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01-09-2012, 12:59 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by hydriv Quote
RR,
Once again, thanks for the advice. When my camera arrives in a few days, I will give that a try. It was my belief that the prime would be the best choice on the basis of picture sharpness. Choosing a lens with a low F-stop seemed to be a smart move for that reason.
I agree with Rico Rico the 35 may not be the right lens for you. As I have mentioned earlier go with the kit and see how it goes. The 35 guides better sharpness but the kit lens is plenty sharp for its price. In my honest opinion you might have been better off with the da16-45 f4. Shooting with just one focal length can get boring.

As you mentioned you will be shooting in mostly good weather thus the speed factor of a 2.4 lens might be less of a positive. A while back I did a brief comparison between my new da35 and the kit if I recall correctly wide open was in favour of the 2.4 but stopped down the kit did surprisingly well.

01-09-2012, 01:55 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by hydriv Quote
This will be my 2nd post on this site. I am no stranger to forums because I happen to own one that is not related to photography in any way. For many years, I used a Minolta X-570 SLR with a nice variety of MD lenses. Then along came the internet and the necessity for me to own a digital camera. That need was satisfied by my Kodak DX7590 point and shoot with 5 MP and a 10 X optical zoom. I love that camera. I get pretty good pics from it thanks to the quality of the lens.

However, life moves on and needs do change. I have in mind to begin creating a coffee table book and decent quality photos are what those are primarily about. I had concerns about the ability of my Kodak to give me what I felt was needed and so I began my search into the confusing world of DSLR's. Someone mentioned a "full frame" camera and so I naively thought, what the heck.. I'll get one of those. That seemed like a pretty good idea until my face smacked into the wall called sticker shock. Listen..... I like high quality items as much as the next guy but to be dead honest, my photography hobby is not #1 on my list. So I found out about another piece of photo jargon know as "cropped sensor" that could give me some pretty good photos that will be acceptable by any publisher for a much lower cost.

Like most people, I tended to gravitate to choosing between a Nikon or a Canon because they spend a lot of money getting "product placement" in movies and TV. Yes.....I admit it. I was influenced. Shame on me but you have to give me Brownie Points for asking questions and finally ending up here. And that's what I would like to talk about today.

As I speak, there is a brand new K-R kit in the mail for me. This one includes the regular l8-55 zoom lens. However, I opted to buy the DA P-55-300 mm F4-5.8 ED lens which was more expensive than the DA-L-55-300 mm F4-5.8 ED lens. I also purchased the 35 mm F2.4 AL lens as my only prime. Perhaps that was a mistake. You tell me.


The purpose for the 35 will be for my project. That project will consist of taking stills of garden tractors posed mainly in outdoor settings but quite possibly indoors as well. Further along, I want to get into what additional equipment I should have but for now, I want to focus on the lens issue....... pun intended. Pentax also offers the DA - 35 mm F-2.8 macro limited lens. The question in my mind is whether or not I should have chosen this lens instead. Being relatively new to DSLR's and the jargon that goes with them, I don't know what "Limited" means when it applies to lenses. My understanding of "macro" is that it allows the user to focus on small objects at very short distances. For my purposes, a six foot long by 3 foot tall garden tractor does not qualify as a small object in need of a macro lens. So am I missing anything here? Should I have opted to jump to the 50 mm with the lower F-stop rating instead?


I also purchase Hoya UV fliters for the two zoom lenses but the store did not have one in 49 mm for the 35 mil lens. I went for the Super multi-coat line instead of the low end or the PRO level. So..... if I can please have some feedback on those issues to begin with, I'd be most appreciative.
first of all, welcome to pentax.

you should enjoy the camera and lenses you have.

as for the 35mm macro, in my opinion, while it may be a fine lens, a longer macro offering larger working distances is probably better so not getting the 35 macro is not a deal breaker.

the camera should do all you need, and to be quite honest, so could the kodak. I own one and have found it to be a very capable camera as long as you do not push the ISO too high. it's limits are mostly in the wide end, where 36mm (film equivelent) is not really wide enough.

I still use mine, although it is getting really beat up..
01-09-2012, 06:43 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by hydriv Quote
I appreciate the tips about "sameness" of shots. Keeping your work interesting is a must. As for a tripod, do you have any suggestions regarding brand and model? Manfrotto seems to be at the forefront but I'm sure they are not the only game in town.

Is the Pentax hot shoe proprietary or will other brands work on it? I don't want to hi-jack my own thread but I was considering using two Speed lites (Yongnou perhaps?) to illuminate the subject indoors using wireless. Perhaps mounting them on tripods and bouncing the light off of an umbrella?
Hello Hydriv,
Manfrotto took over or bought out Bogen, which was for some time one of the most highly respected names in Tripods.
Some of the stock numbers seem the same for the aluminum Manfrottos, for example their "3021" legs look exactly the same as the old Bogen I had in the 1970's into the '80's. That model was far and away my favorite, I have a much heavier Bogen (eBay, Used!!) now and it's a load to carry. So, if you can find a 3021, that's a great size for a camera and zoom lens, or a tripod-mounted telephoto. If you're going to be doing any hiking, I'd suggest the dedicated shoulder strap, otherwise it's easy to carry for short distances.
I've tried several heads, both ball and pan, overall I like a strong ball head, more versatile and far easier to use. I don't know the stock # offhand but they run about $100.00 new. Again, I would suggest checking Craig's List and eBay for used, with a bit of looking you should be able to find a set of legs and decent head together for around $100.
I'm no expert on flashes, so I've stuck with Pentax brand or Vivitar/dedicated to Pentax, the DF283, others here should be able to help. I do know that not all pre-digital flashes will work, the voltage is too high and they may burn out the circuit in the camera. One older model that's inexpensive and easy-to-find online is the AF280T Pentax, I emailed Pentax Corp and they told me it is safe to use with digital. You can easily find these everywhere (used) for $40.00-$50.00. Compact, tilt + Swivel, medium size, built like a brick. Great flash!
Good luck!
01-09-2012, 08:12 PM - 1 Like   #19
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A lens is a tube of compromises. The more you put in one end of the tube the more bad things squirt out the other end. More expensive lenses try to make better optical and mechanical compromises at the expense of cost but at a point it becomes like a taste for fine wine. A good wine and a fine wine may taste similar to someone that has not developed a taste for fine wine. Unless you develop an eye for what the better lenses have you will probably never miss them. If you do develop the eye you may end up with LBA so be careful. Most people do not print or look at photo that are 100% and that is when the more expensive lenses start to shine.


A hood and tripod with a good lens will usually make sharper photos then an excellent lens with no hood or tripod. A lot of people talk about small DOF but more often then not more DOF is better. To control DOF not only do you have to have the correct aperture but also control the distance to the subject. If you can't control the distance to the subject you may not get the DOF you want regardless of the lens. Pick your perspective then the lens and last the aperture.


DAZ

01-09-2012, 11:42 PM   #20
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One more inexpensive item you may want to add is a reflector (or even a white sheet that an assistant can hold). When shooting in strong outdoor light you can use it to fill in the shadows of all the nooks and crannies on the tractors with a more natural light than a fill flash.
01-10-2012, 06:04 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by epqwerty Quote
I agree with Rico Rico the 35 may not be the right lens for you. As I have mentioned earlier go with the kit and see how it goes. The 35 guides better sharpness but the kit lens is plenty sharp for its price. In my honest opinion you might have been better off with the da16-45 f4. Shooting with just one focal length can get boring.

As you mentioned you will be shooting in mostly good weather thus the speed factor of a 2.4 lens might be less of a positive. A while back I did a brief comparison between my new da35 and the kit if I recall correctly wide open was in favour of the 2.4 but stopped down the kit did surprisingly well.

To be perfectly candid, the purchase of my Minolta was more about having a tool that would allow me to capture images because I wanted to capture them. I would liken this to that of a weekend handyman who had a need to purchase a hand-held power saw because he needed to cut wood for projects on his Honey-do List. On the other end of the spectrum would be the skilled tradesman who would spend a lot of time reading the spec's of various electric saws along with user-reviews prior to visiting a store and picking up the saw he felt was best suited to his needs. Up until now......I was in the former category. However, my quest to produce this book before I am too old to make it happen is now pushing me to the latter category. In the past, I just selected whatever lens I thought was appropriate for the shot and let my eye decide whether I should change to a different lens. I never really did a deliberate analysis nor did I ever take notes of which lens, which F-stop etc. Silly me...huh?

Now.... I find myself embarking on a crash course in photography and you need not tell me that this is not ideal. But then again, is it really that hard to take decent stills of a garden tractor? My main concern (rightly or wrongly) will be with lighting up the subject during any indoor shoots more than outdoor but the hairs on the back of my neck tell me that more comment will pour forth as a result of that statement.

Currently, the best price I can find for the Pentax DA 16-45 f4 lens is $350.00 Canadian plus tax and shipping from Quebec. Not too bad, really. One thing that I find confusing with Pentax is their inconsistency in publishing what DSLR lenses are equal to in the 35 mm SLR world that I am used to. Obviously, this lens is not equal to a 16 mm slr lens so I'm guessing that it is probably similar to a 28 - 80 mm. As it happens, I have a Minolta Rokkor 28 - 80 so I am used to that lens but unfortunately it won't work on the K- R body. However, I do see your point on the issue of focal length and that lens might be a better choice than the original kit lens.

Thanks for your input.

Tom
01-10-2012, 06:07 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
first of all, welcome to pentax.

you should enjoy the camera and lenses you have.

as for the 35mm macro, in my opinion, while it may be a fine lens, a longer macro offering larger working distances is probably better so not getting the 35 macro is not a deal breaker.

the camera should do all you need, and to be quite honest, so could the kodak. I own one and have found it to be a very capable camera as long as you do not push the ISO too high. it's limits are mostly in the wide end, where 36mm (film equivelent) is not really wide enough.

I still use mine, although it is getting really beat up..

Lowell,
I have to say that I love my Kodak. I spent three weeks in England a few years back and it served me very well. I also used my wife's P&S Nikon and we took over 4000 photos. I was quite pleased with the results.

Tom
01-10-2012, 06:15 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by rbefly Quote
Hello Hydriv,
Manfrotto took over or bought out Bogen, which was for some time one of the most highly respected names in Tripods.
Some of the stock numbers seem the same for the aluminum Manfrottos, for example their "3021" legs look exactly the same as the old Bogen I had in the 1970's into the '80's. That model was far and away my favorite, I have a much heavier Bogen (eBay, Used!!) now and it's a load to carry. So, if you can find a 3021, that's a great size for a camera and zoom lens, or a tripod-mounted telephoto. If you're going to be doing any hiking, I'd suggest the dedicated shoulder strap, otherwise it's easy to carry for short distances.
I've tried several heads, both ball and pan, overall I like a strong ball head, more versatile and far easier to use. I don't know the stock # offhand but they run about $100.00 new. Again, I would suggest checking Craig's List and eBay for used, with a bit of looking you should be able to find a set of legs and decent head together for around $100.
I'm no expert on flashes, so I've stuck with Pentax brand or Vivitar/dedicated to Pentax, the DF283, others here should be able to help. I do know that not all pre-digital flashes will work, the voltage is too high and they may burn out the circuit in the camera. One older model that's inexpensive and easy-to-find online is the AF280T Pentax, I emailed Pentax Corp and they told me it is safe to use with digital. You can easily find these everywhere (used) for $40.00-$50.00. Compact, tilt + Swivel, medium size, built like a brick. Great flash!
Good luck!

Would I be correct in saying that I would be safe in buying any Bogen tripod? As for heads, do you have a recommendation on brand/model or have these items reached the stage where there is no such thing as junk out there? Obviously, the head cannot be damaged or worn to the point where the camera cannot be locked down solidly but choice of material, design and quality of engineering all play a part. I just don't want to spend time and fuel running around looking at tripods that are not suitable. And since i have zero background as to what has been available for the past 20 years, that makes me nervous to a degree. Thanks for the tip regarding the flash unit.

01-10-2012, 06:21 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by DAZ Quote
A lens is a tube of compromises. The more you put in one end of the tube the more bad things squirt out the other end. More expensive lenses try to make better optical and mechanical compromises at the expense of cost but at a point it becomes like a taste for fine wine. A good wine and a fine wine may taste similar to someone that has not developed a taste for fine wine. Unless you develop an eye for what the better lenses have you will probably never miss them. If you do develop the eye you may end up with LBA so be careful. Most people do not print or look at photo that are 100% and that is when the more expensive lenses start to shine.


A hood and tripod with a good lens will usually make sharper photos then an excellent lens with no hood or tripod. A lot of people talk about small DOF but more often then not more DOF is better. To control DOF not only do you have to have the correct aperture but also control the distance to the subject. If you can't control the distance to the subject you may not get the DOF you want regardless of the lens. Pick your perspective then the lens and last the aperture.


DAZ


Thanks DAZ.. Those are words worth noting. The tripod and hood will be used. Wherever I have the tractor positioned, placement of the tripod will not be restricted so distance to the subject should not be a problem physically. How much importance do you place on any background being in focus compared to the subject?
01-10-2012, 06:28 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by Spenz Quote
One more inexpensive item you may want to add is a reflector (or even a white sheet that an assistant can hold). When shooting in strong outdoor light you can use it to fill in the shadows of all the nooks and crannies on the tractors with a more natural light than a fill flash.
Excuse my naivety but I have to ask. Assuming that I am shooting outdoors on a nice sunny, cloudless day, would I not have the sun to my back? Or at least mostly to my back and one side? IF so, then what would be the position of the reflector? Take me serious. I ask these questions because I don't know the answers.

Do you have a style of reflector in mind that you feel would best suit my needs? If the day was totally calm, could such a reflector be mounted on a tripod? I agree that a helper would be best because I could direct him/her while looking at the screen.

Thanks,

Tom
01-10-2012, 09:27 AM   #26
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UPDATE.

The postman arrived at about 10:30 this morning to deliver my K-R package. After the obligatory signing, I carefully unpacked all of the items and dealt with the packing materials. I am troubled......or should I say confused and suspicious

The markings on the 55 - 300 zoom don't tell me that I got the higher end lens that I paid for. When I compare the markings on that zoom to those on the 18 - 55 or even my prime 35.......everything seems the same. The body says: "SMC PENTAX-DA 1:4-5.8 55-300 ED.


I understand that Pentax makes a similar lens for camera kits that is priced lower. So how do I tell the difference?
01-10-2012, 09:33 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by hydriv Quote
I understand that Pentax makes a similar lens for camera kits that is priced lower. So how do I tell the difference
Did it come with hood? Does it have distance markings on the focus ring? Does it have a metal mount?

And, to my knowledge, the cheap version should say DA-L instead of DA.
01-10-2012, 09:35 AM   #28
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The separately sold 55-300 is marked 'DA', the kit version 'DAL', also, the former should have a metal mount, quick shift and come with a hood.
01-10-2012, 09:59 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by hydriv Quote
Thanks DAZ.. Those are words worth noting. The tripod and hood will be used. Wherever I have the tractor positioned, placement of the tripod will not be restricted so distance to the subject should not be a problem physically. How much importance do you place on any background being in focus compared to the subject?
Whether the photographer should isolate their subject from its surroundings would depend on the relations ship of the object to its surroundings. This is a little hard to show without a photo or 2 so if I may use some resent photos of mine to illustrate.

DAZ53137 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
In the first photo if you isolated the people from the setting it would be much less interesting. The photo is still about the people but the setting tells the story.

DAZ53223 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
In the second photo her surroundings are not that interesting. By isolating her, the story becomes more about her and what she is staring at. You have a hint but donít know. Everything else becomes a distraction so isolation works here.

Both subjects are people but it is the surroundings that are different. DOF is one way to isolate or include a subject but there are others tools that can be used, perspective and framing to name just 2. In the second photo it is not just the DOF but the perspective and framing that isolate her. The perspective hides what she is looking at and the tighter framing helps excludes other items. In the first photo the perspective distortion pulls the city into the photo and the wider framing sets the scene.
For something like tractors if it is in a barnyard or a corn field including them maybe a good thing. If it is in a parking lot maybe not so good. This is where the art part comes in.

A little about DOF and subjects. For people we normal like it if their eyes are in focuses and donít mind so much if the rest of them is not. This is not the case for inanimate objects. For inanimate objects we like all the subject to be in focuses but if you have to pick we like the parts closest to us to be in focuses and things farther back less.

Lighting is a powerful tool you can use but can take up more money and space then we would like. If you are just starting and would like to learn to use reflectors may I suggest using a car window sun screen? You can get them cheep, come in many sizes and they donít take up much room. The silver reflective type can be used to reflect or to shade the subject. They are not as heavy duty as the ones made for photograph but when you look at the price deference you may be able to put up with their shortcomings when you are just starting.

You could use a tripod and clamp to hold these things but a light stand is cheaper, lighter and more flexible. Absolute satiability is not as critical for lighting so it can be more flimsy. If you start using flash the light stand will much more usable as you can get the light stand to go much higher than most tripods.

DAZ
01-10-2012, 10:11 AM   #30
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sterretj and jolepp.


Thanks for advising what the differences are. Yes... it does have the metal mount and it came with the hood. Upon learning that news, I looked at the kit 18 55 lens and noted that the mount is plastic and it has no hood with it.

I'm learning.


Sometimes, mistakes do happen in packing shipments. Sometimes .............................those mistakes are actually deliberate. Burn me once, shame on you. Burn me twice.........shame on me.
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