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10-13-2010, 04:59 PM   #1
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Desperately NEED HELP choosing a lens

I own a Pentax K20D. It's amazing. Normally I'm a fashion photographer, but I'm heading into uncharted territory. I will be shooting some new concepts with many, many people in them, and lots of action!!! Locations will be dark, cavernous, and I will be utilizing some umbrella lighting.

Are there any suggestions on the type of lens that is best for this kind of production. Remember, a lot of people in each shot and plenty of action. Imagine a battle scene from Braveheart.

My budget is around $200.

10-13-2010, 05:04 PM   #2
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If you are a fashion photographer then I'd imagine you'd know a lot more than most about what you need in a lens. What focal length and speed are you after? Did you really mean $200 and not $2,000 budget?
10-13-2010, 05:23 PM   #3
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Sounds like you need a fast wide lens. For $200 that is not easy to get. Then again:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/118164-my-new-...mm-f2-0-a.html

It also sounds like you could use the new high ISO abilities of the K-r and the K5. What is your time frame?
10-13-2010, 05:42 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
If you are a fashion photographer then I'd imagine you'd know a lot more than most about what you need in a lens. What focal length and speed are you after? Did you really mean $200 and not $2,000 budget?
Yes, I REALLY meant $200. Unfortunately. As a fashion photographer, my location doesn't mean that I get non-stop jobs. SO...$200 is about all I've got. As for focal length and speed, I need high speed, and I'm not super educated on focal length.

10-13-2010, 05:43 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by rm2 Quote
Sounds like you need a fast wide lens. For $200 that is not easy to get. Then again:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/118164-my-new-...mm-f2-0-a.html

It also sounds like you could use the new high ISO abilities of the K-r and the K5. What is your time frame?
Thank you so much for this suggestion! It means so much. I will look into it, definitely! Time frame? I need it in 3 weeks.
10-13-2010, 05:44 PM   #6
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You're stuck buddy. Your budget won't work. You need a really good copy of a Tamron 17-50 f2.8. Unless you are a manual shooter, nothing else will work for what you want to do. Of course many would advise you to spend more but don't do it.
10-13-2010, 05:50 PM   #7
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You can rent a good lens for that, but you can forget about buying a good lens with that kind of money.

Can't hardly buy an FA 50 1.4 for $200.
10-13-2010, 05:53 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeff knight Quote
You're stuck buddy. Your budget won't work. You need a really good copy of a Tamron 17-50 f2.8. Unless you are a manual shooter, nothing else will work for what you want to do. Of course many would advise you to spend more but don't do it.
Thank you for understanding the budget. I looked up the lens and think I may be able to swing it. You're awesome!

10-13-2010, 05:55 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by brofkand Quote
You can rent a good lens for that, but you can forget about buying a good lens with that kind of money.

Can't hardly buy an FA 50 1.4 for $200.
BRILLIANT idea! Thank you so much! I'll start calling around in the a.m. There may not be any places around here (small town) to rent one at, but I didn't think of it before.
10-13-2010, 06:00 PM   #10
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You might find a used DA 16-45mm for about $200 here on PF.
10-13-2010, 06:01 PM   #11
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CameraLensRentals.com - Canon, Nikon and Pentax Lens Rentals.

They're the only place I know of that rents Pentax gear, unless there's a camera shop in Asheville or Boone that rents Pentax. Biggs Camera in Charlotte doesn't.

Judging by your budget, you could rent a good lens for a month and still have money left over.

I think that's your best bet. Rent lenses until you have a consistent source of income to where you can afford to buy.

A lot of photographers don't even own cameras; everything's figured into the day rate. Renting the studio, lights, camera, lenses, etc. It's not a bad way to go really.
10-13-2010, 09:41 PM   #12
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The 50 1.4 would be great for low light/action, but the DOF will be very low at 1.4 and if you are shooting more than one person you will want to stop down to at least 2.8.

Plus the 50mm focal legnth is much more of a portrait/fashion lens, not ideal for groups unless you can stand really far back.

My 28mm 2.8 is not what I would recommend due to the almost normal focal length and manual focus, but the narrowest FOV I would be able to use for that kind of shooting. I think the 24 2.0 is a good suggestion, as is the tameron zoom.

Is manual focus ok for you? That will open a lot of doors in the sub 200 range. I think rental would be another good way to go, although not the easiest for Pentax.

Try out your zoom lens and find the focal length you need with it, then get back to us. If MF is ok, I would suggest one of the SMC A primes in the 20x range. Or the tameron zoom... but it's quite a bit out of your budget.

This is what you really need... http://www.pentaxwebstore.com/product_detail.asp?T1=PTX+21577

This would work... https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/SMC-Pentax-A-24mm-F2.8-Lens.html

Hell the kit lens might be your only real option... unless you can rent and charge for the price of the rental.

Last edited by paperbag846; 10-13-2010 at 10:18 PM.
10-14-2010, 03:39 AM   #13
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This is a difficult ask, since you want to take action photos in low light, and need a reasonable depth of field - and all for $200!

However, my advice would be to find a used Pentax 16-45 f4 - you'll need the autofocus (assuming there's enough light for it!) - and it's a very good performer for the money (especially at the wide end). Check out this link:

To Kit or not to Kit ? Three Pentax Kit Lenses ERPhotoReview

It'll provide good results even wide open (f4 will hopefully give you sufficient DOF at wide settings).

Even so, you'll probably need to operate at fairly high ISO, in order to catch the action, so, unless you want to upgrade your camera to a K-x, K-r or K-5 (all of which will have great high-ISO performance), you'll end up with noise in your pictures.

Which brings me to my next piece of advice: get hold of some decent noise-reduction software (rather than use the in-camera noise reduction). I can recommend Neat Image, and it's available free for trial/personal use (though you'd have to purchase the commercial version for anything more than personal use).

Hope you find that helpful!
10-14-2010, 04:04 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by m42man Quote
This is a difficult ask, since you want to take action photos in low light, and need a reasonable depth of field - and all for $200!

However, my advice would be to find a used Pentax 16-45 f4 - you'll need the autofocus (assuming there's enough light for it!) - and it's a very good performer for the money (especially at the wide end). Check out this link:

To Kit or not to Kit ? Three Pentax Kit Lenses ERPhotoReview

It'll provide good results even wide open (f4 will hopefully give you sufficient DOF at wide settings).

Even so, you'll probably need to operate at fairly high ISO, in order to catch the action, so, unless you want to upgrade your camera to a K-x, K-r or K-5 (all of which will have great high-ISO performance), you'll end up with noise in your pictures.

Which brings me to my next piece of advice: get hold of some decent noise-reduction software (rather than use the in-camera noise reduction). I can recommend Neat Image, and it's available free for trial/personal use (though you'd have to purchase the commercial version for anything more than personal use).

Hope you find that helpful!
I was unaware of the K-5. It looks fantastic. Thank you for the article. I am reading and re-reading it. And the info about the noise reduction software...amazing.
10-14-2010, 06:50 AM   #15
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I concur with alot of what people are saying here. For a low budget, you want the 16-45mm seeing as it comes in cheaper than the tamron 17-50mm. However, for IQ, I'd go the tamron route. If you can swing a bit more cash, a prime can't be beat for IQ, but you lose the versatility of a zoom. If you want stellar IQ for this particular shoot, I'd recommend renting an FA 31mm. That lens is just a gem.

Also, as someone mentioned, a fast lens (low f-stop) won't do here seeing as there are alot of people and you want more DOF. I would say that for a group shot, unless they're all within the same vertical plane, you want minimum f4 no matter which lens you choose. I think f5.6-f8 would be optimal.

Because of your need for a deeper DOF, you're going to need to shoot at higher ISO and/or make sure you have lots of light.

If you're saying that you have a lot of action to shoot, slower shutterspeeds won't be possible, so you're kind of stuck. You need to find the right balance between DOF (f-stop), ISO and available light.

Sounds like a challenging shoot. Good luck!
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