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08-03-2014, 09:40 PM   #1
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Help Choosing a begginer budget telephoto lens

Hi, my name is Edwin, I'm a beginner photography enthusiast. I bought a Pentax K-X and so far I'm really happy with it.
A visit to the zoo the other day made me realize the SMC Pentax DA L 18-55 mm that comes with the camera really didn't help to get close to the animals as I wanted, so I decided to explore a little bit and get a Macro lens, but (and I guess this is a very frequent "but" in these kind of threads lol) since I'm not a professional, I don't have the luxury right now to spend a lot on it, sadly. So I've been checking these options, I'd really like some advice. The highest my budget can go is about $90-100 and I already found these on ebay and they are withing range:

SMC Pentax-DA L 50-200mm F4-5.6 ED Reviews - DA L Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

Takumar-F 70-200mm F4-5.6 Reviews - Non-SMC Pentax Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

Tamron 70-300mm F4-5.6 AF Di LD Macro Lens Reviews - Tamron Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database

Quantaray 70-300mm F4-5.6 LD Macro 1:2 Lens Reviews - Quantaray Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database

SMC Pentax-F 80-200mm F4.7-5.6 Reviews - F Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

These I couldn't find the exact model on the pentaxforums:

Tamron AF 80 210mm F4 5 5 6d Zoom Lens ? Model 278D ? Pentax A DSLR | eBay

Gorgeous Clean Sigma AF 28 200mm F3 8 5 6 Zoom Lens Pentax UV Hood Caps | eBay

I would appreciate any help!! Thanks in advance

P.S. Oh, and if you have a better option within that price range feel free to recommend!

Read more at: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/269538-help...#ixzz39OYV1GCS

08-03-2014, 10:23 PM   #2
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May I suggest trying a bellows first? They can be found easily on eBay, usually cost less than a new lens, and can be used with a lens you already have. A bellows offers more options in the future for "playing" with different lenses such as enlarger lenses which can sometimes offer excellent flat field IQ at the fraction of the cost for a similarly high IQ camera lens.

https://www.flickr.com/groups/bellows/
08-03-2014, 10:29 PM   #3
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the Pentax DA L is under $100 brand new in Canada. Never used one but keep this in mind.
PENTAX DA L 50-200MM F4-5.6 AL LENS 21817

Also, a macro is for shooting you are physically close to, like an insect or a flower. Looking at the lenses you quote I think you are misunderstanding the term macro. The lenses you are choosing look to be oriented for things that are far away from you....

ex. the 18-55 minimum focus distance is 25cm
the 50-200 you quotes has a minimum focus distance of 110 cm

A macro would be looking for the opposite effect....
08-03-2014, 10:34 PM   #4
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I think you mean telephoto not macro. Macro is for shooting things very close like insects or the inside of flowers. To bring things far away closer in the image you need a telephoto.

Take a look at the Pentax F 70-210 it is one of my favorite zooms. Easily found within your price range.

08-03-2014, 10:35 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by edgaus Quote
the SMC Pentax DA L 18-55 mm that comes with the camera really didn't help to get close to the animals as I wanted
How "close" did you want to be able to get? A "close" shot of just a tiger's face, like a portrait? Or, did you want a "close" shot of a small iguana's scales, almost like looking through a microscope?
08-03-2014, 10:48 PM   #6
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Like mentioned already, Macro is for tiny, close-up critters, telephoto is for the far-away ones . In your price range, though, you might be able to combine both. The Tamron and Sigma 70-300 that go new for around $130 are both pretty nice telephoto options, but they can also focus really close, giving a 1:2 "magnification". Don't be put off by them not reaching 1:1. 1:2 is already REALLY close.
08-03-2014, 10:55 PM   #7
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Thanks a lot for your answers.
Sorry, yep you are right, I meant telephoto. Sometimes I get confused because they put the word macro on some of them :S. But, just to be clear, I want to be able to take photos from far-away.
08-03-2014, 11:15 PM   #8
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I reckon, keep saving until you can get a Pentax 55-300. Even second hand. By far the best cheap and lightweight telephoto for Pentax. If it means another month or more to save up the money, then it's worth the wait. They're available second hand on ebay for just under double your budget.

08-03-2014, 11:34 PM   #9
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Some additional information

Hi, here's some thoughts for you to consider.


Because you referred to yourself as a beginner I would not suggest a prime. A telephoto prime is not amateur friendly. If the lens can't zoom in you have to find a place to walk to for the desired shot. For taking pictures of an animal at the zoo this can be extremely frustrating, as when an animal is in a pose you probably want to get the shot as quickly as possible rather than staking out the best ground for the appropriate length of prime you purchased.
100% you are going to want to zoom especially for what you are doing. The telephoto range that most people end up using most often on a crop sensor is 100-300mm if you get a zoom or prime at 200 or below you will more than likely still feel that you are not getting as close as you want to. Get a telephoto zoom that can go beyond 200 and I very highly doubt that you will regret getting the extra distance.


1, Telephoto primes are horribly user unfriendly.
You don't use a telephoto prime to shoot wildlife as a point-and-shoot, people using primes for wildlife usually stake out their ground before hand.


2, I can't see you getting a zoom lens that can go beyond 200mm and then saying to yourself, "Golly Gee I really don't need to get in this close." When you stick on a telephoto lens for the express reason to get close, you want to get close!

I would get 300mm minimal, for something like a zoo. On an APS-C camera, (which yours is) 200mm and 300mm is the difference between a tele and a super tele.


Back in the day before I was as awesome as I am now. I was in a very similar situation to yourself and picked up a Pentax SMC Pentax-FA 100-300mm F4.5-5.6 for 70-80 some dollars.


This lens is in your price range.


It's a genuine Pentax glass.


It's got a very respectable and useful range for a telephoto/super telephoto lens.


And has automatic focus, (which is a huge, huge plus for a non-static subjects like wildlife.)


Bonus, 9 aperture blades, full frame compatible, power zoom with compatible camera, (which you don't have.)


Downside is that it's heavy, and in sharpness does not compare to the more expensive lenses.


Eventually I phased out this lens by purchasing a good super zoom bridge camera that I carry along with my Pentax DSLR.
Good luck with your decision. Props for carrying the awesome Pentax K-x!

Last edited by SGOMMO7; 08-03-2014 at 11:37 PM. Reason: Grammar
08-03-2014, 11:42 PM   #10
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08-03-2014, 11:56 PM   #11
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Thanks for the feedback so far!
MD Optofonik, I'm sorry, I think I didn't explain myself clearly :P ...english is not my first language . What I was trying to explain : I want a lens that can get close to the subject from far away (maybe not like suuuper far), so I guess a telephoto should be the one..??

SGOMMO7 , thanks for the advice, unfortunately I didn't find the SMC Pentax-F 100-300mm F4.5-5.6 at my price range... what do you think about the SMC PENTAX DAL 50-200mm f/4-5.6 Zoom Lens, this one I found within my budget.
08-04-2014, 12:13 AM   #12
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Here's one
SMC Pentax F 1 4 5 5 6 100 300mm Lense w Front Rear Caps | eBay

---------- Post added 08-04-14 at 01:24 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by edgaus Quote
SGOMMO7 , thanks for the advice, unfortunately I didn't find the SMC Pentax-F 100-300mm F4.5-5.6 at my price range... what do you think about the SMC PENTAX DAL 50-200mm f/4-5.6 Zoom Lens, this one I found within my budget.
The 100-300 has a better range, and is just as sharp as the
SMC PENTAX DAL 50-200mm the only advantage of the 50-200mm is that it would be lighter. Personally I would still try to go for the 100-300mm as the 50-200mm is a DA L lens meaning is designed to be a cheap kit lens. The 100-300 will have a better build quality.

---------- Post added 08-04-14 at 01:31 AM ----------

Here's one that you could try bidding on.
SMC Pentax P F 100 300 mm F 4 5 5 6 | eBay
08-04-2014, 12:32 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by SGOMMO7 Quote
Here's one
SMC Pentax F 1 4 5 5 6 100 300mm Lense w Front Rear Caps | eBay

---------- Post added 08-04-14 at 01:24 AM ----------



The 100-300 has a better range, and is just as sharp as the
SMC PENTAX DAL 50-200mm the only advantage of the 50-200mm is that it would be lighter. Personally I would still try to go for the 100-300mm as the 50-200mm is a DA L lens meaning is designed to be a cheap kit lens. The 100-300 will have a better build quality.

---------- Post added 08-04-14 at 01:31 AM ----------

Here's one that you could try bidding on.
SMC Pentax P F 100 300 mm F 4 5 5 6 | eBay
Thanks SGOMMO7, checking it out. Well it's looking like an option right now.
08-04-2014, 01:01 AM   #14
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At the zoo, or for portraits, landscapes, and such, a manual focus lens should work out O.K. for you (although I've never handled a K-X)... opening up any number of comfortably under $100 options, secondhand.

The Kiron and Vivitar branded 70-150mm zoom 'cousins' (both Kiron/Japan made, and circa f.4 throughout) can be found on eBay for as little as $15, or even slightly less. A *matched* 2x multiplier often comes with them or can be found cheaply, extending their range.

Look carefully through the lens database here for third party lenses. The Tamron Adaptall-2's include some pretty hot bargains for your consideration: See the 35-80mm/2.8-3.8 w/ 01-F "flat field" or 140-F matched teleconverters... the 100-300mm/3.8-5.6... and the 35-135mm/3.5-4.5 (#40a, second version) especially. The first two offer exceptional 'macro' capabilities for zooms, as well. All well under $100 (or under $50?). Any of these should give you more consistent results across the frame than the budget class modern plastic zooms, used skillfully. 'Pacerr' has helpful comparisons of the Adaptall-2 models in the PF lens database.
08-04-2014, 05:00 AM   #15
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https://www.keh.com/search/list?n=147&mfg[]=Pentax&fl[]=100-300mm&fl[]=75-300mm

http://www.adorama.com/l/Used/Pentax-Bayonet-mount/Zoom-Lenses?sel=ItemCondition_UsedItems

You can also check the used dept. of B&H or Adorama.The one advantage from buying from them is you know what to expect. Ebay is somewhat riskier.

Last edited by Oldbayrunner; 08-04-2014 at 05:13 AM.
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