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10-19-2011, 04:01 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by regor Quote
No matter what you decide, it's never going to be the end... ;-), just try not to have too many duplications of Focal Ranges.
I have 50 Fifties. Is that too many? At least one member has 4-5x as many Fifties. Is that too many? When does enough become too much?

NOTE: Only 35 of my Fifties are camera lenses. The others are enlarger-copy-projector-process-etc lenses that I stick on the camera somehow.

10-19-2011, 04:44 PM   #17
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Reading this a few times, it may sound argumentitive, but that's not intended. I can't think of a better way to say it or find the right smiley to add. So please read it as a discussion, not a challenge.

QuoteOriginally posted by northcoastgreg Quote
There are two problems with this approach. First, what focal length one prefers may be dependent on aperture. It's possible, for example, that someone prefers to 28mm over 55mm when they shoot at f5.6, but would prefer 55mm to any focal length if they could shoot at f1.4. Yet if all they have ever used is the kits lens, they won't be in a position to know this. If they want a fast lens, it will be for shooting hand-held in lowlight, not for narrow DOF, which they won't be in a position to fully appreciate.
Well, that may be a problem, but how would you get around it? Narrow DOF is hard to simulate and can be expensive to buy sight unseen.

QuoteQuote:
The other problem arises from the fact that it may not be a good thing, from the perspective of developing one's photographic talent, for a person to be continually using the focal ranges they are most comfortable at. Perhaps the comfort level reflects bad compositional habits reinforced by the versatility and "practicality" of the zoom. Perhaps the comfort level merely reinforces skill at using one specific focal length(s), at the expense of skill using others. If you want to be really good at something, sometimes you have to concentrate more on where you weakest. In basketball, for instance, you may have to practice more with your off-hand, because that's where you're weakest. Perhaps being forced to use focal lengths one is not completely comfortable with is better for the development of one's skill and talent, and will, in the long run, make one into a more well-rounded photographer.
My little anecdote: A few years ago I collected a number of 28mm lenses, about six, at excellent prices, all ones I'd heard about and praised. I saw a discussion about 28mm lenses on dpreview and posted a photo of my group. Someone said, "nice lenses, which do you like best?" The honest answer was, "I don't shoot at 28mm." I hadn't really used any of those lenses, and only when confronted by the question did I realize that 28mm is my off-hand. So I recognize that your advice has value in developing photographic skill. However, I would ask again, how is it helping in lens choice?
10-20-2011, 04:22 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote



My little anecdote: A few years ago I collected a number of 28mm lenses, about six, at excellent prices, all ones I'd heard about and praised. I saw a discussion about 28mm lenses on dpreview and posted a photo of my group. Someone said, "nice lenses, which do you like best?" The honest answer was, "I don't shoot at 28mm." I hadn't really used any of those lenses, and only when confronted by the question did I realize that 28mm is my off-hand. So I recognize that your advice has value in developing photographic skill. However, I would ask again, how is it helping in lens choice?
This is the hard part for me. I don't really like longer lenses (longer than 60mm). I own the DA 70 and when I go out shooting with it, I always wish I had brought a different lens. Its much more enjoyable to go out shooting with a focal length that I don't struggle with.

So, am I better off forcing myself to shoot with a focal length I don't really like, and how much does it really benefit me anyway?
10-20-2011, 10:06 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
This is the hard part for me. I don't really like longer lenses (longer than 60mm). I own the DA 70 and when I go out shooting with it, I always wish I had brought a different lens. Its much more enjoyable to go out shooting with a focal length that I don't struggle with.

So, am I better off forcing myself to shoot with a focal length I don't really like, and how much does it really benefit me anyway?
The benefit is that you're forced to look at the world differently. My LOTD strategy pushes me there. The LOTD rotation fell onto an M42 Alpa-Chinon (Cosina?) 300/5.6, not exactly what I'd think of a a walkaround. And I'm no birder. But it surprised me -- or I surprised myself. With a wide-flange no-infinity-focus M42-PK adapter, the focus range is about 2-100m. I must then look for subjects within that range and a 6 degree AOV in adequate light.

Walking about, I found many scenes within those parms, many that I would never have noticed were I shooting with a 28-55-105-135-200mm lens. The lens trained me to its viewpoint. And I now even prefer that chunky Alpa (610g, US$27) to my great little TeleTakumar 200/5.6 (410g, US$29). I especially like it for contrasty B&W shots of simple compositions.

Back in the day, I took long trips carrying just an ancient 135 folder (the very first!) with a 50/3.5 lens. I never really liked 50mm on 135/FF cams; I prefer a more normal 40-45mm, like using 28-30mm on our dSLRs instead of 35mm. But having ONLY that one lens forces me to see and move and think to get pictures. And though I still don't care much for the roughly equivalent 35mm on APS-C, I'll mount any of several 35-37mm lenses, and learn.

I distrust comfort zones. (Except my office chair!) They make us lazy.


Last edited by RioRico; 10-21-2011 at 12:06 PM.
10-21-2011, 11:36 AM   #20
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I generally know what I want regards to focal length so any question I have is deciding which lens when there are several choices. Wide angles are a good example as there are several very good wide options available and all pretty much priced closely too. DA 14, DA 15, DA 12-24, DA 10-17, Sigma 10-20, 8-16, 10-24, and Tamron 10-24 are all available and are regarded highly by their owners. I probably missed a few and then there are the older glass to consider also. I spent a good amount of time deciding and bought the DA 15. I'm happy but it wasn't an easy decision.
10-21-2011, 12:13 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
Choosing a new lens (or used lens for that matter) seems to be one of the most difficult things for people on the forum. I guess I thought that I would share my mind set with regard to choosing what lens to purchase and hopefully others can give input too.

First of all, I think the most important feature of a lens is focal length. There is no turning a 200 mm lens into a 8-16mm zoom. Deciding on what focal length I need/want really narrows down the decision process. I don't think I can emphasize enough that the focal length is the crucial feature of a lens and figuring out what you want/need in this respect is the biggest factor in my decision.

Second, I think comes budget. This really comes near the top for me. Even if there are great lenses out there for 2000 dollars, they aren't going to be for me. At the same time, it is important to pay for quality. It is better to save for a lens that I will really use and enjoy than to buy a cheaper option now, that I will want to sell in six months because its lack of quality frustrates me.

Third comes everything else. By now, I have usually narrowed my search down to two or three lenses and I can focus on individual features. Wider aperture, size, build, and bokeh are all important features that can push me one way or another.

Finally, I think it is important not to buy lenses based on the lens club photos. Just because someone else can get the DA 15mm to work well for them, doesn't mean that I will be able to do the same and in fact, I don't really like to shoot that wide. There is always a "hot" lens that everyone else is making awesome photos with, but that lens often isn't what I want or need.

By following this decision making process, I have been able to avoid LBA and actually collect a set of lenses that I both use and enjoy.
Much of what you say is true, especially about the point that just because someone else has taken great shots with a lens, does not mean you will, BUT what it does mean is if you know how to use it, YOU CAN.

there is a big distinction in this point that many people miss, it is the photographer, not the equipment that takes a great photo.

However, on the point of choosing a lens, and I can't stress this enough, you need to think about where the lens fits in the general scheme of things.

My own opinion, and this has been criticized in the past, is that if you want to enjoy a large range of photographic interests, you need a basic kit with a range of 10-12mm at the wide end, to 200 mm at the long end, and if you are interested as well in nature, this should have a means of getting out to 400mm.

I used to think that F2.8 over much of this range was important, but it may be that F4 is OK, given the performance of later bodies like the K-r and K5 especially.

I usually recommend this to be in 3-4 zooms, as you like

My own kit covering this range is :
sigma APO 10-20mmF4-5.6 EX DC
Pentax FA-J 18-35 F4-5.6
Tamron XR di 28-75 F2.8
Sigma APO 70-200F2.8 EX (first version non DG non macro)

Add in a sigma TC or 2 and I get to 400mm with 4 lenses and from 28-200mm at F2.8

With this you can do a ton of shooting and never need anything else unless you adapt a liking for fast primes.

you can save weight and cost by going slower, and or shorter, especially if you don't see nature shots as a main interest, for example you could get an ultra wide zoom (sigma 8-16 or 10-20 or Pentax 12-24) something in the 16-18-50mm range even a kit lens, and then perhaps the pentax 50-135 F2.8 for the tele, still a very good setup, and down to 3 lenses, and reduced weight over my kit.

The point is, you simply need to think about your purchases carefully, and purchase quaility lenses (not always overly expensive) to get the performance you need.

Read the reviews, especially those that talk about difficulties with a lens, they may be more useful than one that just raves about the great shots, without saying it is tricky to use, etc.....
07-22-2013, 10:53 PM   #22
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Choosing a lens.

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07-23-2013, 08:33 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
Much of what you say is true, especially about the point that just because someone else has taken great shots with a lens, does not mean you will, BUT what it does mean is if you know how to use it, YOU CAN.

there is a big distinction in this point that many people miss, it is the photographer, not the equipment that takes a great photo.

However, on the point of choosing a lens, and I can't stress this enough, you need to think about where the lens fits in the general scheme of things.

My own opinion, and this has been criticized in the past, is that if you want to enjoy a large range of photographic interests, you need a basic kit with a range of 10-12mm at the wide end, to 200 mm at the long end, and if you are interested as well in nature, this should have a means of getting out to 400mm.

I used to think that F2.8 over much of this range was important, but it may be that F4 is OK, given the performance of later bodies like the K-r and K5 especially.

I usually recommend this to be in 3-4 zooms, as you like

My own kit covering this range is :
sigma APO 10-20mmF4-5.6 EX DC
Pentax FA-J 18-35 F4-5.6
Tamron XR di 28-75 F2.8
Sigma APO 70-200F2.8 EX (first version non DG non macro)

Add in a sigma TC or 2 and I get to 400mm with 4 lenses and from 28-200mm at F2.8

With this you can do a ton of shooting and never need anything else unless you adapt a liking for fast primes.

you can save weight and cost by going slower, and or shorter, especially if you don't see nature shots as a main interest, for example you could get an ultra wide zoom (sigma 8-16 or 10-20 or Pentax 12-24) something in the 16-18-50mm range even a kit lens, and then perhaps the pentax 50-135 F2.8 for the tele, still a very good setup, and down to 3 lenses, and reduced weight over my kit.

The point is, you simply need to think about your purchases carefully, and purchase quaility lenses (not always overly expensive) to get the performance you need.

Read the reviews, especially those that talk about difficulties with a lens, they may be more useful than one that just raves about the great shots, without saying it is tricky to use, etc.....
Excellent advice Lowell, and to follow your example, here is my budget restricted five lens kit for consideration.
DA 12-24
DA* 16-50
DA-L 55-300
M 100/4 "Dental" macro
M 400/5.6
AFA 1.7X = 680/f9.5
50mm extension tube (100 goes 1:1, 400 goes close)

All these will remain. I would like to upgrade my body from the K10d because of the ISO restrictions inherent in the otherwise superb sensor, but really, I have a useful range of focal lengths.

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