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02-16-2010, 01:58 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Naturenut Quote
Hi Folks. I'm hoping to become a regular active participant on the pentax forum. I got my first dslr in October 09 and am learning to use it, slowly but surely.

I recently had a tutoring session w/a pro wildlife photographer and we were dicussing lens types. I inquired about how much the dedicated zoom lenses are and was floored to learn they can cost upward of $5k! lol Good grief. I won't be buying one of those any time soon!

Anyway, what do you think are some good choices for me beyond the kit lens (18-55mm) and the Tamron 70-300mm I purchased?

I see Pentax has some 200mm w/hoods that I could probably scrape together some money to purchase used or new eventually. Would that be a decent alternative for an aspiring wildlife photo enthusiast?

Appreciate any input you may have. As I said, I plan/hope to be here regularly to learn and ask questions!

BTW, my camera is a Pentax K20D and I love it. Just have to learn how to use it. lol It is probably a bit more advanced than I should have started with, as there are no 'dummy' buttons. haha But that's okay, I'm learning and this way won't feel 'held back' by my camera in a few years I suppose. Still, there is a lot of information to absorb (learning about aperture, ISO, f-stops, lighting and all that good stuff). The 'scariest' part is actully grabbing that K20D and fiddling w/it w/out fear of harming it. lol ;-) But I still think I got more bang for my buck than I would if I had chosen a similar Nikon and or the Canon T1i.

Okay folks - thanks again in advance.

Regards,
Laurie (aka 'naturenut')

P.S. I'm attaching a photo I took of a Downey Woodpecker. That was taken on AF w/the 70-300mm Tamron. Now that I've learned a lot more I'm not quite as proud of that pic as I was before...but if you considered how clueless I was when i took it in Nov. 09, I guess it's still pretty good. lol I have more I can attach if ya'll want to critique them...or is that a different section of the forum...hmmm...I should probably investigate that. lol
Nature,

The K20 is a great camera and while it will take some time to learn. There are some dummy buttons as you refer to. The green square is totally automated and all you have to is push the shutter button. You could also try the P selection this can be automated but also gives you the chance to play with settings. I don't own the tamron lense you mention, but I'm sure it can take great shots just give it and yourself some time.
By the way I think the shot looks nice maybe a little over exposed but still a nice shot. In the end its what you think of the picture and if you like it then that's the most important thing.

02-16-2010, 02:17 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by stl09 Quote
I disagree with you on this. I own a Pentax 1.7x and a FA* 300 and the autofocus works just fine. The only catch is that it will only work f4.5 and up. I do agree that they are hard to find, but can be had if you're patient just don't pay the stupid prices on ebay. A want ad on this forum site is how I got mine.
Same way I got mine. Please however, point out to me the mechanism that drives the LENS AF when mounted on the 1.7x.



It's there on the Tamron



02-16-2010, 06:28 PM   #18
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The Promaster has it too!
Don't see it however from your photos of the Pentax.
Attached Images
 
02-16-2010, 07:29 PM   #19
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It's there on the other side, it just doesn't go all the way through to the mounted lens. IOW, Only the TC is doing any auto focusing.

02-16-2010, 07:39 PM   #20
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Back to the OP's question. I too would recommend the DA 55-300 and save for the DA *300 down the road. Even with long glass, it is important to get close. I have seen good bird photos taken with a fish eye lens of all things. Helps to have some bird seed and maybe a blind.

As mentioned above, long glass gets heavy and hard to hand hold. Even at 300 mm on a crop sensor, you have to be pretty steady and have a decent shutter speed to keep from getting blurry photos. Consider a decent monopod at the least to stabilize yourself. Those are pretty portable and pretty useful too.
02-16-2010, 07:53 PM   #21
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I don't know about the Pentax TC (don't have one), but with my Kenko Pz-AF 1.5x TC the lenses will AF - the coupling pin goes all the way through the TC. I've used it quite a bit with my DA 55-300 and am generally pleased with the results. Needs a bit more light, but the extra reach is a real plus.
02-16-2010, 07:58 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
Back to the OP's question. I too would recommend the DA 55-300 and save for the DA *300 down the road. Even with long glass, it is important to get close. I have seen good bird photos taken with a fish eye lens of all things. Helps to have some bird seed and maybe a blind.
Unless I misread her post, she Did express some interest in knowledge about teleconverters. That said, IF a 300mm prime were to become a priority, My suggestion would be to keep using the Tamron, forget about the 55-300 and put the money towards the DA*300mm. The choice of course, is hers to make.

02-16-2010, 10:44 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Naturenut Quote
...Anyway, what do you think are some good choices for me beyond the kit lens (18-55mm) and the Tamron 70-300mm I purchased?
It is really disappointing to get a 500mm lens, put it on the camera and find it's not that much further than 300mm. Especially if you paid for a good 500mm. And birds are really small. I have a pretty good 400mm, and you'd think that would be plenty. Here is a regular size goose at maybe 75 feet away and 400mm:



Couple that with prices for lenses beyond 300mm, and my suggestion is to not get anything over 300mm just yet. Instead, practice getting closer with what you have. Those skills will help you whatever lens you use.

02-17-2010, 04:36 AM   #24
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Heavy k20d..

Whenever you handle the K20d, put the neck strap on. Could save a tragedy
02-17-2010, 05:36 AM   #25
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Hi Mickey. Thanks.

Why would I want a 200mm? I guess I thought that would me the most 'affordable' dedicated long range I could afford at this point in time. However, I do have a tripod!
02-17-2010, 05:39 AM   #26
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IQ

Oh geez of course...image quality! doh! lol I will definitely check out the lens reviews. Thanks!


QuoteOriginally posted by GerryL Quote
Sorry about that..IQ is Image Quality.
The only difference with the DA and the DA-L version is the one I mentioned that the DA-L has plastic mounts (K-mount), it doesn't come with a lens hood and it does not have the quick-shift or clutch-focus.
They are of the same lens design, so they should have the same performance.
The DA-L was stripped down to save on costs so it can be bundled as an affordable K-x kit offering.
Here are the links to the lens review database for these lenses:
DA 55-300mm ED: Pentax Lens Review and Specification Database - 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED
DA-L 55-300mm ED: Pentax Lens Review and Specification Database - 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED

If you get the DA* (star), these are kinda like the Canon "L" lenses, then they will actually cost a lot more but very far from the pricier Canons or Nikons.
Price depends also on how rare the DA* you would be purchasing.
02-17-2010, 05:46 AM   #27
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"Dummy"

QuoteOriginally posted by JeffJS Quote
By the way, I think you chose the Perfect camera simply beCause there are no 'dummy' buttons. It's built like a tank, won't wither and die if you get caught in a soaking rain, and once you get use to it, you can rule your photography world.

If your Tamron is the LD Di version, it's actually a decent lens, up to about 280mm. It begins to soften after that. Or at least my copy does. I think that's a problem with any catch all zoom. They all have their weak spots. That said, I can't speak highly enough of Pentax's Prime lenses (non zoom) and if you can fiddle together enough change for the DA*300mm, it will blow you away.

Well that's good to hear. I hear a lot of talk about Canon and Nikon being the 'gods' of the dslr world...but I've also heard that a lot of that is marketing. I've had Pentaxs' in the past and have always found them every bit as able as N or C so I don't understand why people act so snobby about other brands. *shrug* Oh well. I'm very pleased w/my choice.

I have a relative that also recently got their first dslr and it is a Canone T1i. Well you just can NOT tell her that her camera isn't leaps and bounds better than mine (like I care, lol) simply because it is a Canon. I've tried to explain to her that she has an entry level camera with lots of the 'dummy' buttons, whereas mine is more for the 'enthusiasts' level photographer. Basically that it is mroe camera than the T1i overall. Am I wrong in this deduction? I did so much research before buying anything so I feel like I'm fairly well informed, though no expert by any stretch of the imagination. lol

Anyway...I do want to be able to get another Pentax lens, either the 55-300 or the 300. Either way, I'm going to have to save my pennies for awhile.
02-17-2010, 05:48 AM   #28
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Camo blinds

QuoteOriginally posted by Ahab Quote
Why not learn to be like an indian so you can get closer to "nature". Think slow, wear camo. That Tamy can take great images if you give it a chance.
Actually Ahab, I was just saying last night that I really need to get a blind and I'm going to look into that. We have a Cabela's not 10 min. from our home believe it or not, smack dab in the middle of suburban CT (of all places). I don't particularly like that store because I'm anti-hunting, but ya know...sometimes we have to compromise. lol
02-17-2010, 05:50 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by stl09 Quote
Nature,

The K20 is a great camera and while it will take some time to learn. There are some dummy buttons as you refer to. The green square is totally automated and all you have to is push the shutter button. You could also try the P selection this can be automated but also gives you the chance to play with settings. I don't own the tamron lense you mention, but I'm sure it can take great shots just give it and yourself some time.
By the way I think the shot looks nice maybe a little over exposed but still a nice shot. In the end its what you think of the picture and if you like it then that's the most important thing.
Hi there. Yes I know it has the green and P, but I was specifically referring to the picture icon buttons...ya know, the 'no brainers'?
02-17-2010, 07:14 AM   #30
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In the comparison tests I've seen where a teleconverter was used on a consumer grade zoom like Tamron or Sigma 70-300 or Pentax 55-300, the image quality was inferior to simply cropping to the same size. IMO it's pointless to discuss TC"s any further in this thread.

I have a Tamron 70-300mm Di Macro and a Pentax 55-300mm. The Pentax is a bit sharper at 300mm and shows less purple fringing, but the biggest difference for me is superior colour and contrast with the Pentax. I thought the Tamron to Pentax upgrade was worthwhile but it's not night and day by any means. I produced a lot of photos that I'm proud of with the Tamron. I would say just use it for a now and save for an upgrade.... to the Pentax 55-300 if you want a bit of an increase in IQ, or to something pricier if you want to go longer or to gain obviously better IQ.

Regarding your friend's Canon, just take better photos, that should convince her.
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