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12-07-2010, 06:45 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
I missed out on this fact, and would agree that the kit lens would be a good place for the OP to begin... it taught me a lot about the focal lengths I like. Exposure plot is a handy feature if you shoot JPEG.

However, in contrast to this, I found that I only began really learning about focal lengths when I started buying cheap primes, because before I would just zoom around, blissfully ignorant of how my focal length decisions would influence the perspective of the image. If the OP knows he/she is really fond of primes, a safe place to start would be the DA L 35mm 2.4 without too much money up front.
This is why at the top of this thread i suggested he start with the kit lens, and then only get primes where the kit lens was limiting his photography. As for having a liking to primes is a hard thing to imagine for someone who has never owned an SLR? I just can't see anyone making that leap today.

12-07-2010, 07:12 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I just can't see anyone making that leap today.
Yeah, I think you are right. The price of the kit is worth it for an education in focal lengths to avoid more costly errors (it's also a good lens to learn about proper lens care with ).
12-07-2010, 07:36 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
This is why at the top of this thread i suggested he start with the kit lens, and then only get primes where the kit lens was limiting his photography. As for having a liking to primes is a hard thing to imagine for someone who has never owned an SLR? I just can't see anyone making that leap today.
I think you'd be surprised. While I had a passing interest in photography as a kid, teaching myself on my Dad's old SLR was hard because it was difficult to tell what you did wrong from one exposure to the next. My first several digital cameras were point-and-shoots (back when point and shoots had decent if cumbersome manual controls) and because I was tech savvy I started pouring over EXIF data. I quickly started to 'get' photography and a number of my pictures were published--though to be fair I was doing event type photography back then and the convenience of digital probably just trumped the finesse the established photographer had over me.

While the first lens I bought once I went to DSLR was a super-zoom I *quickly* saw the light once I adapted my Dad's old lenses to fit my Pentax. If you've learned the basics of photography on a digital point-and-shoot (and I bet the OP has) there's a good chance you're over zooms. You want a more . . . tangible . . . experience and primes can give you that.

I say you might want to cheap zoom in your collection for walk-arounds and snapshots but a fast 50 and a 24 or 28 will be great. Also, get at least one cheap (but good--do some research) manual lens. That $40 will give you a great education.
12-07-2010, 08:44 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by joelR Quote
That $40 will give you a great education.
Agreed. I think an A 50 1.7 would be a great thing for any beginner to have... even if they have the kit lens as well. The possibilities that a fast 50 gives one over the kit lens at 50 is enormous, and the IQ is really special from the 50 1.4, 1.7, and 1.8... although the 1.8 is harder to use in practice, and the 1.4 is simply more expensive (but the best IMHO).

If you are going to buy 1.4, you might as well buy the autofocus version down the line. To start out, you can't beat the 1.7 for 50 bucks which is almost as good (really, the only bad thing about it is the bokeh when you stop it down).

The A 28 2.8 is another good one, but more expensive, and less of an upgrade over the kit lens (although it is still an upgrade - 1 stop faster, and much sharper across the frame).

12-07-2010, 09:39 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
This is why at the top of this thread i suggested he start with the kit lens, and then only get primes where the kit lens was limiting his photography. As for having a liking to primes is a hard thing to imagine for someone who has never owned an SLR? I just can't see anyone making that leap today.
I would agree with that although I didn't follow this sage advise. But a fast lens is one area that the kit lens is completely deficient. You can only crank the iso so high and you're still shooting at 1/5 or 1/10 of a second.
12-07-2010, 11:38 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by MSD Quote
Then again, to get to that mysterious long-term tight family, must one buy and sell to get there?
I think that quote says it best, for me at least.

When I first got my Kx (my first ever DSLR) I shot with the kit lens for a while then I went on a lens binge where I bought 10+ lenses in a few months and now 7-8 months later I know exactly what I want/need and it totals about 6 lenses, also I am finding that I am turning into a Prime guy. I would not have been able to figure out what I wanted/needed without buying many lenses and trying them for myself. I think the best approach to lens kit building is trial and error.
12-07-2010, 11:58 AM   #22
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This is your first SLR, I'm guessing it is coming with the kit lens (which in pentax' case is a great lens for the price,, and better than the canikon offerings at this level. shoot with it for a while and plot the focal lengths you shoot at most (there is software that allows this.) leaan the camera first the K20 has an awful lot to learn for an slr newbie it's a great camera. then start looking around for used lenses (try thrift stores and junk shops you'll be amazed what crops up) grab a fast 50 (f1.7 or better) as it's a great starting point for primes and is also the most widely available lowest price high iq prime you'll find. good for experimenting and learning and if you've been lucky in your hunt you'll also be able to sell a good copy on for more than you paid.
If AF is your preference try the new 35 f2.4 by all acounts a great lens and give you a "normal" field of view. a lot of the best photographers are really dedicated to this field of view and some only use this (one lens - think the Cartier Bresson school)
Welcome to the world of SLR photography, I'm sure once the camera arrive you'll find tons of info here

(BTW I use both zooms and primes, primes I have 14,28,50,55,100,135,200 and zooms i have 18-55,24-70,70-200,28-200 all have their place and for how i shoot a lot of the time if i was going to spend big money on a lens right now it would be on a higher quality zoom not another prime. With Primes I'm fine with manual focus Zooms I use in action environments)
12-07-2010, 01:32 PM   #23
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I'm going to go against the grain a bit here and tell you NOT to get the kit lens. If you bought the K20D, then you probably were looking for a bit of sophistication right off the bat. Nothing against the kit but there are other options.

The kit lens is going to leave you a little "short" -- pun intended. You are quickly going to want to explore the telephoto range. I bought the 18-250 first. Great choice but alternatively you can go for the new 18-135, pick up weather resistance without really giving up too much in telephoto range. 135mm is plenty long most of the time.

Then to that I would add a fast prime. Its really a question of how fast and how much. The 35mm f2.4 is a great compromise. The sigma 30mm 1.4 is really fast. Both give that normal point of view. The DA 40mm has impressive image quality but its only f2.8. But its sooo small that it makes your K20D far more portable. The 35mm is another option for the same speed but then you pick up the macro feature. You can go a bit longer with a 50mm option but that is definitely longer than normal despite their lower cost. I wouldn't advise that.

Me Personally, That's where I started. And then I built up a prime AND zoom lens set.
Primes: 15mm, (20/24) (Gonna sell one), 31, 40, 50(rarely used), 77, 100macro, 135(rarely used)
Zooms: 24-70, 50-135, 100-300
Super Zoom: 18-250

And to be honest I like to mix match sets on a given day. The other day I went out with 15, 24-70, 50-135 and 100macro.

Another common set is the 20, 40, 77, 100-300.

Apart form that, I have to say that the DA*50-135 and the FA77 are in my opinion Pentax's best lenses. Too bad, I rarely take them together.

12-07-2010, 02:21 PM   #24
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I have always used a P&S, my one now is a Sony Cybershot, and it would be interesting if I could measure focal lengths. How do I get ExposurePlot?

Also, why is it that you say 'if he shoots JPEG'? Does the program not work with RAW (which I plan on using)?

I would really like to see where my 'normal' liking is in the 35-55mm range, as well as my portrait zone.

I'm not interested in sports/paparazzi photojounalism, it never has taken my interest as photography goes (but then again I am not really interested in sport or celebrities anyway, that might explain it).

I like the look of a 14/43/70 combination, (and possibly a zoom tele, depending on how much I actually use the long end of my 18-200) but my question is if 43/70 are too close together? I'll see where my usage lies, hopefully.
12-07-2010, 08:12 PM   #25
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Nice thread...we all like to dream of our perfect kit!

Which lenses you buy really depends on the application. For example, if you're a family guy like I am and need to chase down a two-year-old for pictures, an AF zoom is practically required. Another case when a standard zoom is useful is if you need just one lens to walk around and take all sorts of pictures with without a bag to carry more lenses. If either of these cases apply, depending on your budget, I'd really recommend the latest 18-135mm zoom, as it looks fantastic for a standard zoom. If neither of these situations match, then skip the standard zoom and go straight for primes!

There was a lot of good advice already on not duplicating focal lengths if possible. My perfect lineup would look something like:

zooms:
Sigma 10-20
Pentax DA 18-135 WR
Pentax DA 55-300

primes:
Pentax DA 35mm f2.8 macro lim
Pentax A 50mm f1.2
Pentax FA 77mm f1.8 lim
Pentax D FA 100mm f2.8 macro WR

It all boils down to a matter of taste and what you're looking to produce from your photography. I'd highly recommend searching for pictures taken with each lens you consider to see what's possible, and use that as a guide! Good luck and tell us how it goes!
12-08-2010, 09:18 AM   #26
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Not sure how this survived so long in the DSLR forum when it should be in the Lens forum. Oops. Just doing some housekeeping. Carry on!
12-08-2010, 10:29 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by MSD Quote
I have always used a P&S, my one now is a Sony Cybershot, and it would be interesting if I could measure focal lengths. How do I get ExposurePlot?

Also, why is it that you say 'if he shoots JPEG'? Does the program not work with RAW (which I plan on using)?

I would really like to see where my 'normal' liking is in the 35-55mm range, as well as my portrait zone.

I'm not interested in sports/paparazzi photojounalism, it never has taken my interest as photography goes (but then again I am not really interested in sport or celebrities anyway, that might explain it).

I like the look of a 14/43/70 combination, (and possibly a zoom tele, depending on how much I actually use the long end of my 18-200) but my question is if 43/70 are too close together? I'll see where my usage lies, hopefully.
Hi MSD and welcome

You can find Exposure plot here the beauty of the program is that it is free. It doesn't work with raw files but if you are like most, eventually you convert to JPEG for printing, posting e-mailing or the like. I work in RAW too, but eventually I save a jpeg. They are so much easier to post and display.
What exposure plot does is give you a readout of how you shoot. It will group your photos by focal length, f/stop and aperture, and then display that as bar graphs. You will be able to tell at a single glance what your prefered parameters are.

I think that 14/43/70 is an excellent combo, tho I would go with the 77 instead of the 70, not because 70 is too close to 43 (it isn't) but just because I prefer the FA 77 ltd to the DA 70 ltd. Just my personal preference.

NaCl(welcome to the wonderful world of LBA)H2O
12-08-2010, 11:04 AM   #28
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There are many threads on this forum asking for lens kit recommendations, and often they lack information on the kind of photography the user expects to do. As some have pointed out, it all depends. Autofocus zooms are great for action, photojournalism, travel photos, etc. Super high IQ manual focus primes are great for tripod mounted landscape and still life. If a user has not shot enough to know what his photo interests are, it is not time to invest big bucks in lenses. Shoot, shoot, shoot. Post-process. Print. Look.
12-10-2010, 07:17 PM   #29
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Thanks everyone for the advice. I think ultimately I will be pushing towards (knowing my ExposurePlot results and what kinds of photography take my interest), a 14/43/70 main combination, (or 15/43/77 if I can ever get that far in price), and, depending on my results for my K20D usage, perhaps a 50/1.7 (for a cheap good quality damage survivor) or a zoom tele (if I actually get any good results from that end of the range). It will take me time and experience to get there, though.

Thanks again.
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