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05-19-2011, 10:23 AM   #16
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Here's a trick you might use to envision what focal length lens you prefer. Hold your fist in front of your face and use it to judge what lens would be right for a bunch of scenes. Like this:


This requires that you calibrate your fist and how you hold it; it is easy to do - just look through your camera's viewfinder and see how your knuckles correlate with lens length.

I suppose one could also draw lines on sunglasses that define various focal lenghts; I know it sounds silly but it might give some insight into lens choice.

05-19-2011, 12:38 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by hurleygirlie05 Quote
ok, thanks for the feedback. I have the lenses mentioned on my list. Now, the question I have is about difference in focal lengths of lenses. Ex: 50mm vx. 50-135mm. Wouldn't it be better to get the one with the range vs. just the 50mm?
More is not always better. Is a Mack truck better than Honda Accord because it holds more cargo?

Look at a 50mm lens next to the 50-135 and you'll immediately see one sense in which that comparison makes sense. Price them and you'll see another. And then the fact that the 50 would have a maximum aperture better than f/2.8, and probably better IQ too - that's like pointing out the difference in gas mileage or cornering ability between the vehicles.

Of course, that particular comparison makes it seem like only a fool would ick the 50-135, and that's not the case at all. Obviously, a zoom wins in other respects - exactly the ones you had in mind. it's just up to you to decide what tradeoffs you're willing to make. Some people are zoom people, some are prime people, and others have no special allegiance. browse these forums and you'll see hundreds of posts discussing the relative merits of each.
05-19-2011, 10:32 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by newarts Quote
We can't know what pictures you envision taking of your kids.... you must do that!

The lenses you have cover the focal length range well, but none are suitable for low light. In my life I've been more frustrated by low light than by focal length and this is from a guy who cannot zoom with his feet.

I'll bet you'll have many many low light situations in gyms, in the house, in the evenings, at dance recitals, backstage at theater, at graduation, and even in the daytime when you need fast exposures to use a long lens without motion smear..

One solution is to buy a fast camera like a K-x; I have a K-x and a K-100D; the K-x's high ISO capability is equivalent to adding two or three f-stops to all my lenses.... with the K-x I need only about 1/4-1/8 the light needed for the K-100D to get the same quality photo.

I can use the K-x and the kit 55-300mm zoom at gymnastic events where the K-100D would fail.

The other solution is to buy faster lenses in the focal length range you'll need. In general as children get older they will be further from you for the photos you want to take.

But it is for you to decide what photos you really don't want to miss and get a lens to fit that need.

A fast 50mm lens probably should be in your kit; probably f:1.8 is fast enough.
Thank you for your advice. I am getting an idea of the types of photos I like to shoot, the more I take. I have a K-5, which has a really high ISO which helps with those dark situations. I think 8 am going to be getting the 50mm since it seems to me everyone is recommending that, and the price is right!
05-19-2011, 10:34 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by newarts Quote
Here's a trick you might use to envision what focal length lens you prefer. Hold your fist in front of your face and use it to judge what lens would be right for a bunch of scenes. Like this:


This requires that you calibrate your fist and how you hold it; it is easy to do - just look through your camera's viewfinder and see how your knuckles correlate with lens length.
I suppose one could also draw lines on sunglasses that define various focal lenghts; I know it sounds silly but it might give some insight into lens choice.
What a great technique! I think the 50 is ideal because I can always crop but I can't add to the shot! Thanks so much!

05-19-2011, 10:37 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
More is not always better. Is a Mack truck better than Honda Accord because it holds more cargo?

Look at a 50mm lens next to the 50-135 and you'll immediately see one sense in which that comparison makes sense. Price them and you'll see another. And then the fact that the 50 would have a maximum aperture better than f/2.8, and probably better IQ too - that's like pointing out the difference in gas mileage or cornering ability between the vehicles.

Of course, that particular comparison makes it seem like only a fool would ick the 50-135, and that's not the case at all. Obviously, a zoom wins in other respects - exactly the ones you had in mind. it's just up to you to decide what tradeoffs you're willing to make. Some people are zoom people, some are prime people, and others have no special allegiance. browse these forums and you'll see hundreds of posts discussing the relative merits of each.
I like your comparison! Lol! I have browsed the forums and there is sooo much information with answers from such wonderful ppl like yourself! Thank you! I am going to be ordering the 50! Can't wait to use my K-5 like it was designed to be used!
05-19-2011, 10:41 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by eddie1960 Quote
the advantage to the fa 50 is it is 2 stops faster allowing you to shoot in lower light without flash at a reasonable shutter speed. Second advantage is wide open you will get much nicer Bokeh (out of focus area). 50 mm is pretty close to an ideal portrait length.Primes Typically have better IQ (sharpness,contrast colour rendering) than Zooms. Drawback is at f1.4 it will be hard to nail the right focus with a moving subject like your kids so you are much more likely to shoot f2.8-f4.0 to capture focal zone.. second drawback is of course it is one foacla length (albeit a very useful one). PRice wise it is good value
The 50-135 is a great telephoto zoom. in the old days it would equate to a 75-200 on a 35mm Camera. a very popular and useful length (witness all the 70-200 that are still on the market, they are almost all holdovers from film days though usually with updates in design)
2.8 is fast enough to give good bokeh, and has enough DOF to capture subjects in focus pretty consistently. IT is a WR lens, you don't mention which camera you have but Weather sealing can be very nice to have. Focus is fast and quiet being SDM. build quality is as good as it comes. IQ wise it really doesn't get any better in a zoom. Drawback is price of course. for what a 50-135 is worth you could get a couple of faster lenses for your arsenal (ie the FA 501.4, the DA35f2.4 together are about half the price of the 50-135)
I have K-5. I REALLY like the fact my 18-55 is WR and would love to get the WR 50-135 but I think I am going to go with the fast, affordable 50! Thanks for your input and I may look in to getting the 35mm also!
05-19-2011, 10:42 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nick Siebers Quote
Best lenses I have used for taking pictures of my kids:
FA 43mm f/1.9
DA 40mm f/2.8
FA 31mm f/1.8
F 50mm f/1.4
M 50mm f/1.4
M 50 f/1.7

The last two are manual only lenses. The Limited lenses are not cheap, but oustanding; the FA 50/1.4 would be another good "bang for buck" choice. It will only be 50mm, but much smaller, easier to carry around and less obtrusive than your other lenses.
Getting the FA 50mm f/1.4... Thanks!!
05-19-2011, 10:49 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Balog Quote
Sharpness is not everything in a lens. You aren't blowing it up to poster size or selling a %100 crop to a national glossy magazine or something. The FA wide open is plenty sharp for most people's needs.


Now, hurleygirlie it seems you are rather new so please forgive me if you already know what I'm about to tell you. And I'll also recommend going to Pentax Beginner's Corner Q&A - PentaxForums.com as it's a great place to learn. All of this is my summation, which is roughly accurate but I make no claims at expertise.

Now, think of each picture (exposure) you take as having a triangle of factors: aperture (f-stop number), iso, and shutter speed. Aperture is the size of the hole that lets light onto the sensor (smaller the number, the bigger the openning), iso is how sensitive the sensor is to light (higher the number, the less light is needed to make a proper exposure), and shutter speed is obviously how long light is allowed to hit the shutter. Each of these also affects something else in the exposure, and that's what you want to concentrate on.

Aperture controls depth of field (DoF), which is what range of distance things are in focus. The larger the aperture, the shallower the DoF. So for example, let's say you're taking a picture of a dog with a long snout, facing you head on. A very small aperture (higher f stop number) might have everything from the tip of it's nose to the end of it's tail in focus. A very large aperture (lower f stop number) might only have the tip of it's nose in focus.

With iso the main concern is "noise" the little specks of random colors or grains that appear at the higher iso numbers. This greatly varies between bodies, with the K5 having the least noise at the highest iso numbers.

With shutter speed, it depends on subject matter. If the subject is not moving and the camera is on a tripod, very slow speeds can work well. But for hand held shots of moving subjects (such as candids of children) you probably want a higher shutter speed to "freeze" the action, so to speak. Of course if you use a slower shutter speed the subject will be motion blurred which can be a very artistic effect, but generally you'll want a higher speed.

So, a lot depends on the body you are using, and the lighting conditions etc. I find that indoors the advantage of a zoom (not having to move to have a closer shot) are far less than the advantages of better image quality and larger aperture afforded by the primes such as the FA 50 or DA 35 f2.4AL. Especially with the K5, I tend to use TAv (I set the aperture for the DoF I want and the shutter speed to something I can shoot by hand without blurring, then the camera sets iso so the exposure is correct) and the results have been excellent. Also remember that, especially with the higher resolution of modeern bodies and the excellent sharpness of a good prime, severely cropping a picture to correct the framing etc is a great option.
I also have the K-5! I REALLY appreciate all your advice. I took a beginning photography class that the photographer from my wedding taught and it was an all day crash course. I learned a lot, but am still learning so any input is GREATLY appreciated! I was the only Pentaxian, surrounded by Nikons and Canons of course! I LOVE my camera and nobody had the TAv setting so they could not tell me how it worked. Thank YOU for clarifying. Now, I have to put it in to use!

I ordered my 50mm f/1.4 from Amazon today and it comes tomorrow! I get free two day shipping and paid 4 more fpr overnight, couldn't wait until Monday!

Thanks again to everyone for all your advice and input. You are all really generous people and I am proud and honored to be part of this forum! Now, I will try to post some pics of my kids on this link with my new 50!!

05-20-2011, 05:52 AM   #24
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You may not immediately have good luck shooting at f/1.4, but put it at f/2.8, focus on the eyes, and prepare for good stuff!
05-20-2011, 07:42 AM   #25
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Word of caution. the FA 28-80mm is one of the worst "dog" of a lens Pentax ever made. However, the FA 28-70/4 is pretty good and the F 35-70mm 3.5-4.5 is even better.

That said, the F 50mm/1.7 and FA 50mm/1.4 are hard to beat as an all around prime with af.
05-20-2011, 11:35 AM   #26
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I see perhaps 2 conflicting things, shots of your kids, and outdoor shooting.

I do not, from the posts so far, know if the two are one and the same, or separate activities.

For me, outside good and fast all around lens is a 70-200F2.8 (I leave make and model up to you) but AF would help over your old tammy F4 MF lens.

I can also see the need for a good indoor lens like a 16-50, and fast would help here so let's call this F2.8 as well.

I think both would help, and I think the tammy 28-75, while a nice lens, is a little long for indoor.
05-20-2011, 12:51 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I see perhaps 2 conflicting things, shots of your kids, and outdoor shooting.

I do not, from the posts so far, know if the two are one and the same, or separate activities.

For me, outside good and fast all around lens is a 70-200F2.8 (I leave make and model up to you) but AF would help over your old tammy F4 MF lens.

I can also see the need for a good indoor lens like a 16-50, and fast would help here so let's call this F2.8 as well.

I think both would help, and I think the tammy 28-75, while a nice lens, is a little long for indoor.
+1 What Lowell said...

.... except that some of us (me for example - in a minority I think) like tight shots so find the tammy 28-75 just dandy for inside work. You should decide what suits you - just look at the photos you've taken that you like best from a composition standpoint..

Last edited by newarts; 05-20-2011 at 03:17 PM.
05-20-2011, 02:30 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by newarts Quote
.... except that some of us (me for example - in a minority I think) like tight shots so find the tammy 28-70 just dandy for inside work. You should decide what suits you - just look at the photos you've taken that you like best from a composition standpoint..
just to set the record straight, I own the tammy 28-75/2.8 so the comment was made with some consideration, for indoor i flip between that and my FA-J 18-35 using the Tammy for natural lighting shots and the slower but wider FA-J for flash shots.

that is why I suggested the 16-50F2.8 or a similar third party lens, but again,as you suggest it is up to the OP on that score, he has to shoot with it
05-20-2011, 02:59 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by hurleygirlie05 Quote
...want to get a lense with at least an f/2.8 or lower.
What do you define an all-around lens? The only lens that you would travel with for many days/weeks?

In the affirmative, my answer is the Pentax FA31mm f1.8. Astonishing IQ, excellent low-light capability (almost a fast prime), 'ideal' focal length range (~30mm) for APS-C cameras.

My recommendation is based upon my own traveling experience and shooting. Others may have other needs and requirements, and you may receive other suggestions. Yet the FA31mm is a stunning lens with un-precedented versatility for a prime.

Food for thoughts...

Last edited by hcc; 05-20-2011 at 05:50 PM.
05-21-2011, 12:02 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by hurleygirlie05 Quote
Getting the FA 50mm f/1.4... Thanks!!
Consider the DA* 55/1.4 as well. It is weather sealed and seems to have less CA than the FA.
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