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12-22-2007, 02:40 PM   #1
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Any suggestions?

Hi everyone,

My name is Marc. I'm a new member to the forum. I have a DA 50-200mm with a maximum aperture of f4. I'm having a lot of trouble shooting in low-light conditions with it and, unfortunately, I don't have $800 to spend on some fast glass. I also don't have shake reduction on my camera (K110D), which makes things even more difficult. How do I optimize the use of this lens, while maintaining some quality?

Thanks,

Marc

P.S. I eventually plan on getting some fast glass in the future. I mostly take photos of people. Any suggestions on a lens?

12-22-2007, 02:53 PM   #2
Ed in GA
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QuoteOriginally posted by stafford588 Quote
Hi everyone,

My name is Marc. I'm a new member to the forum. I have a DA 50-200mm with a maximum aperture of f4. I'm having a lot of trouble shooting in low-light conditions with it and, unfortunately, I don't have $800 to spend on some fast glass. I also don't have shake reduction on my camera (K110D), which makes things even more difficult. How do I optimize the use of this lens, while maintaining some quality?

Thanks,

Marc

P.S. I eventually plan on getting some fast glass in the future. I mostly take photos of people. Any suggestions on a lens?
Shoot at a higher ISO.

With the K110D, you can probably shoot as high as 1600 without seriously degrading your photos.
12-22-2007, 02:56 PM   #3
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Aside from a good flash or cranking up the ISO, I don't think there is much else to do. You could use an off camera flash so that the shots don't "look" flashed....and you can get good noise redux software like Noise Ninja or Neat Image to deal with the noise. The other thing you can do is shoot in RAW and process your photos in something like Adobe Lightroom. I have rescued several underexposed shots (limited by my lenses) in Lightroom.
12-22-2007, 03:25 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ed in GA Quote
Shoot at a higher ISO.

With the K110D, you can probably shoot as high as 1600 without seriously degrading your photos.
If the exposures aren't right---don't be afraid to use the exposure bias option either, but that camera does well with a high ISO, but toward the long end of that lens you are looking at shake being an issue even in good lighting but my observation is that with casual hand held photography in low light, I've get better photos by far with a high ISO than with a low ISO just because of the shake----even with a camera that I use -- the K10 that has shake reduction and which by reputation does high ISO a little less well than the K110.

12-22-2007, 04:42 PM   #5
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Thanks for all the great advice! Does anyone have a suggestion for a lens? I'm want to try to avoid purchasing a third-party lens, but, then again, I don't have an extra $800 layin' around. Has anyone had a good experience with a third-party lens? If so, which brand would you recommend for me? I'm looking for a fast medium telephoto.
12-22-2007, 04:47 PM   #6
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If bucks are a problem, consider your M42 (screwmount) alternatives. You can build up a good assortment of very good lenses for relatively little money. An adapter should run you about $30. I believe the Takumar 50/1.4 should go somewhere just north of fifty bucks. And for a fast medium telephoto that takes fantastic photos you can not go wrong with the Takumar 105/2.8 and it should run somewhere between seventy and one hundred dollars.

("Takumar" lenses are genuine Pentax lenses, by the way).
12-22-2007, 05:15 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by stafford588 Quote
Thanks for all the great advice! Does anyone have a suggestion for a lens? I'm want to try to avoid purchasing a third-party lens, but, then again, I don't have an extra $800 layin' around. Has anyone had a good experience with a third-party lens? If so, which brand would you recommend for me? I'm looking for a fast medium telephoto.
Hi Marc and welcome to the forums! If you aren't afraid of manual lenses there are several really good lenses I can recommend that aren't too expensive. You can regularily find them on eekbay or at KEH or less frequently at B&H or Adorama. These are all Pentax "K" lenses, fit right on your K110D without adapters:

Primes:
Pentax SMC 135mm F2.5 ---one of the best short/medium teles out there bar none. Everyone who owns this lens loves it

Pentax SMC 200mm F4 ---good medium tele, don't own it myself, but I've heard good things about it.

Pentax SMC 300mm F4 ---another excellent tele, even at 300mm light enough to hand hold, it's only real problem is no tripod mount.

Zooms:
Pentax A 70-210 F4: Don't own it but I'm told it has great image quality, but suffers a bit from Zoom creep. But it's a constant aperture lens and a full stop faster at the long end than the DA 50-200

Pentax A 35-105 F3.5 Probably a bit shorter than what you are looking for but everyone I know who has it has given it rave reviews. I just bought one from KEH, but I'm working 6 days a week now and it has rained each and every Sunday since the lens was delivered

Here are a couple of samples
Pentax SMC 135 F2.5


Pentax SMC 300 F4


NaCl(hope that helps)H2O
12-22-2007, 05:21 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
If bucks are a problem, consider your M42 (screwmount) alternatives. You can build up a good assortment of very good lenses for relatively little money. An adapter should run you about $30. I believe the Takumar 50/1.4 should go somewhere just north of fifty bucks. And for a fast medium telephoto that takes fantastic photos you can not go wrong with the Takumar 105/2.8 and it should run somewhere between seventy and one hundred dollars.

("Takumar" lenses are genuine Pentax lenses, by the way).
Mike, didn't know you'd answer just before me. Didn't intend to step on your toes at all with the comment about the K lenses fitting w/o an adapter. And I agree that many of the Taks are great lenses.

NaCl(feeling a bit M(42) bare a$$ed )H2O

12-22-2007, 06:25 PM   #9
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I think someone has already given the best answer. Start hunting for some fast primes.

I see no reason why you can't get a 135mm f2.5 an 50mm f1.4 and a 28 mmf2.8 all for a little over 200, especially if they are K mount or screw mount lenses, not KA or autofocus. I know of a store in toronto where at least 2 copies of each of the 3 of the above are sitting right now in k mount.

The other but harder to find is an 85mm f1.8 and a fast 100mm.

Also, a sigma 24-60 f2.8 goes for about 399 us at adorama.
12-22-2007, 08:57 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I think someone has already given the best answer. Start hunting for some fast primes.

I see no reason why you can't get a 135mm f2.5 an 50mm f1.4 and a 28 mmf2.8 all for a little over 200, especially if they are K mount or screw mount lenses, not KA or autofocus. I know of a store in toronto where at least 2 copies of each of the 3 of the above are sitting right now in k mount.

The other but harder to find is an 85mm f1.8 and a fast 100mm.

Also, a sigma 24-60 f2.8 goes for about 399 us at adorama.
I'd watch EBAY, and I wouldn't buy a screw mount or an old M mount. too muchnuisance to use.
the A's are manual focus but otherwise 'do everything'.

Some of the older short range zooms are really cheap. --35-70 and 28-70 and sometimes up to 28-135. Usually somewhere around f4, and sometimes sell for as little asa $50.
even if autofocus.

IFyour pocket is a little deeper a good 'second' lens is a Macro.----- either a 50 or a 100mm
they are usually fairly fast now f2.8 and can be used for regular photography but
have corrections and extended barrells for filling a postage stamp full frame as well.

if you round up thet 100, it is a moderate telephoto which lets you get further away from things but costs more than the 50mm
12-22-2007, 09:06 PM   #11
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Try KEH for M42 (screwmount) lenses and adapters at a reasonable price. Some recent prices I've seen there, all rated "Excellent" condition:

SMC Takumar 50/1.4: under $100
SMC Takumar 105/2.8: under $170
SMC Takumar 85/1.8: under $450

Add roughly $25 - $50 for a genuine Pentax M42 adapter and you're set. You may have to add a bit extra for lens hoods and caps, depending on what a particular lens ships with and what's available on KEH, eBay, etc.

I can personally vouch for KEH quality and service. Their "Bargain" grade, from what I've read, are true bargains if you're willing to accept a bit of cosmetic wear that doesn't compromise function and image quality. Personally, I think a bit of honest wear adds character (and saves money), but my Takumars are all "Excellent" grade, just because that's what was available at the time. I do think I see a "Bargain" lens with my name on it now, however...

Daryl
12-22-2007, 09:26 PM   #12
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In response to the original post ... As my friend said to me ... "invest in a good tripod ... it's the best upgrade you can add to your camera". The lens and shooting situation you describe screams "I need long exposure", for which you'll want the tripod.

Last edited by m8o; 12-22-2007 at 09:32 PM.
12-22-2007, 11:18 PM   #13
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Yeah, I'd like to invest in a nice tripod. Right now I have this big clunky thing that I carry around with me. I'd like to get a nice Manfrotto, but, of course, they cost a pretty penny. I actually thought about a monopod, too, since they're a little more portable and I'm always on the move. I'd love to swap my K110D for the K100D and Shake Reduction. Does anyone know if Pentax has a swap deal or something?

As for a lens, I think that maybe my best bet is to save up for the DA * 50-135mm F/2.8. Autofocus is really a nice luxary. The retail is $999, but I think Adorama has it for $750. I'll just have to bust my butt off over the summer. But, I do appreciate everybody's suggestions. At least I have something to fall back on if things don't work out the way I planned.

This is totally off subject, but I just got a Lightsphere from Gary Fong. A lot of people bash the Lightsphere for the price, but, let me tell you, it's worth every single penny. Use it with a flash bracket and it yields superb results.

Thanks for the suggestions everyone.

Happy Holidays!
12-23-2007, 02:30 AM   #14
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As some other members here, I would recommend checking prices of some older fast glass. If you don't mind MF you can get amazing deals, but then in US, you can easily get, good second hand AF lens too, for cheap money. In mean time just set higher ISO. K100/110Ds do amazing job there....
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