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07-05-2011, 06:34 PM   #16
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I find I can't hand-hold beyond about 300mm even with IS.

I find Robert Capa's admonition to be true; "If your photographs aren't good enough, you're not close enough."

PS the DA 55-300 plus a $55 Raynox DCR 150 covers about the largest range of macro to bird photography that's practical for hand-held photography. Plus it is a lightweight and compact package.


Last edited by newarts; 07-05-2011 at 06:41 PM.
07-05-2011, 06:37 PM   #17
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My recommendations would include:

Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD (IF) Macro AF Lens AF001P-700 B&H
The tamron is nice, but 200mm might be a bit short for you. See our review: https://www.pentaxforums.com/reviews/Sigma_Tamron_Pentax_70-200mm.php

Sigma 50-500mm F/4.5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM Lens for Pentax 738109
The Bigma delivers great sharpness, but is relatively slow and doesn't handle too great. We've also posted a review on it: https://www.pentaxforums.com/reviews/sigma_50-500mm_OS_HSM_review.php

Pentax SMCP-DA* 300mm f/4 ED (IF) SDM Autofocus Lens 21760 B&H
The Pentax DA* 300mm is a prime, so you'll be losing some flexibility (it's also relatively expensive)...and F2.8 would have been nice to have.

Sigma 500mm f/4.5 EX DG APO Autofocus Lens for Pentax AF 184109
This is the real deal, but I doubt anyone in their right mind would want to spend $5k on this thing- let alone wait until August!

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07-05-2011, 06:48 PM   #18
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I think someone in the market is selling a tokina AF 80-400 for 600. Maybe you could talk him down a bit. I wasn't aware they made them for Pentax, but take a look. 300mm has always been enough for me for pelicans and seagulls, but they aren't very shy.
07-05-2011, 09:35 PM   #19
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With your budget constraints the 55-300 is probably the best bet. As Lowell said, you can never have a long enough lens or get close enough. I have a couple of friends who are super avid bird photographers. One has a 500mm Canon and the other a 600mm Nikon. The lenses are both monsters and you could buy a decent used car for what they cost. Their hand held lenses go to 400mm. Again, very expensive.

There are 500mm and 800mm mirror lenses but the IQ is pretty bad with them. You can often find old glass for manual focus but Pentax never specialized in that area so the pickings are thin. The only other reasonably priced option digiscoping, that is attaching your camera to a spotting scope. You can get a long reach but the process is very slow.

Beyond that, wildlife photos require developing the same kinds of skills that hunters do: learning the best spots to find the subject, stalking, sitting very still for long periods and using a blind.


Last edited by mysticcowboy; 07-05-2011 at 09:41 PM.
07-06-2011, 03:41 AM   #20
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SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 is ok with K-r model right?
07-06-2011, 06:01 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by vampsy Quote
SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 is ok with K-r model right?
Yes, perfect match for the K-r and perfect to pair up with your DA 18-55.
07-06-2011, 07:39 AM   #22
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Pentax 500 mm f4.5 lens prime | eBay

Saw this looking through ebay, long and fast, might need repair.
07-06-2011, 08:40 AM   #23
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Sort of echoing what's already been said, 300mm is often not long enough for small birds. The DA 55-300 is an excellent lens for the price, though.

I'll add that the DAL version is even less expensive. There's more plastic to it and it's not weather resistant but optical quality is the same as the DA. Add a Raynox DCR-150 and you have a budget macro solution. Total cost of the combo will probably be less than $300 USD. Anything new better than that will probably cost far more.

If you're willing to take a chance with a used lens, watch the marketplace, ebay, and craigslist for 400mm and 500mm lenses. You might score a bargain.

I've also seen very cheap T-mount 500mm mirror lenses and extra-long refractor lenses but IQ will suffer.

07-07-2011, 04:30 PM   #24
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Great coz' I just have DAL 18 - 55 Lens, cool!
07-14-2011, 03:10 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by kenafein Quote
Pentax 500 mm f4.5 lens prime | eBay

Saw this looking through ebay, long and fast, might need repair.
One thing to be aware of, but the 500/4.5 has something like a 35-50 foot minimum focus distance. I can routinely get closer than that so the extra FL does not help
07-14-2011, 03:14 PM   #26
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I know there are alot of oppinions here but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that birding really starts at or around 600mm.

Whatever the case, if I was a birder, I would likely shoot with a different kit(Canon most likely).
Hope this doesn't come across as provocative, but that's my opinion on the issue.
07-15-2011, 04:59 AM - 1 Like   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by JohnBee Quote
I know there are alot of oppinions here but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that birding really starts at or around 600mm.

Whatever the case, if I was a birder, I would likely shoot with a different kit(Canon most likely).
Hope this doesn't come across as provocative, but that's my opinion on the issue.
I beg to differ. birding does not start at 600mm

go back to the math.

image size = subject size * focal length / subject distance

while it looks like yes longer is better. consider shooting a bird like a chickadee, which is only about 100mm long.

If you want to fill a frame (and being a pentax forum, consider ASP-C) at 24mm (ill call this 25 to make the math easy) the ratio of focal length to subject distance is 1/4

getting close is much more cost effective than getting a long lens, assuming the long lens can focus that close in the first place.

also note that the weight of any 600mm lens plus the tripod, means that you are staked out in a blind, and stationary. in that case, you probably don't need 600mm at any rate.

sure, for big birds, you can be 10x further back, but those birds are generally easy to shoot.

and just to be clear, the following, which I have posted before was taken with the FA28-105F4-5.6 at 105mm, and was taken totally in the wild.

07-15-2011, 10:51 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by JohnBee Quote
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that birding really starts at or around 600mm.
When we are talking FL with respect to birding what we really are talking about is magnification.

I shoot mostly small woodland passerines and found that a tripod mounted 15x (500mm) glass is about minimal. So I think your 600mm (18x) is reasonable for my kind of shooting.

All of the following small warblers taken at 560mm at about 25-40 ft. Getting these shots with anything less would have been dumb luck at least in my case. Could I have gotten any one of these shots with less than 500mm? Sure. Reliably? No.

After all at the end of the day I could get great bird shots with a 2mp PS if I was invisible and totally silent.

Keep in mind all of these birds are about half the size of your fist and are very shy, nervous elusive birds with a large comfort zone. Warblers, being deep woods birds, are not comfortable with people around them and are very intolerant of folks infringing on their territory.

Last edited by wildman; 07-19-2011 at 09:58 PM.
07-18-2011, 02:00 PM   #29
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I dont know how you are with manual everything, or whether you can only use AF and letting the camera do all the work, but.... if you are OK with manual, why not save yourself a whole pocketful of coin, ( and weight ) and go my route to big FL lenses, and get one of these... 600m f5 ( 8.5Lbs )




My website link shows a lot of bird shots taken with that very beast, well all but 6 of the photos anyways ( those 6 were with the Pent 80-320 ) , but apart from those 6, all shot with the beast

Hound dawg photography - Big Bird Gallery Mk2 - Photo Sharing at WinSoftMagic

Last edited by Squier; 07-18-2011 at 09:42 PM.
07-18-2011, 08:54 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Squier Quote
and go my route to big FL lenses, and get one of these... 600m f5 ( 8.5Lbs )


What is that thing and where do you get one?
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