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05-02-2011, 08:11 AM   #1
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Bird photo

Hi, Wife feeding birds in back yard. Talking photo with K10d with Pentax 55-300 lens. Would like closer up photo. Is there a douple up lens addon or do I need a bigger lens like 500mm? Thank you for help.

05-02-2011, 08:30 AM - 1 Like   #2
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The problem with trying to use the 55-300 with a doubler is that it won't autofocus at anything over 200mm. I have had success autofocusing the FA 80-320 at 300mm but not at 320mm and the F 70-210 autofocuses at 210mm. A better option than a 500mm would be to trade the K10D for a K20D or K-7 and crop.

This shot is from the F 70-210 @ 170mm with a doubler.




This shot is with the DA L 55-300 @ 300mm and then cropped.




Both were shot from a range of about 17 or 18 feet.

Last edited by boriscleto; 05-02-2011 at 08:38 AM.
05-02-2011, 08:47 AM   #3
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The general consensus is that putting a teleconverter onto the 55-300 wouldnt get any better results than just cropping out the centre of the picture.

(Disclaimer: I dont own a teleconverter, I just have the 55-300 and asked the same question as you some time ago.)

A teleconveter "eats" light so you lose 1 or 2 stops and would have to bump up the ISO to get the adequate shutter speed for the long focal length. The 55-300 is already f5.8 wide open at 300, so AF with a teleconverter on would be a challenge in anything but bright light conditions.


It's not a bird obviously but this is a "600"crop from the 55-300 taken a 300mm. With a teleconveter might have been able to AF as it was quite bright but would not have got a fast enough shutter to capture the car at 110mph.

05-02-2011, 12:13 PM - 1 Like   #4
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considering the equipment used the shots are pretty good.

A couple of things to consier here, before you go out and spend money (and for bird photography we are talking potentially a considerable amount of money)

1) Image size.

The lens formulas allow you to predict the image size, specifically

Image size = subject size x focal length / distance

your sensor is 24 x 16 mm (w x h) and depending on horizontal or vertical format, you can consider this as the maximum image size.

enter all in the same unit, probably best to do meters.

What is obvious is that there are 2 real variables here Focal length which can be measured in tens dollars per mm for top quality fast lenses, and distance to subject, which is free

2) consider a flash.

A flash will allow you to stop down to where the lens performance is better and you can have some depth of field to ensure no focusing errors, and the short duration of the flash can help freeze the image, in case the subject moves (Birds are known to do that)

both these will help you without spending extreme amounts on a lens.

as for lenses, you can consider that there are 4 rough price levels.

consumer
- here you are looking at a limit of 300mm and F5.6 or slower lenses, usually zooms. these will be probably be less than $300

used legacy lenses
- these are lenses where you can put something together for about $500 or less, which will give reasonable quality and reach out to 500mm. you can look at things like old 500mmF4.5 SMC takumars and K mounts, as well as 300mm F2.8 and F4 lenses plus an SMC-F 1.7x AF TC,

new "serious" amature lenses,
- which include sigma's super zooms that get out to 500mm, and also some of the 70-200F2.8 zooms and a 2x TC., these solutions can cost as much as $1200-1500 depending on how you go about getting to 400/500mm, but youo can play for less on the used market, especially with sigma's first generation APO70-200F2.8 EX, which was one of the sharpest wide open at 200mm, and a couple of TCs

Pro lenses
- you can look for old fast pentax 300F2.8, 400F2.8 lenses etc, or sigma 300F2.8 and 500F4.5 lenses with and without TCs.

this approach can cost $3000-$5000 for the new sigma lenses. and similar prices for the older pentax lenses used.

05-06-2011, 11:50 AM   #5
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nice I tried the same with my 55-300 but did not come out as sharp
05-06-2011, 01:25 PM   #6
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Probably you either didn't get completely accurate focus on exactly the portion of the image you wished, and/or didn't get quite fast enough a shutter speed.
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