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02-07-2011, 11:06 AM   #1
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help me choose lenses!

Hello,
I'm about to upgrade to a pentax k5 (from k200d w/ kit lens) and dive into photography, but need help choosing a few lenses to start with. I'm looking at several different ones right now, but i don't know which to narrow it down to for best usage. Some of my values in photography are artistic shots (bokeh, close-up environmental/travel street shots) and natural environment shots of people (both in and out of doors). so this is difficult because my interests seem to cover the ground of macro, wide angle/fisheye, and portrait lenses. man.

i'm looking into getting some primes lenses, but also wonder if i shouldn't get a more wide angle zoom lens for environment shots (both interior and outdoor travel).

Anywho, here's what i'm currently looking at: the FA 77mm f1.8; the FA 31mm f1.8; the pentax zoom fisheye to wideangle 10-17mm, and the 50mm f1.4.

i'd appreciate input!

02-07-2011, 11:13 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by iseeincolor Quote
fisheye to wideangle 10-17mm
it is fisheye AND wide angle, through the whole range


no more input here..
02-07-2011, 11:28 AM   #3
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i suppose 50 and 77 are almost the same////but 10-17 different////10-17, 31 and 77//
02-07-2011, 11:30 AM   #4
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if you need some help to choose some lenses, you must tell us how much money you would be ready to spend ... i guess a bunch (-> FA 77mm, FA 31mm, etc ...).

As far as i'm concerned, i have the A 50 F1.7, wich is soooo great ! If don't really need the f1.4, the F or FA 50mm f1.7 is likely better at 1.7 that the 1.4 at 1.7.
If u really really need the f1.4, i guess that the DA*55mm may be great, but i never tested it.

As far as i can remember the FA 77 is very good (it's obvious, isn't it ?), but produce some vignetting on the corner, where the DA 70mm is very good, on the whole picture, not only in the center. but like for the 50mm, depends on the maximum aperture u need ...

To finish, the 10-17mm is a safe bet. Go ahead without any hesitation.

02-07-2011, 11:44 AM   #5
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Why do you think of wider than lets say DA15?
What kind of macro photography are you thinking of?
FA31 and FA77 is a very good start.
Add a DA15 and a 100mm macro and you have a nice lens line up.
02-07-2011, 12:45 PM   #6
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I don't see, from the description of your likes, why you need all that wide range of lenses. Anyway, Fa 43 is a good choice to challenge the K-5 limits IMO.
02-07-2011, 12:53 PM   #7
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Hi,

I'm planning to spend about 1300 on lenses right now.

@climit: thanks, I'll look into the 43.

i'm leaning at the moment towards getting the DA 35mm f2.8 and the FA 77mm and maybe the fisheye or some other wide angle lens if anyone has suggestions.

i'm not sure what kind of macro. i like really close up pics of things like i.e. a table full of cigarettes for sale, or a counter full of teas. i'm not sure if that's macro photography? i don't really get just what macro is...what are the reasons to do 15mm macro vs. a longer focal?
02-07-2011, 01:33 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by iseeincolor Quote
i'm not sure if that's macro photography? i don't really get just what macro is...what are the reasons to do 15mm macro vs. a longer focal?
Stand off distance. The DA 35/2.8 you listed is a great lens - I own it and have gotten a lot of utility out of it. It's also a macro lens. "Macro" has a gobbledegook technical definition that as far as I'm concerned doesn't have much bearing on anything important, other than to understand that macro as it's conventionally used means that you are able to take photos really close up. Macro lenses are designed to be able to achieve focus standing closer to your subject than other lenses of equivalent focal length.

For instance, the 35/2.8 can focus on a subject just a few inches away from the front lens element. Much much much closer than the DA L 35/2.4 can focus on something, for instance.

This is a really nice ability to have, but a longer macro would allow you to stand further away: for instance, with a 100mm macro you wouldn't have to shove your camera into the face of the bumble bee the way you would with the 35mm macro. I believe it also has the advantage of flattening the perspective a bit relative to an equivalent shot with a 35mm macro, which would help you achieve a wider depth of field at larger apertures than is possible with a wider angle macro (someone can correct me if I'm wrong on that one).

A final, important note: macros can be used like any other lens too. Just because they can achieve very close focus does not mean they are inappropriate for other functions. The DFA 100mm is reputed to be a very good portrait lens, and I can say from experience that the DA 35/2.8 macro makes a great walk-around all-purpose lens.

02-07-2011, 01:44 PM   #9
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I would also say that I might caution you against getting the 10-17 fisheye lens right now. Not because of any optical problems with it - I've heard it's a great lens, and I've never touched it myself, so I'm definitely not knocking it, to any of you who are fans. However, ask yourself for now whether you really need something THAT wide, and whether you're okay with the geometrical distortions you'll always see in a fisheye lens whenever you want a wide angle shot. It might make more sense to look at the DA 15mm or the DA 12-24 (which is a rectilinear wide angle lens), or third party WA lenses in this range (I'm sure Tamron and Sigma should have some good offerings) that would better fit your needs currently in a more versatile way.

With your kit lens on your K200 now, do you find yourself wanting something much wider than 17mm? Never mind the quality of the kit lens at 17mm, ask yourself about the field of view. At 17mm you cover 69 degrees. Do you need to go all the way to a whopping 180 degrees at 10mm?

I think it definitely makes sense to look at a longer lens because you're interested in portraiture, and these often give a flattering perspective. However, given your interest in macro photography as well, I think you might be well suited to the DFA 100mm Macro, which by many accounts on these forums functions wonderfully as a portrait lens. Considering your various interests, this may be more economical initially than buying an FA 77, which despite being an amazing lens is also terrifyingly expensive and will probably prevent you from adequately meeting the needs of all your interests while you're on a budget. Others may disagree.
02-07-2011, 01:56 PM   #10
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thanks v5 planet! really helpful info about macros and i appreciate the input on wide angle/fisheye options. i rarely find myself needing more view than at 18 mm, so that's a good point. i do really like the fisheye look though, but maybe i'll hold off on that for awhile. i'm gonna look into the 12-24. i like the option of having one lens that is wide angle and zoom.
02-07-2011, 02:17 PM   #11
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Np, just remember, $1300 is a lot of money, but I would consider it a pretty tight budget for a photographer who wants really nice glass AND has a lot of interests he's trying to meet. You have to ask yourself whether you would rather get good but not great lenses that cover all your needs, or whether you should prioritize a few interests and get as many really nice lenses as you can right now with the thought to expand your kit in the future. Further, if you're set on really nice lenses, are there any that can meet several of your needs simultaneously without being specialty, single-purpose lenses? That's something entirely for you to decide, especially since photographic equipment can be really expensive, and at the end of the day what matters is whether you're able to extract joy and images you like out of your camera and lenses.

If you think photography is something you're seriously interested in sticking with and know you want/will eventually get nice lenses, my advice would be to prioritize your shooting needs/interests and pick 2-3 nice lenses that meet as many of those needs as possible, and to fill in the less important holes later.
02-07-2011, 02:30 PM   #12
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@v5planet: yeah, i think i'm going the priotizing/nice lenses route. would you recommend a certain lens that you think can cover several of my interests? that's why i'm leaning towards the DA35mm prime as one to get...
02-07-2011, 02:38 PM   #13
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DA 12-24 (or the DA15 if you don't like zooms)
FA43 (or DA40 or DA35 macro if budget is tight)
FA77 (or DA70 if budget is tight)

That's not a bad trio
02-07-2011, 03:02 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by iseeincolor Quote
@v5planet: yeah, i think i'm going the priotizing/nice lenses route. would you recommend a certain lens that you think can cover several of my interests? that's why i'm leaning towards the DA35mm prime as one to get...
This will sort of depend on how you use your lenses. You've expressed interest in:

macro/closeup
environmental portraiture (indoors and outdoors)
shallow DOF/bokeh heavy photography


To me, none of these things scream out for an ultra-wide angle lens. You may want to get one eventually, but maybe this isn't really what you need right now?

Here's a good question to think about before you plunge into multi hundred dollar purchases: what focal lengths do you find yourself using on your kits lens for each of those three interests? Look at some of your environmental portrait photos - what focal length are using in your favorites? What about in your favorite closeups? I realize you only have the kit lens, and thus a limited focal range to play around with right now, but you CAN get a general sense of what your preferences are by looking at whether you perform your favorite work towards the wide or long end of the spectrum.

A lot of people will tell you a short telephoto between 50 and 100mm makes a good portrait lens, and it would, but you didn't say straight up portraiture; rather you said environmental portraiture, which seeks to place the subject in the context of his/her circumstances. This can be accomplished in many different ways depending on your style and preferences, but I would think general that something longer than 50mm, i.e a classic "portrait lens", may not be the best fit, especially since you want to be able to use it INDOORS, where things are more cramped.

Shallow DOF/bokeh: what are the subjects of this photography? If you're thinking small objects/macro range, you don't need a SUPER fast lens, you just need something that can focus pretty close. Bigger things, like people, etc.? You'll probably want a faster lens, or something with a longer focal length. The wider the aperture, the more dramatic the bokeh, and the longer the lens, the easier it often is to isolate a subject in a narrow depth of field.

Anyway, think about what focal lengths you think work best for the type of photography YOU like to do and then it'll be easier for people to give you recommendations that aren't just a checklist of 'good lenses over a good range of focal lengths.'
02-07-2011, 04:09 PM   #15
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just a note : Macro lenses, are suppose to reproduce on the sensor the object with the same size that he has in reality. So if you shoot a small square of paper 1x1cm, the square of paper will cover 1x1cm on the sensor.
This happens with real macro lense, which are called Macro1:1.
If it's tells macro 1:2, so our square of paper will cover only 0.5x0.5cm on the sensor.


For the rest of your questions, i think that V5 planet has answered very well.
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