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07-21-2012, 04:47 PM   #1
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Which lens?

Hi.
I am brand new to the SLR world, and have got myself a K-5 yesterday. I bought the kit with the 18-55 lens. As my budget for a camera almost doubled the amount of $ I imagined when choosing the K-5, theres no room for a tele-lens the first couple of months But as my idea by having a SLR is to take pictures of the forest/birds/wildlife right outside my door, I better make a lens high priority - I'm pretty sure the fox/badger/owl/eagle is long gone when I try to sneak in on them with the 18-55 lens! My means are limited, so can you recommend an economy lens I can use to take some OK photos from a distance of, say 300-350ft? I am going to buy some quality lenses down the road, but right now I just have to be content with the next-best (or third-best)

Kind regards

Frank

07-21-2012, 05:08 PM - 1 Like   #2
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For shooting wildlife, the longer the better. I have used a Sigma 70-300 and a Pentax DA 55-300. I've gotten some nice photos with both. You can also sometimes find an older manual focus zoom or long prime in the Marketplace or on auction sites. I also have used a Sigma 170-500 which I am trying to sell now since I recently traded for a Sigma 50-500.

Last edited by GvilleRick; 07-22-2012 at 04:28 PM.
07-21-2012, 05:09 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Probably one of the best bang for buck is the DA 55-300. There are two versions ; standard "DA" is with metal mount and quick-shift and comes with a hood. The DA-L is the kit version with plastic mount and no quick-shift. Optically they are identical. Neither is Weather Resistant (WR). I believe there is a DA-L with hood included that just went up in the market place for fairly reasonable price.

Last edited by K57XR; 07-21-2012 at 06:03 PM.
07-21-2012, 06:37 PM   #4
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If you can deal with manual exposure and focus, seek out a 70-150 or 70-210mm zoom; most zooms with 3:1 ratio or less can do pretty well. If it must be AF the 100-300 f/4.5-6.7 zoom from Sigma (also Quantaray label) is decent but focus will hunt at the telephoto end. It's almost as good as my DA55-300 but has lower contrast before post-processing. Mine cost me under $50.

07-21-2012, 06:45 PM   #5
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The Pentax 18-55 is a very fine lens, for an ultimate focal length upgrade I would suggest the 55-300 as others. However if you want significant improvement of image sharpness and smooth out of focus areas, go ahead and save up for a DA* 50-135 f2.8 or a 70-200 f2.8 from Sigma or Tamron. I have the 18-55 WR that came with my K-5 and I am planning to keep it for a long time before upgrading as it is spectacular and goes well with my 50-135.

Also dude, wow for a first time SLR user, and a K-5? You will certainly not miss a thing, it will rock your world. Trust me bro, using this camera will spoil you tons but not ever using an entry-level before, you will not even notice what beauty you are getting with it.
07-21-2012, 06:57 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Roadhouse Quote
My means are limited, so can you recommend an economy lens I can use to take some OK photos from a distance of, say 300-350ft?
Whoa, that's a long, long distance. You're going to have to lower your expectations or seriously raise your budget.

A 300mm lens is fine for shooting birds at a few yards distance. You're overly ambitious, by about a factor of 10.
07-21-2012, 07:42 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
Whoa, that's a long, long distance. You're going to have to lower your expectations or seriously raise your budget.

A 300mm lens is fine for shooting birds at a few yards distance. You're overly ambitious, by about a factor of 10.
A cheap used telescope and a SLR adapter may be the best case scenario here. Not very portable, but if you have a good spot to stake out, useful.

I picked up a 910mm scope for $35 a few months back with the main intent being to attach it to a DSLR when I once again have one that works (my K-x went belly up on me back in April so I've been having withdrawal symptoms).

I need to remember how to figure the way to calculate the aperture values for a scope - I know theres a formula of some sort that can be used but I can't even remember enough of it to use Google.
07-21-2012, 09:27 PM   #8
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You made a good choice. The K-5 is great in many ways. I suggest you keep the 18-55 stopped down a bit. It's wide aperture performance is not up to the camera's capabilities.

You might consider a used manual focus tele lens if autofocus is not important to you.

07-21-2012, 11:17 PM   #9
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On my local craigslist there's a manual focus 300 mm f/4 for $125.
07-22-2012, 02:00 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
Whoa, that's a long, long distance. You're going to have to lower your expectations or seriously raise your budget.

A 300mm lens is fine for shooting birds at a few yards distance. You're overly ambitious, by about a factor of 10.
What Dan said. 100 yds is a long long way for any camera. I've had some OK shots with a DA*300+AFA x1.7 (=510mm) on a K5 and the larger your subject the better your shots will come out, but for birds and small mammals there is no option ... you have to get closer (with a 300mm that means under 30 yds for good shots). Maybe a hide is your only option in this scenario. You'll be able to get what is called 'record' (a record of what you saw) shots with any 300mm at 100yds but not much more than that.

The Canon 'very advanced amateur' crowd shooting large birds and mammals at those distances are using at the very least a 500mm and usually a 600 or 800 and then adding a 1.4 TC (supposedly Canon have much better TCs than Nikon so for long long distances Canon are a better bet) add the camera, a tripod and gimbal and you are talking in the US$10,000 - 20,000 range.

As you are on a budget I'd look out for a older manual focus 300mm or if you want AF then the 55-300 is an excellent lens for the money and the only way to go. But realistically you will have to re-adjust your expectations.
07-22-2012, 03:53 AM   #11
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Hi all.
Thank you for all your inputs :-) I might be over ambitious, but as I wrote I am really a rookie so I'm glad you enlighting me :-) There is a hunters cabin in the woods that I've got a permit to use, so I hope the wildlife will get a little closer :-)

Take care,

/Frank
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