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06-22-2010, 10:49 PM   #1
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Pentax or canon nikon

I am at a cross roads here. I have the k-7 with the 300mm f2.8 ex dg lens with matching 1.4 and 2.0 tc's. But i need more reach. I can buy the 500mm but i am worried about the pentax not making big glass and not having a very good track record with noise. All of my shooting is under the canopy. The canon and nikon are eating my lunch with the qualiyt of the pics comong out of the camera. And dedicated lens that perform verrrrry well.
Question: Do you think Pentax will ever come to the plate with good glass and a good pro lever camera? For wildlife.
I do not want to start a war here i am just wondering what your point of view is.
Thanks, Gary

06-22-2010, 11:08 PM   #2
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Gary, this issue has been broached before many times. See here:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/96687-pentax-s...to-needed.html
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/102406-telepho...tions-k-x.html
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/89149-400mm-pl...ng-thread.html
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/84561-telephoto-lens-advice.html
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/78837-cost-eff...-4-newbie.html
etc. etc.

Basically, if you're waiting for Pentax to bring in a DA lens of greater than 300mm in focal length, you may be waiting for a while. In the meantime, there's the Bigma (Sigma 50-500) or Sigma 150-500 lenses. Once in a while, not often, some of Pentax's older specialist telephoto lenses come up for sale, but certainly a rare occasion.

All the best in your decision.
06-22-2010, 11:46 PM   #3
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If you really need long lenses, consider the Bigma. However the ringtype AF motor of Canon is superior so, if you can afford to go Canon style telephoto, go for it. Remember though that under 7D one does not get weather sealing and kiss good bye to the in-body IS which is quite good in a K7 IMO.

One other option could be the Olympus e-620 with a 2x crop factor - really doubling the FL of any telephoto

I have both K7 and Kx.
06-23-2010, 12:08 AM   #4
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Pentax do have pro camera and glass, you have it already. It is only up to 300mm and that is the point where the equipment limits you.
I dont think pentax is really interested in producing anything longer than than that. IIRC they cancelled the special order 600mm last year at the same time as the 18-250 and a couple of others.

If you really need longer and faster glass for your work than is available in K-mount and you're suffering now then you have get yourself the gear that does what you want.

When you really need 500 f4, 600 f4 or 800 f5.6 Canon can give them to you for $7-10K.
If you're that serious, at this point the camera itself is less important then the lens, it's just a dark box to keep the rain off the sensor. (slight exaggeration but I'm try ing to convey a point)
Getting a 5D to attach to these in relative terms only adds "a little bit" to the cost and the weight.

It's not like you have to throw out all of your Pentax gear, not everything you want photograph is 500ft away, and changing a 600mm lens to a fast 50 is not a 5 second task.
There will be times when you dont need to carry around 50lbs of gear.

06-23-2010, 12:30 AM   #5
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as above have said...Pentax absolute limit is 300mm and that is also at F/4 which does not give enough light for those evening or crack of dawn shots if need fast shutter speed.
06-23-2010, 09:35 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by garyk Quote
i am worried about the pentax not making big glass and not having a very good track record with noise.
Can't help with the long glass - Sigma seems to be the way to go for that on Pentax - but as for noise, you're wrong. Unless you mean ocus noise, and even that's also a non-issue if you use SDM/HSM lenses. For image noise, though, the K-x is pretty much top of its class for noise, as was the K20D, as were the various 6MP cameras that preceded these. Really, of the dozen or so DSLR Pentax has produced, only two or three have been anything other than at or near the top of their class with respect to high ISO noise. That's really a fantastic track record.

Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 06-24-2010 at 11:37 AM.
06-24-2010, 05:12 AM   #7
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If you care to go the manual focus route as many wildlife photographers do, remember that there are some cracking Pentax A Series prime lenses out there.

All could be considered as fast lenses for their respective focal lengths;

SMC Pentax-A* 300mm F2.8 ED [IF]
SMC Pentax-A* 400mm F2.8 ED [IF]
SMC Pentax-A* 600mm F5.6 ED [IF]
SMC Pentax-A* 1200mm F8 ED [IF]

Use and enjoy.
06-24-2010, 08:43 AM   #8
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Most importantly, look at your budget. Canon and Nikon have some very nice long primes that are excellent choices for wildlife. I can't afford one and I would be shooting with a Sigma or manual focus older lenses regardless of which camera brand I owned.

06-24-2010, 12:53 PM   #9
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I'm wondering if the reason that Pentax hasn't released anything longer than 300mm is because with the APS-C factor, the 300 is really a 450mm on a FF. The DA* 50-135 is really a 75-202.5 on a FF. Wasn't one of the selling points of APS-C the crop factor, you can have smaller and lighter lenses? It's just a thought on my end. :-)
06-24-2010, 01:07 PM   #10
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Sigma does make a 500mm 4.5 prime for Pentax mount. Haven't used it. It's around $5000 US, more that I could get my wife to swallow. It gets good reviews for IQ and is lighter than Canikon lenses.

If high ISO is important, full frame Canons and Nikons will beat any APS sensor. The Nikon d700 easily has a 2-3 stop advantage over the K7 and a hugely faster auto focus. I've rented it and the D300 and would consider them or the Canon 7D for wildlife. The APS sensors don't do as well for ISO but the crop factor brings things a lot closer.

As much as I like my K20D and the K7 I've used, they are not my idea of top wildlife cameras. Are they top value for the buck? Absolutely. Are they optimized for the particular demands of wildlife photography? No.
06-24-2010, 01:25 PM   #11
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I love Pentax for what I shoot, but having used Nikon (and a wee bit of Canon) gear for some sports, I would say that Pentax doesn't really compete in the supertele area if that is your main interest. While Pentax build quality is great outdoors, and still highly capable for this area, as others have said, the teles aren't really there. While K-7 single AF is good, Canon/Nikon win in overall speed and particularly in continuous AF - with the lenses I've used anyway.

I've used some pro-level APS-C Nikon bodies with their f/2.8 teles, and was very impressed. Trying out a Canon 7D with a 300 and 600mm I was blown away by the AF. These lenses also have great optics, but they are big $.

K-7 was built better and more reliable than the (granted, well used) gear I was using though.
06-24-2010, 01:29 PM   #12
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Oh, I would add if you're going to spend big $ and get something like a 600mm f/4, camera bodies will come and go, but you will likely have that lens for years, which makes it the biggest part of the equation.
06-24-2010, 04:01 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by theperception2008 Quote
I'm wondering if the reason that Pentax hasn't released anything longer than 300mm is because with the APS-C factor, the 300 is really a 450mm on a FF.
That's probably part of it. Not all, but many of their DA lenses are obviously 35mm equivalents of FA lenses. And while there's no DA equivalent of the FA 600, there was one (the DA 400) on their lens roadmap. I doubt will see anything longer than that, especially as Pentax has never made an AF lens longer than 600mm.
06-24-2010, 05:33 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by theperception2008 Quote
I'm wondering if the reason that Pentax hasn't released anything longer than 300mm is because with the APS-C factor, the 300 is really a 450mm on a FF. The DA* 50-135 is really a 75-202.5 on a FF. Wasn't one of the selling points of APS-C the crop factor, you can have smaller and lighter lenses? It's just a thought on my end. :-)

Pentax made the FA* 600mm f4 up until about a year ago. They were special order because they were not in high demand. They are very good lenses, but also some serious money.
06-24-2010, 05:36 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by northcoastgreg Quote
That's probably part of it. Not all, but many of their DA lenses are obviously 35mm equivalents of FA lenses. And while there's no DA equivalent of the FA 600, there was one (the DA 400) on their lens roadmap. I doubt will see anything longer than that, especially as Pentax has never made an AF lens longer than 600mm.
There was never a DA 400 clearly marked on the lens map. The map never went beyond 300mm. People saw super telephoto and made speculations. If you look at the maps that had the words "super telephoto" you will see that the lines went through 300mm at the top.
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