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01-01-2011, 07:20 AM   #1
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Which lens should I get next?

I have a Pentax-kx, and I have the 18-55 lens and the 50-200 lens. I am taking photos of families and children, mostly outdoors. I could use ANY help in choosing a new lens, as well as any settings I might need to get the best photo.

Thanks!!

01-01-2011, 08:04 AM   #2
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Some pieces worth checking out could be the Tamron 17-50mm or 28-75mm 1:2.8 or the Pentax A (or M) 28mm, 50mm primes (the latter are MF, but quality-budgety :-).
01-01-2011, 08:35 AM   #3
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after the two zooms, I'd probably go for the 10-17 fisheye, and the fast (as in under f2) 35mm or 50mm primes. 70-85mm used to be the old 35mm portrait lenses, so the 50 is a rough equivalent to the old 70mm, and the 35mm is the new 50 (which used to be the standard kit lens, because it's probably the most versatile. When I have time I really love to be able to snap on a prime. You have to work a bit harder with your framing, but, it gets you shooting in natural light during sunrises and sunsets, and inside under artificial light.

Candid shots like this taken at f2 with a 50 mm prime, with a combination of natural and artificial light are almost an art form unto themselves.


Last edited by normhead; 01-01-2011 at 08:59 AM. Reason: example picture added
01-01-2011, 08:45 AM   #4
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I started with a similar set up. My next choice would be a fast prime. Personally I went with the FA 77 1.8. But you would have to chose the focal length that suits your needs best. Having a fast prime in your bag is a great tool. My next lens is going to be one of the 35's.

01-01-2011, 08:47 AM   #5
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Not trying to be a buzz kill here, but you should use what you have. Then in time you find what lenses you would like to upgrade to. For me, I like wide landscape so I bought a Sigma 10-20. I also like to take macro flowers, so I bought a Pentax DFA-100WR macro.
01-01-2011, 09:07 AM   #6
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You have already two AF zoom lenses, You consider a prime lens (single focal length), possibly MF. A prime lens provides typically a much better IQ than a zoom lens, for the same price, because the zoom lens is designed with some compromise across the focal length range.

Pentax has a nice range of excellent prime lenses (see the Forum Lens reviews). The suggestion of a fast prime lens is a good one. A fast prime has a large aperture (and low f) that is well-suited to low light conditions: eg to shoot indoor without flash, to photograph outdoor at dusk and dawn. A fast prime lens can give you also excellent photographs in any other light conditions.

There are several fast prime lenses about 50mm for portrait, incl. FA50mm f1.4.

I would strongly recommend a prime lens: you will be amazed by the imagage quality (IQ) of these prime lenses.

Hope that the comment will help....
01-01-2011, 10:06 AM   #7
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What can't you do with the lenses you have?
01-01-2011, 10:25 AM   #8
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I was in the same situation as you a couple months ago. Not knowing which focal lengths I really would needed I chose the 50mm M 1:1.7 to start playing with. It's an inexpensive lens with good reviews. I just wanted to see what using an older prime was like. I knew for sure I wanted to get into macro so I purchased a Vivitar 100mm 1:2.8. I'm happy with both purchases.

01-01-2011, 12:00 PM   #9
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Thanks so much! I am very new at all of this, and I appreciate ANY help!!
01-01-2011, 12:09 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by beecherheather Quote
Thanks so much! I am very new at all of this, and I appreciate ANY help!!
The best thing you can do is tell us what shots you currently can't take, or are having trouble taking, with your current gear that you would like to take. If you can't think of that, then you could tell us what you would want to improve the most, or even what you kind of thing you take the most photos of, so we can suggest an suitable upgrade.
01-01-2011, 03:41 PM   #11
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To expand on SpecialK and macTak: What do you want to do that you can't do with what you have now? Low light, ultrawide, ultralong, macro, something else entirely?

My basic kit are: DA10-17 fisheye and Tamron 10-24 ultrawide; Zenitar 16/2.8 and Vivitar 24/2 fast wide; DA18-250 walkaround superzoom; F35-70 agile mid-range; FA50/1.4 or Tomioka 55/1.4 for low light; Macro-Tak 50/4 (1X) for sharpness; Nikkor 85/2 and Tak-B 135/2.5 fast longer; and a Raynox DCR-250 for flashy closeness. And occasionally the monstrous Lil'Bigma 170-500 and brutally sharp Schenider Betavaron 50-125 enlarger zoom. Many are manual. Good manual primes are still often surprisingly inexpensive, despite recent price inflation.

But figure out where you want to go. If you don't know where you're going, you'll probably end up somewhere else (to steal an old book title).
01-01-2011, 06:15 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by beecherheather Quote
I have a Pentax-kx, and I have the 18-55 lens and the 50-200 lens. I am taking photos of families and children, mostly outdoors. I could use ANY help in choosing a new lens, as well as any settings I might need to get the best photo.

Thanks!!
AS others have said, take it slowly. It took me a lot of time and money to face up to the fact that, for me, lightness and compactness are crucial qualities, and for that reason I enjoy shooting with small primes more than with the Sigma 17-70 zoom, excellent though that is. Equally shooting with primes and travelling with other people is hell because you don't have time to switch viewpoint or even change lenses. So in those circumstances, ironically, I often just bung on the original 18-55 (I have a rather good one).

Your best reason for buying a prime lens now would be simply to gain technical experience, and you could not do better than an M50 (1.4 or 1.7, they're both good - disregard the people who say the 1.4 is too soft wide open), or an M28 (2.8 or 3.5). All of these are cheap as chips and would force you to educate yourself about settings and improving your focusing technique. And you would enjoy them as little marvels of engineering, and probably produce some nice photos too.

But I wouldn't spend serious money on another lens until you have decided what your photographic priorities are. Personal experience and a depleted bank account speaking here.
01-02-2011, 07:11 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by beecherheather Quote
I have a Pentax-kx, and I have the 18-55 lens and the 50-200 lens. I am taking photos of families and children, mostly outdoors. I could use ANY help in choosing a new lens, as well as any settings I might need to get the best photo.

Thanks!!
Lens: Shooting children is easier with a zoom lens for me personally. Any zoom lens with a constant aperture of f2.8 is usually easier to use for most people as it can be used in a wide variety of settings. Pentax 16-50 or the 17-50 from sigma or tamron. If you dont need that wide tamron makes a 28-75 f2.8 lens which will give you more reach too and is well rated.

Settings: hmm...I dont think there is any such thing. 'mostly outdoor' shooting means you are at the mercy of the lighting conditions outside. Settings would vary.
01-02-2011, 02:16 PM   #14
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I'll throw in a contrarian view about shooting kids. (Photographically, I mean, despite serious temptations otherwise.) Folks shot kids (with cameras) long before zoom & AF were invented, and not always with fast film. My father shot ASA-100 Verichrome Pan in MF (manual-focus & medium-format) TLR's for everything for decades. We kids were trained to the camera -- he'd yell HEY and we'd stop and he'd shoot and we'd all resume. And he observed us and trained himself to know where we were likely to be, and put himself in the right position for shots. And he won awards.

So he documented family and friends, and produced outstanding photos, with simplest gear, and by PAYING ATTENTION. To replicate his approach with modern gear: an APS-C dSLR with a manual 28mm lens and/or a 50-55mm for thinner DOF (to approach the fixed 75mm lens on MF film). What, those focal lengths are too short? Then move in closer. A moral warning: Dad later went SLR+zoom+color, and his photography deteriorated because he didn't have to work so hard at it. His B&W MF images are great; his color 135 images are... snapshots. Beware.
01-02-2011, 06:54 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
We kids were trained to the camera -- he'd yell HEY and we'd stop and he'd shoot and we'd all resume.
Well. Wow! Not my kids...
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