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07-11-2011, 08:38 PM   #1
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LBA Strategy

New member and having alot of fun with my (new to me) K-x.

I am very much a gadget guy and LBA comes naturally to me. I have picked up a number of prime lenses (Vivatar 28 f2.8, m-50 f1.7 and Vivitar 135 f2.8) and holy crap the pictures are much better than the 18-55 and 55-300 that came with the K-x.

I find myself shooting primarily at 18mm (architecture and landscapes), 50mm (my kid and dog) and 300mm (birds). I've also used the 28mm prime, which I think I would enjoy much more except the focus ring is quite stiff. I use the 135 from time to time for portraiture and "action" shots of my kid. I "think" I would enjoy macro shooting, but I'm going to try it out using cheap extension tubes first.

In 2-3 years, I anticipate purchasing a slightly used or discounted new K-5 (I don't buy cutting edge gagdets)

I have three problems: First, all of these prime lenses are manual. I like the manual focus (in most cases I prefer it to AF), but I despise using the stop down exposure. Second, I would like to retain a single zoom for "point and shoot" use. Third, I really can't justify spending alot of money on the prime lenses for the amount of use they'll get.

So, my thinking to support my LBA. First, sell the existing primes and the 55-300, that generates ~$400. With these funds, purchase a 300mm f4 A-mount (or a 200mm and a teleconverter). In the meantime, keep my eye out for reasonably priced 50mm, 28mm and 135mm A-mounts and purchase as they become available, assuming they run me $50 - $80 a pop. Finally, save up cash and find myself a 16-50 DA* at a decent price for a high-end all purpose zoom, in the meantime hold onto the 18-55 kit, which isn't so bad.

I have overcome my initial LBA impulsiveness and would like to build-up a sensible lens kit and don't mind canabalizing what I currently have. I open up my thinking to comment and opinion. Who sees holes in my approach? Are there other options I'm not considering?

Thanks in advance. I hope this doesn't constitute a rehashing of old posts, as I know this is pretty typical stuff. But who doesn't like talking about lens?

Gareth

07-11-2011, 09:00 PM   #2
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A "single zoom for point and shoot use" may be something like a 17-70. It is reasonably wide for tight confines, yet gets out to portrait or detail length as well. The Sigma version (at least the older one) focuses pretty closely, too.

The 55-300 is highly regarded (including by me, though I sold mine as it duplicated much of the FL of my longer zooms). You might hang on to it a bit longer and see if you don't get some decent results. For birds you probably will want something longer, perhaps the lens/TC route you mention.

I think you can use AF lenses in MF mode which would solve your metering issue (though the lenses are more costly), and if the SDM in the 16-50 dies you will have a nice MF zoom :-)
07-11-2011, 09:40 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gareth.Ig Quote
I despise using the stop down exposure.
Personally, I prefer lenses that are stopped down by a manual mechanism, that is typically M42 presets and those with auto-switch. Even with modern lenses, I find that scenes with a higher dynamic range usually require spot metering and recomposing, so that extra manual step doesn't really bother me.

What is it that bothers you about the 55-300? I consider it one of the best bargains around (a view supported by the reviews here).

Last edited by Ikarus; 07-11-2011 at 10:00 PM.
07-11-2011, 09:54 PM   #4
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da 40mm f2.8

07-11-2011, 10:09 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ikarus Quote
What is it that bothers you about the 55-300? I consider it one of the best bargains around (a view supported by the reviews here).
Yes, I know its generally considered a decent lens and I have taken some good shots, but I use it almost exclusively at 300mm. As such, I don't see the point of having the zoom, particularly at f6.3. Plus most of the good shots are at distances of less than 10 - 15 ft (roughly). Beyond that, I find them, I'm not sure how to describe it, a kind of harsh fuzziness. I will admit I have not shot a telephoto prime, so perhaps my hopes that a long prime will perform similar to the 28mm, 50mm and 135mm, all of which produce fantastic photos (to my eye).
07-11-2011, 10:12 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
I think you can use AF lenses in MF mode which would solve your metering issue (though the lenses are more costly), and if the SDM in the 16-50 dies you will have a nice MF zoom :-)
Haha. I have taken to using the manual focus on the 55-300.
07-11-2011, 10:25 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gareth.Ig Quote
New member and having alot of fun with my (new to me) K-x.

I am very much a gadget guy and LBA comes naturally to me. I have picked up a number of prime lenses (Vivatar 28 f2.8, m-50 f1.7 and Vivitar 135 f2.8) and holy crap the pictures are much better than the 18-55 and 55-300 that came with the K-x.

I find myself shooting primarily at 18mm (architecture and landscapes), 50mm (my kid and dog) and 300mm (birds). I've also used the 28mm prime, which I think I would enjoy much more except the focus ring is quite stiff. I use the 135 from time to time for portraiture and "action" shots of my kid. I "think" I would enjoy macro shooting, but I'm going to try it out using cheap extension tubes first.

In 2-3 years, I anticipate purchasing a slightly used or discounted new K-5 (I don't buy cutting edge gagdets)

I have three problems: First, all of these prime lenses are manual. I like the manual focus (in most cases I prefer it to AF), but I despise using the stop down exposure. Second, I would like to retain a single zoom for "point and shoot" use. Third, I really can't justify spending alot of money on the prime lenses for the amount of use they'll get.

So, my thinking to support my LBA. First, sell the existing primes and the 55-300, that generates ~$400. With these funds, purchase a 300mm f4 A-mount (or a 200mm and a teleconverter). In the meantime, keep my eye out for reasonably priced 50mm, 28mm and 135mm A-mounts and purchase as they become available, assuming they run me $50 - $80 a pop. Finally, save up cash and find myself a 16-50 DA* at a decent price for a high-end all purpose zoom, in the meantime hold onto the 18-55 kit, which isn't so bad.

I have overcome my initial LBA impulsiveness and would like to build-up a sensible lens kit and don't mind canabalizing what I currently have. I open up my thinking to comment and opinion. Who sees holes in my approach? Are there other options I'm not considering?

Thanks in advance. I hope this doesn't constitute a rehashing of old posts, as I know this is pretty typical stuff. But who doesn't like talking about lens?

Gareth
I think you would be hard pressed to generate $400.00 even if you sold all of your lenses, especially if your 55~300 is a DAL kit lens and I have yet to see an A*300/4.0 for $400.00. If you are satisfied with the focal lengths of your M primes, start replacing them with A equivalents one at a time. This way you are still able to shoot as normally as possible. Having only 18~55 zoom and a 300mm prime leaves gaping chasm between focal lengths that will leave you frustrated. You may have to dip deeper into your your wallet if you decide to pursue A*300/4.0 later on, but being able to shoot as you've been accustomed to and to continue doing so, is more important than saving for one long lens.
07-11-2011, 10:48 PM   #8
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Rather than the 16-50 I'd consider the Tamron 17-50/2.8 - superb value for money, very highly rated and just as sharp as the 16-50. The new Sigma 17-50/2.8 falls between the two price wise and is the sharpest of the lot.

The DA*300 is an absolutely superb lens but relatively expensive. I have the 55-300 too but it never comes out of the bag now and TBH I can't even imagine taking it on vacations. Guess I should send it back to the UK with my daughter, whose on holiday here, and sell it.
Most of the MF 300s are either very expensive or not worth the money in comparison to the 55-300 (I also have a Tak 300/4). If you want to improve on the IQ of the 55-300 then I think you will have to lay out serious money.

07-11-2011, 11:05 PM   #9
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I thnk selling the 55-300 makes no sense, nor does buying a 16-50 for that matter when the Tammy is so much cheaper and probably sharper.

The fact you use 18, 50 and 300 the most doesn't actually mean much, you are just using extreme ends of your existing zooms which is not uncommon. Could mean you need a 15mm, 70mm & 400mm.
07-11-2011, 11:11 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
I thnk selling the 55-300 makes no sense, nor does buying a 16-50 for that matter when the Tammy is so much cheaper and probably sharper.

The fact you use 18, 50 and 300 the most doesn't actually mean much, you are just using extreme ends of your existing zooms which is not uncommon. Could mean you need a 15mm, 70mm & 400mm.
I had not thought about that! This has been a very helpful (and preventative) thread. Thanks guys.
07-11-2011, 11:36 PM   #11
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I would wait for a good deal on a 135 2.5 Super Tak - if you are looking for sharp photos, hands down the 135 2.5 Super Tak will run circles around the 135 "A", it will also give you fantastic color rendition and top notch bokeh...



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07-12-2011, 07:19 PM   #12
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What I think you want: Tamron 17-50 or DA 16-45; A 50/1.7; DA55-300 (It doesn't get much better than this at 300mm until you shell out a lot more money). Manually focusing long lenses is not easy, I have a Rikenon 300/34.5 with which I miss focus all the time. Live view might help a bit, but it is hard.

Of course I don't actually have any of those lenses myself. Darn LBA!
07-12-2011, 08:13 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gareth.Ig Quote
Yes, I know its generally considered a decent lens and I have taken some good shots, but I use it almost exclusively at 300mm. As such, I don't see the point of having the zoom, particularly at f6.3. Plus most of the good shots are at distances of less than 10 - 15 ft (roughly). Beyond that, I find them, I'm not sure how to describe it, a kind of harsh fuzziness. I will admit I have not shot a telephoto prime, so perhaps my hopes that a long prime will perform similar to the 28mm, 50mm and 135mm, all of which produce fantastic photos (to my eye).
Minimum focus distance on the A*300/4 is around 13 feet, maybe a fly in the ointment.

Although the DA 55-300 appears to be well-loved, I really prefer my 300mm prime. I don't have any actual comparison experience, just a general feeling that every time I'd zoom from 200 to 300, it wouldn't actually improve the image. Having a prime changes your usage pattern somewhat. In your case, if you can hedge and have both lenses at the same time, it might help.
07-12-2011, 08:21 PM   #14
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For me, the issue with M42 vs K vs KA mount has nothing to do with metering. I am quite accustomed to shooting manual with even my AF lenses.

My initial LBA limit was, that I would purchase only MF primes that were faster than my AF zooms.

THat sounds quite simple, doesn't it?

But I had built an AF zoom kit around the Tamron 28-75F2.8 and sigmaAPO 70-200F2.8, and as a result, that meant that I needed typically F2.5 and F2 lenses.

That kept limits on purchases, and I would not get the same FL unless it was superior optically.

where the wheels fell off is that I had picked up an S-M-C Tak 35/2 because I could not find a K mount, and so I started thinking after picking up a few more M42 lenses that I should make an M42 kit, separate from the K mount MF lens kit I had.

I still maintain some semblence of control on LBA, but now, it is only getting lenses that have unique optical properties, mostly presets because of the round apertures and different bokeh at all apertures.,

As for KA mount lenses, If I happen across them, I will look at them, mostly because I like to use flash, and KA mount lenses make flash much easier. Except for my *istD which supports TTL and P-TTL, I am forced to use auto or manual flash with my MF lenses that are not KA mount.
07-12-2011, 08:56 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nick Siebers Quote
What I think you want: Tamron 17-50 or DA 16-45; A 50/1.7; DA55-300 (It doesn't get much better than this at 300mm until you shell out a lot more money). Manually focusing long lenses is not easy, I have a Rikenon 300/34.5 with which I miss focus all the time. Live view might help a bit, but it is hard.

Of course I don't actually have any of those lenses myself. Darn LBA!
Wow, that is one slow lense.
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