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Old Aug 9, 2007, 1:51 PM   #1
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After deciding my 315mm equivalent old manual Sigma lens just doesn't cut the mustard, I am looking at getting something 400mm or higher. I know this is putting my options into "expensive" or "compromise" so wanted to ask what would be best.

I can't afford £499 on a proper 400mm new lens, but I can buy one of the many questionable brand lenses on ebay such as:

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/420-1600mm-Tel...QQcmdZViewItem

Or one of those dubious Chinese 500mm f8 mirror lenses that seem very hit and miss.

But, would a cheap 1.4x teleconverter just make my average quality old 70-210 lens rubbish?

Would I be better off buying an old manual 300mm lens and letting the 1.5 crop factor do the work for me?

Lots of options, lots of money between them, my good lady won't tolerate me spending money on something and it being a dud, so need some advice.

Thanks in advance
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Old Aug 9, 2007, 2:28 PM   #2
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I'd be curious to see just how sharp one of those Opteka lenses really are. You have to figure that even if it isn't all that sharp, a somewhat soft lens at 800mm should be better than a sharp one at 300mm when shooting birds from long range.

My suggestion for long range on a budget is to look at primes. They'll tend to be much sharper than zoom lenses, and therefore work well with teleconverters.

Check out this recent post of mine:
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...mp;forum_id=80

In the thread I posted a lot of pictures I took using a cheapie Takumar 135mm f/2.5 stacked on a Vivitar 2x TC. Together the lenses cost me about $40 US. Of course they're manual focus lenses, but using the focus trap technique on the K100D it's about as good as auto-focus when shooting wildlife.

Just so you know, the Takumar 135mm I used is a low quality, uncoated lens widely available quite cheap. There is a higher quality, coated version that goes for more but should still be very affordable.
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Old Aug 9, 2007, 3:47 PM   #3
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Unfortunately, thats a $90 lens over here, TC's are about $20 for something branded, which is nearly the price of that iffy lens on eBay brand new. It's harder to get things like that over here cheap, I think I might visit this little camera shop I know of, they have a glass cabinet full of really dusty, un-capped lenses, there may be a TC in there I can salvage.
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Old Aug 9, 2007, 7:06 PM   #4
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Tachikoma wrote:
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Unfortunately, thats a $90 lens over here, TC's are about $20 for something branded, which is nearly the price of that iffy lens on eBay brand new. It's harder to get things like that over here cheap, I think I might visit this little camera shop I know of, they have a glass cabinet full of really dusty, un-capped lenses, there may be a TC in there I can salvage.
I got a 100-500mm Samyang lens on Ebay that does pretty well. Cost was 70 dollars US including shipping. also got an Alpex 400mm f/6.3 for 40 dollars US including shipping. It is pretty good as it was a quality lens in the old days but you have to be at around 20 feet from a subject befoe you can get a focus. The Samyang has a macro focus range but it only lets you get within 10 feet or so at 500mm. I also got a Caspeco(Camera Specialty Company ) 350mm f/5.6 lens that does great in brightly lit conditions. That was 20 dollars US including shipping. If you have the patience to wait out several different auctions you can eventually get a good lens for just a little. But patience is the key! The only thing wrong with the Caspeco was the set screw was missing for the tripod collar...The seller said it had a problem but didn't say what it was. I replaced the set screw the same day it arrived for nothing.

Dawg
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Old Aug 9, 2007, 8:16 PM   #5
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good and cheap does not compute

you get what you pay for, usually

roy
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Old Aug 9, 2007, 9:08 PM   #6
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You say "315mm equivelant" so I am assuming you base line is actually a 210mm zoom? If so, you can step up a notch fairly inexpensively with a Sigma 70-300mm APO or the Tamron equivalent. Those are probably the longest good quality zooms you will find at a fairly reasonable price (around $250 US).

I have one of the long 500mm 5 Star lenses, not the mirror one. It does better than you would expect for the price ($50 used) but when you see much sharper shots taken with better lenses you would probably never be happy with it, I wasn't.

Within the past year I have picked up a Tokina 100-300mm f/4 and a Tamron Adaptall 300mm f/5.6, both manual focus,that take excellent photos. The Tokina was less than $200 off ebay and the Tamron was under $100 and I would recommend either at twice the price without reservation.

If there was a camera shop near me with a display case full of dusty lenses I would already have their entire stock of Pentax mount lenses memorized :-). You should certainly go dig through it, who knows, you might find an old Pentax 300mm green star prime for peanuts!

Tim
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Old Aug 10, 2007, 3:53 AM   #7
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Marvelous, I have found the Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 APO DG Macro Lens for £102
($205-ish) which is well within my price range, if I get that and a 1.4 teleconverter for my 70-210 that would give me a decent walkaround AF zoom and something with extra reach.

Now to get everything ordered before the Dragonfly's all die off...

As for the second hand lenses, they are all un-labelled with no pricetags on them, so it will take a while to sift through them all and find anything nice...

Thanks all for the advice, I will keep scouring eBay for a cheap 400mm+ prime lens.
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Old Aug 11, 2007, 12:53 PM   #8
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If you don't mind manual focus, the Sigma 400mm APO is said to be quite decent. And for an affordable 400mm, that's saying a lot...


Whatever you do, do not buy this Vivitar 400mm 5.6, unless it's like 20$...the CA's are awful.

Tom
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Old Aug 11, 2007, 4:08 PM   #9
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Wanted to replace my Tokina 400mm 5.6 with something that was AF so just got a Tamron 70-300 and attached a 1.4 x tc and the results are impressive.....can post some samples if you want with the set up at 300mm which with the tc means 420mm.
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Old Aug 11, 2007, 5:36 PM   #10
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Tachikoma wrote:
Quote:
After deciding my 315mm equivalent old manual Sigma lens just doesn't cut the mustard, I am looking at getting something 400mm or higher. I know this is putting my options into "expensive" or "compromise" so wanted to ask what would be best.

I can't afford £499 on a proper 400mm new lens, but I can buy one of the many questionable brand lenses on ebay such as:
I would say more like 1,000 pound given the high costs of glass in UK.

Quote:
Or one of those dubious Chinese 500mm f8 mirror lenses that seem very hit and miss.
More like all miss and no hit

Quote:
But, would a cheap 1.4x teleconverter just make my average quality old 70-210 lens rubbish?
You bet

Quote:
Would I be better off buying an old manual 300mm lens and letting the 1.5 crop factor do the work for me?
At least that is workable assuming you would not mind manual focusing.

Quote:
Lots of options, lots of money between them, my good lady won't tolerate me spending money on something and it being a dud, so need some advice.

Thanks in advance
I would echo what Roy said above. Pentax is quite weak when it comes to telelens

Daniel , Toronto
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