Light lens for birding?

Started Jun 16, 2013 | Discussions thread
Leandros S Senior Member • Posts: 1,972
Re: Light lens for birding?

kipling wrote:


I am looking for a lightweight combination that will give me reasonably good image quality for birding.

I have some Canon gear that gives great IQ but is now too heavy for me. I haven't tried Pentax before, but from what I read the 55-300 is pretty good and is 450mm on a crop body. All the primes are heavy.

What I'm after is some advice as to what would be a good body to use with the zoom. I'm leaning towards the K30 because of its great viewfinder light weight and performance. Alternatively a used K5, which seems more highly regarded but is heavier. Or the older bodies such as the K200D etc, but I think they are also a bit heavier. But cheap.

Your thoughts would be much appreciated. As to the zoom for birding too. Lightweight zooms with good IQ suitable for birding are thin on the ground. (And yes I know 450mm is short for birds, but anything longer is expensive and heavy, whether it be Canon or Pentax or whatever.)


Hi kipling,

Some of this will sound like nitpicking but you may find it informative.

The 55-300mm is an APS-C only lens - you will only ever use it on a crop body. This also makes it a bit smaller in width, and lighter. Its autofocus is slow compared to the 50-200mm (also an APS-C only lens and should be even lighter). The 50-200mm is underappreciated in my opinion.

Do look at Sigma offerings. Depending who you listen to, the 150-500mm is good up to 400 or 450mm, and has silent focusing. Not the lightest option, but silent if optical stabilisation is disabled (also avoids battery drain), and should be fast focusing, too.

The K-30 is indeed light. It has a weaker AA filter and will therefore resolve more fine detail than the K-5 classic. Yes, you will love the viewfinder.

There's no free lunch in the telezoom game. If you're on a budget and want to get really close to the action, superzoom bridge cameras like the Canon SX50 are the way forward. But if you want a nice optical viewfinder, then the K-30 is the best choice right now.


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