A Jim of All Trades

A New Lens & A Tiny Bald Eagle

with 4 comments

I got a new lens!

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Well, new to me. It’s a Takumar-F 70-210mm F4-5.6 lens. It’s a late 80’s film (obviously) lens that still mounts and works on modern Pentax DSLRs. It is my first long-ish auto focus zoom lens and I’m excited about it. Takumar lenses were sort of off brand Pentax lenses. They sold for less than their Pentax counterparts, but often shared the same design and construction as the “Pentax” lenses. Pentax and Takumar sold duplicates of this exact lens, the only difference was supposed to be that the Takumar version lacked lens coatings. I’ve read many reviews says that the Takumar lens does have coatings though, and it looks like mine does too, so one has to wonder what the difference is between it and the more expensive name brand lens? Just some stickers and the price?

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Anyway, it’s an old used lens now, but is still really cool. The optics are great and it is capable of taking some amazing quality photos. I’ve read reviews that said, image quality wise, this is comparable to modern mid-level lenses (quality better than basic kit lenses but below top end professional) and I think that’s very accurate. It is very sharp, contrast is good, and colors are pretty accurate. And the price? – $60! (plus shipping from eBay) I admit, it would be nice to have a longer zoom range and a more modern design, but for something modern I would have had to pay at least double what I paid for this, and that still wouldn’t have gotten me that great a lens. That isn’t an insult to the Pentax kit lenses, their long zoom is very good and I still might get one someday, but for less than half the price and as good (if not better) optics, I’ll take this old film zoom, thank you very much.

I do have a few complaints. Mainly is that it’s HEAVY. By far the heaviest lens I’ve ever used. I’ve read before about how a heavy lens can throw off the balance of a camera and make it hard to shoot but I never grasped what that meant until now. It is harder to hold the camera steady and get a nice crisp shot and it takes more concentration and practice than shooting with the lighter lenses I have. Choosing the camera settings is challenging as well. When I have everything right the pictures turn out great, but the lens has a tendency to under expose images, so I always have to be careful.

Otherwise, aside from just needed to get used to it and shoot in more situations, I’m very pleased. This will be a lot of fun to use at autocrosses and sporting events, I can’t wait!

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It isn’t exactly a birding lens… I’m about 10 yards away in the following couple pics and as you can see am still too far away:

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…following is 100% crop of the above…

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Bird watchers.
Bird Watchers

Size matters.
Size Matters

There is a dam not far from my house where a number of Bald Eagles have been congregating. Apparently Bald Eagles always hang out around the dam but the numbers are up this winter since the freezing cold weather and excess snow we’ve had have made hunting harder for them. The local news reported that over 60 had been reported there, which seems a little unbelievable. I’ve never seen one before though, so I decided to go and check it out. Apparently half of the people in the county had the same idea, there were tons of people there, and more kept coming. There were six Bald Eagles, way out on an island, but they wouldn’t come any closer. My lens wasn’t nearly strong enough to get pictures of them.

Standing on the road looking at the island (70mm):

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Zoomed all the way in (think you could see the Bald Eagle if I didn’t circle it?):

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100% crop of the above:

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That island was very far away (the guy with the HUGE white lens (600mm) in the above image said they were still too far for him), but this still isn’t a birding lens. Oh well, that’s not why I bought it.

It’ll take me some more time to learn how to use it so that I get good images consistently, but so far I’m pleased and think this will work well for a practical longer zoom lens.

Happy shooting!

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Written by Jim

February 16, 2014 at 4:24 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Looks like fun, and a great opportunity to practice with the bald-eagle sightings! New lenses bring a great new way of seeing things, for lack of a better comparison :) Always refreshing!

    dinnersforwinners

    February 17, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    • I know what you mean. :) Now if only it would warm up and we’d stop getting so much durn snow so I could go outside and use it more. (not a winter fan)

      Hope things are going well with you!

      Jim

      February 19, 2014 at 8:50 pm

  2. There was a Bald eagle in a tree outside my bedroom window one gay last year. I sat and watched him preen for about 20 minutes. I live Los Angeles, which makes that story seem like a miracle. GREG

    sippitysup

    February 19, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    • That’s awesome and I’m jealous! Very cool experience! :)

      Jim

      February 19, 2014 at 8:48 pm


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