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06-11-2015, 01:35 PM   #16
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My plan would be to get the DA300 and new 1.4X teleconverter. With a $2000 budget that's completely within reach.

There are some third party 400mm primes out there, but I don't know the quality.

I have a 1970 vintage Vivitar "shillelagh" tele, and when I can nail focus and exposure it's great. That's a big "IF" on the K5 with no split-screen...

06-11-2015, 02:23 PM   #17

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600 yards is quite a distance. With my Sigma 150-500 I get excellent results from cropped and non-cropped shots in case you are interested. For a super telephoto lens it performs very well with my K-5 IIs. The 150-500 seems to have been discontinued as far as obtaining a brand new one, but I still see the Sigma 50-500 for Pentax mount being offered on Amazon and at some online stores such as Norman Camera and B and H. The common price seems to be $1509. When I take pictures of objects that may be extremely further away, I resort to a shutter speed of 400, though I have taken nice shots at lower speeds also. Of course with flying birds I would try to accomodate their movement with an approximate 800 or higher shutter speed, depending on the rapidity of their movement. My K-5 IIs is a camera which really does capture detail at a nice level so as I mentioned it does well. The matter of minor movement during the taking of a shot at an extreme distance is something that is usually dealt with using the most appropriate shutter speed to avoid a possible blur. 500 mm can only do so much. As was mentioned, the DA300 and the 1.4 teleconverter seems like an option per the compatibility factor (both same brand), but you would only get the 420 mm instead of the 500. I myself like the versatility of the zoom and the 500 mm. On the other hand, if you did get the 1.4 converter and a 300 mm, 400 mm, or more Pentax lens, you would have good distance, and you would have the compatible converter for Pentax K mount lenses you might buy in the future.

Last edited by C_Jones; 06-11-2015 at 02:36 PM.
06-11-2015, 02:45 PM   #18
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Here are a couple of examples using a K 400mm f/5.6 AF* lens, Kenko 1.5x TC on a K-3 using the viewfinder to focus to about a 1/4 mi at 77F/25C, 1/1500 @ f/11, ISO 400, on a tripod. AF* = Analog Focus.

Full image.


Same settings but focused at about 30 ft.

Full image.

~ 100%.
06-11-2015, 09:02 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kipp2569 Quote
Okay, now I would like to pose an equipment purchase suggestion list to all of you. I like the versatility of a zoom lens, and in fact I have two of them (Pentax DA 18-135mm, and a DA 55-300mm F4.5-5.8). Given that I would like to get close enough optically so that when I crop the picture pixelization doesn't rare up (K5iis = 12MP). For this particular purpose, AF shouldn't be necessary since the nest is at a fixed distance, but it would a nice feature to be used later on for other things. Adding a tele-converter (1.4 or 2.0X) would be a nice addition for this and my other lenses. To keep the cost relatively reasonable, something around $2000 would be acceptable. Any suggestions?
If you have trouble getting sharp images spending money will not make much of a difference. You need IMO to first get more from what you have, then you will see a difference with a better lens. But realize this may mean a better tripod and head--and that will be costly.

And ultimately if you want a long focal length spending a lot on a zoom will likely get you less sharpness than a fixed focal length lens--and there are many good older manual focus fixed FL lenses (Pentax, Tamron AD2, etc.). Of course it depends on how much price is part of the equation.

And adding a TC may not be satisfying. I happen to like them, but for optimum results I suggest you figure what is the longest FL you would use regularly and get that.

Versatility and extreme telephoto do not really go together!

06-11-2015, 11:45 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
It sounds like the customer service rep was trolling you. I think your low lens budget/lens choice might be an issue, especially if you're pixel-peeping. Tele photography requires a lot of precision, after all. Focusing in live view is the way to go. However, since live view is based on the wide-open aperture, the image might appear a bit soft and you'd want to stop down by at least one stop to get better results. This essentially means that telescopes and the like shouldn't be used.

A relatively inexpensive but extremely sharp telephoto solution (if you're willing to deal with chromatic aberration in post) would be the K 500mm F4.5 plus the 1.4x L teleconverter. For both you'll pay just under $1000 out of pocket at today's prices.

There are a few on ebay, some with a K mount (below) and some with the M42 mount:
Asahi Pentax SMC 500mm F4 5 Lens for Pentax K Very Good | eBay

Your tripod/rig is equally important, so make sure you have a very sturdy (heavy) tripod. I'd recommend using the IR remote + self timer to minimize camera shake.
Ditto Tripod was my first thought I have taken photos of bears in Denali on my 55-300 and they were a spec on the hill with eyesight and cropped down come up clear and fine hand held so something's not right. Also I am wondering at what speed you are shooting your shutter speed should be no less than 10% of your lens length eg 300mm 1/30 sec and what is your IS0 this can give a grainy appearance if above 800 then digitally blown up. Another thought is your light metering is it on spot I find my shots are much sharper. Hope that helps.
06-12-2015, 02:18 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Yup, the K-3, K-S1, and K-S2 can go to 100%. The K-30/K-50/K-01 still provide an enlargement but it maxes out shy of full size. Still better than the OVF though, for fine0tuning the focus!
That would be because the focusing screen in Pentax's OVF is crap. I'm not saying they're unique in that regard, but it does irk me that with my new K-50 (received today!) I'll have to order a cut-down Nikon or Canon focusing screen using 20-year-old technology (or worse) from someone who's probably never used my camera, much less seen it. I really miss Katz-eye.

You would think that with the historical quality of their AF on digital cameras, Pentax would have moved to address the focusing screen issue.
06-12-2015, 02:24 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by fredralphfred Quote
I really miss Katz-eye.
Aren't they back, or at least coming back?

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06-12-2015, 02:36 AM   #23
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Sadly, Katz-Eye died.

QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Aren't they [Katz-eye] back, or at least coming back?
A quick check of Katz-eye's home page says no. I haven't heard any rumors to the contrary, either. They were negotiating a deal for buy-out but it fell through, from what I've read elsewhere on this forum. I haven't heard rumors of resurrection from anyone as of yet.

I guess that means that forum owners aren't necessarily omnipotent, eh?

06-12-2015, 06:52 AM   #24
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I would second the advice above about getting a lens long enough for the job, and avoid a TC if possible. I know the Pentax 1.4 has a great reputation, but you have to consider the small light loss.

Factoring in that probably (I'm thinking ...?) you're really needing to look towards an aperture of f8 or smaller, you want to keep shutter time values to a minimum as there will be small subject movements to contend with as well as your own induced camera movement.

Just to double check ... Are you using tripod already? If so then as said earlier check that SR is off , as on a tripod this can add problems.

TCs are more suited to wide aperture primes, as on a budget zoom once you factor in the light loss, even shooting at F5.6 (may not be optimum for sharpness on a budget zoom) you end up almost at F8 amounts of light coming in anyway ... So might as well be using a prime at f8, it's sweetest spot.

Last edited by mcgregni; 06-12-2015 at 11:45 AM.
06-12-2015, 11:33 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Aren't they back, or at least coming back?
No, the purchase deal fell through.

If I had any knowledge of how they do what they do, I would look into the purchase price, but that not being the case...


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