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Thread: What tele lens for shooting birds on a budget?

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    What tele lens for shooting birds on a budget?

    Having just upgraded to a silver K-5 (woo-hoo!), I'm beginning to lust for a tele lens to shoot birds. I currently have a DA 55-300mm, which is a fairly nice consumer lens, but nothing more. But what would you recommend as a replacement? Some recommended lenses are a bit too expensive at 1.5k or more. Is there anything worth upgrading to well below 1k? How about the older Bigma 2nd hand?

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    Re: What tele lens for shooting birds on a budget?

    Quote Originally Posted by emr View Post
    Having just upgraded to a silver K-5 (woo-hoo!), I'm beginning to lust for a tele lens to shoot birds. I currently have a DA 55-300mm, which is a fairly nice consumer lens, but nothing more. But what would you recommend as a replacement? Some recommended lenses are a bit too expensive at 1.5k or more. Is there anything worth upgrading to well below 1k? How about the older Bigma 2nd hand?
    I'm just a casual bird shooter, so the 55-300 suits my needs. Great lens if you want to shoot hand held.
    Carl
    Gallery

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    Re: What tele lens for shooting birds on a budget?

    http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/p...worldwide.html

    If you can live with manual focus, this should be a good lens at a good price,

    David

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    Re: What tele lens for shooting birds on a budget?

    Hi all,
    In response to this general quetion and Bart inquiring about the Sigma 50-500 os(new bigma) I thought I would chip in.
    I got the bigma about four weeks ago and my thoughts thus far are-
    Its well made,i would say that there's no real difference between it and my Sigma 10-20 f3.5 ex.(my only point of ex lens comparision) .I believe sigma have dropped the ex prefix for any non constant aperture lens but other than that its hard to see much difference.I did however try a 150-500 os a couple of months ago and i think its a little better made than that, imho.
    The optical stabilisation is quiet and the image in the viewfinder is remarkably stillI personaly think its worth around two stops, I think Sigma talk about four stops(maybe I'm not steady enough)obviously the use of a monopod or partial support improves things further.I have had the odd sharp shot at 200th sec but I prefer to keep above 320th sec,even so I'm quite happy with that.Its worth mentioning that its said that in lens o/s is better than in camera once one gets above 300mm ish and from my brief totaly unscientific test on this,I agree.

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    Re: What tele lens for shooting birds on a budget?

    So,is it sharp?at 500mm? thats what this lens is all about for me,anything else is a bonus,anything less is a compromise,thats how I approached this lens!
    I did a brief focus test and found that it back focused by -6 on the k5.Went off with friends to a nature reserve,came back happy looked at my shots did a better focus test and found it actually front focuses by+6
    A wet grey day here-perfect these shots all today I hope they show a real world test,atleast my world
    1st shot taken from 8 meters ish at a 15 degree decline.bolt is approx 30mm long.raw file untouched.
    2nd shot is a crop,arond 100% and processed to my tastes as if I went out to get that shot.
    3rd is a bird that obligingly landed 4m behind the chain/shed so around 12 meters and again a downward angle.raw file untouched.
    4th shot a crop and process (to my tastes)to make the best of it
    Last edited by MalcolmP; 9th December 2013 at 09:32.

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    Re: What tele lens for shooting birds on a budget?

    So what do i think so far?
    Its ok
    I paid 940ish from SRS.
    I think that as I learn to use this lens to its advantages and not its weaknesses it will prove to be ok for the money
    Its a "light hungry lens" a phrase i read that is accurate.
    Its best stopped down to atleast f8 by when it reasonably sharp.
    Its heavy,but then its going to be.
    All things considered its a lot of glass for the money and I havnt even touched on its other focal lengths
    It goes without saying that my thoughts are by no means definative or comprehensive,just an honest opinion
    Bart,I cant comment on the 120-400? other than to say that for me thats a bit too close to 300mm and pentax's own 300mm prime or the lenses mentioned above and cropping in imho
    Hope this helps ,for those on a similar road.
    Regards
    Malcolm

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    Re: What tele lens for shooting birds on a budget?

    ps. I dont know why that Great Tit has only got one legmaybe it had something to do with the parrot on its shoulder that I cloned out
    Oh, and heres one from my first trip out when i had the focus fine tune 12 points out(yet another nearly shot)
    Malc.
    Last edited by MalcolmP; 9th December 2013 at 09:32.

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    Re: What tele lens for shooting birds on a budget?

    Hi there Malcolm,

    thanks a lot for all your effort, I really appreciate that.
    Having the lovely DA*200, a 300mm lens is just a tiny bit too close.
    So I'm looking for something at least 400mm, hence my interest in the 120-400 and 50-500 Sigmas.
    The problem with these affordable lenses, according to different reviewers, is that they degrade IQ-wise quite quickly when extended.
    But I can't deny that your BIGMA shots are very good.
    Well, perhaps I'd better think it over a little longer ...

    All the very best.
    Bart ...

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    Re: What tele lens for shooting birds on a budget?

    Bart, I'm sure that you have considered that a 300mm lens on a crop camera like the K5 = 450mm...and considerably lighter and more hand-holdable than those Sigma blunderbuses.

    Roy Benson
    Last edited by benroy; 30th May 2011 at 11:10. Reason: add info

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    Re: What tele lens for shooting birds on a budget?

    My pleasure Bart
    Perhaps more in line with the O/P's posting and addressing the 400mm aspect as well as Roy's blunderbus point.
    I did have a Sigma 400mm f5.6 a/f non apo prime bought for 120 from a camera fair, which punched above its weight sometimes and was extremely hand holdable.it did suffer from horrendous purple fringing but that could be addressed in post p. Just another option.
    Regards
    Malc

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    Re: What tele lens for shooting birds on a budget?

    Quote Originally Posted by benroy View Post
    Bart, I'm sure that you have considered that a 300mm lens on a crop camera like the K5 = 450mm...and considerably lighter and more hand-holdable than those Sigma blunderbuses.

    Roy Benson
    Hi there Roy,

    Agreed, the crop factor is something not to be ignored, but as I explained to Malcolm I feel a 300 is a bit too close to my 200.

    Kind regards.
    Bart ...

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    Re: What tele lens for shooting birds on a budget?

    Quote Originally Posted by MalcolmP View Post
    My pleasure Bart
    Perhaps more in line with the O/P's posting and addressing the 400mm aspect as well as Roy's blunderbus point.
    I did have a Sigma 400mm f5.6 a/f non apo prime bought for 120 from a camera fair, which punched above its weight sometimes and was extremely hand holdable.it did suffer from horrendous purple fringing but that could be addressed in post p. Just another option.
    Regards
    Malc
    What a gorgeous bird and a fine shot, Malcolm !
    Yes, perhaps I should have a look at a prime tele lens.

    Oh boy, aren't the options endless ?

    Kind regards.
    Bart ...

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    Re: What tele lens for shooting birds on a budget?

    Wow! That's a great falcon shot, Malc.

    Roy Benson

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    Re: What tele lens for shooting birds on a budget?

    Great catch on that falcon shot!
    Joe

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    Re: What tele lens for shooting birds on a budget?

    Many thanks Bart,Roy,Joe.
    Funnily enough I've just sold that 400mm sigma and wouldnt you know looking through some shots to try and show as best as I can its quite a viable lens, I kind of wish I still had it
    Then low and behold a trip that included poping in to my local camera shop today and they have the APO version for sale.Just tempting me the little so and so's
    So,one more and then I'll stop it I dont know how to include the exif details,(I think because the forum software is resizing them for me?)but they are-
    pentax k5,sigma 400mmf5.6 non apo.iso 100,f5.6 1/2500sec.
    Regards
    Malcolm

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    Re: What tele lens for shooting birds on a budget?

    I gape in admiration and tremble with envy...great stuff, Malc. (Did Harry Potter get the owl back?)

    Roy Benson

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    Re: What tele lens for shooting birds on a budget?

    Malcolm - great photograph.

    I thought I had enough lens envy but a few on this forum are making me want a long lens.

    Jim

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    Re: What tele lens for shooting birds on a budget?

    Cheers Jim,Roy.
    Roy,if you zoom in to 100% you can see me sat on his wing as we fly off
    As for lens lust,you guys are responsible for my bank manager not speaking to me over the next few years,or atleast thats the plan!
    Regards
    Malcolm

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    Re: What tele lens for shooting birds on a budget?

    Oh hell
    Now I want a long lens as well - Malc you have a great deal to answer for.
    Wonderful pictures

    I have more of an immediate problem in that we have a goldfinch nesting just below our bedroom window - so 500mm ain't required, but how to shoot it without disturbing it (if you see what I mean!).

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: What tele lens for shooting birds on a budget?

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    I have more of an immediate problem in that we have a goldfinch nesting just below our bedroom window - so 500mm ain't required, but how to shoot it without disturbing it (if you see what I mean!).
    A mirror lens???

    R

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    Re: What tele lens for shooting birds on a budget?

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Oh hell
    Now I want a long lens as well - Malc you have a great deal to answer for.
    Wonderful pictures

    I have more of an immediate problem in that we have a goldfinch nesting just below our bedroom window - so 500mm ain't required, but how to shoot it without disturbing it (if you see what I mean!).
    Taa. muchly Jono.
    Great opportunity with the goldfinch,doubt very much the creative imagination that your shots display will get stuck for ideas! but i'd like to see what -camera on window cill,sigma10-20,cable release and you gunning the motor drive as it flew in would turn out("oh no! not peeking round the curtains again")
    Regards
    Malcolm

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    Re: What tele lens for shooting birds on a budget?

    Just for grins, I got a K-7 and a Leitax mount for the Leica 400/6.8

    For under 500 USD you get a really great birding lens, and the body stabilization adds a stop or two.

    try it.

    Victor

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    Re: What tele lens for shooting birds on a budget?

    Victor has something going here...the Leitz 400/6.8 is one of the greatest, sharpest lenses ever made. I had one that I used with the Leicaflex SL, back in my salad days.

    If you get a chance, Victor, please upload a couple of examples.

    Roy Benson

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    Re: What tele lens for shooting birds on a budget?

    Quote Originally Posted by gogopix View Post
    Just for grins, I got a K-7 and a Leitax mount for the Leica 400/6.8

    For under 500 USD you get a really great birding lens, and the body stabilization adds a stop or two.

    try it.

    Victor
    Quote Originally Posted by benroy View Post
    Victor has something going here...the Leitz 400/6.8 is one of the greatest, sharpest lenses ever made. I had one that I used with the Leicaflex SL, back in my salad days.

    If you get a chance, Victor, please upload a couple of examples.

    Roy Benson
    +1 l'd love to see some shots, Victor !

    Kind regards.
    Bart ...

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    Re: What tele lens for shooting birds on a budget?

    I need to get some time (witha M9 and P65+ the Pentax K-7 isnt exactly my first weapon of choice)
    HOWEVER< with body stability and the 400/6.8 (and I am sure I am not nailing focus here, and the speed is likely too slow, AND I think I used ISO 400, as this was overcast winter!
    still, encourages me.
    Also have some interesting avi, the movie is really a great option. I may use this as a 'walk around' if I dont get into trouble (the Laica shoulder mount nunfortunately look slike a bazooka launcher!

    BTW these are from about 100 feet away and they are cropped. PS processing (I want to try C1, much better for pulling detail and lifting shadows)

    Victor

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    Re: What tele lens for shooting birds on a budget?

    Quote Originally Posted by gogopix View Post
    I need to get some time (witha M9 and P65+ the Pentax K-7 isnt exactly my first weapon of choice)
    HOWEVER< with body stability and the 400/6.8 (and I am sure I am not nailing focus here, and the speed is likely too slow, AND I think I used ISO 400, as this was overcast winter!
    still, encourages me.
    Also have some interesting avi, the movie is really a great option. I may use this as a 'walk around' if I dont get into trouble (the Laica shoulder mount nunfortunately look slike a bazooka launcher!

    BTW these are from about 100 feet away and they are cropped. PS processing (I want to try C1, much better for pulling detail and lifting shadows)

    Victor
    Thanks Victor, these samples look very promising.
    Now to find the lens, there is/was one (boxed including all bits&pieces and almost new) on the bay for nearly 1000.
    Bit I don't know yet, I think I like having a bit of zoom.

    Kind regards.
    Bart ...

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    Re: What tele lens for shooting birds on a budget?

    Quote Originally Posted by Knorp View Post
    Thanks Victor, these samples look very promising.
    Now to find the lens, there is/was one (boxed including all bits&pieces and almost new) on the bay for nearly 1000.
    Bit I don't know yet, I think I like having a bit of zoom.

    Kind regards.
    That's too bad about price; a few years they were giving them away (I got several, all under $500 and also the 5.6 400 and 560, and of all thing, the 800 6.3 The latter, Leica gave you a free Volkswagen if you bought one. They were $20,000!)

    Anyway, keep in mind. Prices will drop, as I know there are a LOT out there (M visoflex and "R" mounts)

    I wish I could say that a zoom would help me but I am no Doug HErr and I need all the magnification I can get

    regards
    Victor

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    Re: What tele lens for shooting birds on a budget?

    Anyone tried a teleconverter on his K5 ?
    I've got the lovely 200/2.8 and a 1.4x offers 280/3.9 and a 2x offers 400/5.6 !
    Not precisely a zoom, but still not bad at all, is it ?
    I've seen teleconverters from Sigma and Soligor, but wonder if they work with any brand lens on the K5.

    Any thoughts, anyone ?

    Thanks and kind regards.
    Bart ...

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