In praise of the DA*300 and 1.4TC


davidstorm

Link Posted 15/05/2016 - 19:44
There's been a small amount of debate on here recently about the Pentax 150-450 lens and how good it is, with some comparisons to the DA*300. I've been a long time supporter of the DA*300, either on its own, or paired with the Pentax 1.4TC and today I brought it out for the first time this year to give it a quick go in the garden (paired with the TC).

After reviewing the images, I was struck by their sharpness and also the lovely smooth out of focus backgrounds. Now the controversial bit comes when I think back to some images posted on here that were shot with the 150-450, which illustrated what might be its' only achilles heel, i.e. the slightly messy bokeh that a couple of people including DrOrloff and myself have noticed.

Here's an example, a picture of our cat Bella, shot with the K-3 at ISO 200, 1/640 second, F6.3:




So, what do you think in terms of the 150-450 vs. the DA*300 & 1.4TC? Which would you choose?

Personally, I'm sticking with the DA*300 and TC, partly on cost grounds, but also for the wonderful smooth bokeh, which for me, is an important ingredient.

Regards
David
Flickr

Nicola's Apartments, Kassiopi, Corfu

Some cameras, some lenses, some bits 'n' bobs

McGregNi

Link Posted 15/05/2016 - 20:16
For most of this type of image then a little bit of extra software blur filter on the background could easily give the bokeh effect desired. The subject would be masked off using a duplicate layer. It's a fairly simple process. I'd say the real big choices between these items comes down to price and the zoom component, which clearly makes the 150-450 far more versatile.
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver
Last Edited by McGregNi on 15/05/2016 - 20:17

mille19

Link Posted 15/05/2016 - 20:27
I'd say the biggest difference is AF speed, for Sport/Wildlife I've found the 150-450mm faster than the 300mm + x1.4, I think the focus limiter has a lot to do with it. DA*300mm is still one of my favourite lenses though

davidstorm

Link Posted 15/05/2016 - 20:42
McGregNi wrote:
For most of this type of image then a little bit of extra software blur filter on the background could easily give the bokeh effect desired. The subject would be masked off using a duplicate layer. It's a fairly simple process. I'd say the real big choices between these items comes down to price and the zoom component, which clearly makes the 150-450 far more versatile.

Hi Nigel, appreciate your viewpoint on this, but how do you mask off individual whiskers and hairs? I don't think this technique would work very well on wildlife images?

Regards
David
Flickr

Nicola's Apartments, Kassiopi, Corfu

Some cameras, some lenses, some bits 'n' bobs
Last Edited by davidstorm on 15/05/2016 - 20:42

carmagw

Link Posted 16/05/2016 - 09:57
davidstorm wrote:

So, what do you think in terms of the 150-450 vs. the DA*300 & 1.4TC? Which would you choose?

I'm fortunate to have both (did sell some gear to help fund the 150-450 ) there are pros and cons to each which dictates when I would generally use one over the other.

I'm happy with image quality from both and I'd echo mille19's comments above, I also agree with David's comment re smooth bokeh, which on messy backgrounds the 150-450 is not as pleasing to the eye, similar to the Sigma 150-500 I sold in that respect.

So what do I think about before selecting either lens, it is predominately

- Size/weight (the 150-450 is a beast compared to the DA*300)
- Likely targets I'm shooting (faster Af needed or not ?)
- Zoom needed ?

They are the main 3 considerations for me.

Regards

George

McGregNi

Link Posted 16/05/2016 - 13:41
davidstorm wrote:
....

Hi Nigel, appreciate your viewpoint on this, but how do you mask off individual whiskers and hairs? I don't think this technique would work very well on wildlife images? Regards David

Firstly, sorry David I should have explained, I would not be advocating a software blurring solution as the answer for every image taken ... that would be far too laborious and I'm sure would cancel out a lot of the enjoyment of the using the lens!

No, I meant that the bokeh effect is likely to impact on different images in different ways and to different extents, and it is likely that it will only be an issue in some cases .... then I feel that the software work may well be very worthwhile for those particular images, on balance considering the other advantages that the new zoom offers.

Now I don't think that the work is as much as it might initially sound to be ..... we are not talking here of actually creating the blur (that is already there) ... it is just a little extra effect to change the bokeh characteristic. So in fact I don't actually think that any fine masking would be needed at all, not around whiskers and hair and things. I actually think that a rather rough mask around the main subject outline would be all that's required, because we are not trying to mask off out of focus from in focus areas ..... we are just masking off the in focus subject around an already blurred background.

So around fine details like whiskers, feet, feathers etc, because the bokeh pattern is very wide in radius terms, I don't it would matter at all if the original non-blurred image extended slightly beyond the subjects outline, and so a rough mask would be fine .... it should be a very quick job. If I can find an image taken with the 150-450 (or if anyone is happy to let me use one of theirs for the purpose) then I'll give it a go and see if I can 'improve' the bokeh and how long it takes.
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver
Last Edited by McGregNi on 16/05/2016 - 13:45

davidstorm

Link Posted 16/05/2016 - 22:04
Thanks for the clarification Nigel, I can see where you are coming from. With the DA*300 we are fortunate to have a lens that produces the smooth out of focus effects without the need to replicate them in post processing, which is important to me. I can see too the possibilities with all manner of processing techniques, but personally I don't have enough time or dedication to apply them!

I am very impressed with the results people have posted from the 150-450 lens, it looks to be an impressive piece of kit, bokeh aside. I would be interested to see your processing efforts to improve the bokeh, but not sure if the forum image size would be big enough to show this to best effect.

Regards
David
Flickr

Nicola's Apartments, Kassiopi, Corfu

Some cameras, some lenses, some bits 'n' bobs

davidstorm

Link Posted 16/05/2016 - 22:08
Thanks to George and Steve also for the informed comments, I know it's 'horses for courses' when it comes to choosing the best lens for the job. If I had more time to justify taking up wildlife photography more seriously no doubt I would be considering a 150-450, but as it is the DA*300 takes some beating for price / performance ratio, especially considering you can buy used examples in fine nick for pretty sensible money.

Regards
David
Flickr

Nicola's Apartments, Kassiopi, Corfu

Some cameras, some lenses, some bits 'n' bobs
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