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04-25-2017, 07:13 AM - 2 Likes   #1
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Looking for Honest Opinions: Leaving Pentax for Wildlife?

I'll just start with:
I love my Pentax gear... For the most part...
I love the ergonomics, I love the weather sealing and in-body stabilization.
I love the compact limited DA lenses, I love my K-3ii.

However, I also love wildlife photography.
I also love Macro photography.

These are my primary goals when I pick up a DSLR.

I currently have the K-3ii, DA*300, HD1.4xTC, DFA100WR, DA70ltd, DA35ltd, DA15ltd.

I'm worried about the SDM motor in my DA*300.
If Pentax would come out with a DA*200-500 F5.6 that didn't have SDM issues and also didn't have the zoom lock issues of the 150-450, then I'd likely not even be writing this post.

I realize my desired hobby of wildlife photography is a an expensive road to go down.
But, Pentax is very limited in lens options, and it behind on AF technology.

What's the move to make?

Hang on for the ride with Pentax and see where it takes me?
The longer I stay the harder I find it to justify switching systems.

If I make the move in the next 5 years, I'd rather do it now.

I've been looking at the Nikon D500 + 200-500mm F5.6.
That would set me back around $3600

I think I could get around $2750 for all my Pentax gear. Maybe a bit more, but I'm being conservative with that estimate.

So I'm looking at about $1000 in the hole for the switch, and I'd lose 15mm, 35mm, 70mm, 100mm and all macro.

Even still, it looks appealing to me.
I'm so torn, I feel like I'm going through a break up! lol

I wish I could just buy the D500 + 200-500mm F5.6 for wildlife and keep the K-3ii with all my lenses and just sell the DA*300.
I simply cannot afford that though.
And I can't justify two different camera systems for my hobby.


What would you do?

04-25-2017, 07:40 AM - 2 Likes   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by UserAccessDenied Quote
What would you do?
Stick with Pentax. For your stated needs (macro and wildlife) Pentax covers the macro as well as anyone. So it is the wildlife that you are struggling with. I would just get the DFA 150-450 and keep shooting. In fact I did. And I've had it since late fall of 2015 with no issues whatsoever. I think your concern over zoom lock problems is misplaced. Any lens can have an issue, including Nikon ones. Take a look at the 150-450 thread and ask those folks if they are happy.

If your job was wildlife photography and feeding the kids depended on spending a week in the bush to get that shot of an Elk bugling or fighting I might feel differently but then I would have the 600mm f/4 and a sherpa.
04-25-2017, 07:52 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Stick with Pentax. For your stated needs (macro and wildlife) Pentax covers the macro as well as anyone. So it is the wildlife that you are struggling with. I would just get the DFA 150-450 and keep shooting. In fact I did. And I've had it since late fall of 2015 with no issues whatsoever. I think your concern over zoom lock problems is misplaced. Any lens can have an issue, including Nikon ones. Take a look at the 150-450 thread and ask those folks if they are happy.

If your job was wildlife photography and feeding the kids depended on spending a week in the bush to get that shot of an Elk bugling or fighting I might feel differently but then I would have the 600mm f/4 and a sherpa.
Right,
And that 600/4 would be a tax write-off! lol

The 150-450 seems like the perfect lens for me.
I just read a thread a week or two ago here that many users had the zoom-lock issue and were blaming the weather sealing rings. I wasn't sure if that was becoming the "next SDM" scare or what.

I guess the cost would be about the same if I sold the DA*300.
About $1000 in the hole and I'd get to keep the DA limiteds that I've grown to love.

Did you have the DA*300+1.4xTC previously?
If so, can you comment on the difference between the 150-450?

I know there are a few threads around and I've read them all multiple times.
I just need someone to push me over the edge!

If I woke up and the DA*300 was gone and the 150-450 was in my bag with a receipt for the purchase to my card, I'd be okay with that.
I find it difficult to actually go through the process since the DA*300 was my baby for so long!
I just need more now without the constant worry that SDM motor will fail any day...

Thanks again for the response!

-Logan
04-25-2017, 07:56 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Tricky! It's obviously a personal decision. I would think about:

Will you lose more wildlife photos to bad ergonomics than you will gain from faster tracking AF and burst rate?

Will you regret losing 15mm, 35mm, 70mm, 100mm and all macro?

Losing $1000 for sure to avoid the chance of losing a few hundred $ on an SDM repair seems like false economy.

Maybe you can look back at all your "keepers" and imagine what if you added a few more wildlife keepers but lost all the other images taken with 15mm, 35mm, 70mm, 100mm and all macro? Would a few more wildlife keepers make up for the loss in the other areas?

04-25-2017, 08:02 AM   #5
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as much pentax gear as you've purchased you don't believe you would do the same thing with whatever new system you adopted?

since you asked for honest opinions (I personally never recommend that course of action)...
I think you are worrying too much about something that may or may not happen, as that pertains to your equipment dependability
I think that with the gear you have and the skills you should be developing a jump to another manufacturer is probably just wishful thinking

while I recognize that pentax is not a mature system and unlikely to become one there is absolutely no reason you can't make wonderful images with what you have

however you can pursue the chimera of photographic perfection as much as you want
realizing, I hope, that your initial $3600 purchase is just the beginning

if you do change, let us know if it was the most intelligent and inspiring decision you've ever made
you never know, it might be
04-25-2017, 08:18 AM   #6
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First it is simple to convert your SDM to screw drive. If you're unable or unwilling to do it yourself there's always my services.

If you buy the 150-450, get a 353rd party extended warranty for peace of mind.

Work on technique.
04-25-2017, 08:23 AM   #7
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I totally agree with Jatrax, just get the 150-450 et be happy with it, like most owners. If you search for it, you will find problems with any lens, no matter the brand. Just do a search for "Nikon 200 - 500 problems" and you will rapidly find it's not immune to issue. Nikon even had a recall on this lens...

QuoteOriginally posted by UserAccessDenied Quote
I just need more now without the constant worry that SDM motor will fail any day...
You worry way too much about it. You have the lens, it works fine and you're happy with it, so you don't have a problem. And the chances are heavily on your side that your 300 will still work fine tomorrow, and the day after... If your life depended on getting the picture, just should get a backup lens. Which should be the case anyway even if you switch to Nikon. But please, stop being anxious about everything you can read on PF, no joke. It's just gear and there's enough things to worry about in everyday life to be anxious about SDM.
04-25-2017, 08:33 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by CarlJF Quote
I totally agree with Jatrax, just get the 150-450 et be happy with it, like most owners. If you search for it, you will find problems with any lens, no matter the brand. Just do a search for "Nikon 200 - 500 problems" and you will rapidly find it's not immune to issue. Nikon even had a recall on this lens...



You worry way too much about it. You have the lens, it works fine and you're happy with it, so you don't have a problem. And the chances are heavily on your side that your 300 will still work fine tomorrow, and the day after... If your life depended on getting the picture, just should get a backup lens. Which should be the case anyway even if you switch to Nikon. But please, stop being anxious about everything you can read on PF, no joke. It's just gear and there's enough things to worry about in everyday life to be anxious about SDM.
haha right, but my DA*300 had a hiccup the other day. That's what really sparked this whole thing.

I'll look at the 150-450.

The grass is never rarely greener on the other side, it's just different...

Thanks for the input!

---------- Post added 04-25-17 at 11:36 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
First it is simple to convert your SDM to screw drive. If you're unable or unwilling to do it yourself there's always my services.

If you buy the 150-450, get a 353rd party extended warranty for peace of mind.

Work on technique.
Don't worry!
I have your thread saved in case that happens!

When using the HD1.4xTC the other day, my DA*300 popped into screwdrive for a second on it's own. I don't know if it was a connection with the TC problem?
But it was LOUD!
I don't know how effective AF would be if it's that loud in the field...

But, again, I have your thread saved in case I need your service!

---------- Post added 04-25-17 at 11:39 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
Tricky! It's obviously a personal decision. I would think about:

Will you lose more wildlife photos to bad ergonomics than you will gain from faster tracking AF and burst rate?

Will you regret losing 15mm, 35mm, 70mm, 100mm and all macro?

Losing $1000 for sure to avoid the chance of losing a few hundred $ on an SDM repair seems like false economy.

Maybe you can look back at all your "keepers" and imagine what if you added a few more wildlife keepers but lost all the other images taken with 15mm, 35mm, 70mm, 100mm and all macro? Would a few more wildlife keepers make up for the loss in the other areas?
true,
However, going through my photos just confirms the fact that I'm hoarding the 15/35/70 in my bag hahaha!
99% of my shots are either with the 1.4TC + DFA100 or the 1.4TC + DA*300...

Maybe I should do more of those single-in challenges and force myself to use my DA limited more often!?
^ Re-establish the truth that Pentax is awesome ^
I haven't forgotten that.
Just frustrating at times when lenses like the 150-600s is available for most, except us.


Last edited by UserAccessDenied; 04-25-2017 at 08:40 AM.
04-25-2017, 08:46 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by UserAccessDenied Quote
Did you have the DA*300+1.4xTC previously? If so, can you comment on the difference between the 150-450?
Yes I did. And still do actually. But I would have no problem selling the 300mm. The major difference is size and weight. The DA*300 is astonishingly small and light compared to the 150-450. But image quality is close and with the 1.4x tc on I see no difference between that and the 150-450. So you balance the convenience of the zoom with the added weight. I mostly shoot from a tripod so the weight is not a huge issue for me.
04-25-2017, 08:46 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by UserAccessDenied Quote
..I'm worried about the SDM motor in my DA*300...
Why? If your lens works well don't worry about the small chance of something happening. I think it was the 16-50 and 50-135 that had high SDM failure rates and those may have been resolved a few years ago.

QuoteOriginally posted by UserAccessDenied Quote
...I simply cannot afford that though...
$3600 is a lot of money, and too expensive for you to use 2 systems. Given those budget constraints, you aren't likely to ever buy the fast supertelephoto lenses that give Nikon (and Canon) their biggest wildlife advantage over Pentax. It's not worth changing systems for the Nikon 200-500; you can just get the Pentax 150-450 and keep all your existing gear.

If, however, you have longer terms plans to buy Nikon lenses that go beyond 500mm, changing systems now might be justified. It depends in part on how much you realistically plan to spend in the future.
04-25-2017, 08:52 AM   #11
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So... you think Nikonians didn't complain about the 200-500 f/5.6?

Buy the Pentax, with the longest warranty you can get.
Unless you want the extra performance, or a lens (or two) Pentax doesn't have. Both choices are fine, you have to decide what's best for you.
04-25-2017, 08:56 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
Why? If your lens works well don't worry about the small chance of something happening. I think it was the 16-50 and 50-135 that had high SDM failure rates and those may have been resolved a few years ago.
Not saying it was SDM, but my DA*300 gave me a scare the other day.
The focus locked up and switched over to screwdrive on it's own.
This occurred with the HD1.4xTC attached. When I got home I removed the TC and the lens worked fine again.
The TC works fine on my DFA100, but that's not SDM.

So idk, but it made me come up with some drastic possibilities, as this thread makes obvious lol.

If I can score a 150-450 for a reasonable price, I might make that move instead.
04-25-2017, 09:44 AM - 1 Like   #13
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The 150-450 is an excellent lens. You will not regret getting one. I've been using my for astrophotography, and while it doesn't do what an astrophotography telescope will it shines big time.
04-25-2017, 09:44 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by UserAccessDenied Quote
ooking for Honest Opinions: Leaving Pentax for Wildlife?
QuoteOriginally posted by UserAccessDenied Quote
What would you do?
OK an honest personal opinion:
For wildlife think crop factor first - for wildlife photography magnification is the name of the game. Without magnification you are dead in the water.

Speaking only for myself, and at the present state of tech, I have found a mu4/3 sensor on the back end of about 500mm of glass is optimum for the kind of wildlife I do.
After you sort out sensor and glass all the other bits and pieces will become obvious.

End of story.

mu4/3 sensor on the back end of 560mm...

Last edited by wildman; 04-27-2017 at 11:56 AM.
04-25-2017, 09:55 AM - 1 Like   #15
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I use the K-3II with a Sigma 150-500 DG OS for wildlife successfully. If I were you I would consider the Pentax 150-450 to fulfill wildlife photography needs. Paired with a K-3II, it would be sufficient for some excellent shooting. Also, don't be fooled by false reviews, Pentax AF is sufficient for action photography.
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