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02-16-2010, 05:54 AM   #1
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Hello, I'm new and I have some questions

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

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02-16-2010, 11:45 AM   #2
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Just giving this a little bump so I don't get lost in the shuffle. lol
02-16-2010, 12:24 PM   #3
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That is actually a very good photo.
A lot of users here swear by the Pentax DA 55-300 and that it is a lot better than the Sigma or the Tamron 70-300mm.
Supposedly the DA-L 55-300mm is the same IQ wise but downgraded on the not so important dept to keep costs down.
You can get the DA-L version of the 55-300mm usually from K-x kit buyers and it costs around $250.
The DA version would cost a $100 more as it has a hood included, a metal mount and clutch focus.
There are also tests here on how a good TC helps to get that reach.
The Tammy 1.5X and the Pentax 1.7X are good examples but they cost a lot too.
There are still some who use 500mm mirror lenses and have gotten good results from it.
I think iviore does a lot of birding with a mirror lens.
Try to get an idea of what these mirror lenses can do: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/71775-mirror-lens-club.html
..and mirror lenses are very affordable. Just get the good ones.
Hope this helps!
02-16-2010, 12:27 PM   #4
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Oh yeah, I think those thousand grand lenses your instructor was talking about could be the Canon "L" lenses as you pay for the "L" glass plus the "IS" on the lens and the reputation of the "L" lenses.

02-16-2010, 12:45 PM   #5
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You may be right Gerry as he does have Canon equipment. I've seen some other pentax long ranges for around a grand (U.S.) but I'll have to look again and see what they were.

I thought about the TC's too (to answer your other post) and actually inquired about them w/my tutor. He said to just be careful with them (but I forget why, lol).

Truth be told I would rather stick with Pentax lenses if I can. I was just so eager to get a longer lens than came with the kit and that Tamron I got was affordable.

Supposedly the DA-L 55-300mm is the same IQ wise but downgraded on the not so important dept to keep costs down.
You can get the DA-L version of the 55-300mm usually from K-x kit buyers and it costs around $250.
The DA version would cost a $100 more as it has a hood included, a metal mount and clutch focus.


Sorry I don't know what IQ stands for? Is DA better than DA-L for any specific reason? DA are the weather sealed lenses, yes?
02-16-2010, 01:00 PM   #6
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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.
02-16-2010, 01:02 PM   #7
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DA "WR" are the weather-sealed lenses.
Take a look at the forum's lens review database if you want to find out more about performances of specific lenses.
The review also has an average price for each lens.
02-16-2010, 01:03 PM   #8
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Laurie,

Nice picture.

Tamron makes good lenses.
Since you have a 70-300mm why would you want a 200mm? The 200mm is hiding somewhere between the 70mm and the 300mm in your present lens.
Why not opt for something longer for wildlife.
Bear in mind that anything very much longer will probably require that you lug a tripod or, at least, a monopod.
It would be good if you could borrow or rent a longer lens to try before you buy.

Mickey

02-16-2010, 01:12 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Naturenut Quote
You may be right Gerry as he does have Canon equipment. I've seen some other pentax long ranges for around a grand (U.S.) but I'll have to look again and see what they were.

I thought about the TC's too (to answer your other post) and actually inquired about them w/my tutor. He said to just be careful with them (but I forget why, lol).

Truth be told I would rather stick with Pentax lenses if I can. I was just so eager to get a longer lens than came with the kit and that Tamron I got was affordable.

Supposedly the DA-L 55-300mm is the same IQ wise but downgraded on the not so important dept to keep costs down.
You can get the DA-L version of the 55-300mm usually from K-x kit buyers and it costs around $250.
The DA version would cost a $100 more as it has a hood included, a metal mount and clutch focus.


Sorry I don't know what IQ stands for? Is DA better than DA-L for any specific reason? DA are the weather sealed lenses, yes?
RE Teleconverters. The reason is most of them are junk. Add that to the fact that no one (except Sigma) is currently making tele's for Pentax cameras and the price of the decent ones has gone absolutely nutz. Different telelconverters may or may not work with certain lenses. I have a Tamron 2x AF converter that is decent, certainly not the best, but it doesn't work with the DA* lenses (no aperture control). The Pentax AF F1.7x does but you loose the auto focus of the lens itself (as will all other lenses in combo). It's also next to impossible to find unless you can walk into a Japan camera store and buy one (perhaps even there). Quite expensive either way. Sigma TCs work best with Sigma lenses but sometimes don't play well with Pentax lenses.

DA* lenses are all weather sealed (note the star). There are also a couple other Weather resistant lenses but not all DA lenses are WR. The K7 Kit lens, there is a 18-55 WR, a 50-200 WR and the DFA 100mm Macro that is weather sealed ($800).

02-16-2010, 01:19 PM   #10
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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.

02-16-2010, 01:28 PM   #11
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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.
02-16-2010, 01:34 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by JeffJS Quote
The Pentax AF F1.7x does but you loose the auto focus of the lens itself (as will all other lenses in combo).
Is there any truth to this?
I actually wouldn't know, since I don't own the Pentax 1.7X TC, but am wondering.
I have a Promaster 1.7X TC and I don't lose autofocus abilities for AF lenses coupled to that.
If the Pentax TC is AF, then it should work AF, wouldn't it?
02-16-2010, 01:36 PM   #13
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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.
You must mean the Native American 'coz I thought those native to India!
02-16-2010, 01:51 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by JeffJS Quote
RE Teleconverters. The reason is most of them are junk. Add that to the fact that no one (except Sigma) is currently making tele's for Pentax cameras and the price of the decent ones has gone absolutely nutz. Different telelconverters may or may not work with certain lenses. I have a Tamron 2x AF converter that is decent, certainly not the best, but it doesn't work with the DA* lenses (no aperture control). The Pentax AF F1.7x does but you loose the auto focus of the lens itself (as will all other lenses in combo). It's also next to impossible to find unless you can walk into a Japan camera store and buy one (perhaps even there). Quite expensive either way. Sigma TCs work best with Sigma lenses but sometimes don't play well with Pentax lenses.

DA* lenses are all weather sealed (note the star). There are also a couple other Weather resistant lenses but not all DA lenses are WR. The K7 Kit lens, there is a 18-55 WR, a 50-200 WR and the DFA 100mm Macro that is weather sealed ($800).


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.
02-16-2010, 01:56 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by GerryL Quote
Is there any truth to this?
I actually wouldn't know, since I don't own the Pentax 1.7X TC, but am wondering.
I have a Promaster 1.7X TC and I don't lose autofocus abilities for AF lenses coupled to that.
If the Pentax TC is AF, then it should work AF, wouldn't it?
I was a little surprised to learn this the hard way (not that it mattered much) myself, the AF screw does not go all the way through the converter.. If you think about it, it makes sense. You wouldn't want both the converter AND the lens trying to autofocus, you'd never get there. The AF is on the Converter itself which is what makes it useful for Manual focus lenses. To use it with Any lens, basically you dial in an approximate close enough focus and the converter will take over in the AF cycle. In fact, the entire time you are half pressing the shutter (or the AF button), the converter is searching for focus. As soon as you twist the focus ring close enough, the converter locks right on. In many cases, it actually seems faster than the AF on the lens itself, as screwy as that sounds. My Tamron 2x Does have an AF shaft through the converter so the Lens AF is what gets used. That one works fine with the FA and DA lenses but it doesn't play well with my SDM lenses. That's partially the point I was trying to make for the OP. Not all combos are compatible when it comes to teleconverters.

SDM300mm + 1.7x




FA35 f2. + 1.7x



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