Pentax 560mm lens now listed on Adorama...any takers!

Started Nov 5, 2012 | Discussions thread
falcon_wizard Regular Member • Posts: 316
Re: Overpriced product - just buy Sigma 500/4.5

Greyser wrote:

Hi Stephane,

Thank you for the quick reply. It is a very good 101 shooting long telephoto lens lesson :-).

My pleasure...!

I'm glad you confirmed my hopes about Sigma 500/4.5. I'm thinking of it seriously.

It is an excellent lens indeed. Once you know how to use it to its max capability, it can deliver outstanding results. Most wildlife images on my site are taken with it. You can check it out if you need to see samples.

I usually shoot FA*300/4.5 standalone or paired with the Tamron 1.4x Pz-AF TC. I have chosen the Tamron very carefully as the best companion for my FA*300 after trying of almost all well regarded 1.4x TCs including both Sigmas (EX non-DG and EX DG). You are absolutely right I too shoot the combo usually stepping down to squeeze the best out of it. In sunny California I have a luxury to shoot often in TAv at 1/1000 and f/6.3.

You are fortunate there.... Eastern Canada isn't that sunny!

Usually I shoot small wildlife handheld, and my use of a tripod or monopod is very seldom. The problem with stepped down combo, however, is stubborn AF hunting. At f/5.6-6.3 there is almost no chance to acquire fast moving target. For the bigger birds, e.g. closely flying great heron, I prefer shooting FA*300 alone at f/8 at least.

Yes... I find that 500mm is actually a bit long for birds in flight especially as they come close. it is a lot more difficult to keep them properly tracked, in critical focus and well composed. it takes a lot of practice. I will sometimes switch to the 60-250 for BIFs.

When I tried to shoot listed above Sigmas, applying same techniques and 1.4x converters, the results were noticeably inferior to the outcome of standalone Sigma lens crop or FA*300 combo. For example, great 400/5.6 TeleMacro alone is slightly sharper than FA*300+1.4x Tamron combo. However, when paired with either 1.4x Sigma or Tamron, the outcome degrades very quickly. In my opinion DA*60-250/4 is superior to the Sigma 100-300/4 in terms of sharpness, colors and contrast, but a bit shorter of course. It might be because of poorer lens coating of older Sigma lenses in comparison with Pentax smc magic.

I think you are correct. The 60-250 is actually a very sharp lens which I would expect to outclass the 100-300. I love using it wide open, where it gives a very sharp image and best bokeh/subject isolation. One thing I recommend though is to take the time to profile the sharpness of your lens in controlled conditions (and using a flash to get cameras shake out of the way) to find your sharpest aperture (I shoot my book shelf in my living room...) . then you can use this aperture when putting the TC on, and see how much IQ you lose. I always assumed the Sigma 500/4.5 was sharpest at F8 but happily found out its sharpest aperture is actually f/6.3 (only 1 stop down from max aperture)  So before finding this out, I was stopping down to f/8 when using a TC, which ended up penalizing me significantly in both sharpness and light. Finding this out was a revelation.... Now using a 1.4 TC at 6.3, I still get pretty good light and essentially tack sharp IQ still... I was amazed to see how little IQ loss there was with the Sigma 1.4 EX when shooting at f/6.3. almost no loss. Using the 2XTC, equates to approximately shooting at F4.5 without the TC on the sigma, which is a measurable drop in IQ (contrast/sharpness). using f5.6 is not as razor sharp as 6.3, but definitely great.

Just a few thoughts.

My Regards,

SG

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Stephane Neron
www.experiencetravelnature.com
www.experiencevoyagenature.com

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