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08-29-2009, 04:36 AM   #1
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What is the BEST wildlife lens?

Hi to you all. This is Leo.

So I read the article about the BEST wildlife lens in the "Outdoor Photographer" magazine the other day and was wondering what do you thin about the topic?

I only have the Tamron 70-300mm Di for the telephoto shooting right now, but am interested in getting better lens for my field shooting. I've been thinking of buying DA*60-250mm F4 SDM, but I found it's too heavy for my use.

Now, what do you think?

08-29-2009, 05:53 AM   #2
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Start with Sigma 100-300 f/4 and possibly a TC X1.4-1.5-1.7


cheers
08-29-2009, 06:11 AM   #3
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The best one is the one you take with you All kidding aside, my pick would be the canon 500mm f4 is usm (all I need is 5 grand or so)
08-29-2009, 06:22 AM   #4
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If you've got a Pentax DSLR and the $s... Sigma 500mm f/4.5 EX DG IF HSM APO Telephoto Lens for Pentax. If not, Tamron 70-200mm LD Di f2.8 and a 1.5x tc or DA*300mmf4 + tc or FA* or F* 300mm f4.5 + tc or Sigma 100-300mm f4 +tc. Or get one of the less expensive used 400-500mm manual primes. If you are on a very tight budget and are willing to put up with its quirks, Tamron 500mm f8 bbar 55b or bb mirror lens.

Amazon.com: Sigma 500mm f/4.5 EX DG IF HSM APO Telephoto Lens for Pentax and Samsung SLR Cameras: Electronics


Last edited by ivoire; 08-29-2009 at 08:22 AM.
08-29-2009, 06:52 AM   #5
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Best Wildlife lens

Tough call as there are many kinds of wildlife. I suspect there is no perfect wildlife lens. What might be "best" for my needs might not be "best" for yours. In any case I assume you mean the best Pentax lenses for wildlife and I will limit my response to this brand.

My longest lens is the M 400/5.6. This is an older lens and lacks ED glass and hence is prone to CA and PF. As a result it won't make anyone's best list unless it is a best you can afford list.

For my money wildlife lenses begin at 300mm and this is entry level. This is especially true for birding. You never seem to have enough length or lens speed in this category. The best in this class, of course, cost a lot of money as a quick glance at the lens review area will confirm. It will set you back several thousand dollars for a 600mm lens. The best wildlife lenses will be found in this 300~600mm focal range and are out of reach for all but the wealthy amateur and professional photographer.

In the Pentax line any of the following might be included in a Pentax "best" list due to ED glass, (IF) internal focusing etc. We should probably divide the list into auto focus and manual focus. None of the lenses in either group will be cheap but the best never is.

Manual focus "best" list

M*300/4

A* 300/4
A* 300/2.8
A* 400/2.8 - I really want this one.
A* 600/5.6
A* 1200/8 - a seldom seen speciality lens without a review in the Forum at this time. It is so rare as to almost be almost irrelevant.

Auto focus "best list"

All the FA primes 300mm and above get good reviews

FA* 300/2.8 appears to be outstanding.
FA* 400/5.6
FA* 600/4 – I want this one as well.

DA* 300/4 appears to be an excellent lens and many await the arrival of a DA* 400.

Forum members such as Pal Jensen, Ben Edict, Wheatfield and a few others can probably give a better opinion on the “best” Pentax lenses in this category as they own and have used them. I assume these Pentax telephotos perform as well as their Canon/Nikon counterparts. Pentax lenses with shorter focal lengths certainly do. For most of us, alas, this sort of glass is pretty exotic stuff much like a Ferrari. We might see one from time to time but it is unlikely we will ever get to drive one.

Cheers

Tom G


I thought I might add a best "affordable" wildlife lens list. By "affordable" I mean a lens around $400 or less. This is an arbitrary number but I had to pick one. I am limiting this to Pentax lenses some of which I own. All are manual focus and none have low dispersion ED glass nor do they have internal focusing (IF).

Best "affordable" 300mm

SMC Pentax K 300/4 - it has PF/CA issues but is a great buy. Pretty fast at f4 and it lacks a tripod collar but can deliver very good images. The lens has it flaws and detractors but represents the best "value" in the 300mm category.

SMC Pentax M 400/5.6 - again, PF/CA in high contrast situations but the extra length is great for birding.

The A 400/5.6 is a better lens than the M 400/5.6 and will focus more closely. I have seen it listed anywhere from $1,500 to as low as $700 so it doesn't fit my "affordable" criteria.

SMC Pentax K 500/4.5 - will certainly cost more than $400 but is worth considering (I have) as a bargain wildlife super telephoto. It shares PF/CA traits mentioned above as all telephotos of this vintage do. It will, however, get you up close and personal from a distance.


Someone with more knowledge of Third-Party lenses: Tamorn, Sigma, Tokina etc. might want to comment on those brands for wildlife.

Last edited by 8540tomg; 08-29-2009 at 11:31 AM. Reason: typo
08-29-2009, 09:43 AM   #6
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Best Pentax wildlife lens - FA250-600/5.6. I have used one pre-Dslr and still regretting not getting one.
08-29-2009, 09:56 AM   #7
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I hadn't considered zooms DW as I don't use them. Just a personal preference.

Ron Boggs agrees with you in the review area on this optic. His cost $7,400 according to his report which puts it out of my range. It must be a beast to carry around at 5,400 grams.

Any images from this one you care to share with the rest of us from your trial?

Tom G

Last edited by 8540tomg; 08-29-2009 at 09:57 AM. Reason: typo
08-29-2009, 10:14 AM   #8
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I reckon it's one that keeps you far enough from the wildlife to stop you getting eaten.

08-29-2009, 01:46 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Leo Miyanaga Quote
I only have the Tamron 70-300mm Di for the telephoto shooting right now, but am interested in getting better lens for my field shooting. I've been thinking of buying DA*60-250mm F4 SDM, but I found it's too heavy for my use.

Now, what do you think?
I think if you limit consideration to only lenses that are significantly lighter than the 60-250, you might as well just stick with that you have, as that's pretty good already. If you're mostly shooting larger animals, 300mm would be enough much of the time. If you're shooting smaller animals (eg, birds) and/or needing to shooting from unusually far away, then something longer would be nice, but again, you're not going to get that in a package much lighter than the 60-250. Except for the mirror lens possibility, which is definitely worth considering - but that would be a single very long focal length, and probably not as appropriate as the 70-300 in many cases, so I'd hold on to that in any case.

The 55-300 is by most accounts better than the 70-300, but it's of course no longer, so whether it's worth the cost to upgrade only you can decide.

BTW, I'm not implying you should accept the higher weight and get the 60-250. It's going to more limited than the 70-300 in many ways (shorter, much harder to handhold). No question the IQ will be better if you manage to get the shot, but if you're going to carry a 2 lbs lens for wildlife, I'd personally want it longer.
08-30-2009, 03:50 AM   #10
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Thanks for your useful thoughs!

I've been thinking of replacing Tamron lens for months, because I wasn't satisfied with it. Then I just read about the "best wildlife lens" article and started wondering what the people in this forum think about it.

Now, I'm a student right now and can't spend that much money on the camera equipment, but I just thought my satisfaction would get better if I upgrade the lens. I know the price isn't always equal to the IQ, but you know, making "wish list" is always joyful even if the wish does not come true for long time.

It is very nice to hear from lots of different perspective.

Thanks a lot! I'm enjoying
08-30-2009, 10:20 AM   #11
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I agree with Marc Sabatella, you need to learn how to use that 70-300. You just might be surprised what it can do.
08-30-2009, 10:36 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by 8540tomg Quote
I hadn't considered zooms DW as I don't use them. Just a personal preference.

Ron Boggs agrees with you in the review area on this optic. His cost $7,400 according to his report which puts it out of my range. It must be a beast to carry around at 5,400 grams.

Any images from this one you care to share with the rest of us from your trial?

Tom G

I've got the FA* 250-600/5.6 test images to prove it's worth... I believe it's one of the best options out there, except it's moderately fast (one stop slower than an F/4 lens).

Leo:A lot has already been covered, so I'm just filling in a bit. To be honest, shorter focal lengths just require more patience and techniques to bring in the wildlife (eg. birds). Larger animals can be sometimes approached, but it depends on many things: being downwind, cover or blind used (could be a vehicle too).

Heck, I've not been able to fit an entire Roadrunner into a short with either the Sigma 500/4.5 OR the FA* 300/2.8 because of using certain techniques to approach the subject. My FA* 300/2.8 is a phenomenal copy, no question!

Regards,
Marc

Last edited by Marc Langille; 08-30-2009 at 10:44 AM.
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