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Pentax 1.4x AF Converter at Martin Mere


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Pentax 1.4x AF Converter at Martin Mere

18 Jan 2015 4:00PM   Views : 1258 Unique : 615

Pentax introduced the HD Pentax-DA Rear Converter 1.4x AW after a very long wait and it fills an obvious gap in the range very nicely. I have never been a fan of converters, having never found one that was good enough optically to be more useful than just cropping an image. This one did attract me to try it though, so I parted with my cash and since then have been trying to find an opportunity to get down to Martin Mere to test it out.

The first step was to update the firmware on my K-5 so that the AF would work with the converter. This was a painless process, just follow the instructions! In theory, a lens should be f/4 or brighter to use the AF successfully, but in practice the SMC Pentax-DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8 worked well even at the 300mm setting. Focus zips in and out as snappily as the lens alone, and although sometimes it does travel the full range to find focus, that's normal for this lens anyway.

The day started out with thick fog and this stretched all the way up the East Lancs Road and onwards to Burscough, but at this point the weather was giving way to weak, hazy sunshine. Martin Mere was busy and cloudy bright, with some sun breaking through. Good conditions, but it still needed ISO settings up to 6400 to ensure a good enough shutter speed to stop subject movement. SR is fine, but doesn't stop the subject moving. I tried some shots at the Janet Kear hide as usual, and then moved around the captive side of the site as well.

I'm sure that the results would be even better with one of the DA* lenses such as the 200mm or 300mm, but the zoom plus converter acquitted themselves very well. I was using the lens wide open most of the time, so brighter light will help, but for the first time I have a useful converter that satisfies me that it does an excellent job. Here are some of the initial results, which I will follow up later with more trips to try out other lens/converter combinations.







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