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12-20-2011, 10:11 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Anvh Quote
Sigma 100-300 f4 would be my choice, far faster AF than the 60-250 and i like the bokeh also more.
Are you for real? the bokeh from the sigma 100-300mm f/4 APO EX DG can be really distracting. But other than that, the image quality from it is superlative, and as you said the AF is very fast - though it does tend to hunt more when the light level drops, a customisable focus limiter would have helped with this.



12-20-2011, 10:25 PM   #17
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Do yourself a favour and get the Sigma 50-500mm HSM..

Gives you a huge zoom range is within your budget and for bird photography it gives you 500mm..

Anything less than 500mm and you just end up with massive crops...

I shoot wild birds all the time and almost never shoot below 300mm






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12-21-2011, 01:25 AM   #18
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I will vote for DA 55-300, did some Black Cockatoo's last week with it:
Pentax DA 55-300 - a set on Flickr
plus some other birds, taken with KX and K7.
the lens has quick shift, very handy while shooting fast moving creatures - just google for the explanation.
+ is light and compact, easy without a tripod
and is usable with AF Pentax 1.7x Teleconverter in a bright light.
12-21-2011, 06:13 PM   #19
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Great Stuff All !! I really appreciate everyones input. Not sure which way I will go. I will probably play around with something more inexpensive, maybe even an older manual model or two (with good reviews of course) to see what I like. Thank You

12-21-2011, 07:06 PM   #20
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If you have been around the forum you will know that I have 3 options that I use at present

Option 1, sigma APO70-200/2.8EX plus sigma 2x TC
Option 2, SMC (K) 300/4 plus SMC-F 1.7x AF TC
Option 3, Tamron adapt all II 200-500/5.6

The shortest option I have is 400mm. Get the hint. You really need 400-500 mm to shoot small birds

Last edited by Lowell Goudge; 12-21-2011 at 07:19 PM.
12-21-2011, 08:40 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by GordonZA Quote
I shoot wild birds all the time and almost never shoot below 300mm
Really? I often find for my work 300mm can sometimes be a bit too long.

Pentax K10D with Sigma 100-300mm f/4 APO EX DG @ 135mm 1/250th f/8 ISO 400 - FYI - the bird in this image is about the size of a golf ball.
12-21-2011, 09:26 PM   #22
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Digitalis, I agree you can sometimes get close enough but most of the time not... I live in south Africa and the birds here are very skittish so you don't get close enough... On a trip a few years back to Brisbane I was amazed at how close I could get to the birds there... Literally reach out and touch them...
12-22-2011, 05:34 AM   #23
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Digitalis, love your pictures! Very nice. Thanks for sharing.

12-22-2011, 06:34 AM   #24
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while some may be able to get close enough to shoot with 300mm, and while this may work for large birds, such as wading birds, or ducks, to approach birds of prey or small birds so that you can fill the frame with a 300mm lens is almost impossible. Simply do the math.

for a bird that is 100mm long, to fit in the frame requires that you get within 1.25 meters.

this is not a practical reality and is not within the MFD of most lenses
12-22-2011, 07:00 AM   #25
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I have the K-5 and Sigma 150-500 and have had great results....

K-5 Sigma 150-500mm Corriganville Park 2011-06-07 042 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
12-22-2011, 07:02 AM   #26
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I have the Sigma 150-500 and use it with the K-5 usually getting great results...

K-5 Sigma 150-500mm Corriganville Park 2011-06-07 042 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
12-22-2011, 07:57 AM   #27
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I have not heard as much about the sigma 150-500 as the 50-500? I like the price tag better on the 150-500. The reviews seem to be very good as well. Any other 150-500 users?
12-22-2011, 08:48 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
while some may be able to get close enough to shoot with 300mm, and while this may work for large birds, such as wading birds, or ducks, to approach birds of prey or small birds so that you can fill the frame with a 300mm lens is almost impossible. Simply do the math.

for a bird that is 100mm long, to fit in the frame requires that you get within 1.25 meters.

this is not a practical reality and is not within the MFD of most lenses

It depends what you goals as a photographer are. If you approach it as an ornithologist where you want to get the best representation of a bird for documentation and cataloging, then yes, the 300mm lens will be too short in many occasions.

Personally, I prefer a more artistic rendition, where the setting and background are as important as the bird itself. In such setup the bird does not need to fill the frame, actually it can be very small and still being very effective.

I have several long lenses: Pentax-M 400 F5.6, Tamron 300 F5.6, Pentax DA-L 55-300, Tamron SP 60-300, Bower 500 F6.3 Mirror, Tamron SP500 F8 Mirror and Sigma 600 F8 mirror. From all these, I mostly use the Pentax DA-L 55-300 (at 300mm with F6.3 or F7.1) primarily for the autofocus feature. Small birds donít like to stay still and manually focusing a lens like thePentax-M 400 is slow. The Pentax-M 400 is the sharpest of all, especially if it stopped down a bit, but definitely requires a tripod or at least a monopod.

As a distant second is the Tamron SP 500 Mirror. On bright days it is very easy to focus with a split screen or Live View and the resolution is great. Once you know how to use it, you can get some amazing backgrounds (in a painterly fashion) without donuts.

Both lenses are very light, can be used handheld and you can walk for hours without hurting your neck. I use a monopod with them sometimes, especially if I am using the grip with a big flash and the weight increases.
12-23-2011, 10:31 AM   #29
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Actually, I like both close ups and "in character" shots.

One of my all time favourite shots, is 3 waxwings, picking a mountain ash clean of berries in the winter.

overall the frame covers maybe 4 feet across the field of focus, with 3 birds, the colors of the tree and a blue sky background. Not what I would call close up. and shot with a 200mm lens.

But on the other hand, I do have a close up of a chickadee, which is still in character, but which really does benefit from being very tight on the bird, see the image below, shot with a K300/4 and 1.7x AF TC (510mm focal length)




this shows the way the bird behaves, upside down, in its environment, but is really tight on the bird.

I can't really see getting any closer than I was, and this would not be possible with a 200mm lens for example

many of the other shots in this thread are great, and also show the behavior etc, but are also in really tight. It makes a less cluttered image,
12-23-2011, 01:58 PM   #30
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This image was taken with a very cheap Takumar-F 70-200mm F4-5.6 Reviews - Non-& Other Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database at the 200mm end.
Exposure was ISO 400 F8 1/180 with external flash handheld. The first is the entire frame, the second a 100% crop and the last is the final crop.

Nothing artistic here, just to illustrate that even a 200mm lens can be used effectively to photograph small birds.

Full Frame:


100% Crop:


Final Crop:
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