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02-18-2008, 03:23 PM   #1
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Long Lenses for Pentax Cameras

I am looking for a decent (but not incredibly expensive) long lens for my Pentax K10D.

Ideally I'd like to go to 500mm, but could easily settle for 400mm as the longest focal length.
It doesn't have to be a zoom - but I am open to that.

Weight is a factor - I want to use this lens hand held or at least on a mono-pod at airshows.

I am completely confused by Sigma and Tamron offerings and not convinced that many have Pentax fitting mounts.

What do people recommend? Please tell me your experiences - good and bad!
Thanks.

Rick Woodward

02-18-2008, 03:56 PM   #2
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The long one that I am lusting over is the Sigma 50-500 known also known as the bigma
02-18-2008, 04:35 PM   #3
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Well nothing new and cheap at range >300mm really, that I know of. You have a few options the way I see it:
  • Spend more money than what I would consider cheap - something like the "bigma" 50-500 is pretty good bang for buck
  • Go the ebay route for a cheaper older lens
  • Settle for less zoom, eg. Sigma DG 70-300 is really cheap
  • Combine a fast but lesser tele (eg. 200mm f2.8) with a 2x tele-converter

BTW, I have both the Sigma DG 70-300 and a 2x tele-converter and this combination is not very good unless you are in broad daylight and with a tripod. The lens is just too slow and IQ is a little lacking.
02-18-2008, 04:36 PM   #4
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Oh sorry I should say that the Sigma DG 70-300 is pretty good value for money. The IQ comes out pretty good for standard wildlife shots, there is some Chromatic Aberration in certain cases but this can be fixed in Photoshop.

02-18-2008, 04:42 PM   #5
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Sigma\Tamaron 70-300mm + 1.4x TC?
Or new pentax (xx-300mm ?) + 1.4x TC?

The TC would give you about 420mm if you wanted more reach.

Thanks
02-18-2008, 06:40 PM   #6
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If your OK buying used the Tokina AT-X 400mm f/5.6 is a great lens that is very light and easily hand-holdable. The go for between $450 and $550 used on ebay (not sure if thats more then what you consider not incredibly expensive). If that is too expensive I think the your only bet may be one of the 70-300's that other people have mentioned.

If your interested in the Tokina take a look at my Birds gallery on my pbase account.

Good luck!
John
02-18-2008, 08:00 PM   #7
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For the money, I like the Tammy 70-300mm with the 1.4x TC, that is the set that I have and I like it. It hunts in AF with the TC on but I am usually pointing in the middle of trees so I can see why it would be doing that now that I think about it. But the IQ is good enough for me and the added macro feature is pretty awesome too.
02-18-2008, 11:35 PM   #8
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Consider the Sigma 135-400..APO.
It cost about $550.00 and is not too heavy.

02-19-2008, 07:00 AM   #9
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The Phoenix 100-400 af is used by some. It is decent quality - not great. Less than $300. Herb Keppler used one along with his Pentax 10-17 fisheye. Posted a 400 shot on the lens forums a while back.
thanks
barondla
02-19-2008, 07:18 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rick Woodward Quote
I am looking for a decent (but not incredibly expensive) long lens for my Pentax K10D.

Ideally I'd like to go to 500mm, but could easily settle for 400mm as the longest focal length.
It doesn't have to be a zoom - but I am open to that.

Weight is a factor - I want to use this lens hand held or at least on a mono-pod at airshows.

I am completely confused by Sigma and Tamron offerings and not convinced that many have Pentax fitting mounts.

What do people recommend? Please tell me your experiences - good and bad!
Thanks.

Rick Woodward
There is currently no 400mm lens in Pentax's catalog, so there is strong demand for 400mm lenses among Pentax users. Most independent makers have discontinued their 400mm primes, so zooms are the only alternatives left for Pentax users looking for a new lens. The Sigma 50-500mm and Tamron 200-500mm lenses get very good reviews but are quite expensive. The Sigma 135-400mm is also good, somewhat better than the Tokina AT-X 80-400mm, but not as good as the Sigma and Tamron 500mm offerings. For used lenses, the Sigma APO Macro 400mm is the sharpest prime, followed by the Tokina AT-X 400mm, the Sigma APO 400mm, and the Tokina SD 400mm manual focus and finally the Sigma non-APO 400mm in the order of decreasing sharpness.

500mm mirror lenses are available. The Tamron is probably the best among them, although Tokina and Sigma also have good ones. The Sigma is a 600mm. Problem with mirrors is their awful bokeh, and the very shallow depth of field, which makes accurate focusing very important. They are also slower. Because part of the front lens is blocked by the mirror housing, the actual apertures of these lenses is closer to f9-9.5, not f8 as marked on the lens.

The Sigma 100-300mm f4 also gets very good reviews, and it is pretty sharp at 300mm, which is quite rare for a zoom. Adding a 1.4x, 1.7x or 2x teleconverter to it may be a good solution. Bad thing is that all of these options are more expensive in Pentax mount than in other mounts.
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