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09-18-2018, 03:00 AM   #61
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I guess unless you are desperate to move on I would wait till the spring. That's when I think we'll see a K3 II sequel. I doubt it will be at a D500 level when it comes to tracking auto focus, but I do think it will be better than current cameras and probably good enough for your purposes. In the meantime, I would look at different glass. SDM lenses are notoriously slow to focus and I just don't think you'll get good tracking performance with the DA *300 compared to the DFA zooms, particularly not when combined with a TC. Having the focus range limiter can really help as well.

That said, life is too short to shoot with gear that you struggle with and it is understandable if you want try out other gear. I'm just not totally sure that for your purposes a D500 plus 200-500 would get significantly different results compared to DFA 150-450 and a K3 II.

09-18-2018, 04:16 AM - 1 Like   #62
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I guess unless you are desperate to move on I would wait till the spring. That's when I think we'll see a K3 II sequel. I doubt it will be at a D500 level when it comes to tracking auto focus, but I do think it will be better than current cameras and probably good enough for your purposes. In the meantime, I would look at different glass. SDM lenses are notoriously slow to focus and I just don't think you'll get good tracking performance with the DA *300 compared to the DFA zooms, particularly not when combined with a TC. Having the focus range limiter can really help as well.

That said, life is too short to shoot with gear that you struggle with and it is understandable if you want try out other gear. I'm just not totally sure that for your purposes a D500 plus 200-500 would get significantly different results compared to DFA 150-450 and a K3 II.
Sounds like that's the consensus here..
And maybe I made the mistake of even mentioning the 200-500 lens as that's where the crux lies it seems.
Assuming the same lens (let's just say Bigma for instance), I would expect the D500 to out perform the K-3ii. That was the main idea here.

But it's true, I should consider the 150-450 before completely switching systems.
Either way, I think it's time to sell some lenses haha
09-18-2018, 04:18 AM   #63
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QuoteOriginally posted by UserAccessDenied Quote
I need to get a rig in hand to confirm this.
I've been shooting together with a Nikon user, he used a D810 , a 600 f4 and a 200-400 f4 with TC, both mounted on gimbal and sturdy tripod (40+mm tubes). He also had some shots out of focus with the D810, less then with Pentax, but he still had some shots out of focus. The question is how much is the value of photographs, are those photographs being sold and at what unit price. I could understand that a photographer who is booked for an event or a wedding can't afford to mess up too much with AF. But for wildlife, I don't get the point to want to have 100% keepers, usually, wildlife photography is about knowing repeated behavior and location when animals come in order to have distances appropriate for photography. Repeated behavior means that you have similar opportunities every day. Knowing repeated behavior give a jump of quality of wildlife photographs whatever the camera and lens used. Looking at the big picture, the gear is only a small contributor of success, and the gear is very expensive. We always have the choice between buying top gear and poor subject distance , lighting etc, or spending the money on the quality of the location. I can rent a hide and get outstanding photographs with a K30 and DA55-300, or I can buy a D500 and a 200-500 f5.6 and have to heavily crop all my shots because I did not put efforts into traveling to a great location. You can buy an expensive setup, or you can travel to the Galapagos use your K3 and get full size images of beautiful birds. What I am saying is rational, but there is always someone who catch the virus of buying gear (=desire), that's different.


You could say "I've read the specifications of the D500 and given the reputation of Nikon AF tracking, I was seduced by the D500, now I have the desire to buy and experience the D500, regardless of my photography technique". Then it's a reasonable wish, you will be understood, end of discussion. Or you could also say "I want to start a business that sells bird in flight photography $100 each and I need to sell 50 unit per month to get enough income, I will buy a D500 and 200-500 f5.6 lens as part of the tangible assets of my business". That would also sound about right. But saying "I need to improve by keepers from 80% to 100% because I take thousands of photographs of small bird lost in the middle of a large blue sky in the background and store them on a terabyte large disk drive and I never have time to revisit them again watch again, that's a typical waste of money. The problem of heavily crop bird images with blue sky in the background is that their value is zero, zero commercial value and zero artistic value. Zero value images taken with a Nikon D500 or zero value image taken with a Pentax K3, is still zero value.

Last edited by biz-engineer; 09-18-2018 at 04:36 AM.
09-18-2018, 04:36 AM - 1 Like   #64
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I say go for it. Just do your research well.
There is no use worrying about if I had that D600.
Yes buying into a new system is costly. There is no way around that. Now you have more experience than when you started, So limit your lens to one specific one. You know which lens you need and which you dont.
The problem is that if you are going for a shoot and you dont have confidence in what you might get due to a particular feature you are already loosing the battle.

Keep something though to remind you of Pentax.
Culture.

09-18-2018, 04:39 AM - 1 Like   #65
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QuoteOriginally posted by Culture Quote
I say go for it. Just do your research well.
Research is easy, get a 1Dx II or a D5, or a Sony A9 and have no excuse on your photos... then you have to delete delete delete all the rubbish shots to only show the good ones to your friends in order to avoid losing face after having spent so much money on the superior AF tracking camera system. When you have the Pentax, you still can blame the camera. Once you get the best AF tracking model to date, you must improve your technique because the gear can't be wrong, you can only blame your technique. Like Einstein said "everything is relative", the Pentax AF of today is as good as the Nikon AF five years ago, and five years ago if you would get the best in class nikon AF (= same as Pentax today) you would also feel you can't blame the gear and you have no excuse not to improve your technique.

Last edited by biz-engineer; 09-18-2018 at 04:48 AM.
09-18-2018, 04:44 AM   #66
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Only if I was rich.

But research is part of the fun or headache depending on how deep you dig. Oh how many youtube videos I have watched this year.

I am glad its over.

Last edited by Culture; 09-18-2018 at 05:01 AM.
09-18-2018, 04:47 AM - 1 Like   #67
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
I've been shooting together with a Nikon user, he used a D810 , a 600 f4 and a 200-400 f4 with TC, both mounted on gimbal and sturdy tripod (40+mm tubes). He also had some shots out of focus with the D810, less then with Pentax, but he still had some shots out of focus. The question is how much is the value of photographs, are those photographs being sold and at what unit price. I could understand that a photographer who is booked for an event or a wedding can't afford to mess up too much with AF. But for wildlife, I don't get the point to want to have 100% keepers, usually, wildlife photography is about knowing repeated behavior and location when animals come in order to have distances appropriate for photography. Repeated behavior means that you have similar opportunities every day. Knowing repeated behavior give a jump of quality of wildlife photographs whatever the camera and lens used. Looking at the big picture, the gear is only a small contributor of success, and the gear is very expensive. We always have the choice between buying top gear and poor subject distance , lighting etc, or spending the money on the quality of the location. I can rent a hide and get outstanding photographs with a K30 and DA55-300, or I can buy a D500 and a 200-500 f5.6 and have to heavily crop all my shots because I did not put efforts into traveling to a great location. You can buy an expensive setup, or you can travel to the Galapagos use your K3 and get full size images of beautiful birds. What I am saying is rational, but there is always someone who catch the virus of buying gear (=desire), that's different.


You could say "I've read the specifications of the D500 and given the reputation of Nikon AF tracking, I was seduced by the D500, now I have the desire to buy and experience the D500, regardless of my photography technique". Then it's a reasonable wish, you will be understood, end of discussion.
While technique and preparation, or learning repeated behaviors, is certainly a crucial component to wildlife photography, sometimes you only get one chance to get the shot. You better have confidence in your gear for that one opportunity!

Example last year:

Snowy Owl comes into the national park for a very short time near me. I get a call from a friend/ranger who tells me they spotted a female.
I drive to the park in January at 4am and hike 5 miles up the beach from the parking lot and finally find her... She's untagged, which means there's NO ONE else around! Incredible experience...
I was able to army crawl up to her over an hours time span as to not spook her and watched and shot a few frames. Trying to be as natural as possible and not disturb her.
Another hour went by, I was hoping to get a flight shot (some people around here will flush the owls to get a flight shot... Just awful...).

I waited and waited and eventually she took off. While I was able to get a lot of still shots of her on the dunes, the flight shots were just horrid.
The lighting was perfect, good contrast, shouldn't have been an issue at all! She took off and I focused and fired, first shot was ehh... each consecutive shot was just embarrassing, like a grown man forgetting how many steps he's walking down and missing the last one only to make a dramatic fall 6" down... That's kind of what it feels like...

Do I blame my gear? Partially. Do I think a Nikon D500 and XXX lens would have done better? No idea... But I'm at the point where these opportunities come few and far between and I'd like to not miss another one.

Maybe the 150-450 would have nailed the flight shots.
Maybe the K-3ii is the weak link.
I can't say for certain... But regardless I was frustrated on my walk back to the car that I missed those shots. Certainly happy with what I was able to experience that day, but those missed opportunities suck, especially when you have a lot of money invested in your gear to perform on days like that.

Repeated behavior does NOT mean you have that opportunity everyday... This was likely a once in a lifetime chance given that she was an untagged owl and I had the beach to myself for such a long time.
09-18-2018, 04:52 AM   #68
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QuoteOriginally posted by UserAccessDenied Quote
sometimes you only get one chance to get the shot.
If you go taking bird photo once a year, then you have one chance, then you don't buy you rent, because buying $3500 for using the gear 1 time per year cost you $3500 per day if you buy, $200 per day if you rent. If you rent, you can rent a 1DXII and 600 f4 for like $300, it's much better than a D500 and 200-500 F56 If you go out shooting birds 20 times a year, then you have a lot of opportunities, enough to saturate a hard drive.

I went through the analysis myself, via cases:

- living far from a wildlife location and going a couple of few times a year only due to temporary presence of the subjects, what can I afford? Use expensive gear => rent.

- living near a national park with frequent photography opportunities, what can I afford? Use expensive gear => buy is the better option.

- being a professional working for NatGeo or similar, traveling many times per a years at nature park location, what can I afford? Use expensive gear => buy is the better option.

Occasional use of consumer gear isn't a great choice because it costs more that renting pro gear, and the consumer gear won't give as good images as the professional gear. If you have rare very valuable shooting opportunities, you rent top professional gear, it will cost less than consumer system and it will give you better image quality (faster prime lens, higher image definition vs zoom, lower ISO and/or faster shutter speed and frame rate).


Last edited by biz-engineer; 09-18-2018 at 05:04 AM.
09-18-2018, 04:54 AM   #69
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
But saying "I need to improve by keepers from 80% to 100% because I take thousands of photographs of small bird lost in the middle of a large blue sky in the background and store them on a terabyte large disk drive and I never have time to revisit them again watch again, that's a typical waste of money. The problem of heavily crop bird images with blue sky in the background is that their value is zero, zero commercial value and zero artistic value. Zero value images taken with a Nikon D500 or zero value image taken with a Pentax K3, is still zero value.
I think that's a bit harsh...
So anyone taking these kinds of shots is wasting their time as well? Maybe there's zero monetary value, but some people may see value in it for themselves, or the people that enjoy looking at their photos.

I don't like these kinds of photos myself, but on a birding tour last year I was asked to follow along and shoot and some of the "small bird lost in the middle of a large blue sky in the background" were the best shots, according to the birders that just wanted proof of these birds on their trip.
I didn't sell anything, I've never sold an image to be honest... But they were ecstatic to have my permission to share the images among the birding group.

Even on that trip I missed a few flight shots of a northern harrier flying over some marsh grass.
Everyone asked what happened to that photo but I didn't even share it because not a single shot was in focus from the flight.

Not all about money for me.
If a better set of gear gives me better results in situations like this, and more people are excited by the results of my photography, or are inspired to do it themselves, or are motivated to go birding in the middle of January because of a photo I produced.. That's worth it to me.
09-18-2018, 05:03 AM   #70
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
If you go taking bird photo once a year, then you have one chance, then you don't buy you rent, because buying $3500 for using the gear 1 time per year cost you $3500 per day if you buy, $200 per day if you rent. If you rent, you can rent a 1DXII and 600 f4 for like $300, it's much better than a D500 and 200-500 F56 If you go out shooting birds 20 times a year, then you have a lot of opportunities, enough to saturate a hard drive.
I understand your point, but I don't think you get what I'm saying...

The Snowy Owl opportunity was a once a year, if not more, opportunity. That's not saying I only shoot one day per year...
The next day I shot bald eagles in the same park. But those are more frequently found and if I miss a shot there I can likely go find another one the next day or the same week.

The Snowy Owl is a rarity. There were only 7 in the park last year and 6 of them were tagged. Notoriously the tagged ones won't let you get within 100 yards of them without flying off. The untagged encounter I had was within 30m, she knew I was there but there was mutual respect and I was laying prone, not disturbing her, so we went on for almost 3 hours just observing each other. It was incredible.
That will likely never happen again.

Sure, if I knew a week in advance I could have rented a D5 and 600F4 and become familiar with it for a few days before the shoot...
But I got the call the night before and had to be ready to go within a few hours. That means I need my gear to be accessible, familiar, and dependable.

It's not ALL about gear. But it is a balance, and gear is one element that can throw things off.
09-18-2018, 05:12 AM   #71
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QuoteOriginally posted by UserAccessDenied Quote
It's not ALL about gear. But it is a balance, and gear is one element that can throw things off.
The problem is , the 200-500 is a consumer lens, you know, the beginner who has seen nice pictures only and who want to start and don't want to spend much money because he doesn't know if it's going to stick or not. The 200-500 f5.6 is really a cheapo lens, like the 150-600 C or Siggy or Tamron. F5.6 is slow for a long lens because long lens = fast shutter speed, and fast shutter speed at f5.6 (stop down 1 stop a bit to get more sharpness, that's f8) => high iso such as 6400, and high iso on apsc isn't so great. You can combine a 150600 at f8 on full frame , the larger sensor recovers some IQ at higher ISO, but if you use a slow lens and apsc, it's not a winning combination. Usually, pros mount a faster prime such as 300 f2.8 or 500 / 600 f4 on a crop body, or they mount a slower lens on a full frame camera. When you mount an entry level zoom lens (f5.6) on a crop body, your images get hit by 2 stops less light + higher ISO. Here at natiional park , the rangers offer to rent Canon or Nikon primes such as 600 f4 and 500 f4, you only have to bring your camera with SD cards and rent a $12000 lens on location for $200 a day.
09-18-2018, 05:15 AM - 1 Like   #72
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Example Snowy Owl, shot with a slow focusing DA* 60-250...



RIng Billed Gull


I've never even thought of relatively big birds as part of the conversation, birds who are pretty predictable during take off and landing such as the snowy owl to be part of the conversation.

The next question is, have you developed your technique to the point better gear would help? The assumption that all you need to get better pictures is better gear is a little misleading. But there certainly guys like Dan Rentea who benefit. He hangs out with some really experienced shooters, and has had success gained on experience form workshops and other shooters. The question is, are you one of those guys.

Or as we used to say coaching basketball. "Practice doesn't make perfect, the practice of perfect technique makes perfect."
09-18-2018, 05:18 AM   #73
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QuoteOriginally posted by UserAccessDenied Quote
It's not ALL about gear. But it is a balance, and gear is one element that can throw things off.
The problem is , the 200-500 is a consumer lens, you know, the beginner who has seen nice pictures only and who want to start and don't want to spend much money because he doesn't know if it's going to stick or not. The 200-500 f5.6 is really a cheapo lens, like the 150-600 C or Siggy or Tamron. F5.6 is slow for a long lens because long lens = fast shutter speed, and fast shutter speed at f5.6 (stop down 1 stop a bit to get more sharpness, that's f8) => high iso such as 6400, and high iso on apsc isn't so great. You can combine a 150600 at f8 on full frame , the larger sensor recovers some IQ at higher ISO, but if you use a slow lens and apsc, it's not a winning combination. Usually, pros mount a faster prime such as 300 f2.8 or 500 / 600 f4 on a crop body, or they mount a slower lens on a full frame camera. When you mount an entry level zoom lens (f5.6) on a crop body, your images get hit by 2 stops less light + higher ISO. Here at national park , the rangers offer to rent Canon or Nikon primes such as 600 f4 and 500 f4, you only have to bring your camera with SD cards and rent a $12000 lens on location for $200 a day.
09-18-2018, 05:18 AM   #74
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QuoteOriginally posted by UserAccessDenied Quote
It's not ALL about gear. But it is a balance, and gear is one element that can throw things off.
The problem is , the 200-500 is a consumer lens, you know, the beginner who has seen nice bird pictures on flickr and who want to start and don't want to spend much money because he doesn't know if it's going to stick or not. The 200-500 f5.6 is really a cheapo lens, like the 150-600 C or Siggy or Tamron. F5.6 is slow for a long lens because long lens = fast shutter speed, and fast shutter speed at f5.6 (stop down 1 stop a bit to get more sharpness, that's f8) => high iso such as 6400, and high iso on apsc isn't so great. You can combine a 150600 at f8 on full frame , the larger sensor recovers some IQ at higher ISO, but if you use a slow lens and apsc, it's not a winning combination. Usually, pros mount a faster prime such as 300 f2.8 or 500 / 600 f4 on a crop body, or they mount a slower lens on a full frame camera. When you mount an entry level zoom lens (f5.6) on a crop body, your images get hit by 2 stops less light + higher ISO. Here at national park , the rangers offer to rent Canon or Nikon primes such as 600 f4 and 500 f4, you only have to bring your camera with SD cards and rent a $12000 lens on location for $200 a day.
09-18-2018, 05:18 AM   #75
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Example Snowy Owl, shot with a slow focusing DA* 60-250...



RIng Billed Gull


I've never even thought of relatively big birds as part of the conversation, birds who are pretty predictable during take off and landing such as the snowy owl to be part of the conversation.

The next question is, have you developed your technique to the point better gear would help? The assumption that all you need to get better pictures is better gear is a little misleading. But there certainly guys like Dan Rentea who benefit. He hangs out with some really experienced shooters, and has had success gained on experience form workshops and other shooters. The question is, are you one of those guys.

Or as we used to say coaching basketball. "Practice doesn't make perfect, the practice of perfect technique makes perfect." So no it's not all about the gear. But the gear isn't the biggest part. And better gear doesn't do anything unless you have the technique to exploit it.
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