still have the two 400mm lenses , one lightweight and slow with acceptable image quality and one of them heavy and fast with amazing image quality. In the end I did not have the patience to make ultra telephoto medium format shots. I would rush around with not enough shutter speed or not enough stability and get shots which were not at all improved by using medium format. Super glad to have the experiences for sure. And , here's the cool part, sold both ultra tele photos for one hundred percent of money invested after three years of usage. So, after you get that beautiful lens paid for know that it will hold all or most of its value for years to come………..
08-29-2015, 03:39 AM   #7
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Original Poster
Thanks guys!
I've made up my mind now, tomorrow I'll go back and return this lens. Too expensive, and to heavy. I can do it with the FA400/5.6 and the 1.4 converter. OK, that will be at f8, but about 3 kilos less to carry. And lot's of money saved for the upcoming FF! :-)
09-11-2015, 10:36 PM   #8
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I agree with 672 also on this one, even though I still have the lenses, including the 600mm/5.6. I remember hauling it all over Alaska during film days and taking pictures of brown bears. However, with the 645D, resolution increased and suddenly the mirror slap became an issue. Then I thought perhaps a faster lens would help, and I got the 400/4 ED P67. Another great lens, but so huge considering the magnification it delivers. The 400mm/5.6 645 lens is actually quite a good compromise.

In the meantime I had gotten a m43 system for travel and everyday pictures and bought the fantastic Kowa 500mm with 350mm/850mm converters, which turned out to give me great results, even though it lacked autofocus. Obviously there wasn't the tonality and pixel/print density of medium format, but often 645D medium format telephoto images were blurred due to less than optimal lighting and resulting camera shake. Spoiled by the m43 system, I haven't really gotten back to MF telephoto nature photography. BTW - there are some folks on this forum (e.g. Thomas Janich) who'd proof me wrong. I guess I should once more go back and try my lenses with the 645Z.

In the meantime though I realized that autofocus and reach were the two limiting factors for many of the photographs I was interested in taking. I thus bought a Nikon D810 body (forgive) and a 400mm Nikon and a 150-600mm Sigma lens. Both of them are superb lenses and the Nikon D810 is just a fantastic body which comes very close to medium format.

Is it impossible to shoot great medium format telephoto images? Certainly not. Is it practical? Not sure anymore. For me that was different during film years. Medium format almost always had such a clear edge that I was often not happy with my 35mm system compared to what I got out of medium format. But today with sensors like those in the D810 I am just not sure about medium format anymore.

I know there are many here on the forum who like the 28-45mm, but the substantial barrel distortion at the wide end is certainly a turn-off for me. And the 25mm? So expensive and many lenses have mechanical problems. Mine are still fine, but how long? I guess I'd prefer Leica's lens portfolio over where Pentax is heading.

So what's left for Pentax and me? The 645Z is certainly a superior body and perhaps my most favorite camera ever. But with all the advances of competing systems I find that the strengths of the system for me are increasingly in the studio, for extreme macro photography, and for portraits using some adapted old-time portrait lenses. There the huge sensor still makes a difference for me.

Of course these are subjective mumblings, and I am sure others will disagree. I guess I have also learned that no system fits all needs. I used to find it economical to stick with one or two systems and get used to individual strengths and weaknesses. However, especially when using telephoto lenses, lens costs exceed body costs by a large margin, and the choice of the lens becomes more important than the body attached to it.

I never thought the 645 Pentax system would take a second place to anything in my areal, but I am afraid that time has come at least in terms of telephoto photography. Or perhaps I should just go against the stream, get more exercise, and start once more to carry my 800mm ED with teleconverter, 645 adapter, 645Z, and heavy tripod around .


Last edited by Lacunapratum; 09-12-2015 at 12:06 AM.
09-12-2015, 06:43 PM   #9
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A lens like that, if I had the money and even considered buying it, I'd buy it. Might be to much money but I've never even seen one before, no even a clue they existed. Go price other prime 600mm lenses, that is a bargain!
09-14-2015, 05:30 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lacunapratum Quote
....................... I thus bought a Nikon D810 body (forgive) and a 400mm Nikon and a 150-600mm Sigma lens. ...................
Joined the dark side eh Tom? Thanks for the compliment. I too am attracted by lighter and smaller; an A7rII might be my next purchase. To the OP: if you think you need or want the reach of the 600mm, by all means get one. It is heavy and the 400mm is a very attractive option; almost as long, very sharp, light and AF. The 600 is heavy, awkward, MF and requires a high shutter speed or extraordinary stabilization to reach its potential, but it gets a lot more image on the sensor when needed. The Z, with high ISO and live view has eliminated many of the difficulties using the 600. Below is an example I really like taken with the 600 and the 1.4x (with the 645D @ ISO 1600 which would be much cleaner on the Z); yes, it would have almost the same smooth tones with a smaller sensor, but not quite. Don't pay much more than $2500 US; check ebay.

Tom




https://www.flickr.com/photos/21294128@N08/shares/4z2BZB

Last edited by Thomas; 09-14-2015 at 05:41 PM.
09-20-2015, 03:30 PM   #11
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Check ebay. A better deal can be had for the 600mm.
09-27-2015, 07:00 PM - 1 Like   #12
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For me, the key to getting good performance out of the 600mm/f5.6 was the Kennan Ward Super tele package from Really right stuff.



This similar unit, in the lens review on the forum, is supposed to accomplish the same thing, but it doesn't look nearly as mechanically locked together to me, as having the lens mount and the camera connected via this L shaped beam, then mounted on a (sturdy!) tripod.




The sample of the lens which I bought in the USA was essentially mint unused, though pre-owned, a lucky find, but still not inexpensive, at about $3500 USD. It looked totally new, works quite well, and has no signs of use at all. Sometimes I get lucky...
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