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Old Jun 27, 2007, 12:08 PM   #1
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Hello All -- I'm not new to digital photography, but I recently bought my first DSLR -- the K-100D. (Before this, I've been using a Panasonic Lumix FZ 30 -- also a very nice camera.) So far, I'm very pleased with the D 100. I have the 18-50 kit lens, and the 50-200 tele zoom. I like taking wildlife photos, and I know that eventually I'll need a longer lens. If budgetary issues were not an issue, I'd be looking for something like a 150-400 f4 zoom. But budget is very much an issue. In about 4 weeks my wife and I are going on a trip up the Maine coast to an island where puffins nest. Because the island is a protected sanctuary, we cannot get off the boat, which means I'll need a long lens in order for the birds to appear like anything more than little specks. Right now I can afford the Sigma 70-300 zoom, but I wonder if I should just make do with my Pentax 50-200 zoom on this trip and save my pennies for a better lens. Several questions: First, does anyone know if the 70-300 Sigma APO EX that sells for about $$220 is significantly than the Sigma non-EX that sells for about $140?Second, does anyone know of any place that rents lenses for Pentax cameras? Both rentglass.com and lensrental.com ghave told me that within the next year or so they hope to offer lenses for Pentax, but for now they only have glass to fit Nikon and Canon. Finally, for that day when I can afford a really nice, fast lens, what would people recommend for my "dream lens?" Thanks in advance for your replies.
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Old Jun 27, 2007, 12:55 PM   #2
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Hi,

Can I suggest a cheaper way out might be a teleconverter, get a good quality one though ... not an el cheapo, andI wouldn't go beyond 2X. my 2 cents worth.

Jack.
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Old Jun 27, 2007, 4:58 PM   #3
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If you use a teleconverter you will slow down the lens. I don't know what the lighting condition is when you will be taking the pictures but if it is near night time, it won't be as good.

I've also done many research on a good priced telephoto lens for the pentax camera. The Sigma 70-300mm APO version is a very popular lens for the money. I am not sure where you found the EX version of that lens for $220. I am guessing where ever you saw it, they had a typo because there is no EX version of this lens. They have an APO version which sells for about that price and a non APO version which sells for cheaper. The APO version is supposed to be better.

If you are able to afford the sigma 70-300mm and not go in debt over it, I would buy it for the trip. It is not like you go on that trip every week or something.
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Old Jun 27, 2007, 5:41 PM   #4
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we've all seen excellent images here using the Sigma 70-300mm APO. it's a good starter lens.. once you get past 200mm, handheld, exposure takes on a whole different life. with the IS of the k100 it's a lot easier. get the APO version and start practicing before the trip.

roy
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Old Jun 27, 2007, 5:55 PM   #5
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I have the Tamron 70-300 and I've gotten some nice shots with it, but I picked up a Phoenix 100-400 AF zoom from Adorama a couple of weeks ago, and I love it. I know a lot of Phoenix lenses are very low quality, but I saw a couple of discussions on this forum regarding this lens and decided to take the chance.

It was $ 189 at Adorama and tops out at f6.7 at full zoom, compared to 5.6 for the Tamron at 300mm. The AF works well with the K10d, and the images are sharp. This was taken this morning with the Phoenix.
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Old Jun 27, 2007, 6:21 PM   #6
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...anymore taken at 400mm? that one looks quite soft for my tastes. Also, since you have the 50-200, you might look into a 100-300, I have seen those go significantly cheaper than the 70-300's.
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Old Jun 27, 2007, 6:37 PM   #7
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here's another taken of a mockingbird at 400mm

(The rabbit was taken at ISO 800 at 7am with lousy lighting--been raining all morning)
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Old Jun 28, 2007, 6:34 AM   #8
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inneyeseakay wrote:
Quote:
...anymore taken at 400mm? that one looks quite soft for my tastes. Also, since you have the 50-200, you might look into a 100-300, I have seen those go significantly cheaper than the 70-300's.
You may not have time to search for a secondhand one before you go, but last week I bought a smc FA 100-300 in mint condition for the equivalent of $50 US. I thought it would at least be a decent long zoom stop gap, because my budget for the year is used up already. But now it's a keeper, esp at the price
Surprisingly, although you will find few, if any (!) good reviews of it on the net, I am very pleasantly surprised at the sharpness (superb at 300mm! I would never have believed it), and contrast throughout the range.
Sorry no examples on the computer I'm posting from, but it destroyed the image quality of a Tamron 28-200 I was trying out. Light years ahead. Sorry to criticise other's choice of lenses, but this beats any Tamron/Phoenix results that I have seen. Only Sigma comes close.
It's so plasticky that it feels almost disposable, but the optics are still smc Pentax, and that makes all the difference! :-)
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Old Jun 28, 2007, 6:44 AM   #9
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Hi,

That Phoenix lens is not bad. The only thing wrong with it I see is it lacks a little in contrast. But it would depend on when and what time of day the pictures are taken.

Here is a quick edit of the Rabbit pic. I hope that you don't mind and may like my quick edit to show that that lens can be quite good.

I like the second shot with this lens that you posted! it looks like it would be a good lens for wildlife shots!!!

Rudy
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Old Jun 28, 2007, 10:36 AM   #10
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Thanks everyone for your suggestions. The reason I'm not looking seriously at adding a teleconverter to my 50-200 mm lens is, as one of you pointed out, that would make a slow lens even slower. My lens is f5.6 at the long end; when you add a 1.4x tele, it goes to f8 when it's wide open. Use a 2x instead of the 1.4, and you're at f11 wide open. If it's a really sunny bright day, that might work, but the Maine coast is famous for cloudy, foggy conditions.

I guess I'll check e-bay quickly, and if I can't find something at a bargain-basement price (very unlikely), I'll either go with the SMC FA 100-300 or the Sigma APO 70-300. Some day, eventually, I'll get a longer, faster(400-500 mm, f4) lens. But that will have to wait. Thanks again.
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