Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home

Show Printable Version Search this Thread
03-04-2017, 05:17 PM   #1
New Member

Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 17
Hand held setting for wildlife on 150-450 on K-3

Hello All,
I need some practical advice on settings for Pentax 150-450 lens on a K-3 for wildlife shooting handheld. Initial shots were very soft - very disappointing.

Have used a Sigma IS 150-500 in past with much more acceptable results.

Is it a stabilization issue. Is the K-3 in-body stabilizer not up to the task?

Is it camera or lens settings? Both? Neither? Technique?

Feel that I have wasted my money. HELP!!

03-04-2017, 05:47 PM   #2
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
jlstrawman's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Midwest US
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 867
Post an example or two of your soft shots. What settings did YOU use? Not my cup of tea, but I would think it would be challenge to hand hold a lens of that size and get sharp results.
03-04-2017, 06:49 PM   #3
Senior Member

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Mechanicsburg, PA
Posts: 174
I have the DA*300 and a k-3. For use of that lens either alone or with the 1.4 TC, I use the TAV exposure mode. I typically set my aperture to f8 and my shutter speed to at least 1/1000 and let the ISO float as high as 3200, or even 6400.
03-04-2017, 06:52 PM   #4
Junior Member
mikec100z's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Calgary
Posts: 27
I know exactly how you feel. I bought the 150 -450 back in October and my initial results with my K3 were very disappointing. I too felt I had wasted my money compared with my 300 F4 and teleconverter.

I no longer feel that way after using the lens for some time and now really like the lens. The lens takes some time to get your technique back. I think I was spoiled by the very light 300 plus teleconverter and had allowed my technique to get sloppy. With the much heavier 150 to 450 you need to ensure you have good bracing as it is very easy to move the lens more than the image stabalization can correct. I also find that I need to shoot at a higher shutter speed (again related to the weight of the lens). To me the key was good posture in holding the lens, use your body to brace the lens and you will find your percentage of keepers improves.

I don't know what you use for settings but I have not found a significant difference on success with different settings other than keeping the shutter speed near the reciprocal of the focal length when hand holding. Below that I find my movement of the lens is too great and I need a monopod to get good success rates.

03-05-2017, 02:45 AM   #5

Join Date: Feb 2015
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 7,910
DFA150450 isn't fully sharp wide open, stopped down to f7.1 give the better sharpness, peak sharpness being at f10-f14 when used with TC. Soft because of vibrations: Using electronic shutter or a bean bag was a revelation for me. Due to vibrations (shutter, mirror etc) , the camera is seldom able to resolve as much as the optics allow when stopped down.
03-05-2017, 03:51 AM   #6
Senior Member

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Wales U.k
Posts: 102
I had this problem when i first used the 150-450, then I saw it !!!
The back button focus posting and it changed everything for me, I now get quite a reasonable amount of in focus sharp images at 450 (usually f7.5 or 8) but also with faster apertures even BIF and i am not the strongest of hombres :-) definately worth a try.
link here
03-05-2017, 06:16 AM   #7

Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 1,614
Get a beanbag or tripod to figure out image quality of the lens.
Afterwards try to achieve the same quality handheld.
Use short shutter speeds to avoid movements, even mirror slab.
Make sure to adjust focus correctly. Small objects like birds tent to move very quickly. Camera and object shake have alrge influence.
03-05-2017, 08:54 AM   #8
Veteran Member

Join Date: Aug 2015
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,400
regardless of any lens over 300mm on the end of any of my pentax bodies I found the in-body stabilization on my sigma to be the superior solution

that said SR can be more than adequate if I do my part
I find that since I trust the sigma to overcome my failings, I push the envelope and succeed more often than not
when using non-stabilized glass I must force myself to use more discipline in body support and shutter release

when i do, I find the pentax glass yields generally better images

i hate dragging tripods and bean bags with me
so a little discipline and muscle work is well worth it, to me

one thing that has struck me over the years is there is a skeletal geometry inherent to supporting long heavy tubes
in the old days rifles were long and heavy
techniques were developed to stabilize them
find pictures of old school target shooters
you will see elbows tucked in tight to the body
legs and feet forming a rigid base
often the hand/arm pulling the trigger is doing very little in way of support

when i was taught to shoot
one of the object lessons was for the instructor to pull the trigger while the pupil held the rifle with one hand/arm
rather than get a black eye or split brow you learned proper support techniques

whether you approve of hunting/shooting i find the techniques from those pursuits translate well to wildlife photography

03-05-2017, 04:44 PM   #9
New Member

Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 17
Original Poster
Thanks for all your suggestions. It seems that technique is my main issue here.

I already use back button focusing - but may need to refine that too.

The suggestion to use electronic shutter - is that only available on the K-1?

It seems that a number of Pentaxians have the 1.4TC on the 150-450. So I imagine that must exacerbate the problem somewhat. I will have to perfect my skills before buying the TC.


  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
150-450, k-3, lens, settings, tripod, wildlife
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Used Pentax 150 - 450 mm On Ebay for 1.659 USD mgbirder Pentax Price Watch 8 08-30-2016 11:12 AM
Question for 150-450 users on K1 Paul2660 Pentax K-1 4 07-19-2016 05:13 PM
question on 150-450 nitehntr Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 23 01-12-2016 04:46 PM
K3II/DFA 150-450 for Wildlife DDoram Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 9 08-16-2015 02:14 PM
Landscape Hand Held on Film troika Post Your Photos! 3 03-31-2014 03:51 AM

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:40 AM. | See also:, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]