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Old Nov 24, 2014, 6:01 PM   #11
csa
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Thanks Hans! The image of the buck was cropped. I just wonder what the comparison of "reach" would be between my 55-300 @300 vs. A400.
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Old Nov 24, 2014, 11:03 PM   #12
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Carol- A belated WELCOME to the forum, and to the wonderful world of Pentax. Am in the midst of a major bicycle repair project, so not much time to stop by here. But noticed your long lens question, and thought I'd add my 2 cents.

Have tried a number of long lenses with varying results. An old, very beat up A*300 yielded some very nice photos, but rather long minimum focus distance on this one is limiting. Have had good success with another, even older lens - the SMC 135-600. It's a rather long and heavy lens that requires a very sturdy tripod, and it is entirely manual (focus and f-stop), but can give some fine results. Biggest problem is portability - it's not the easiest thing to take on the trail. Have had plenty of success recently with a Tokina ATX AF 400. Auto aperture and autofocus makes it easier (although sometimes have to focus manually when my K20D has a hard time picking out what I'm trying to focus on). It's also one of the smallest 400mm lenses ever made, and can focus relatively closely. There's one for sale over at Pentax Forums right now (note that I have nothing to do with this sale, and know nothing about the person selling it):
http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/2...mm-f5-6-a.html

Keep in mind that long reach is only part of the equation. Even with the very best long lenses, you'll still get better photos when you can quietly stalk in closer to your shy subjects. Have even had some good results with an old M 200mm lens! My (lack of) patience is usually my main limiting factor!

Hope that someone with more knowledge and experience will add their comments (Snostorm - are you "listening?").

PS - speaking of LBA, was just counting up the lenses I have right now - about a dozen fixed-focal length lenses, and about 6 or 7 zoom lenses! Favorites include DA 21, FA 50 macro, DA 70, FA 100 macro, M 200 and Tokina 400...
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Old Nov 24, 2014, 11:57 PM   #13
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Thanks for your very informative reply and welcome! Sadly, outside of birds, it's next to impossible to get closer to wildlife to get better images. Also I'm 73, and bad knees, so that limits my portability. That Tokina looks nice, but again I wonder if the price would warrant enough gain re/image wise. I'd love to see a comparison of a 300 vs 400, same target from the very same place for both.

Oh, I envy your lens collection! Just starting out, I only have two, but I know that will change soon! I definitely will be getting the 100 Macro, and a wide lens for landscapes, to start the ball rolling.
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Old Nov 25, 2014, 6:13 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by csa View Post
Sadly, outside of birds, it's next to impossible to get closer to wildlife to get better images.
Carol - No wildlife expert here, but I have used slow stalking to get close to various "critters" in addition to birds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by csa View Post
I'd love to see a comparison of a 300 vs 400, same target from the very same place for both.
Will post a comparison for you in just a moment...

Quote:
Originally Posted by csa View Post
Oh, I envy your lens collection! Just starting out, I only have two, but I know that will change soon! I definitely will be getting the 100 Macro, and a wide lens for landscapes, to start the ball rolling.
If you are willing and able to use manual lenses, you can get some great bargains. One of my favorite landscape lenses is an old M 24-35, that cost less than $60. And a recent purchase, an M 200, only cost $12.
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Old Nov 25, 2014, 6:16 PM   #15
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Carol - as per your request, here are some comparisons...

First two images of a rather cooperative Great Blue Heron, both just "quick snapshots" with minimal PP. First one taken with the A* 300 and second with Tokina 400, both at same distance:
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Old Nov 25, 2014, 6:19 PM   #16
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And now a series (of my work truck door!), taken with the SMC 135-600. Again, just quick snapshots with minimal PP. All at exactly same distance (on tripod), simply changing focal length. These are at 200mm, 300mm, 400mm and 600mm. Hope this helps!
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Old Nov 25, 2014, 8:55 PM   #17
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Wow! Now that's what I needed; there is indeed enough difference between 300 and the 400 to warrant getting a 400. That Tokina does a really nice job. The SMC 135-600 is outstanding!

I really appreciate you taking the time to post these, as this is the best way for me to understand the differences!
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