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05-29-2014, 10:14 PM   #16
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Sent you a PM with a link (so nobody else snags it) to a certain teleconverter with some extra nice abilities for sale that I happen to own a copy of (not mine for sale) and would buy again at the price listed for sure.
I actually bought mine from the same site.

EDIT: If you can find a 300mm F4 thats a pretty good lens for a teleconverter as it leaves some room to maneuver aperture wise and doesn't cost quite as much as its longer and somewhat slower (or shockingly more expensive) bigger brothers.


Last edited by PPPPPP42; 05-29-2014 at 10:23 PM.
05-30-2014, 05:15 AM - 1 Like   #17
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Lets cut to the chase. What are you trying to achieve and what can you afford.


You have a pentax and you arent getting close enough to your subject with your existing lens. You have identified that you need in excess of 300mm and you now have to find a low cost solution that works.


I also believe that in the fullness of time you might be able to afford a modern all singing all dancing long tele zoom for mega bucks, but in the interim you want an affordable sensible solution and are willing to accept compromises by doing some of the work yourself.


Bear in mind that birders on a budget, who take the kind of shots your talking about, often don't use photographic lenses they buy telescopes with telescope converters because photographic lenses cost too much in the extreme telephoto range they need. These telescope solutions require fully manual techniques as they are not photographic lenses. You don't get auto focus you don't get auto exposure, the image quality is lower tan a photographic lens would deliver but in extreme focal length that compromise is acceptable to them.


Once you bite the bullet of extreme birding you usually drop the notion of automatic photographic lenses. Unless of course moneys no object and you have a spare 6000 dollars in your bank account.


You can of course achieve a great deal with photographic lenses but you hit compromises. What I am suggesting here is a different approach


You have 3 choices


Option 1 Mega expensive photographic lens all auto cost $3000 plus dollars effective focal length 600mm plus


Opton 2 Telecope or spotting scope all manual cost $2000 plus dollars effective focal length 1200mm plus


Option 3 cheap second hand m42 lens all manual cost 60 plus dollars effective focal length 600mm plus

The solution you are looking for therefore is a range or 2 or 3 m42 long telephoto lenses bought second hand from ebay or a camera shop.


You can purchase a good quality 400mm and a good quality 600mm m42 lens for 40 to 60 dollars or both for around 100 dollars.


I purchased a good quality 2x teleconverter in m42 that gives surprisingly sharp results for the equivalent of 1 dollar.


You will need an m42 to pentax k adapter, 9 dollars should suffice for that.


If you buy both 400mm and 600mm with a 2x teleconverter plus m42 adapter you should have change from 150 dollars and you will have 400mm 600mm 800mm and 1200mm focal lengths available, this will suffice for most general birding work. peeking into a nest really requires extreme telephoto since the subject will be very tiny and a long way away.


You really are talking about 3000 to 6000 dollars if you want to bird with a modern photographic lens.


I myself have no intention of spending that kind of money whatever kind of photography I do. I decided long ago that bang for buck means m42 and I have built up a range of a dozen high quality lenses in m42 and the entire kit cost me less than 250 dollars.


That's because I bought all m42 lenses for a few dollars each. I don't own rubbish lenses I own some of the best lenses made including multi coated takumars so its easiiy achievable to buy high quality glass at very low price in m42.


The compromises you make in using m42 are fully manual focus and manual exposure (although you should get aperture priority auto exposure in your pentax), and in poorer quality coatings giving a lower contrast image, but in an image editor you simply up the contrast, contrast problem solved. As for the other compromises, your in the same position as a birder with telescope and they do fine so you will too.


Factor in the cost of a tripod. Second hand $20.


Some of the best images made were made on m42 lenses so if you buy wisely your not making any image compromises.


A word of caution. Its wise to google for reviews and information on any lens before you buy it. This can help you avoid buying a lemon. Remember this though, if you take a high quality 300mm lens and put a 2x teleconverter on it, then compare the image you get with that from a poorer quality 600mm lens, there wont be a lot of difference, that's because a teleconverter lowers the quality of the image, that's down to physics.so don't be too afraid of buying an extreme telephoto lens that you don't know the quality of.
05-30-2014, 05:19 PM   #18
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55-300 WR. I don't shoot birds or wildlife with my non-WR version of this lens, but when I use it for bokeh shots, or snooping shots from far away, I am stunned by the quality of the results. This lens is like a third division team that wins a knockout cup, but every time. And the WR seems vital for your uses, so for the price you can't go wrong, in my opinion.

Aah I just read the post above about m42... That's a good idea! I spent last month in the Single in... challenge with my bayonet mount SMC 50 f1.4 lens and it was surprisingly easy to use. Considering the fact that a lot of time with wildlife and bird photography you might be focussing on the bait or the branch, a modern autofocus lens may often be counterproductive. Cool! You can save a lot of cash and boast that you shoot your way to achieve more professional results.

BUT, I would never recommend buying an m42 teleconverter. I used to sell them back in the 60s and they always seemed consistently horrible. Either shoot and crop, or mount the 42-kmount adaptor on the lens then use a more modern k-mount multicoated tc between the adaptor and the body.

Last edited by Bagga_Txips; 05-30-2014 at 05:31 PM.
05-30-2014, 06:52 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Imageman Quote
Lets cut to the chase. What are you trying to achieve and what can you afford.


You have a pentax and you arent getting close enough to your subject with your existing lens. You have identified that you need in excess of 300mm and you now have to find a low cost solution that works.


I also believe that in the fullness of time you might be able to afford a modern all singing all dancing long tele zoom for mega bucks, but in the interim you want an affordable sensible solution and are willing to accept compromises by doing some of the work yourself.


Bear in mind that birders on a budget, who take the kind of shots your talking about, often don't use photographic lenses they buy telescopes with telescope converters because photographic lenses cost too much in the extreme telephoto range they need. These telescope solutions require fully manual techniques as they are not photographic lenses. You don't get auto focus you don't get auto exposure, the image quality is lower tan a photographic lens would deliver but in extreme focal length that compromise is acceptable to them.


Once you bite the bullet of extreme birding you usually drop the notion of automatic photographic lenses. Unless of course moneys no object and you have a spare 6000 dollars in your bank account.


You can of course achieve a great deal with photographic lenses but you hit compromises. What I am suggesting here is a different approach


You have 3 choices


Option 1 Mega expensive photographic lens all auto cost $3000 plus dollars effective focal length 600mm plus


Opton 2 Telecope or spotting scope all manual cost $2000 plus dollars effective focal length 1200mm plus


Option 3 cheap second hand m42 lens all manual cost 60 plus dollars effective focal length 600mm plus

The solution you are looking for therefore is a range or 2 or 3 m42 long telephoto lenses bought second hand from ebay or a camera shop.


You can purchase a good quality 400mm and a good quality 600mm m42 lens for 40 to 60 dollars or both for around 100 dollars.


I purchased a good quality 2x teleconverter in m42 that gives surprisingly sharp results for the equivalent of 1 dollar.


You will need an m42 to pentax k adapter, 9 dollars should suffice for that.


If you buy both 400mm and 600mm with a 2x teleconverter plus m42 adapter you should have change from 150 dollars and you will have 400mm 600mm 800mm and 1200mm focal lengths available, this will suffice for most general birding work. peeking into a nest really requires extreme telephoto since the subject will be very tiny and a long way away.


You really are talking about 3000 to 6000 dollars if you want to bird with a modern photographic lens.


I myself have no intention of spending that kind of money whatever kind of photography I do. I decided long ago that bang for buck means m42 and I have built up a range of a dozen high quality lenses in m42 and the entire kit cost me less than 250 dollars.


That's because I bought all m42 lenses for a few dollars each. I don't own rubbish lenses I own some of the best lenses made including multi coated takumars so its easiiy achievable to buy high quality glass at very low price in m42.


The compromises you make in using m42 are fully manual focus and manual exposure (although you should get aperture priority auto exposure in your pentax), and in poorer quality coatings giving a lower contrast image, but in an image editor you simply up the contrast, contrast problem solved. As for the other compromises, your in the same position as a birder with telescope and they do fine so you will too.


Factor in the cost of a tripod. Second hand $20.


Some of the best images made were made on m42 lenses so if you buy wisely your not making any image compromises.


A word of caution. Its wise to google for reviews and information on any lens before you buy it. This can help you avoid buying a lemon. Remember this though, if you take a high quality 300mm lens and put a 2x teleconverter on it, then compare the image you get with that from a poorer quality 600mm lens, there wont be a lot of difference, that's because a teleconverter lowers the quality of the image, that's down to physics.so don't be too afraid of buying an extreme telephoto lens that you don't know the quality of.
Imageman,
Thanks for outline of options. Liking #3 as it seems reasonable financially without a huge compromise in image quality. Any help I can get is appreciated.

Bagga_txips...I agree that for the cost he 55-300wr has exceeded my expectations so far and is extremely useful. Rarely leaves the body. Was very surprised with the bokeh. Unfortunately I just wish it was a wee bit longer. I imagine the osprey's wagging their tail feathers at me laughing all the while :-)

05-31-2014, 08:05 AM   #20
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(EDIT: added pics then deleted them, will post better ones later since the TC was clearly out resolving the lens I was using it on making the test pointless)
OK, I was going to post some sample pics from the item I messaged you about comparing it with and without on both my A70-210 F4 and my FA 80-320 F4.5-5.6 but its basically not worth it as I rather amusingly can't clearly tell them apart myself so I'm not sure 100% which are which now. Magnification levels aside I can tell the ones from the A lens apart from the FA lens more easily than I can tell whether the TC was on or not.
I would feel safe saying what I suggested was a pretty decent x2 TC overall and excellent for the price. It is also fairly well multi coated since both ends of it have a full rainbow of colors when the reflections in them are viewed at angles. I don't think it will significantly effect quality on standard grade lenses though you would definitely see a difference in quality on something like a DA* lens. In case you were curious this TC is from the film era so it does have FF coverage which also helps on a crop body as you don't see the edges.

The one thing I can tell you is for birds which are generally twitchy, to get good shots you will need faster shutter speeds than are going to be easily possible with an F5.6 max aperture lens on a x2 TC.
I don't recall if you said what camera you have, but if its older than the K5 I was using you will want to upgrade your camera to a used body of at least that level for the better high ISO performance since you will be frequently using 800 and even 1600 ISO with a teleconverter. I couldn't get below 400 ISO and still have any kind of easily useable settings even with the F4 lens.
I can also state that a cheap tripod is inadequate for an FA 80-320 fully extended with a x2 TC, its not super heavy but you practically hit the bird with the lens hood its so long.

Last edited by PPPPPP42; 05-31-2014 at 10:26 AM.
05-31-2014, 09:32 AM   #21
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I'm definitely not an expert on bird photography, but if I was to set out with that as an objective, I'd just get a superzoom camera. There are some excellent bird photos on the net that were taken with superzooms, particularly recent models, which have somewhat improved low-iso capability. Maybe the photos wouldn't enlarge well to 20x30 inches, but none of the low-cost solutions are going to be all that inspiring at extreme magnifications either. And they're all going to involve a lot more weight and space, possibly need multiple tripods, etc.

I think that some of the posts have been a little optimistic in terms of what price you can get older lenses for, particularly for Pentax, given its mount compatibility. Not that it's impossible to find genuine bargains, but I don't think they reflect a typical experience that someone will have with ebay, the used retail market, or even garage sales (particularly for those of us living in smaller towns or cities, where there is just not the same variety of used merchandise as in a larger metro area.) So I'm saying I think you have to get lucky to find a very good lens at a very price, and/or work very, very hard at it. And even some lenses that were pretty high-end in their day seem to show shortcomings on an aps sensor that they didn't seem to show so much on film. Some issues you can work around in PP; some are more challenging.
05-31-2014, 07:08 PM   #22
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Hi Tibbits.


You right of course high quality glass does tend to hold its price and bargains take some finding.


But there are bargains to be had. Some of this old glass that nobody wants because its all manual sells for peanuts. It takes a lot of finding for sure but you can find it ive done it.


Im not being optimistic here, being optimistic means your guessing, im not guessing here ive bought good lenses for just a few dollars so im speaking from experience.


I expect to pay no more than 50 dollars for a takumar and I have bought 2 takumars at these prices, so they can be found.


My best lens cost me all of 10 dollars and it came with a set of extension rings for free as well.


Its a good option to buy old m42 lenses, and the images are good on aps-c sensors, I have no complaints with image quality. I have razor sharp lenses that cost me just 12 dollars.


Theres a 400mm lens on ebay right now for 29 dollars. Ok im not saying its the greatest lens but a guy who owned and used this lens said this about it "In my experience, the lens had rather decent resolution but delivered somewhat low contrast images" With digtal images low contrast is not an issue you just bump it up in photoshop.


This guy had real experience of this actual lens and says it has decent resolution, so I reckon its worth a punt for 29 dollars buy it now.


So what if the images are not quite as razor sharp as the very best 3000 dollar lens, it only cost 30 dollars, that's just 1% of the 3000 dollar lens.
06-01-2014, 05:25 AM   #23
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I was actually looking at that lens last night, but having a hard time finding out anything about it. Not being well versed in good glass from years past I figure it must be too good to be true.
PPPPPP42, thanks for all your effort. Sounds like it is a decent TC if you couldn't tell the difference. But of course I don't currently have a lens fast enough to utilize it :-( I have the K-50 so I think the body should be fine.
Thanks to everyone for their input and knowledge.

06-01-2014, 07:26 PM   #24
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Ok as you raised the topic of old glass and that you don't have confidence to try them ill make a few notes that might be helpful. Ill try to keep what is an immensely deep topic as brief as I can.


Between 1880 and 1980 lens designs were fairly well understood for prime lenses, zooms were difficult and I wont venture into zooms here.


Lenses were typically made by either High quality camera manufacturers such as Leica, Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Olympus, or High quality independents such as Carl Zeiss, Tamron, and a score of Japanese, Russian, Eastern block, or a dozen lower quality independents.


Companies such as Canon and Pentax were known to purchase in some lenses from independents and rebadge them. On the whole though a canon is a canon and a Pentax is a Pentax.


Pentax were known as a very high quality manufacturer of quality easily matching Zeiss. Zeiss invented many lens forms and were the best lens maker.


Resolutions were of the order of 60 line pairs per mm to 120 line pairs per mm on the better lenses. Because lens designs were fairly standard it was down to manufacturers quality control that determined lens performance, By no means were these lenses inferior to todays lenses. Today 50 line pairs per mm is considered good resolution. Old prime lenses of average quality can match a modern high quality zoom costing thousands.


The reason is, the old lenses only needed 4 or 5 elements, modern zooms contain up to 30 elements. They need all those elements to zoom, and they mess with the image quality. Old lenses because they are so simple in construction can deliver high quality images easily.


Old lenses however lacked good coatings and the lack of coatings misleads the casual user into thinking the resolution is poor whereas its simply a lack of contrast that fools the brain.


The biggest problems with old lenses are misaligned lens elements through tampering and haze or fungus on the lens surfaces and broken internal mechanisms such as the aperture.


Even a good quality lens can be a poor performer due to one or other of these faults.


With regards to purchasing old lenses, when buying blind from an auction site its a crap shoot, you might end up with good or bad you just don't know. If you buy from a shop you can try it out first however. Having said that I have never purchased a bad lens in all the lenses I have bought. I just did my research and I bid on lenses I had confidence in. I have never been let down, quite the reverse. I get stunnng images that are sharper with my cheap 60 year old lenses than I did with expensive 5 year old Nikon and Canon lenses.


I wish I could suggest which lens maker to go with but they almost all had lemons in their range. Pentax is a good bet though.


The correct approach for you to give most chance of success will be to search local camera shops and see what old lenses they have, and when you find some old lenses in the focal length you want, research the make and model of the lens. If you find information on it you have to take it on trust but then try some test exposures to see what its capable of. Use them on your camera for this test.


This means buying an m42 adapter up front but its only a few dollars.


You suggest that these lens deals may be too good to be true. The fact is they aren't too good to be true. Hardly anyone want these old wonderful lenses. The guys selling them on ebay often get zero bids so you win them for the starting bid. This happens particularly if the lens is relatively unknown. People are starting to wake up to these lenses as the biggest gold mine on ebay so prices are beginning to rise.


In my own experience, I have for example bought a genuine Carl Zeiss Tessar for 12 dollars from a camera shop I could try it out and it came with a warranty. These old lenses really are a steal. Almost all of them in my opinion outperform the kit lenses you get today.


I really recommend you at least have a look at whats lurking in the camera shops and give them a try. I have recently seen shops near me selling 400mm and 600mm lenses of known good quality for less than 50 dollars. They often cant sell them to anyone so they just unload them for next to nothing.


The last lens I got I was given for nothing in a camera shop just to get rid of it, its a fine lens. It was reported that a camera shop near me recently filled their car with old lenses and drove to the dump then they dumped them because nobody wanted them. I wouldn't be surprised.


Check out the local shops I think youll be pleasantly surprised..
06-01-2014, 09:48 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
Just to give you a little guidance, do some simple math

Image size = subject size x focal length / distance

Let's think about what you are shooting

Although birds come I all sizes or shapes, you can think of them really as large wading birds up to 1 meter tall, medium hawks etc at 0.5 meters, large birds at 0.25 meters and tiny ones at 0.1 meters tall

If you are shooting even at a modest distance, let's say 25 meters, even with a 500 mm lens here is what you get

Large wading birds = 20mm
Medium hawk = 10mm
Large birds= 5mm
Small birds = 2mm

Considering a pentax DSLR frame is 16 x 24 mm you would get a good shot and virtually fill the frame with something like a big heron or egret, you would be cropping to about 25% of the frame for a medium hawk on a branch, you would use at best 10% of the frame for a large bird like a robin or grackle, and a small bird at best will be a record shot. If you want to do birds on the cheap, look at a pentax Q. The sensor is a crop factor of 5.5 from a 35mm film camera, and is about 6.17x 4.55 mm so even a small bird at 25mm will fill the frame with the same 500mm lens. You can pick up shorter lenses, in then200mm range that would be equal to about 1100mm on film or 750-800 mm compared to your pentax DSLR quite cheap. And you don't need the arms of a gorilla to hold the lens
This is good advice.

When looking for a birding lens I made what I think is probably a common error. I thought a 500mm lens would give me about 15x magnification on an APS-C sensor. I figured that would give me half as much again as my 10x binoculars. With the binoculars I can see the plumage on a medium sized wader at 80m, so surely the lens would do even better? Wrong wrong wrong. My 170-500 produces good images up to about 30 or 40m (stopped down, fast shutter, tripod) but not much usable beyond that.
06-01-2014, 10:58 PM   #26
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Theres nothing wrong with your 500mm lens for birding. You can take good bird images with a 100mm lens if you can get close enough. You might want to add a 2x teleconverter to give more options if your lens/camera will support it.


Its all about 2 things


1 Filling the frame with the subject


2 Taking a picture while they do something interesting, landing taking off, eating, fighting, something more than just sitting there.


Most people think photography is about equipment, its not, its about thinking planning and creating.


That means thinking how your gonna get close enough, planning how you do that without disturbing them and creating the opportunity to take a good image by being in the right place. And the right place is as close to them as you can get.


In short to get a good bird picture means crawling on your belly through mud and sheep droppings working your way close to the bird until you can get it big in the frame.


Buy a hide, buy a set of waders buy some waterproofs.


Don't buy a 6,000 dollar lens and a deckchair expecting the birds to swarm around you performing on queue it aint gonna happen.


Learn their habits learn to be quiet like a hunter, work your way close to them erect a hide set up your gear and wait for 6 hours taking as many pictures as you can. You will take 100 for every useable one you get.


Don't take my word for it, find out how the experienced guys do it and do what they do.
06-02-2014, 02:48 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Imageman Quote
Theres nothing wrong with your 500mm lens for birding. You can take good bird images with a 100mm lens if you can get close enough. You might want to add a 2x teleconverter to give more options if your lens/camera will support it.


Its all about 2 things


1 Filling the frame with the subject


2 Taking a picture while they do something interesting, landing taking off, eating, fighting, something more than just sitting there.


Most people think photography is about equipment, its not, its about thinking planning and creating.


That means thinking how your gonna get close enough, planning how you do that without disturbing them and creating the opportunity to take a good image by being in the right place. And the right place is as close to them as you can get.


In short to get a good bird picture means crawling on your belly through mud and sheep droppings working your way close to the bird until you can get it big in the frame.


Buy a hide, buy a set of waders buy some waterproofs.


Don't buy a 6,000 dollar lens and a deckchair expecting the birds to swarm around you performing on queue it aint gonna happen.


Learn their habits learn to be quiet like a hunter, work your way close to them erect a hide set up your gear and wait for 6 hours taking as many pictures as you can. You will take 100 for every useable one you get.


Don't take my word for it, find out how the experienced guys do it and do what they do.
Actually, if you learn to approach 20% closer you can easily get by with $1000

Or if you wish, you can spend about $500 and get record shots which would seem impossible with a DSLR. Just get a Q and a 500-1000 mm mirror lense
06-12-2014, 07:18 AM   #28
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With a 500mm mirror lens and a Q, I was a little too close to the moon. So that is plenty of reach. The Tokina 500mm f/8 mirror should be under $100, and whioe it isn't perfect, it will at least get you a peak the bird's nest.
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