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01-01-2012, 08:26 PM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by jbuck92 Quote
I know how you feel. The only 2 lenses I have right now are the 18-55 and 55-300 kit lenses. I definitely could use a nice surprise lump of cash to support my addiction.. How much does a FA50/1.4 usually go for used?
Got mine for $250 last year in excellent used condition. It's an outstanding lens and one that stays in whichever bag I am taking with me, unless I am only going with the lens on the camera.

01-01-2012, 08:59 PM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by jbuck92 Quote
I know how you feel. The only 2 lenses I have right now are the 18-55 and 55-300 kit lenses. I definitely could use a nice surprise lump of cash to support my addiction.. How much does a FA50/1.4 usually go for used?
That's a very popular lens and doesn't discount much. You can get a deal like jbuck if you are patient or possibly on Craigslist, if there is one for your area.

Your 55-300 is actually a very good lens and I wound't upgrade that until you know what you want. Actually, I'd upgrade the 18-55 first. A Tamron 17-50 or a Pentax 17-70 should run less than $500, new. Either would be a considerable upgrades to the kit lens. I have 5 lenses but, except for macro work, do 90% of my shooting with my Tamron and the Pentax 55-300. Next, I'd go for the Pentax 35mm 2.4. It's less than $200, and very good optically. It will give you a 52mm equivalent length which is more versatile than the 50, which is a 75mm equivalent. I only use my 50mm for low light work. If you want a portrait/macro lens, look at the Sigma 70mm 2.8. It's one of the sharpest lenses made. Period. All three lenses, at current retail in the US, will run about $1150.

That said, I start with the normal zoom, spend at least 4-6 months to learn what it will do. Then get the next, and so on. If you just want to collect lenses, go for it. If you really want to get the most out of each lens you own, the you need to spend a lot of hours with it in lots of different conditions. Just going out and buying 3 lenses at a time will get you lots of glass. However, it will probably hinder your photography.
01-01-2012, 09:07 PM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by jbuck92 Quote
I know how you feel. The only 2 lenses I have right now are the 18-55 and 55-300 kit lenses. I definitely could use a nice surprise lump of cash to support my addiction.. How much does a FA50/1.4 usually go for used?
I just checked eBay COMPLETED LISTINGS and FA50s have sold in the US$270-300 range lately. Not as good as US$200 new a few years ago, but it was underpriced then. I do use others of my 50 Fifties a lot. But if I had to give up all but one and never get another, I'd even sacrifice the K50/1.2 for the FA50/1.4. The K50 is better optically; the FA50 is more generally usable on a dSLR.
01-03-2012, 08:54 PM   #34
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I do love the 55-300, Cowboy. I use it all the time as well. I do agree with upgrading my 18-55 first, I find that zoom a little lacking. I love shooting at 50mm as I've found, but having a little more zoom capability on that lens would be great. Anyone have any opinions on the Pentax 17-70? I've pretty much decided I'm going to try to grab a used FA50/1.4 when I have the funds.

So, as it stands I'm looking at:
- FA50/1.4
-Either Tamron 17-50 or Pentax 17-70 (Would like the extra range of the Pentax, any comments on this?)
-Keep the 55-300 (atleast for now)
-Some kind of Macro lens, either a 50/2.8 or maybe a 100/4? Any opinions on Macro lenses?

01-03-2012, 10:43 PM   #35
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Zoom with your feet

If you want to build a kit with primes - particularly manual focus primes - consider the classic focal length mixes used decades ago to "cover" your needs in a small bag. And remember, you zoom with your feet

Typical Fixed Lens Combinations (edit: For some reason I can't format this as a table)
Wide-angle Standard Telephoto
24 35 80
24 50 100
28 50 100
35 50 100

These are my estimates of excellent condition commonly available MF lenses that are highly regarded here.

M28/2.8 - $60
M50/1.4 - $120
M50/1.7 - $90
M100/2.8 - $165

A bit more pricey, harder to find and somewhat more desirable

K35/3.5 - $149
K24/2.8 - $229
K28/3.5 - $169
A50/1.4 - $190

anything 80 - 105 except the M100/2.8 is pretty pricey - $300 - $500.

Shoot for several months (or years) with a simple kit like one of these.
01-03-2012, 10:56 PM   #36
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Awesome thanks! What's the difference in the M, K and A variants?
01-03-2012, 11:12 PM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by jbuck92 Quote
Awesome thanks! What's the difference in the M, K and A variants?
The A lenses will work in Av or Tv mode,
so your K-r will do the exposure metering automatically,
like it does with the kit zoom lenses.

The M and K lenses, functionally similar,
have to have the aperture set manually with the aperture ring on the lens.
The usual technique is to run the camera in M mode,
with the "green button" set up for stop-down metering
(see the manual for how to do that).
You frame the shot, press the green button,
and set shutter speed and aperture for correct exposure
(as signaled at the bottom of the viewfinder).
01-04-2012, 02:42 AM   #38
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A theoretical note on prime kits

Back in the day, a togger might use a set of optical adapters on their fixed-lens camera, or a kit of common lenses on their interchangeable-lens camera. That fixed lens might be close to the 43mm 'normal' focal length for135/FF cams, and those adapters would likely be 0.5x (wide) and 1.5x (portrait, short-tele). The interchangeable lens sets were most commonly 28mm (wide), 50-55mm (long normal), and 135mm (tele). Look at auction listings and you'll see that these are by far the most common (and least costly) focal lengths of legacy lenses.

But sometimes were selected lens sets with a certain progression of focal lengths. If we choose a ratio of around 4/3 for adjacent FLs, we see a progression like: 20-28-35-50-65-85-105-135-180-240-300. All these except 65mm were not uncommon. We had a saying that to foot-zoom from 35mm to the FOV of 50mm, or from 28 to 35, take three steps forward. So, carrying all those lenses was fine for toggers with strong backs but no desire to walk around.

A weaker but smarter togger may use a roughly 2x progression like 24-50-105-200mm. Someone shooting closer might go with 20-40-85-180mm. With such a kit, we know that each longer lens has 1/2 the FOV (field of view) of the previous, so it's easy to pre-visualize what any focal length would capture.

The 28-50-135 kit was suitable for 135/FF cameras, but those FLs are a bit misplaced for our APS-C dSLRs. The FOV equivalents would be about 21-35-85mm, not quite so common nor cheap. Another good reason to await a FF Pentax|Ricoh cam, eh? But if your budget allows, the 2x progression can build a very nice kit: DA15Ltd, DA31Ltd, DA*55, DFA100, for quite-wide, normal, near-portrait, far-portrait / macro. Or go with the FA20 or DA21Ltd, DA40Ltd or FA43Ltd, and FA*85 for a more compressed kit.

Are focal-length progressions just more feedstock for LBA? Yeah, well... Hay, it's another way to think about lenses.

01-04-2012, 03:36 AM   #39
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A practical note on prime kits

To illustrate RioRico's post:

In 135 film days, I used 20-35-50-100mm primes.

On APS-C, I now use 15-24-35-58-90-200.
Under field conditions, with 2 K-x bodies,
I usually pair up 15-35 or 24-58
if I don't want to be changing lenses
and don't know what to expect.
01-04-2012, 07:12 AM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by jbuck92 Quote
Some kind of Macro lens, either a 50/2.8 or maybe a 100/4? Any opinions on Macro lenses?
The 50mm focal length is great if you want a general walkaround lens that is very good at portraits (good length), landscapes and can do macro. The biggest problem with a 50mm macro is that you will be very close and you might spook any insects you are trying to photograph.

I'm looking for a 100mm M lens sometime as a 3rd lens in a lightweight travel kit (DA15 and DA40). It gives me a telephoto that can take pretty good head shots and macro.
01-04-2012, 09:48 AM   #41
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Focal Length Progressions

QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Back in the day, . . .

Are focal-length progressions just more feedstock for LBA? Yeah, well... Hay, it's another way to think about lenses.
THANKS! - what a great history lesson and logical explanation of FL for 135 (and expansion of my post, which I should have done for the OP).
01-04-2012, 02:20 PM   #42
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Very interesting, thanks Rico. So a 100/4 macro would be a bit better? I'm assuming the 50/1.4 I'm planning on getting would work fine for portraits as well right? So having a 50/2.8 would be kind of redundant if I already have a 50mm that can work for portraits.
01-04-2012, 02:36 PM   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by jbuck92 Quote
Very interesting, thanks Rico. So a 100/4 macro would be a bit better? I'm assuming the 50/1.4 I'm planning on getting would work fine for portraits as well right? So having a 50/2.8 would be kind of redundant if I already have a 50mm that can work for portraits.
50/1.4 is a superb specification for a portrait lens on the APS-C sensor in a Pentax DSLR. The 2-stop advantage over a 50/2.8 is highly significant for low-light shooting, and for getting a very thin DOF, appropriate for portraiture.

That's a separate question as to how a 100mm macro stacks up against a 50mm. 100mm is a better general-purpose macro, but 50mm has some advantages -- small, light, easy to hand hold. And, in this case, 2 stops faster. I'd say the 50/2.8 is a better choice as a general-purpose lens that is also excellent for closeups. 100mm is better if you want higher magnification and more working distance (distance from front of lens to subject), as you would for insect macro.
01-04-2012, 02:50 PM   #44
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Gotchya, thanks! Any opinions regarding either a Tamron 17-50 vs a Pentax 17-70? I like the bigger range of the 17-70.
01-04-2012, 06:34 PM   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by jbuck92 Quote
Gotchya, thanks! Any opinions regarding either a Tamron 17-50 vs a Pentax 17-70? I like the bigger range of the 17-70.
Agreed with what baro-nite said. The 50/1.4 is much better as a portrait specific lens. The 50/2.8macro has the versatility to do everything really well. I like my M50/4macro because I can go from portrait to macro to a landscape w/o changing lenses and I'm getting very comfortable with the 50mm focal length. I chose the DA40 (vs the 50/1.4) for a few other reasons but when I'm taking portraits I would like to be able to shoot at f2 sometimes.

As far as the Tamron 17-50 vs the Pentax 17-70 it depends on what you want to use the lens for. Personally my wish list includes the 18-55WR and the Tamron 28-75/2.8. I personally find that I usually don't need to go much wider than 28mm and I want to use it as a portrait zoom when I have limited time to compose. So f2.8 and the 50-75 zoom range are the big factors for me. If I need to go wider then it's usually for architecture, waterfalls or a composition that I'm taking my time with (swap to the DA15). The 18-55WR is on the list so I can at least take photos when conditions while hiking in iffy conditions.
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