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12-15-2011, 09:38 AM   #1
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Rookie needs help choosing lenses!

I am completely new to photography and after extensive research decided to purchase the Pentax K-5 for my first camera. I plan on using it for travel first and foremost with a focus on landscapes/nature and of course for all other forms travel photography so my question is this. What lenses do I need? I have decided on the 12mm-24mm lens for landscape but I don't know what I should get for the rest. Help!

12-15-2011, 09:41 AM   #2
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Forgot to mention I want good enough quality to make poster prints.
12-15-2011, 09:45 AM   #3
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Do you shoot wildlife (small animals, birds, etc)?
If so, look into a good long range lens (cheap: DA 55-300. expensive: Tamron 70-200. Expensive but smaller than the Tamron: DA 300)

Do you shoot portrait (people, street photography, anything within 10 feet of you)?
If so, look into either a short range zoom like the 24-70 2.8/Tamron 28-75 2.8, or a simple 35mm or 50mm prime.

As far as I can see, that should be pretty much it since you have the 12-24 for landscape and architecture.
12-15-2011, 09:46 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathfinder99 Quote
I am completely new to photography and after extensive research decided to purchase the Pentax K-5 for my first camera. I plan on using it for travel first and foremost with a focus on landscapes/nature and of course for all other forms travel photography so my question is this. What lenses do I need? I have decided on the 12mm-24mm lens for landscape but I don't know what I should get for the rest. Help!
There are lot's of alternatives.

For travel it would be tough to beat having an 18-135 WR with the K5. pretty much covers all needed FOV and with the K5 iso performance should even be passable in dimmer situations (though having a fast 50 in the bag is handy)
Added benefit is WR so if you get caught with lousy weather you can shoot without worry

Personally I travel with several primes but a lot of people find that cumbersome
my normal travel kit
K7
Km or Mx Film
DA14
M28 3.5
M50 1.7 (i have a fast tak but 1 mount simplifies travel)
m100 2.8

I will also throw in the 18-55WR in case of bad weather, and occasionally the m200 f4.0 for reach. sometimes i take a flash sometimes i don't I'm not a big Flash guy

If you haven't bought yet and are in Canada Henrys has a smoking price on the K5 18-135 kit @ 1499.

12-15-2011, 10:03 AM   #5
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My basic travel kit contains:

* DA18-250 as a general-purpose walkaround;
* FA50/1.4 for dimness and action and DOF control;
* DA10-17 fisheye zoom, to exploit angles and roundness;
* Tamron 10-24 for tight spaces (short end) and 'scapes (long end);
* various macro options: a macro lens, or enlarger lenses on small bellows, or Raynox closeup adapter; and
* various fast manual primes at critical focal lengths: 24/2, 28/2, 35/2, 85/2, 135/2.5 -- maybe not all at once!

The first three listed (DA10-17, DA18-250, FA50/1.4) were my original kit and, over 200 lenses later, they're still my most-used, along with the Tamron 10-24. My other most-used is a manual Vivitar-Komine 28/2 CF (close focus) that cost me under US$20 shipped. Were I richer, I'd probably replace it with an FA31/1.8 Ltd.
12-15-2011, 10:04 AM   #6
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Note that you may have trouble actually finding a copy of the 12-24. It's a matter of taste, of course, but many photogs prefer wide-normal (20-24mm on the K-5) or longer for landscapes and general photography. Then again, the DA 15 ltd is hugely popular here on the forums. In fact you might consider that as an alternative if you can't find the 12-24; certainly a lot more compact for travel.

I've never done poster-size prints, but I expect the sensor and/or technique is more likely to be the limitation than the lens. You might consider stitching shots for higher resolution. A true panoramic tripod head would be a help for that.

The other suggestions are good ones also.
12-15-2011, 10:46 AM   #7
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It sounds like you have not purchased the K5 yet. If not, then you should consider which lenses you want to come with it as that can lower their cost. The options are typically the 18-55WR, the 18-135WR, or a combination of the 18-55 and the 50-200WR. My suggestion would be to get the 18-135WR with the camera thereby lowering the initial cost. You can add longer lenses later, or immiedately, but the 18-135 has some advantages in that its optically considered better than the 18-55, is also WR, makes it easier to operate in harsh environments because you do not have to think about changing lenses at the 50mm point, and it is far more silent in operation than the 18-55 (a point nearly never mentioned in my recent experience buying my 18-135). You've already decided on how to address the wider side with 12-24 so I'd recommend waiting and seeing what your habits are with the two before rushing out to buy anything else. Good luck and welcome aboard!
12-15-2011, 11:01 AM   #8
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Whew, power just returned. I hate when the lights go out just as I'm imparting online wisdom. Anyway, I was going to say:

Look at published collections of 'scapes and you'll see that most were shot with focal lengths equivalent to about 18-55 or 16-45, mostly near the middle of that range, around 28-31mm, which is the 'normal' focal length for APS-C frames. If distortion-free 'scapes are your goal, a 28-31mm is best. For wider vistas, stitch sets of 'normal' together into panos. I personally find 18mm about the widest I want for 'scapes because going wider into UWA (ultra-wide-angle) territory just shrinks the distant, turning mountains into molehills and urban skylines into ragged bumps. UWA is for emphasizing the near and diminishing the far.

As mentioned, large prints don't depend on the lens as much as the sensor. And neither is as important as presentation. I've made 60cm x 80cm prints from 912x1216 pixel frames -- with a bit of massaging in software, and printed+framed+glassed+hung+lit appropriately. If you want to make 6x9m photo-quality prints, get a 645D. If a print isn't to be closely inspected, you have a LOT more leeway.

Besides the lenses, I mentioned above, I have another mini-kit of tiny customized primes that fit into a small bag I can stuff into a cargo pocket or belt pouch, total weight under 450g / 1lb. Depending on your preferences and budget, you might look at some 'pancake' or other small primes: DA15/4, DA21/3.2 Ltd, DA40/2.8 Ltd or FA43/1.9 Ltd, etc. I personally prefer old small cheap manual primes.

Another, fairly rational, approach is to start with an 18-250 superzoom or 18-55 + 55/300 kit set, and just shoot. After a month or three, run software to scan your pictures and see what focal lengths you use the most. This may guide you to specific faster lenses. Then ask yourself, "What do I want to do that I can't do with what I have?" This may guide you into areas like UWA, fisheye, macro, whatever.

It boils down to budget. Tell us how much money you have, and we'll tell you how to spend it all. Cheers!

12-15-2011, 11:25 AM   #9
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Wow! That was fast! I wasnt expecting so many replies so quick. Photographers surely are a passionate bunch lol. I will definitely start with the 18-250 Lens until I figure out what focal lengths I like to photograph at and then get some higher quality primes. That's great advice. As for the 12-24 for landscapes is that a lens you would reccomend or is there a better one? If I were to splurge on a lens it would definitely be the one for landscapes because that is the type of photography I enjoy looking at the most and i am going on a 2 week trip to iceland and it is all about the landscapes. I really appreciate all of the help. There is definitely a lot more to this than I was expecting but that's OK because I love a challenge!
12-15-2011, 11:36 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathfinder99 Quote
Wow! That was fast! I wasnt expecting so many replies so quick. Photographers surely are a passionate bunch lol. I will definitely start with the 18-250 Lens until I figure out what focal lengths I like to photograph at and then get some higher quality primes. That's great advice. As for the 12-24 for landscapes is that a lens you would reccomend or is there a better one? If I were to splurge on a lens it would definitely be the one for landscapes because that is the type of photography I enjoy looking at the most and i am going on a 2 week trip to iceland and it is all about the landscapes. I really appreciate all of the help. There is definitely a lot more to this than I was expecting but that's OK because I love a challenge!
The 18-250 is out of production and hard to track down at times. If I were going to Iceland for 2 weeks I'd be even more inclined toward the WR lenses. I'm a bit fanatic about the safety of my equipment and at the same time would not want to miss any of that glorious scenery. The solution for me would be to have some excellent glass, even if it were borrowed or rented, and have some WR lenses in order to keep shooting with my K5 under nearly any condition encountered (and you'll encounter many in Iceland in Dec-Jan). Good luck!
12-15-2011, 11:38 AM   #11
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For Iceland i would heavily lean to the 18-135 versus the 18-250. WR will be quite useful there, whereas the longer reach may not be needed at all (don't need it for landscapes for almost anything else 135 is long enough except perhaps wildlife.
Kitted it will likely cost the same or less than an 18-250 with a K5
there is only the Sigma 18-250 now that tamron is cutting back on Pentax models
the bigger the superzoom range the worse it will be optically is a good rule of thumb

Edit : there is also the option of an DA*16-50 and a DA*60-250 which would be an excellent kit with the 12-24 but expensive All DA* are WR
12-15-2011, 03:01 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathfinder99 Quote
As for the 12-24 for landscapes is that a lens you would reccomend or is there a better one? If I were to splurge on a lens it would definitely be the one for landscapes because that is the type of photography I enjoy looking at the most and i am going on a 2 week trip to iceland and it is all about the landscapes
The 12-24 has an excellent reputation. Current new stock is low to non-existent so you may have difficulty getting your hands on one in time for your trip.

A forum member just posted some great landscapes shot at 40mm. I was just out at Joshua Tree and was quite happy with my choice of 28mm, 50mm, 105mm, and 200mm lenses. Ultra-wides for landscape is a very particular look, often used to compress the apparent distance between an object in the very near foreground and stuff much further off. Another forum member posted some recent examples, as it happens using the 12-24.

I think the suggestion of the DA 18-55 WR is an excellent one. Yes, it's the "kit lens", but it's a fine lens capable of beautiful shots. You can often get a good deal by bundling the K-5 with that or other lenses, as also suggested above.

QuoteQuote:
There is definitely a lot more to this than I was expecting but that's OK because I love a challenge!
Oh, there's no end to what you can learn and do with this. Enjoy the journey.
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