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07-20-2011, 08:17 AM   #16
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Building on what Rico is taking about, the 28mm f2.8 lens is very good for this sort of things. It has crazy resolution stopped down. The kit is a close contender at f8.

I also find I use my 15 for buildings more than landscapes... the kit lens often gets a nod for that (it is really quite good at f8...)

07-20-2011, 08:29 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by subidoc Quote
+1 for Tom G.

I would like to add, even as I consider myself a beginner, that it is important to know (and I mean REALLY KNOW) your equipment. Practice on each lens, and learn its limitations. Then learn to use the limitations to your advantage in different lighting conditions.

I remember advice from a senior photographer who saw me bring roles of film (good old ZX-5N and M50 1.7) about 11 years ago. I was teaching myself with various settings, stable lighting, on a single object. He said "A $50 lens and $1000 camera will get you $50 pictures; a $1000 lens and $50 camera will get you $1000 pictures". Understand that this is a concept only. But regardless, both the equipment and the skill can be a limitations - independent of each other, or worse, together.

I end with my current mentor's quote, spoken in context of the medical field - "A fool with a great tool is still a fool".
I think this was more true in film days where the film was more important than the camera. Now, when you buy a camera, you buy the sensor that is in it (and some are better than others).

Still, of the factors that play into a final photograph, the camera is down the list. Things like the subject, light, lens, and photographer are all more important. I would put the photographer above the lens in my ranking, but below subject/light.
07-20-2011, 08:47 AM   #18
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Buy the lens that covers what you want it to cover. Before spending your hard earned cash however (I do not know anything about the lenses in your original post but would readily recommend the DA12-24) consider post processing tricks. Panorama stitching for example. Even if it is only two shots, it may still get you what you want without spending hundreds of $$. Unless there are fast moving clouds rolling through, landscapes don't change much from one second to the next. If you're just looking for a nifty new toy, I can understand and appreciate that too.

07-20-2011, 08:47 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rainy Day Quote
Well, given that statement, I'm looking to take mostly landscapes, so I'll need a wide-angle obviously; with the possibility of a decent telephoto zoom for those elusive shots that would be otherwise out of reach by a wide-angle. I would also use this telephoto for general usage, ie portraits, street shooting, etc. I'd also like to get a good prime for portraits, and perhaps another one as a 'walk-around' lens.

Obviously, I'm not going to go out and buy ALL these lenses tomorrow under your advice. I'm the sort of person who takes his time with these sorts of things.

So, advice?
Sorry...I don't have any advice about specific lenses, although I agree with what Rio Rico said about not needing ultra-wide angles for landscapes. Personally, I would have very little use for one...but your shooting style may be different. I also can't tell you where you ought to compromise, but I can give you an example of what I mean. Back when the FA 50mm f1.4 lenses were selling for around $200, I really wanted one. But...I already had two perfectly decent M50 f1.7 lenses. Since I shoot mostly static stuff, autofocus wasn't a necessity for me...it was more of a luxury. So I decided to make do with the lenses I already had. A year or so later, one of my buddies came across a very clean example of a Tokina ATX 80-200 f2.8 lens in the used lens section at our local camera store. As luck would have it, they were asking $199. This lens was perfect for me because I tend to see more telephoto than wide angle. So, by making a compromise that was right for me, I ended up with a lot more flexibility. There are certainly better lenses out there than this Tokina zoom or my M50 f1.7, but the quality of both lenses is more than adequate for the way I use my pics.

07-20-2011, 08:52 AM   #20
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Landscape - works great with inexpensive and very good manual focus lenses. You can balance your budget and have glass that professionals have used - without the automation for focus and setting aperture. Takumars and other M42 lenses abound.

Practice, training via articles and books and plain old toil. Not sure there is a short cut via equipment.

This was taken with a very old Takumar 135 3.5 Preset M42.



This was taken with a very inexpensive Helios 44-2 M42 lens - it is a current favorite of mine.


Last edited by stover98074; 07-20-2011 at 09:08 AM.
07-20-2011, 09:43 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rainy Day Quote
Hi all,

Sadly I'm not looking at getting any Pentax glass as I really doubt whether the DA15 or 14 will be wide enough for what I need
They make the excellent 12-24.
07-20-2011, 10:12 AM   #22
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Why do people equate wide angles with landscapes? To me, it is a lot easier to take landscape photos with a more normal focal length (24 to 35mm length).
07-20-2011, 10:21 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
Why do people equate wide angles with landscapes? To me, it is a lot easier to take landscape photos with a more normal focal length (24 to 35mm length).
+1. I've taken all my favourite landscapes at about 28mm... and this was NOT intentional. If it wasn't for EXIF I would never know. That would be about 43mm i.e., the perfect normal on 135 i.e., not wide at all.

I like using wide to emphasize something. Using it to take in a landscape only works if you are in a REALLY interesting landscape (and I hardly ever am).

07-20-2011, 11:22 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
A better hammer does not make one a better carpenter.
A perfectly-made picture of boring crap is still boring crap.

. . .
No but I bet most carpenters would pick up the Estwing before a walmart store brand if both were laying on the scaffold. The worst case scenario is boring crap taking with a P.O.S. lens on a P.O.S. camera by a terrible photographer. The best case scenario is a competent photographer with good gear. I say good gear because there gets to a point that a lens that costs 3x the price of a FA 77mm/1.8 LTD is not going to do better no matter who the photographer is in equivalent situations. In the once in a lifetime or Century situation, a P.O.S. is better than nothing.
07-20-2011, 12:01 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
(except in seismic zones).
07-20-2011, 12:05 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
Why do people equate wide angles with landscapes? To me, it is a lot easier to take landscape photos with a more normal focal length (24 to 35mm length).
I agree. I hate it when my mountains come out looking like ant hills. I guess if you are really close to the mountains it is different.
07-20-2011, 12:25 PM   #27
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Looking into my online sharing map and only one landscape is in it. Taken with my K-7 and DA14mm.



I can see why people would use either 645D with 40 megapixel or just stitch a bunch of photo's together, made with less wideangle then this. With like a sigma 8-16mm at 8mm the whole world wil be in your frame.
07-20-2011, 01:14 PM   #28
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I've been shooting seriously for almost four decades. It took me about three of those decades to realize the underappreciated importance of glass. The body gets you there, but it is the eye (lens) that sees. Great glass won't automatically make you a better photographer, but it will automatically improve the quality of the images you take, given your level of knowledge, experience, talent and creativity.
So in a relative sense, better glass=better pictures.
07-20-2011, 01:45 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ron Kruger Quote
So in a relative sense, better glass=better pictures.
Better glass = clearer pictures. I distinguish between clarity of image, and impact of image. Boring crap is still boring crap. Some of the most momentous and influential photos in history were (and are) mostly seen in really lousy reproductions, from blotchy newsprint to compressed web thumbnails. Great images are those that transcend the display limitations. Trivial images succumb to those limitations.

Great glass is nice to have, yes indeed. I much prefer my F35-70 to my A35-80, and the CZJ Tessar 50/2.8 (12 iris blades) beats either, and the K50/1.2 beats all. But if I can't get a decent shot with the A35-80, it's because I'm not using it thoughtfully. Yes, I own a zillion lenses, mostly cheap old manual primes, and I treasure the differences between the images they deliver. I use the A35-80 and the K50/1.2 in totally different ways; they force me to look and see differently.

[How to exploit the A35-80: 1) Mount a +1dpt closeup lens for dreamy portraits; 2) Mount a #25 Red filter and shoot high-contrast B&W; 3) Put a short macro tube on the back as a hood, a 49mm-PK mount-reversal ring on the front, flip it, and shoot sharp closeups; or at 70-80mm it focuses past infinity and delivers sharp images.]

In other threads we've discussed the factors contributing to a photo. In ranking from most to least important, they are IMHO:

1) photographer -- if you don't know what you're doing, nothing else matters
2) subject -- if the subject isn't interesting, only gross manipulation can save it
3) light -- we capture light, not subjects -- great lens+camera can't save bad light
4) lens -- nice lenses are nice to have, but can't help if (1-2-3) all suck
5) camera -- the box upon which we hang lenses

Lousy toggers turn nice gear into junk. Great toggers turn junk gear into great photos.
07-20-2011, 01:51 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rainy Day Quote
Does more money equal better quality, every time?
You can't be serious.
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