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Thread: Pentax SMC DA* 300mm f4 ED (IF) SDM

  1. #1
    A. P's Culinary Indiscriminant mongo's Avatar
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    Pentax SMC DA* 300mm f4 ED (IF) SDM

    The full title/description of this lens is a real mouthful.

    Mongo hunted down a good one of these for Mrs Mongo recently. Its now had a reasonable trial at the hands of Mrs Mongo (and Mongo got his paws on it a few times too).
    Used with a Pentax K5 it gives the equivalent of 450mm at f4 wide open. Mongo heard largely good about this lens (and some doubtfuls) before doing his own research which led him to to buy one.

    Purchased used for $900 - still boxed and used only a few time at best. It looked new ! This is great value.
    weighs only just over a kg and is physically small for a lens of these specs. To give some idea, it is about 30% smaller and about 20% lighter than Mongo's nikon 300 f4. Price second hand, is virtually the same.

    It has an ultrasonic AF motor (which is deadly quiet and reasonably quick on the K5. THis may vary with other camera bodies), possibly 2 ED elements (although not even top reviewers seem to know as Pentax is not great about giving information or specs), it is weather sealed and has special protective coating on the front element.

    Mrs Mongo rates its performance as very good and one of the easiest lens to carry and use for its specifications. Mongo also rates it as very good on the K5 body. Overall , both Mrs Mongo and Mongo were impressed with it and thought it was an excellent buy in a lens. On a straight comparison with the nikon 300mm f4 , in image quality terms, Mongo would rate the Pentax at about 94%. That is pretty darn good given the quality of results results from the Nikon. Also , like the nikon, it is great from wide open and peaks at only 1 stop down (f5.6) whereas the Nikon peaks at f8. It handles better than the Nikon mainly due to its more manageable size and weight. Like the Nikon , it does not have vibration reduction but this is provided by the K5 body. So, in this regard, it is better than the Nikon and better value for that reason.

    The one very big annoyance with this lens (and Pentax generally) these days is The failure of Pentax to make any teleconverters for its own telephoto lenses. Kenko, Sigma and others are problematic as they can not be sure to work with this ultrasonic AF system OR not work in combination with this system and all high end Pentax DSLR bodies. You basically have to try each combination to ensure that they work together before buying.

    Enough of the tech talk - a picture or two are worth a thousand words. So, here are a couple with this IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE - PHOTOS TAKEN BY MRS MONGO BUT PROCESSING PROVIDED BY MONGO.
    These images and many more were taken last Monday when birding with Lance and Sar

    K5, 1/2000th @ f8
    AMGP2874.jpg

    K5, 1/320th @ f4
    AMGP2980.JPG
    Nikon and Pentax user



  2. #2
    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
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    Mongo, I had one, acquired from Lance, and it's a cracker of a lens.

    I used it with a Tamron 1.4X with excellent results.

    Wonderful detail in that second shot.
    Cheers
    Kev

    D600 : D7200 and too much stuff to list

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    A. P's Culinary Indiscriminant
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cage View Post
    Mongo, I had one, acquired from Lance, and it's a cracker of a lens.

    I used it with a Tamron 1.4X with excellent results.

    Wonderful detail in that second shot.
    you had one - did you part with it ???
    there are only about 3 possible older converters that may work with Mrs Mongo's combination. The Tamron 1.4 is one of them. Did you use it on a K5 body ??
    Yes, Mongo agrees - the second shot really has the goods !

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    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
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    Hi mongo.

    Yes, it's gone to a new home.

    The Tamron 1.4X acknowledged as the pick of the T/C's for Pentax is the Tamron-F AF Tele-Converter, Model Pz-AF MC4.

    It worked seamlessly on my K5 with little or no loss of IQ and it just seems to be 'the one' for Pentax. The downside is the price. From memory I sold mine for around $250.00.

  5. #5
    Who let the rabble in? Lance B's Avatar
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    Mrs Mongo has done it again! Fantastic photos showing us guys up again.

    I had this lens when I shot Pentax and it's a real gem!

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    A. P's Culinary Indiscriminant
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lance B View Post
    Mrs Mongo has done it again! Fantastic photos showing us guys up again.

    I had this lens when I shot Pentax and it's a real gem!
    thanks Lance, Mongo will pass your comments on to Mrs Mongo.

    BTW - didi you use a converter with the pentax 300mm and if so, which one and were you happy with its performance ??

  7. #7
    Who let the rabble in? Lance B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mongo View Post
    thanks Lance, Mongo will pass your comments on to Mrs Mongo.

    BTW - didi you use a converter with the pentax 300mm and if so, which one and were you happy with its performance ??
    I have a sneaky suspicion I did use one once but I don't remember what brand and it was not my TC but a borrowed one. So, I do believe if it was any good I would have both remembered and also possibly tried to buy one but it was no to both.

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    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
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    A. P's Culinary Indiscriminant
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cage View Post
    thanks Cage. MOngo had it down to the Kenko or the Tamron and had decided to get the Tamron if possible. Your link was very useful in confirming Mongo's decision.

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    Mongo bit late in seeing your post,when I was enquiring about a long lens it was a hard choice between 500 sigy or 300*f4 pentax with a pentax1.7 tele converter,making it a 510 auto focus after a few reports it was the 1.77 with the 300 gave best results but all my lenses are full frame so didn`t want DA lenses.

    The 1.7 is only avalible new in Japan but they come up for sale on different forums,with the quick shift on the 300 it makes a usalable combo,you focus close with the lens then the telecoverter takes over for final focus.

    Jack.
    Pentax K5iis, k7 plus lenses from 18mm-600mm.

  11. #11
    A. P's Culinary Indiscriminant
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    Quote Originally Posted by pixy View Post
    Mongo bit late in seeing your post,when I was enquiring about a long lens it was a hard choice between 500 sigy or 300*f4 pentax with a pentax1.7 tele converter,making it a 510 auto focus after a few reports it was the 1.77 with the 300 gave best results but all my lenses are full frame so didn`t want DA lenses.

    The 1.7 is only avalible new in Japan but they come up for sale on different forums,with the quick shift on the 300 it makes a usalable combo,you focus close with the lens then the telecoverter takes over for final focus.

    Jack.
    big thanks jack for your reply and information. Had looked into the 1.7 but hard to find, a bit expensive and still only partly auto focus and lastly, very mixed reports about the image quality. Mongo has the nikon equivalent of this teleconverter (but its a 1.6 X) which operated in exactly the same way on his manual nikon lenses but with excellent results. In the circumstances, Mongo will still look for a Tamron 1.4 - mind you, it is also expensive for what it is , also hard to find etc . However, on the Pentax cropped sensor, it will still give the equivalent of over 600mm focal length - so this is more than enough without pushing the limits of camera shake.

    Mongo thanks you again for the imput - its always appreciated to get as many views of experience as possible when making this sort of decision.

  12. #12
    A. P's Culinary Indiscriminant
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    UPDATE !!

    Pentax has only in late February this year finally released a new 1.4 teleconverter designed to be used with the Pentax 300 mm f4 and presumably other similar modern Pentax lenses. GREAT !!.

    the Bad news is it costs $600 !! and Mongo thought Nikon charges too much !!
    Last edited by mongo; 07-04-2014 at 7:23pm.

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