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Old Nov 4, 2007, 9:01 PM   #1
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Hi All,

Haven't been shooting that much with the birds vacating and October was a nightmare of equipment failures (not camera, but just about everything else).

I still had time to browse eekbay (LBA doesn't step aside for real life problems), and noticed a Tokina 150-500 f5.6 zoom in LN, unused condition. I could only find a little info on it, and SPLOSdb rated it (*), so I bid the minimum bid + 5% which was less than 1/2 of the BIN price. Surprisingly, there was only one other bidder, and he/she was even more conservative than me, so I won the auction. I got kinda freaked after winning it, thinking that everyone must know something bad about either the lens or the seller, and somehow I was kept from this knowledge. . . Okay, enough of the Halloween conspiracy stuff. . .

I arrived yesterday, but I didn't have much light left, and still had to replace the ignition coils on one of my cars, so I just checked it over and put it aside. It's mint, both the glass and the lens body are as new, but it's really big -- just short of 13" long, 95mm front filter threads, weighs just about 5 lbs, has an integrated sliding hood and a nonremoveable rotating tripod mount -- and it came with the original case and caps, all in Ex condition. It has the "A" contacts, so exposure automation and aperture control with the body work (one of my requirements)

Here's a shot of the beast on the K10 (or is it the other way around?)




And I rounded up my favorite fast teles for a group photo (not too great, but it's justa size comparison)

From L to R, Tokina 150-300/5.6 AT-X SD, Tamron SP 300/2.8 LD A2 w 1.4x TC mounted, Tamron SP 80-200/2.8 LD A2, FA*300/4.5 ED IF, A*200/2.8 ED, Tamron SP 180/2.5 LD A2, and the baby --FA 50/1.4 as a size reference (but it is a tele with the crop factor:-)).

I've gotten used to carrying very big lenses, but even tho the new Tok is about the same weight as the SP300, it's a whole lot more cumbersome to carry and use, I'm assuming because of the extra length and weight distribution. As much as I tried, I could only get one handheld shot out of many that came out close to acceptable, even tho it was sunny, and I could take advantage ofrelatively high shutter speeds.

The best of the handheld, first day. K10, SR off!, 1/400, f5.6, ISO 100, handheld just resized.



This one's from a tripod, K10 + 1.7x AFA @ 500mm (850mm), f9.5 (wide open), 1/160, ISO 100, just resized


The F 1.7x AFA does not AF with this lens, at least not easily, even in bright sunlight. I pretty much knew that it wouldn't, but I was hoping. . .

Well Duuuuhhhhh! I was wondering why all the shots had no focal length in the exif – SR was turned off!

Took a couple more this afternoon with SR on and set at 500 – much better, or at least much easier! This goose felt cooperative, or maybe was just tired. . .:-)


K10, Tripod, f5.6, 1/200, ISO 100 uncropped, resized


Notice the PF in the glint of the eye, but nowhere else --

He/she gave me this look a couple of times -- I was finally fortunate to finally catch it

K10, tripod, 1/400, f5.6, ISO 100 cropped slightly, and resized.

For those who like this sort of thing, I also took some f-stop comparisons these are very small 100% crops of an antenna I would guess at least @ 1/2 mile away.


I think they are remarkably similar, with some evidence of diffusion in the f16 shot, I'm guessing.

I'd have to use the lens more to draw some final conclusions, but my first impressions are that it's sharp wide open, but not stunningly so. I haven't made any direct comparisons, but I feel the Tamron SP300/2.8 and the FA*300, both with the 1.7x AFA at 510mm and f4.5 and f7.7 respectively, are significantly sharper (and convenient since they AF with the AFA). The Tok holds its own in the CA/PF department tho, andseems to be better than the SP300, and maybe even the FA*300 (which is one of the best I have)in this regard, which is very surprising for a zoom compared to primes.

The BIG negative is the handling, with the inability to AF being a close second. Unless I make some breakthrough that I can't anticipate at this time, I find this lens difficult to manage physically even though it's about the same weight (or a little lighter) than the SP300 -- it just feels clumsy. It does have the advantage of being a zoom tho. . .

I'm on the fence on this one. I'll have to make some comparisons with my other 500mm alternatives before I come to a final conclusion.

Scott





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Old Nov 4, 2007, 9:19 PM   #2
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That's quite a lens, isn't it? Whenever I get jealous about someone who has a really long lens, I'll take a look at this picture and realize there's just no way I can handle something like this. If you decide it's not very good you can always just carry it around and everyone will be impressed with it's size.
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Old Nov 5, 2007, 11:34 AM   #3
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Scott

Put on some kneepads, putthe K10D & the lenson a monopod, go to your local golf course; & if anyone asks tell them your warming up for the Masters next year!!..

BTW, nice shots!!..

Bruce
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Old Nov 5, 2007, 3:09 PM   #4
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I had my eye on that lens too, but need to make more room in my lens cabinet before I acquire more. At $420 that was a good price for a new lens of this quality. There are still some bargains out there!

I have been acquiring quite a few Tamron Adaptall lenses and wonder how this Tokina compares to the 200-500 Tamron SP, which seems quite similar.

Mike
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Old Nov 5, 2007, 5:15 PM   #5
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Stringmike wrote:
Quote:
I have been acquiring quite a few Tamron Adaptall lenses and wonder how this Tokina compares to the 200-500 Tamron SP, which seems quite similar.

Mike
mike,
so it's you that's been screwing me..
just kidding..

roy
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Old Nov 5, 2007, 8:04 PM   #6
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Stringmike wrote:
Quote:
I had my eye on that lens too, but need to make more room in my lens cabinet before I acquire more. At $420 that was a good price for a new lens of this quality. There are still some bargains out there!

I have been acquiring quite a few Tamron Adaptall lenses and wonder how this Tokina compares to the 200-500 Tamron SP, which seems quite similar.
Hi Mike,

Many of the SP Adaptall2's are IMO "best in class" type lenses for their focal length (or close enough for me at least). So far, I can heartily recommend the SP 300/2.8, the SP 80-200/2.8, the SP 180/2.5, and the SP 500/8 mirror (for a mirror). There are still a couple that I'm keeping an eye out for. . .

The SP 200-500 is longer (14+" to 13"), and heavier (6 lbs to 5 lbs) -- doesn't sound like much, but its enough to really make the lens unwieldy for me for sure, and I never really considered it seriously for those reasons. I have no idea how it compares optically, but I imagine they are pretty close. I wasn't sure about the Tok, tho, and figured I'd take a chance at that price.

Scott
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Old Nov 5, 2007, 8:43 PM   #7
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Thanks for the input. I managed to pick up a brand new boxed Adaptall SP 300 f2.8 with 1.4 teleconverter a few months ago. This really is a super lens and it sent me off on a bit of a Tamron spree. I recently got a brand new Adaptall 70-210 f 3.5 for under $100 and really feel this is a "sleeper". The big Adaptall zoom is a monster, and I'll probably resist it, since I can couple the 300mm with the 1.4x and Pentax 1.7x teleconverters to cover essentially the same range.

I've also liked Tokina ever since my first tele zoom - the rare 100-300 f5 from the 1970's. Yours looks like a really good performer too.

Mike

P.S. For those who feel robbed, I'm recycling some of my Adaptalls right now, including another of my favorites, the SP 17mm.
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Old Oct 20, 2008, 8:10 PM   #8
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Bumping this old topic. Scott, what were your final judgments on this lens? Your samples looked pretty decent to me. It is kind of late to be asking I suppose, since I just pulled the trigger on one, but I am hoping for reassurance now.



Thanks,
Tim


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Old Oct 22, 2008, 2:28 AM   #9
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NonEntity1 wrote:
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Bumping this old topic.* Scott, what were your final judgments on this lens?* Your samples looked pretty decent to me.* It is kind of late to be asking I suppose, since I just pulled the trigger on one, but I am hoping for reassurance now.

*
Hi Tim,

Truth be told, I don't use it that often. With the 2 300/2.8s and a couple of AFAs, I've got a couple of pretty slick AF 510mm f4.8s to play with, and the Tok only gets the call if I'm going to be shooting from a very static position, but want the benefit of the zoom. I'm tending to rely on AF more and more since my eyesight can vary significantly over the course of a day.

Bottom line, it's not my best lens, but very far from my worst -- I think the SPLOS rating of (*) is pretty accurate. It is abut as sharp as my Tamron SP 300 + the AFA, but the Tok controls CA and PF better. The Sigma 300/2.8 EX APO is, I think sharper by a noticeable amount and also controls CA and PF significantly better. The
Tok is very cumbersome to carry compared to the 300/2.8s, but it is a zoom, so they are different tools for different uses.

I've been playing with the Sigma the most, but there's been little to shoot since I got it. I think that the flooding we had last month affected the standing water around here enough to drive away the birds for the most part. I haven't seen much of anything except starlings and house sparrows around since.

Congrats on getting this lens -- I think you'll like it -- as long as you have a pretty sturdy tripod and head to support it.

Scott
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