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Author Topic: Pentax 800mm f/6.7 on Digital (PhaseOne IQ180)  (Read 4740 times)
Brian Hirschfeld
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« on: February 02, 2013, 08:10:13 PM »
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Some of you may have seen or may not have seen a picture on my website that I took a few years ago with a PhaseOne P65+ and a Hasselblad H2 / 300mm lens which is one of my favorite pictures (of my own)

http://brianhirschfeldphotography.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Lizard-Merged-1-via-final-40x24-for-wildlife-competition-copy-half-size-1024x614.jpg

As I mentioned in a recent post the effective focal length of this shot was a little over 800mm with the cropping that the P65+ afforded me, and this created a very good picture for me.

Well, I am again going back to Costa Rica, and I want to do it "big" by which I mean having a long lens to get some more "good" (or at least I think so) wildlife shots out of my IQ180. I understand the weight and size constraints of working with a long lens like the 800mm f/6.7, and know that there are adapters available for the 645DF.

In terms of stabilization, I own a Gimbal head as well as a sturdy Gitzo 3 series CF tripod, would these be enough to use and stabilize this lens?

Does anyone have any experience using it on any digital platform? how is it wide open?

If anyone knows any of these things I would greatly appreciate the input or advice. Suggestions of other lenses are welcome but please don't say silly things like the 39lb 800mm f4 or the also gigantic 600mm f4 unless you believe that one of these would be better.

The 600mm seems a bit heavy on the stabilization side or at-least thats what I got from the LuLa article on it, which would be my chief concern with this lens...although with TC's being able to make it 800 and 1200 wouldn't be terrible.... all thoughts are welcome, I am looking to get one of these fast.

Also if you think the 645D or some other camera would be better suited to this lens please mention that as well. Thank you.
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FredBGG
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« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2013, 12:40:19 PM »
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I think that one thing you need to keep in mind when considering shooting with an 800mm lens
is what it's going to be like looking through it when you are hunting around for an image.
By that I mean what you will see as you point the lens around looking for the subject and composition.


Various things come into play.

Very shallow depth of field will make things apear like a complete blur until you focus so when you are hunting
for a composition especially in a dense environment like woods, shrubs etc it can get quite un nerving.

Add to that the camera shake as you move the lens around, even on a tripod and things get even more difficult.

This is where image stabalization and very fast AF make a massive difference in the "hunt and compose" experience
especially if wild life is involved.

I also think that manual focusing an f6.7 lens will be rather tricky. Using flip up sunglasses would help. Flip up the sunglasses only
when you look into the camera. Kurtis surf goggles are really good for this. They are very light and have a brilliant lens.
I use them and just bring my face towards the viewfinder and catch the goggles on the top of the finder lifting them off my eyes.
It's really nice because it makes your viewfinder apear really brighter because you eyes are "set" to the darker light of the goggles.

While it certainly is an interesting challenge shooting with a very long lens on an MF camera I think you are
going to have a tough time and that a 400mm on a high MP count 35mm DSLR would give you better overall results
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theguywitha645d
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« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2013, 12:52:58 PM »
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A Pentax 645D with the Pentax 645 600mm (if you can find one) would work really well. Pentax also has a 400mm AF lens for the 645D. There are Teleconverters for both those lenses--same converter. The 300mm and 400mm lenses can be handheld, but not the 600mm---you will want a gimble head, although that is not a bad idea for the 400mm too. The 645D is really a modern camera and great for this type of work. ISO is really very good all the way to 1600. The exposure modes also give a nice choice including Auto ISO. The viewfinder is really nice and would recommend the gridded one. You can also get a 90 degree angle finder.

The down side is write speeds. It is slow in comparison to most modern cameras. But batteries are cheap and plentiful and work all day, even in sub-freezing conditions. The camera is weather sealed, but not the lenses in this case. The dual SD card slots can be setup like a RAID array.

I have a D800E and prefer the Pentax over that, both for images and handling. But the D800 would have more choice of optics for bird photography.
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Brian Hirschfeld
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« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2013, 02:23:01 PM »
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Thanks Fred for the tips, tho the goal of the exercise is MFDB at extreme-telephoto, if I was being totally serious I would be taking my D4 and D3s out with some rented super-telephotos or something.

Do the pentax TC's work with the AF on the Pentax 645D?

also is there any advantage in stabilization in the 800mm f/6.7 vs the 600mm f4 in terms of stabilization....

There is also the 400mm f4 but with the 2x TC it becomes F8 which is a little limiting...any thoughts on this?

It looks like its between the 800mm 6.7 and the 600 f4

I think it will be better to put it on the IQ180, because I think whatever distance advantage I get from a cropsensor like the 645D I could just get with the cropping that 80mp gives me....unless the 645D is going to offer better connectivity with the lens because of their proprietary adapter or something....

thanks,
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paul_jones
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« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2013, 02:33:15 PM »
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i have the 600mm f4 adapted to my contax 645 with a p65+.
its a nice look with the blur, but its not very sharp- also has heaps of CA.
weighs a ton, and the focusing is very hard.

personally, i think , you wont get better pictures with a medium format camera for this kind of stuff. dslrs are the way to go.
sometimes improving your chances of getting a shot is more important than 20% better res.

paul
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Brian Hirschfeld
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« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2013, 02:33:53 PM »
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Could you post or email me a sample please? montblanc100years@mac.com
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henrikfoto
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« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2013, 04:13:50 PM »
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I have found that the best way to stabilize with long lenses is a good tripod with a very heavy
bag hanging under it. But just as important is a long heavy sandbag (sadle type) on top of the lens and camera.
That bag on the top makes a lot of differnce.

Of course mirror up and remote relaese.
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Brian Hirschfeld
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« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2013, 04:15:53 PM »
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Bag hanger, and sand bag are definitely doable for these applications. Thank you for the tips! I'm not looking for it to be able to be used spontaneously, I assume it will take a bit of set up. If I am not mistaken if my shutter speed is in the 500-1000+ range in good light I don't think it would be too much of an issue?
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theguywitha645d
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« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2013, 05:34:27 PM »
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...unless the 645D is going to offer better connectivity with the lens because of their proprietary adapter or something....

Automatic aperture control and AF confirmation. The converters do not preserve AF, but aperture control. And you simply get better ISO than with a IQ180. I can't see stop-down metering and focus with an IQ180 being particularly fun, especially with moving targets at those focal lengths. You should go with a DSLR in that case.
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Brian Hirschfeld
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« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2013, 05:46:36 PM »
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DSLR wouldn't be any fun, thats to easy! Wink

gotcha on the AF, thanks
 
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theguywitha645d
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« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2013, 05:51:25 PM »
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DSLR wouldn't be any fun, thats to easy! Wink

gotcha on the AF, thanks
 


I certainly can understand the idea of going big--Eliot Porter did bird photography with 4x5 early in his career. I would probably get the stuff and try it out on some birds before you leave. I noticed with many setups for this type of work, mirror dampening can take some time to work out. It has to do with the dynamics of the system.

I am looking forward to seeing what you get.
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Brian Hirschfeld
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« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2013, 07:10:06 PM »
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I'm just struggling to determine if its the 600mm f4 or the 800mm 6.7...the 600mm f4 is cheaper, and I think I read that they are really the same weight, and the web sample jpeg's I was sent of the 600mm f4 exceeded my expectations, besides I would prob be shooting it stopped down a little....is the 800mm 6.7 offering me any real advantages? if I get a 2x TC the 600mm is also still usable....

Whichever I get, I think I will get an adapter for the IQ180 and then rent a 645D and see what it gives me in testing before going then decide if it is worth renting a 645D for the actual trip. I think that is the most economical way since I have no real need to own a 645D in my life...
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2013, 09:40:29 PM »
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Just noticed that the Pentax 800mm f6.7 weights 6.5 kg and has a minimal focusing distance of 8 m...

To be compared to the new Nikon 800mm f5.6 VR weighting 4,6 kg and focusing down to 5,9 m. It is also 4 inches shorter.

I guess we all like to have fun in different ways.  Wink

Cheers,
Bernard
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« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2013, 10:38:15 PM »
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@BernardLanguillier when reading through your original message, which I saw in the email Wink it did seem like an attractive option to rent a 800mm f/5.6 which I would assume would be out by then and then use it with either a rented D800(e) or my D4, but then at the end, I reminded myself that half of the goal is the fun and challenge of trying to get some good images with a super-telephoto on medium format digital....where is the fun of using the absolute best tools for the job (800/D4) when you have to use some creativity and skill to capture something with my slightly different equipment choice.

You did however highlight a point that is worth some consideration....the 800mm f/6.7's minimum focusing distance is 8m and it weighs in at 6.5kg like you say...the 600mm f4's minimum focus distance is 12m and it weighs 6kg .... this brings in to question whether the added (approximately) 1lb of weight is worth an added 4m (~13ft) of focusing....and then there is the cost of say 2,000 USD for the 600mm and 6,000 USD for the 800mm....

I would probably just sell whichever lens I ended up with after the trip, do we agree that the 800mm may be the better investment of the two in this context? not to mention adding fairly a significant minimum focus distance boost for a minimal weight gain?
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Lacunapratum
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« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2013, 12:27:45 AM »
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Hey folks,

Not that easy.  The 600mm lenses for FF digital are autofocus and because of their high speed and the camera body's high speed allow for fast shutter speeds, which makes it possible to get reasonably sharp images under typical wildlife photography conditions.  In addition, the mirror is significantly smaller than any MFD mirror. 

The 800mm for the Pentax is "only" 6.3 and the back looses substanially at 1600ASA.  This would all be o.k. for average lenses, but the 800mm/6.3 ED is quite a beast.  Most medium format digital cameras add a lot of mirror and shutter vibration, and while these are acceptable for average focal lengths, at 800mm you will feel the effect, unless you do your best to minimize vibration (e.g. two tripods, bright sunlight, perhaps even other shutter dampening strategies). 

Thus, those 600mm rigs for FF are likely the better equipment for wildlife photography, unless you are prepared to go to great lengths to reduce mirror and shutter vibration. 

One lens that may be considered in this context is the 1000mm mirror lens from Carl Zeiss Jena.  Obviously, the Mirotar will do as well.  These mirror lenses are fairly compact and center well on a heavy tripod.  They also have little chromatic abberations as they are mirror lenses.  You'll have to put up with those donut shaped diffraction rings and that depends on your liking. 

I have shot both the 600mm and the 800mm Pentax on MFD, and both are prone to vibration effects, even though both are wonderful lenses. 

Just my 2c. 

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henrikfoto
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« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2013, 01:15:29 AM »
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Brian!

If you want to try the sharpest of all, look for the Zeiss Mirotar 1000mm.
Very heavy, but there is nothing like it.

Henrik
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2013, 02:37:31 AM »
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Brian!

If you want to try the sharpest of all, look for the Zeiss Mirotar 1000mm.
Very heavy, but there is nothing like it.

Well, for what it is worth, the MTF charts of the new Nikon 800 + teleconverter are much better.

Plus the mirotar is a bit heavy at... 16kg... and seems impossible to find anywhere...

Cheers,
Bernard
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Brian Hirschfeld
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« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2013, 07:45:41 AM »
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Brian!

If you want to try the sharpest of all, look for the Zeiss Mirotar 1000mm.
Very heavy, but there is nothing like it.

Henrik

I'd be concerned about the donuts....and the 38lb weight...lol I'd find a 800mm f4 for that weight! thanks for the suggestion though. I think I need to somehow find one of these (800mm 6.7 / 600mm f4) in the NYC/NJ/CT/MA area to try and see what its like to decide if it is worth it....
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« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2013, 09:57:22 AM »
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For ultimate fun you can look for one of the old APO-Nikkor barrel lenses, I think the longest "production" one was 1800mm....

There are some Nikkor and Fujinon 4x5 lenses of 600mm that weigh 1/10th of that Pentax, you'll need a camera with some looong bellows though Wink
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henrikfoto
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« Reply #19 on: February 04, 2013, 10:08:48 AM »
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I'd be concerned about the donuts....and the 38lb weight...lol I'd find a 800mm f4 for that weight! thanks for the suggestion though. I think I need to somehow find one of these (800mm 6.7 / 600mm f4) in the NYC/NJ/CT/MA area to try and see what its like to decide if it is worth it....


There are no donuts unless you shoot directly against the light.
And the sharpness is like nothing else. Imagine 1000 mm f.5.6 on a 80mp sensor..
And it has full sharpness fully open.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2013, 10:25:25 AM by henrikfoto » Logged
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